NFL power rankings after Week 1

Raiders, 49ers don't crack the top 15

Cameron McKeon, Sports Editor

The NFL season is underway and week 1 had its fair share of surprising results. How does the Bucs 48-point outburst and Aaron Rodgers’ second half heroics impact the rest of the league?

I ranked each NFL team from worst to best, taking into account opening results as well as general expectations. Expect an updated power rankings every week as the NFL season progresses, offering insight on stats, scores, and upcoming games. Without further ado, let’s kick it off with an obvious choice at 32.


  1. Buffalo Bills – The Bills looked atrocious in their opener at Baltimore, losing 47-3. QB Nathan Peterman began the game but was replaced by rookie Josh Allen after Peterman tossed two picks and went 5-for-18 for 24 yards. Allen was announced starter for their home opener on Sunday against the Chargers, offering some excitement for Bills fans.


  1. Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck looked solid in his return to the field, the Colts relying on him heavily. The Stanford product threw for 319 yards and a couple touchdowns, but the lackluster run game will hurt Indianapolis this year. Jack Doyle and T.Y. Hilton are viable offensive weapons, but the defense will struggle throughout the year in a relatively strong AFC South.


  1. Cleveland Browns – Cleveland managed to avoid losing for the first time since 2016, tying the Steelers and snapping their own 17-game losing streak. The defense played well, forcing five turnovers from QB Ben Roethlisberger. The offense, on the other hand, will need Tyrod Taylor to complete more than 37.5% of his passes.


  1. Cincinnati Bengals – Although defeating the Colts 34-23 in week 1, HC Marvin Lewis doesn’t show any signs of turning this team around. RB Joe Mixon did look sharp in the win, but it must be accounted for that it was against the Colts defense. To escape mediocrity, the Bengals need to make some moves.


  1. Arizona Cardinals – Losing 24-6 to the Redskins, the Cardinals seem destined for the NFC West cellar. Josh Rosen will be the leader of the offense in due time, and David Johnson will continue to become reacquainted after missing all of 2017. But Alex Smith handled the defense with no problem, and it won’t be any easier in week 2 as the Cardinals square off against the Rams.


  1. Miami Dolphins – Ryan Tannehill returned and looked solid for Miami in a 27-20 win over the Titans. It’s hard to tell what to make of the game, undergoing multiple delays and Ttian QB Marcus Mariota getting injured part way through. The team has too many question marks though, and it’s hard to believe that Tannehill can lead this team to a respectable record.


  1. Oakland Raiders – The week 1 matchup against the Rams was a tale of two  halves. The defense showed its identity without Khalil Mack in the second half as the Rams offense moved the ball with ease. Derek Carr seemed lost, but Marshawn Lynch showed flashes of prime Beast Mode in the 33-13 loss.


  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The surprise of opening week, Ryan Fitzpatrick carved up the New Orleans defense and led the Bucs to a 48-40 shootout win. The defense still surrendered 40 points and it’s unrealistic to assume Fitzpatrick will perform at this level going forward.


  1. New York Jets – Overcoming the pick six on his first snap, rookie Sam Darnold played exceptionally well in his debut. The Jets obliterated the Lions 48-17 in unpredictable fashion, but the offense is bound for struggles with such inexperience, though week 1’s performance was promising.


  1. Detroit Lions – We got to see the bad side of Matthew Stafford on MNF, tossing four interceptions in the loss to the Jets. Hopefully (for the Lions) it was a fluke game, but the defense looked hopeless against rookie Sam Darnold and the Jets offense.


  1. Tennessee Titans – It’s tough to tell what the Titans will achieve this year, a lot of it depending on whether or not Mariota can bounce back after a season in which he threw more interceptions than touchdowns. TE Delanie Walker is out for the year, a huge loss as the reliable run-blocker and consistent pass-catcher goes down.


  1. Seattle Seahawks – The defense is definitely not the Legion of Boom we witnessed a few years ago. The Seahawks have lost Doug Baldwin for several weeks and they fell to the questionable Broncos in week 1.


  1. Dallas Cowboys  – Dez Bryant’s absence was apparent in the Cowboys loss to the Panthers. It was a frustrating game to watch, Dallas was unable to break Carolina’s steady defense. After a disappointing 2017, “America’s team” didn’t get the start they had hoped for.


  1. Washington Redskins – Adrian Peterson looked young and explosive in the 24-6 route of his former team, the Cardinals. Alex Smith was Mr. Consistent, starting right where he left off with the Chiefs. The Redskins should be an intriguing team to keep an eye on this year.


  1. Chicago Bears – Chicago looked like world beaters in the first half against archrival Green Bay. Khalil Mack wasted no time establishing himself as a force and a leader on the young defense. But QB Mitchell Trubisky’s lack of experience and confidence was on display in the second half, and new HC Matt Nagy made a few questionable play calls down the stretch to allow for Aaron Rodgers to be the hero.


  1. Denver Broncos – The Broncos did what they had to do to beat Seattle in week 1. Fresh faces on both sides of the ball makes Denver a hard team to get a gauge of, but QB Case Keenum looked comfortable and Von Miller was a force on the defensive side of things.


  1. San Francisco 49ers – Jimmy G had to have an off game at some point, looking shaky throughout the contest apart from apart from a touchdown drive late in the third quarter. The Niners held their own against the Vikings, and should fight for a wild card spot in a weak NFC West behind the Rams.


