Well, look at the mess Week 1 made with the Power Rankings. Not only do we have a new No. 1, we also have a new No. 32. Everything at the top and the bottom of the rankings have been reshuffled, which is why tracking teams in this arbitrary fashion is so important (we can tell ourselves). Are some of the “bad” teams better than we thought? Are the “good” teams about to fall off the cliff? How badly can we overreact after a single week of real NFL football? Let’s find out together.
We had shocking upsets, ties, the threat of ties and a Super Bowl champion who looked like they didn’t realize they’d be asked to play a real football game on opening night. But, hey, it’s hard to complain too much when you just hung a 2021 championship banner.
It’s time to deliver the deserved praise and harshly worded scorn to our NFL participants. Let’s rank some teams.
- BUFFALO BILLS (1-0)
The Bills opened the preseason as the Super Bowl favorites and then answered the call, putting a prison yard beat down on the defending champion Los Angeles Rams on the same day they hung the banner (well, technically two, since they also put up the Super Bowl XXXIV flag too). As statements go, that one was pretty definitive. Buffalo looks like the best team in the league and no one else is close.
Last week: No. 3
- TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (1-0)
It wasn’t a pretty 2022 debut for Tom Brady and the Todd Bowles Bucs, but considering how so many of the “contenders” played in Week 1, they should get no complaints. Brady is now 7-0 against the Dallas Cowboys in his career and the only reason that win total isn’t bigger is that Dallas was never a serious Super Bowl contender in Brady’s two decade long career.
Last week: No. 4
- KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (1-0)
Did the Chiefs look like a serious contender because they’re a serious contender or were they just playing the Arizona Cardinals? Kansas City is great, there’s no question, but we’ll see what the Tyreek Hill-less offense looks like Thursday night against the Chargers. They’ll get two shots at LA and the AFC West is probably on the line in both.
Last week: No. 5
- LOS ANGELES RAMS (0-1)
Here’s a fun little tidbit for you. Last season, every single time the Rams made their way to the top of the Power Rankings, they would immediately lose. As they started this season at No. 1, they have apparently kept that streak going.
Last week: No. 1
- CINCINNATI BENGALS (0-1)
Evan McPherson was probably the best kicker in the league a year ago. Last Sunday, he couldn’t hit the broad side of a Steelers nose tackle. He’ll have plenty of chances to line up for field goals and extra points when Cincy travels to the Dak Prescott-less Dallas Cowboys Sunday.
Last week: No. 2
- LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (1-0)
Last Sunday, Justin Herbert put up a highlight reel that needs to be shown with a parental advisory warning in front of it. With a victory over the Chiefs Thursday night on the road, the Chargers can take control of the AFC West early and maybe for good.
Last week: No. 6
- GREEN BAY PACKERS (0-1)
Here’s a fun fact. After Sunday’s beat down, Kirk Cousins now has a career winning record over Aaron Rodgers. So maybe our nation’s ivermectin spokesman will consider that before he starts trash talking the other teams in the NFC North again.
Last week: No. 7
- PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (1-0)
Hey, how about that? It turns out trading a pittance for a young star wide receiver can pay off. And with Dak Prescott missing possibly two months for the Cowboys, the NFC East is now Philadelphia’s to lose. All after Week 1.
Last week: No. 8
- BALTIMORE RAVENS (1-0)
You know, this whole Lamar Jackson is running back narrative looks dumber with every single elite pinpoint throw he makes. He carved up Robert Saleh’s New York Jets defense like it was a fresh brisket right out of the smoker.
Last week: No. 12
- PITTSBURGH STEELERS (1-0)
If you ever had a question on how, in his 16th season, head coach Mike Tomlin has never posted a losing record, that insane win over the Bengals Sunday should tell you everything you need to know.
Last week: No. 16
- LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (0-1)
Sometimes you can be a good team and the other guys are just significantly better. The fact they kept it close with Justin Herbert on fire and the Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack combo rushing the passer, is a testament to how good the Raiders are. It’s just not going to matter in the AFC this year.
Last week: No. 9
- DENVER BRONCOS (0-1)
Here’s a fun fact — Peyton Manning, on the “Manningcast” requested that the Broncos call a timeout on their final drive 62 times before they actually took the time out to set up the game losing field goal. I’m not the first one to say it and I won’t be the last, but if you’ve traded that much for Russell Wilson and are paying him $242 million, why wouldn’t you give him a shot to pick up five yards and a first down with all three time outs in your pocket? Nathaniel Hackett needs to eat that loss for a good, long while.
Last week: No. 10
- MINNESOTA VIKINGS (1-0)
You’d like to point at the Kevin O’Connell hire as being the X-Factor in Sunday’s win over the Packers, but Kirk Cousins and the Vikes have had Aaron Rodgers’ number for a while. Even if the ayahuasca made Rodgers forget it.
Last week: No. 20
- MIAMI DOLPHINS (1-0)
Much like the Chiefs win over the Cardinals, how much of the Dolphins’ beat down of the New England Patriots was from Miami’s talent and coaching or from the Pats’ lack of talent and coaching. This week’s game against the Ravens will tell us a lot.
