A thrilling Thursday carried through to an even thrillinger Monday, and just like that, week 1 is in the books. Shocker, I have some thoughts. Browse at your leisure, or follow the anchor link below to skip to your favorite team so you can tell me how wrong I am. It happens sometimes. But I highly recommend a start to finish on this one… well, at least to like number 20 or 25 cause I tend to nod off just writing about the Colts or the Football Team.
Week 2 is when the real magic starts. Teams have real film, players have real and sometimes devastating injuries (hint, I talk about those a little bit), and everyone who does their own power rankings gets a redo.
No? No redo? Fine. I stand by my analysis that was based at least partially on college film and preseason games. As always, may all your teams win or your coaches be fired. Especially if you’re a Chargers fan.
- 1. Philadelphia Eagles
- 2. Kansas City Chiefs
- 3. Baltimore Ravens
- 4. San Francisco 49ers
- 5. Jacksonville Jaguars
- 6. Buffalo Bills
- 7. Cincinnati Bengals
- 8. Los Angeles Chargers
- 9. Atlanta Falcons
- 10. Dallas Cowboys
- 11. Miami Dolphins
- 12. Detroit Lions
- 13. Green Bay Packers
- 14. New York Jets
- 15. New England Patriots
- 16. New Orleans Saints
- 17. Seattle Seahawks
- 18. Minnesota Vikings
- 19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- 20. Los Angeles Rams
- 21. Cleveland Browns
- 22. Tennessee Titans
- 23. Pittsburgh Steelers
- 24. New York Giants
- 25. Denver Broncos
- 26. Chicago Bears
- 27. Vegas Raiders
- 28. Carolina Panthers
- 29. Washington Commanders
- 30. Indianapolis Colts
- 31. Houston Texans
- 32. Arizona Cardinals
1. Philadelphia Eagles
Solid-ish win over a Pats team that could be better than expected this year. That said, this formidable defensive front wasn’t as impressive as they should be. They got off the ball fast and got pressure, but that ultimately only led to 2 sacks on a statue QB who threw it 54 times. Getting off the snap fast only helps if you know how to use that leverage. Rookie Jalen Carter seemed to be the only consistent threat.
Offense did enough against a really good defense, but there has to be some concern that they struggled this much under a new OC. Or perhaps that’s a valid excuse and it’ll come together later.
In any case, having a money kicker like Jake Elliot means you can still get enough points when the offense struggles.
2. Kansas City Chiefs
Yes, they lost and I moved them up 2 spots. If you read the week 1 rankings, you’ll recall the difference between 1 and 4 last week was Chris Jones. If Travis Kelce is ever out for an extended period, his absence will have a similar impact on rankings. With both out, week 1 was destined to be a mess. The Chiefs have a ton of talent concentrated in a few spots.
That said, Kelce could be ready to go Sunday and Jones is signed to a new 1 year deal, meaning he’s playing another contract year. In other words, all that concentrated talent is now healthy-ish and happy-ish, so it’s time to see the real Chiefs. At the very least, I’m willing to bet Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore play better with Kelce on the field to take the pressure off.
3. Baltimore Ravens
Jumped the Bengals, but got jumped by the Chiefs. That’s how it goes some days. Ravens won a game they were supposed to win with a strong defensive showing. Roquan Smith is everywhere at all times, and I’ll never understand the Bears letting such a talented player go. It’ll be interesting to see how they hold up against a Bengals offense with tons of talent and something to prove.
In Breaking News: Lamar Jackson may not throw for 6,000 yards this year. But it’s pretty clear Zay Flowers will be as good as I was hoping. When they get Mark Andrews back, this passing game should be ready to take off. Maybe 5,000 is a more realistic goal.
Unfortunately, they’ll have to do it without J.K. Dobbins, who tore his Achilles and is out for the year. Still just 24 years old, Dobbins missed all of 2021 and half of 2022 with an ACL injury that also impacted his LCL, meniscus, and hamstring. In his limited time, he’s been absolutely dominant, so has to be frustrating for him and the team that he can’t stay healthy.
