Week 2 NFL Power Rankings: A Wild Opening Weekend Shuffles the Standings

Purple Headlines of the Week: Vikings DC Search Hits a Snag, Rodgers' Future, Brady Retires
Sep 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Week 1 of the NFL season is officially in the books, and it did not disappoint. Over the course of the weekend, we saw a litany of exciting games, from wild upsets to crazy comebacks. Now that we’ve gotten a chance to process everything, here is the new list of power rankings headed into Week 2.

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1. Buffalo Bills

  • Last Week: 31-10 win @ LAR
  • Trending: —
  • This Week: 09/19 vs. TEN

On Thursday night, the Buffalo Bills confirmed what everyone already thought: they’re very good at football. Don’t let Josh Allen’s two interceptions fool you; he essentially got whatever he wanted this week against the Super Bowl champs other than one bad throw on the second interception. Additionally, the Buffalo pass-rush stampeded Matthew Stafford multiple times throughout the night.

2. Kansas City Chiefs

  • Last Week: 44-21 win @ ARI
  • Trending: —
  • This Week: 9/15 vs. LAC

It seems that Patrick Mahomes will be just fine without Tyreek Hill as he threw for five touchdown passes against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. The combination of Travis Kelce, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Marques Valdez-Scantling seems to be working well, but we’ll see how they hold up against the division rival LA Chargers on a short week.

3. Los Angeles Chargers

  • Last Week: 24-19 win vs. LV
  • Trending: —
  • This Week: 9/15 @ KC

The AFC West gauntlet got off to a strong start on Sunday, with the LA Chargers sneaking past the Las Vegas Raiders at home. Justin Herbert hasn’t missed a beat since the conclusion of 2021, and he should have the Chargers in position to make a playoff run this season.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Last Week: 19-3 win @ DAL
  • Trending: +4
  • This Week: 9/18 @ NO

Tom Brady did not have his sharpest game to open up his age-45 season. That said, if Tampa Bay’s defense continues to perform like they did on Sunday night, the Bucs will be a difficult team to beat no matter the opponent. Week 2 brings a road matchup with Tom Brady’s kryptonite, though, as the Tampa heads to New Orleans and take on the Saints.

5. Minnesota Vikings

  • Last Week: 23-7 win vs. GB
  • Trending: +8
  • This Week: 9/19 @ PHI

Kevin O’Connell’s first game as the Vikings head coach went about as well as anyone could have hoped. Minnesota’s offense jumped out to an early lead and never relinquished it, riding the receiving abilities of Justin Jefferson. The Vikings need him to have another terrific game against the Philadelphia Eagles next Monday night.

6. Philadelphia Eagles

  • Last Week: 38-35 win @ DET
  • Trending: +5
  • This Week: 9/19 vs. MIN

The Eagles jumped out to an early lead while Jalen Hurts constantly went to his new target, A.J. Brown. Philly allowed the Lions to climb back into this game late and displayed some weakness against the run, but if their offense really has this much firepower on it, there is no reason this team can’t compete to win the NFC.

7. Baltimore Ravens

  • Last Week: 24-9 win @ NYJ
  • Trending: +2
  • This Week: 9/18 vs. MIA

After going through a house of horrors season in 2021, the Baltimore Ravens got off to a strong start in 2022. Their safety acquisition Marcus Williams made his presence felt early with an interception of Joe Flacco, and Lamar Jackson’s passes looked fluid. They have to overcome a torn Achilles to CB Kyle Fuller, but this team is much more capable than 2021’s squad.

8. Cincinnati Bengals

  • Last Week: 20-23 loss vs. PIT
  • Trending: –4
  • This Week: 9/18 @ DAL

It was an ugly game for the offense from the Cincinnati Bengals, but their defense managing to hold Pittsburgh to 23 points despite the five turnovers was just as impressive as anything else that happened this weekend.

9. Denver Broncos

  • Last Week: 16-17 loss @ SEA
  • Trending: -3
  • This Week: 9/18 @ SF

The Denver Broncos very clearly have a talented squad. Their receivers are studs, Javonte Williams is turning into a true RB1, the defense is full of playmakers, and of course, they have Russell Wilson. They very easily should have won this game if it were not for multiple red zone blunders and whatever that clock management was at the end of the game.

