Football is back baby! And what a weekend of football it was. The Bills and Packers drop after disappointing losses, while the Saints, Cardinals and Steelers all rise after impressive wins to open their season’s. Let’s go eat some W’s, Power Rankings are here!
Getty Images / James Gilbert
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0)
As a resident Bills fan, I hate this team. They somehow managed to keep every player from their Super Bowl winning squad and Tom Brady continues to defy time. The 44-year-old threw for four touchdowns to go along with 379 passing yards. Rob Gronkowski also turned back the clock on Thursday, looking a lot like the tight end who used to dominate in New England, catching eight passes for 90 yards and two touchdowns. Can someone wake me up when this nightmare is over.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)
Patrick Mahomes continues to showcase why he is the face of the NFL. He had a dazzling performance against Cleveland, throwing for 337 yards with four touchdowns in the 33-29 win. Tyreek Hill exploded for a monster performance too, totalling 11 receptions for a whopping 197 yards and a touchdown. However, the true star of the game was cornerback Mike Hughes. He secured the game-sealing interception with 1:09 left to end any hope for the Browns to mount a comeback.
3. Los Angeles Rams (1-0)
Matthew Stafford is free from the purgatory known as the Detroit Lions. He exploded for a monster performance in his Los Angeles debut, throwing for 321 yards and four touchdowns in the blowout win against Chicago. If Stafford can keep this level of play up, there’s no reason why this team can’t be a Super Bowl contender.
4. Seattle Seahawks (1-0)
Russell Wilson didn’t throw the ball much on Sunday but still made a huge impact in a 28-16 win over the Colts. His best moment came late in the first half. On second-and-20 with less than a minute left, Wilson dropped back to deliver a bomb to Tyler Lockett, who toasted the Colts secondary. That 69-yard score pretty much sealed the deal for Seattle, as Indy never really threatened after that. We know Seattle’s passing offence is elite, but if their running game and defence can maintain this level of performance they showcased against the Colts, this might be a dangerous team to watch out for.
5. Arizona Cardinals (1-0)
Arizona came out playing like one of the best teams in the league on Sunday, dominating the Titans in a 38-13 road victory. Kyler Murray looks like a player ready for an MVP run (five total TDs) and Chandler Jones delivered one of the best defensive performances in franchise history (five sacks and two forced fumbles). The real question is consistency. It’s something Arizona struggled with last season and only time will tell if they’re actually the real deal.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)
The Steel Curtain was in full effect on Sunday against the Bills. A relentless pass rushing and a suffocating defence clamped down on Josh Allen, sacking him four times and forcing four fumbles in the win. The turning point; a blocked punt attempt leading to a Pittsburgh score to go ahead 20-10. The Bills never really threatened after that as the Steelers walked away victors on the road in Highmark Stadium. The Steelers will look to carry this momentum to a win in a Week 2 matchup versus Las Vegas.
7. Buffalo Bills (0-1)
The Bills had their game plan going into Sunday: spread out their wide receivers and let their superstar quarterback pick apart the Steelers secondary. That was far from the case in a disappointing 23-16 home loss to begin the season. Josh Allen looked much more like the QB he was in his first two seasons, and the rest of Buffalo’s playmakers couldn’t create much separation at all. It’s not all on the QB and wideouts though; the Bills’ offensive line was bullied by a Pittsburgh pass rush that got constant pressure running mostly four-man fronts. Another tough defence awaits in Miami for Week 2.
8. Cleveland Browns (0-1)
Usually, Browns fans feel nothing but pain whenever a new season starts. And while there was some pain in an opening season loss to the Chiefs, there’s something that’s there that Browns fans haven’t felt in a long time; optimism. The Browns virtually outplayed the Chiefs in the loss, but shot themselves repeatedly in the foot multiple times during the game to end up losing. Whether it’s blown coverages or throwing game-sealing interceptions, the Browns did everything but win on Sunday. If Cleveland truly wants to be regarded as a Super Bowl contender this season, they’re going to have to clean up these sloppy, unforced mistakes that cost them a win.
9. New Orleans Saints (1-0)
Playing in Jacksonville as their “home” stadium in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida and expectations already being set low to start the season after a heavy unloading of talent, no one could see Jameis Winston leading the Saints to a 38-3 win over the defending NFC North champs. Winston balled out, totalling five TDs on the day while the defence sent Aaron Rodgers to the bench with 11 minutes to play in the fourth quarter. The Saints will look to carry this momentum for another win against the Panthers this Sunday.
10. Green Bay Packers (0-1)
What the hell just happened? The Packers were blown out of the water against the Saints, losing 38-3. It was the worst loss of Aaron Rodgers’ career as the reigning MVP couldn’t get anything going, throwing for just 133 yards and two interceptions before being yanked for Jordan Love early in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, the defence made Jameis Winston look like prime Joe Montana, surrendering five touchdowns on just 20 attempts. For a team with such high expectations, this was a pretty pathetic way to begin their season.
