• Aidan Charde

NFL Week 2 Power Rankings

I think we all know what the big storyline was from this weekend. According to this Reddit post, 57 players went down with some form of injury in the 1:00 and 4:00 games. Add in a few from Sunday and Monday night, and the total is over 60.

The injuries weren’t just a bruised arm to a backup running back. Several big-name players are out for the season, including Saquon Barkley, Nick Bosa, Cortland Sutton, and Bruce Irvin. A few others are out for a few weeks, like Christian McCaffrey, Drew Lock, and Sterling Shepard. Those are season-changing injuries for some teams, which is why some teams might drop more than you think they should.

In all seriousness, though, we’re all hoping for a speedy recovery for every player. It looks like the decision to skip the preseason is catching up to the league. This is what happens when players don’t get any warm-up games.

Love them? Hate them? Let me know what you think by tweeting at me (@AidanCharde), and make sure you come back every week to see my updates.

Also, since I know you're all dying to know, the reason there are no photos on this article is honestly because I ran out of time. Don't judge me! I procrastinated writing this, which is why it's up a day later than usual. I get it, I'm bad with deadlines. Probably not the best thing for a wannabe journalist, is it? Anyways, enjoy this photo-less edition of my Power Rankings.

32. New York Giants (Last week: 31) -1

It might surprise people that my worst team as of week 2 is not the Jets, who could only put up 13 points against a 49ers team playing with mostly backups. But, like I said, injuries play a huge part in this week’s rankings and I can’t ignore the fact that the best player on the team, Saquon Barkley, is out for the season. I didn’t want Barkley to get hurt, but you have to admit you saw it coming. You can only take so much of a burden for a team before your body gives out. The Giants weren’t going to be good, but they’ve lost virtually all hope of being anywhere but last place in their division.

31. New York Jets (LW: 32) +1

As you just read, the Jets were terrible in their loss against the 49ers. They started the game by allowing an 80-yard rush touchdown and that was the best they looked all game. The only reason they’re not in dead last is because, unlike the Giants, they still have something resembling a team and might compete for 3rd in the division.

30. Carolina Panthers (LW: 28) -4

The Panthers didn’t look good against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, and it was made worse when CMC went down towards the end of the game with an ankle injury. Fortunately, it’s only going to keep him on the sideline for a few weeks and not the whole season. But in a division that is both very competitive and, as of Monday night, very up in the air, the next few games could make a huge difference.

29. Detroit Lions (LW: 26) -3

Detroit has now lost 4 consecutive games after leading by 2 or more scores. That’s an NFL record. They also have lost 11 straight, their longest losing streak since going 0-16 in 2008. The worst part about this team is that they have so much talent, but they keep losing. They were a few plays away from winning in week 1, and although they got blown out in week 2, they still were competitive for a while. Matt Stafford deserves so much better, but at this point, it’s unlikely that he’ll ever get out of Detroit.

28. Cleveland Browns (LW: 30) +2

A lot of people are ready to shoot the Browns up the power rankings after a strong win over the Bengals on Thursday night. But I’ve seen this story too many times before to make the same mistake again. Next week, the Browns are going to be arrogant and go into the game thinking that they’re the shit, and they’re not going to play up to the same level. I’m not saying they’ll definitely lose, but it’s not going to be perfect.

27. Miami Dolphins (LW: 27) =

Somehow, the Dolphins stayed in this game right up until the very end. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. While the offense looked good against a Bills defence missing a few key players, the other side of the ball can’t say the same thing. Josh Allen torched them for over 400 yards and 4 touchdowns, and they couldn’t force a turnover off of one of the most turnover-friendly teams in the league. Tua is either going to be in really soon, or he won’t be playing the entire season. It depends on whether or not the Dolphins think the season is lost.

26. Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 29) +3

The best quarterback in Florida reminded us all why we had a case of Minshew Mania last season. Despite an unfortunate divisional loss, the unassuming cast of characters on the offense found ways to move the ball all game, in the air and on the ground. The defense, on the other hand, is the worst it’s ever been, and clearly a few steps below the 2017 Sacksonville team. But this team is fun to watch, and has a pretty easy schedule the rest of the way. They’ve already proven us all wrong, so now this season is for pride.

25. Denver Broncos (LW: 23) -2

Denver looked very good considering they were missing three key players for a lot of their game. Jeff Driskel played very solid in relief for a hurt Drew Lock, and the team was able to actually gain yards despite missing Courtland Sutton and Philip Lindsay. But those injuries will hurt this team. Lock is out for a couple weeks, and Sutton is out for the season. This was already a young team that is now looking to rookies and backups for the next few weeks. They’ll be lucky to finish 8-8.