10. Los Angeles Rams

  • Last Week: 10-31 loss vs. BUF
  • Trending: –7
  • This Week: 9/18 vs. ATL

Now we jump into the group of teams that we could overreact to based off Week 1. The Rams looked completely out of sync against the Bills on Thursday. Stafford was inaccurate, Cam Akers and Allen Robinson were both nonexistent, and the offensive line could not withstand the force of Buffalo’s defensive front. This weekend should be a nice bounce back game against the Atlanta Falcons.

11. Green Bay Packers

  • Last Week: 7-23 loss @ MIN
  • Trending: –6
  • This Week: 9/18 vs. CHI

Speaking of teams that were out of sync, the Packers not only played poorly, but seemed completely uninterested in winning this game after Christian Watson’s drop in the first quarter. The only real success story for Green Bay was AJ Dillon, but they head back to Lambeau for some home cookin’ on Sunday Night Football.

12. New Orleans Saints

  • Last Week: 27-26 win @ ATL
  • Trending: +1
  • This Week: 9/18 vs. TB

You could go in two different directions regarding this Saints team. On one hand, they were completely inept for about 3.5 quarters. On the other, Jameis Winston finally found some rhythm with his weapons at wide receiver in the fourth quarter, and he led New Orleans to a 16-point fourth quarter comeback. The Saints always get up for the Tom Brady-led Buccaneers, so I would expect much more of the latter in Week 2.

13. Las Vegas Raiders

  • Last Week: 19-24 loss @ LAC
  • Trending: –3
  • This Week: 9/18 vs. ARI

If Raiders fans are looking for a positive from this weekend, it’s that Davante Adams looked every bit as good in black and silver as he was in green and gold. Unfortunately, Derek Carr simply isn’t as good a quarterback as Aaron Rodgers, and that may hold this team back in 2022.

14. San Francisco 49ers

  • Last Week: 10-19 loss @ CHI
  • Trending: –6
  • This Week: 9/18 vs. SEA

Good thing the 49ers held on to Jimmy Garoppolo, right? Granted, Solider Field looked more like a small pond than a football field on Sunday, but Trey Lance had moments where he looked like a deer lost in headlights against a far inferior Chicago Bears team.

15. Miami Dolphins

  • Last Week: 20-7 win vs. NE
  • Trending: +3
  • Next Week: 9/18 @ BAL

The duo of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle was always going to be deadly. It was just a matter of whether or not Tua Tagovailoa would be able to get them the ball consistently. The Dolphins got off to a strong start against the division rival Patriots, but the real test comes this week on the road in Baltimore.

16. Indianapolis Colts

  • Last Week: 20-20 tie @ HOU
  • Trending: –2
  • This Week: 9/18 @ JAX

Matt Ryan leaves the Falcons, and suddenly he’s the guy leading the comebacks rather than having teams come back on him. During his first game in Houston since Super Bowl LVI (28-3), Ryan helped the Colts overcome a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter, but they couldn’t seal the deal in OT.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Last Week: 23-20 win @ CIN
  • Trending: +4
  • This Week: 9/18 vs. NE

The Steelers defense move up this week after a strong defensive showing against the reigning AFC champs. That said, they will severely miss T.J. Watt for the foreseeable future.

18. New York Giants

  • Last Week: 21-20 win @ TEN
  • Trending: +7
  • This Week: 9/18 vs. CAR

Brian Daboll brought in a new era to New York football, and in his first game, the Giants converted a game-winning two-point conversion against the Ttians. Saquon Barkley was fantastic, and if he can finally stay healthy, perhaps the Giants can be a frisky team.

19. Dallas Cowboys

  • Last Week: 3-19 loss vs. TB
  • Trending: –4
  • This Week: 9/18 vs. CIN

The loss of Dak Prescott hurts this Cowboys team. Considering they were barely able to move the ball with him on the field against Tampa Bay, it’s hard to imagine them having much success moving forward with Cooper Rush.

20. Arizona Cardinals

  • Last Week: 21-44 loss vs. KC
  • Trending: –4
  • This Week: 9/18 @ LV

A lack of DeAndre Hopkins in the lineup hurt the Cardinals last year, and that trend continues into 2022. On top of that, this defense is far more porous than 2021’s group that helped Arizona make the playoffs.