11. San Francisco 49ers (1-0)
San Francisco had a 41-17 advantage over Detroit when cornerback Jason Verrett limped to the sideline with what was later diagnosed as a season-ending ACL injury. The Lions rallied after this, scoring 14 unanswered points in just one minute. The 49ers managed to survive the Lions furious comeback attempt and now they’ll have to figure out what they're going to do with their secondary. In a division where you play Kyler Murray, Matthew Stafford and Russell Wilson each twice a season, the 49ers will need to fix their secondary problems if they want to fulfill those Super Bowl expectations.
12. Los Angeles Chargers (1-0)
Justin Herbert was on demon time from the pocket when the Chargers needed him the most on Sunday. He completed multiple clutch throws to help seal the deal in a hard-fought 20-16 win over the Washington Football Team. While Herbert wasn’t perfect, committing two turnovers with L.A. in scoring range, his incredible arm talent and knack for being able to get it done in clutch situations separates him from so many other quarterbacks in the league. The Chargers finally have their guy.
13. Miami Dolphins (1-0)
Xavien Howard just might be the most valuable player on the Dolphins. The star cornerback forced a clutch fumble late in the fourth-quarter against the Patriots, ultimately sealing the deal and letting the Dolphins escape with a 17-16 win in Foxborough. While it wasn’t a perfect effort by the Dolphins, they are the only team in the AFC East in the win column after Week 1.
14. Las Vegas Raiders (1-0)
What the hell was this game? Overtime was just a gongshow. After Jon Gruden decided to send out his kicker for a ludicrous field-goal attempt, they get bailed out by a penalty when the field-goal team couldn’t get set up in time, which led to the offence re-entering the field, which then led to, of course, Derek Carr throwing a touchdown to an uncovered Zay Jones to win the game. And that was just the ending. I don’t know how to even process this game.
15. Baltimore Ravens (0-1)
Spain without the S. That’s what every Baltimore player and fan felt after a wild 33-27 OT loss to the Raiders on Sunday. The defence got carved apart, Lamar Jackson couldn’t protect the ball in key situations and the offensive line was bullied all day by a pass rush that ranked nearly dead last from last season. It doesn’t get any easier for the Ravens next week as Patrick Mahomes and co. are on tap Sunday night.
16. Denver Broncos (1-0)
The Broncos finally have their man behind the reins of quarterback, and it isn’t Drew Lock. Teddy Bridgewater played a great game in a 27-13 win against the Giants, completing 80 per cent of his passes for two touchdowns while controlling the offence with ease. Things aren’t all rainbows and sunshine for Denver though; top receiver Jerry Jeudy went down with a high-ankle sprain that will keep him out for 4-to-6 weeks.
17. New England Patriots (0-1)
You can imagine how badly Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson suffered by the hands of Bill Bellichick after each lost fumbles in a one-point loss to the Dolphins. Harris’ fumble, which occurred late in the fourth quarter, is the type that will get you stripped of your bell-cow role when playing for New England. The biggest positive came at quarterback. Mac Jones looked solid in his NFL debut, showing off his impressive touch and accuracy with several throws. The Patriots might have themselves a potential future stud at quarterback.
18. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)
Are the Eagles the real deal? Philly absolutely dominated the Falcons on both sides of the ball in a 32-6 slaughter. Jalen Hurts threw for three touchdowns and totalled over 300 yards on the day, DeVonta Smith caught a touchdown in his NFL debut, and the defence limited the Falcons high-flying offence to just 4.1 yards per play. A Week 2 matchup versus the 49ers should tell us what we need to know about this Eagles squad.
19. Dallas Cowboys (0-1)
The Cowboys may have lost in the Thursday night opener to the champion Bucs but probably feel privately good about themselves after almost sneaking away with the win. While the defence did surrender a lot of yards, they also created four turnovers and the offence looks like a machine with Dak Prescott returning from fracturing his ankle in October, throwing for 403 yards and three scores. He carved up a great defence with the help of Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb who already look like one of the best wideout combos in the league.
20. Tennessee Titans (0-1)
Sunday was a disaster for the Titans on both sides of the ball, getting embarrassed 38-13 at home against the Cardinals. Tennessee couldn’t manage to even gain a first down until well into the second quarter. Ryan Tannehill and Derek Henry were extremely underwhelming and the defence was toyed with for the entire game. Taylor Lewan was embarrassed by Chandler Jones (five sacks surrendered), and the Titans enter a tough Week Two matchup against a hot Seattle squad. Good luck.
21. Indianapolis Colts (0-1)
The Colts got dominated by the Seahawks in a 28-16 shellacking. The defence allowed a staggering 11 yards per play on just 23 Russell Wilson attempts, and the offensive line struggled mightily all game. The lone bright spot was Carson Wentz. Despite facing constant pressure, he moved the ball well and avoided killer mistakes. Still, this is an unsustainable form of offence, as Wentz can’t afford to be taking this many hits in every game.
22. Washington Football Team (0-1)
The news on Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t good. He was moved to injury reserve after suffering a hip subluxation, and could possibly miss the rest of the year. This is another crushing setback for the WFT, as they can just not find any stability under centre. Taylor Heinicke is now in line to start, but it makes you wonder if Ron Rivera might try to reunite with Cam Newton to add a more veteran presence at quarterback. Only time will tell.
23. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)
The Bengals came out on Sunday and played good football. That’s not what too many people really expected with Joe Burrow coming back from reconstructive knee surgery and a first-round pick who was dropping bubble screens. But they balled out in a 27-24 OT win over the Vikings. Burrow threw for two touchdowns while being efficient, Ja’Marr Chase totalled over 100 yards with a touchdown and Joe Mixon ran for 127 yards on the night. Then there’s coach Zac Taylor, who’s bold fourth-and-inches call in overtime led to the 32-yard C.J. Uzomah reception that set up the win.
24. Carolina Panthers (1-0)
Sam Darnold finally got his Revenge Game after a 19-14 win over the Jets. While that was exciting, Panthers fans are probably more excited about a front seven that completely dominated its opponent. Zach Wilson was running for his life for half of the game. Darnold delivered a strong performance and Christian McCaffrey looks like he hasn’t lost a step even after sitting out last season with injuries (187 total yards). These Panthers could be something special in the making.
25. Minnesota Vikings (0-1)
The Vikings are a mess. Even after reconstructing their secondary, it was still burnt by Joe Burrow and co. for nearly 10 yards per attempt. The offensive line was also sloppy, with each starting lineman committing either a holding penalty or a false start. For a team that fashions themselves as a NFC contender, they certainly didn’t look like that on Sunday.
26. Chicago Bears (0-1)
The Bears were just simply dominated against the Rams on Sunday. The defence has regressed considerably over the years and the offence is one dimensional with Andy Dalton behind centre. The Bears need Justin Fields to give them something they haven’t had in years: an identity.
27. New York Giants (0-1)
Is Daniel Jones the answer for the Giants at quarterback? Danny Dimes brought a typical Danny Dimes performance against the Broncos. At times, he would move the ball well against a stingy Denver defence. But then, the fumbles. When Jones fumbled the ball scrambling inside the Denver 15, it pretty much sealed the Giants fate in the game. If Jones can’t step up and be consistently good, don’t be surprised if his time in the Big Apple comes to a close.
28. Atlanta Falcons (0-1)
Expectations for Atlanta’s offence were sky high heading into Week 1. Sure, they lost Julio Jones. But they snagged Kyle Pitts, a generational prospect at the tight end position with the No. 4 overall pick. But on Sunday, Atlanta just laid an egg. The offence was a no show and the defence was dominated in a 32-6 loss to the Eagles. While struggles on defence are expected from Atlanta, this offence needs to pick up the pace immensely in a tough Week 2 matchup versus Tom Brady and his Buccaneers.
29. Houston Texans (0-1)
Tyrod Taylor for MVP. The veteran led a Texans offence that’s viewed as one of the worst offences in the league to an impressive 37-21 win over Jacksonville. Taylor finished with 331 total yards, two touchdowns and zero turnovers. Not bad for someone who’s been casted away into the abyss for the past few seasons. Go Tyrod go!
30. New York Jets (0-1)
The Jets need to improve their offensive line. Zach Wilson was running for his life in a 19-14 loss against the Panthers. He was sacked six times and hit 10 times in the loss. Even worse news is left tackle Mekhi Becton is out for at least a month with knee surgery now. The Jets need to improve their offensive line, because this type of pressure is unsustainable and dangerous for their new rookie quarterback.
31. Detroit Lions (0-1)
The Lions almost pulled off an impossible comeback against a superior 49ers squad -- an impressive feat since Detroit trailed by 28 points at one point in the second half -- in a 41-33 loss at home. Bad news for Detroit though: cornerback Jeff Okudah suffered a season-ending Achilles injury. The third overall pick never got his rhythm going as a rookie, and now his second season is wiped away before it really ever begins. Some rough stuff.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)
Jacksonville lost to a team that was regarded as the worst team in football, so it’s only natural they rank dead last in our rankings. This was the first loss of Urban Meyer and Trevor Lawrence’s careers. Get ready boys, there’s going to be a lot more where that came from.