Alternative titles for this week's power rankings: "Nation in Fear as NFL Parity Runs Rampant"; "One is No Longer the Loneliest Number Since Majority of Teams are 1-1"; "The Eagles are a Really Confusing Team to Evaluate."
Yes, pretty much every team is 1-1 after two meager weeks in the NFL. As a 49ers fan, I say "hahahaha lololol suck it other teams." As a newfound student of power rankings, I say "please, teams, start to either suck or be awesome - you're all really hard to rank right now. Some teams that are 2-0, like the Eagles and the Cardinals, are pretty hard to place too. Such is the nature of early season power rankings, though. As the season gets underway, I imagine we will garner a much clearer picture.
Without further ado, let me present the rankings....drumroll please.
1) San Francisco 49ers (Last Week: 1; 2-0): After Sunday, there really isn't any reason to fear homerism. It's pretty clear that the 49ers are playing at the highest level of any team in the NFL. Are the Texans right below them? Sure, but the 49ers have earned the right to stay at number one until they mess up.
2) Houston Texans (Last Week: 3; 2-0): The Texans did exactly what they should have when facing the low-ranked (spoilers: 32) Jaguars. Besides the 49ers, the Texans may have the most complete team in the NFL.
3) Atlanta Falcons (Last Week: 7; 2-0): What a fantastic performance from the Falcons' secondary. Even injury depleted, it still did an excellent job of disguising their coverages and forcing stupid mistakes from a decent QB.
4) Baltimore Ravens (Last Week: 2; 1-1): So here's where I address my philosophy in approaching these power rankings. Just because one team beats another one week does not mean they will be ahead of them. I will consider head-to-head results when trying to determine rankings within a couple of spots, but not between five or six spots. The Eagles do not deserve to be in the top five, but I think the Ravens do. This might be stupid in a few weeks, but for now, I think the Ravens are one of the top five teams in the NFL.
5) Green Bay Packers (Last Week: 5; 1-1): The Packers bounced back in a fairly impressive way against the Bears, looking more like the Packers of last season than the Packers of week one. This just makes the 49ers win look more impressive.
6) New York Giants (Last Week: 6; 1-1): Was the Giants' victory not the epitome of the modern NFL philosophy of offense at its most annoying? I mean, the Giants won after throwing for an infinity (sideways 8 forever!) amount of yards, but that was after about the same amount of interceptions. What an inefficient game.
7) New England Patriots (Last Week: 4; 1-1): The next time you think the 49ers' o-line is looking bad, I'll just kindly refer you to this game.
8) San Diego Chargers (Last Week: 12; 2-0): The Chargers have looked pretty sharp in beating the teams they are supposed to beat. The defense is looking stout against the run, and Phillip Rivers proved that he can throw to other TEs besides Antonio Gates. Now they just need to prove themselves against an elite team. Oh look, they play the Falcons this week...
9) Chicago Bears (Last Week: 6; 1-1): Color me a tad surprised. There was a part of me that thought the Bears would take it to the Packers. While I still think this team is playoff-caliber, it appears that they may have a bit more work to do as the season goes along.
10) Arizona Cardinals (Last Week: 21; 2-0): Is this a little high? Perhaps, but I think the NFC West has earned a little bit more respect than usual this week. Moreover, the Cardinals have some solid pieces in place this season. The defense is decently young and altogether solid. Hopefully (for the Cardinals) the whole Skelton-Kolb controversy is at an end. I think it's pretty clear that Kolb is the better of the two.
11) Philadelphia Eagles (Last Week: 14; 2-0): Hands down the hardest team to rank this week, and I have a feeling that they will continue to be difficult - so long as Michael Vick plays inconsistently, which is to say, so long as Vick plays like Vick. Until he can cut back on the interceptions, I'm not going to buy into this team.
12) Denver Broncos (Last Week: 10; 1-1): There's not much shame in losing to the Falcons right now. Throwing that many interceptions, though? Pretty bad. Denver fans shouldn't be too worried, since Peyton Manning won't do that every week. They better hope that their usually solid defense plays a bit better next week though.
13) Pittsburgh Steelers (Last Week: 12; 1-1): The Steelers had a nice bounce back game against the Jets. So long as they don't get too injured this season, they have a legitimate shot at the playoffs. That's short term potential, though. This team is getting old.
15) Dallas Cowboys (Last Week: 8; 1-1): Boy oh boy did the Cowboys' offense look inept. It just wandered around the field aimlessly. They really need to be more like the Cowboys of week one if they want a shot at the playoffs.
16) Detroit Lions (Last Week: 15; 1-1): There is a fatal flaw in an offense that relies pretty much on one receiver. Obviously this is a bit of a simplification, but the 49ers have twice proved that the key to victory over the Lions is bottling up Calvin Johnson.
17) Cincinnati Bengals (Last Week: 18; 1-1): I'm still pretty optimistic about the Bengals. I'd like to see where this team can go over the course of the season. It should be an interesting year.
19) Carolina Panthers (Last Week: 24; 1-1): It's nice to see Cam Newton bounce back a bit. It won't be nice to see how obsessive the media gets about it.
20) St. Louis Rams (Last Week: 23; 1-1): If you think about it, the Rams are darn close to being 2-0 this season. It looks like the coaching regime is doing wonders for the Rams.
21) Washington Redskins (Last Week: 16; 1-1): This is probably what we should expect from the Redskins all year - they have a talented QB who can lead them to some victories. He's also a rookie, and occasionally this will mean losing some games close. It was a bummer to see Joshua Morgan quite literally throw the game away, though. I was always a huge fan.
22) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: (Last Week: 19; 1-1): When you get as many interceptions as the Bucs did, you've got to win the game.
23) New Orleans Saints (Last Week: 13; 0-2): Lolololololol. Coaching matters a lot.
24) New York Jets (Last Week: 17; 1-1): My hunch is that this is the Jets team we will see most of the time this year - not the team from last week.
25) Indianapolis Colts (Last Week: 27; 1-1): Is there any 49er fan out there who isn't pulling for Andrew Luck. Congrats on your first NFL victory, kid. May you have many more (not at the expense of the 49ers, of course).
26) Miami Dolphins (Last Week: 30; 1-1): Hey, a win is a win is a win, and this was a nice one for the Dolphins. Reggie Bush had a very nice day, that's for sure.
27) Minnesota Vikings (Last Week: 29; 1-1): I sure hope that I can keep this team down low on the list for at least another week. After that, they can go bananas for all I care.
28) Kansas City Chiefs (Last Week: 25; 0-2): It looks like a nice little race for the AFC West division title is brewing. The Chiefs must have misplaced their invitations.
29) Oakland Raiders (Last Week: 28; 0-2): It sure stings losing to one of the worse teams in the NFL. The Raiders show once again why "buying" wins doesn't always work. Good luck next time when you guys have a first round pick again. I mean, they have a strong group of young talent to build around - if only they had the picks with which to build.
30) Tennessee Titans (Last Week: 26; 0-2): I'll be honest, I thought Jake Locker would be worse than he is now coming out of the draft. That said, he is light years away from making this team better than just plain bad.
32) Jacksonville Jaguars (Last Week: 32; 0-2): Until they do something to prove that they don't belong in the last spot, they will just sit here all forlorn like.