With the dust settling on week 2 we’re already 1/8th of the way through the NFL calendar. Crazy, I know. It’s still early enough for things to change pretty wildly, but there’s definitely a few trends that look like they’re going to stick around.
So there will be a little less movement than last week. Before you send me a nasty meme or grab your pitchfork, try to remember that I base the rankings off how I see each team’s chances at the Super Bowl this year.
So the Saints losing to Los Angeles isn’t anywhere near as concerning for me as the fact that Drew Brees injured his hand. The Steelers aren’t dropping because of their loss to a non-conference foe so much as Ben Roethlisberger’s injury and the other issues cropping up.
Let’s dive in:
NFL Power Rankings
Tank for Tua, or suck for the Duck?
32. Miami Dolphins (0-2)
With the Phish are having a fire sale, Elway should inquire about linebacker Jerome Baker.
September 17, 2019
31. New York Giants (0-2)
The G-men aren’t relevant until Daniel Jones steps into the starting lineup. Even then, they’re basically the FCS school all of the SEC teams beat up on before they get serious.
30. Cincinnati Bengals (0-2)
If he hasn’t been scooped up, grab John Ross for your fantasy team.
If he isn’t available, check if A.J. Green is for some reason.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2)
Just imagine the week 3 Gardner Minshew stories if Doug Marrone hadn’t wasted his 2-point play running the ball on Sunday.
28. Washington (0-2)
Keep this in mind the next time someone cites conventional stats:
Case Keenum: 56/81 601 yards and 5 touchdowns, zero interceptions, two sacks.
Joe Flacco: 56/81 560 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, five sacks.
27. New York Jets (0-2)
26. Denver Broncos (0-2
This looks harsh ‘til you take a peek at the Broncos 2019 schedule:
Broncos 2019 regular season schedule
|1||Sep 9||at Raiders (MNF)||8:20 PM||ESPN||24-16 L||0-1|
|2||Sep 15||vs Bears||2:25 PM||FOX||16-14 L||0-2|
|3||Sep 22||at Packers||11:00 AM||FOX||27-16 L||0-3|
|4||Sep 29||vs Jaguars||2:25 PM||CBS||26-24 L||0-4|
|5||Oct. 6||at Chargers||2:05 PM||CBS||20-13 W||1-4|
|6||Oct 13||vs Titans||2:25 PM||CBS||16-0 W||2-4|
|7||Oct 17||vs Chiefs (TNF)||6:20 PM||NFLN||30-6 L||2-5|
|8||Oct 27||at Colts||11:00 AM||CBS||15-13 L||2-6|
|9||Nov 3||vs Browns||2:25 PM||CBS||24-19 W||3-6|
|11||Nov 17||at Vikings||11:00 AM||CBS||27-23 L||3-7|
|12||Nov 24||at Bills||11:00 AM||CBS||20-3 L||3-8|
|13||Dec 1||vs Chargers||2:25 PM||CBS||23-20 W||4-8|
|14||Dec 8||at Texans||11:00 AM||CBS||38-24 W||5-8|
|15||Dec 15||at Chiefs||11:00 AM||CBS||23-3 L||5-9|
|16||Dec 22||vs Lions||2:05 PM||CBS||27-17 W||6-9|
|17||Dec 29||vs Raiders||2:25 PM||CBS||16-15 W||7-9|
25. Oakland Raiders (1-1)
Bigger than the outcome is how hapless they looked down the stretch. Take a look at Gruden’s O after the Derek Carr touchdown created a 10-3 lead in the first quarter:
End of Half
The #Chiefs will now have a winning record against the Raiders at the Oakland Coliseum...forever.— BJ Kissel (@ChiefsReporter) September 16, 2019
24. Buffalo Bills (2-0)
Turns out the Bills are the best team in New York. That’s worth something, right?
23. Arizona Cardinals (0-1-1)
Probably the most entertaining bad team. Kliff and Kyler Murray are headed towards something really fun. Vance Joseph is around to insure they need to score three touchdowns every week to have a fighting chance.
Vance Joseph is extra Vancy today. https://t.co/DIYM2QsTAS— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) September 15, 2019
22. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-2)
Even if Ben Roethlisberger hadn’t gotten hurt this offense looked average, at best. They don’t have a legitimate weapon across from Juju Smith-Schuster, unless you count Vance McDonald and his two touchdowns Sunday.
On defense, they’re having a ton of the same issues they had last year. Even after adding some premier talent in the draft and Steven Nelson in free agency. I know, it’s crazy: Turns out Devin Bush isn’t the savant he was made out to be this preseason.
I suspect Keith Butler’s coaching on borrowed time.
This loss is on the defense. Just a poor job of coverage over the middle by these LBs and safeties. Very poor game overall by them aside from the two turnovers. This is a damn tough loss.— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) September 15, 2019
In the middle of Monday Night Football last night, Kevin Colbert seemed to recognize the issue. The Steelers acquired Minkah Fitzpatrick from the Miami Dolphins in exchange for their 2020 first round pick.
It’s an incredibly risky move considering the team is turning to Mason Rudolph for the rest of the season and sit at 0-2 with 15.3% chance at the playoffs, according to Football Outsiders. If nothing else, the trade really illustrates how desperate things are looking in Pittsburgh.
If you read my thoughts on Fitzpatrick last week, you’ll know I liked him a lot. That said, I’m pretty dang glad Elway balked at the cost.
