Week 2 is in the books and week 3 is quickly approaching with the Los Angeles Rams taking on the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday Night.
So who rose and fell in our weekly power rankings?
The AFC West looked extremely strong as three of the four teams moved to 2-0 on the season. The NFC East, on the other hand, looked shaky as only the Washington Redskins escaped with a victory.
The New England Patriots got back to their winning ways, but the injuries continue to pile up. Lucky for them, they should have no problem winning the weak AFC East, even with a depleted defense and secondary.
The Al Dente Dozen; Week 3 NFL Power Rankings
1. Oakland Raiders (2-0) ⇔
The Raiders faced the lowly Jets on Sunday and won handily, 45-20. The offense was clicking, and Marshawn Lynch danced his way to victory in his first game as a Raider in the Oakland Coliseum. Derek Carr finished with fantastic efficiency, completing 23 of 28 passes for 230 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Raiders will next face a more capable offensive threat when they play the Redskins on Sunday night.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) ⇑2
In probably the most competitive game of the week, the Chiefs hung on to defeat the Eagles at Arrowhead. Alex Smith continues to impress and the defense came up with crucial turnovers when they needed them. Kareem Hunt is the talk of the league, but if not for one big play, he was primarily shut down for the game. What makes the Chiefs so potent is their three-headed attack of Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and Kareem Hunt. Sunday showed us that it is awfully hard to shut all three of them down for an entire 60 minutes. Good try Philly.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) ⇔
The Steelers were blessed with the opportunity to face Case Keenum in week 2, and they took full advantage. The defense looked stout, holding Keenum to 167 yards through the air, and Dalvin Cook to 64 yards on the ground. The most impressive stat is that they kept the Vikings out of the end zone for the entire 60 minutes.
I am still a little concerned that Le’Veon Bell averaged 3.2 yards per carry, but Minnesota’s defense is no slouch. If he can get to the level he is capable of, the Pittsburgh Steelers are a complete team.
4. New England Patriots (1-1) ⇑1
Well, we knew it would be a high-scoring game, and Brady and the Patriots did not disappoint. New England came out swinging as Tom Brady threw three touchdowns in the first quarter en route to a 447-yard day. They slowed down a bit in the second half only notching six points, but it was plenty to seal a 16-point victory. There are still concerns on defense, and the injuries seem to keep piling up, but at this point, the Patriots are still one of the top teams in the NFL.
5. Denver Broncos (2-0) ⇑3
Probably the biggest surprise of the week came in FOX’s Game of the Week, in the form of the Upset of the Week. I have been higher on the Denver Broncos than most, and the resounding victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday proved me a little more sane. The rush defense looked impenetrable against arguably one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL, even with a few key injuries on the defensive line. Couple the new and improved rush defense with the “No Fly Zone,” and you have one of scariest defenses in the game.
On the other side of the ball, C.J. Anderson, Jamaal Charles, and Co. have been very productive which has opened up the passing game for Trevor Siemian, who leads the NFL in passing touchdowns with six. Two games is an extremely small sample size, but the Denver Broncos have the pieces to contend for an AFC West title. They travel to Buffalo on Sunday to face another tough rushing opponent in the Bills.
6. Atlanta Falcons (2-0) ⇑1
That’s more like it! After a sloppy game against the Chicago Bears in week 1, the Falcons looked more like the defending NFC Champions in their victory over the Green Bay Packers. The defense did its job and held Rodgers in check for most of the game. The two-headed attack of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman was very effective, compiling three touchdowns between the two of them, and the tandem of Mohamed Sanu and Julio Jones complemented each other nicely in open space. Week 3 could be the game of the week as Atlanta faces off against the Detroit Lions.
The secondary is a major concern, though, as injuries continue to pile up. I’m not panicking yet, but my finger is resting gently on the button.
7. Green Bay Packers (1-1) ⇓5
After a tough loss against the Falcons, the Packers will look to rebound in week 3. The NFL is a league that scoffs at excuses, but it’s tough to go on the road and face elite edge rushers while missing both starting tackles. David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga were both sidelined with injuries, not mention that Jordy Nelson and Mike Daniels left the contest early with injuries. On the positive side, the running game and Ty Montgomery have been surprisingly efficient, and the best quarterback in the game is still suiting up for the green and yellow. Everyone one just relax.
8. Detroit Lions (2-0) ⇑2
The Detroit Lions were able to continue the ineptitude of the New York Giants offense in week 2. They held New York to 63 net rushing yards and put pressure in Eli Manning‘s face all night. Perhaps most impressive, was Detroit’s commitment to the run. Ameer Abdullah finished with 86 yards on the ground, with an average of 5.1 yards per carry. This is the kind of offensive balance that the Lions will need if they want to continue to be a top team throughout the season.
9. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) ⇔
It was a dogfight in Kansas City and Philadelphia came out a little more bloodied. The defense fought hard and limited the Chiefs offense except for a few big plays, but those big plays led to touchdowns. Carson Wentz played very well again but did have a costly turnover. He will have to eliminate those in order to have success down the stretch. The biggest concern for the Eagles, however, is the running game. There is a reason why there were rumors of LeGarrette Blount not making the final roster and it shows after he didn’t even make the box score in the rushing category against the Chiefs. Darren Sproles is a great complimentary back but is not who they need in the lead role. This needs to be addressed ASAP.
10. Dallas Cowboys (1-1) ⇓4
The Dallas Cowboys got downright embarrassed in the Mile High City against the Denver Broncos. The running game could get nothing going, and the secondary made Trevor Siemian look like the league MVP, while the front 7 was polishing the comeback player of the year award for C.J. Anderson. Lucky, for them, it is only one game and extremely early in the season. I would presume that Ezekiel Elliott will bounce back, assuming he doesn’t quit on his team again before week 3, and Dak Prescott should get the offense back on track. The secondary is a major concern, though, as injuries continue to pile up. I’m not panicking yet, but my finger is resting gently on the button.
11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) ⇑1
The Buccaneers looked great in all facets of the game on Sunday. Granted it was against Mike Glennon and the Chicago Bears, but they are still an NFL team and you have to suit up and play every game. The defense looked as vicious as it did back in the early 2000’s with Gerald McCoy feeling reminiscent of Warren Sapp. If Sam Bradford is a no go for Minnesota on Sunday, expect Tampa Bay to walk away with a win, handily.
12. Tennessee Titans (1-1) N/A
The Titans looked a lot more like what we expected them to look like when they squared off against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Dick LeBeau‘s defense was dominant, and the offense displayed a heavy rushing attack. Even with DeMarco Murray having a quiet game, Derrick Henry seized the opportunity to prove why he won the Heisman Trophy at the University of Alabama. Delanie Walker again proved that he is an ageless wonder as he led the team in receiving and had a rushing touchdown. I expect big things from Tennessee this year and see them winning the AFC South fairly easily.