NFL Week 1 Power Rankings
By Tim Dillon
Sept 9, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis (85) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE
Week 1 has come and gone and already we have a new #1 team! See where your team ended up and tell me your thoughts.
1. San Francisco 49ers (1-0) – The ‘Niners showed everyone Sunday they were for real. They stood up to last year’s MVP Aaron Rodgers and came out on top. The defense was impressive and QB Alex Smith has clearly matured. He looked poised in the pocket and managed the offense very efficiently. As long as he continues to improve, this team will be very tough to beat.
2. New England Patriots (1-0) – The Patriots put on a great show against the Titans and looked better than many fans could have imagined. Stevan Ridley proved he was ready to take the starting RB job and tore through the defense. Speaking of defense, the Pats revamped D will take a load off of Brady’s shoulders. Holding Chris Johnson to only 4 yards all game is an enormous feat. Oh, and the Patriots did this well largely without Wes Welker, who’s reduced roll may be a hint of what’s to come. With the easiest schedule in the league, look for the Patriots to steamroll through teams in ’07 fashion.
3. Baltimore Ravens (1-0) – Wow, did the Ravens look good Monday night! Their defense was solid as usual but Joe Flacco was very impressive, completing deep passes with ease and stretching the defense thin to allow Ray Rice to stampede down the field. The Ravens have a tough schedule, so getting another shot at the AFC title will be difficult, but they look well-equipped for the challenge.
4. Green Bay Packers (0-1) – Despite their loss to the 49ers, the Packers still have Aaron Rodgers leading one of the most prolific offenses in the NFL. Their lack of success against the league’s best defense (arguably) showed they can be beaten, but it will take a strong showing. The Packers’ defense needs to improve more in order to cover for the offense if it struggles. This could be the only thing holding them back from a return trip to the Super Bowl.
5. Atlanta Falcons (1-0) – I never thought I’d wish I had started Matt Ryan in my fantasy league over Tom Brady, but it happened this weekend. Matt Ryan got off to a somewhat slow start but put together an impressive game after throwing for nearly 300 yards and 3 TD’s. If their defense can mature, the Falcons could actually go deep in the playoffs for once.
6. Houston Texans (1-0) – The Texans started off slow but ended up completely overwhelming the rookie Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins. Arian Foster had 2 TD’s and the Schaub-Johnson connection returned with a TD. The team has adopted a “Super Bowl or Bust” mentality and could very well have their wish if everyone stays healthy. This team is dangerous.
7. Chicago Bears (1-0) – This is a very re-energized Bears team. Cutler and Marshall celebrated being together again by tearing apart the Colts’ defense. Cutler threw for 333 yards and 2 TD’s, Marshal had 119 yards and a TD. This team is poised for a deep playoff run.
8. Denver Broncos (1-0) – Peyton now owns this team just like he owned the Colts. They trust him completely and it payed off huge in this weekend’s victory over Pittsburgh. At first I thought he would struggle and the Broncos would go 8-8 at best, but Manning still has that magic. This will be an entertaining Broncos team to watch and not just in the 4th quarter.
9. Dallas Cowboys (1-0) – I have the Cowboys winning the very competitive NFC East this year. Tony Romo was clutch and lead his team to a win despite the many penalties and a struggling O-line. The Cowboys have a tough schedule; we’ll see how they handle teams better than the Giants.
10. Detroit Lions (1-0) – Despite Matt Stafford throwing 3 INT’s, the Lions were able to pull out a win over the Rams. Stafford was heavily relied on and threw for 355 yards. The Lions need to develop their run game to relieve the pressure on the passing or their good fortune will end quickly.
11. Washington Redskins (1-0) – RGIII silenced many of his critics by putting up an impressive game against the Saints in the Super Dome. He was poised in the pocket and was clearly the leader of the team, even though it was his first game. The defense did a good job shutting down Drew Brees and proved they have the ability to stop even the most prolific passers. Was it a fluke or are they for real? We’ll have to see.
12. New Orleans Saints (0-1) – Drew Brees got upstaged at home by a rookie quarterback. Many people have said the loss of head coach Sean Payton wouldn’t take a huge toll on the Saints, but it clearly has. The Saints must find a way to overcome that huge hurdle if they want to compete for a playoff spot this year.
13. New York Giants (0-1) – The Giants were already going to have a tough run at the playoffs this year because of their schedule, but the numerous miscues from the offense will make it even more difficult. Cruz had uncharacteristic drops that likely would have changed the outcome of the game. Eli played alright, but not at the level he must be at if the Giants want a chance of repeating as Super Bowl champs.
