This may have been the most exciting Week 1 I have ever experienced. Upsets, overtimes, comebacks, and game-winners made for pure entertainment Thursday through Monday. Here is part one of my NFL power rankings heading into Week 2.
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32. Jacksonville Jaguars (-6)
Most people will be quick to point at Trevor Lawrence after a disappointing debut. While it was not always pretty, Lawrence does not deserve as much slack as he is getting.
That being said, losing to the nearly unanimously voted worst roster in football is never a good thing. Most thought that Week 1 would be a great opportunity for the Jags to ease into the season. Houston had other ideas.
31. Atlanta Falcons (-7)
I actually picked the Falcons to win their season opener against Philly. Boy was I wrong! Atlanta looked out of sync, and a step behind the Eagles in every phase of the game.
Matt Ryan certainly struggled, which contributed to disappointing outings by Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts. One thing I was right about was just how bad the Falcons’ defense is. They are far behind the rest of the league, and it showed on Sunday.
30. New York Jets (-2)
I had higher hopes for the Jets this season. Zach Wilson looked more like his training camp self than his preseason persona. The defense only looked solid in stretches and got exposed a number of times.
Unfortunately, the offensive line was kind of a letdown and the run game was nonexistent. With Mehki Becton out for some time, Wilson better have his head on a swivel.
29. Detroit Lions (+2)
The Lions showed some signs of life after getting beat down out of the gate. Personally, I did not think they had it in them to bounce back. Dan Campbell must have pulled out some knee caps at halftime.
That being said, I love how Detroit is managing their offense. They have a great 1-2 punch at running back and a monster threat at tight end. With their lack of wide receivers, they leaned heavily on their playmakers, and Jared Goff looked good.
28. Houston Texans (+4)
If you would have told me that Houston had a fantasy-relevant running back on their team last week, I would have been pretty hesitant. On Sunday, all three of the Texans’ veteran backs made an impact on the field. If they leave their offense in the hands of their deep backfield, they could surprise a few more teams.
My favorite part of this game was how Houston played to start the game. Despite all of the doubters, myself included, the Texans rolled in Week 1 ready to show out. Love the intensity, and I am actually excited to watch them the rest of the year.
27. New York Giants (-2)
The only thing New York had to do to fix their offense was to upgrade the offensive line. Getting a recovering Saquon Barkley some room to run could make that unit dangerous. Unfortunately, that did not occur, and they are right back at the same spot they were last year.
Despite adding Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney, the Giants were suffocated by the Broncos’ defense. Not to mention, Teddy Bridgewater walked all over the Giants’ defense.
26. Cincinnati Bengals (+4)
The Bengals looked better than I anticipated. The Vikings played sloppy football, and the Bengals capitalized on their errors. Joe Burrow looked very solid in his return from an ACL tear.
The defensive line was also very impressive. They took over a weakened Vikings’ line and managed to neutralize Dalvin Cook on the ground. With the corners also looked better than advertised, this team has sneaky potential.
25. Chicago Bears (-2)
The Bears may have all of Chicago calling for their heads if Justin Fields does not see the field more in the next few weeks. Andy Dalton struggled a lot and looked unable to push the ball down the field.
On defense… well you can refer to the tweet below.
Matt Stafford and the Rams lit up Chicago’s secondary, and it may be time to question whether the whole group is still worth it. A lot of money is invested in that defense, and with the offense so far behind, it may be too late.
24. Philadelphia Eagles (+5)
Jalen Hurts looked incredible on Sunday. The Eagles continue to doubt him and are seemingly looking for his replacement. If he keeps playing like this, Philly’s offense honestly has some spark.
The connection with Devonta Smith was evident early, and Miles Sanders led their deep backfield through the game. I also really like Philadelphia’s defensive line. Their ability to impact the game on Sunday should give Eagles fans some hope.
23. Las Vegas Raiders (+4)
There is a lot of things that come to mind after the Raiders’ MNF win over the Ravens. However, a win is a win, and I did not expect Vegas to be in a position to win anyways. Their pass game started to catch heat in the second half and carried them into overtime.
The defense did not look awful, and they did come in clutch in overtime. That being said, I can only give so much credit for stopping the league’s most run-heavy offense, while missing their top three running backs. If they keep it up in Week 2, I will be impressed.
22. New England Patriots (-1)
The Patriots did not look bad against Miami. In fact, I really liked how the offense seemed to click with Mac Jones under center. I had them pegged to beat the Phins, and they came up just short.
The defense held their own as well, with an impressive performance against a revamped Dolphins receiving core. I also enjoyed the offensive script of feeding Damien Harris the ball. Save for the late fumble, he was a dominant force on the ground.
21. Minnesota Vikings (-8)
Do the Vikings have all of the talent in the world? Absolutely, they have one of the NFL’s best rosters top to bottom. But you cannot win football games when you are consistently behind the changes for dead ball penalties. Countless false starts and illegal formation penalties haunted Minnesota on Sunday.
However, the one positive to losing because of penalties is that it does not mean you played badly. Sure, a few Vikings certainly struggled. But the passing game looked solid, and the defensive line got its fair share of pressure on Joe Burrow. Hopefully, they get the easy stuff right, or else a great roster will be derailed by the fundamentals.
20. Indianapolis Colts (-6)
This was another squad that just simply did not live up to expectations. The offensive line was abused on Sunday, and I am sure it had Carson Wentz reminiscing. The corners could not stop the Russell Wilson to Tyler Lockett connection, and Chris Carson ran all over the place.
On the bright side, Wentz did not have a bad day. In fact, his report with wide receiver Zach Pascal popped on film, and those two could salvage a weaker passing game without T.Y. Hilton.
19. Carolina Panthers (+1)
Straight up, the Panthers looked good against New York. Granted it was against the Jets, but Sam Darnold seemed to look much more comfortable running the offense. Of course, it helps to have a Christian McCaffery in your backfield, who totaled 187 yards on 30 touches.
The defense also looked great, feasting on the struggling NY line. With Hasaan Reddick next to Brian Burns, the Panthers’ pass rush looks dangerous. I also love seeing Shaq Thompson balling out. Simply put, this unit has a ton of potential.
18. Washington Football Team (-2)
Washington played the Chargers pretty close all game, eventually losing after the Bolts ran the clock to zero. However, even with the loss to a superior opponent, I think they deserve to move down a few spots. The Washington defense I was so excited about struggled more often than not.
Justin Herbert was able to lead long, time-draining drives for scores, while Washington’s offense fell behind. Antonio Gibson looked explosive and got a lot of work in the passing game. However, he will be missing his QB in Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is slated to miss a couple of months with a hip injury.
17. Denver Broncos (+1)
The Broncos are one big win away from cracking into the top 15. While they looked great on Sunday, they also faced the Giants. It is not exactly a statement win, but there were lots of positives that get me excited about their season.
The defense smothered Saquon and company, while Teddy Bridgewater dissected the lowly Giants defense. While Melvin Gordon’s 70-yard touchdown scamper was insane, I still think Javonte Williams is still due to take over that backfield sooner better than later.