NFL Power Rankings, Week 2: Patriots, Broncos shoot to the top

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That boy good.

Week 1 was chock-full of thrillers, track meets and even an old-fashioned slugfest, yet Carson Wentz displayed as much star power as anyone in the game on Sunday, whether his college pedigree is up to snuff or not. The other young quarterback who deserves to be mentioned right there with the North Dakota State product is Jimmy Garoppolo, he of Eastern Illinois fame. And how about another team featuring another inexperienced QB?

Yep. After Graham Gano missed his second attempt, a rush of Broncos fans came at me on Twitter, yapping about my incorrect pick of that game. (Don't think I was alone there ...) That doesn't take away from Trevor Siemian earning his first career win in his first career start against a darn good team.

Did get some positive vibes from that social media platform, though:

Thanks, Kia. I haven't driven you, but I do love me some Tecmo Super Bowl. Do you offer anything with AM/FM/cassette?

Like Siemian's Broncos, Video Bo's Raiders prevailed. As did the Chiefs, in comeback fashion. So how do all the AFC West winners stack up? See that -- along with the rest of the league hierarchy -- below. Your thoughts on such matters are welcome: @HarrisonNFL is the place.

Let the dissension commence!

NOTE: The lineup below reflects changes from our Sept. 6 Power Rankings.

PREVIOUS: Week 1 | Preseason | Post-draft | Post-free agency

RANK

1

1-0 PATRIOTS

4

This is deserved, for the following reasons:

a) The Patriots beat the most talented team in the league on the road.
b) They did it with their backup quarterback.
c) They did it without arguably the premier tight end in league history.
d) One of the top-two quarterbacks in history returns in a few weeks.
e) New England controlled the game almost wire to wire.

Will take your flak here: @HarrisonNFL.

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2

1-0 BRONCOS

4

What an impressive win for the Broncos, miss or no miss at the end. The Kickoff Game was a hard-fought slugfest with big hits (some a little too violent, apparently) between evenly matched teams, with the superior defense prevailing. It was a nod to the '77 Broncos, who often won ugly. Don't misunderstand, though -- that's their style, and every W (in this case, against a top contender) counts. Now, some Broncos fans were all over me for being an "idiot" and picking against them -- after Graham Gano's field-goal attempt in the closing seconds went wide left. Didn't hear a word before then. Here's the thing with Gary Kubiak's group: The Broncos are well-coached and, based on their style of play, will always have a chance to win.

Power Rankings randomness: I was really impressed with Todd Davis (seven tackles, 0.5 sacks), starting at ILB now with Danny Trevathan in Chicago.

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3

1-0 PACKERS

1

After a heartbreaking loss in the playoffs last season, the Packers responded on the road against a Jaguars team that could be a playoff participant this season. I don't write about Aaron Rodgers often. Maybe I should. What an accurate throw in a tight window to Jordy Nelson in the end zone. Then, with Jalen Ramsey -- he of the pregame "Throw my way if you want to" challenge -- hanging on him, he somehow slung the ball to where only Davante Adams could catch it. Tough to decide what was more impressive: the fact that Rodgers got the ball off, or that Adams completed a catch. Decisions.

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4

1-0 STEELERS

3

Statement game from the Steelers on the first stanza of Monday night's double-dip. Please allow for us to spotlight one player: DeAngelo Williams. The dude is absolutely amazing. He rushed for 143 yards, including 73 in the fourth quarter, and pulled off the sickest move between two defenders you'll ever see. What a pro. Meanwhile, part of being a powerful team is winning with depth, thus the leapfrog over the Seahawks.

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5

1-0 SEAHAWKS

2

Typical Seahawks win on Sunday. Sluggish offense, until Russell Wilson produces magic on the final drive. Then it gets turned over to the Dennis Eckersley of football: the Seattle defense. The one issue with these Seahawks resembles something that also has dogged the Mike Tomlin-era Steelers, and it drives their fans crazy: They seem to play down to their opponent. How many times have we seen lesser teams play Seattle tight until the very end? Oh well -- a win is a win is a win, right?

