Each week, we will bring you staff NFL Power Rankings. The overall rankings are a combination of polls submitted by Justin Rozzero, Marc Clair, Chad Campbell, Greg Phillips, Andrew Flanagan & Maurice Pogue. Each team is assigned points based on rank and then compiled and ranked overall based on total points. Managing Editor Brad Woodling has the power to break ties.
- Seattle Seahawks (190 pts): Seattle reasserted themselves as the alpha dogs of the NFC West by thrashing the Niners on their home turf. The defense was manic and Marshawn Lynch did the rest. Russell Wilson has yet to get the pass game in synch, but once he does, this team will be tough to beat. Things could get very ugly in week three as the pathetic Jaguars head into town. They still need to prove they won’t always struggle on the road.
- Denver Broncos (188 pts): The Broncos keep on rolling up Oregon Ducks level numbers as Peyton Manning walked into the Meadowlands and beat down his little brother. The Broncos offense is running on all cylinders and it looks like Knowshon Moreno is back in the good graces of his coaches. Once Von Miller returns, the defense will be bolstered as well. With an easy week three matchup on Monday Night, the Broncos should stay hot. They are easily the favorites in the AFC.
- New Orleans Saints (182 pts): The Saints warded off Tampa Bay to move to 2-0 but the offense had an off week. Drew Brees struggled against a strong secondary, but at the end of the day, he marched his team in position to win. The defense played well and Sean Payton was aggressive as always, even if it wasn’t the best decision at the time. The Saints do have holes, but the offense should be able to cover them most weeks and winning games like this will help come the end of the year. Plus, this team knows how to finish games and how to take advantage of those that don’t.
- San Francisco 49ers (179 pts): The 49ers continue to struggle in the Pacific Northwest, but getting waxed by the Seahawks in Seattle is nothing to be ashamed of. However, the Niners need to rediscover their running game to be the complete package abd serious contender to the title. Until them, teams with strong pass defenses like Seattle will bottle them up. Which SF team will show up in Indianapolis this weekend?
- Green Bay Packers (168 pts): The Packers put on a show as the Aaron Rodgers clinic eviscerated the Redskins at Lambeau. The offense was on fire, carving up the Redskin secondary and looking like a force of nature. Eddie Lacy went down, but James Starks stepped right in with a big day. The defense played very well too, and this was a big bounce back win after a tough loss in week one. A win in Cincinnati Sunday will have this team riding high heading into their early bye week.
- Atlanta Falcons (164 pts): After jumping out to an early lead at home, the Falcons went into safety mode in the second half, resulting in a final score that was closer than this game was. Matt Ryan had a very big day chucking the ball and that was with another quiet day from Roddy White, who is gutting through a high ankle sprain. Atlanta has to hope Stephen Jackson’s injury is not severe and that White can get back to 100%. They have to keep winning to stay on pace with the Saints.
- Chicago Bears (151 pts): After an impressive win in week one, the Bears needed every last second of the clock to stave off a game Vikings team this past Sunday. If they were facing a more competent QB, they may have really been in trouble. Interceptions continue to plague Jay Cutler, but if he can limit them in any way, he is set for a huge statistical year. The question remains: can he keep converting the stats into wins?
- Houston Texans (149 pts): Is Houston a good team that is playing down to its competition, yet talented enough to pull out wins? Or an average team with more talent than the two teams they barely defeated this season? I would lean towards the former, but we will need a few more weeks to be sure. Running the ball, Ben Tate has looked more effective with less touches than Arian Foster, which is something to monitor in the coming weeks. They also need to straighten out the kicker position.
- New England Patriots (145 pts): Sitting atop a hollow 2-0 record, the Pats are trying to keep things patched together on offense. After an ugly home win against the Jets, there was a lot of hand-ringing in New England due to the horrific performance of the young WR corps. Tom Brady was demonstratively frustrated throughout the game and he, along with fans and coaches, hope that Rob Gronkowski can return soon because it looks like Danny Amendola will be nursing his groin injury for a few more week.
- Kansas City Chiefs (136 pts): The Chiefs picked up an impressive home win to move to 2-0. Andy Reid and Alex Smith have helped transform the culture there and the upgrades at those positions alone were worth a few wins. They have already matched their wins from last year and are past halfway to 2012’s point total. The Chiefs defense has played very well, but they will face a huge test in Philadelphia on Thursday night.