24. Los Angeles Chargers (LW: 25) +1

Now THAT is a rookie debut! Justin Herbert was the most pro-ready quarterback out of this year’s draft (yes, even more than Burrow), and he showed it with an incredible performance with literally seconds to prepare. LA might have lost, but things are looking up for the bolts. Their defense held Patrick Mahomes back considerably until the end of the game, and the offense finally clicked for the first time since 2018. Let’s hope this is the beginning of something special.

23. Washington Football Team (LW: 22) -1

The good news: Chase Young, Dwayne Haskins, and Terry McLaurin are incredible. Bad news: no one else on the team is good. Granted, they were playing this season’s MVP, but it was a tough game for Washington, especially in the first half. The Football Team has now been outscored 37-0 in the first half of their two games this season, and while they’ve outscored opponents 42-10 in the second half, this week proved that it can be too little too late.

22. Indianapolis Colts (LW: 24) +2

Indi exploded against the Vikings, holding Kirk Cousins to just 113 yards and picking him off three times. The offense picked up where it left off last week, on the ground at least, with rookie Jonathan Taylor rushing for 101 yards and a score. The biggest problem for this team right now might be figuring out where T.Y. Hilton disappeared to, but they have enough talent to make up for him if they need to.

21. Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 21) =

The Bengals lost to the Browns, but Burrow looked great in his second game as a pro. But it’s always risky to have your rookie quarterback throw more than 40 times in a game, and Burrow threw it a whopping 61 times. That is not a workload you should be giving to your franchise savior. And even though the team looks better than last year, they still don’t look like they’re ready to be contenders.

20. Atlanta Falcons (LW: 17) -3

This was an absolutely embarrassing loss for the Falcons. They blew a 20-0 first quarter lead, and a 29-10 halftime lead. But we all know what happens to every sports team in the state of Georgia when they have a big lead: they blow it in spectacular fashion. The Falcons looked as good as they have in three years for the first three quarters of the game, both offensively and defensively, and Calvin Ridley showed up big time. But thanks to one of the worst reactions to an onside kick ever, they couldn’t hold on. I would drop them more, but there is an upside here. They did look like a scary team for most of the game, which is why they only moved down a few spots. But if they keep pulling crap like this, they’ll tumble a lot further down.

19. Los Angeles Rams (LW: 20) +1

The Rams lucked out in week 1, but in week 2, they showed that they are truly ready to return to their 2018 form. Goff had a very solid game and Higbee had the best game of his career, hauling in three touchdowns. And while I can’t help but think this was partially due to a weak opponent, the Rams are now 2-0 with two easy games coming up in the next three weeks. They could very well be sitting at the top of the NFC West by the end of week 5.

18. Philadelphia Eagles (LW: 12) -6

Philly looked overmatched in virtually every way against the Rams, which is why they dropped so far down. Going into this season, I had the Eagles easily taking the division, but they’ve already looked pretty rough and have struggled in a lot of different areas. I know they’re injured, but that’s something that they’ll have to deal with. Plus, their next four games consist of three potential playoff teams and the Bengals, who look like a formidable foe. Carson Wentz needs to improve his game significantly if they want a chance of staying alive.

17. Chicago Bears (LW: 18) +1

By some sort of miracle, the Bears have managed to start the season 2-0. Not that they are a bad team, I actually think they have a lot of talent. But the way in which they’ve won both games has been closer than I think this team wants. The good news for them is that they don’t have to play the Packers until week 12, giving them plenty of time to work out the kinks and hope that Green Bay slows down. The bad news is that both of their wins have been decided on an unlucky play for the other team where someone dropped the game-winning score, and luck is not how you win the Super Bowl.

16. Dallas Cowboys (LW: 19) +3

I’ll give the Cowboys this: they didn’t give up. Dak Prescott had one of the best games of his career, throwing for 450 yards and picking up 4 total touchdowns, and ultimately leading Dallas to their first win of the season. That being said, they did not deserve to win this game at all. They put up a great fight at the end of the game, but the only reason they got the chance to kick the game-winning field goal was because Atlanta forgot that onside kicks were live balls. The offense fumbled four times in the first quarter, and Mike McCarthy called two fake punts, both of which failed. I know the offense played up to their potential, but I want to see if it’s something that can last.

