We didn’t do our own preseason power ranking last week because preseason power rankings are just guess work, but now that we have actual games to use as a reference, it’s on to the power rankings. With so many close games there’s plenty to argue about.
1 New England Patriots (1-0)
Every time we doubt the Bill Belichick and the Patriots they remind us why we shouldn’t. Without Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski and with Chandler Jones on the other side of the field, the Patriots pulled off the upset of the week. They should be just fine when reinforcements arrive.
2 Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)
Antonio Brown shredded the Redskins secondary, DeAngelo Williams pounded them on the ground and the defense kept the Redskins threatening passing game subdued with two interceptions and no big plays given up. Just wait until Le’Veon Bell returns.
3 Denver Broncos (1-0)
The Broncos defended their Super Bowl title by taking head shot after head shot against Cam Newton. That, Trevor Siemian not imploding and an improved offensive line and running game was enough to start the season on the right foot. We’ll see if it lasts.
4 Green Bay Packers (1-0)
Can the season opener be a trap game? If felt like it for the Packers, who traded punches with the Jaguars for three quarters. Aaron Rodgers looked like he shook off 2015, throwing for 2 TD and running for another. If so, the sky is the limit for this team.
5 Carolina Panthers (0-1)
The Panthers should have won if not for some awful officiating, but it should never come down to that. The return of Kelvin Benjamin is a good boost to the offense, but they still lack a true downfield playmaker that once again could have been a difference maker against the Broncos.
6 Seattle Seahawks (1-0)
Of course the Seahawks won by scoring 12 points, half of which were in the 4th quarter. It wasn’t remotely pretty but it was enough.
7 Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)
No Jamaal Charles, no Justin Houston....
no problem some problems. The Chiefs got into a 21 point hole midway through the 3rd quarter, and if there’s an offense that isn’t built to play from behind it’s Alex Smith throwing to Spencer Ware, but that’s exactly what happened as Ware caught 7 passes for 129 yards and the Chiefs stormed back to win in OT in a whacky divisional match up with the Chargers.
8 Houston Texans (1-0)
Will Fuller had a strong game, Lamar Miller was fine and Brock Osweiler looked like an NFL quarterback. Houston is so far once again looking like the best of a lousy bunch in the AFC South.
9 Arizona Cardinals (0-1)
How bad would their loss to the Patriots have been if Brady was eligible and Gronkowski was healthy? Yes, a bad snap cost them a game, but the Cardinals are the Super Bowl contenders they should be, they shouldn’t have been in that position in the first place.
10 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0)
Tampa is a chic pick for a worst to... playoff team scenario this year, and a year two improvement from Jameis Winston might be enough for it to happen. The Falcons are a poor litmus test, but after beating them by a combined 7 points last year, a 7 point win to open the season on the road is a good start.
11 Cincinnati Bengals (1-0)
AJ Green dominated Darrell Revis for 180 yards, but the Bengals running game went nowhere and Andy Dalton was sacked 7 times and Cincy got lucky when the Jets missed an extra point. It’ll do.
12 Miami Dolphins (0-1)
The Dolphins gave the Seahawks pretty much everything they could handle and came up just short in one of those games that seems like fool’s gold, but for now it’s enough to make them an above average team.
13 Oakland Raiders (1-0)
The Raiders didn’t really look good but Jack del Rio’s decision to go for two down 27-25 in the fourth quarter was great.
Good thing ESPN isn't coaching the Raiders https://t.co/X6tB1YlZ4d— Jack Del Rio (@coachdelrio) September 11, 2016
The Saints defense is horrendous, going for it was pretty much a no brainer. Let’s see what happens against an actual defense.
14 Detroit Lions (1-0)
Most left the Lions for dead after Calvin Johnson retired, and then after Matt Prater missed an extra point to keep the lead at 6 with 4 minutes to play against Andrew Luck. But the Lions put together an outstanding drive at the end of the game to win. Maybe they’ll surprise this season. Or maybe it was just the Colts.
15 Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)
Sure they beat the Browns, but they were one of the few teams this weekend to comfortably win. So we’ll give them a little bit of a bump for that. In power rankings, style points do matter, and the Eagles had plenty of them.
