Welcome to the second edition of The Intermission's NFL Power Rankings. Here, our football editors rank where each team stands two weeks into the season.
1. Buffalo Bills (1-0)
Previous Rank: 1 (-)
Domination. That’s what Thursday’s opening day matchup versus the defending Super Bowl champions was for Buffalo. Josh Allen played like the MVP candidate he was hyped to be heading into the season while Buffalo’s defense – mainly their front seven – made life miserable for Matthew Stafford. Going into this season, Buffalo had the most complete team on paper. And Thursday only backed this notion up even more.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)
Previous Rank: 6 (+4)
Patrick Mahomes reminded people that he’s still, well, Patrick Mahomes, as any doubts of how this offense would manage without Tyreek Hill were immediately squashed after a 44-21 rout of the Cardinals. Mahomes completed passes to nine different receivers on the day and threw for five touchdowns. Not to mention Clyde-Edwards Helaire, who scored twice on the day. When the Chiefs drafted Helaire with their first-round pick in 2020, they were hoping to get an impact player. And now, it looks like he may be primed to be that guy.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0)
Previous Rank: 3 (-)
In what many touted to be a shootout turned into a one-sided affair as the Bucs rolled past the Cowboys with a 19-3 victory. The defense dominated – to say the least – allowing only 269 total yards on the day. While Tampa Bay’s performance in the red zone left plenty of room for improvement, Tom Brady and Leonard Fournette were able to keep the chains moving consistently and controlled the flow of the game well. While there is much concern after a Godwin hamstring injury, Julio Jones looked great in his Bucs debut and if he can return to form, watch out.
4. Los Angeles Rams (0-1)
Previous Rank: 2 (-2)
Losing in blowout fashion to start the year isn’t exactly how the title holders imagined their season to start off. Los Angeles looked outmatched, as Buffalo looked like the better and hungrier team on the field. Nothing was clicking for the Rams. Matthew Stafford faced relentless pressure the entire night and made many questionable decisions with the ball – three interceptions – the running game was non-existent and the defense could barely manage a stop. The Rams will look to get back on track against the lowly Falcons on Sunday.
5. Baltimore Ravens (1-0)
Previous Rank: 10 (+5)
While the Ravens couldn’t run the ball much in their season opener against the Jets, that should be seen as somewhat of a positive sign. The Ravens were able to get it done through the air versus the Jets. Lamar Jackson connected for three touchdowns on the day and showcased his prowess as a passer. Not to mention the defense dominating their old friend on the other side – how’re you doing Joe Flacco? – the Ravens may be back for good.
6. Los Angeles Chargers (1-0)
Previous Rank: 9 (+3)
The Chargers got impact performances from their new additions in a tough 24-19 divisional win over the Raiders. TE Gerald Everett and WR DeAndre Carter both caught touchdowns while Khalil Mack totalled three sacks on the day. Justin Herbert was also great, managing ways to still move the ball after his No. 1 option Keenan Allen left with a hamstring injury. A huge test against the Chiefs awaits on Thursday.
7. Minnesota Vikings (1-0)
Previous Rank: 20 (+13)
What a statement game to open up the season for Minnesota in a rout of the big bad Packers. The defense neutralized the ever-so-dangerous Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins played well, and Justin Jefferson secured a career-high 184 yards and two touchdowns against a defensive unit that was touted to be at least a top-10 unit this season. Now here’s a stat: Jefferson averaged four yards of separation on his 11 targets for the night. He’s just a man among boys.
8. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)
Previous Rank: 4 (-4)
Madness ensued in Cincinnati on Sunday. Field goals were shanked, interceptions were thrown in what was arguably the best-worst game you’ll ever witness. Burrow wasn’t great, throwing four interceptions on the day. While he did face relentless pressure from the Steelers front-seven, it’s still inexcusable for the star quarterback. One good takeaway from the game for Cincinnati was the performance of their defense. They clamped down on Mitch Trubisky and co. in the second-half and somehow kept Cincinnati in a game where they committed five turnovers. This was Cincinnati’s game to win, but they just couldn’t get it done.