According to @fboutsiders Playoff Odds Report that runs an NFL season simulation 25,000 times the #Steelers finished with a top 5 pick 23.6% of the time prior to this trade.— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) September 17, 2019
Risky move to trade a first for Minkah Fitzpatrick.
21. Chicago Bears (1-1)
What’s more concerning if you’re a Bears fan:
A) That Eddy Pineiro is the team’s leading scorer through two weeks?
B) That Joe Flacco completed 70% of his passes against you?
20. Carolina Panthers (0-2)
Cam Newton hasn’t scored a touchdown in the last four games he started. That isn’t a typo. Over that span he’s thrown three interceptions, fumbled twice, taken 11 sacks, and completed 57% of his passes.
19. Detroit Lions (1-0-1)
Good enough to beat the Chargers, bad enough to blow it against the Cardinals, and technically, they have a winning record today. The 2019 Lions.
18. Tennessee Titans (1-1)
The Titans are 3 for 20 on third down so far this season.— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) September 16, 2019
Fatally flawed, but maybe?
17. Indianapolis Colts (1-1)
How did Jacoby Brisset throw for three touchdowns and earn a sub-30 QBR? Ask ESPN, I have no idea.
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1)
Going to take a second to give some huge props to Shaquil Barrett, who chose to sign a 1-year $5 million deal to play in the Todd Bowles defense last spring. So far it sure looks like the bet on himself is going to pay off huge in 2020.
Shaq Barrett is the first Buccaneer to have three sacks in a single game since Jacquies Smith did it at New Orleans on Sept. 20, 2015.— Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) September 13, 2019
15. Atlanta Falcons (1-1)
NFC South is wide open.— Scott Kacsmar (@ScottKacsmar) September 16, 2019
Probably Playoff Contenders
14. New Orleans Saints (1-1)
They slide down a tier or two if you don’t believe in Teddy Bridgewater. I defer to Sean Payton here. On the plus side, less Taysom Hill in the short term can only help their O.
13. Los Angeles Chargers (1-1)
Rivers makes them tough to count out, but it’s fair to wonder how many serious injuries this team can suffer before their Super Bowl dreams are underwater.
12. Minnesota Vikings (1-1)
Everyone knows I'm not saying this to defend Joe Flacco or Case Keenum, but thank god the #Broncos didn't blow $84 million on Kirk Cousins.— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) September 15, 2019
11. Houston Texans (1-1)
Squeaking by a rookie fifth round quarterback looks even worse than this:
Per @MikeGarafolo, #Jaguars starting QB Gardner Minshew III stretches in the pre-game locker room in nothing but a jockstrap. Again, our hero— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 15, 2019
10. San Francisco 49ers (2-0)
9. Cleveland Browns (1-1)
I know the analytics probably doesn’t back this up, but watching Cleveland last night it sure looked like the best way to protect Baker Mayfield is feeding Nick Chubb.
8. Seattle Seahawks (2-0)
Good teams beat bad teams badly, so if you wanted to fight me over Shanny’s club sitting a spot below the Seachickens I’d consider the argument. I can’t buy into Jimmy Garropolo in games that matter ‘til I see the two face off, though. The NFC West is looking like it will be one of the most entertaining divisions in football this year.
7. Baltimore Ravens (2-0)
Buying the Lamar Jackson hype, hoping it holds out when he faces a real NFL defense.
6. Los Angeles Rams (2-0)
Is there a luckier undefeated team?
5. Dallas Cowboys (2-0)
Through the first quarter of the Cowboys’ divisional matchup it sure looked like the Kellen Moore offense was essentially throwing a little nail polish on the lipsticked pig. It’s time to move past that, and to also appreciate the work Jon Kitna’s done to coach up Dak Prescott.
If the 4th-year passer keeps it up, Jerry’s going to have to tap a couple of extra oil wells to pay him. My questions going forward center on Big D’s defense. 21 points to a Case Keenum offense is cause for a little concern.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)
My brother the Iggles fan blew up my phone as Atlanta eked out their win Sunday night. Here’s what he said:
Refs @#%@ the eagles out of a game
Between the 2 point and that B.S. call
Here’s what I sent back, verbatim:
Welcome to the club.
This was called roughing the passer on Bradley Chubb. pic.twitter.com/EA20wdl3gi— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) September 15, 2019
3. Green Bay Packers (2-0)
After the first quarter in the Vikings game I was ready to predict a blowout for the Broncos this weekend. Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams looked unstoppable and the Vikings were running in place.
I still need to look back through everything on the All-22, but this team looks as legit as any Denver will face in 2019. Matt LaFleuer is still figuring it out on offense, but the defense is every bit as scary as Chicago’s with a better play caller pulling the strings in Mike Pettine.
It’s going to be an interesting test.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (2-0)
Patrick Mahomes turned 24 yesterday. Elway’s got a lot of work to do if the Broncos hope to keep up.
Patrick Mahomes, who has played 19 games, recorded his sixth game with at least 300 passing yards and four TDs, surpassing Hall of Famers Dan Marino (five games) and Kurt Warner (five) for most games with at least 300 yards and four passing TDs in a player’s first 40 NFL games.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 16, 2019
Heavy lays the crown?
1. New England Patriots (2-0)
Barring some sort of catastrophic injury, everyone else is playing for second place.