  1. New York Giants – Saquon Barkley took little time to prove his worth, taking a short down situation and turning into a 68-yard touchdown run (he finished with 106 yards rushing). Odell was Odell in his return, and if the defense can play with some consistency, the Giants will compete this year.


  1. Los Angeles Chargers – The Chargers defense didn’t show up against the Chiefs. They were extremely susceptible to the big play, and failed to live up to immediate expectations. The early loss to the Chiefs gives Kansas City an early AFC West edge, but the Chargers have playmakers like Melvin Gordon and Keenan Allen as well as a solid defense (Joey Bosa, Casey Hayward) to keep them in the race.


  1. Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens were stellar across the board vs. the Bills, but then again, it was the BIlls. They face off against the Bengals in week 2 which shouldn’t be too much of a problem if they take care of business. Flacco needs a bounce back season and his three TD performance was a promising start even if it was against the worst team in football.


  1. Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton’s physicality and the stout defense was enough to carry the Panthers past the Cowboys. Six sacks on the day for the Panthers defense solidified their strength in the trenches. A big division game against the Falcons next week will give a good read on the two seemingly equally skilled squads.


  1. Atlanta Falcons – Julio Jones is the only real weapon for Matt Ryan. With a chance to win the game in the final minute against the defending champs, the offense needed somebody like Austin Hooper or Mohamed Sanu to step up. Instead, Ryan lofted a dire attempt at a fade to Jones that never really had a chance. The defense lost two huge defensive playmakers in S Keanu Neal (for the year) and LB Deion Jones (injured reserve). It’ll be interesting to see if the Falcons rebound in 2018 or proceed to continue the downward trend ever since Super Bowl LI.


  1. Pittsburgh Steelers – It’s interesting that a team like the Steelers consistently struggles against the Browns, but they did so again in the 21-21 tie on Sunday. Ben Roethlisberger’s age is catching up to him, and the Le’Veon Bell holdout issue must be resolved so that Pittsburgh can put their full attention on the football field. But backup RB James Conner did play out of his mind.


  1. New Orleans Saints – The Saints game against  the Bucs was truly an embarrassment, but the offense did their job. Michael Thomas had 16 receptions for 180 yards and a TD in the loss, while Drew Brees completed 37-of-45 passes for 400+ yards and 3 TD’s. The defense has too much talent, headlined by 2017 Defensive Rookie of the Year Marshon Lattimore, to continue to play at this level.


  1. Houston Texans – J.J. Watt, the Honey Badger, Jadeveon Clowney. If the defense stays healthy, the Texans will be a very fun unit to watch this year. The offense should put up big numbers with second year QB Deshaun Watson and top 5 WR Deandre Hopkins. Not all of this was on display against the Patriots in their 27-20 loss, but the team has intriguing potential.


  1. Kansas City Chiefs – The offense was electrifying as Pat Mahomes impressed in his debut and Tyreek Hill torched the Chargers secondary. It’ll be the defense that determines the Chiefs longevity this season, with the loss of Marcus Peters possibly devastating this unit. Kareem Hunt logged only 49 yards averaging 3.1 ypc, so when he’s producing alongside the young QB and diverse receiving corps, the offense could be dangerous.


  1. Green Bay Packers – If the Packers had continued to play in the second half of Sunday night’s game like they did in the first, they would be much further down this list. Aaron Rodgers is the lifeblood of Green Bay, as we saw last year when he went down and Sunday when he came back following halftime. Rodgers played one of best halves of football we’ve ever seen from him to shock the Bears 24-23. But if the Packers lose Rodgers to injury at any point this year, they have no chance.


  1. Jacksonville Jaguars – As much as the Jags defense runs their mouth, they live up to the hype. The concern with this team is hands-down the offense, and if Leonard Fournette’s injury is serious, it’s a cause for worry. Blake Bortles is inconsistent and they lack a reliable receiver (Dez?). The defense, though, is tops in the NFL.


  1. Minnesota Vikings – Kirk Cousins fit in nicely in the opening win at home against the Niners. They performed as expected and are arguably the most balanced team in the league. With an upgraded QB, a RB on the verge of an outbreak season in Dalvin Cook, and a defense headlined by S Harrison Smith, there isn’t a reason that the Vikings shouldn’t make a run for the Super Bowl this season.


  1. New England Patriots – There’s tension behind the scenes with Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft, but that didn’t stop the most consistent team in the NFL from handling the Texans with relative ease. We’ll see how the Pats address the wide receiver situation without Julian Edelman and Brandin Cooks, and Dez Bryant still on the open market.


  1. Los Angeles Rams – Jared Goff and Co. picked apart the Raiders defense in every aspect during the second half of Monday Night’s game. Todd Gurley effortlessly gained chunks of yardage and finished with more than 100 yards. Even so, he didn’t perform to his greatest ability, which is scary for NFL defenses.


  1. Philadelphia Eagles – Philly trotted out Super Bowl hero Nick Foles for week 1, and will do so again in week 2. Foles had a rough preseason and didn’t play particularly well against the Falcons. The rest of the team is just that good. Once QB Carson Wentz and WR Alshon Jeffery return from injury, the Eagles will be an even more dominant force.