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Week Two (Un) biased NFL Power Rankings

The NFL made it through week one without any teams having to forfeit due to covid related issues. That is cause for celebration, which makes it the perfect time to release my second power rankings. While I truly am trying to be as subjective as possible during the writing of this article, I do acknowledge that it is impossible to not be biased towards your favorite team, and against your rivals. With the explanation for the headline out of the way, let’s get in to what you came to see!

1 | Kansas City Chiefs | last week (1)

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs seem to be picking up right where they left off. The Honey Badger is flying around making plays, the pass rush seems to have juice and the team is healthy on offense. This should all be scary for the league, but instead it is frightening. The addition of Clyde Edwards-Helaire to this backfield has made the offense as potent as ever. Andy Reid is the master of deception, and with Eric Bienemy calling plays; the sky is the limit for Kansas City.

2 | Baltimore Ravens | last week (2)

I still think this team could easily be number one by the end of the month. Lamar Jackson, despite a few missed throws on Sunday, looked phenomenal. He led his team in rushing and has an excellent feel for tight end Mark Andrews in the red zone. He seems to have developed even more of a chemistry with wide receiver Marquise Brown, who is coming into a healthy second year. Rookie running back JK Dobbins seems to be in line for a portion of the running work this season, picking up a touchdown in his debut.

3 | Seattle Seahawks | last week (6)

Russell Wilson was allowed to “cook” on Sunday, and he made a feast for the whole NFL world to enjoy. If Seattle can keep this foot on the gas type approach for 16 games, they will challenge for this division. The defense is much improved because their secondary is much improved. Jamal Adams brings an element of physicality that the unit previously did not have.

The Seahawks must still play six games total against the Rams, Cardinals and the 49ers. They don’t have the luxury of coasting through any of their division games like some of their NFC brethren do. They must get their wins, and get them the right way, against good teams.

4| Los Angeles Rams | last week (9)

You are going to find it hard to find five teams in this league that are better than the Rams on both sides of the ball. This team seems to be on a mission to get wins. That’s it. No messing around, no time to count stats, just get to work every single day until they are hoisting the Lombardi.

A small concern for the Rams could be that Jalen Ramsey was targeted down the stretch a few times against Dallas. If teams are willing to throw his way so readily, he needs to start baiting some quarterbacks into throws. The Rams head to Philadelphia this week, but in week three will take on Buffalo. That is a game that NFL fans should have circled on their calendars.

5| Buffalo Bills | last week (8)

Josh Allen seems to be liking his new addition, Stefon Diggs. The two connected eight times for 86 yards in their week one victory over the Jets. Allen seemed to handle the multiple blitz looks that Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was throwing at him. As the the Bills are signaling that they are ready to take over the AFC east, they must first get past the beast.

Buffalo has struggled with New England for almost 25 years now. It is time for Allen and the Bills Mafia to finally get their chance at the division crown. It won’t be easy, but I like the direction in which they are headed.

6 | Pittsburgh Steelers | last week (12)

The return of Ben Roethlisberger was the absolutely monumental for this team. He has absolutely reinvigorated JuJu Smith-Schuster, and has confidence in Diontae Johnson and James Washington. If Ben keeps getting that many possessions and that good of field position he is going to be hard to beat.

Coming off a season that saw Pittspurgh lead the league in sacks, the team was surprisingly able to retain Bud Dupree. That was a great idea. The combination that he forms with TJ Watt and Cam Heyward is electric. This teams has something cooking here, and if they can get good running back play, I can see them challenging Baltimore for the division this season.

7 | New Orleans Saints | last week (7)

The Saints are ready trying to push for a Super Bowl one last time under Drew Brees, and didn’t experience any bumps in the road in regards to getting the win. Other than that, things look terrible for New Orleans. Michael Thomas is expected to miss multiple weeks with an ankle injury, one that could linger for the entire season.

