Week 2 NFL Power Rankings - Risers and Fallers (09/12/17)
As is often the case, the first week of the NFL season was anything but ordinary headlined by the Chiefs 42-27 upset win over the reigning Super Bowl Champion Patriots last Thursday. Kansas City's 42 points were the most scored against the Patriots since 1993. It was also the first time in 88 games where the Patriots lost a home game in which they were leading at halftime.
With the weird, wacky and unexpected comes our Week 2 NFL Power Rankings Risers and Fallers. Our Power Rankings are developed using players on the active depth chart, which causes fluctuation week-to-week based on injuries and who is in and out of the lineup. To see a full description of how our Power Rankings are created, as well as this week's full list of rankings, please check out our updated Week 2 Power Rankings.
Despite the embarrassing loss at home, New England remained first in our weekly power rankings. The Steelers remained in the No. 2 slot, but it's worth noting the Cleveland Browns (No. 29) held Pittsburgh to 2.1 yards per rush in Week 1. Meanwhile, the Packers moved up a couple spots to No. 3 after an impressive showing against the Seahawks. Green Bay's defense sacked Russell Wilson three times with nine tackles for loss, and seven QB hits. Seattle's – down three spots to No. 7 - offensive line woes are evident.
The Chiefs moved up four spots to No. 4 after Alex Smith shredded the Patriots secondary for 368 yards on 28-35 passing, four touchdowns with no interceptions. Rookie running back Kareem Hunt – starting in place of injured Spencer Ware – racked up 248 total yards in his debut and averaged 8.7 yards per rush on 17 carries. K.C.'s multipurpose weapon, Tyreek Hill, picked up where he left off last season with seven receptions for 133 yards and a breakaway touchdown.
Although the defense failed to pick Tom Brady off, they held the rushing game to 3.5 yards per rush.
Kansas City faces the Eagles, AT Chargers and Redskins the next three weeks.
Try as they might, the Broncos did everything they could to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory Monday night. Up 24-7 in the fourth quarter with the ball at midfield, Trevor Siemian tossed a pick, which led to a Chargers touchdown followed by a Jamaal Charles fumble, which led to seven more points for the Chargers. Denver needed to block a rookie kicker's 44-yard field to preserve the win.
However, Siemian played better than expected, C.J. Anderson carried the ball 20 times for 81 yards and looked more like the CJA of two years ago than the hobbled running back we saw last year and, most importantly, aside from issues following the fourth quarter turnovers, the Broncos “no fly zone” pass defense remains tops in the game.
The loss of Danny Woodhead for an indefinite amount of time is a huge blow to an anemic offense. However, the running back committee of Terrance West and Buck Allen did produce 151 rush yards and a touchdown on 40 carries. Granted it came against Cincinnati's exploitable offensive line, but if the defense plays like it did against the Bengals – 4 INT, 8 TFL, 5 SKS – Joe Flacco's unit can grind the clock away and win ugly ball games. It's if the Ravens defense shows any signs of regression or starters suffer injuries that this squad will be among the worst in the NFL.
David Johnson will miss the next two-to-three months following wrist surgery. When you lose the main cog of your offense and your next man up is 37-year-old Carson Palmer, your power rankings stock is going to dip. The Cardinals quarterback tossed three picks against a Lions secondary that ranks 31st in our defensive pass efficiency rankings. Larry Fitzgerald saw 13 targets in Week 1 and one would think – without Johnson – his weekly targets per game should remain 10+ the rest of the season.
On defense, the Cardinals allowed Matthew Stafford to carve ‘em up for 292 yards with four touchdowns and only one interception. For whatever its worth when Ameer Abdullah is the lead back, Arizona held Detroit to 3.0 YPR. If they want to have any success moving forward, the Cardinals will have to mimic the Ravens, lean on their defense to make plays and grind out wins OR Palmer could, ya know, play better.
A healthy Odell Beckham in this starting lineup would be applying lipstick to a pig. Fans can look forward to the occasional highlight reel catch, but after watching Sunday, it's just a bad product. Aside from their rush defense – which allowed Zeke Elliott to rush for over 100 yards (4.3 YPR) – it's challenging to preach an optimistic tone. The rush offense averaged less than three yards per carry, Shane Vereen led the team in targets with 10, while free agent signee Brandon Marshall saw four.
When the Browns and 49ers jump you in weekly power rankings, things have gone from bad to “I don't know if even Andrew Luck can save this sinking ship.”
The Colts defense allowed Jared Goff to throw for 306 yards on 21-29 passing. It was Goff's first 300-yard passing game and trumped his previous career-high by 71 passing yards.
On offense, Jacoby Brissett may carry a dozen questions, but football knows Scott Tolzien isn't the answer.