Updated: Sept. 11
Buffalo Bills (0-2) - Previously: 32.
Whoever did this deserves a medal:
The Bills remind me of the 2016 Rams. They have some good defensive players, but a rookie quarterback, only one weapon to speak of, and most importantly, a horrible offensive line that can't block anyone. Buffalo, like the 2016 Rams, will be huge underdogs throughout the season, but will be unbettable because of its inability to block.
Arizona Cardinals (0-2) - Previously: 30.
"I want to believe that the Cardinals aren't one of the worst teams in the NFL."
Yeah, so much for that. The Cardinals are horrible, as their quarterback can't throw two yards past the line of scrimmage, while their defense can't stop anyone. What happened to Arizona's good defensive players? I know most of them left, but why weren't any of them replaced? What is happening in Arizona?
Detroit Lions (0-2) - Previously: 31.
People who didn't pay attention may see that the Lions lost by just three points, but they were getting blown out, 30-13, when the 49ers took their foot off the gas, and the Lions scored some garbage-time touchdowns. Detroit's defense is atrocious, while Matthew Stafford continues to be overrated in all facets except for fantasy. The Lions also happen to be poorly coached, as their rocket-scientist coach can't figure out to give his best players - i.e. Kerryon Johnson - the ball. But that's OK, keep having LeGarrette Blount fall forward two yards every play. It'll eventually pay off, and Blount will fall forward three yards. It'll be great.
New York Giants (0-2) - Previously: 23.
The look on Giants' fans faces when they realized that they got a coach fired for benching this guy last year:
But it's OK. Once the Giants have a chance to take a franchise quarterback, they'll surely dra... uhh... never mind.
Oakland Raiders (0-2) - Previously: 29.
The Raiders should've beaten the Broncos, as they led or tied for all but six seconds. Unfortunately for them, their pass rush was absolutely gassed by the end of the game, which can't be a surprise to anyone. Still, nearly winning in Denver was somewhat impressive, as Derek Carr did a great job of rebounding. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson has done some great work with Carr during the offseason, and I believe it'll continue to pay off.
The defense, however, will continue to be a huge problem. I have the Raiders selecting Nick Bosa in my 2019 NFL Mock Draft.
Seattle Seahawks (0-2) - Previously: 25. The Seahawks are BAD. If you're surprised they're ranked this low, you haven't been paying attention to them. Outside of Russell Wilson, an injured Doug Baldwin, Bobby Wagner, Earl Thomas, K.J. Wright and a couple of other half-decent players, they have nothing. Absolutely nothing. Their offensive line stinks. They have no running game. Their pass rush is gone. Their secondary is trash. If you replaced Wilson with a bottom-10 quarterback, the Seahawks would go 1-15 at the very best.
I wrote this late in the summer, and some Seahawk fans jumped down my throat about it. Seattle almost beat Denver, but the team was largely outgained. Had Case Keenum not forced some horrible passes, the Seahawks would've been blown out of the water. The same goes for the Bears game and Mitchell Trubisky's incompetence.
New York Jets (1-1) - Previously: 21.
I knew the Jets were going to lose when the entire NFL Network crew picked New York and then shouted in unison, "J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS!" People who are better at picking the game wagered heavily on the Dolphins as soon as the line opened. I think part of the reason may have been the fact that the Jets had another game coming up in four days, which may have served as a distraction. I think we'll see a better effort from them on Thursday.
Miami Dolphins (2-0) - Previously: 28.
When I placed my 35:1 bet on the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl at the Rio, I was talking to the guy at the counter who happened to be a Dolphins fan. He was depressed about his team, but I told him that the Dolphins could start 2-0 because, "It'll be too hot for the Titans in Week 1, and then the Jets will be looking ahead to their Thursday night game in Week 2." I gave him my card, so hopefully he remembers that and becomes a frequent visitor of the site!
The Dolphins are definitely better with Ryan Tannehill, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Their 2-0 record is more a matter of circumstance more than anything.
Indianapolis Colts (1-1) - Previously: 27.