- Cincinnati Bengals (126 pts): After an tough loss to the Bears, Cincy bounced back nicely with a suffocating divisional win over the reeling Steelers. The division is theirs for the taking and with a stacked defense and one of the best WR in football, the Benagls are for real…as long as Andy Dalton continues to progress and put himself into the category of “this guy can lead the team to a title” as opposed to “don’t get in the way”. Giovani Bernard ran hard and with the Law Firm picking up the tough, late yards, the running game is also set up nicely. Now, can they maintain that momentum against Green Bay?
- Miami Dolphins (113 pts): Miami has been one of the more quiet, impressive teams in the early going. Sure, their win over the Browns wasn’t all too impressive, but any time you take care of business on the road, it is a step in the right direction. This week, they slaughtered the Luck Monster to remain tied atop the division. The defense has played well, but in the end, Tannehill is still the key to the kingdom.
- Dallas Cowboys (112 pts): There were plenty of red flags flying high during the Cowboys win over the Giants last week, and some of those problems cropped up in a close lose to Kansas City. The most glaring: an inability to close out games. With a 13-7 lead late in the third quarter, the Cowboys offense couldn’t find a way to ice the game away. While Tony Romo played fine, the running game came up empty and the defense couldn’t get the stop it needed, allowing KC to take the lead for good. The Cowboys have a winnable game this Sunday at home, but nothing is ever a given with this bunch despite all the talent in place.
- Detroit Lions (106 pts): After an impressive victory over the Vikings in week one, the Lions stumbled into the desert and dropped a very winnable game to the Cardinals. Once Reggie Bush went down with a knee injury, the offense struggled to move the ball in key spots, despite a nice game from backup Joique Bell. The offense never found the end zone after halftime, leading to the disappointing defeat. If the Lions are going to be a legitimate playoff team, they need to find a way to win games like this.
- Indianapolis Colts (105 pts): The regression signs are all there for the Colts and after they narrowly defeated a poor Raiders team at home, they allowed the Dolphins to come in and pick up a victory. Andrew Luck can only lead so many game winning drives, so at some point this team needs to take a lead and maintain it. With Vick Ballard down, the run game takes a hit, despite an OK day from Ahmad Bradshaw. The defense folded down the stretch and Luck couldn’t work his magic this time around.
- Philadelphia Eagles (104 pts): The pathetic Eagles defense was fully on display Sunday as the Eagles choked away a winnable home game against San Diego. The offense was great once again, and as long as they stay healthy, it will continue to improve as Michael Vick masters it. The defense will prevent this team from legitimately contending, but a win here could keep them lingering longer than their division rivals would care for.
- Baltimore Ravens (93 pts): The Ravens bounced back from their embarrassing season opening loss with a tidy win over the Browns, but it was surprising to see the Ravens struggle as much as they did. In a game that had the makings of a blowout before the coin flip, the Ravens had a tough time breaking through to the end zone. In the end they got the win, but they also lost Ray Rice during the game. If Rice misses any significant time, the Ravens may not have the talent to catch the Bengals.
- St. Louis Rams (87 pts): The Rams are that team: competent, strong willed and talented enough to be a pain in the ass. They are well coached, have good offensive talent in place and play an aggressive style of defense. They just don’t have all the pieces to make a sustained run, but they are definitely talented enough to make teams miserable as the season churns on.
- San Diego Chargers (76 pts): The Chargers have been much friskier than expected, and Philip Rivers has looked much better than he did a year ago. After a gutwrenching loss week one, the team flew to the east coast and went blow for blow with the Eagles, notching the upset win. The defense is still quite porous and losing Malcolm Floyd hurts a lot, but at the least, the Chargers will be fun to watch on offense and if Rivers can avoid those late game mistakes, they have a very outside chance to win more games than they lose in 2013.
- New York Giants (72 pts): Things have gotten grim quickly for the Giants. The defense has let up a lot of big plays and Eli Manning has become a turnover machine. Add in the complete lack of a running game, and Giants fans have very low confidence right now. It is tough to ever fully count out Tom Coughlin & Manning, as they have proven time and time again, but this may be a war of attrition that they just can’t win. Plus, are they trying to find that rhythm or has the team begun to check out? This week brings a must win road game against a frisky Carolina defense.
- Buffalo Bills (69 pts): The Bills have showed some heart in the early going and were aggressive in taking advantage of Carolina’s mistakes, leading to a nice comeback win. The Bills have every right to believe they should be 2-0 and if EJ Manuel continues to play with this level of confidence, they could put together a decent season. They still need to find a way to avoid those costly mistakes that seem to plague them at the very worst times.