Preseason: No. 21
- NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (1-0)
The Saints finally took their turn in coming back from a double digit fourth quarter deficit to embarrass the Atlanta Falcons. It’s got to be half the league at this point.
Last week: No. 19
- DALLAS COWBOYS (0-1)
The Mike McCarthy farewell tour might be significantly shorter as the team looks at seven more weeks without Dak Prescott and, what looks like, seven more weeks without a victory.
Last week: No. 13
- CHICAGO BEARS (1-0)
The Bears remain a mystery to me, but I felt that victory over the 49ers in my soul. Of all the premonitions to have, with all the horrible things that occur on a daily basis in the world, the fact that I was able to prophesy Chicago’s domination of the 49ers has to be the all time dumbest psychic power in history.
Last week: No. 26
- TENNESSEE TITANS (0-1)
If the Titans think the Giants were a tough out, just wait until they venture into upstate New York to face the Buffalo Bills in their home opener this week. That looks like an 0-2 start to me.
Last week: No. 13
- CLEVELAND BROWNS (1-0)
With the outright hatred from NFL fandom and the disgust of NFL punditry, the Browns actually look like a solid bet here early in the season. And it’s all thanks to Bill Belichick and Tom Brady smothering NFL karma to death with a pile of melted VHS tapes back in 2001.
Last week: No. 22
- ARIZONA CARDINALS (0-1)
The Cardinals took a tough loss on the field to the Chiefs last Sunday, but there’s still good news. Kyler Murray got a six man kill streak going on Call of Duty Warzone the night before.
Last week: No. 14
- WASHINGTON COMMANDERS (1-0)
Carson Wentz did the unthinkable last Sunday. He showed up in the final minutes of an NFL game to lead his team to victory. That’s the guy the Eagles drafted No. 2 overall in 2016 and, the absence of that guy, is why they traded him away in 2021.
Last week: No. 25
- SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (0-1)
All offseason long all you read or heard from NFL punditry (not me, the rest of them) was how great Trey Lance was going to be and how he was going to take the 49ers to the next level. What none of them predicted was that level being a Top Five draft pick that will go to the Miami Dolphins next April. And if they go ahead and put up the Jimmy Garoppolo signal, all that trade capital was wasted. The Niners have to ride with Lance the whole way to have any chance to develop him. Bet accordingly.
Last week: No. 17
- INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (0-0-1)
I thought the Colts would get over the hump with Matt Ryan at quarterback. I never saw, for the life of me, the hump being something they just carry along with them. They say a tie is like kissing your sister, but I’m not sure Ryan got enough into the Georgia lifestyle to ever test that one out.
Last week: No. 18
- NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (0-1)
Well, to the surprise of no one who’s been paying attention, the Patriots looked like garbage in their season opener. And they’ll keep looking that way. Bill Belichick’s problem is that, to fire the guys ruining his offense — Matt Patricia and Joe Judge, he’d have to first fire the two guys ruining his defense — Steve and Brian Belichick.
Last week: No. 15
- ATLANTA FALCONS (0-1)
With under 12 minutes left in the game, the Falcons led the Saints 26-10. They lost the game 27-26. At some point, you have to think Atlanta is doing this on purpose.
Last week: No. 23
- JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (0-1)
Doug Pederson and Trevor Lawrence nearly teamed up to ruin Carson Wentz’s NFL career again. The only way they’ll ever get another shot at it is if the Jaguars and Commanders meet in the Super Bowl. So, you know, that opportunity has been lost forever.
Last week: No. 24
- SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (1-0)
Ladies and gentlemen, here they are. Your NFC West-leading Seattle Seahawks. Broncos, the shame you should feel for that loss should be lasting.
Last week: No. 28
- NEW YORK GIANTS (1-0)
Hey, remember when everyone was writing off Saquon Barkley? Brian Daboll didn’t and his team enjoyed one of the biggest upsets in Week 1 and served notice that the Giants will not be an easy out for anybody.
Last week: No. 29
- DETROIT LIONS (0-1)
You have to appreciate how hard the Lions fought to lose by three to the Eagles. How many times they can battle that way without getting a victory show for it? Knocking off the Commanders this week to get a .500 record for the first time in nearly half a decade will keep them from finding that out.
Last week: No. 27
- HOUSTON TEXANS (0-0-1)
For the second consecutive season the Texans opened the year with an 0-17 roster and managed to ruin their chances at finishing that way right out the gate. This time, it was with a tie against the Colts, who should not be able to live that down for the rest of the year.
Last week: No. 32
- CAROLINA PANTHERS (0-1)
Hard to believe one of the worst teams in the league with a laughable quarterback situation somehow managed to lose their opening game in the final seconds. Who could have predicted it? Besides, me, of course.
Last week: No. 30
- NEW YORK JETS
Welcome to the bottom of the rankings Jets. I have a feeling you’ll spend a whole lot of the season here.
Last week: No. 31
Follow Adam Greene on Twitter @TheFirstMan.