Week 2 NFL Power Rankings
Thomas Zwiller | Friday, September 17, 2021
Week 1 of the NFL season was, to put it mildly, chaotic.
The Arizona Cardinals beat the Tennesse Titans in Nashville 38-13 in what was a stunning upset.
The Texans (the team assumed to be the worst in the NFL) beat their divisional foes, the Jacksonville Jaguars 37-21.
The Saints trounced the Green Bay Packers in a neutral site game 3-38 with new starting QB Jamies Winston throwing five touchdown passes.
The Eagles went into Atlanta and won against 32-6 in a game that made second-year QB Jalen Hurts look like a franchise QB.
It was quite a lot to process, and Week 1 has changed how league experts like ESPN look at some of these teams: the Packers fell from four to eleven while the Saints went from nineteen to nine!
So I will give you my top-10 teams because, as I wrote in my Monday column, I think that many of the reactions to Week 1 were overreactions.
No. 1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
To be the champs, you got to beat the champs. I know that the Bucs had to come from behind to beat the Boys, but that was with Tampa giving up four turnovers, two interceptions, and two fumbles. Tampa Bay left points off the table and still found a way to win.
No. 2 Kansas City Chiefs
Watching Kansas City come from behind is truly a delight. At one point, the Browns led 29-20, and I still thought the Chiefs would win the game. The only reason this squad isn’t number one is that I like the Tampa Bay defense more.
No. 3 Los Angeles Rams
My pick to win the Super Bowl validated me on Sunday by soundly beating the Bears 34-14. I love Matthew Stafford as the Rams QB, and I anticipate seeing many great games from the Rams. However, I am slightly worried about the Rams run defense; they gave up 134 yards to an offense I don’t think has a good run game.
No. 4 Cleveland Browns
This is my first difference from my preseason power rankings. I had initially had the Buffalo Bills here, but I was impressed by the Browns’ performance and disappointed in the Buffalo Bills’ performance. The Browns’ offense will be great this season, and I think their defense has taken a step in the right direction. The Chiefs are the measuring stick for the AFC, and I think the Browns measured up.
No. 5 Buffalo Bills
I struggled with who to put here. ESPN had the Seattle Seahawks at three, so I need to put them in, but I also think ESPN is too high on them. So I opted to put Buffalo here since I am arguing people are too kneejerk. I believe that Buffalo is good on offense: their performance last weekend was a testament to the quality of Pittsburgh’s defense. I am worried about them, though, and should they lose to the Dolphins like they did the Steelers, I think they could fall out of the top ten.
No. 6 Seattle Seahawks
I do think Seattle is a good team, just not the third-best in the NFL. They will have a great offense: I believe in Russell Wilson, and I trust their new OC, Shane Waldron. My reason for not being relatively high on them is their defense: I don’t know how good they can be this year. They had a good performance against the Colts, but it was also the Colt’s first game with new QB Carson Wentz.
No. 7 New Orleans Saints
The Saints were simply flabergasting; I think that describes their game against the Packers. If you told me the Saints would beat the Packers, I would have believed you. But if you told me it was 38-3, I would never have believed you. I don’t think that is a typical performance by any means and expect a regression to the norm this weekend. Or at least soon; they do play the Panthers this weekend. (Also, I was right about Winston!)
No. 8 Green Bay Packers
Much like with the Saints, the Packer’s performance last weekend left me flabbergasted. Aaron Rodgers had the worst loss of his NFL career, throwing two interceptions and getting pulled in favor of Jordan Love. Their performance was enough to remove the Packers from ESPN’s top-10, but not mine. I still trust Aaron Rodgers: he is one of the best to play the position. I also think that the Packers’ defense will not have nearly as bad a performance again this season.
If I had to try and explain the blow-out loss, I would chalk it up to two reasons: Winston and weather. Winston, because it was his first game as a starter, so teams need some time to react to how he plays. The weather, because the Packers are not used to playing in 100-degree humid weather. It impacted the Cowboy’s Buccaneers game, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable it impacted the Packer’s game.
No. 9 San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers would be a lot better to me if NFL games ended after the 3rd quarter. At the end of the 3rd quarter, the 49ers led 38-17, but by the end of the fourth, the Lions were back in the game 41-33 with a legitimate chance to win. So yeah, I don’t know what to take away from the 49ers game against the Lions. I do think the 49ers have a good offense, but I was surprised by their defensive performance. I did not expect the 49ers to give up 33 points. Granted, it did take a bizarre series of events for the Lions to get back in the game. That’s why the 49ers make it to my top-10, but just barely.
No. 10 Pittsburgh Steelers
If the Steelers could simply have a good (not great) offense, I would have them in my top-5. Their defense appears to be just as good as last year’s, and I legitimately think it might be the best in the league. If the Steelers come up against an offense that can score, they simply can not keep up. The Steelers offense as a whole put up 252 yards, which Allen eclipsed by merely passing. I believe that since this is a newer offensive line, they can improve as the season goes along, which is why they’re in my top 10.