- Minnesota Vikings (61 pts): The Vikings are trying, they really are. They just don’t have the talent at the QB position to get things done. They have left two wins on the table because they aren’t built to properly comeback on teams. This team needs an early lead to succeed, but they have struggled to do so. Until the Vikings find a QB, they will continue to frustrate their fans.
- Tennessee Titans (57 pts): After their win at Pittsburgh slowly began losing luster once it was revealed that the Steelers may not be very good, the Titans went down to Houston and gave the Texans a game. They had a lead late, but the defense couldn’t hold up and the team eventually folded in OT. Jake Locker has done enough to keep them in these games, but there is still a lack of talent in Tennessee to think this team can be good. They are signs of hope for the future, but we can look no further than last year’s Arizona team for signs of an early season mirage.
- Arizona Cardinals (54 pts): The Cardinals stole a win from the Lions at home and move to .500. The offense with Carson Palmer is an upgrade and the defense is still a strength, so they can compete. However, there are not enough weapons around Larry Fitzgerald to win on a consistent basis. If they want to prove us wrong, they get a chance when they head to New Orleans this week.
- New York Jets (51 pts): The Jets let a winnable game and control of the division slip away in Foxboro thanks to an absurd amount of drops and some off offensive playcalling on Thursday night. Geno Smith played well in the first half, but as the drops mounted and the pressure increased, he ran out of steam and killed any late rallies the team had. The run game was picking up over four yards a clip, and on a rain soaked field with a rookie QB, it made no sense to keep airing it out. The defense looked great again, although they had a little help from the Pats’ rookie receivers. This Sunday, the Bills arrive for a big time game. A win gets the Jets right back in the mix. A loss could start this team down a bad downward spiral when you consider the schedule ahead.
- Washington Redskins (51 pts): Those good feelings in Chocolate City have quickly evaporated in a very ugly manner. RG3’s mechanics are a mess, the defense looks lost and the running game is suffering because of the first two issues. Green Bay treated them like a JV team and the Redskins are quickly looking at a lost season if they can’t step up and knock off the Lions at home this week. One problem: how the hell can this defense stop the Detroit offense?
- Carolina Panthers (45 pts): The main issue holding the Panthers back right now is their head coach. The defense is much improved and we know the offense is in place, but coaching blunders and odd decisions continue to hamstring the development in Carolina. They have every chance in the world to knock off the Giants and effectively bury them this Sunday, but chances are Ron Rivera does something to undercut it all. They need to win these close games, especially on the road.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (41 pts): So much talent, so little discipline. And it is killing this team. All of the in fighting and drama is spilling into the field, leading to stupid plays and penalties that is keeping this team from contending. Greg Schiano has completely lost control of the team and his QB is going rogue. New import Darrelle Revis waited two weeks before he decided to start his usual bitching and Dashon Goldson is already looking at a suspension. With all that said, would you be surprised if they went into New England, played hard and came out a win? No, because the talent is there. But, do you trust this Not-So-Jolly Roger to ride in to Foxboro and outwit Brady & Belichick? No chance in hell.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (34 pts): The ceiling has quickly caved in on the Steelers’ season. The defense looks worn down and the running game has quickly vanished into thin air thanks injuries in the backfield and on the line. The team hasn’t started 0-2 since 2002, but they are in some serious trouble as the 2-0 Bears come in to town Sunday night. The Steelers have shown no reason why they could win this game, but big time adversity and being backed into the corner sometimes is enough motivation. I am just not sure it is enough to get the win here.
- Oakland Raiders (31 pts): In a big old battle of ugly, the Raiders held serve at home and shutdown a sadsack Jaguars enterprise. Terrelle Pryor has breathed some energy into a dormant offense but Darren McFadden had a huge day and the defense played soundly enough to keep Chad Henne quiet, but things will get ugly Monday night when they head to Mile High.
- Cleveland Browns (14 pts): An ugly season gets uglier for the Browns as Brandon Weeden hurt his hand, meaning either Brian Hoyer or Jason Campbell will be behind center when the Browns face the Vikings this weekend. Cleveland’s defense has played well and TE Jordan Cameron has been a treat on offense, but the good times end there. Even if Weeden were healthy, it is painfully obvious that Cleveland needs a new QB, yet again.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (6 pts): When your fans hold a rally, begging you to sign Tim Tebow, there is no doubt where you belong in the power rankings.
Biggest Rise: San Diego (+9)
Biggest Fall: Washington (-7)
PTB Game to Watch: Green Bay & Cincinnati, Sunday 1PM, Fox
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