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6

0-1 PANTHERS

5

Apparently Cobra Kai-ing a quarterback and intentional grounding offset. In unrelated news, wonderful to see Kelvin Benjamin out there making plays. Jonathan Stewart, an unsung stud from last year's 15-1 team, ran hard on several instances. (The 29-year-old is no spring chicken at the running back position.) Luke Kuechly munched from sideline to sideline. Yet, growing pains will be there with the young corners, something that will be mitigated if -- if -- Carolina can create more edge pressure. Next up: at home versus the 49ers.

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7

0-1 CARDINALS

5

You could see holder Drew Butler mouth to Chandler Catanzaro "bad snap" on the NBC telecast. Another quality ballgame Sunday night, capping off a weekend of buzzer-beaters and misses. Another Hall of Fame showing from Larry Fitzgerald, too, which hopefully doesn't get lost in the, well, loss. The over-the-shoulder catch in the end zone was flat ridiculous. David Johnson absolutely made sure people know his rookie season was no fluke. Carson Palmer? Not a steady performance. That follows a shaky preseason ... which follows a turnover-filled NFC title game ... which follows an inconsistent performance versus the Packers in the Divisional Round the week prior. Hmm.

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8

1-0 BENGALS

1

Now that's how you shut people up, Andy Dalton. The Bengals' franchise -- that's right, franchise -- quarterback shook off seven sacks to make plays when his team needed it on Sunday. Would you believe that was the first time Cincinnati beat the Jets in New York in 10 meetings? The first loss there came in the last game of Cincy's inaugural season, in 1968, against Joe Namath and the eventual Super Bowl champion Jets. Back to Sunday: How about A.J. Green catching 12 freaking balls for 180 yards and a touchdown? Making Revis Island look more like Revis Port.

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9

1-0 CHIEFS

1

So it just wouldn't be Chargers at Chiefs if it wasn't a wild deal. We detailed such happenings in my game picks column last week, and what went down in Arrowhead on Sunday didn't disappoint. Give Kansas City much credit for coming back from 21 points down, although they lose a spot in the rankings to the Bengals (who won on the road against a superior opponent). Spencer Ware filled in nicely for Jamaal Charles once again, particularly in the passing game (seven catches for 129 yards). He is the fantasy waiver-wire darling of the week, fo sho.

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10

1-0 VIKINGS

Heckuva show-up-and-steal-one-on-the-road rendering from the Vikings. Of course, the defense stole the show Sunday, providing two touchdowns for an offense that sputtered most of the afternoon. Although quarterback Shaun Hill made a few throws the team needed, sporting a sweet little connection with the oft-forgotten Stefon Diggs (103 yards on seven catches). Adrian Peterson could never get going, as the Titans' defense dared Hill to beat them. He didn't, but the entire team did.

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11

1-0 TEXANS

1

What a fantastic matchup we'll have down in Houston this weekend. If I could get off work, Chiefs-Texans is the game I would go to ... catch brunch at Georges off Westheimer in Midtown, then head down to NRG to catch a Jadeveon Clowney sack or two. Speaking of, he racked up four tackles and a quarterback trap in Chicago on Sunday. Lamar Miller produced a 100-yard outing in his first game in a Texans uniform. Will Fuller posted 100 yards in his first game as a pro. Brock Osweiler? Solid.

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12

1-0 RAIDERS

1

Gutsy move, Jack Del Rio. Feeling pretty good about that Coach of the Year prediction for the Raiders' front man. Securing the first opening-day win in five years by virtue of going for two was only surpassed by the tweet that came from Del Rio hours later. So why the slight drop for the Raiders, you ask? The defense. Coordinator Ken Norton's side of the ball was supposed to be a major factor in Oakland's revival, but 507 yards from the Saints later, that's a tough sell.