16 New York Giants (1-0)
The new but not that new look Giants barely beat the hapless Cowboys by beating them at the game the Cowboys tried to play: they ran the ball pretty well, passed efficiently and got an ugly Eli Manning interception.
17 Baltimore Ravens (1-0)
They won, so that’s something. But they kept the Bills to 160 total yards on offense and only won by 6. That’s not going to cut it.
18 Indianapolis Colts (0-1)
Same GM same coach same bad defense as always. Andrew Luck threw for 4 TDs and 385 yards and it wasn’t enough as the Colts gave up a 50 yard drive in the last 37 seconds to lose the game.
19 San Diego Chargers (0-1)
The Chargers got out to a 24-3 led then gave up 23 in a row to lose in OT to the Chiefs. And now Keenan Allen is out for the year. The Chargers continue to waste productive Philip Rivers years.
20 New York Jets (0-1)
Nick Folk’s missed and extra point and a field goal and Darrelle Revis missed AJ Green all day in a game the Jets should have won. So goes the Jets.
21 Minnesota Vikings (1-0)
On one hand, kudos for winning a game with Shaun Hill. On the other, the Vikings spent most of the game trailing the Titans and it’s just a matter of time before they decide to start Sam Bradford.
22 Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)
Blake Bortles put up his usual fantasy All Star garbage time stats in non-garbage time, then took a sack on 3rd down with 5 minutes to go to force Gus Bradley to settle for a 50 yard field goal when down 7. On their final possession the Jaguars turned the ball over on downs at the Green Bay 14. Baby steps. Maybe this is the year Bradley finally puts an 8-8 season together.
23 New Orleans Saints (0-1)
Drew Brees threw for 4 TDs and over 400 yards, didn’t throw a pick and New Orleans still lost. Get used to it Saints fans.
24 Washington Redskins (0-1)
Kirk Cousins did absolutely nothing to justify his franchise tag and the Redskins spent the entire game watching Antonio Brown roast Bashaud Breeland while Josh Norman watched from the other side of the field. Redskins football is back: expensive and awful.
25 Chicago Bears (0-1)
Alshon Jeffery had a good game because Alshon Jeffrey is an excellent WR, but other than that the Bears didn’t do anything to indicate that year two under John Fox would be any better than year one’s 6-10 effort.
26 Atlanta Falcons (0-1)
Like a Hollywood marriage the honeymoon period for Dan Quinn was over pretty quickly last year as the Falcons ended the season 3-7 in their last ten games. They picked up right where they left off with the offense making a few big flashy plays but otherwise being inefficient, and their pass rush was non-existent. Seats are heating up already.
27 San Francisco 49ers (1-0)
Without looking it up I’m going to say that the Niners win over the Rams was the worst performance by a team that won by 28 points. At no point did they actually look good, they just happened to play a team that didn’t bother to show up.
28 Dallas Cowboys (0-1)
Dak Prescott didn’t turn the ball over, didn’t take any sacks and didn’t score any points or play well either. Against what should still be an awful defense Prescott managed 6.0 yards per attempt while Ezekiel Elliot averaged 2.6 yards per carry and the Cowboys made a number of mental errors throughout the game. They’ll rush Tony Romo back.
29 Buffalo Bills (0-1)
Fresh off a new contract the Bills should have waited on offering, Tyrod Taylor threw for 111 yards while the Bills defense made Mike Wallace look good again. It’s going to be a long season in Buffalo for the 17th year in a row.
30 Tennessee Titans (0-1)
With 2:02 left in the 3rd quarter the Titans were up 10-6 and had an 86.5% chance to win. They lost 25-16 to Shaun Hill and the Vikings and nobody was surprised. Marcus Mariota deserves better.
31 Cleveland Browns (0-1)
The Browns did pretty much nothing right. They couldn’t run, pass, stop the pass, stop the run, or play special teams. The one brightside is that RGIII being put on IR is probably a blessing in disguise for them because it’s hard to imagine that Josh McCown could play worse.
32 Los Angeles Rams (0-1)