9. Green Bay Packers (0-1)
Previous Rank: 7 (-2)
A dominating loss versus the rival Vikings was by far the last thing Green Bay wanted to start off the season. After that bomb from Aaron Rodgers to Christian Watson was dropped that was surely going to be a touchdown, Green Bay’s offense just looked out of sync for the rest of the game. But what was arguably more disappointing was the performance of the defense. Expectations were high going into this season but Justin Jefferson didn’t care, torching the secondary the entire night for a career-high 184 yards. But we have to remember that in Week 1 last season, Green Bay got blown out by New Orleans to then finish as the top seed in the NFC. You can’t count this team out yet.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)
Previous Rank: 15 (+5)
This offense is legit. The Eagles dominated the Lions through the air and on the ground in a 38-35 shootout win. New addition A.J. Brown made an immediate impact – 10 catches for 155 yards – and the combined ground game of Miles Sanders and Jalen Hurts looked terrifying. While the defense getting carved up by a team where Jared Goff is the QB is concerning, this offense makes up plenty for that.
11. San Francisco 49ers (0-1)
Previous Rank: 5 (-6)
The 49ers repeatedly shot themselves in the foot in a surprising loss versus the Bears. The team committed 12 penalties – 99 yards – and turned the ball over in a fateful fourth quarter to lose 19-10 at Soldier Field. While Trey Lance showed some playmaking with his legs, his passing still seems to be a work in progress. It’s a disappointing start for sure, but San Francisco can get right back on track against the (somehow) division leading Seahawks this Sunday.
12. New Orleans Saints (1-0)
Previous Rank: 13 (+1)
Now that’s the type of performance that makes a believer out of doubters for Saints QB Jamies Winston. After being neutralized for three quarters, Winston led the team on back-to-back touchdown drives in the fourth then another drive to set up the game-winning field goal. A Week 2 matchup versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers awaits.
131. Las Vegas Raiders (0-1)
Previous Rank: 11 (-2)
After an offseason hyping up this offense after the acquisition of All-Pro WR Davante Adams, QB Derek Carr and the offense proceeded to lay a dud in a 24-19 loss versus the Chargers. Davante Adams was great – 10 catches for 141 yards – but that was it. Carr threw three interceptions and fumbled twice and the offensive line struggled heavily to protect him. In a division featuring the likes of Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert, these type of performances are a recipe for disaster.
14. Denver Broncos (0-1)
Previous Rank: 8 (-6)
Fumbles. Sloppy plays. Poor clock management and decision making. These things haunted the Broncos in an ugly 17-16 loss versus the Seahawks. HC Nathanial Hackkett certainly deserves slack for not going for it on fourth-and-5 and opting for a 64-yard field goal instead, but two fumbles by Javante Williams and Melvin Gordan on the one yard line certainly didn’t help out Denver either. Denver has the chance to right the ship against the Texans on Sunday.
15. Miami Dolphins (1-0)
Previous Rank: 18 (+3)
Miami put on a clinic in a 20-7 dismantling of the Patriots. The defense played great, limiting New England to just 271 total yards and only one scoring drive – they also scored a touchdown! QB Tua Tagovailoa showed great chemistry with new addition WR Tyreek Hill in their debut, connecting with the speedster eight times for 94 yards. New England is in the rear view mirror for Miami – Buffalo is the new target.
16. Indianapolis Colts (0-0-1)
Previous Rank: (-)
Goodbye Rodrigo Blankenship. After his bad performance on Sunday which included a terribly wide kickoff and missed field-goal in overtime to settle for a 20-20 tie versus the Texans, the Colts proceeded to waive Blankenship. While QB Matt Ryan didn’t look great in his debut, RB Jonothan Taylor picked up right where he left off from last season, rushing for 161 yards and a touchdown in the tie.
17. Tennessee Titans (0-1)
Previous Rank: (-)
The Titans have a lot of work to do. Ryan Tannehill looked like a QB who was struggling without a top option receiver, RB Derrick Henry still looks like he’s working his way back to peak form and the defense looked like a unit that was good – but not good enough. Throw in a tough field-goal miss in the final seconds and you have the recipe of disappointment for Tennessee.
18. Seattle Seahawks (1-0)
Previous Rank: 26 (+8)
Geno Smith and co. did not care that the former sheriff in town – Russell Wilson – was making his big return in a grimy 17-16 win versus the Broncos. Smith went 23 for 28 with 195 yards and two touchdowns in the win and avoided the turnovers that have haunted him in the past. While you can also chalk up Seattle’s win due to timely fumbles and poor clock management by Denver, it was still an impressive effort nevertheless. In the wise words of Geno Smith: “They wrote me off. I ain’t write back, though”.
19. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)
Previous Rank: 22 (+3)
Let’s start off with the positives. Pittsburgh totalled six sacks and forced five turnovers – three interceptions and two fumbles – against the AFC champion Bengals. But the offense was stagnant. It’s clear that QB Mitch Trubisky is not the answer, struggling to move the ball much – especially in the second-half. Not to mention RB Najee Harris exiting with an ankle injury and reigning DPOY T.J. Watt now missing at least several weeks with a pectoral injury. This was a win, but it doesn’t really feel like one for Steelers nation.