21. Tennessee Titans

  • Last Week: 20-21 loss vs NYG
  • Trending: –4
  • This Week: 9/19 @ BUF

Derrick Henry was kept largely in check by the New York Giants defense. Meanwhile, Tennessee’s own defense had struggles throughout the day. Neither of these things bode well for this team heading into a matchup with the Buffalo Bills.

22. Seattle Seahawks

  • Last Week: 17-16 win vs. DEN
  • Trending: +7
  • This Week: 9/18 @ SF

Geno Smith managed to string together just enough magic to lead the Seattle Seahawks to victory in the first game post-Russell Wilson. Suddenly, Seattle finds themselves in first place in the NFC West heading into a matchup against San Francisco. We’ll soon see how real Week 1’s success was.

23. New England Patriots

  • Last Week: 7-20 loss @ MIA
  • Trending: –3
  • This Week: 9/18 @ PIT

Miami has long been a thorn in the side of Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. The Pats have lost eight of their last 10 games in Miami, and once again, their offense stalled out.

24. Cleveland Browns

  • Last Week: 26-24 win @ CAR
  • Trending: +1
  • This Week: 9/18 vs. NYJ

Jacoby Brissett’s mission this year is to keep the Cleveland Browns afloat before Deshaun Watson comes back from his suspension. This campaign is off to a good start thanks to a walk-off 58-yard field goal by rookie Cade York.

25. Chicago Bears

  • Last Week: 19-10 win vs. SF
  • Trending: +7
  • This Week: 9/18 @ GB

If the Bears were going to be competitive in 2022, it was going to have to be because of Justin Fields. The second-year QB put together a few nice drives in the rain against the 49ers this weekend, and now he has to continue that work against the Green Bay Packers.

26. Washington Commanders

  • Last Week: 28-22 win vs. JAX
  • Trending: +2
  • This Week: 9/18 @ DET

Washington came dangerously close to blowing this game against Jacksonville. Ultimately, Carson Wentz played well enough for the Commanders to hang on to keep pace with the Eagles and Giants in the division.

27. Houston Texans

  • Last Week: 20-20 tie vs. IND
  • Trending: +3
  • This Week: 9/18 @ DEN

Davis Mills was one of the best rookie QBs in the NFL for much of the 2021 season. He continued his strong play into Week 1 of the 2022 season, but faltered in the second half and overtime, allowing the Colts to climb back into the game.

28. Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Last Week: 22-28 loss @ WSH
  • Trending: -7
  • This Week: 9/18 vs. IND

Trevor Lawrence’s early struggles from his rookie year continued, though he wasn’t granted many favors from his receivers. Travis Etienne also struggled throughout his NFL debut after missing the entire 2021 season.

29. Atlanta Falcons

  • Last Week: 26-27 loss vs. NO
  • Trending: +2
  • This Week: 9/18 @ LAR

It seemed like Marcus Mariota had discovered the secret sauce towards solving the New Orleans Saints defense for about three quarters. Then, the curse of the Falcons struck again.

30. Carolina Panthers

  • Last Week: 24-26 loss vs. CLE
  • Trending: -7
  • This Week: 9/18 @ NYG

Baker Mayfield’s revenge game was ruined by Cade York’s game-winning field goal. Overall, the Panthers could not get much going on either side of the ball for much of the day. This team looks like it will struggle in 2022.

31. New York Jets

  • Last Week: 9-24 loss vs. BAL
  • Trending: -7
  • This Week: 9/18 @ CLE

Joe Flacco played pretty much as well as we could have expected against a very strong Baltimore Ravens defense. Until Zach Wilson comes back, this team lacks an element of flair in the offense.

32. Detroit Lions

  • Last Week: 35-38 loss vs. PHI
  • Trending: -5
  • This Week: 9/18 vs. WSH

The Lions ultimately made this a one possession game, but there were long stretches where Philadelphia had full control. If you want to take away a positive, it’s that D’Andre Swift looks like the real deal in the backfield.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing as well as minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh can often be found training for a marathon, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his takes, NFL and otherwise, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken