Every NFL team (and its fan base) enters Week 1 with unbridled optimism. Exiting Week 1, on the other hand, only half of the league retains its hope. The other half is now mired in the depths of sorrow, wondering if they’ll ever win a game. Such is life in the mercurial, unpredictable NFL. Knee-jerk reactions abound. We will adjust our power rankings based on game results, but keep in mind that one game is only the first step in a months-long marathon.
With that said, here are the updated power rankings entering Week 2 of NFL action:
32. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1, Last week: 29)
Joe Burrow and the Bengals lost a pillow fight at home to Tyrod Taylor and the Chargers. Despite the loss, Burrow put his team in position to win or at least force overtime on his final drive. A nullified touchdown and a missed field goal spoiled both chances.
Next week: at Cleveland (0-1)
31. New York Jets (0-1, Last week: 27)
Buffalo opened up a 21-0 lead in the second quarter and cruised to victory from there. Someone besides Jamison Crowder needs to step up for Sam Darnold. If they don’t, offensive futility could define the 2020 Jets.
Next week: vs. San Francisco (0-1)
30. Los Angeles Chargers (1-0, Last week: 30)
The Chargers should not be punished for a win, but they won’t be rewarded for beating the Bengals by three, either. Casey Hayward had a huge game without secondary-mate Derwin James, tallying 12 tackles and two pass breakups. Austin Ekeler needs to take on more of the offense’s production to help Tyrod Taylor.
Next week: vs. Kansas City (1-0)
29. Atlanta Falcons (0-1, Last week: 23)
In our Week 1 rankings, we mentioned that Matt Ryan would need to be MVP-like for the Falcons to contend. He threw for 450 yards and two scores, and it wasn’t nearly enough. Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Russell Gage all put up big numbers, but the Atlanta secondary provided absolutely no resistance against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks.
Next week: at Dallas (0-1)
28. New York Giants (0-1, Last week: 28)
Saquon Barkley may not make it through a 16-game season if Monday night is any indication. The Giants’ star running back was met in the backfield repeatedly by myriad Steeler defenders, finishing the night with only six yards on 15 carries. Daniel Jones made a few highlight plays, but this offensive line remains among the worst in the league.
Next week: at Chicago (1-0)
27. Miami Dolphins (0-1, Last week: 24)
Jerome Baker‘s standout defensive performance (16 total tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble) kept Miami close against the new-look Patriots. Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s trio of interceptions ultimately proved too much to overcome. The Dolphins’ offense needs a spark, but at least it gave us this magical Jordan Howard stat-line: eight carries for seven yards and one touchdown. Oof.
Next week: vs. Buffalo (1-0)
26. Carolina Panthers (0-1, Last week: 25)
Teddy Bridgewater acquitted himself well in his Carolina debut, and everyone knows what Christian McCaffrey brings to the table. Robby Anderson also announced himself as the team’s top receiver. The Panthers will only tread water, though, until they can muster a pass rush on defense.
Next week: at Tampa Bay (0-1)
25. Cleveland Browns (0-1, Last week: 20)
In Cleveland’s defense, most teams struggle to stop Lamar Jackson and the Ravens’ dynamic attack. However, an offense with Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb, and Kareem Hunt has to put up more than six points. It simply has to.
Next week: vs. Cincinnati (0-1)
24. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0, Last week: 32)
Jacksonville upset the Indianapolis Colts behind a 95% completion rate and three touchdowns from Gardner Minshew. Minshew hit 10 different receivers–four of whom had multiple receptions–and avoided bad plays. The Jaguars were plus-two in turnovers, which helped overcome a deficit in both time of possession (roughly 33 minutes to 27) and total yards (445 to 241).
Next week: at Tennessee (1-0)
23. Philadelphia Eagles (0-1, Last week: 15)
Philadelphia’s injury-ravaged offensive line surrendered eight sacks in Washington Sunday. The Eagles were also minus-three in turnovers and as a result, Washington was able to rattle off 27 unanswered points after trailing 17-0 in the second quarter. Worse yet, defensive linemen Brandon Graham (concussion) and Vinny Curry (hamstring) went down with injuries.
Next week: vs. Los Angeles Rams (1-0)
22. Detroit Lions (0-1, Last week: 18)
The Lions held a 23-6 lead after three quarters but lost a heartbreaker to division rival Chicago. Detroit finished the game without three of its top four cornerbacks, after Jeff Okudah was listed inactive, and Desmond Trufant and Justin Coleman left with injuries. Does Mitch Trubisky have a three-touchdown final quarter if they had been healthy?
Next week: at Green Bay (1-0)
21. Denver Broncos (0-1, Last week: 22)
Head coach Vic Fangio can take some solace in Monday night’s loss to Tennessee. His team is riddled with injuries, and they still held a late fourth quarter lead against a playoff-caliber opponent. Getting players back in good health and closing out tight games will be the focus over the next several weeks.
Next week: at Pittsburgh (1-0)
20. Washington Football Team (1-0, Last week: 31)
Washington has invested a ton of capital in its defensive line in recent years, and against Philadelphia, it finally paid off. Ryan Kerrigan, Chase Young, Montez Sweat, Da’Ron Payne, and Jonathan Allen all recorded at least a half-sack Sunday; all are former first-round picks. With competent offensive output, Washington can steal more upsets this season.
Next week: at Arizona (1-0)
19. Chicago Bears (1-0, Last week: 26)
Going into the fourth quarter in Detroit, Mitch Trubisky had only completed 12 of his 26 pass attempts. Then, the beleaguered quarterback showed up in a big way, finding Anthony Miller, Jimmy Graham, and Javon Wims for touchdowns and the win. David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen also combined for 105 yards on 20 carries.
Next week: vs. New York Giants (0-1)
18. Minnesota Vikings (0-1, Last week: 14)
Minnesota put up decent offensive production in their home opener, scoring 34 points and compiling 382 yards of total offense. Unfortunately, the Green Bay buzzsaw sliced them up for 43 points and 522 total yards. To get back in the win column, the Vikings defense will need to get off of the field, as the Packers held the ball for over 41 of the game’s 60 minutes.
Next week: at Indianapolis (0-1)
17. Houston Texans (0-1, Last week: 13)
Few teams were likely to beat the Chiefs as they unveiled their Super Bowl banner before a rowdy home crowd to open the 2020 season. Houston drew the short stick Thursday night, but their defensive effort also fell disappointingly flat. The Texans’ run defense and offensive line both need to stiffen up if they want to return to the playoffs this year. David Johnson and Will Fuller were bright spots.
Next week: vs. Baltimore (1-0)
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16. Indianapolis Colts (0-1, Last week: 11)
The Colts believed two major offseason acquisitions would help them turn the page from a mediocre 2019 season. While Philip Rivers (363 yards) and DeForest Buckner (six total tackles) played well enough, the end result was the same: a frustrating loss that could/should have been avoided. Marlon Mack is now lost for the season with a torn Achilles tendon, leaving Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines to handle the bulk of the carries moving forward.
Next week: vs. Minnesota (0-1)
15. Las Vegas Raiders (1-0, Last week: 17)
Jon Gruden craves offensive balance more than perhaps any other coach in the game. He got it against the Panthers, with 31 rushes, 30 pass attempts, 372 total yards, and no turnovers. On the other hand, his defense gave up nearly identical numbers and failed to record a turnover of their own. Last season’s breakout defensive star, Maxx Crosby, was conspicuously quiet in this game.
Next week: vs. New Orleans (1-0)
14. Dallas Cowboys (0-1, Last week: 6)
Many in Dallas are fuming about the pass interference penalty levied against receiver Michael Gallup late in the fourth quarter against the Rams. Some will argue that he and Jalen Ramsey were simply hand-fighting, and others will contend that Gallup gained separation with a push-off. Either way, the Cowboys suffered another gut punch to a playoff-caliber opponent–the exact kind of loss that kept them out of the tournament last year.
Next week: vs. Atlanta (0-1)
13. San Francisco 49ers (0-1, Last week: 3)
The 49ers are being decimated by injuries right now, particularly within their offensive line and wide receiver groups. They still have a dominant defensive line and arguably the league’s best play-caller, so Sunday’s loss to Arizona may not be as ominous as it appears. They will need to get their perimeter passing game off of the canvas to turn things around, though, and a healthy George Kittle to boot.
Next week: at New York Jets (0-1)
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1, Last week: 7)
Beating the Saints in the Superdome is hard enough. Doing so with a minus-three turnover margin and two special teams errors (a muffed kickoff return and a blocked field goal) is practically impossible. Tom Brady wasn’t great, but many of his mistakes were correctable, given time to jell with his new teammates and coaches.
