Week 2 NFL power rankings

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By SAM SPIEGELMAN
XN Sports

The first week of football is officially in the books, and all of a sudden the Week 1 edition of the XN Sports NFL power rankings really makes you re-consider what you thought you knew.

Every week, XN Sports will rank every NFL team. Here is the Week 2 edition based on the Week 1 results and the season-long potential.

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Week 2 NFL power rankings
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Week 2 NFL power rankings

1. Seattle Seahawks (Last week: 1)

Any questions about the Super Bowl champs were answered quickly during the season opener against Green Bay. The defense looks just as solid, while the offense is even more dynamic with the addition of Percy Harvin.

What to know: So much for the demise of Marshawn Lynch. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Beast Mode averaged 6.3 yards per rush in between the tackles and 2.3 yards after contact.

(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

2. Denver Broncos (Last week: 2)

Peyton Manning is engineering the most prolific offense in the NFL. Color me surprised. Right now, the Broncos are clearly the class of the AFC.

What to know: Remember the concern about Manning’s neck and his deep-ball ability? Well, it’s partially true. Per ESPN Stats & Information, 64 percent of his passes went five yards or fewer, including a 4-of-4 mark to tight end Julius Thomas, who hauled in three touchdowns.

(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

3. San Francisco 49ers (Last week: 6)

So much for the defense taking a step back. The Niners were playing their A game on defense against Dallas, while Colin Kaepernick appears to have taken a step forward with his game.

What to know: That declining defense — well, each of its first three turnovers led to 49ers offensive touchdowns. Per Elias Sports, it was the first time in 17 years a Cowboys opponent scored 21 points or more in the first half off turnovers.

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

4. New Orleans Saints (Last week: 3)

That much-hyped defense — well, it didn’t show up. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done by Week 2. Fortunately, this offense can score at any time. Brandin Cooks is the real deal.

What to know: This improved Saints defense allowed Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan to register the second-best Pro Football Focus grade of his career. Ryan completed 75 percent of his passes against Rob Ryan’s blitzes. Maybe this division isn’t the Saints to lose.

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

5. New England Patriots (Last week: 4)

The Patriots looked as dominant as we anticipated in the first half, but were outmatched and outplayed in the second half against Miami. I wouldn’t panic just yet, New England fans.

What to know: Tom Brady has dominated the AFC East since taking over as the Pats’ starting quarterback. How dominant, though? Of the 168 total weeks that all four AFC East teams have played while Brady has been quarterbacking the Patriots, this was only the fourth time New England has lost while its rivals have won, according to Elias. The other times happened back in 2001, 2004 and 2012.

(Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

6. Cincinnati Bengals (Last week: 7)

Despite everybody and their mom picking Baltimore and Pittsburgh to retake the NFC North, the Bengals proved they still belong. What a statement win against those Ravens on the road.

What to know: Andy Dalton‘s game-winning 77-yard pass to A.J. Green with 4:58 left in the contest came just moments removed from Joe Flacco‘s long bomb to Steve Smith. Dalton was 6-of-8 for 131 yards and that score when targeting his No. 1 receiver Green.

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

7. Green Bay Packers (Last week: 5)

Nobody wants to open their promising season at Seattle, but Green Bay was lucky enough to do just that. Both the offense and defense looked lost, but expect this contender to rebound.

What to know: Every year it feels like injuries bite Green Bay the hardest. On Thursday, the team lost Eddie LacyJ.C.Tretter and Richard Rodgers to injury.

(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

8. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week: 10)

Ben Roethlisberger wanted us to remember he’s still suiting up on Sundays, and this offense looks like the real deal. It’s a bit concerning the defense allowed the Browns to creep back late, but a win is a win.

What to know: The running game is back in the Steel City. Second-year back Le’Veon Bell forced 11 missed tackles, per Pro Football Focus, to go along with 109 total rush yards and 84 yards after contact.

(Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

9. Philadelphia Eagles (Last week: 9)

It was 17-0 at halftime, against the Jags remind you. Still, the Eagles were able to rally in the second half and come out on top. But no, Nick Foles will not be the quarterback he was in 2013.

What to know: Philly is the first team to trail by 14 points and then go on to win by more than 14 points, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

(Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)

10. Atlanta Falcons (Last week: 14)

Maybe we underrated the different a healthy Julio Jones and Roddy White would have on the Falcons offense, because they were equally as dynamic as the NFC South favorites. The defense isn’t spectacular, but apparently neither is New Orleans’.

What to know: It was a career day for Ryan, racking up 448 passing yards. But bigger than his overall numbers was his clutchness. Ryan led a game-tying field goal drive then a game-winning drive in overtime.

(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

11. Detroit Lions (Last week: 15)

Jim Caldwell is having an impact on Matthew Stafford and this offense, as they were still explosive and even more efficient. The NFC North could be a four-way race.

