Week 2 usually provides a stepping stone and a time for 2-0 teams to decide whether or not they’re really that good, and for 0-2 teams to start panicking or staying the course. In our first edition of power rankings for this season, the biggest debate was who to put as the best team in the NFL: The Denver Broncos or the Seattle Seahawks.
As for the worst? While the Cleveland Browns have been looking awful, or any other fancy word you’d like to throw at their failures so far, the Jaguars have looked worse.
1. Denver Broncos (2-0): Steamrolled the New York Giants 41-23, with Manning still not throwing an interception and the defense is also the best in the NFL so far by allowing only 40.5 rushing yards per game. Being in the lead for so many minutes helps.
2. Seattle Seahawks (2-0): A much more intensive, energetic and dominant performance than in week 1, beating the 49ers 29-3. Their running game is back where they want it be, while their secondary might be even better than last season, allowing only 113 passing yards per game.
3. Green Bay Packers (1-1): Even without Eddie Lacy, there are hints that their running game might be picking up, and Aaron Rodgers is continuting to demonstrate he is the best quarterback in the NFL with record numbers in the 38-20 win over the Redskins.
4. San Francisco 49ers (1-1): Last season their visit to Seattle went just as badly, and it didn’t stop them from reaching the Super Bowl. One of the things that’s great about Harbaugh and Kaepernick is that they learn very quickly from their mistakes. The running game (95 per game) is something to be worried about.
5. Houston Texans (2-0): Continue to rely on big plays in the final seconds to win games (this time it was DeAndre Hopkins), but their main concern right now is Andre Johnson staying healthy. Without the secondary starting to look better, it’s going to be hard getting over that divisional round hurdle.
6. Cincinnati Bengals (1-1): Were dominant for most of the game against the Bears and dominated the Steelers. If Dalton improves, he has one of the best defenses in the NFL to carry him further than in the past two seasons.
7. New Orleans Saints (2-0): The big difference from last season? Sean Payton on the sidelines, and the defense, especially against the pass, isn’t as easy to beat on every play.
8. Atlanta Falcons (1-1): Too many injuries piling up on them to start the season, but the Falcons are deep and talented on both sides of the ball, and will look better once they get their players back.
9. New England Patriots (2-0): They might have been playing very badly in their two wins over the Bills and the Jets, but things will only look better as Tom Brady gels with his receivers and the secondary looks much better than it did last season.
10. Miami Dolphins (2-0): A fast start and some solid play from Ryan Tannehill goes a long way with a strong defense, however allowing teams to sack their quarterback five times won’t help them win in the future.
11. Chicago Bears (2-0): Jay Cutler continues to provide late game heroics along with interceptions, but the defense continues to force turnovers at an impressive rate, which should help this learning offense feel a bit less nervous about making mistakes.
12. Kansas City Chiefs (2-0): Alex Smith isn’t an elite quarterback, but he’s a very efficient one in the right system. His defense, holding Dallas to three almost meaningless quarters, will make sure there won’t be too many games he needs to win with his arm.
13. Indianapolis Colts (1-1): Andrew Luck can’t conjure magic every week, and the moment they’ll be able to stop the run things will be looking a lot better.
14. St. Louis Rams (1-1): Looked awful for long part of the loss to the Falcons, but a lot of teams are going to have trouble against that defensive line, and Sam Bradford has better protection than in the past.
15. Dallas Cowboys (1-1): The offense worked well until it halted. There wasn’t any major flaw in the loss to the Chiefs except for struggling on the ground (only 37 yards). Without Murray, Romo isn’t going very far.
16. Tennessee Titans (1-1): Continuing to surprise everyone with their defensive abilities to get to the quarterback and force turnovers, but Jake Locker has been disappointing so far.
17. San Diego Chargers (1-1): When Philip Rivers isn’t imploding in the fourth quarter, the Chargers are a pretty good team.
18. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1): That lightning quick offense won’t catch everyone off guard each week, and not being able to stop the pass is a bit too much for this offense to make up for each week.
19. Baltimore Ravens (1-1): The offense seems to need a lot of help from the running game which isn’t coming so far, but Joe Flacco should look better as weeks go by, when he doesn’t have his wife giving birth on his mind anymore.
20. Arizona Cardinals (1-1): Their passing game isn’t great and their running game is mediocre at best, but they have a defense that’s good enough to let them hang around with most teams in the NFL.
21. Detroit Lions (1-1): As it turns out, a healthy Reggie Bush is good enough for them to compete for the AFC North. Without him, this is the same predictable team from last season.
22. New York Giants (0-2): Eli Manning can’t work wonders without a running game or a secondary that’s simply allowing too many big plays, but Tom Coughlin usually works some of these things out as the season progresses, and he should this time as well to make his team look a bit more respectable.
23. Buffalo Bills (1-1): Won a game they shouldn’t have against the Panthers, but they have a very strong running game behind Spiller, and Manuel is the kind of quarterback that might not win you games, but he won’t ruin them for you either.
24. Carolina Panthers (0-2): One day, the Panthers will win a close game, but a lot has to do with Ron Rivera making the most predictable calls on offense.
25. Minnesota Vikings (0-2): Adrian Peterson is good enough to win games on his own, but he needs Christian Ponder to wake up and realize he’s in the NFL on the team with enough talent to be more than just close to hanging with better teams, but actually beat them.
26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-2): Josh Freeman is playing badly at the moment, but if the Bucs continue to treat him like someone who’s on his way out, all the money they’ve put into Revis and Jackson isn’t getting them anywhere.
27. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-2): Ben Roethlisberger is hitting that age when he needs more help than before to stay upright, but he has an offensive line that makes it impossible for him and a sad bunch of running backs to get any offense going.
28. Oakland Raiders (1-1): If Darren McFadden can run like he did against Jacksonville (129 yards) against Denver, than maybe Oakland can do more than be last in the AFC West.
29. New York Jets (1-1): Geno Smith showed why it would have been better to have Sanchez, even as an option. Now the Jets look like we though they’d be before the season began.
30. Washington Redskins (0-2): Robert Griffin III will look better, but with that defense, all the passing and running talent in the world aren’t going to do any good.
31. Cleveland Browns (0-2): There are defensive problems for sure, but the biggest issue is Brandon Weeden not cut out to be a starting quarterback in the NFL.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2): Every year is a rebuild, but the Jags look awful, no matter who is the starting quarterback.