Week One Power Rankings
Wow. Been a while, huh? I haven’t done one of these in nearly two years. Yikes. I wasn’t even sure if there would BE an NFL season, but here we are. Guess it’s time to dust off the keyboard and see if anyone still cares what I think about their favorite NFL team. Maybe this year I can have more people in the comments section than the teams will have fans in their stadiums. Too soon?
1. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) ~ Kansas City won the right to open the 2020 season at home by winning something called the Super Bowl back in February. Seems like that happened a lot longer ago than seven months, but, trust me, it was only seven months ago. Thursday also seems like a long time ago, but, in case you forgot, Kansas City easily handled the visiting Houston Texans despite Andy Reid being unable to see the playbook.
2. Baltimore Ravens (1-0) ~ Last year the Ravens and future MVP Lamar Jackson started the year with a 59-10 throttling of the Miami Dolphins. This year, they dismantled divisional rival Cleveland 38-6. Kansas City reigns supreme here, but Baltimore is not far behind. Patrick Mahomes won MVP the year prior and followed that up with a Super Bowl victory. Jackson will look to follow that model in 2020.
3. Seattle Seahawks (1-0) ~ Let. Russ. Cook. That seemed to be the mantra for Seattle coming in to this season. All Russ did was throw for 322 yards and four touchdowns while completing more than 88% of his passes. Seattle has always been a run-first team and then look for their star qb to pull off a 4th quarter comeback. No comeback necessary this time. #LetRussCook
4. New Orleans Saints (1-0) ~ What if I told you that Drew Brees would throw for 160 yards, Michael Thomas would have 17 yards receiving and Alvin Kamara would have just 16 yards rushing on 12 carries? You’d say the Saints got beat up pretty badly, wouldn’t you? Quite the opposite my friend! The Saints welcomed Tom Brady to the NFC South with a double-digit victory without the benefit of any of their offensive stars putting up their usual numbers. This is a team that, I feel, was robbed in the playoffs in recent years. Will 2020 get Brees and company back to the promised land?
5. Buffalo Bills (1-0) ~ Is this a bit too high for the Bills? A top five ranking? MAYBE. I’d be lying if I said that Josh Allen isn’t one of the more fun players to watch. He has a shiny new weapon in Stefon Diggs who hauled in eight passes for 86 yards in his Buffalo debut. That helped Allen record his first 300-yard passing in the NFL. If the Bills can add a legitimate passing game to a productive running attack and a stout defense, they could be for real. If #BillsMafia will have me, I’m all in on Buffalo.
6. Green Bay Packers (1-0) ~ Uh-oh. Did someone wake the sleeping giant that is Aaron Rodgers? In case you forgot, Green Bay used their first round draft pick on a quarterback. Jordan Love looks to be the future of the franchise. Rodgers doesn’t appear ready to walk off into the sunset anytime soon. He torched the revamped Minnesota secondary with a vintage 364-yard, four touchdown performance while the Packers put up a league-high 43 points. I don’t think Green Bay wins 13 like they did last year, but I’m not sure if there’s any other quarterback in the league I would trust in to win a game on any given day. If Rodgers is the Rodgers of old, the NFC North has been put on notice.
7. Tennessee Titans (1-0) ~ About a week ago I was reminded that Stephen Gostkowski was a Titan. How long he stays a Titan remains to be seen after his debut. The four-time Pro Bowler and member of the NFL’s 2010s All Decade team missed three field goals and an extra point before hitting the game-winner to help Tennessee escape Denver with the W. It marked the first time in his 15-year career he missed four kicks in one game.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) ~ There was some rust. That’s to be expected. It was 364 days since Ben Roethlisberger went down with an elbow injury before he took the field last night. The offense was shaky early on, but, once he settled down, there were some moments that made you remember just how dominant he can be when healthy. Pittsburgh has a stifling defense and I’m betting will have the comeback player of the year in either Big Ben or JuJu Smith-Schuster. Pittsburgh almost made the playoffs last year with Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges under center. I’d say a return to the postseason looks like a reality as long as Big Ben stays healthy.
9. New England Patriots (1-0) ~ Tom Brady? More like Tom Schrady. Am I right? Ugh. In their first game without the goat on the roster since 1999, New England picked up a win with another former MVP taking the snaps. Cam Newton looked as expected and, if he stays healthy, I will continue to say that the Pats got the bargain of the offseason. All seriousness aside, I saw this meme and had a good laugh.