4. San Francisco 49ers
I’m sold enough on Brock Purdy. At least enough that he can run this offense really well. It was nice to see Brandon Aiyuk get worked in some more. Christian McCaffrey is scary good. The defense with Nick Bosa coming back is terrifying.
Everything on paper suggests they could be anywhere in the top 5, possibly even number 1. But it’s hard to judge cause they won’t really be challenged until week 5 against Dallas. They should absolutely enter that game at 4-0, and if so, perhaps they’ll have reached the top power ranking spot by then.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars
Did I tell you or did I tell you? Trevor Lawrence–Calvin Ridley stack will only keep getting better. Now that teams know who they need to stop, they’ll run into the issue of dealing with Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, and Evan Engram. Travis Etienne, Jr. looks great, too. This offense is humming and I don’t see it stopping.
Defensively, there are concerns, but it’s hard to gauge without knowing if Anthony Richardson’s performance against them was because he’s that good or because the Jags defense isn’t.
6. Buffalo Bills
This feels high from what I saw on Monday night, but I’ll give the benefit of the doubt cause they were playing what might be the best defense in the league.
Most importantly, and I know I keep saying this, but I don’t know how Josh Allen finishes this season healthy. The risks he was taking while running didn’t even make sense. It’s one thing to dive for the last yard to get a 1st down or score, but he opened himself up to massive hits when they didn’t even matter.
A few bright spots, though. Pass rush looks really good, and their defense was solid all-around. Can’t fault anyone on the Bills D for the Garrett Wilson TD. That was just silly. at some point Von Miller will join them, and solid will become formidable. I’ll also mention Gabe Davis, who finally looked more like a 2 than he has since the 2021 playoffs.
7. Cincinnati Bengals
Where to start? Joe Burrow looks rusty as hell. Ja’Marr Chase couldn’t get any space, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd were practically non-existent, and the supposedly revamped offensive line looked terrible. Especially the tackles. Orlando Brown, Jr. struggled, and I seriously question whether Jonah Williams belongs on an NFL roster, let alone a starting lineup.
Defense wasn’t all that bad, but needs to improve in a few areas. Trey Hendrickson is still a beast to block in the passing game, but he needs to get better against the run. 1st round Edge Myles Murphy is obviously raw, but he may have to grow up fast. Luckily their secondary looks like a strength for now, at least against the Browns run-heavy offense.
8. Los Angeles Chargers
Losing sucks. Losing in week 1 while showing a more efficient passing game than the previous year and an absolutely dominant run game… still sucks, but it sucks less. Unless you’re a defensive-minded HC who started the year with some heat in the seat and your offense was the only side of the ball that delivered.
This defense couldn’t touch Tua Tagovailoa. The quick passing game made that difficult, but you can’t have Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack on the edges and get almost no pressure on the QB. The Chargers defense was out-gameplanned, and Brandon Staley needs to fix that fast before Kellen Moore replaces him midseason.
Not even joking. If they’re 4-4 or 4-5 with a few more shootouts like this, it’ll be awfully tempting for Tom Telesco to pass control over to the coach who’s performing.
9. Atlanta Falcons
I was way to happy to be able to get the Falcons in my top 10. I realize it was just the Panthers, but they handled them. And while Carolina is likely to struggle all season, their defense is actually decent, so it’s not like Atlanta was lighting up a weakness.
Desmond Ridder looked under control and efficient, and Tyler Allgeier is just one of my favorite football players. There’s no back in the league I want to see less in the 4th quarter than that hammer. I think Ridder may have focused too much on safe throws to Bijan Robinson instead of working it downfield to Drake London and Kyle Pitts. That’ll be a focus for improvement this week as they face a Packers defense that’s a bit faster and trickier than they saw against the Panthers.
Similar to the Jags, it’s tough to really gauge their defense until we know if Bryce Young is good enough yet. If he starts tearing up defenses going forward, then Atlanta’s D must be pretty good cause Young struggled a lot. The next 1st year starter they face won’t be as green.