Now, we all know that “Can’t guard Mike” is notorious for trying to play through pain, but will he be efficient? This doesn’t seem like something you want to rush back, but his track record shows he will try to. The Saints are already dealing with the disadvantage of not having their super loud home fans in attendance for playoff games, they don’t need to also be taking risks with their best player.

8 | Dallas Cowboys | last week (5)

Against the Rams in week one, the Cowboys certainly missed Byron Jones and Robert Quinn. The injuries to Gerald McCoy and Jourdan Lewis have made this abundantly clear. To make matters worse, the team is also currently without La’el Collins, Leighton Vander Esch and Blake Jarwin. Not many teams can weather this storm with a new head coach. It is the type of stuff that breaks you.

Dak Prescott and the offense should be fine. Collins can return this year and the team has three great receivers and Ezekiel Elliot. It is the defense that is going to determine Dallas’ ranking this season, and the defense was average at best on Sunday. The Cowboys do have the advantage of playing in the worst division in football.

9 | New England Patriots | last week (15)

Head Coach Bill Belichick is a genius. He is certainly out to prove that he can win without Tom Brady, and those of you who thought he was tanking were absolutely crazy. The man has Josh McDaniels as his offensive coordinator, who is like an offensive Belichick. The both know how to maximize their teams talent more than anyone in the league.

They are both master strategists and would rather go to battle with a college team that a pro-bowl squad, just for the challenge. The team also returns most players from a secondary that was the best in the NFL in 2019. This can easily be a playoff team under Cam Newton, and might even be able to keep their division title streak going.

10| San Fransisco 49ers | last week (3)

After the huge choke job in the biggest game of their lives–the NFC West loves to do that–the 49ers didn’t change up the roster much, other than losing DeForest Buckner. But maybe they should have…After struggling against Arizona in 2019, Kyle Shanahan made just little adjustments to his approach in last weeks game against the Cardinals.

It sure showed, as San Fransisco fell to an Arizona team that was supposed to be finding its offensive footing. Jimmy Garoppolo had multiple chances to win this one but couldn’t get the job done. Many are speculating that this is Jimmy G’s last year in the bay, and he definitely isn’t doing much to quell that at the moment. This team may continue to slide down these rankings.

11 | Green Bay Packers | last week (16)

The Packers certainly proved me wrong about their division. I thought Minnesota was going to be way ahead of them to begin and to end the season. Like I said, I was very wrong. Aaron Rodgers seems very motivated by the addition of Jordan Love and has turned that into a burning fire inside him. The pinpoint accuracy, especially down the field is something that only Rodgers and Mahomes can do.

The cause for concern, and reason that the Packers are not higher up on this list is because they allowed way too many points. I understand that Minnesota was coming from behind, so they had a lot of pass attempts in that hurry up offense., but this could become a bad trend. Team that can’t stop the hurry up offense usually wear down by the end of the year. Just something to keep in mind as you watch this team progress through the season.

12 | Tennessee Titans | last week (13)

I want to move Tennessee farther up on this list, but I just do not believe in Ryan Tannehill. That being said, their running back and defense are absolutely legit. On defense, the pass-rush was a bit of a concern, until they signed Jadeveon Clowney. On offense, they must figure out a way to replace replace starting right tackle Jack Conklin–who left for Cleveland in free agency. Tannehill was repeatedly under fire against a Broncos team that is missing its best past rusher.

The Titans did not prove much in that game, just showing more of what we already know. They need to figure out a way handle edge pressure and to score touchdowns instead of field goals. This will be especially true if their kicker is going to be so bad all year.

13 | Arizona Cardinals | last week (23)

Many people believe that the Cardinals are going to be a playoff team this season. I was not that guy, and i still am picking them to finish last, but they are better than 23 so i had to move them up.