Power Rankings side note: Not sure why, but lost in Sunday's drama is the ridiculously clutch catch Michael Crabtree made to score those all-important two points.

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13

1-0 BUCCANEERS

2

Take your Jameis Winston sophomore slump theory and shove it in the attic with your Teddy Ruxpin, GoBots and Vinny Testaverde "Starting Lineup" figurine. Winston performed brilliantly for much of the afternoon against the Falcons on Sunday (281 passing yards, four touchdowns, one pick and a 122.6 passer rating), with a little help from the heretofore underwhelming Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who outdid himself with a diving catch in the end zone. (Imagine how, er, functional this Bucs offense could be if the light bulb came on for ASJ.) More importantly, Tampa Bay suddenly finds itself being the only NFC South team with a win. #1-0

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14

0-1 JETS

Narrow loss for the Jets on Sunday, with many missed opportunities along the way. New York's defense sacked Andy Dalton seven times. It didn't allow the Bengals' run game to do jack crap. Yet, the offense couldn't convert on third down, while kicker Nick Folk missed an extra point and had a 22-yard field-goal try blocked. It all added up to a New York calzone packed with the suckiness of an 0-1 start that easily could have been 1-0. Next up: at Rex.

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15

1-0 GIANTS

4

Eli Manning didn't fare so well in Dallas most of the afternoon, but as has so often been the case in his 13-year career (can you believe he's been in the league that long?), he completed several clutch passes to deliver a win late at JerryWorld. So different than what came about in last year's opener ... which was also against the Cowboys and also on the road. Unlike last year: No floaters to the cheap seats when burning clock was slightly pertinent. No miscommunication with Rashad Jennings. Nope, simply fourth-quarter football, with Victor Cruz topping it with salsa.

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16

1-0 RAVENS

4

Nice to be on the fun side of a one-score win for a change, huh? The Ravens dialed it back 16 years by dominating the Bills defensively on opening Sunday. Buffalo tallied all of seven points. The stuff about former Raven Tyrod Taylor valiantly returning to Baltimore got washed down with crabcakes, a Heavy Seas Loose Cannon IPA and 95 net yards passing. Ninety-five. Those numbers belong in 1955, much less the 2000s. The Ravens are one game closer to getting back to the familiar postseason.

Must watch: Baltimore receiver Breshad Perriman showing us what we missed in his lost 2015 season.

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17

1-0 LIONS

6

Alright, be straight with yourself: After Lions kicker Matt Prater missed that extra point, you thought this was going to be a typical Detroit loss, right? Just like the one versus the Packers last December. Just like the playoff game in Dallas two seasons ago. If you're not a Lions fan, you were spared the wildest ups and downs of an NFL fourth quarter, save for the fact that something strange happened along the way: Matthew Stafford delivered and Detroit -- which isn't cursed -- got to 1-0. The only thing that stood out more than Stafford's poise Sunday was how airheaded Lions receivers were about getting out of bounds. Apparently it is not a Terrance Williams exclusive.

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18

0-1 JAGUARS

1

The Jaguars hung tough on Sunday, although many of the traits from last season held true in Week 1. Last year, Jacksonville scored 23.5 points per game, though the defense was more of an issue, allowing 28. So Jacksonville lost by the score of 27-23 to Green Bay. Obvi. (Sorry, too much Snapchatting has altered my writing.) The good? The overall passing game and the stronger-looking secondary. The bad? Red-zone inefficiency and an anemic run game that might have been better with Chris Ivory logging some carries. The ugly? No pass rush. Tell me you haven't read that before, Jags fans. That's my 10-cent breakdown of the game. Still believe in this team.

