NFL Power Rankings 2018: Week 2


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1. Los Angeles Rams: 2-0 (Last Week: 4)
The Cardinals are terrible. They have the fewest points scored through the first two weeks. However, the Rams look like the best team in football right now. The offense is deep and loaded. The same can be said for the defense. Los Angeles is taking this Super Bowl or bust mentality seriously.

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2. Jacksonville Jaguars: 2-0 (Last Week: 5)
Revenge achieved. Well kind of. It doesn’t mean quite as much as a trip to the Super Bowl, but Doug Marrone and his staff put together the perfect game plan to beat New England. Jacksonville looks like it is better on offense this season, and that was without Leonard Fournette. If Blake Bortles can come even remotely close to playing at that same level, the Jaguars could win a lot of game this season and make a deep postseason run once again.

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3. Minnesota Vikings: 1-0-1 (Last Week 3)
On one hand, the fact that Minnesota managed a tie is spectacular. On the other, the fact that Daniel Carlson missed three field goals, including the potential game-winner in overtime is infuriating. The Vikings are still settling in after making some major offseason moves. They will have a bye week… I mean play the Bills next week at home.

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4. Kansas City Chiefs: 2-0 (Last Week: 6)
Patrick Mahomes just broke a record previously shared by Drew Brees and Peyton Manning, but I don’t know if this team is Super Bowl bound quite yet. There is a lot of season left and the Chiefs have the worst pass defense in the NFL. Kansas City might have the best offense in the league with so much speed all over the field. The return of Eric Berry from injury will likely sure up the secondary.

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5. New England Patriots: 1-1 (Last Week: 2)
That was rough. Blake Bortles made the Patriots defense look like Swiss cheese. The Patriots trailed 24-3 in the third quarter and while they made it close in the fourth, it was not enough to alleviate some doubts about the level of play. The addition of Josh Gordon has the potential to jump start this offense as it waits for Julian Edelman to return.

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6. Philadelphia Eagles: 1-1 (Last Week: 1)
Umm…what? Ryan Fitzpatrick torched the vaunted Eagles defense. Philly was susceptible to the big play as it gave up a pair of 75-yard passing scores. The good news though? Carson Wentz will start against the Colts next week. Philadelphia is still missing Alshon Jeffrey and might have lost Mike Wallace for the season. Wentz’s return couldn’t come at a better time.

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7. Green Bay Packers: 1-0-1 (Last Week: 7)
It wouldn’t shock me if the average blood pressure of Wisconsin is unnaturally high following the first two weeks of the NFL season. Between Aaron Rodgers’ injury, a furious second half comeback against Chicago and a nail-biting tie with Minnesota, Green Bay has had an eventful start to the year. The Packers probably would have won this game if not for a questionable penalty on Clay Matthews took away a game-clinching interception. The focus now shifts to earning a road win against Washington.

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8. Atlanta Falcons: 1-1 (Last Week: 8)
Atlanta showed flashes of the offense of old in a 31-24 victory over Carolina. Matt Ryan played arguably his best game with Steve Sarkisian as the offensive coordinator to date, registering a 95.6 Total QBR. Tevin Coleman made his case to be the bellcow back as well, something the Falcons should legitimately consider even when Devonta Freeman returns.

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9. Chicago Bears: 1-1 (Last Week: 12)
Let’s call it the Khalil Mack effect. Chicago leads the league through two weeks with 10 (!!!) sacks. Mitch Tribusky showed against Seattle he still has a long way to go, but the Bears defense is good enough to win games. Between two forced fumbles and a pick-six, Chicago’s defense has fans thinking back to the last time the Bears were in a Super Bowl. It still has a bit of ways to go in order to reach that level, but it might not be long before the Monsters of the Midway are truly back to contender status.

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10. Cincinnati Bengals: 2-0 (Last Week: 15)
The Bengals seemed like they were going to run away with the game on Thursday night after A.J. Green scored a hat trick in the first half. Baltimore made it competitive, but Cincinnati was the better team. Joe Flacco threw for 376 yards, but he attempted 55 passes and the Bengals picked him twice. With Pittsburgh struggling and Cleveland looking as it usually does, Cincy is in a good spot right now.