10. Dallas Cowboys
So. I wish I had more to say here, but honestly, I turned this game off. I got permission from The hell going on group members to go to bed.
The offense barely had to do anything after a 1st quarter touchdown from both special teams and the defense. Tony Pollard looks as good as ever.
But holy moly is this defense good. 6th-year DE Dorance Armstrong had one of the most impressive nights. Not just his 2 sacks, but also because in his limited snaps, he is always getting himself in the right positions. There is a frightening amount of depth throughout this entire defense.
11. Miami Dolphins
So close to breaking the top 10, and they very well could do so soon. Serious question… did the Chargers decide to not even cover Tyreek Hill, or did it just look that way?
Defense needs to shore up the run front, but if Tua stays healthy, I mean who even cares? And they haven’t even started exploring Devon Achane in this offense. On paper, the Chargers actually have a pretty good defense, so despite Lamar’s declaration, Tua may be the one throwing for 6,000 yards this year.
12. Detroit Lions
I was already sold on Dan Campbell, Jared Goff, and Amon-Ra St. Brown, as well as Aiden Hutchinson and their entire defense. I was skeptical about their backfield, as the running game was so important for them last year.
With that in mind, I’m officially sold on Jahmyr Gibbs. He is as advertised, and will only get better and more explosive as he learns the offense and the speed of the game at this level.
However, not at all sold on David Montgomery. This team could have Gibbs and Jamaal Williams instead, for basically the same price. There’s a lot of positives on both sides of the ball, but I feel like the people hyping Montgomery this week didn’t watch the same game as me.
13. Green Bay Packers
I’m not one to get too excited after a single game behind a new QB, but I can feel the excitement bubbling. The most impressive part of watching the Packers offense was recognizing it as something different from the Matt LaFleur offenses with Rodgers.
However, it’s probably best to temper that excitement. The Bears aren’t pushovers, but their defense was clearly a sacrifice they made to the football gods in exchange for more offense. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t get much of a chance to showcase that offense against a stout Packers D. If Green Bay’s defense can play consistently at that level, this could be an unexpectedly exciting year.
14. New York Jets
Few things about Aaron Rodgers before I get into the rest of this. First, I don’t care for him as a person, and a few of the jokes lobbed out there were funny. I’ll never celebrate any player’s injury, but this wasn’t anything life-threatening, so putting his face on a Gone in 60 Seconds poster is objectively funny. Actively cheering his or any injury, however, is just so cringey. Do better.
And second, any supposed Packers fan who actually celebrated him going down with a season-ending injury needs to check their fandom. Not only did he bring a lot of football happiness to Wisconsin, this injury also guarantees that the Packers will get the Jets 2nd round pick next season, as opposed to their 1st round pick if he played 65% of the plays. This was bad for both the Jets and Packers.
All that said, even after an exciting win, I can’t pretend they don’t drop significantly heading into the rest of the season. Winning the game in such a gutsy fashion is all that kept them in the mid-teens.
Moving on, did you see that game!? Looks like it doesn’t really matter who throws it to Garrett Wilson if they can get it in the general vicinity, Allen Lazard had several clutch moments, and Breece Hall is out of this world talented. And despite some shakiness, Zach Wilson showed flashes, especially his falling throw to Lazard in the 4th quarter. He really just needs to figure out how to do the easy things well.
Jets defense are a cheat code. It’s not even fair. Even with all the draft capital they’ve spent, go back and watch Bryce Huff, who they brought in as a UDFA in 2020. You can pick almost any play; he wins most of them. But check out the 3rd down play with 10 seconds left in the game and the Bills trying to pick up a few extra yards before trying a field goal to tie. The tackle got so messed up he barely touched Huff and Josh Allen had to throw it away. That play was inches away from being the difference on the game-tying field goal doink-and-in that followed.