15. New England Patriots (LW: 15) =

The Patriots narrowly lost a thriller against the Seahawks, but no one on the Patriots is to blame. To be honest, everyone looked pretty great, even N’Keal Harry, who’s struggled since being drafted last season. Julian Edelman set a career high for receiving yards and nearly caught the game-winning touchdown. Unfortunately for the offense, the defense couldn’t stop the deep ball, allowing four of Seattle’s five touchdowns on passes over 18 yards, including a 54 yard bomb to Metcalf. But the real reason they lost was a lack of creativity on the goal line. Almost every play was a designed QB run with a loaded line, which worked a few times, until it didn’t. The Seahawks caught on by last play and kept Newton out of the endzone to win it. If Josh McDaniels can be a little more creative, it’ll be tough to stop the Patriots.

14. Minnesota Vikings (LW: 10) -4

I really should be dropping the Vikings way more. They looked absolutely awful in their first two games and had virtually no sign of life on offense or defense. Kirk Cousins threw 3 picks and no touchdowns, which is not the result you’re expecting from the guy who you just extended. I still have a little bit of hope for this team, thanks to Dalvin Cook, Adam Theilen, and Justin Jefferson, but I feel embarrassed for picking them to win the NFC North this season.

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LW: 16) +3

TB12 got his first win in Tampa, but I think the credit for this win goes to the Tampa Bay defense for keeping the best running back in the league out of the endzone until halfway through the 3rd quarter. I know I said that the Bucs’ lack of defense would be their downfall, but they’ve been proving me wrong so far this season. As a matter of fact, I think the offense is going to be their downfall now. Brady looked alright in the win, throwing for 217 yards, a touchdown, and a pick, but outside of a beautiful 46 yard touchdown run by Leonard Fournette and some nice snags by Mike Evans, the offense looked pretty uninspiring against a battered Carolina defense.

12. Las Vegas Raiders (LW: 13) +1

As a Saints fan, this pains me to write. I’ll fully admit that I started these power rankings before the game started, and I had already dropped the Raiders down to 14. But of course, Darren Waller just had to go out and be insane. The Saints could do nothing to stop him, and even with Josh Jacobs averaging only 3.3 yards per carry, the offense looked dominant against a defense that was expected to be amongst the top teams in the league. Defensively, I don’t know if it was good coverage or just that Drew Brees was off his game, but whatever happened, they kept the high-flying New Orleans offense silent through most of the game.

11. Arizona Cardinals (LW: 14) +3

Arizona is sitting atop the NFC West, and it looks like they’ll stay up there for quite some time. They’ll have some tough games after their week 8 bye, but I could see them starting the season 7-0 if they keep playing this way. Kyler Murray is slippery and DeAndre Hopkins is elite, though it’s not as if anyone was questioning whether their offense could make big plays. I think the real question was whether or not their defense could keep opponents from running up the score. So far, it’s held strong with no signs of cracking. But they’re in a very difficult division with just one loss between all four teams, which means anything less than amazing won’t cut it.

10. Houston Texans (LW: 7) -3

Even though Houston has started the season 0-2, I haven’t dropped them out of my top 10 yet solely because their first two games came against the two best teams in the league. That being said, the Texans are really missing Hopkins on offense. The way they’re playing right now, they might be able to grab a Wild Card at the end of the season, but they’re sitting in dead last in their division right now. This team hasn’t looked the same since going up 24-0 against the Chiefs last postseason.

9. Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 11) +2

Once again, the Steelers have continued their tradition of playing down to bad teams. They have a lot of talent and are perfectly capable of demolishing both the Giants and the Broncos, but for some reason are unable to put up big numbers. I don’t want to bash on the Steelers too much, because they did win and I did move them up, but that has been their problem for a few seasons. So on the positive side, Big Ben is back in business, JuJu has reminded us why Pittsburgh traded Antonio Brown, and a few rookies have made some great plays for the offense. And although they let a backup quarterback throw for 256 yards without his best target for most of the game, they also tallied seven sacks, including one on 4th-and-2 to ice the game.

8. San Francisco 49ers (LW: 5) -3

Yes, the Niners won on Sunday, but at what cost? Four of their starters went down early in the game, including two of their best defensive players being out for the season. Jimmy G and Raheem Moestert are out for a few weeks, and Tevin Coleman might not return for a bit either. Those are all brutal blows to San Francisco, who sits in last place in a stacked division and faces a difficult schedule this season. I hope they can recover soon, but for now, they’re trending down.

