NFL Power Rankings, Week 2: Major Movement after Kickoff Weekend
Week 1 is in the books and, per standard operating procedure, it was a wild ride. Huge upsets, landscape-altering injuries, and big-time blowouts highlighted the weekend. The overreactions are flowing in as Week 2 approaches, and all 32 teams must respond against a new set of opponents. For teams like the Cowboys and 49ers it’s all about building off of massive performances that have cemented them in the title contender conversation. For teams like the Steelers and Bengals, the only acceptable response to their respective Kickoff game drubbings is a big win against a 1-0 Division rival.
Questions abound for every team, but let’s highlight the biggest one for each squad in my Week 2 edition of the NFL Pecking Order.
1. DALLAS COWBOYS
Big Question: Are the Cowboys the most complete team in the NFL in all three phases? They sure looked like it on Sunday Night in New York.
2. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Big Question: If the Cowboys are the most complete team in football, the 49ers are a very, very close 2nd. Can Brock Purdy stay as calm and in-control all year as he looked in Pittsburgh?
3. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Big Question: The Eagles defense showed some holes against the Patriots in Week 1. If they’ve lost a step from 2022, is the offense still explosive enough to make up the difference?
4. MIAMI DOLPHINS
Big Question: Is Mike McDaniel’s squad the best offense in the league? They looked like it Sunday against a good Chargers defense.
5. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Big Question: Who’s going to step up at WR for a Chiefs team that suddenly has a lot of questions on offense?
6. BUFFALO BILLS
Big Question: What is up with the Josh Allen turnover machine? That needs to be rectified quickly or Buffalo could be in for another underwhelming season based on expectations.
7. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Big Question: The Trevor Lawrence to Calvin Ridley connection began their onslaught on NFL defenses in 2023. Can the defense, who got flumoxed at times by Anthony Richardson, be good enough to keep up?
8. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
Big Question: This offense has a lot of weapons and looked good against Miami. It remains to be seen if the defense can start to pull its weight for a team with high expectations.
9. DETROIT LIONS
Big Question: It was a huge win for Detroit against a shorthanded Chiefs team. Was it right place right time for Detroit in Week 1, or is this truly one of the NFC’s best teams?
10. CLEVELAND BROWNS
Big Question: Can Deshaun Watson and the passing game compliment Nick Chubb enough to keep defenses guessing?
11. CINCINNATI BENGALS
Big Question: Are Joe Burrow and the Wide Receivers enough to overcome a poor offensive line and a lack of explosiveness at Tight End and Running Back?
12. BALTIMORE RAVENS
Big Question: Sure it was a convincing win over a bad Texans team, but how quickly can Lamar Jackson settle into this Todd Monken offense, especially now that his top RB (JK Dobbins) is lost for the season?
13. GREEN BAY PACKERS
Big Question: The Packers might legitimately be the best team in the NFC North if this running game produces like it did against Chicago in Week 1.
14. PITTSBURGH STEELERS
Big Question: It has to be whether Kenny Pickett’s scattershot Sunday is a harbinger of things to come or just an aberration against one of the league’s best defenses.
15. NEW YORK JETS
Big Question: I know the Jets took down the Bills in overtime in an emotional game with the knowledge that star QB Aaron Rodgers’ season was likely over after just four snaps. That reality was confirmed on Tuesday. Can this team actually be competitive over a long period of time with Zach Wilson under center? A big drop in my Power Rankings this week should tell my thoughts on the plausibility of that.
16. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Big Question: What do the Saints do to find production on the ground the next two weeks? Jamaal Williams underwhelmed against a good Titans front. Alvin Kamara’s return can’t come soon enough.
17. ATLANTA FALCONS
Big Question: The Falcons are the anti-Saints after Week 1. Is this running game going to be elite enough to keep the Falcons in games against good teams if the passing game can’t produce better than it did against the Panthers?
18. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Big Question: Is this the most underrated team in the AFC? After hanging with the defending NFC champs in Week 1, Mac Jones and this offense have to be feeling good about themselves with an actual Offensive Coordinator in town.
19. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
Big Question: Can Seattle manufacture a pass rush at all? The Rams and Sean McVay had their way with the ‘Hawks offensively, and a lot of that has to do with zero pressure put on QB Matt Stafford in their week 1 beatdown.
20. MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Big Question: The stats look fine for Minnesota, but they were mostly toothless on both sides of the ball in their loss to an inferior Buccaneers squad. Can the Vikes muster up some physicality up front moving forward?
21. LOS ANGELES RAMS
Big Question: The biggest question about the Rams has already been answered, because Matt Stafford looks healthy and was absolutely slinging it in Seattle on Sunday. Can McVay and his staff continue to coach up an inexperienced and raw young team over the course of this long season?
22. NEW YORK GIANTS
Big Question: Was Sunday Night’s absolute demolition at the hands of the Cowboys more reflective of the Giants’ ineptitude or the Cowboys’ greatness? I’d be willing to bet the latter, hence the miniscule drop in these rankings for the G-men.
23. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
Big Question: Can the Raiders muster up some consistent defense like they displayed on Sunday against the Broncos as the season progresses? If so, the offense still looks good with Jimmy G tossing the rock to All-World receiver Davante Adams and a surprisingly effective Jacoby Meyers leading the way.
24. DENVER BRONCOS
Big Question: Tough loss to a division rival at home, and questions still abound about the Russell Wilson-led offense in the Mile-High city, though it wasn’t as ugly in Week 1 as we saw last season. Sean Payton has his work cut out for him.
25. WASHINGTON COMMANDERS
Big Question: It’s all about Sam Howell on offense and whether or not he can take advantage of a solid WR duo in Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson. The defense needs to step up in the secondary as well in future weeks.
26. TENNESSEE TITANS
Big Question: What was Mike Vrabel thinking kicking that field goal to put them 1 point back with time slipping away in the late 4th Quarter? Also, has the Ryan Tannehill era in Tennessee run its course? It feels like this team is what we all thought it was outside of that building: a rebuild.
27. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
Big Question: Anthony Richardson looked good. He also made some expected Rookie errors in a gritty performance that ultimately ended as a loss to the Jaguars. Can the Colts find someone in the backfield to help Richardson out until Jonathan Taylor returns? If he returns?
28. CHICAGO BEARS
Big Question: Yikes. An offseason of high hopes went up in smoke really fast against Green Bay. Justin Fields is still explosive as a runner, but the big question remains whether or not he can operate as a pocket passer in the NFL. Sunday’s debut was not the start he wanted.
29. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Big Question: Baker Mayfield was, well, gutsy in his debut performance as the QB1 in Tampa. He’s the kind of passer that needs a running game to remain somewhat effective moving forward, so what can the Bucs do to get Rashaad White and company going?
30. CAROLINA PANTHERS
Big Question: The first overall pick struggled against a revamped Falcons defense in Week 1, but that’s not to say there weren’t glimpses of why the Panthers made him the number 1 overall pick in 2023. Who’s going to step up around their QB to give him some help? It needs to be more than just Hayden Hurst.
31. HOUSTON TEXANS
Big Question: The final score might not indicate it, but CJ Stroud looked like an NFL QB out there against an always well-coached Ravens defense. The big question though in Houston is whether DeMeco Ryans defense can keep the ship afloat enough this season while the offense figures itself out.
32. ARIZONA CARDINALS
Big Question: There’s literally almost nothing to get excited about on either side of the ball. Can Jonathan Gannon keep morale up through a long season with no goal of winning?
Who’s too high and who’s too low? Let the discussion commence in the comment section below! And don’t forget to stay tuned to Fans First Sports Network for the biggest stories and analysis from around the NFL this season.