A fun Week 2 in the NFL paved way for a variety of changes in this week’s power rankings. That includes a new team at the top after the Vikings tied the Packers, making for the second tie game of the 2018 NFL season. STOP THE TIES!
On the rise
The Jaguars looked like a real contender in their win over the Patriots on Sunday. Even more impressive is that they did it without Leonard Fournette, who is dealing with a hamstring injury. There were questions left to be answered in regards to whether the Jaguars are as good this year as they were last year, and right now it seems like they are.
In Los Angeles, the Rams easily beat the Cardinals with a 34-0 shutout that saw Jared Goff throw for 354 yards while Sam Bradford threw for just 90. That’s not a mistake. The Cardinals produced a total of 138 yards on offense in the entire game.
The Chiefs have had some hot starts in recent seasons; they were 5-0 to start last season and 7-2 to start 2016. Once again, they’re off to a great start, thanks in large part to Patrick Mahomes, who has thrown 10 touchdown passes in the last two weeks and is perfectly using the Chiefs’ offensive weapons. Seven different Chiefs players caught passes on Sunday and three had 90-plus receiving yards.
One of the Bengals’ biggest issues in 2017 was an inability to force turnovers on defense. That problem has been eliminated (so far) as the Bengals rank third in the NFL in turnover differential (+3) with five takeaways through Week 2. Andy Dalton is playing some of his best football and Cincinnati is 2-0 because of it.
Meanwhile, the Buccaneers and Dolphins are both 2-0, along with the Jaguars, making for three undefeated teams in Florida. Ryan Tannehill is impressing and Ryan Fitzpatrick is blowing everyone away, looking far better than expected while filling in for the suspended Jameis Winston.
The final undefeated team after Week 2 is the Case Keenum-led Broncos. They notched a win against the Raiders without Keenum throwing a touchdown pass. He did have a rushing touchdown, as did rookie Royce Freeman, to help fuel the Broncos’ come-from-behind victory.
On the decline
The Patriots and Eagles fell in this week’s rankings, though not too far. The Eagles can look forward to Carson Wentz’s return on Sunday, which should offer a big boost to the team. And, the Patriots can look forward to ... Josh Gordon? Bill Belichick will surely get his team back into the win column when facing off against the Lions and former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia on Sunday Night Football. At least, you’d have to think that’s the case after seeing Detroit go 0-2 to start the season with an ugly loss to the Jets and a close defeat at the hands of the 49ers.
After losing to the Bengals, the Ravens have been bumped down the rankings. After falling to the Dolphins, the Jets dropped, too. Was the Jets’ hot Week 1 start just an illusion or will they make the Browns look silly on Thursday Night Football with a dominant showing? We’re still waiting for the real Jets to prove who they are.
Also moving down is Washington, who lost to the Colts 21-9 in their home opener. No Washington player was able to score a touchdown in a disappointing showing.
Middle the pack
How about the Steelers? Ben Roethlisberger helped get the Steelers back into Sunday’s game against the Chiefs when trailing 21-0 in the first half, but Pittsburgh has yet to win a game and drama continues in the Steel City. While Le’Veon Bell remains away from the team, James Conner is shining as his replacement.
The 49ers got their first win on Sunday against the Lions, but it was more difficult than many expected. Richard Sherman isn’t satisfied as he said the win “feels like a loss.” The 49ers will need to put up a lot of points next week when facing the red-hot Chiefs.
The Colts climbed up the rankings, nearing the middle of the league after a nice win over Washington. Andrew Luck (21 of 31, 179 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions) didn’t have his best game, but he’s on his way to getting back to being the guy who can win his team games on a consistent basis.
NFL Power Rankings, Week 3
|2||Los Angeles Rams||6|
|3||Kansas City Chiefs||7|
|5||Green Bay Packers||4|
|6||New England Patriots||2|
|9||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||19|
|13||Los Angeles Chargers||13|
|14||New Orleans Saints||11|
|20||San Francisco 49ers||18|
|23||New York Jets||20|
|29||New York Giants||24|
Read on for more from today’s edition of Rise ‘n Grind.
Vontae Davis retired at halftime, Ryan Fitzpatrick had his own Philly Special for the Eagles, and the Browns are still Brownsing in Week 2’s Pleighbook.
The league’s ever expanding rules for roughing the passer have now ruined two games in two weeks.
NFL kickers turned into college kickers this weekend and two were cut as a result.
Tiebreakers will look a little different if the Packers and Vikings are fighting for playoff spots late in the season.
What fans are talking about
Tweet of the Day
Marc Sessler sent this tweet on Saturday after the news broke that the Browns would part ways with Josh Gordon. And now... well, it looks like he’ll be drinking bleach for the next 1,000 days as the Patriots traded for the former Browns receiver.
If Josh Gordon lands with an AFC North team or the Patriots — or Jets — I will drink bleach for 1,000 days.— Marc Sessler (@MarcSesslerNFL) September 15, 2018