That was a pretty crazy first week - and not just from a 49ers standpoint.
What that means, though, is that my first attempt at ranking the NFL Powers was, as expected, decidedly rookie-ish. Well, here's hoping that my second attempt demonstrates a greater understanding of the NFL.
Follow me after the jump for the rankings themselves.
1) San Francisco 49ers (last week: 3) - As you may have guessed, I really battled over this one. The tension between objectivity and homerism is thick - and I really wanted to present a legitimate rankings. That said, I think a non-homer argument could be made for the 49ers at first. That argument? Sunday's game.
2) Baltimore Ravens (last week: 2) - This is tough. I had the Ravens ahead of the 49ers last week, and they did everything one would want to see. Thus, I feel like they should be number one. To be frank, the only reason they aren't number one is because they beat a weaker team. If this unit keeps producing at this level against tougher competition, I can easily see them at number one in my rankings.
3) Houston Texans (last week: 4) - They did exactly what they needed to do. Both sides of the ball appear to be clicking at high levels. I expect that the AFC will essentially be dominated by the Ravens, Texans, and Patriots. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see the Texans pull out ahead.
4) New England Patriots (last week: 6) - If the Patriots' new and improved (and young) defense keeps producing at the level they did this last week, I can see them climbing higher than the Ravens and Texans. I want to see this defense against a better team than the Titans before anointing the Patriots as AFC best, though.
5) Green Bay Packers (last week: 1) - Amidst all the problems, Aaron Rodgers still played a good game of football. The defense needs to get better immediately, but with Rodgers at the helm, I expect the Packers to see a good deal of success this season.
6) Chicago Bears (last week: 7) - Da Bears looked good. Real good. Good enough to challenge the Packers for the division title, me thinks. Either way, I do think the wild card comes from the NFC North. Both the Packers and the Bears will probably be playing some post-season ball.
7) Atlanta Falcons (last week: 11) - I don't know about you guys, but I find it pretty easy to root for Matt Ryan. I can't explain why, but it might have to do with watching an under-the-radar guy start to blossom in a big way. I don't think many people have actively doubted Ryan, but it was still cool to see him make a big statement this last week.
8) Dallas Cowboys (last week: 16) - Tony Romo gets a bad rap around here. And let's be frank, he should. He's the QB of the Cowboys. Plus he wears a hat like a douche. That said, dude had a good game knocking off the Giants in the season's first game. If he can keep it up, I expect the Cowboys to have a big season.
9) New York Giants (last week: 5) - So, the 9-7 Giants decided to show up. Where was the Super Bowl winning Giants? I know it's only one game, but that was a pretty inauspicious start for the defending division champions.
10) Denver Broncos (last week: 14) - Peyton Manning is another QB I find really easy to root for. Obviously his degree of success is greater than most everybody, but I would really like to see him return to form. He's really entertaining to watch. This last game was clearly a big step in the right direction.
11) Pittsburgh Steelers (last week: 10) - The Steelers' defense is supposed to be one of the major strong suits of the team, but it was totally outclassed by Denver. The unit is getting old and some key injuries didn't help either.
12) San Diego Chargers (last week: 13) - I watched this game quite closely, and I think it actually went better for the Chargers than most seem to be writing. The first half was a bit rough, but they dominated the second half. The most promising part? The defense (i.e. the weakest part of the team) looked much improved.
13) New Orleans Saints (last week: 8) - Ouch. Just ouch. This was way worse than most people expected. Turmoil in the coaching staff is turmoil on the field.
14) Philadelphia Eagles (last week: 9) - Here comes the tumble. I ranked this team pretty highly last week because it has a lot of talent. But, let's be honest, Michael Vick is Michael Vick and that just isn't as good as that team needs.
15) Detroit Lions (last week: 12) - Even though they won, I have to drop the Lions. They won against the Rams in a much too contested game. I really hope this is the team we play on Sunday night.
16) Washington Redskins (last week: 26) - Man, did this team look darn good. Things will probably change, of course. As the league gets more and more tape on RG3, the team will have to adapt or it won't get the same results week in and week out.
17) New York Jets (last week: 20) - Like the Redskins, the Jets also outperformed expectations. I believe that they will also slip up a little bit as the season goes by - their offense surely isn't this good - but this was an impressive first outing of the year.
18) Cincinnati Bengals (last week: 15) - I was pretty hopeful for this team. I think they are young and have a lot of talent. Here's the thing, though: they are really young. They need to grow into their talent.
19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (last week: 22) - A strong showing from a team that might get six games into the season before collapsing...
20) Buffalo Bills (last week: 17) - I really like this team - I guess the team just doesn't like itself. They probably should have beaten the Jets. Then again, they probably should have won way more games last year.
21) Arizona Cardinals (last week: 24) - CAN YOU SMELL THE CONTROVERSY BREWING?! CAN YOU SMELL IT?!
22) Seattle Seahawks (last week: 18) - I'm actually happy that the Cardinals won. I think the Seahawks is our biggest challengers in the West. Anything that hamstrings them early in the season is good news to me.
23) St. Louis Rams (last week: 28) - Good game for the Rams. I mean, a loss is a loss is a loss is a bummer. But boy oh boy, did they look darn good. Is Sam Bradford going to bounce back from his down year?
24) Carolina Panthers (last week: 19) - As goes Cam Newton, so goes the Panthers.
25) Kansas City Chiefs (last week: 21) - Don't run into Matt Ryan on a hot day. Not going to get you back into a newly competitive West division.
26) Tennessee Titans (last week: 23) - Another tough game last week for a bottom of the league team - this one against the Patriots. Jake Locker looked pretty darn good, though, before he was sidelined by an injury.
27) Indianapolis Colts (last week: 25) - Not the greatest start of Andrew Luck, though he looked pretty darn good in the pocket. It will come, though Indy will need some patience.
28) Oakland Raiders (last week: 27) - The Monday night game just proved what I thought - if a team can bottle up Darren McFadden, then they will probably win.
29) Minnesota Vikings (last week: 30) - I know this seems pretty weird, but I think the Vikings can be really good. I mean, like 3 years down the road, but I think the talent is there.
30) Miami Dolphins (last week: 29) - Boy oh boy does this team look pretty bad. Until they get some real WRs and a QB, I think the team will struggle.
32) Jacksonville Jaguars (last week: 32) - Good luck with Houston this week, Jags. Good luck.