Chandler Jones is still there and yes, Kyler Murray is a special talent. He has seamlessly fit in with DeAndre Hopkins without any pre-season, and also lead his team in rushing in week one. If the team can continue to build off of last year’s success with running the football, that will be their best chance at a winning season. Hopkins is about to start getting double and triple covered, you can be sure of that, so i want to see how the team handles that before they move farther up this list.

14 | Minnesota Vikings | last week (4)

The Vikings laid a big ole egg in week one. This new look defense led by Michael Pierce, Anthony Harris and Yannick Ngakoue was not good enough. The pass rush and run support from these guys was abysmal. The good news is that the offense was able to move the ball and score points.

The team tried to mitigate their lack of wide receiver depth by incorporating more of Irv Smith Jr, but that didn’t turn into much production from the youngster. If they can start to get both of the tight ends involved, and keep getting Dalvin Cook into the end zone, this team will be fine.

15 | Denver Broncos | last week (10)

Drew Lock is the real deal, but has John Elway drafted too many offensive weapons and not enough depth? The team did not have Courtland Sutton or KJ Hamler on MNF, and it showed. The backups to those players were practically ghosts out there. This team needs to see clearly what it has in Drew Lock, and the first game just muddied the waters.

On defense, losing Von Miller is tough. Others, like Bradley Chubb, really need to step up and get after the quarterback. Kansas City being in their division is tough, but Oakland and San Diego seem to be still finding their footing despite wins. Denver needs to start picking up some wins before the other teams get on a roll.

16 | Cleveland Browns | last week (11)

Kevin Stefanski turned the Vikings rushing attack into one of the league’s most feared rushing attacks, but was not able to bring that to his first game as Cleveland’s head coach. To be fair, he never had much of a chance to run the ball when he was behind by double digits for most of the game. The defense hopefully won’t play that bad again, and they also only have to play Lamar Jackson one more time this season.

The bright side may be hard to see with the Browns but i think they have enough talent and determination to turn this thing around. If they get on a three game winning streak, everyone will forget that they lost so badly. Their first chance to turn it around is tonight against the Bengals.

NFL

17 | Tampa Bay Buccaneers | last week 14

This ranking may be one of the more fluid rankings of 2020. The Bucs’ signed Tom Brady in the off-season, as some of you may have heard, and are making a run at a Super Bowl. The offense can be as high-scoring as any in the league, but it is a vertical offense, possibly not best suited for Brady’s skill-set. It is hard to imagine that Bruce Arians would not be able to scheme a playbook for Tom Brady, however.

Arians has done more in the NFL with less than he has now, and he might have to start being creative. Tamps is slowly getting Mike Evans back to full health at the same time that Chris Godwin is showing concussion symptoms. Losing his top playmakers hurts, but this team has enough depth to handle the injuries. There are still 15 games left for the team to develop chemistry and heal their injuries.

18 | Las Vegas Raiders | last week (17)

The Raiders are the one of only two teams which won their week one matchup that actually moved down in the power rankings. Like most people, I expected the Raiders defense to play much better than it did last week against Carolina. The Panthers are breaking in a whole new offensive staff and quarterback, and “lack for playmakers on the outside”.

The Raiders did manage to pull off the win, but gave up thirty points. If Carolina hangs a thirty burger on them, how many points will Kansas City score? This defense needs to turn it around, but on the bright side, the offense was able to score 34 points and avoid a quarterback controversy…for now.

19 | Houston Texans | last week (24)

Moving up in the power rankings while losing is no easy feat. It may seem like i’m rewarding the Texand for losing, but this is more about the teams they leaped. The Chargers, Eagles, Falcons and Colts all played at such a low level that the Houston seemed like the better team even while losing.

Going up against the Chiefs to start the year is the shortest possible straw to draw, and it doesn’t get any easier. The Texans are likely to get blown out by Baltimore on Sunday, but they might be better for it in the long run if they can learn from this. It will give them a chance to see how close they are to the two best teams in the conference while at the same time making your squad as battle tested as they come.

