49ers rise, Raiders drop in NFL power rankings

Cameron McKeon, Sports Editor

Californian Sports Editor Cameron McKeon will be providing weekly rankings for all 32 NFL teams this season.

With week 2 gone and Sunday quickly approaching, everybody has bought into the “Fitz-magic” and Patrick Mahomes hype. But how did their outstanding individual performances impact their team’s outlook after an action-packed weekend of football?

On a less spectacular note, kickers struggled remarkably, a couple of them losing their jobs as a result. Let’s take a look at what has changed over the past week, beginning at 32 with a team that might be rooted in this spot for a while.

  1. Buffalo Bills (-) The big story coming from the Bills-Chargers game was CB Vontae Davis retiring at halftime. Veteran LB Lorenzo Alexander informed the media of the news following the loss, labeling the act as “completely disrespectful.” The Bills must regroup for a tough matchup at Minnesota this Sunday.


  1. Arizona Cardinals (-3) The Cardinals appeared dismal against an elite team in the Rams, getting shutout 34-0. Arizona has scored 6 points over the first couple weeks and Sam Bradford amounted just 90 yards on 17 completions in week 2.


  1. Detroit Lions (-7) Matt Stafford threw for 347 yards and 3 TDs, yet the Lions still lost 30-27 to the 49ers. The defense let Matt Breida run all over them for 138 yards. On the opposite end of the spectrum of good RB performances, a Lions back hasn’t surpassed 100 yards since 2013.


  1. Oakland Raiders (-3) The Raiders nearly squeaked out a win on the road last weekend against the Broncos, but the defense faltered yet again in the second half. The pressing question on Jon Gruden seems to be whether Khalil Mack’s trade was worth it or not. Gruden implied he wants to leave the whole fiasco behind and stated that he doesn’t regret the trade.


  1. New York Jets (-4) Sam Darnold threw a couple of bad picks in his second NFL start, and added two more in Thursday’s 21-17 loss to the Browns, but he also led a couple very good drives. Growing pains are expected, and it’ll take more experience to eliminate those mistakes. The Jets relied on him heavily as he logged 25 completions on 41 attempts, tossing a TD to go along with the pair of INTs.


  1. Cleveland Browns (+3) Two words explain the Browns 21-18 loss on Sunday to the Saints: Zane Gonzalez. The kicker missed two field goals and two extra points while costing the game for Cleveland. The winless drought, which was 635 days and dated back to December 24, 2016, finally ended Thursday night against the Jets. The Browns and Jets switched places as a result of that game.


  1. Seattle Seahawks (-5) It was the offensive line that proved no match for the Bears front seven in the Monday Night game. They may have lost by just a touchdown, but the box score is misleading. The offense was outmatched by Chicago defense, surrendering 6 sacks. CB Shaquill Griffin had 2 INT’s for the ‘Hawks D.


  1. Washington Redskins (-6) The Redskins failed to establish any sort of run game at home against the Colts. Adrian Peterson compiled just 20 yards on 11 rushes. Washington was unable to score a touchdown against a less than impressive defense.


  1. New York Giants (-9) Eli Manning struggled to get any sort of drive going for New York despite the abundance of weapons on offense. Odell Beckham was kept quiet as well as Saquon Barkley (at least in the ground game). The Giants offensive line struggled for a second week in a row and they fall to 0-2 in the young season.


  1. Indianapolis Colts (+8) The Colts were able to bounce back and hold the Redskins to just 9 points to improve to 1-1. They face the defending champs this week and we will be able to see if this team can keep up with Carson Wentz and the Eagles in what is sure to be an identity-revealing game for Indianapolis.


  1. Miami Dolphins (+4) The Dolphins have surprised many by coming out the gates 2-0 to start the season. Granted, Miami’s first two opponents have been a banged-up Titans squad and the Jets, or else they wouldn’t be this low on the list. Nevertheless, there’s no denying Ryan Tannehill has been impressive in his return.


  1. Cincinnati Bengals (+8) Andy Dalton and the Bengals surprised the Ravens, defeating them 34-23, riding Dalton’s 4 TDs. RB Joe Mixon is 2nd in the NFL in rushing yards, and AJ Green caught 3 TD’s in the first quarter. Cincinnati is on the road at Carolina for week 3.


  1. Pittsburgh Steelers (-10) What’s going on in Pittsburgh? First the best running back in the game refuses to step on the field, and now the best wideout (arguably) in Antonio Brown has sparked up some controversy on social media. Besides these facts, the Steelers are 0-2 and just surrendered 42 points to the Chiefs.


  1. Baltimore Ravens (-6) The Ravens came into the Thursday Night game following a 40-point showing against the Bills. Baltimore looked unprepared and fell behind 21-0 quickly, and the deficit proved insurmountable. The Ravens return home to host the Broncos on Sunday.


  1. Tennessee Titans (+4) Blaine Gabbert was under center for Tennessee this week as they unpredictably beat the Texans. No, Gabbert didn’t necessarily do much (13/20, 117 yards and a TD), but the Titans pulled a fake punt out of their bag of tricks for a 66-yard touchdown from safety Kevin Byard to corner Dane Cruikshank, a huge momentum swing in the eventual W.


  1. Houston Texans (-9) The offensive numbers were solid for the Texans, but it was turnovers and special teams play that cost them. Deshaun Watson turned the ball over 3 times (1 INT and 2 fumbles lost). Will Fuller and Deandre Hopkins compiled 100+ yards each, but the Texans remain winless this season after high expectations.