Next week: vs. Carolina (0-1)
11. Tennessee Titans (1-0, Last week: 12)
Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill form a nice backfield battery for the Titans, yet it was Corey Davis’ play on Monday night that should be the most encouraging for this season. The former first-round receiver has thus far not lived up to the billing, but he went over 100 yards for only the third time in his career and the first time since 2018. Tennessee’s aggressive defense also forced four Denver fumbles, although they failed to record an official sack.
Next week: vs. Jacksonville (1-0)
10. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0, Last week: 16)
The Steel Curtain lives on in Pittsburgh. The Steelers notched 11.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, and two interceptions in the Meadowlands on Monday night. Will there be enough consistency on offense after losing James Conner, Stefen Wisniewski, and Zach Banner during the course of the game?
Next week: vs. Denver (0-1)
9. Arizona Cardinals (1-0, Last week: 19)
The Cardinals were considered a dark horse playoff contender in many NFL circles this offseason. After knocking off the defending NFC champion 49ers in San Francisco Sunday, that playoff aspiration seems even more real. Former Houston Texan DeAndre Hopkins was the star performer offensively, while Budda Baker and Chandler Jones led the way on the other side of the ball.
Next week: vs. Washington (1-0)
8. Los Angeles Rams (1-0, Last week: 21)
The Rams seemed to return to their old blueprint for success against Dallas Sunday night. Sean McVay dialed up 40 runs, and Malcolm Brown rewarded him with two touchdowns on the ground. Just as positively, Jared Goff was effective in the play-action game, and Aaron Donald lived in the Cowboys’ backfield all night.
Next week: at Philadelphia (0-1)
7. Buffalo Bills (1-0, Last week: 9)
The Bills’ defense continues its stingy play. Josh Allen needs to hold onto the football (two lost fumbles), but the offense was well-balanced against New York otherwise. Devin Singletary and Zack Moss must step up to reduce the team’s reliance on Allen in the running game.
Next week: at Miami (0-1)
6. New England Patriots (1-0, Last week: 8)
If there was any lingering doubt about this being Cam Newton‘s team, suffice it to say that’s no longer the case. Newton was efficient in the passing game, and he was one of six Patriots to rush for at least 22 yards. On the other side of the ball, five pass breakups and three interceptions are a strong reminder that New England is going to be a tough matchup every week.
Next week: at Seattle (1-0)
5. Green Bay Packers (1-0, Last week: 10)
The Vikings are typically a good defensive team, but Aaron Rodgers spearheaded a terrifically balanced campaign on Sunday (32 rush attempts, 32 pass completions, five total touchdowns). Rodgers and Davante Adams have incredible chemistry, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard are quality receiving options as well. The Packers will have to shore up their defensive backfield moving forward, as they gave up a handful of big plays in a shootout win.
Next week: vs. Detroit (0-1)
4. Seattle Seahawks (1-0, Last week: 5)
This just in: Russell Wilson is good at football. Hardly a hot take, and yet Wilson continues to amaze by throwing the same number of touchdowns as incompletions (four apiece) against Atlanta. The run game still leaves a little to be desired, but when Wilson is on, it just doesn’t matter.
Next week: vs. New England (1-0)
3. New Orleans Saints (1-0, Last week: 4)
The Saints played a great game of complementary football against rival Tampa Bay. Drew Brees is clearly not what he used to be, but he can still win in a “game manager” role. New Orleans’ special teams units were a true catalyst, blocking a field goal, recovering a muffed kickoff, and covering well all afternoon.
Next week: at Las Vegas (1-0)
2. Baltimore Ravens (1-0, Last week: 2)
Lamar Jackson played like the reigning league MVP against Cleveland, and the Ravens rolled to an easy divisional win. Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins put up pedestrian rushing numbers–combining to average only three yards per carry–which is worth monitoring in future weeks. One would expect the threat of Jackson’s legs to open up wider running lanes inside for Ingram, Dobbins, and Gus Edwards.
Next week: at Houston (0-1)
1. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0, Last week: 1)
Fuel, meet fire. Kansas City lit up scoreboards on their way to a Super Bowl title in 2019, and they did it without much of a running game. Rookie first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire exploded for 138 yards and a score on the ground against Houston, and it now appears that the Chiefs are even more dangerous than they were before. Good luck trying to stop them this year.
Next week: at Los Angeles Chargers (1-0)