14. New York Jets (1-0) – Did the Jets play really well or did the Bills play really poorly? I’m inclined to think the second option, but you have to give Sanchez credit for taking control of his team. He had some impressive throws, particularly to the rookie Stephen Hill. The Jets O-line was critical in the victory and will have to maintain this status if they want Sanchez to thrive. If the Jets can put up this performance against a proven team (and keep Tebow on the sidelines), I’ll be more inclined to take them seriously.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1) – The Steelers started out Sunday night’s game fairly well but got progressively worse as the night went on until the game ended with a pick-six and then three consecutive sacks. The Broncos had their way with the Steelers’ O-line, particularly Von Miller. The Steelers’ D-line wasn’t much better and couldn’t stop the run. Much improvement is needed or they could just hand over the division title to the Ravens now.
16. Oakland Raiders (0-1) – They couldn’t catch a break Monday night, could they? Every time they would move down the field efficiently, they would end up turning-over the ball. The good news is that injuries were a big reason for the loss, and Carson Palmer looked very effective and comfortable in the passing game. WR Darrius Heyward-Bey showed he’s not just fast, but also a play-maker. If everyone can heal and remain healthy, this team will be in competition for the division title.
17. San Diego Chargers (1-0) – While the Chargers beat the Raiders on Monday night, I’m not sold on their team. The Raiders had little trouble moving the ball down the field when the game started, but mistakes and injuries cost them the game. Phil Rivers played well though and didn’t turn over the ball. This was a big win in what should be a tight division contest.
18. Carolina Panthers (0-1) – Despite the loss, you can’t count out Cam Newton. Their game against the Bucs was one they should have won, but they have 15 more games to work out their kinks.
19. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) – Thankfully for the Eagles, they were playing the Browns. If it weren’t for that fact, they would have lost. Badly. Vick threw 4 picks and nearly a 5th at the end, the ball going right through the hands of a Brown. There’s a problem when LeSean McCoy only has 20 rushing attempts and Vick throws 56 times. They better fix this immediately, the Philly faithful won’t be patient for long.
20. Kansas City Chiefs (0-1) – The Chiefs got spanked by the Falcons. There’s no nice way to put it. I still believe the Chiefs will be serious contenders for the division title this year as long as everyone can stay healthy and Cassel elevates his game, that’s why they are up this high.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) – The Bengals looked terrible against their division rival Ravens on Monday night. I’m more inclined to believe the Ravens were just that good, however. Flacco/Rice wrought havoc on the Bengals defense. The D must improve and QB Andy Dalton must avoid a sophomore slump in order for this team to have a shot at a wild-card spot in a competitive division.
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1) – New coach Greg Schiano sold his players on his system with their win Sunday. The defense played well and will be crucial for them as the season goes on. QB Josh Freeman needs to better utilize the weapons he has to put up more points.
23. Tennessee Titans (0-1) – I have a lot of respect for Jake Locker. He had to start his first game for the Titans facing, arguably, the best team in the AFC. Not a terrible performance but not good. Hopefully for Titans fans Locker’s injury isn’t too severe and he’ll be back at the helm next week.
24. Seattle Seahawks (0-1) – The Seahawks got lucky with that botched time-out call in the last seconds of the game, but the luck stopped there as they lost anyway. Russel Wilson had a decent first game for a rookie going 18-34, 153 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT. Once the offense starts clicking this could be a dangerous team, but not right now. The only reason they are ranked above the team that beat them last week is because of their potential.
25. Arizona Cardinals (1-0) – The Cardinals’ quarterback controversy got even dicier when Kolb took the place of an injured Skelton and won them the game. It remains to be seen who will start in the future; it largely depends on the severity of Skelton’s injury. It doesn’t really matter though, the Cardinals need work.
26. St. Louis Rams (0-1) – There’s a problem when the Rams can pick off Matt Stafford three times and still lose. Coach Jeff Fisher certainly will have his hands full with this team.
27. Cleveland Browns (0-1) – The Browns almost started their season with a major upset by nearly beating the Eagles. The offense was a mess but the defense almost won them the game.
28. Indianapolis Colts (0-1) – A less-than-stellar start to Luck’s NFL career dashed some of the high hopes of Colts fans. Make no mistake, Luck will do very well eventually, but he isn’t the only member of this team. Other players need to step up.
29. Buffalo Bills (0-1) – The Bills got destroyed by the Jets”circus.” Many people, including myself, overestimated the Bills going into this season. They proved to everyone that they are the same old Bills, and adding Mario Williams won’t change that.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) – The Jags were so close to a win! Blaine Gabbert had a solid game going 23-39, 260 yards, and 2 TD’s. Hopefully for the Jags he continues to develop. They get the nod over the Vikings in my rankings because of their roster.
31. Minnesota Vikings (1-0) – The Vikings won! But they beat the Jags. In OT. Need I say more?
32. Miami Dolphins (0-1) – Rookie QB Ryan Tannehill proved he may not be the answer in Sunday’s rout by the Texans. He must mature if the dolphins have a hope of being remotely competitive this year. And again, Reggie Bush will not lead the league in rushing, no matter how many times he says it.