20 | Philadelphia Eagles | last week (18)

This team might want to hire an entirely new training staff. Despite one of the best coach/QB combos in the NFL, the Eagles are not really a contender. This is because the team can seemingly never stay healthy. Before the season has even started they have lost pro-bowl guard Brandon Brooks and starting left-tackle Andre Dillard for the season. This is terrible luck for a team that dealt with major injury problems in 2019 and is also trying to work back their first-round pick into game shape.

Just when things seemed like they couldn’t get any worse, the Eagles went and blew a second half lead to a team called “The Washington Football Team”. Just Unreal.

21 | Los Angeles Chargers | last week (19)

As mentioned before, there were two teams that so thoroughly unimpressed me during wins, that they had to be moved down on the list. The “other Los Angeles team” needed a missed chip shot field goal to avoid going to overtime against a rookie who was making his first career start.

If this version of Tyrod Taylor beat out Justin Herbert, the Chargers future is in jeopardy. Better quarterback play is paramount. There is no reason that Hunter Henry should be the teams leading receiver over Keenan Allen for an entire football game.

22 | Atlanta Falcons | last week (20)

Despite a bad showing against a very good Seattle team, there is still hope for the Falcons. Atlants has a great quarterback and two great receivers to go along with trade acquisition Hayden Hurst. The team also improved along both lines, getting key pieces back along the offensive line, and signing Dante Fowler to come off the edge.

The improvements to the team will take some time to gel, and the good news for Atlanta is that their division is not as strong as people think. If they can get some good secondary play (and that’s a big if”, this team can move up these rankings rather quickly.

23 | Indianapolis Colts | last week (21)

The Colts could be so much higher considering I love the young, fast defense that they are building. I l also love their offensive line, running backs and head coach. What I do not love is the quarterback, and week one made me even more sure of that than I already was.

A loss to a Jacksonville team that is trying to lose is as embarrassing of a way to start your season as it gets. The Colts seemed wholly unprepared on both sides of the ball, and Philip Rivers showed me absolutely nothing to make me believe in him. I was shocked when the Colts added him and will be shocked if he ends the year as the starter.

24 | Washington Football Team | last week (32)

Wow. What a job by the coaching staff in the nation’s capital. With all of the distractions that this team has faced, to come out week one and play that well is very impressive. This team is going to be fun, but might end up becoming as big of a joke as their owner. The pass-rush is top notch and the team seems to be playing together very well.

Head coach Ron Rivera deserves more than what this franchise has thrown at him, and so do the fans. That week one win was as well deserved as any win i can remember. The current players and coaches have not brought these scandals, but are dealing with the fallout from the as perfectly as possible.

25 | Jacksonville Jaguars | last week (30)

Gardner Minshew is starting to make me a believer. The sophomore quarterback set the league on fire last year with a surprising mix of accuracy and swag. He doesn’t have the biggest arm, but is a tough son of a gun. Minshew is also a leader on the field. Not even those traits, combined with the elite facial furniture, seemed like it could bring this team out of the depths of despair, though. Wrong. The Jaguars pulled the biggest upset of the week.

Undoubtedly the Jacksonville front office has their eyes set on Trevor Lawrence and possibly even Dabo Swinney, but the players and coaches have other ideas. Minshew may be auditioning for another team, but that is just fine with Jags’ country, as long as they win some games. Winning football games while accumulating picks is a much better strategy than tanking anyways. This isn’t the NBA.

26 | Chicago Bears | last week (24)

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Before last season, many were picking the Bears as a trendy Super Bowl pick. They seemed destined to make up for Cody Parkey‘s missed kick in the playoffs with a strong season. Then Mitch Trubisky happened. The Bears quarterback pulled his best Jared Goff impression and decided to regress out of nowhere. The team brought in Nick Foles and seemingly gave him all the chance in the world to beat Trubisky out, but it didn’t happen.