I don't think Andrew Luck looks like quite himself yet, but if he can continue to improve, the Colts could reach the playoffs. They're definitely better on defense, as rookie linebacker Darius Leonard has been terrific. Indianapolis used to have severe problems at linebacker, but Leonard has seemingly changed that.
Cleveland Browns (0-1-1) - Previously: 26.
The bad news is that the Browns won't be going undefeated and winless at the same time this year. The good news is that Donald Trump is on the case:
Goodbye, Lil' Zane Gonzalez.
This really is a shame. Cleveland's defensive line was tremendous in New Orleans, sacking Drew Brees during some key moments. The offense wasn't too bad, but the kicking game just crushed them.
Tennessee Titans (1-1) - Previously: 24.
The Titans had a gritty victory over the Texans, resembling how their head coach used to play for the Patriots. They prevailed, but were outgained by 160 net yards and needed a fake punt touchdown to vanquish the Texans. Still, it was a nice win to potentially save the season, as the Titans would've been in danger of starting 0-3 otherwise, given that they have to play at Jacksonville this upcoming Sunday, and there's no guarantee that Marcus Mariota will have feelings in his fingers by then.
Dallas Cowboys (1-1) - Previously: 20.
I was wondering why the Cowboys gave Ezekiel Elliott only 17 carries despite having the lead the entire game. Apparently, he was just saving his energy:
That may have been a Pyrrhic victory for the Cowboys, as it means that Jason Garrett will be allowed to continue to coach horribly. Dallas needs to can Garrett, but they need a series of embarrassing losses for Jerry Jones to finally admit this.
Denver Broncos (2-0) - Previously: 19.
The Broncos should've blown out the Seahawks, but didn't because of Case Keenum's sloppy interceptions. The Broncos then should've lost to the Raiders, but didn't because of Keenum's late-game heroics. Can Keenum just make up his mind and tell us whether or not he plans to be crappy or great? That would help quite a bit.
That said, what in the world happened to Denver's defense. I get allowing an occasional deep pass to someone named W. Dissly because Russell Wilson is so great, but to see Derek Carr go nearly flawless with just three incompletions has to be unacceptable.
Houston Texans (0-2) - Previously: 7.
Bill O'Brien is the worst head coach in the NFL: Change my mind.
O'Brien is always out-coached and out-schemed. His players constantly make mental blunders, even when they're not playing (nice going, Jadeveon Clowney.) His players are never in the correct position to prevent stupid things like fake punt touchdowns. He has no respect of the players in the locker room. He ousted all the non-"yes" men in the front office. He hasn't shown any signs that he's developing Deshaun Watson, who has regressed this season. He lost to Blaine freaking Gabbert. He must be fired as soon as possible.
Change my mind.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0) - Previously: 22.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is on pace to throw for 6,552 yards, 64 touchdowns and eight interceptions this season. Not too shabby. Fitzpatrick, by the way, is not going to relinquish the starting job until he struggles mightily. I think the Buccaneers want Jameis Winston to almost earn the job back, as just handing him the reins following the conclusion of the suspension would send a bad sign to the rest of the team. Besides, how can the Buccaneers put an end to the magic that Fitzpatrick currently has right now? I'm pretty sure Fitzpatrick has sold his soul for this, so that would be a waste.
Carolina Panthers (1-1) - Previously: 13.
I wonder how much Hurricane Florence affected the Panthers in Sunday's loss to the Falcons. We saw the Texans come out extremely flat last year when their devastating hurricane wrecked their city last year. I think there's a chance Carolina could've played better under different circumstances. Moreover, we saw the Texans, as well as the Buccaneers and Dolphins, thrive one week after the hurricane, as there was a sense of unity within the team. It wouldn't surprise me if the Panthers played similarly in Week 3.
Baltimore Ravens (1-1) - Previously: 11.
The Ravens were definitely not as bad as they looked Thursday night. Their stop unit was awful because C.J. Mosley was carted off the field on the opening defensive drive, and the players looked lethargic because they thought their team leader was done for the season. Mosley's injury wasn't that serious, however, so hopefully he returns soon. Once he does, Baltimore's defense will be dominant again.
