As week two of the NFL came and went, one thing is certain: anything can happen. The Texans are dominating, Green Bay looks like they did in the mid 1990’s, and Cleveland scored 51 points….in a single game. This craziness makes the power rankings a bit more challenging, but what the heck: we’ll do them anyway.
1. New England Patriots (2-0) (Previous rank: 2): Cheating scandal aside, there’s no arguing that the Pats looked like champs against a far outplayed Chargers team. Not only was their offense unstoppable, but their defense held LaDainian Tomlinson to 43 rushing yards. New England is the team to beat. These guys are hungry.
2. Indianapolis Colts (2-0) (Previous rank: 1): Sure, it was a win, but the Colts didn’t exactly dominate, winning by two in a game that went down to the final moments. As Tennessee (a team that, for whatever reason, always seems to give Indianapolis a run for their money) looked to come from behind, Indy relied on their defense. In a meeting that saw one of Adam Vinatari’s field goals get partially blocked, bounce off the crossbar, and still go in, we can’t help but think gravity is on the side of these defending champs.
3. Dallas Cowboys (2-0) (Previous rank: 4): For a while, the 37-20 Dallas victory looked to be anyone’s game, but by the time the fourth quarter was in full swing, the Cowboys were galloping into the sunset. Their offense was solid but this game belonged to their defense. With five takeaways, Wade Phillips – the defensive coordinator turned head coach (a couple of times) – should be proud. Right now, this team is the stallion of the NFC.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) (Previous rank: 7): The only truly ugly thing about Pittsburgh’s play was their uniforms (sorry, but I’m anti-yellow). Ben Roethlisberger had another solid outing and Willie Parker rushed for 126 yards. Outplaying an emotionally exhausted Bills team, the Steeler’s defense held their opponents to three points. They just may be back to their 2005 selves.
5. Denver Broncos (2-0) (Previous rank: 5): As Denver Bronco fans everywhere find themselves with ulcers, they can’t help but wonder if any games will not be decided by a last second field goal. In a contest that Denver looked to have put away, Oakland came from behind to make another exciting ending. No one can say that the Broncos are boring, but if Denver is going to have a good season, they have to learn to hold onto their leads….or buy Prilosec for all of their fans.
6. San Diego (1-1) (Previous rank: 3): It’s hard to go on the road and it’s hard to play anything – yes even a game of “I Spy” – against Bill Belichick, but the Chargers didn’t just lose, they lost bad. Virtually destroyed by New England, this team looked a lot different than last year. Not only did their star running back run into a wall, but Phillip Rivers played like a rookie quarterback. Their offense couldn’t get started, and their defense couldn’t stop anything. Is it too soon to say they miss Marty Schottenheimer?
7. Chicago Bears (1-1) (Previous rank: 9): The first victory of Chicago’s season belongs to their special teams: Devin Hester is the new Dante Hall. The Bear’s defense looked solid as usual, limiting the Chiefs to only ten points. How they played on the other side of the ball, however, is another story. Though they doubled the Chief’s score, Chicago still needs some work. Their passing game has got to do something about doing nothing.
8. Baltimore Ravens (1-1) (Previous rank: 11): For a while, it looked as though the New York Jets were gaining ground on Baltimore. But, we all know what matters in the end is the score: Ravens 20, Jets unable to take off. Still, if Baltimore wants to continue to jell, they are going to have to make sure last minute comebacks from their opponents are “never more.”
9. Green Bay Packers (2-0) (Previous rank: 14): Is it just me, or is it nice to see Brett Favre actually having fun again? As he climbed into the record books as the winningest quarterback in NFL history, number 4 led his team over a poor New York Giants defense. Winning on the road is a big win for Favre and company. They are now 2-0, somewhere they haven’t been in, count ’em, six years.
10. Houston Texans (2-0) (Previous rank: 15): The playoffs are a long time away, but Houston has a reason to get excited. Plainly put, this team looks good. After an opening win against the Chiefs, the Texans came from behind on the road to destroy Carolina. At 2-0, these players are performing like they have something to prove. And, so far, they’re proving it.
11. Cincinnati Bengals (1-1) (Previous rank: 8): Who would have thought Carson Palmer could throw for six touchdowns and the Bengals would still lose? Well, that’s exactly what happened. In a game that was all about offense, the Bengals proved they could deliver. Their defense, on the other hand, was pathetic. Browns fans poured beer on Chad Johnson and Browns players poured points onto the scoreboard. Cleveland, yes Cleveland, scored 51 points against a less than ferocious Bengals D.
12. Carolina Panthers (1-1) (Previous rank: 6): Everyone said that the Houston Texans wouldn’t be able to stop Steve Smith and they weren’t. But, oddly enough, that didn’t matter. Smith had 153 yards and three touchdowns, but the only Carolina fans happy in the end were the ones with him on their fantasy team. Carolina can’t lose these kinds of games at home if they want to be contenders.
13. Seattle Seahawks (1-1) (Previous rank: 10): In the battle of the birds, the Cardinals flew higher than the Seahawks, winning by a three point margin. Seattle did battle back from a 17-0 deficit, which says something. Still, in the end, they fumbled away their chances at victory. This loss is going to sting for a while.
14. Tennessee Titans (1-1) (Previous rank: 16): Vince Young and company shouldn’t hang their heads too low: they were colt, er, close. It began to look as though they were going to pull it off, but alas, they were dealt a two point loss. Still, this Titans team is solid. Here’s to them having one heck of a year. If they can keep it up, they will find themselves in the playoffs.