15. New England Patriots
Bill, you did it! You unleashed Mac! I’m so proud! Didn’t deliver a win, but it delivered a real chance against what I consider the best team in the league. Mac Jones looked fantastic as he spread out 316 yards and 3 TDs to 8 different receivers. There are so many Bill Belichick weapons on this offense. I was actually floored when I saw Ty Montgomery out there, but quickly realized he’s exactly the kind of versatile threat we always see on a Belichick roster.
Defensively, they’ve got edge rushers for days. We already knew Josh Uche and Matt Judon were really good, but rookie 2nd rounder Keion White was a pleasant surprise. He’s always been good, but rookies don’t always come in equipped with the tools needed at this level. He quickly showed he’s ready.
16. New Orleans Saints
I’m a little less skeptical of Derek Carr. That took a lot for me to say. But man, when he has time, that dude drops dimes.
Full disclosure, I was working on something else and just listening to the game and I heard in passing that Cam Heyward might miss some major time and for like an hour I confused him in my head with Cam Jordan and was considering all the ramifications of the Saints with him.
So, false alarm, at least for the Saints. Cam Jordan is fine, Saints defense is better than fine, and if anyone is interested, I already worked out the counterfactual of Jordan missing the rest of the year. No? Okay, moving on.
17. Seattle Seahawks
On the one hand, it’s possible the Rams just had a down year and they’re still a really good team and Sunday wasn’t a complete embarrassment for the Hawks. On the other hand, how did you get lit up by Tutu Atwell and who tf is Puka Nacua?
It’s almost like Pete Carroll went into the locker room at halftime and was like, 13-7 is good enough, let’s pack it in. so much of this game simply came down to LAR having the ball twice as long because they kept converting 3rd downs, while Seattle couldn’t find a 2nd half rhythm.
18. Minnesota Vikings
I’m just gonna say it… probably should’ve just paid Dalvin Cook. And I know you wanna get your money’s worth out of T.J. Hockenson, but he is just not that good. Wait, I’ll rephrase, he’s not that good of a football player. But for a fantasy TE in a ppr league, he’s gold, because for some reason Kirk Cousins is determined to make him seem like a good player so when Kirk checks down to him for no good reason, he’ll be able to say, “well T.J. is a great player so I threw it to him. It has to be a conspiracy.
Defense was hard to judge cause they got torn apart by Baker Mayfield in the 2nd half and no one knows what to think of Baker yet. Though it’s a bit concerning that apparently Baker figured out the Vikings defensive signals. So I guess just fix that up before, hmm, Thursday night against the defending NFC champs.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I bet Baker’s dog is finally getting all the belly scratches and all that goodness being put out into the universe is coming back to Baker. It’s really the only explanation for this team pulling off that win. I tried, but I just couldn’t put them above the Vikings even though they just beat the Vikings… because they’re not better than the Vikings.
But I’ve been a consistent member of the Baker hype train for years, so I hope this was a stepping stone and the Bucs go on a tear. Still don’t think it’ll happen, but it would be so much fun.
I actually wrote down a theory last offseason that Baker will throw 30-10 this year and sign a 9-figure deal with the Vikings.
20. Los Angeles Rams
Kinda feel like I laid out all my Rams feelings in the Seahawks spot. So, who had Puka Nacua on their fantasy team? Anyone? Bueller?
21. Cleveland Browns
I’m not saying I think DeShaun Watson looked good. But I am saying he looked good enough to not screw up another monster year from Nick Chubb. Between Chubb and Myles Garrett, there’s a real possibility the Browns have the best offensive and best defensive player in the league on their team. They just need everyone else to do just enough, which means an efficient Watson, not a gamebreaker.
Or we could skip all this nonsense and put Dorian Thompson-Robinson in now and go to the playoffs. But it’s the Browns.
22. Tennessee Titans
Mike Vrabel is like the duct tape coach. His teams have no business being competitive and somehow they hang in there. This loss to New Orleans should’ve been much bigger. Ryan Tannehill has to be looking over his shoulder after throwing 3 picks and with 2 once highly-touted backups behind him. Few weeks of this and Tennessee talk shows will be calling for a fresh face on offense.