  1. Dallas Cowboys (+4) The Cowboys defense got after Eli Manning on Sunday night, sacking him 5 times. An opening drive 64-yard TD to Tavon Austin set the tone and Dallas remained ahead the rest of the game. Ezekiel Elliott is yet to really get it going, but when he does, the ‘Boys could turn some heads.


  1. San Francisco 49ers (+1) Who is the leading rusher in the NFL through the first two weeks? If you guessed Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott, or Le’veon Bell (I hope you didn’t), you’re wrong. It’s ‘Niners back Matt Breida. The 23-year old out of Georgia Southern put the league on notice with a 135-yard outing on the ground. San Francisco heads to Kansas City in what will be an early season challenge for the young team.


  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+11) “Fitz-magic” is in full effect as the Bucs make the biggest leap in this week’s power rankings. Not many had Tampa Bay overcoming the Eagles, but they did, rather handily as well. Jameis Winston is set to return following next week, but it remains to be seen who will take the ball in week 4. In the meantime, the Bucs prepare for the Steelers, who are trending in the opposite direction.


  1. Chicago Bears (+5) Prince Amukamara’s first pick in three years and first career pick-6 sealed the game and put a cherry on top to what was a brilliant defensive performance against the Seahawks on Monday Night. If Mitchell Trubisky didn’t miss on a couple big throws, this game would’ve been a blowout. The up-and-coming Bears defense led by (do I even have to say his name?) Khalil Mack now leads the NFL with 10 sacks.


  1. Denver Broncos (+5)  The first two opponents for Denver have been the Seahawks and Raiders, so they haven’t necessarily had the most challenging start. Nevertheless, they’re undefeated on the young season and have a couple surprising backs performing beyond expectations. Undrafted rookie Phillip Lindsay is proving all 32 NFL teams wrong through the first couple games averaging over 6 YPC.


  1. Carolina Panthers (+1) Cam Newton was unusually accurate in the loss to Atlanta, and we see that Christian McCaffrey is the centerpiece of this offense with Greg Olsen out, catching 14 passes for 104 yards as well as picking up 37 on the ground on 8 carries. A secondary weapon was needed in Carolina’s week 2 loss, and they hope DJ Moore can command that role from here on out.


  1. New Orleans Saints (-1) Instead of an easy 2-0 start as most would expect for New Orleans, they narrowly escape falling to 0-2. The Saints can thank Zane Gonzalez for bailing them out. The 21-18 win brought them back even, and although it’s early, Michael Thomas is on pace to break reception records.


  1. Los Angeles Chargers (+5) It was a gimme for the Chargers in week 2 against the Bills. After folding in week 1 vs. Kansas City, the defense stepped up on Sunday. The defense will be put to test next week when they face their inner-city rival in the Rams.


  1. Atlanta Falcons (+3) Bouncing back nicely from a loss to Philly, Atlanta was able to get the offense rolling at home against the Panthers. Calvin Ridley caught his first TD pass in his young career and Austin Hooper came through with some much needed production out of the tight end position. Julio Jones was quiet (to his standards), but the flexibility within the offense was intriguing.


  1. Green Bay Packers (-1) Mason Crosby may not carry as much a burden as other kickers right about now due to his league-wide respect and the fact his field goal chance was 52 yards, but there’s no doubt many thought he would drill the game-winner. Green Bay went into the NFC North showdown with momentum from a week 1 comeback, but a tie leaves many disappointed.


  1. Minnesota Vikings (-2) Daniel Carlson, the kicker on the other end of the Vikings-Packers game, was released shortly after his 0-3 performance. When asked what went into the decision to release Carlson, Coach Mike Zimmer said, “Did you see the game?” Dan Bailey will take over kicking duties. Meanwhile, Kirk Cousins showed up in the 29-29 tie.


  1. Kansas City Chiefs (+2) Easily one of the most exciting teams to keep an eye on this year, the Chiefs scored 42 points and Pat Mahomes threw 6 TDs. The impressive showing has put massive expectations on the young quarterback, but with the weapons he has, he may be able to have an MVP-caliber season. On the other side of the ball though, the defense has given up 65 points in two games, and it’s for that reason the Chiefs don’t crack the top 3.


  1. New England Patriots (-1) The Pats didn’t have a clear number one target in their 31-20 loss to the Jags, but they quickly solved that problem by acquiring Josh Gordon from Cleveland. If Gordon was able to put up 1600+ yards with Jason Campbell and Brian Hoyer throwing to him, who knows how much he could produce with Tom Brady?


  1. Philadelphia Eagles (-2) The return of Carson Wentz prevents a steeper drop for the Eagles. Either the Bucs are a legitimate contender or the Eagles had a fluke game, and I’m going with the latter. Fitzpatrick carved up Philly’s defense, accumulating more than 400 yards in the air. The Eagles return home next week with their No. 1 QB back under center.


  1. Los Angeles Rams (-) The Rams put on a clinic in their shutout of the Cardinals. Todd Gurley didn’t surpass 50 yards on the ground, but he still found the endzone three times on the day. Brandin Cooks is approaching the league lead in receiving yards after a 159-yard performance.


  1. Jacksonville Jaguars (+4) Jacksonville simply outplayed the Patriots as Blake Bortles had a huge game, tossing 4 TDs to four different targets. Keelan Cole emerged as the top target for the Jags as well as making the most outstanding catch in the NFL through the first couple weeks. With T.J Yeldon taking over for the injured Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville proved they didn’t even need their most talented offensive player to take down the defending AFC Champs.