It's neck-on-the-line time again as I begin my weekly NFL Power Rankings column. To save you the bother of reaching out on social media, I will forewarn you that this will not simply be a list featuring 16 1-0 teams at the top and 16 opening weekend losers at the bottom. One game has impacted my thoughts on a few teams, but it does not make a season. Here we go…
There were some areas of concern with the pass protection at times but the speed with which the Chiefs can score is startling and game-changing. The defense also stood up big with their Week 1 game in doubt.
The Bucs turned the ball over four times and still scored 31 points in a huge opening night win over Dallas. There are some worries about the secondary, but the offense will be fun to watch all year long.
I know, I know… it was only one game. But didn’t Matthew Stafford look amazing for the Rams? The deep ball is now a part of this attack. Add in the way LA used Jalen Ramsey on D and there is great excitement.
More than 170 rushing yards, Jameis Winston throws for five touchdowns and no picks and the Saints get a couple of interceptions off Aaron Rodgers. Tidy, fundamentally-sound football. Nothing to fault so far.
The Seahawks dominated their Week 1 game in Indianapolis and it was not just pretty rainbow passes from Russell Wilson to Tyler Lockett. Their defensive front could be a sneaky-good group this year.
Pittsburgh have some issues on offense, most notably a continued inability to get the running game going. But their defense is legit great and will keep them in – and win – a lot of games in 2021.
Let’s not kill the Bills too badly for losing to a quality opponent in the Steelers. But they have to be more ruthless. Don’t miss deep shots to open receivers downfield and don’t blow a 10-0 halftime lead.
A shaky second half undid some very good work for the Browns but a close loss at Arrowhead Stadium should not leave Cleveland fans depressed. Their team is ready to swim with the NFL’s big fish.
The 49ers could line Kyle Shanahan up at running back and still produce a 100-yard rusher and a viable ground attack. Providing Kyle Shanahan was calling the plays. This is a talented and well-coached outfit.
The Cardinals shocked the NFL world in Week 1 but how shocked should we really have been? This was a dangerous team on a playoff trajectory before quarterback Kyler Murray got banged up late in 2020.
Justin Herbert made some big-time throws last Sunday and his numbers would have been better than 337 yards and one touchdown had it not been for some drops from his receivers in the first half.
Aaron Rodgers said he was feeling the effects of a hit to his sensitive area when he threw an interception against New Orleans in Week 1. I think all of Green Bay feels like they have been kicked in the groin.
Dak is back and the Cowboys are going to be explosive on offense this season. Of that there is no doubt. They are just too good in the passing game. The defense also had its moments against Tampa Bay.
It’s not always pretty but the Dolphins continue to find ways to win close games. They were on the ropes against New England but countered with a knockout blow through Xavien Howard’s fumble recovery.
It was a tad too scrappy at the end of Monday night’s win over Baltimore, for my liking. But hats off to Derek Carr, who continues to silence his critics with impressive play – especially late in games.
Jalen Hurts looked good at quarterback during Sunday’s victory over an Atlanta team really struggling to make stops on defense. It will be a whole different challenge when Nick Bosa and the 49ers come to town.
Lamar Jackson needs to clean up fumbles that seem to happen when he tries to put this team on his shoulders, but another worry is the injury hit defense which crumbled down the stretch in Las Vegas.
‘Steady’ Teddy Bridgewater did more than enough to ease Denver to a two-touchdown win against the New York Giants. The loss of Jerry Jeudy stings, but the Broncos have enough weapons to score in 2021.
I have mixed feelings about New England. Part of me feels they were unlucky to lose to Miami. But the other part of me thinks Bill Belichick is now battling away in mediocrity while TB12 soars in Tampa.
I was gutted to see Fitz go down because even when he returns, his grip on Washington’s starting job may have loosened significantly. Taylor Heinicke must now be helped heavily by a very good defense.
The Colts were a worry on Sunday during their home defeat against Seattle. The worry was the lack of playmakers who could pick up big chunks of yardage. Carson Wentz was reasonable in his Colts’ debut.
That was about as disastrous a start as the Titans could have imagined. Derrick Henry was shut down, Julio Jones was invisible, the offensive line was exposed and Mike Vrabel is questioning his team’s culture.
It was great to see Joe Burrow back and throwing touchdown passes in Cincinnati and I loved the fact his scoring strike to Ja’Marr Chase looked just like their LSU days. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
Sam Darnold and Robby Anderson had nice moments in their Revenge Bowl win over the Jets, but this team will be driven on by Christian McCaffrey, who should be getting at least 30 touches per game.
I have real concerns about Minnesota’s defense and it didn’t look all that fixed coming off the worst performance for them under Mike Zimmer. If this slide continues, Zimmer is going to be on a hot seat.
Being patient while a young quarterback learns is all admirable stuff, especially if the young quarterback needs time to learn. But what if, admittedly only based on the eyeball test, the young QB is better than the starter?
I wouldn’t bank on the Texans putting up 37 points every weekend and picking up wins in the NFL. But last Sunday was a good start and a nice moment for a team that has been slammed all offseason long.
That was not a very inspiring showing against Denver in Week 1. The offensive line is a real concern, Daniel Jones’ fumbling issue is not going away and Saquon Barkley was slow out of the blocks.
The good people of New York deserve better than the football being served up by their hometown teams. Protecting Zach Wilson has to be priority number one after allowing six sacks and 10 hits on opening day.
I feel Atlanta will figure things out on offense and get it going on that side of the ball. There is a lot of talent there. But a depressing opening day loss to Philadelphia has me really worried about the defense.
The glass-half-full brigade will point to Detroit’s furious comeback against San Francisco of a team playing hard for its coach. I saw a team totally dominated for three quarters being allowed up off the mat.
A miserable loss to open the season, locker room whispers of player discontent and rumours of Urban Meyer making a quick return to college football at USC. It’s not been the best week in Jacksonville.