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NFL Power Rankings: Week 2

Week 2 is always a fun week in the NFL. Expected contenders drop to .500, surprising upstarts are still undefeated, and the usual suspects find themselves still pacing around in the cellar. Check out where every team has landed in this week’s Power Rankings.

  1. Broncos (2-0): The most balanced team in football let the defense decide another victory this week. It is sustainable? Maybe not. But as long as they’re undefeated and the champs, the Broncos will continue to claim the top spot.
  2. Patriots (2-0): How many players do the Pats have to lose before Bill Belichick packs it in? We’ll find out as Jacoby Brissett gets the start this week. Even so, the team has already reached its wins quota as it awaits Brady’s return.
  3. Vikings (2-0): Sam Bradford brought the Minnesota offense back from Valhalla in his first start. Let’s see how he performs once teams get some game film on him as a Viking. What won’t change? That dominant defense.
  4. Panthers (1-1): A dismantling of the upstart 49ers brought the Panthers back on schedule. A defensive war with Minnesota might be the most anticipated matchup of week 3.
  5. Steelers (2-0): DeAngelo Williams leads the league in rushing, Big Ben is back dropping bombs, and the Steelers earned a huge divisional win against the Bengals. A bend-don’t-break defense complements this high-octane offense nicely.
  6. Cardinals (1-1): A 40-7 drubbing of the Bucs prompted Bruce Arians to chew out the offense for not performing up to standard. That’s a winning attitude right there.
  7. Ravens (2-0): Baltimore is proving it’s every bit as dangerous as any other AFC outfit when healthy. A 20-point comeback win against the Browns in September might just yield a playoff spot in January.
  8. Seahawks (1-1): The contending Seahawks of years past have been known for two things: starting slow and inexplicably losing to the Rams. As long as Russell Wilson continues to heal up, there’s no need to panic in Seattle just yet.
  9. Bengals (1-1): It took Cincinnati until the fourth quarter to get the gears turning against Pittsburgh. A controversial call marred the game’s final moments, but the Steelers were the better team all afternoon. Denver’s defense awaits in a pivotal early-season clash.
  10. Giants (2-0): Ben McAdoo has yet to taste defeat as a head coach. Eli continues to lead this offense while the outstanding play of “reach” pick Eli Apple has given Big Blue a new dimension on defense.
  11. Texans (2-0): The days of Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett and – shudder – Brandon Weeden are over. The Texans paid big to get their guy, but Brock Osweiler has looked comfortable and confident in his new home.
  12. Philadelphia (2-0): Carson Wentz has continued to surpass expectations. He is being bled into this offense via quick throws and a spread system, while still continuing to win games. State pride will be at stake when the Steelers come to town.
  13. Jets (1-1): Gang Green enjoyed a small taste of revenge when they beat the Bills, who swept the season series last year and cost the Jets a playoff berth. The defense is stout and the offense is capable of putting up points at will. Whether they can do both at the same time remains to be seen.
  14. Packers (1-1): Aaron Rodgers has looked like anything but the Rodgers of old through two weeks. The Minnesota D had him running for his life on Sunday night, and even with a clean pocket, the chemistry with his receivers just isn’t there.
  15. Chiefs (1-1): By all accounts, Kansas City should be 0-2. Only a remarkable comeback win against the Chargers pulled the Chiefs out of the AFC West cellar. The offense was anaemic against Houston’s pass rush, and more of the same could be in order this week vs. the Jets.
  16. Raiders (1-1): One win, one loss. First in scoring offense. Last in scoring defense. The Raiders deserve to be no higher and no lower than the dead centre of this list.
  17. Lions (1-1): How did they possibly win in week 1? How could they possibly lose in week 2? The inner machinations of the 2016 Lions are an enigma.
  18. Titans (1-1): There’s something brewing down in Tennessee. A power run game led by DeMarco Murray and rookie Derrick Henry is taking the pressure off Mariota as he becomes more acquainted with his new weapons. They’re still a couple of years away, but the Titans won’t go quietly in the race for the South.
  19. Falcons (1-1): A road win against the volatile Raiders has put the Falcons back in the mix in the NFC South. They’re no threat to Carolina just yet, but being the second-best team in that division is a start.
  20. Cowboys (1-1): Dak Prescott isn’t exactly wrestling the starting job away from Tony Romo, but he’s doing what the Cowboys’ backups couldn’t do last year: win games. Jerryworld will be rocking on Sunday Night Football against the wounded Bears.
  21. Chargers (1-1): Philip Rivers remains a top-tier quarterback in this league, and he proved it with a thorough beating of the Jaguars. If nothing else, a victory in the home opener finally gave embattled Chargers fans something to cheer about.
  22. 49ers (1-1): Chip Kelly’s Niners were quickly brought back down to earth following a blowout loss to Carolina. But everyone in the NFC West is 1-1, with complex tiebreakers pushing San Fran to the top.
  23. Buccaneers (1-1): Jameis Winston went from “dark horse MVP candidate” to “still-learning sophomore” in the span of a week. They’re called “overreactions” for a reason.
  24. Rams (1-1): Top to bottom, the Rams just might be the worst team in football. They’ve scored zero touchdowns in two weeks and this offense is going nowhere with Case Keenum at the helm. But hey, they have a win, and that’s more than some other trash teams can say.
  25. Colts (0-2): Andrew Luck was the latest talent to feel the wrath of Denver’s defense. Indy still can’t get over the hump of winning games against top-tier AFC contenders, and suddenly find themselves looking up at undefeated Houston in the division.
  26. Bills (0-2): With every week that passes, Rex Ryan’s flaws as a head coach become increasingly exposed. His days in Buffalo may be numbered as the Bills lament another lost season.
  27. Dolphins (0-2): Hey Miami fans, if you thought getting destroyed again by the Patriots sans-Brady was the low point of your season, strap yourselves in. There are still 14 games to go.
  28. Saints (0-2): New Orleans’ much-maligned defensed pull in the reigns a little against the Giants, but it wasn’t enough to notch their first win. Why does it feel like that performance will be the exception and not the norm in 2016?
  29. Redskins (0-2): Reported locker room dissension and awful QB play from the franchise-tagged Kirk Cousins means this season is slipping away quickly. A clash with the division-leading Giants in New York is a must-win game.
  30. Jaguars (0-2): The “spooky” Jags had themselves a spooky four score loss at San Diego, bringing the oft-defended Blake Bortles and Gus Bradley back to square one. The time for patience is over in Jax.
  31. Bears (0-2): Another week, another dismal performance at home. Cutler will again get blasted for taking himself out of the game, but he was playing very well before the injury. Enter turnover machine Brian Hoyer. Hey, at least they have the Cubs.
  32. Browns (0-2): Cleveland took a 20-0 lead against Baltimore. A blocked PAT returned for two points made it 20-2, and you could already sense the Ravens would come all the way back. Now, the winless Browns are starting their fifth QB in as many weeks against the also-terrible Dolphins. The good news? There must be a winner!
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