Week 2 NFL Power Rankings

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) throws through a gap in overtime of the NFL Week One game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Minnesota Vikings at Paul Brown Stadium in downtown Cincinnati on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021. The Bengals won 27-24 on a last minute field goal in overtime. Minnesota Vikings At Cincinnati Bengals

The opening week of the NFL season lived up to all the hype. We had overtime finishes, dramatic comebacks, and even a few head scratching blowouts that may make these latest rankings look silly later in the year. But, such is life, and the show goes on. Without anymore chitter chatter, here are the updated NFL power rankings ahead of week two’s action.

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

        Last Week: 31-29 win vs DAL

        Trending: —

        This Week: 9/19 vs ATL

The ageless wonder that is Tom Brady seems to be continuing his reign of terror over the NFL. Brady didn’t look any bit of 44-years-old last Thursday as he continuously ripped fastballs downfield to his receivers. Some will point to the missed OPI at the end of the game as the reason Tampa Bay won, but this game shouldn’t have been all that close to begin with. Two costly fumbles, including one on the goal-line, kept Dallas in this game. This week should be a commanding win against an already-floundering Atlanta team. 

2. Kansas City Chiefs   

        Last Week: 33-29 win vs CLE

        Trending: —

        This Week: 9/19 @ BAL

The Chiefs looked lethargic at the start of this one, falling down 22-10 going into halftime. However, a couple quick scoring drives that have just become ho-hum for the Chiefs got them back in it. Outside of one touchdown drive by Cleveland, the KC defense locked in nicely as well during the second half. The Chiefs have passed one difficult test, but now they have to go to Baltimore for another potential playoff preview. 

3. Los Angeles Rams

        Last Week: 34-14 win vs CHI

        Trending: +4

        This Week: 9/19 @ IND

There isn’t enough that can be said for how seamless a fit Matthew Stafford is in LA. The Rams offense made plays all night long, and Stafford hit six different receivers en route to 321 yards and 3 TDs in his Rams debut. The defense continues to be a physical juggernaut as well, forcing two turnovers and sacking Andy Dalton three times. Next week should be a fun defensive test in Indy, but if Stafford plays anything like how he did Sunday night, the Rams should come away with a victory. 

4. Cleveland Browns

        Last Week: 29-33 loss @ KC

        Trending: —

        This Week: 9/19 vs HOU

The Browns performed just about as well as any AFC opponent has over the past two seasons against the Chiefs. They hopped out to an impressive start, but Baker Mayfield is still no match for Mahomes when it comes to a shootout. The fact that Odell Beckham sat this game out obviously hurt them, but we are almost to the point where it’s hard to rely on him to be available. Cleveland should have a much better time against Houston this week.

5. Buffalo Bills

        Last Week: 16-23 loss vs PIT

        Trending: -2

        This Week: 9/19 @ MIA

It was a disappointing performance this week for Buffalo. For whatever reason, the Bills just did not test the Pittsburgh defense in the run game. Devin Singletary finished the game with just 11 carries for 72 yards. The receivers did not do Josh Allen any favors either with a couple bad drops throughout the course of the day. Buffalo’s defensive front looks much improved though, which should help this week against Tua and the Dolphins. 

6. Seattle Seahawks

        Last Week: 28-16 win @ IND

        Trending: +2

        This Week: 9/19 vs TEN

This was one of the more unexciting Seattle wins in awhile, but that is a very good thing. Russell Wilson tossed four touchdowns, dropping passes right into the lap of Tyler Lockett. I mentioned last week that Seattle’s defense played some very good football down the stretch of the 2020 season, and they picked that up again to start 2021. After watching the Tennessee Titans this week, Seattle might cruise to a 2-0 start.

7. Pittsburgh Steelers

        Last Week: 23-16 win @ BUF

        Trending: +2

        This Week: 9/19 vs LV

All the concerns going into the season about Big Ben Roethlisberger still exist. He didn’t play nearly his best football this week, but he game-managed very well down the stretch. The defense was stifling, putting pressure on Josh Allen throughout the game. 

8. Baltimore Ravens

        Last Week: 27-33 loss @ LV

        Trending: -2

        This Week: 9/19 vs KC

Baltimore has suffered a litany of injuries to their running back room over the past couple weeks, but the offense did not miss a beat for most of this game. Ty’Son Williams totaled 65 yards and a TD on the ground during his first NFL start. The Ravens found themselves with a couple opportunities to win on Monday night, but two fumbles late in the game by Lamar Jackson choked the victory away. They are now in danger of an 0-2 start with Kansas City coming to town.

9. San Francisco 49ers

        Last Week: 41-33 win @ DET

        Trending: +1

        This Week: 9/19 @ PHI

The Niners jumped out to a commanding lead, and they should have won this game fairly easily. However, a couple of untimely fumbles allowed the Lions to give them a big scare down the stretch. San Francisco is going to be without RB Raheem Mostert for the next eight weeks, so that could provide some struggles in the running game moving forward.