10. Los Angeles Rams (1-0) ~ No Todd Gurley no problem for the Rams. Malcolm Brown had 79 yards rushing and scored both of the Rams’ touchdowns as the home team opened up Sofi Stadium with a win. Does anyone know why Cooper Kupp changed his number to 10? Can’t be because he is a huge Chipper Jones fan, can it? I might like him more if that’s the case.
11. San Francisco 49ers (0-1) ~ A close loss to a divisional rival isn’t the worst thing to happen. A potential injury to all-world tight end George Kittle? OK. Sound the alarms. Kittle was injured early in Sunday’s contest and didn’t have a catch the rest of the way. Now his status for Week Two’s game is up in the air. San Fran can still put a good product on the field, but Kittle by far their best player. The run game would also take a hit without his superior blocking.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1) ~ The preseason hype train’s first and last stop was New Orleans. Brady and the Bucs looked flat offensively and some of that is due to a new quarterback in a new system with seemingly no offseason. I still believe this is a team that makes the playoffs for the first time since 2007 when Jon Gruden was still the head coach. Yeah, it’s been that long.
13. Dallas Cowboys (0-1) ~ Did they get jobbed on the late offensive pass interference call? Probably. But you don’t hear the Cowboys and their fans saying that their lone interception on the night should have been overturned due to a blatant hit to the quarterback’s head. They also had a chance to kick a short field goal in the fourth quarter, while down by three, and opted instead to go for it. They did not convert and did not make it back into the red zone. Sometimes the calls go your way and sometimes they don’t. Saying this one came down to ONLY the PI call is flat out wrong.
14. Minnesota Vikings (0-1) ~ I mentioned earlier that Stefon Diggs is in Buffalo which means this is now Adam Thielen’s team. He did have six catches for 110 yards and two scores, which is impressive. That said, how did the Vikings control the ball for just 18 minutes and 44 seconds? That means Green Bay had it for more than 41 minutes! That’s 2/3 of the game! Well, if the Vikes put up 34 points in just 18 plus minutes, imagine what they can do when, you know, the offense actually has the ball.
15. Arizona Cardinals (1-0) ~ I had to get back to the teams that actually put one in the win column at some point. The best thing that happened all year for Kyler Murray was the fact that the Cards fleeced Houston in the trade for star receiver DeAndre Hopkins. All Hopkins did in his first game in Arizona was haul in 14 passes for 151 yards and just missed the end zone. He won’t keep up his 224 catch pace, but, man, this could be a scary combo for years to come out in the desert.
16. Houston Texans (0-1) ~ Only seems fair to talk about the other team involved in that trade. David Johnson actually looked good in his Texans debut by running for 77 yards on only 11 carries. He found the end zone and that 19-yard run eclipsed his season high from last year. It wasn’t that long ago that DJ was one of the better backs in the game. If he can look like that back of 3-4 years ago, maybe this trade won’t be so lopsided. Maybe.
17. Las Vegas Raiders (1-0) ~ Josh Jacobs ran for 93 yards and three scores to help the Vegas Raiders get their first official win. What is even more encouraging is the fact that he caught four passes which is a new career high. If he can be a threat in the receiving game, the sky’s the limit for this kid. Tennessee rode Derrick Henry all the way to the AFC Championship game last year. While I don’t think the Raiders are on the same level talent-wise, there’s some similarities between Jacobs and Henry.
18. Philadelphia Eagles (0-1) ~ Wow. Just, wow. Things looked good early on with Philly taking an early 17-0 lead over the Washington Football Team. Then it all came crashing down. The final 27 points went to Washington and I’m not sure if they had an easier time scoring, or getting into the backfield to harass Carson Wentz. Lane Johnson should be back for Week Two, but this offensive line needs a lot of help, and fast, what with Aaron Donald coming to town this Sunday.
19. Indianapolis Colts (0-1) ~ My Eagles weren’t the only team with a shocking loss to open the season. Somehow Indy went down to the Jacksonville Jaguars. You know, the team that jettisoned seemingly every talented player during the offseason. I don’t believe this is how Philip Rivers envisioned his first start for a new team. At least one thing remained the same. Rivers threw a late interception that essentially sealed their fate. Chargers fans won’t miss that.
20. Los Angeles Chargers (1-0) ~ Speaking of the Chargers, they handed number one pick Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals a loss, but it wasn’t pretty. No Philip Rivers. No Melvin Gordon. Keenan Allen might be the only household name on this offense, though everyone SHOULD know Austin Ekeler. I’m not sure what to think about the Chargers this year. Will they stick with Tyrod Taylor at qb? Will they give their own first round quarterback Justin Herbert a shot? It’s wait and see mode for this squad in my mind.
