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NFL Power Rankings 2017: Twitchy-Knee Edition

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Whose prospects improved and whose declined when Week One ended?

Los Angeles Chargers v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Welcome back to MHR’s weekly power rankings. It was a wild week one of football, folks, and that means some interesting changes to the power rankings. Things will settle down eventually, but for the moment there are plenty of twitchy knees out there.

Week 2 NFL Power Rankings

1. Green Bay Packers

Last Week: 3 (+2)

A quality win against a tough opponent and rival, combined with the performances of last week’s top two teams sees the Packers take over the top spot heading into Week 2. Aaron Rodgers & company passed a stiff test vs the Seahawks. Will next week’s game vs the Falcons be as tough?

2. Pittsburgh Steelers

Last Week: 4 (+2)

This probably wasn’t the Steelers’ best football, especially in the run game. But Ben Roethlisberger is still there and Antonio Brown is still ridiculously hard to cover. They’re a hard team for anyone to take on.

3. Kansas City Chiefs

Last Week: 11 (+8)

Division rival or not, here’s some credit where it’s due. Not many teams go into Gillette Stadium and steal Tom Brady & company’s lunch money like that. The Chiefs will either prove they belong here over the next few weeks, or I’ll get to have fun busting them back down.

4. New England Patriots

Last Week: 1 (-3)

5. Oakland Raiders

Last Week: 5 (0)

The Raiders had a good outing and controlled their game from start to finish. That said, I wouldn’t take them head to head over any of the four teams above them, so they don’t move up. So get comfy, Raiders fans- abusing the poor Jets in Week 2 will not pull your team up the board either.

6. Dallas Cowboys

Last Week: 6 (0)

The Cowboys find themselves in the same boat as the Raiders, with a strong performance over a team that was expected to be competitive, and yet without a place to move up in the rankings right now. But they’ll face a much stiffer challenge when they arrive in Denver for their Week 2 matchup.

7. Seattle Seahawks

Last Week: 8 (+1)

I share everyone’s concerns about the Seahawks’ atrocious offensive line. But I also started them off lower than most rankers, so a largely competitive outing in Green Bay lets Seattle sneak one spot up.

Seattle Seahawks v Green Bay Packers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

8. Atlanta Falcons

Last Week: 2 (-6)

Go right ahead and blast me for heavily penalizing a team that won. Heck, be mean about it if you want to. But I think this drop is deserved after seeing the Falcons’ performance in Week 1. They should have smashed through Soldier Field like it was still a preseason game. They didn’t. That makes it simple: I don’t think they can beat any team I put above them, so the Falcons drop to 8th.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Last Week: 9 (0)

I’m not changing the ranking for either team whose schedule was impacted by Hurricane Irma. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims.

10. Denver Broncos

Last Week: 13 (+3)

When it comes to power rankings, three quarters of dominance outweigh a ridiculously fluky interception and a no call allowing a TD in spite of a blatant hold. These Broncos looked noticeably better on offense than previous incarnations did, and Trevor Siemian threw some really nice balls out there. The run defense allowed a 21 yard scamper, then locked down hard and allowed just 2.05 yards/carry for the rest of the game. The Broncos deserve to rise into the Top 10 this week.

11. Tennessee Titans

Last Week: 10 (-1)

Only a little drop for the Titans here, as I’d expected them to keep this game a bit closer, but they still did decently.

12. New York Giants

Last Week: 7 (-5)

For a team with one of the best receiving groups in the NFL, this team’s offensive output was pathetic. Sure, Odell Beckham Jr. was out. But if losing one of your two #1 WRs hurts you that bad, you weren’t a top ten team anyway.

13. Detroit Lions

Last Week:15 (+2)

It was a tale of two generations in Detroit yesterday. The bell tolls for Carson Palmer, while Matthew Stafford is in his prime. The league’s highest paid player played like it. Can he maintain that furious pace?

14. Minnesota Vikings

Last Week: 18 (+4)

If there’s a team I did a real disservice in my first set of rankings, it’s probably the Vikings. A playoff team last year with a great defense, they thrashed the Saints in a game that wasn’t as close as the score makes it seem. And honestly… if he keeps playing at anywhere near this level, Sam Bradford may not let Teddy Bridgewater have his job back.

15. Philadelphia Eagles

Last Week: 19 (+4)

A quality win that would’ve moved them up more if not for bad rushing totals.

16. Miami Dolphins

Last Week: 16 (0)

I’m not changing the ranking for either team whose schedule was impacted by Hurricane Irma. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims.

17. Carolina Panthers

Last Week: 20 (+3)

They rolled over a 49ers squad that’s just not NFL ready yet, but did so with some clear signs of rust from quarterback Cam Newton.

18. Los Angeles Rams

Last Week: 26 (+8)

Wow. I mean, wow. That was quite a curb stomping. Are the Colts that bad without Luck? Or are the Rams really that good under their new head coach? Either way, this game was the perfect indictment of Jeff Fisher’s “7-9 bull****”. Can they keep it up?

19. Jacksonville Jaguars

Last Week: 28 (9)

Did the real Jaguars just stand up? It’s an intriguing thought, at least. Perhaps a new coach was exactly what they needed. I’ll put in a vote of confidence in their young, talented defense. But Blake Bortles still sucks and will drag the Jags down with him.

20. Arizona Cardinals

Last Week: 12 (-8)

Please stand back as emergency responders arrive at the scene of the crash. Carson Palmer continues to show his age, and a bad loss on the scoreboard was multiplied by the loss of star running back David Johnson for most or all of the season. I think the Cardinals’ projected win total at the end of the season just dropped by 4 games.

21. Washington Redskins

Last Week: 17 (-4)

A messy game did the Redskins no favors. If Kirk Cousins wants that big payday to play anywhere but Washington, he’s going to have to step it up from here on out.

22. Houston Texans

Last Week: 14 (-8)

When the Jaguars beat you by 3 scores, you know you did something wrong in a big way. Tom Savage lost his job after just two quarters. But the real weakness in my opinion? Bill O’Brien. The Belichick coaching tree produces only rotten fruit in the NFL.

23. Baltimore Ravens

Last Week: 23 (0)

I’m not sure what to make of the Ravens. They crushed Cincinnati, but Flacco clearly wasn’t at 100% and there’s no way they maintain the pace they set for turnovers. They’re staying at 23 until I see more from them.

24. Buffalo Bills

Last Week: 27 (+3)

The Bills rise on the strength of their rushing offense. But next week’s matchup vs the Panthers should give us a more accurate idea of this team’s prospects.

25. Los Angeles Chargers

Last Week: 25 (0)

I’m standing pat on the Chargers, just like the Ravens, as I’m not sure that the plays that made the difference between 21-24 and 7-24 are reliably repeatable. They looked overwhelmed on both sides of the ball for three quarters. A fluke interception, a questionable fumble call, and a glaring no-call for offensive holding on a TD pass do not inspire long term confidence.

26. Cleveland Browns

Last Week: 31st

I’ll give the Browns some credit where it’s due for a surprisingly competitive game against their division rival Steelers. Plus it’s nice to see them this high once, in case they return to form next weekend.

27. New Orleans Saints

Last Week: 22 (-5)

Defensive ineptitude is expected from New Orleans. Heck, it’s practically a tradition for this team. But the lack of offensive production before garbage time was surprising. The Vikings have a great defense, but the Saints’ prospects just took a hit due to having no answer ready.

28. Chicago Bears

Last Week: 30 (+2)

They might have gone a spot or two higher if the surprisingly non-crushing loss to the Falcons hadn’t cost them their #1 WR, Kevin White.

29. Cincinnati Bengals

Last Week: 24 (-5)

The only reason they’re not lower is that it’d be hard for the Bengals to be consistently that bad. But getting shut out in week one? Not a good look.

30. San Francisco 49ers

Last Week: 29 (-1)

First time head coach, rebuilding roster, and possibly playoffs caliber opponent? Nobody should be surprised by the Niners’ week one results.

31. Indianapolis Colts

Last Week: 21 (-10)

This ranking might swing back up once Andrew Luck is back on the field and up to speed. But we don’t know when that will happen, and until then this looks like a bottom 4 team. Say hi to your Dumpster Fire of the Week award winners.

32. New York Jets

Last Week: 32 (0)

Two score loss to an unimpressive Bills team? It’s safe to say the Jets remain grounded.