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11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2-0 (Last Week: 18)
Defeating the defending champions is one way to announce to the rest of the league you mean business. FitzMagic struck once again as the veteran quarterback shredded the Eagles secondary en route to a win. There are still some red flags. Tampa has the worst yards per carry in the whole league and the secondary has allowed the second most passing yards through the first two weeks. A matchup with the Steelers, who can’t stop anyone from going deep on them, on Monday night could turn into a shootout. So far, that has worked well for the Buccaneers.

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12. Pittsburgh Steelers: 0-1-1 (Last Week: 10)
Pittsburgh is not in free fall, but it is getting somewhat close. The Steelers gave up six touchdowns to Patrick Mahomes and still almost won the game. Ben Roethlisberger played one of the best games of his career. Falling behind early never allowed the Steelers to get the ground game on track. Pittsburgh visits the top passing game in the league next as it travels to Tampa. Mike Tomlin needs to find a solution in the secondary.

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13. San Francisco 49ers: 1-1 (Last Week: 14)
It wasn’t perfect, but it was the first win of the 2018 campaign for San Francisco. Jimmy Garoppolo was asked to do a lot less this week and his level of play reflected that. If the pass protection can pick up, the 49ers allowed six sacks this week, expect San Francisco to look a bit more like the team that closed last season on a five-game winning streak.

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14. Baltimore Ravens: 1-1 (Last Week: 9)
The Ravens were lucky not to be blown out by the Bengals after falling behind 21-0 early in the second quarter. After dominating Buffalo to open the season, Baltimore came back down to Earth. This Ravens team just barely missed the playoffs last season and could be in danger of that again if it continues to struggle in the secondary. Some run support wouldn’t hurt either.

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15. Denver Broncos: 2-0 (Last Week: 13)
Denver barely survives to make it to 2-0. Brandon McManus knocked through a 39-yarder at to earn a 19-17 win. This rushing attack continues to flash promise as the Broncos ran for 168 yards at 6 yards per carry. Case Keenum still doesn’t look like the player he was a year ago though and the defense allowed Derek Carr to complete 29 of 32 passes, so there is still plenty to work on for this young team.

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16. San Diego Chargers: 1-1 (Last Week: 19)
Flying cross-country is tough for every team and the Chargers handled it well. There are certainly concerns though. After leading 28-6 at halftime, Buffalo outscored Los Angeles 14-3 in the second half. The Chargers hit the road again, this time to face the Rams. It will need to play a much more complete game to pull off the upset.

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17. Miami Dolphins: 2-0 (Last Week: 22)
Through two weeks of the NFL season, the Miami Dolphins are the kings of the AFC East. Now, that may not last long, but the Dolphins defense was opportunistic and rattled the Jets’ rookie quarterback to the tune of three sacks and two interceptions. The defense also bottled up the New York ground game. If Miami can continue to pace its offense running the ball with Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore, it could find itself picking up enough wins to sneak into the playoffs.

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18. Carolina Panthers: 1-1 (Last Week: 17)
It was a loss, but Carolina showed signs of improvement after an underwhelming first game against Dallas. The Falcons tore apart the Panther defense, but Carolina’s passing game looked strong. The run game was effective. The Panthers have played great defensively and struggled offensively in one game and flipped the script in the other. The next step is putting it together to win crucial games down the stretch.

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19. Washington: 1-1 (Last Week: 11)
Well that was a total dud. After blowing out the Cardinals to open the season, Washington failed to score a touchdown at home. Indy stymied the ground game that carried Alex Smith and company through Phoenix the week before. It is back to the drawing board for Jay Gruden as he needs to find a solution to the poor offense play with the Packers coming to town.

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20. Dallas Cowboys: 1-1 (Last Week: 23)
Don’t let the scoreline fool you, Dallas dominated on Sunday night. The Giants scored 10 points in the final minute and 27 seconds. While it wasn’t great to give up those points, the Cowboys defense sacked Eli Manning six times and held Saquon Barkley to just 28 yards rushing. The team is still looking for a solution at wide receiver (none of them had more than four catches), but this was a big win for Big D over a division rival.

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21. Indianapolis Colts: 1-1 (Last Week: 24)
The Indianapolis defense showed up in week two. Washington running backs combined for 301 yards against Arizona. The Colts only allowed 144 to Washington backs this weeks. Adrian Peterson, Chris Thompson and Rob Kelly totaled 22 yards on 16 carries. Indy never surrendered a touchdown either, the first time the defense held an opponent without a touchdown since December 18, 2016. This doesn’t feel like the Colts of old, and that is probably a good thing.

