The beauty of the NFL is there is always next week.
For the Green Bay Packers, Week 2 represented an opportunity to crack the goose egg in the win column and get to a .500 record following the dismantling at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings.
For teams like the Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins, Week 2 was a chance to show the rest of the NFL that they are for real, and Opening Day wasn’t merely beginner’s luck or having an easy schedule.
Other teams remained the same — for better or worse.
Here are the NFL power rankings at the end of Week 2.
Last week: No. 32
The Falcons will remain at the bottom of the power rankings so long as they struggle to get wins. They fell down as far as 28-3 midway through the third quarter. The rest of the points generated were after the game was virtually in hand.
Last week: No. 31
The Panthers were in a dogfight with the New York Giants and just couldn’t manage to pull out the win. Christian McCaffrey posted 102 rushing yards on 15 carries, but Baker Mayfield had a 48.3% completion percentage, which is a governor on how much success Carolina can have in 2022.
Last week: No. 27
The Seahawks came back down to Earth against the San Francisco 49ers. The ground game averaged 2.6 yards per carry and Geno Smith chucked an interception while failing to reach 200 yards passing. Seattle had a decent Opening Day, but it may not get better from here.
Last week: No. 25
For the second straight week, Houston failed to get 300 yards total offense. Not only did Davis Mills fail to reach 200 yards passing with 177 through the air, but the offense was 2-13 on third down and 0-2 in the red zone. Lovie Smith’s defense may be good enough, but the offense is too reminiscent of units Rex Grossman used to quarterback for the Bears.
Last week: No. 24
The Bears had a nice comeback against the San Francisco 49ers on Opening Day at Soldier Field, but they could not hang with another playoff team from a year ago in the Green Bay Packers. The 27-10 loss at Lambeau Field shows the Bears may not be ready to escape the bottom-10 in the league just yet.
Last week: No. 23
The Browns led 30-17 with 2:02 to go in the game. No one needs a 99% win probability to tell them Cleveland should have had the game wrapped up. Instead they lost 31-30 — to the Joe Flacco-led New York Jets.
Last week: No. 29
The Jaguars were edged by Washington, but they turned TIAA Bank Field into the Bermuda Triangle for the Indianapolis Colts. Jacksonville’s 24-0 victory was a convincing win, but they still have much to prove.
Last week: No. 30
The last time Joe Flacco got a win was pre-pandemic with the Denver Broncos. The fact he led the Jets on an improbable fourth quarter comeback with two minutes left is worth the bump in the power rankings. Can New York ride the momentum?
Last week: No. 28
The Broncos got their first win, but the offense is still struggling as Denver posted 16 points for the second straight week. It’s only that Houston’s offense was worse that the Broncos prevailed. Nathaniel Hackett is looking in over his head, but the rookie coach can still get things figured out.
Last week: No. 17
It’s a power ranking; the standings ultimately determine who makes the postseason or not. However, the Colts’ 0-0-1 record — the same as the Houston Texans’ — is ominous, especially considering Houston at least has 29 points through two weeks. Indianapolis couldn’t muster a point against the Jaguars. Coach Frank Reich has to find answers fast. The good news is the AFC South could be a weak division, which could give Indianapolis time to figure it out. Nevertheless 0-1-1 in the division is a terrible look.
Last week: No. 18
Jameis Winston looked like his old Tampa Bay Buccaneers self with three interceptions. It can be argued the Saints shouldn’t have won their Opening Day encounter and ought to be an 0-2 team. New Orleans is still figuring things out in the post-Sean Payton era.
Last week: No. 20
Washington was simply outclassed by the Lions, falling down as far as 22-0 at halftime. Washington managed to pull within eight with 10:44 to go, but Detroit hit the gas to get the win. The defense will continue to falter the longer Chase Young is rehabbing.
Last week: No. 26
The Lions don’t have big names per se on their offense, but their scheme provides ways to maximize the talent they have. Amon Ra St. Brown had nine catches for 116 yards and two touchdowns along with two carries for 68 yards. The Lions are embodying coach Dan Campbell’s attitude and are becoming a team that can’t be overlooked.
Last week: No. 16
Week 2 between the Steelers and New England Patriots looked like old times — with New England having their way, regardless of the venue. Mitch Trubisky couldn’t get to 200 yards passing, the run game couldn’t get to 100 yards on the ground, and no one on defense could touch Mac Jones with T.J. Watt sidelined. The upside is the AFC North is still very well in play.
Last week: No. 21
The secret to the Cowboys’ success is the defense, which generated six sacks of Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. Micah Parsons and the defense drags the opposing quarterback down to Cooper Rush’s level and provides a level playing field for the Cowboys to function while Dak Prescott heals from his thumb surgery on his throwing hand. So far the formula is working.