Week one started off with Trubisky truly looking like a practice squad candidate. Through three quarters the tam had to be seriously considering a benching. With a double digit lead for the Lions and the offense going nowhere, Chicago seemed doomed. Then everything seemed to turn around. The enigma that is Trubisky managed to lead the team on three touchdown drives to win the game. It is this type of random play that is going to get Trubisky ran out of town, possibly with head coach Matt Nagy by his side.

27 | Detroit Lions | last week (29)

Detroit looked poised to move farther up on this list with a dominant all around showing against Chicago. Then the fourth quarter happened. As mentioned in the Bears’ paragraph, the Lions fell apart. They had multiple chances to put the game away, but couldn’t get it done when it mattered. Is this a fatal flaw for the team?

Usually when teams that lose games like this, it becomes a season-long issue. The coaching staff is not doing a good enough job of situational preparedness and with clock management. Just like with the team having a fatal flaw of not being clutch, this one seems likely to doom the Lions’ coaching staff and possibly even the front office.

28 | Miami Dolphins | last week (27)

The Dolphins have the chance, much like a few others, to make a large jump by the end of the year. The team has added some very good veteran talent to a young, up-and-coming roster that is filled with potential stars. Unlike the Bears situation, the Dolphins seem to be playing out their best-case scenario regarding their quarterbacks.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is a very good fill-in starting quarterback, but he always gets exposed. New England did that already in the first gaemof the year. Although Fitzpatrick limited his mistakes, the offense was also limited. That will happen again, at which point Tu’a Tagovailoa will come in and try to win some games before the season ends.

29 | Carolina Panthers | last week (31)

The Panthers have undergone more changes than practically every team in the past few years. Not many have lost their all-time best coach, quarterback and linebacker all in one year and still have a decent outlook as a franchise. Even more, they have had to undergo an ownership change and general manager change as well. The team is in rebuild mode right now under new head coach Matt Rhule, but it may be able to compete.

The Raiders were made aware of that on Sunday when they were almost upset by the up-and-coming squad. The culture is being set this year for the Panthers and they will hope to build off of that. Much like the Dolphins, they may just be a year or two away, but have a very bright future ahead of them.

30 | Cincinnati Bengals | last week (28)

The Bengals decided to use the first pick in the draft and replace Andy Dalton with Joe Burrow. The sensational rookie just led LSU to possibly its best season ever, and one of the best in NCAA history for a quarterback. The man looks like a young Tom Brady, and if he can have anywhere close to the early-career success that Brady had, the Bengals will be ecstatic.

However, much like Atlanta, the Bengals have not upgraded a secondary that was in the bottom third of the league last season. If you can’t cover in this league, you cannot win. Maybe next year, Bengals.

31| New York Giants | last week (25)

The Giants made a coaching change in the off-season, but not enough changes to the roster to make me believe in them this season. They do have the benefit of playing in possibly the worst division in football. That is still unlikely to take them above the .500 mark. New York allowed the 28th most passing yards in the league in 2019 and just lost last years first round pick to gun charges.

The coaching change didn’t make a huge difference in week one, but it is still very early. I’m just going off of what I see now and that is a bottom-barrel offensive line. It should be interesting to see what Daniel Jones can make out of all of this, but I am not expecting much.

32 | New York Jets | last week (31)

The Adam Gase experiment has been an epic failure, and Joe Douglas might be going down with him. The Jets had a huge opportunity to get the right guy in to New York to get the job done. Instead, they took a coach that they knew probably wouldn’t win anything. They’re going with the school of thought that being a bottom feeder is better than being mediocre.

That is the only explanation for why Gase got this job, and the only reason why he still has it. I feel bad for the guy, because he seems like a tireless worker, but he is not a people person. NFL coaches, especially one’s in New York, can’t be like that anymore. You have to be personable to the media and more importantly, to your team. I have zero faith in Gase changing that part of his approach, so I have zero faith in this team.

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