What to know: In his Lions debut, Golden Tate finally served as a solid No. 2 option oppositeCalvin Johnson. Tate, a converted running back at Notre Dame, forced three missed tackles, which puts him in a four-way tie for the league lead among NFL wideouts.

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

12. Chicago Bears (Last week: 8)

Will we get good Jay Cutler or bad Jay Cutler, because the latter makes the Bears a .500 time. And so much for an improved defense, because it made E.J. Manuel look somewhat decent at Soldier Field.

What to know: Cutler is at his best when he’s not facing pressure. Per Pro Football Focus, Cutler had a +.4 grade with a clean pocket, a -2.4 grade when hurried.

(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

13.  Arizona Cardinals (Last week: 17)

Bruce Arians has constructed a dynamic offense, although 18 points doesn’t do the unit justice. And so much for that depleted defense; Kevin Minter and Larry Foote looked stellar filling in for Karlos Dansby and Daryl Washington.

What to know: The league’s top run defense in 2013 — without its top two linebackers — held the Chargers to 52 rushing yards.

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

14. San Diego Chargers (Last week: 11)

The Bolts allowed the Cardinals to rally past them in the fourth quarter, but let’s not throw the towel in on them just yet. There are a lot of weapons at Philip Rivers‘ disposal, but maybe some other things to figure out.

What to know: The Chargers don’t bring their A game in season opener. The team has lost back-to-back season-openers despite holding double-digit leads entering the fourth quarter.

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

15. Indianapolis Colts (Last week: 13)

It’s tough to get dealt the reigning AFC champs in Week 1. But again, it showed the Colts have a long way to go on the defensive side of the ball, especially with no Robert Mathis coming back to save the day.

What to know: In the discussion for the top NFL corner, Vontae Davis is rarely mentioned. Davis earned a +2.3 coverage grade by Pro Football Focus, allowing these talented Denver wideouts to only one catch for five yards.

(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

16. Miami Dolphins (Last week: 21)

The upset of the week was Miami over New England. Bill Lazor has put his touches on the offense, and it showed in a major way. This win was more about Miami than it was New England.

What to know: How bad has the Dolphins’ running game the past decade? According to Elias Sports Bureau, Knowshon Moreno‘s 134 rushing yards was the highest total in a season opener since Lamar Smith tallied 145 against Seattle … in 2000.

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

17. New York Jets (Last week: 19)

The Jets clung to a win over the inferior Raiders, but probably should have ran away with this game. Geno Smith looked improved, but also has his work cut out for him. This defense needs support in the secondary.

What to know: Muhammad Wilkerson is playing for a new deal, and making a case. Wilkerson earned a +3.4 grade by Pro Football Focus, batting three passes and giving rookie Derek Carr fits all day long.

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

18. Baltimore Ravens (Last week: 12)

Aside from the Ray Rice sideshow, the Ravens didn’t look like AFC North contenders on Sunday. The Bengals had blanked them for a half, and Joe Flacco doesn’t look like a new quarterback inGary Kubiak‘s scheme.

What to know: Rice was suspended for this game (and obviously indefinitely now). But withBernard Pierce and Justin Forsett, the team mustered just 91 yards on the ground. That doesn’t sound like a Kubiak-led offense.

(AP Photo/Rogelio Solis)

19. Minnesota Vikings (Last week: 24)

Mike Zimmer notched his first win as a head coach Sunday, and in a convincing fashion against the Rams. Let’s hold off before anointing the Vikings contenders, because after all, they are the Rams. But it left me impressed with the team’s ceiling.

What to know: Minnesota — which was winless on the road last year — bucked the trend in the 2014 season opener. According to Elias, they’re the sixth team in the past two decades to go winless on the road then win an away season opener.

(AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

20. Carolina Panthers (Last week: 22)

Cam Newton who? With Derek Anderson making the start, Carolina survived a late push to top NFC South rival Tampa Bay. Kelvin Benjamin looked sharp in his NFL debut, and the defense still looks stut.

What to know: Making his case to be the best middle linebacker in the league, Luke Kuechlyforced a fumble, defended a pass that led to a pick and recorded a third-down sack. Impressive day.

(AP Photo/Brian Blanco)

21. Houston Texans (Last week: 30)

Well, the Texans already look better than they did a season ago with Bill O’Brien at the helm. The defense gave Robert Griffin III fits all day, and both Arian Foster and DeAndre Hopkins looked sharp on the offensive end.

What to know: Fresh off his new deal, J.J. Watt recorded a +7.4 grade by Pro Football Focus after hitting Griffin four times, hurrying him three times and sacking him once. He also blocked an extra point.