10. Green Bay Packers 

        Last Week: 3-38 loss @ NO

        Trending: -5

        This Week: 9/20 vs DET

Well, that didn’t go as planned. The Packers obviously went into this game against the Saints banged up, and Aaron Rodgers played zero snaps in the preseason. A big blowout to start the season is going to bring with it some negative headlines, but it’s certainly not the end of the world. Green Bay should right the ship on Monday night against Detroit. 

11. Miami Dolphins

        Last Week: 17-16 win @ NE

        Trending: +1

        This Week: 9/19 vs BUF

In what was one of the better games of week one, the Miami Dolphins showed that they need to be taken seriously in this AFC East battle. Miami got off to a hot start with Tua Tagovailoa making nice reads, and Myles Gaskins breaking off a couple runs. They faltered a bit down the stretch, but New England bailed them out. Next week brings another AFC East showdown with the Bills.

12. New Orleans Saints

        Last Week: 38-3 win vs GB

        Trending: +3

        This Week: 9/19 @ CAR

Sean Payton came into the season opener with a plan, and the Saints executed it perfectly. Alvin Kamara and the o-line allowed New Orleans to control the clock throughout, and their defense stifled any running from Green Bay. Both Marcus Davenport and Marshon Lattimore could miss some time though, so a replication of this performance may be tough. 

13. New England Patriots

        Last Week: 16-17 loss vs MIA

        Trending: -2

        This Week: 9/19 @ NYJ

The Evil Empire may be on the verge of making its return. Mac Jones made some rookie mistakes, but overall it was a very good debut. He showed exceptional pocket presence while having plenty of targets to go to. Combine that with a strong defense and Damien Harris in the backfield, and this team is going to be competitive.

14. Los Angeles Chargers

        Last Week: 20-16 win @ WSH

        Trending: —

        This Week: 9/19 vs DAL

It’s pretty amazing how much better a team can look with a quality offensive line. Rookie tackle Rashawn Slater looked extremely comfortable against Washington’s pass rush. Despite WFT having one of the best defensive fronts in the league, Justin Herbert was under the least amount of pressure of any QB this week. 

15. Dallas Cowboys

        Last Week: 29-31 loss @ TB

        Trending: +2

        This Week: 9/19 @ LAC

Questions faced Dak Prescott going into this game, and he seemed to answer every one of them. His throws were on point while also not shying away from contact. The biggest issue for the Cowboys remains their defense. Tampa’s receivers got open fairly easily, but there were a few miscues that kept Dallas in the game.

16. Arizona Cardinals

        Last Week: 38-13 win @ TEN

        Trending: +7

        This Week: 9/19 vs MIN

This was a big statement for the Cardinals to get the season started. Patrick Jones and J.J. Watt frequently made Tennessee’s offensive line look silly while Kyler Murray tore the secondary to shreds. The most impressive part of this performance was their ability to lock down Derrick Henry, who averaged just 3.4 yards per carry. The Vikings might put up a bigger fight than Tennessee did, but if Arizona can reproduce this performance, they’ll win a lot of games.

17. Las Vegas Raiders

        Last Week: 33-27 win vs BAL

        Trending: +4

        This Week: 9/19 @ PIT

Vegas tried their hardest to lose this game in overtime, but Baltimore just refused to let it happen. Derek Carr did not have his best night throwing the ball, but in the moments where he needed to make plays, he got the job done. Darren Waller was fabulous as usual, and the Raiders may have found a diamond in the rough with 2020 third-round pick, Bryan Edwards. This battle has been won, but Vegas gets another AFC North test this week against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

18. Denver Broncos

        Last Week: 27-13 win @ NYG

        Trending: —

        This Week: 9/19 @ JAX

It has to be taken into account that Denver played the Giants this week, but the offense looked deadly on Sunday. Teddy Bridgewater certainly played better than the Green and Gold quarterback that Denver fans wanted this offseason. The defense looks very legit as well, but again, it’s still just the Giants. We might not learn much this week either as the Broncos head to Jacksonville.

19. Minnesota Vikings

        Last Week: 24-27 loss @ CIN

        Trending: -6

        This Week: 9/19 @ ARI

The Vikings offensive line had about as rough an opening week as you can have. Every player was penalized during the loss at Cincinnati, and Kirk Cousins felt the pass rush of the Bengals. The Vikings secondary was not nearly as good as advertised either. Specifically Bashaud Breeland had a rough day as he was penalized with DPI on the goal line and beat for Ja’Marr Chase’s 50-yard touchdown. 