23. Pittsburgh Steelers
Well that was a dud. I man, I know it was the Niners but come on, have some pride. Now Cam Heyward (see, I got there) is out for an extended period of time and somehow we’re talking about J.J. Watt playing for the Steelers. Come on, people. Next you’ll be talking about Tom Brady going to the Jets. *sigh*
I don’t like the Steelers this low because I think they’re a much better team than this. But their offense needs to show literally anything next week against the Browns. Call this a non-conference blip and throw the tape in the garbage.
24. New York Giants
Speaking of throwing the tape in the garbage. Problem is this wasn’t a non-conference opponent. Not even a non-division opponent. NYG got smacked down, at home, by a heated division rival. I’m sure I would have some thoughts about the Giants passing game, but Daniel Jones needs a few seconds to look up and his young receivers need a beat to make their first break. They got none of that.
It’s possible that Coach of the Year Brian Daboll got outcoached. It’s also possible the Cowboys are just that good. I’m not sure which would be better news for the Giants.
25. Denver Broncos
Ah, the Broncos. Week 2’s 25th Element. The most boring and mundane of all the football creatures. Remember when things would be different under Sean Payton because of his epic guru-y Sean Payton-ness? Better start Sean Payton-ing soon, cause this schedule isn’t getting any easier.
26. Chicago Bears
I’m not sure what the offensive gameplan was last week, but throw it away and start from scratch. Throw Chase Claypool out with it. If the Bears offense can’t find a groove, there’s no way they’ll be able to put up the 40 a game they’ll need to overcome the gaping holes on defense. They invested everything into this offense. Khalil Herbert needs more touches, D.J. Moore needs way more touches, and Claypool needs to start being the 50/50 guy he could be and once was, or fall off the depth chart.
27. Vegas Raiders
Yes, I know, they beat the Broncos and I have them 2 spots lower. But did they really beat the Broncos? Cause I saw 2 teams seemingly trying to lose against each other, so in that context, the Raiders actually kinda won. I think. Oh who cares, they should both be ashamed of last week and start figuring out how to turn things around. Josh McDaniels should be joining Brandon on the hot seat, but I think he has a much longer leash.
28. Carolina Panthers
If Bryce Young isn’t it, this could be a really long and painful year.
29. Washington Commanders
Barely beating the worst team in the league doesn’t get you much of a boost up the rankings. Also doesn’t help that the young QB everyone is so sure is the future of the franchise looked as mediocre as ever.
Free Jacoby Brissett.
30. Indianapolis Colts
I’m not saying Anthony Richardson made me a believer last weekend, but I am saying he needs a “The Noun” -style nickname. His name doesn’t really play into the Real Deal Holyfield or Night Train Lane format, so it has to be more in the mold of The Truth or The Answer.
I may need to see him play some more before I figure it out. My point is he was impressive enough that we should probably have a nickname tee’d up, especially since he banished his college nickname of AR-15.
31. Houston Texans
C.J. Stroud didn’t beat any worlds, but he showed enough for optimism. He had a decent rapport with Nico Collins, which will be important this year. But almost none with Dalton Schultz, which will also be important. Sure-handed TE is a rookie QB’s best friend.
32. Arizona Cardinals
Let’s clear something up: Players do not tank.
But front offices absolutely do. You have to wonder what’s going on in the heads of vets in their prime when the front office knows Kyler Murray will miss some of the season, and instead of letting established backup Colt McCoy try to keep things together, they cut McCoy and give the starting QB job to journeyman Joshua Dobbs.
Who they literally just signed that same week. Dobbs led the team in week 1 and will presumably do so again this week. He now has a grand total of 3 NFL starts and yet is somehow a grizzled veteran. We need a word for that.
Speaking of those vets, how do you think Budda Baker felt about that move? Or Hollyood Brown? Jonathan Gannon likely has several years of leash, so maybe he just doesn’t care. That’s the business, or so they like to constantly remind us.