RANK

19

0-1 COWBOYS

1

Gushing praise keeps falling on Dak Prescott's head, like all those tribbles on Captain Kirk's dome. So here's a bit of equalizing: Tony Romo would have completed throws that his rookie replacement missed Sunday. The pregame story that the "door is open" for Prescott to keep the starting job was ill-timed, at best. Prescott absolutely showed poise and fared well for his first start. Yet, anyone who watched every play of the second half of Dallas' loss to the Giants saw a quarterback who missed several open receivers despite having plenty of time to throw. That's fact. Doesn't mean Prescott won't be awesome. Unfortunately, Jason Witten lost an important one in the sun, but there were other opportunities missed. Not trying to be unfair here -- you know, I want to stay inbounds with my critique of Prescott's play ...

RANK

20

0-1 DOLPHINS

1

Yes, a small bump, even though they did lose. The Dolphins hung tough in the toughest place to play in the NFL. The defense deserves much credit for its performance. The Seahawks didn't score a touchdown until the end of the fourth quarter. Seattle's vaunted running game might've pieced together 112 yards, but it took 32 carries to get there. Unfortunately, Ryan Tannehill missed on a deep ball on the final drive that could've led to a game-winning field goal attempt. Kenny Stills dropped one, as well. Some things never seem to go away. Like this. Maybe Stills could've used a gift like that on Sunday.

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21

0-1 REDSKINS

8

Huge drop for Washington here. Make no mistake: The Redskins were dominated more than any team in the league in Week 1. (Well, until the Rams took the field later in the evening.) The run defense was lit up by a 33-year-old tailback over and over again. The pass rush couldn't close the door on Ben Roethlisberger. And while Kirk Cousins threw for a lot of yards, his stats merely reflect the emptiness of a 300-yard game in today's NFL. What a disappointment for Redskins fans.

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22

0-1 BILLS

6

The one word you could use to describe the Bills' offense Sunday was, well, offensive. Ugh. Tyrod Taylor and the passing "attack" generated less than 100 net yards. #GetExcited. Reggie Bush contributed three carries for negative yards, so that's fun. And now Buffalo's scariest weapon is feeling pain. That said, the defense held the fort multiple times despite being on the field too long. Spoke to a Bills fan in our NFL West office Sunday, @PatrickCrawleyNFL, who said it was nice that I support the team so much. "Nice," he said, "if it didn't sound like you feel sorry for them." My reply ...

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23

1-0 EAGLES

3

Nice jump here for Philly, though I'm holding steady (for now) on overreacting. Coordinator Jim Schwartz's defense displayed its facelift from 2015. Without much tape on Carson Wentz, the Browns' defense struggled. We'll see if Wentz can play within himself in Week 2. Love that the running game plowed for a buck and change. The Eagles definitely look ready to soar. Oh boy, that was cheesy. It brings back memories of the old Dick Stockton intros for the CBS Game of the Week. Ron Jaworski has an eagle eye for Mike Quick ... as the fourth-place Eagles look to soar past Neil Lomax's Cardinals, todddaaaaaay on CBSSSSSSS! Maybe it was Dan Jiggetts or Jim Hill, not Stockton. It was pure greatness, either way.

RANK

24

1-0 49ERS

7

Major ascension for the 49ers, climbing seven rungs in the Power Rankings ladder behind a dominating performance on both sides of the line of scrimmage. The ground game was firing on all cylinders. The front seven gave Todd Gurley no seams, with safety Eric Reid often coming down into the box moments before disrupting the play or settling matters himself. Blaine Gabbert hesitated on a few throws, yet was solid overall. Chip Kelly, everyone.

RANK

25

0-1 COLTS

1

Poor Andrew Luck. The guy played his guts out in the loss to Detroit. (Figuratively. He literally played his guts out last year.) I think Luck received slightly too much credit early in his career, but I'm thinking he deserves more now. What a beauty of a deep throw he put on Phillip Dorsett to set up a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth. Prior to the pass, it appeared he was being too frivolous with the clock -- then Luck simply dropped it in the bucket for 33 yards. Ultimately, though, the Colts left 37 seconds for Matthew Stafford to utilize. With Indy's pass rush, that's enough time to read "The Canterbury Tales."