20. Washington Football Team

        Last Week: 16-20 loss vs LAC

        Trending: -4

        This Week: 9/16 vs NYG

Apart from the loss to the Chargers, the big storyline coming out of Washington this week is Ryan Fizpatrick’s injury. He is headed to the IR with a hip injury, and he will likely be out for an extended period of time if not the entire season. That means it’s once again Taylor Heinicke season for the Football Team. With a matchup against the Giants this week, they should be able to get back on track either way.

21. Philadelphia Eagles

        Last Week: 32-6 win @ ATL

        Trending: +4

        This Week: 9/19 vs SF

This game may be more about the Falcons than the Eagles, honestly. Jalen Hurts had himself a nice day, but the Falcons just made mistakes all over the field. Philadelphia took advantage of a weak offensive line and weakened secondary all afternoon. They likely won’t have such an easy time against San Francisco.

22. Indianapolis Colts 

        Last Week: 16-28 loss vs SEA

        Trending: -2

        This Week: 9/19 vs LAR

Despite losing to Seattle, the Colts didn’t look all that bad on Sunday. Carson Wentz was indecisive at times, but his throws were on point for the most part. He can eliminate some of the sacks by getting the ball out sooner. A matchup against the Rams likely isn’t the time that will improve though.

23. Carolina Panthers

        Last Week: 19-14 win vs NYJ

        Trending: +1

        This Week: 9/19 vs NO

Christian McCaffrey is entirely back from his injury, and he put on a show in Carolina’s opener. Sam Darnold certainly looked more comfortable with the talent surrounding him in his current situation as well. This feels like a sleeper upset pick at home against New Orleans coming off an emotional win.

24. Tennessee Titans

        Last Week: 13-38 loss vs ARI

        Trending: -5

        This Week: 9/19 @ SEA

The Titans are in some trouble to begin the year. Derrick Henry did not look like himself in the opener, and the concerns with their defense seem very real. Top that off with some frustrating moments from Julio Jones, and this was altogether a dud from Tennessee. 

25. Chicago Bears

        Last Week: 14-34 loss @ LAR

        Trending: -3

        This Week: 9/19 vs CIN

As much as Bears fans want to see more Justin Fields, this definitely wasn’t the day to throw him to the wolves. That Rams pass rush demolished Chicago’s weakened offensive line that only got worse after Jason Peters exited. David Montgomery had a stellar game though, so there’s at least some good things to take away from this game. Maybe we get more of a Fields appearance against Cincinnati this week.

26. Cincinnati Bengals

        Last Week: 27-24 win vs MIN

        Trending: +1

        This Week: 9/19 @ CHI

The Bengals caught some breaks between Minnesota’s penalties and Dalvin Cook’s OT fumble, but they played about as well as you could have hoped for on Sunday. Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase reincarnated their LSU connection for five receptions, 101 yards, and a touchdown. The fact that their rookie kicker nailed the game-winning field goal is a great sign as well.

27. New York Jets

        Last Week: 14-19 loss @ CAR

        Trending: +2

        This Week: 9/19 vs NE

It was a rough start to the day for 2021’s second overall pick, but Zach Wilson cleaned things up in the second half. The Jets are definitely still a few pieces away from being taken seriously in the AFC.

28. Houston Texans

        Last Week: 37-21 win vs JAX

        Trending: +4

        This Week: 9/19 @ CLE

Let’s just remember that Tyrone Taylor only lost the starting job to Justin Herbert last season because a Chargers team doctor punctured his lung. He’s still a very competent QB in this league, and that may be enough to get Houston a few wins. It certainly was this week against Jacksonville.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars

        Last Week: 21-37 loss @ HOU

        Trending: -1

        This Week: 9/19 vs DEN

Trevor Lawrence had a very rough day against Houston. He did not seem comfortable in the pocket, but you can’t really blame him considering the protection the Jaguars are giving him. Urban Meyer didn’t exactly have a stellar game calling plays either. It might be a long first year for the tandem. 

30. Detroit Lions

        Last Week: 33-41 loss vs SF

        Trending: +1

        This Week: 9/20 @ GB

The almost comeback kids made it interesting against San Francisco, and that’s almost better than a win. They put on an entertaining game, and they still put a check in the loss column. The Lions are not looking to win many games this year, and the loss of Jeff Okudah to a torn Achilles just makes that even clearer.

31. New York Giants

        Last Week: 13-27 loss vs DEN

        Trending: -1

        This Week: 9/16 @ WSH

The fantasy players that drafted Saquon Barkley are not happy this week. He didn’t make much of an impact against Denver’s defense, but then again, neither did much of this team. Kenny Golladay had some nice plays in the receiving game, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a very weak defense.

32. Atlanta Falcons

        Last Week: 6-32 loss vs PHI

        Trending: -6

        This Week: 9/19 @ TB

The only thing that can really be said about Atlanta is yikes. Very little went right for the Falcons this week, and it resulted in a blowout loss. They may not actually be the worst team in the NFL when this season ends, but it could be close. Things only get tougher with a matchup against the Super Bowl champs this week.