7. Buffalo Bills (LW: 9) +2

Josh Allen followed up the best game of his career with the new best game of his career, throwing for 417 yards, 4 touchdowns, and (miraculously) no turnovers. The worrying part of the game was the defense, who nearly lost the game for the Bills. I know they were missing a few starters, but if the Dolphins can take advantage of that, you bet the rest of the league can. Which reminds me, Buffalo’s first two wins have come against easy opponents, so the next four weeks (where they face the Rams, Raiders, Titans, and Chiefs) will really show if they’re ready to take the AFC East crown from New England.

6. Tennessee Titans (LW: 8) +2

Tennessee is 2-0 for the first time in 13 years, and who would’ve thought it would come with Ryan Freakin’ Tannehill under center. The Titans started the game hot and slowed down a lot as the game went on, but Gostkowski once again hit a clutch field goal to win the game. Technically, the win was clinched when Harold Landry intercepted a tipped Minshew pass on the next possession, but the point is, this team once again showed that they can come up big when it really matters. I don’t think this is another Titans team destined for mediocrity. This ragtag team of rejects and so-called “busts” has what it takes to make it far.

5. New Orleans Saints (LW: 3) -2

Yeah, this one hurt. For those of you who don’t know, I am the biggest Saints fan East of the Mississippi (self-proclaimed), and I did not see this coming. Alvin Kamara had one of the best games of his career, but it wasn’t enough with Drew Brees looking even worse than he did last week and the defense being unable to get a stop. And don’t even get me started on the penalties. Holy shit, New Orleans, get it together! Every single big play on both sides of the ball gets called back for some stupid mistake someone’s making. The Raiders were able to extend so many drives off of needless pass interference or roughing the passer. And yeah, some of the penalties were bad calls, but the Saints had 129 yards of penalties. That is not a winning formula. I’m not ready to count them out yet, but they have to play Green Bay next week. I can’t say I’m excited.

4. Green Bay Packers (LW: 6) +2

As much as it hurt to drop the Saints, it hurts even more that I have to put Green Bay over them. Much to my dismay, the Packers look unstoppable right now and have the fortune of playing a struggling New Orleans team next week. Aaron Jones and Davante Adams are both exceeding expectations, and Aaron Rodgers is starting the season off on the right foot. And like the Bills, they’ve played two pretty easy teams, but they have a rhythm going that might be hard to break up if no one can put up a fight.

3. Seattle Seahawks (LW: 4) +1

Russell Wilson is firmly atop the list of MVP candidates, and I hope he stays up there. He’s thrown 9 touchdowns through his first two games, but what’s more impressive is that he’s only thrown 11 incompletions. How crazy is that? The receivers on this team look hard to stop. Metcalf is the size of a tight end and can outmuscle any cornerback, while Lockett is speedy enough to beat whoever he’s matched up against. The fight between the Seahawks and the Cardinals is going to be so much fun to watch this season, so it’s a shame we have to wait until week 7 to see them face each other. Much like Arizona, there is very little room for error this season, but the way they’re playing, I don’t think they have much to worry about.

2. Kansas City Chiefs (LW: 1) -1

No guys, I promise I’m not just doing it because every other Power Rankings list is doing it. The Chiefs, for the first time in a long time, looked vulnerable this week. They managed to escape with an overtime win, but it was against a rookie QB making his first start on a team that was the 6th worst in the league last year. Mahomes did not look great until the 4th quarter, which is always when he excels, but I think it’s a bit worrying. If Justin Herbert and the Chargers can nearly beat Kansas City, how will they fare against the elite teams they have to play this season?

1. Baltimore Ravens (LW: 2) +1

And for the first time this season, Baltimore is on top of the Power Rankings! Lamar and the Ravens brought the full force of the run game against Houston, and it was scary to watch. The first two weeks of the season show why Baltimore is so scary. In week 1, we saw their defense silence some of the best offensive players in the league, as well as their insanely effective passing game. In week 2, we watched the team run for 230 yards with three players hitting the 50 yard mark (and one at 48). It doesn’t matter if you can slow down either of their attacks, because they are fully capable of dominating games using just one of the two. Then again, it doesn’t matter how many regular season games you win if you can’t get it done in the playoffs.

Weekly Picks - Week 3

Jaguars over Dolphins

Bears over Falcons

Bills over Rams

Bengals over Eagles

Browns over Football Team

Titans over Vikings

Raiders over Patriots

49ers over Giants

Steelers over Texans

Colts over Jets

Chargers over Panthers

Seahawks over Cowboys

Buccaneers over Broncos

Cardinals over Lions

Packers over Saints

Ravens over Chiefs

Lock of the Week: Cardinals over Lions

Record: 22-10

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