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NFL power rankings 2018, Week 2: Vikings’ dominant defense propels them to the top

The Chiefs, Ravens, Broncos, Bengals, and Jets are on the rise after impressive Week 1 wins. Things are looking much less bright for the Titans, Lions, and Cowboys.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Week 1 in the NFL brought us a ton of surprises. Are the Buccaneers good? Putting up 48 points and beating the Saints is as impressive a way to open the season as possible for Tampa Bay. Meanwhile, the Steelers couldn’t manage to beat the Browns. Is Pittsburgh headed for its first losing season since 2003?

There are rumors Carson Wentz won’t return to action for the Eagles until October. If that’s true, it’s hard to see the Eagles being as dominant as they were in 2017. They hardly managed to beat the Falcons in the season opener at home, right after raising their first Super Bowl banner. That said, they’re the defending champions and the defense is still built to win games. They’re trending downward (as are the Falcons) but didn’t fall too far this week.

On the rise

The Chiefs, Ravens, Broncos, and Bengals are among the most notable teams to climb the rankings this week. Patrick Mahomes looked like the real deal in Kansas City’s 38-28 win over the Chargers. Mahomes was 15 of 27 for 256 passing yards, four touchdowns, zero interceptions, and a 127.5 passer rating.

The Ravens put up 47 points against a terrible Bills team. That said, Buffalo decisively looks like the NFL’s worst team. The Broncos beat the Seahawks and Case Keenum threw three touchdowns, but also three interceptions.

As for the Bengals, they spoiled Andrew Luck’s return to regular season action and Andy Dalton actually outplayed Luck in a game in which both quarterbacks threw an interception on their first pass. The Ravens and Bengals play on Thursday Night Football and the winner will take first place (for now) in the AFC North.

Trouble on the horizon

The Titans saw Marcus Mariota exit the game twice in their loss to the Dolphins. He ultimately did not return due to an elbow injury. Mariota should be fine, but if Tennessee has to rely on Blaine Gabbert, they’ll be falling even further down the rankings. Plus, he wasn’t their only starter injured in Week 1.

The Lions also took a big plunge after a somewhat shocking beatdown by the Jets. Matt Patricia’s debut as an NFL head coach did not go as planned as Matthew Stafford threw four interceptions, got banged up quite a bit, and ended up exiting the game when Detroit was down by 31 in the fourth quarter.

So where does that leave us?

NFL Power Rankings: Week 2

Ranking Team Last Week
Ranking Team Last Week
1 Minnesota Vikings 2
2 New England Patriots 3
3 Philadelphia Eagles 1
4 Green Bay Packers 7
5 Jacksonville Jaguars 5
6 Los Angeles Rams 4
7 Kansas City Chiefs 14
8 Baltimore Ravens 17
9 Carolina Panthers 11
10 Pittsburgh Steelers 6
11 New Orleans Saints 8
12 Denver Broncos 21
13 Los Angeles Chargers 10
14 Cincinnati Bengals 19
15 Atlanta Falcons 9
16 Washington 25
17 Chicago Bears 13
18 San Francisco 49ers 12
19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 29
20 New York Jets 27
21 Houston Texans 16
22 Miami Dolphins 31
23 Oakland Raiders 30
24 New York Giants 18
25 Indianapolis Colts 23
26 Seattle Seahawks 24
27 Cleveland Browns 28
28 Dallas Cowboys 22
29 Detroit Lions 20
30 Tennessee Titans 15
31 Arizona Cardinals 26
32 Buffalo Bills 32

Read on for more from today’s edition of Rise ‘n Grind ...

Featured stories

Sam Darnold showed how good he can be after throwing a pick-six on his first NFL throw

Darnold’s Jets career couldn’t have started any worse. Luckily for him, it only got better from there.

How 3 plays in 3 minutes turned the Lions’ season-opener into a nightmare

Well, that escalated quickly. What a disaster for Detroit!

The Browns validated our optimism with a tie

Ryan Fitzpatrick torched the Saints, Denzel Ward has arrived, and many players were dripping sauce in Week 1’s Monday Morning Pleighbook.

How bright is the Steelers’ future at RB with James Conner?

Le’Veon Bell’s days in Pittsburgh are numbered, but James Conner looks like a capable replacement.

Beth Mowins explains how to call your first ‘Monday Night Football’ game

SB Nation spoke with the ESPN play-by-play announcer to get a glimpse of what her job is really like.

Jalen Ramsey talked trash about QBs, and his assessments held up

The Jaguars cornerback’s evaluations of NFL quarterbacks were mostly right in Week 1 ... Let’s dive in!

Joe Flacco is elite — again, plus more overreactions from Week 1

The Cowboys are looking pitiful on offense, but the Vikings’ defense might be even better than last year.

What fans are talking about

A breakdown of what each Rams player was doing when Marshawn Lynch dragged them to the end zone

Live results and highlights from the ‘MNF’ doubleheader

Jon Gruden is on the defensive over the Khalil Mack trade

Jon Gruden’s $100 million contract and head-scratching offseason moves mean the pressure’s on

Saquon Barkley dazzled in Giants’ debut, but wanted to be just a few yards better

Patriots RB Jeremy Hill tears ACL, will be out for the year

Eagles hosting variety of free agent wide receivers

Somehow, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur is defending Erick Flowers

The Steelers’ tie with the Browns offered more proof that the NFL’s replay system is a joke

Opinion: The Josh Allen era should begin for the Bills in Week 2

Philip Rivers says he’d like to borrow Patrick Mahomes’ arm

Dez Bryant says Cowboys would have won in Week 1 had they had him and Dan Bailey

Von Miller is a one-man wrecking machine

The Jaguars are optimistic about Leonard Fournette’s injury and him playing in Week 2

With Delanie Walker out the Titans’ young pass catchers must grow up in a hurry

Tweet of the Day

The Ravens dismantled the Bills with a 47-3 win on Sunday. To celebrate, check out what Baltimore safety Eric Weddle ate on Monday. ALSO, he has a specific bowl for victory meals.