21. Atlanta Falcons (0-1) ~ Three Falcons had 100-yard receiving days. Todd Gurley scored in his return to Georgia. Former MVP Matt Ryan threw for 450 yards and two scores. All of that happened and the Falcons still lost. By double digits. At home. This team is going to score. There are no questions about that. The question remains on the other side of the ball. Can they stop anyone?
22. Chicago Bears (1-0) ~ Yes, they are 1-0. Yes, they beat a division rival on the road. But, if you are a Bears fan, do you feel good about it? It took three fourth quarter touchdowns and then the lucky break with a rookie running back dropping a wide open pass in the end zone to secure the win. I’m sure we will hear all season that Nick Foles should be the starting quarterback in Chicago.
23. Denver Broncos (0-1) ~ The defense was already missing All-Pro linebacker Von Miller, when Denver learned they would also be without top wideout Courtland Sutton. During the game, the team saw star corner A.J. Bouye and running back Phillip Lindsay leave with injuries and not return. This is already a young team, and now they will have to skew even younger to help replace some of the veterans felled by the injury bug.
24. Detroit Lions (0-1) ~ Nothing like a Swift kick to the groin to start off the season in Detroit. Rookie running back D'Andre Swift dropped what should have been the game-winning touchdown with just seconds on the clock and the Lions blew yet another fourth quarter lead with Matt Patricia as the head coach. In the twenty games in which Detroit has held a lead in the 4th quarter with Patricia at the helm, the Lions are 9-10-1. That.....that just won't do.
25. Washington Football Team (1-0) ~ Give them credit where credit is due. They could have rolled over after falling behind 17-0 but they didn't. They showed heart and clawed their way back thanks to a relentless pass rush. That front seven is as scary as there is. One week into the season and the team with no name sits alone atop the NFC East.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0) ~ Gardnew Minshew threw three touchdowns and completed 95% of his passes. I'll repeat that, because it bears repeating. Gardner Minshew threw three touchdowns and completed 95% of his passes. All eyes were thought to be on Trevor Lawrence as the first overall pick in next year's draft. Winning game one might mean otherwise.
27. Cleveland Browns (0-1) ~ Last year I fell victim to the hype around the Browns. I believed. I really believed. I bet they would win the AFC North. I put actual money down on it! OK, so it was only 20 bucks, but still! This game wasn't the least bit competitive and one has to seriously start to wonder if Baker Mayfield is better off doing commercials than being a starting quarterback in the NFL.
28. New York Giants (0-1) ~ I almost wouldn't have believed it if I didn't see it myself. Saquon Barkley was outrushed by Ben Roethlisberger. This is not a typo. This is not a misprint. Big Ben had nine yards rushing. Barkley? A mere six yards on 15 carries. That comes out to a whopping 0.4 yards per carry. I know the Steelers defense is good. I said as much earlier, but damn.
29. Carolina Panthers (0-1) ~ Another quarterback in a new town. Teddy Bridgewater looked fine in his Panthers debut. Nothing special aside from a 75-yard bomb to Robby Anderson. Well, it didn't go 75 yards in the air. Maybe that's a bit misleading. Anyway, I can see Carolina playing a little like Atlanta in that they will score some points, but won't be able to keep their opponent out of the end zone. Time to take the over in some Panthers games.
30. Miami Dolphins (0-1) ~ Who had Myles Gaskin being the most productive Miami running back in week one? Anyone? Didn't think so. Miami brought in Jordan Howard and Matt Breida in the offseason, yet it was Gaskin who led the way by playing on 63% of the snaps. Brieda was out there for 23% and Howard just 15%. Not sure why they signed Howard to a lucrative deal if they don't plan on using him as the lead back. Maybe it's just a one week blip?
31. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) ~ Joe Burrow probably did more than could have been expected. The number one overall pick got his team in position to tie the game late, but Randy Bullock missed a 31-yard field goal with just two seconds left. Bullock says he cramped in his plant leg, which can't be ideal for kicking a field goal. The Bengals may have lost, but they have to feel encouraged going forward.
32. New York Jets (0-1) ~ Frank Gore is once again a starting running back in the NFL. The ageless wonder takes over the role due to Le'Veon Bell ending up on injured reserve. It might not be his for the duration of the season, but for now, Gore is ready to be the steady veteran force on a young Jets offense.
Well, that’s it. All 32 NFL teams. All in one little list that can cause a reader a bevy of emotions. Do you like where your team is ranked? Do you hate it? Do you think I have no clue what I’m talking about? Maybe you should tell me about it. Leave a comment below or reach out to me on Twitter. Handle is in the profile. See you next time kids.