Atlanta Falcons (1-1) - Previously: 8.
I listed the Falcons as underrated last week, and they bounced back from their opening-night loss to be the Panthers. However, I think Atlanta is closer to overrated now. The team lost Deion Jones, which is absolutely huge, as his absence fundamentally changes the defense. The Panthers couldn't take advantage, as they were undoubtedly the least bit discombobulated by Hurricane Florence, but I have to think that the Falcons will struggle more often than not going forward without their superstar linebacker patrolling the middle of the defense.
Cincinnati Bengals (2-0) - Previously: 16.
The Bengals have gotten lucky thus far. They may have lost to the Colts had Jack Doyle not fumbled in the red zone on Indianapolis' final real drive, while the Ravens lost because C.J. Mosley, Baltimore's best defensive player, was carted off the field on the opening defensive possession. That said, I don't think the Bengals are overrated because they'll be getting Vontaze Burfict back soon, and they're well set up to win the division once he returns.
Los Angeles Chargers (1-1) - Previously: 10.
Say what you want about the Chargers beating the crappy Bills, but they easily could've shown up flat with a big game coming up against the Rams. The Chargers have a history of choking under pressure and always screwing up, but they played a perfect game until they took their foot off the gas after going up 28-3. They were so dominant that they forced a player into retirement during halftime. I'm pretty sure no NFL team has done that before.
New Orleans Saints (1-1) - Previously: 4.
The Saints lost to the Buccaneers and nearly went down to the Browns through two weeks, but believe it or not, this is better than what they've done in the first two weeks over the past five years. Since 2014, New Orleans was 0-9 straight up and 1-8 against the spread in the opening two weeks of the season. How pathetic is that!? Then again, it just goes with what I've been saying about the Patriots, and how they like to pace themselves. Maybe Sean Payton and Drew Brees see the wisdom of not shooting their load too early. Not that there's anything wrong with shooting your load too early.
Green Bay Packers (1-0-1) - Previously: 3.
The Packers would have won this past Sunday if the officials in that game didn't want to decide it for themselves with a bogus roughing-the-passer penalty. Aaron Rodgers didn't look like himself, but he'll get healthier as the season progresses. If he doesn't re-injure himself, the Packers will be one of the top contenders for the Super Bowl.
Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) - Previously: 6.
I almost did it. I nearly listed the Chiefs as overrated. Not because I doubt Patrick Mahomes, or anything. I loved Mahomes heading into 2018, as I predicted the Chiefs to win the division and advance to the second round of the playoffs. I even bet them to win the Super Bowl at 35:1 odds. Their offense is incredible. The issue has been their defense, which has been rancid. That was my reasoning for nearly designating them as overrated, but then I remembered that Eric Berry will be back from injury soon. Berry is only one player, but he's one of the top safeties in the NFL. His return to the lineup will be absolutely enormous.
Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) - Previously: 2.
Here's what I wrote last week: "I moved the Eagles out of the top spot prior to the season because they looked pretty complacent in October, reminding me of what we saw from the Raiders in the preseason last year." My concerns came to fruition in Week 2, as the Eagles had a very lethargic performance in Tampa. They showed up with all of their fans, expecting to be handed a win, but they wilted under the scorching Tampa sun and lost their first game since Week 17 of last year.
Given how complacent the Eagles have looked, it wouldn't surprise me if they have an on-off-on-off-on-off pattern this year, similarly to what the 2003 Buccaneers experienced. Then again, Carson Wentz is the ultimate wild card, and he'll be hungry to play after missing out on the playoffs last season. Wentz will be back on the field this Sunday.
New England Patriots (1-1) - Previously: 1.
If you think a loss to the Jaguars will have me move the Patriots out of the top spot in my NFL Power Rankings, you're insane. The Patriots lost to the Chiefs early last year at home, in even worse fashion than they did at Jacksonville, and yet they turned out to be great. The Patriots pace themselves early and tend to get tripped up in September. It's happened before, it just happened, and it will happen again. It's not a big deal, so feel free to laugh at the national media when they tell you otherwise.