NFL Week 2: VW's Power Rankings

by Vegas Writer

Thursday, Sep 14, 2023
So, I've got questions before getting to this week's NFL Power Rankings.

Like which team that won, and wasn't supposed to, surprised you the most.

Did the Lions make a statement? Are the Browns ready to make a run at the AFC North? Are Baker Mayfield and the Buccaneers poised to contend in the NFC North? Are the Raiders seriously better on defense? And the Rams, I mean, are we ready to give them a serious look?

And which of these teams that lost have a long climb back, or are simply going to need a tweak or two?

The Bengals and Bills are supposed to be two of the top three teams in the AFC, but lost. The Vikings won 13 games last season and lost their season opener. Sean Payton's debut in Denver was as ho-hum as it gets. The Chargers lose at home because their defense fails, again. The Seahawks didn't just lose to the Rams in Seattle, there were humiliated. And finally, the Giants. They're the one team I think is better than the 40-point thumping it suffered at the hands of Dallas.

Let's get started with this week's rankings.


1. Philadelphia
- After going into Foxborough last week, its win couples with Kansas City's loss and deserves a jump in the rankings. But beware, the Eagles were outgained 382-251 and that can be a problem moving forward against better defensive units. (Last week 2)

2. Kansas City - The defending champs struggled on third down (5 of 14, 36%) and couldn't establish their rushing game against Detroit's frontline. It doesn't get any easier on the road this week against another young, scrappy team in Jacksonville. (Last week 1)

3. San Francisco - Last week I specifically said, "A healthy Brock Purdy will go a long way this season." It appears that elbow is just fine, as he completed 19 of 29 for 220 yards and threw two TDs. And if defense truly does win championships, the 'Niners are a legit contender.. (Last week 4)

4. Dallas - Are the Cowboys as good as their 40-0 win over the Giants, and is New York as bad as it looked? Those were two burning questions after Sunday night's game. The answer is Yes, and No. Dallas made a statement in all three facets of its game. (Last week 6)

5. Cincinnati - A drop two spots for the Bengals, as they barely looked competitive in Cleveland. A total of - gasp! - six first downs. The Bengals were 2 of 15 (13%) on third down, and they gained a mere 142 yards, an average of 2.6 yards per play. Hosting Baltimore will tell us a lot this week. (Last week 3)

6. Baltimore - And if the Ravens win in Cincinnati, they'll move into the Top 5. Though the Ravens were outgained by Houston last week (268-265), it was a 3-for-5 showing in the Red Zone compared to Houston going 0 for 2 that made the difference. (Last week 7)

7. Miami - The Dolphins jump a spot after going into Inglewood and outlasting the Chargers. The pressure of matching offensive wits, on the road, in a season opener is what stands out to me. Tua Tagovailoa looked plenty ready for the season with a 466-yard passing performance. (Last week 8)

8. Buffalo - Quarterback Josh Allen not only looked inefficient with three interceptions and a lost fumble, but the Bills defense let a backup quarterback beat them on Monday night. Four snaps in Aaron Rodgers is lost for the season, and Zach Wilson plays the hero. Problematic. (Last week 5)

9. N.Y. Jets - Last week I revealed this was the team I had the biggest struggle with, as I needed to see it in action. Chemistry was the biggest question. Even with the win over Buffalo, I'm keeping the Jets at No. 9 now that Rodgers is gone. Can the troops rally around Wilson? (Last week 9)

10. Jacksonville - Another team that won, and remains where it was. The Jaguars probably deserve a promotion, but even a 10-point win on the road won't convince me just yet. The Jags were just 3 of 12 (25%) on third down and there was a bit of fumblitis that needs to be addressed. (Last week 10)

11. Detroit - Last week I said an upset in Week 1 would catapult this team into the Top 10. Unfortunately, the Lions move up just one spot as it would be hard for me to leapfrog them and push a couple of winning teams down. A dominating win over Seattle will do the trick (Last week 12)

12. L.A. Chargers - The Bolts drop after losing at home to the Dolphins. The Chargers could be walking into a trap this week, as I think they'd be a much bigger favorite at home against the Titans, but are only -3 in Tennessee. Don't be surprised if the Titans win outright. (Last week 11)

13. Cleveland - Welcome back Deshaun Watson! Not a bad showing in the season opener, completing 16 of 29 for 154 yards and one TD. He did throw one pick, but I'm going to forgive that, all things considered. Instead, let's talk about a defense that held Joe Burrow to 82 yards passing. (Last week 14)

14. Green Bay - Last week I said, "Jordan Love has been waiting for this moment. Will he make the most of it?" We got our answer in the form of 15 of 27 passing for 245 yards and three touchdowns. The Packers might have been one of the more pleasant surprises. (Last week 19)

15. Seattle - This is a big drop for me, but I'm reserving their spot in the lower tier one more week. They head to Detroit this week, and I have to wonder if this is a trap for the Lions. Given how both teams performed last week, I want to know why the number is so low. Stay tuned. (Last week 13)

16. Minnesota - I told you there was one team I could see facing a drastic decline, and it would be the Vikings, as their 13-win season was a facade behind a rather easy schedule last year. Their home loss to the Buccaneers might be the writing on the wall. (Last week 15)

17. New Orleans
- Almost out of the weeds and into the upper tier. A win in Carolina is needed on Monday. (Last week 18)

18. Pittsburgh - The Steelers also need a big answer at home on Monday, against Cleveland. (Last week 16)

19. N.Y. Giants - The Giants lost 40-0 at home. Now they're laying points on the road. (Last week 17)

20. New England - The Pats stay put in the same place, with credit for time served after losing to new-No. 1 Philadelphia. (Last week 20)

21. Washington - A nice start to the season for the new owners. (Last week 22)

22. Atlanta - The Falcons did what they were supposed to do in beating Carolina. Now they host an apparently good Packers team. (Last week 23)

23. Las Vegas - Big test in Buffalo this week. Will the Raiders justify moving up three spots? (Last week 26)

24. Denver - Down two after the Broncos' offense sputters their first game under Sean Payton. (Last week 21)

25. Tampa Bay - A three-spot jump for the Buccaneers after they go into Minneapolis and win. (Last week 28)

26. Carolina - Not a great start for rookie Bryce Young, who threw two picks in his debut. (Last week 24)

27. L.A. Rams - An incredible performance in Seattle garners a two-spot jump. This week's home opener against San Francisco will be interesting. (Last week 29)

28. Chicago - The Bears' defense was torched. Now they travel to Tampa. Ouch. (Last week 25)

29. Tennessee - The Titans welcome the Chargers to town, and will either take advantage of a letdown spot, or drop to 0-2. (Last week 27)

30. Indianapolis - The Colts let their season opener slip away. Anthony Richardson had more good spots than bad. (Last week 30)

31. Houston - The good news is, the Texans still aren't the worst team in the league anymore. Bad news is they're still the second-worst. (Last week 31)

32. Arizona - Will the Cardinals be able to move out of the bottom slot after facing the Giants? (Last week 32)

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