Last week: No. 11
It was supposed to be a new era with Josh McDaniels on the sidelines and Davante Adams going out for Derek Carr’s passes. Instead it is looking like another off year for the Raiders. As Yogi Berra would say, it is getting late early for the Raiders at 0-2.
Last week: No. 12
There is losing to the Buffalo Bills, and then there is losing on the road to the AFC favorites so bad that you have to play your rookie quarterback in a 41-7 blowout. The saving grace for the Titans is they play in the AFC South, so, the division isn’t out of hand for them. However, their chances to repeat as the No. 1 seed may have taken a big hit.
Last week: No. 19
After a convincing road win against last year’s No. 1 seed in the AFC, the Giants could have made a statement against the Carolina Panthers. Instead they played with their food, needing a 56-yard Graham Gano field goal to win. New York can still make a big statement with a win over the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football in Week 3.
Last week: No. 22
The Cardinals are starting to find their way despite the suspension to receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Arizona came back down 23-7 to get a needed win to keep pace with the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers in the competitive NFC West.
Last week: No. 6
Joe Burrow took a beating with six sacks. The offense mustered 17 points. If anything positive can be said about the Bengals’ 0-2 start, it is that they have lost close games; they haven’t exactly been blown out. Nevertheless Cincinnati has to find a way to close out games as the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens seem to be for real this year.
Last week: No. 8
The Vikings had a convincing win over the Green Bay Packers in Week 1, but it seems more like a fluke when they can’t compete with the Philadelphia Eagles on the road. Kirk Cousins threw three interceptions and was the team’s leading rusher. Minnesota can’t win with those types of stats.
Last week: No. 15
With Trey Lance injured, it is the Jimmy Garoppolo show again. The 49ers were able to get a win against the Seattle Seahawks, who may be who prognosticators thought they were at the beginning of the year. With Garoppolo back under center, it will reveal how legitimate San Francisco actually is.
Last week: No. 13
The Patriots were able to bounce back from a tough loss to an AFC East foe with a victory over the Steelers. Receiver Nelson Agholor came alive with six catches for 110 yards and a touchdown. As long as the Patriots defense can drag teams down to Jones’ talent level, New England ought to have a chance in every ballgame.
Last week: No. 14
Lamar Jackson had nine carries for 119 yards and a touchdown, threw for 318 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions and zero sacks, yet it still wasn’t enough as the Ravens lost 42-38 to the Miami Dolphins. It will be enough in other games, which makes Baltimore a dangerous team.
The Chargers could have initiated a changing of the guard in the AFC West with a win, but Justin Herbert’s pick-six early in the fourth quarter was the second win the Chiefs needed to keep their little brothers from Los Angeles down. The Chargers are still a team that will be a tough matchup for anyone each week.
Last week: No. 10
With Tua Tagovailoa’s arm, the receiving threats in Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill, along with coach Mike McDaniel’s brain, the Dolphins are becoming an offensive juggernaut, as evidenced by their 42-38 win over the Ravens. Consistency is key, but Miami truly has made some big statements over the first two weeks of the season.
Last week: No. 9
There is nothing like beating up on the Chicago Bears to provide a much needed morale boost and bring the team back to .500. Aaron Rodgers had no trouble on Sunday Night Football going 19-of-25 for 234 yards and two touchdowns. The ground game is also heating up with A.J. Dillon and Aaron Jones.
Last week: No. 7
Maybe the Eagles are benefiting from an easy schedule early, but they are also making it look easy. Jalen Hurts went 26-of-31 for 333 yards, a touchdown, and an interception while also carrying 11 times for 57 yards and two scores against the Vikings. Unlike the Giants, the Eagles aren’t playing down to their competition, easy schedule or not.
Last week: No. 3
Teams can only play who they are scheduled, and it wasn’t the Rams’ fault they were slated to play the Atlanta Falcons in Week 2. They got the win. However, their past failings impact their placement on the power rankings. Los Angeles is still a top-5 team and a favorite in the NFC.
Last week: No. 4
Tom Brady and the Bucs finally smashed the Saints like a tablet with 20 unanswered points in the second half after trailing 3-0 at the break. The win demonstrated Tampa Bay finds ways to box their way out of street fights. It may not be pretty in the stat sheet offensively for the Buccaneers at the moment, but 2-0 always has a certain luster.
Last week: No. 2
Kansas City demonstrated they are still one of the premier teams in the AFC and aren’t ready to be dethroned. Patrick Mahomes seemingly was outplayed by Justin Herbert, but the defense came up strong for the Chiefs to keep their undefeated streak alive.
Last week: No. 1
No one can stop the Bills at the moment, although they have huge road games over the next two weeks against the Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens. If the Bills are able to reach their bye week undefeated, talks of an undefeated season have to be considered. With 72 points scored in the past two weeks, anyone taking on Buffalo has to bring their A-game on offense to have a chance.