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22. New Orleans Saints: 1-1 (Last Week: 21)
Yeah, the Saints won, but does anyone else feel like they deserved to? Didn’t think so. New Orleans looked awful for the second straight week, benefiting from an inept kicker in Cleveland. The Saints trailed 12-3 midway through the third quarter before scoring 18 in the fourth quarter to steal a win. Michael Thomas continues to look like a stud and Alvin Kamara has avoided a sophomore slump, but turnovers and a struggling secondary make this a hard team to believe in.

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23. Tennessee Titans: 1-1 (Last Week: 27)
Tennessee is forging the identity of a hard-nosed football team. They averaged only 2.9 yards per carry and generated 283 yards of total offense. However, the defense got after Deshaun Watson, sacking him four times and intercepting him once. It was certainly ugly, but it seems like a recipe the Titans can rely on to be competitive, especially once Marcus Mariota gets back.

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24. New York Jets: 1-1 (Last Week: 20)
Well that was over fast. After dominating Detroit, the Jets hosted Miami and laid an egg. Dropped passes, tons of fumbles and two costly interceptions from a young quarterback cost New York a chance to open 2-0 for the first time since 2015. The Jets have a short week as they travel to Cleveland. This will be the third game for New York in 10 days, so don’t be surprised if it struggles again.

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25. New York Giants: 0-2 (Last Week: 16)
I was optimistic after watching the Giants come close against the Jaguars. After watching the offense look lifeless for a second straight week and seeing the offensive line struggle even worse than it had the week before, that optimism is gone. The offensive line needs a full rebuild. Until New York does that, it will continue to pick in the top 10.

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26. Houston Texans: 0-2 (Last Week: 25)
Another week, another bitter taste for the Texans. Houston outgained Tennessee 437 to 283 but lost by a field goal. Deshaun Watson looked a bit more like the player we saw last season and Will Fuller exploded for an eight-catch 113-yard performance capped off with a touchdown. The biggest thing missing from this team is a pass rush. Houston has just three sacks in two games, tied for 23rd in the league. That’s where the Texans finished last season without J.J. Watt. Time for the big names to step up.

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27. Seattle Seahawks: 0-2 (Last Week: 26)
The defense was better than advertised, especially without both Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright. The offense struggled, a lot. There was very little run game to speak of. Russell Wilson was sacked six times, fumbled twice and threw a pick-six. Seattle faces a mediocre Dallas team for its home opener. It desperately needs a win to fend off what would be calls for a new coaching staff and possibly a new front office.

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28. Detroit Lions: 0-2 (Last Week: 30)
This is definitely not where the Lions wanted to be through the first two weeks of the season. However, Detroit still has time to get things on track. The truth is, this team is probably better than its ranking spot. It also plays in the best division in the NFC this year, making the playoffs look close to impossible to reach.

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29. Cleveland Browns: 0-1-1 (Last Week: 28)
Only the Browns could lose the way they did. Zane Gonzalez missed two field goals and two extra points in the contest to cost Cleveland the game. However, the Browns defense is the real deal. Myles Garrett and company are making life difficult for opposing offenses. In back-to-back weeks, they’ve held Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees under 22 points.

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30. Oakland Raiders: 0-2 (Last Week: 29)
That one stings. Oakland seemed poised to win its first game of the new John Gruden era only to lose on a buzzer-beater field goal to Denver. The Raiders looked better than they had a week ago, but that defense is sorely missing its top player, who is now acting as a wrecking ball in Chicago.

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31. Buffalo Bills: 0-2 (Last Week: 32)
It was another loss for Buffalo, but there were bright spots. Josh Allen looked a lot better than Nathan Peterman, but that’s not too hard. The Bills scored a touchdown, actually two. The defense played a bit better against a talented Chargers squad. That kind of performance moves them out of the basement.

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32. Arizona Cardinals: 0-2 (Last Week: 31)
Now the Rams are really good, but when you get shutout and your team has managed six points in two weeks, you deserve to be at the bottom. Sam Bradford looks lost. There is no respect for the pass so teams can crowd the line against Arizona. It’s looking like a lost season, meaning it’s only a matter of time before Rosen takes the field.

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