RANK

26

0-1 TITANS

4

Why are the Titans, who lost, suddenly lower than the Colts, who also lost? Because Andrew Luck, Chuck Pagano and Indy have a track record of pulling out difficult games. While Tennessee's talent level might be higher than that of its AFC South adversary in Indy, the Titans consistently have invented ways of losing games: You know, like botched handoffs that lead to defensive scores -- facepalm football stuff. Remarkably, Tennessee has gone 1-7 at home in each of the past two seasons. Playing against Shaun Hill, the Titans should have equaled that win total for 2016 on Sunday.

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27

0-1 SAINTS

New Orleans fared better than the Falcons did Sunday, and stayed with what we think is a superior Raiders team all afternoon. La problema para los Santos is the continuing weak play of the secondary, which provided Derek Carr far too many openings. Of course, having to hold coverage for five Mississippis isn't even fair in backyard football. Said it before and I'll write it again: Brandin Cooks is going to go BIG this year ... 1,500 yards and 10 touchdowns.

RANK

28

0-1 FALCONS

3

All of the concern -- including Power Rankings concern -- regarding Matt Ryan seems to be off the mark. The Falcons' quarterback was on target Sunday, putting in a fine day's work that Dan Quinn's defense simply couldn't preserve. Atlanta's defense played far from terrible, but couldn't limit Jameis Winston and the Bucs' offense to field goals. The fantasy folks already are giving up on Devonta Freeman (11 carries for 20 yards), but isn't that a bit premature after one week? They are a cold, heartless people.

RANK

29

0-1 CHARGERS

This Keenan Allen news sucks so bad, who wants to write about it? Last week, we pontificated on the football gods, and whether the Chargers were on their radar. Welp. The blown 21-point lead, Allen going down and an overtime loss makes one think Philip Rivers is the cursed Medusa from the old "Clash of the Titans." I want him to be the Harry Hamlin (no, not "L.A. Law" Harry Hamlin; shield-bearing badass Harry Hamlin). Let's hope Travis Benjamin can be more than a home-run hitter and perfect the full route tree.

RANK

30

0-1 BEARS

The bold hypothetical of the Bears going 10-6 in the All-32 column from a month ago suddenly looks, uhh, quite bold. The offense got diddly-poo done Sunday. At least the defense made up for it by not stopping anybody on third down. The Texans converted 12 third downs. Twelve. Twelve! Houston successfully moved the chains on the all-important down as many times as Jay Cutler completed a pass. Let's see what happens this week against rookie Carson Wentz. Surely it will get better(?)

RANK

31

0-1 RAMS

3

Frustrating debut for the new/old Los Angeles Rams. Todd Gurley might only need a few inches of daylight, à la Gale Sayers, but those crevices weren't there to slip through Monday night. Until the Rams' play up front significantly improves, Gurley's focus might have to shift from breaking big gainers to knowing the value of a 3-yard run. Easy for fans to blame Case Keenum, but much went into the loss Monday night. Team brass is smart to sit Jared Goff.

RANK

32

0-1 BROWNS

So ... Terrelle Pryor's catch was sweet. But not much to get excited about from the Brownies on Sunday. The botched snap early in the third that resulted in a safety sent everything Cleveland in a downward spiral. Now RGIII is on IR. Still, the guess here is that the Browns will give the Ravens all they can handle at home this weekend. Who could forget this matchup last year?

Historical note: While Browns at Eagles in 2016 turned up gnarly, Browns at Eagles in 1950 was one of the most significant games in NFL history. Paul Brown's franchise won four AAFC titles prior to the NFL assimilating it as part of its membership. In his infinite wisdom, Commissioner Bert Bell decided to schedule this upstart squad against the two-time league champion Philadelphia Eagles in a special Saturday opener -- kind of a 1950s "kickoff game" -- to increase interest in what was then America's fourth-most popular sport. It was no contest. As in, Philadelphia's vaunted defense could do nothing to contest Otto Graham and the innovative Cleveland offense. Browns 35, Eagles 10.

Follow Elliot Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonNFL.

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