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

22. Tennessee Titans (Last week: 26)

Jake Locker outplayed Alex Smith, and already looks to be in a better position entering a make-or-break 2014 campaign. Ray Horton‘s defense also looked good, albeit against a very questionable Kansas City offense.

What to know: Two players look to be on the verge of breakout years under Horton: Jurrell Caseyand Derrick Morgan. Each pressured Smith seven times.

(AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

23. Kansas City Chiefs (Last week: 18)

The Chiefs look like a team primed for a decline in 2014. Smith looks lost on offense with onlyJamaal Charles to lean on. Already with Derrick Johnson and Mike DeVito, this defense will struggle, especially against its divisional foes.

What to know: Smith threw three picks against Tennessee. It took him four games to throw two picks last year. It was only his second three-pick day in the last five years.

(Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)

24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last week: 16)

Josh McCown is proving Lovie Smith and the Bucs to be prisoners of the moment with his horrible 2014 debut. Doug Martin doesn’t look like the player he was back in 2012, and Anderson made this defense look very, very average.

What to know: McCown earned a -3.6 passing grade from Pro Football Focus, making poor decisions, questionable passes and finishing among the bottom-five quarterbacks. We should see Mike Glennon sooner rather than later.

(Photo by Cliff McBride/Getty Images)

25. New York Giants (Last week: 20)

The Giants don’t look like the Packers, despite Ben McAdoo making his debut as the offensive coordinator. Stafford and Johnson exploited this re-tooled secondary, and Jason Pierre-Paul again found himself injured.

What to know: Manning is aiming for a 70-percent completion rate, but in the season opener settled for 52 percent. Only Brady had a lesser completion percentage against four pass-rushers or less.

(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

26. Buffalo Bills (Last week: 32)

Maybe the Bills’ preseason was a fluke, or maybe the Bears’ defense is just that bad. There is some offensive firepower on this team, and all Manuel has to do is manage games.

What to know: Three different Bills running backs rushed for over 50 yards. From Elias, the last time that occurred was in 1975 when Robb RiddickJamie Mueller and Ronnie Harmon did it, too.

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

27. Cleveland Browns (Last week: 25)

The Browns may be able to gather some momentum after their second-half surge against Pittsburgh, one in which backup running backs Isaiah Crowell and West looked sharp running the rock. At least there was no one calling for Johnny Manziel.

What to know: Cleveland suffered potentially devastating injuries to free-agent signee Ben Tateand top tight end Jordan Cameron. If those two are to miss extended time, Terrance West would get the nod in the backfield and some cat named Gary Barnidge would be handed the reins at tight end.

(AP Photo/David Richard)

28. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last week: 27)

This is a classic glass half-empty, half-full situation. On one side, the Jags led the NFC East champs 17-0 at halftime. On the other, they coughed up a commanding lead and were held scoreless in the second half.

What to know: The major bright spot in this devastating loss: undrafted rookie Allen Hurns. The wideout hauled in two touchdown passes in the first quarter of his NFL debut. Only two others players have done that: Joe Dudek and Charlie Garner.

(AP Photo/Michael Perez)

29. Washington Redskins (Last week: 23)

RGIII looks confused behind center, and it doesn’t appear — at least early on — that Jay Gruden’s offense is being catered to his skill-sets. We know he has an injury history, but running is what made him a 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year.

What to know: Griffin’s average completion was 3.7 yards on Sunday, .8 yards per completion in the first half. That’s the second-lowest rate in his career, per ESPN Stats & Information.

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

30. Dallas Cowboys (Last week: 29)

The Cowboys lived up to their offseason billing. The defense made Kaep look like a Madden 2015 quarterback, and Tony Romo looked his age playing quarterback.

What to know: The Cowboys’ secondary was the weak link in 2013, and it looks like they’ll hold the title again this go-round. The unit as a whole earned a -8.1 grade from Pro Football Focus after allowing Vernon Davis to go ham on them twice, often running downfield what looked like by himself.

(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

31. Oakland Raiders (Last week: 31)

Carr wasn’t able to come up with a victory in his NFL debut, but he didn’t get much help from the rest of the offense or his defense. This should be a steady storyline all season long.

What to know: Carr got the nod over Matt Schaub, but he had the unfortunate position to face a Rex Ryan D. Carr was blitzed on half of his drop-backs, finishing with a 2.3 yard-per-attempt average on those players. He’s got a long ways to go.

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

32. St. Louis Rams (Last week: 28)

We underrated how bad this team would be with Shaun Hill at the helm of the offense. Now it’sAustin Davis, and we suddenly miss Hill. The defense, too, disappointed, despite that stellar front four.

What to know: Combined, Hill and Davis went 24-for-36 with two interceptions, taking five sacks and an average quarterback rating of 62.0.

(AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)
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NFL Power Rankings: Week 1


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