15. San Francisco (2-0) (Previous rank: 17): The St. Louis Rams may have outplayed the 49ers, but all that matters in the end is the final score. Squeaking by with a 17-16 victory, San Francisco doesn’t care how they win, as long as they do. Our hearts go out to Frank Gore, a man who performed well despite the recent loss of his mother.
16. Washington Redskins (2-0) (Previous rank: 19): Don’t look now, but the Redskins are, dare I say, undefeated. After beating the Eagles 20-12, Washington is ready to be a factor in the NFC East. In a game that saw great plays on both offense and defense, the Redskins look like they could leave a lot of teams blue this season.
17. Detroit Lions (2-0) (Previous rank: 24): A Lions versus Vikings game would normally seem about as exciting as a Pee Wee football contest, but this year is different; this year, the Lions – yes I’m saying it – are kind of exciting. Despite a game marked by turnovers, and a concussion that sent John Kitna to the sidelines, Detroit prevailed in overtime. Is anyone else predicting a Lions/Texans Super Bowl?
18. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1) (Previous rank: 20): After a season opener left them embarrassed, the Jaguars sacked their way to redemption. Recording seven sacks against the Falcons, Jacksonville stuck to what they know best: playing defense. The Jaguar’s offense played well enough to get the job done. A decent offense and a stellar defense is how Jacksonville will win games.
19. New Orleans Saints (0-2) (Previous rank: 12): In light of Mother Nature’s recent acts, it’s hard not to like the Saints. Still, we, like most of America, are beginning to believe that last year was what many people deemed it: a fairy tale season. This time around, they are rooted in reality. But, don’t hand them their marching papers just yet. They could still turn it around; the talent is there.
20. Philadelphia Eagles (0-2) (Previous rank: 13): Okay Eagle fans, it might be time to start panicking. Losing to Green Bay on the road was one thing; losing to Washington at home was totally different. McNabb looks McBadd. If they lose to Detroit, they’ll find themselves in a hole they can’t fly out of.
21. Minnesota Vikings (1-1) (Previous rank: 18): The Vikings own the Lions no more. In a game marked by seven interceptions, the Vikings defense performed well, making up for a horrible offense. Not many teams will win when the offense keeps giving chances away.
22. Arizona Cardinals (1-1) (Previous rank: 23): Edgerrin James and Matt Leinart both had huge games as the Cardinals won off the foot of Neil Rackers. It was a dramatic win, but one that showed Arizona is still capable of blowing large leads. They need to learn to go in for the kill shot.
23. Cleveland Browns (1-1) (Previous rank: 32): Wow, who knew the Browns were capable of this kind of offense. In what was Derek Anderson’s best Peyton Manning impression, the Cleveland quarterback threw for 328 yards and five touchdowns. The offense looked great but the defense, as Cincinnati was right on their tails with 45 points, could still use some work.
24. Tampa Bay (1-1) (Previous rank: 29): Joey Galloway made his fantasy owners proud on Sunday, catching for 135 yards and two touchdowns. Still, he might want to keep the showboating to a minimum, at least until Tampa Bay is above .500.
25. New York Giants (0-2) (Previous rank: 22): The Giants committed less than brilliant mistakes and played defense with more holes than a fishing net. So far, it really looks like there is no light at the end of the tunnel for Eli and the gang.
26. Miami Dolphins (0-2) (Previous rank: 21): Are the fins finished? Well, not yet, but they have to start performing better. In a game that saw a bad running game and Trent Green throw four interceptions, Miami nearly had no chance. Green’s ability to find Chris Chambers is hopeful, but he needs to start finding him in the end zone.
27. Oakland Raiders (0-2) (Previous rank: 30): Well, they gave it a good try. In what may someday be known as the “Time Out Game,” Oakland rushed their kicker in overtime only to find out that the game wasn’t actually over. After the Raiders missed a 52 yarder, Denver regained control and went on to victory. Still, you have to hand it to Oakland: they refused to die at Mile High.
28. Atlanta Falcons (0-2) (Previous rank: 28): Joey Harrington doesn’t have a chance if his offensive line doesn’t protect him. With a quarterback unable to run like Vick, Atlanta is going to have to learn to block. On the Brightside, the Falcons were in this one till the end.
29. New York Jets (0-2) (Previous rank: 25): At 0 and 2, it’s starting to look like last year was a fluke for the Jets. They did play well in the fourth quarter, but it was too little too late. Here’s to hoping “Man Genius” has something up his sleeve or else this season is going to smart.
30. St. Louis Rams (0-2) (Previous rank: 27): Good teams find a way to win games they should lose, and bad teams find a way to lose games they should win. For Rams fans, their team is in the latter category. Despite outplaying the 49ers, St. Louis couldn’t arch their way to victory. They have to stop making mistakes if they are going to have a chance.
31. Buffalo Bills (0-2) (Previous rank: 26): We feel for the Bills, players who have been on an emotional roller coaster all week long. We feel for them, but we still have to say this isn’t their year. After being robbed by Denver, they were steam rolled by the Steelers. Their defense is doing well in the red zone, but the same can’t be said for their offense.
32. Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) (Previous rank: 31): While their defense began to show signs of life, their offense and their special teams just can’t get anything going. If something doesn’t start to happen, the Chiefs might find themselves wanting to stick their arrowheads in the oven. It’s going to be a long, long season.