20. Arizona Cardinals (0-1)
Previous Rank: 12 (-8)
Is Arizona really that far behind the top dogs in the league? It certainly looked that way in a dominating loss versus the Chiefs, where the team couldn’t get anything done on both sides of the ball. Sometimes you just catch Mahomes on the wrong Sunday, but the Cardinals are in dire need of a big bounce back performance in Week 2.
21. Cleveland Browns (1-0)
Previous Rank: (-)
Sunday’s recipe for this offense – straight ground and pound – will be the go-to for Cleveland while QB Jacoby Brissett remains under center. But the biggest story of the game comes from rookie kicker Cade York, who nailed a 58-yard field goal in the final seconds to secure a big 26-24 win over the Panthers.
22. New York Giants (1-0)
Previous Rank: 27 (+5)
Give new HC Brian Daboll some credit. It takes some big balls to go for a two-point conversion with the game on the line to try to go up with minutes left. Fortunately for New York, the gamble paid off as the Giants walked away winners in a 21-20 win versus the Titans. Not to mention RB Saquon Barkley returning to past form with an electric performance – 194 total yards. What a way to start off the year for the Giants.
23. Washington Commanders (1-0)
Previous Rank: 29 (+6)
The Commanders got the full Carson Wentz Experience on Sunday. After throwing for two touchdowns to start, he proceeded to throw two interceptions and almost let the game get away from Washington. But credit Wentz for keeping it together. He led Washington on two more touchdown drives in the fourth quarter to secure a big 28-22 victory to start off the year. The Carson Wentz Experience is in full effect in Washington – let’s see where this roller coaster takes them.
24. Chicago Bears (1-0)
Previous Rank: 32 (+8)
It was a first-half to forget for Chicago – only 26 total yards on 20 yards. But give QB Justin Fields and co. some credit for fighting back in the second-half taking advantage of a ton of unforced errors from San Francisco and putting together three touchdown drives – including a beautiful scramble and toss to Dante Pettis for a touchdown – to put together a big upset win versus the 49ers.
25. New England Patriots (0-1)
Previous Rank: 19 (-6)
All the doubts surrounding this offseason were justified in a 20-7 loss. The offense managed only 271 yards and one scoring drive. There were some moments where the Patriots could move the ball – primarily on the ground – but it was overall a disappointing performance, to say the least. There’s work to be done in New England.
26. Detroit Lions (0-1)
Previous Rank: 24
Give the Lions some credit. They fought hard in an entertaining 38-35 shootout loss versus a loaded Eagles team. The defense clearly is a work in progress still, but this rushing attack – led by DeAndre Swift and Jamaal Williams – is legit. The two combined for 181 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, with Swift doing much of the heavy lifting but Williams punching in the two goal-line touchdowns.
27. Dallas Cowboys (0-1)
Previous Rank: 14 (-13)
This offense looked depleted. The fears of a lackluster depth at receiver and offensive line stability were in full force against the Bucs in a disaster loss. Even worse news – QB Dak Prescott is slated to miss at least eight weeks with a thumb injury requiring surgery and Cooper Rush will now take the reins at QB. In a division where the Eagles are already soaring high, the season may already be over in Cowboy land.
28. Houston Texans (0-0-1)
Previous Rank: 28 (-)
Settling for a fourth-and-3rd punt with just a minute left in overtime while having the chance to score a major Week 1 upset versus a division rival just screams: “I don’t think my offense is good enough” from new HC Love Smith. But, Smith’s justification wasn’t without reason. The offense compiled just 12 yards of offense in the second quarter, allowing the Colts to erase a 20-3 deficit.
29. Carolina Panthers (0-1)
Previous Rank: 23 (-6)
QB Baker Mayfield salvaged what was otherwise a terrible debut with his new club with some fourth quarter heroics that featured a 7-yard scramble and then hitting Robbie Anderson on a 75-yard touchdown bomb before setting up the go-ahead field goal with minutes left. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to get the job done or erase the monstrosity of the first three quarters as Carolina lost in dramatic fashion 26-24. HC Matt Rhule needs to get star RB Christian McCaffrey more involved in the coming weeks. CMC logged JUST 14 touches in the game!
30. Atlanta Falcons (0-1)
Previous Rank: 31 (+1)
It’s been five years since Super Bowl LI and yet it’s still haunting the Falcons. The latest? A 27-26 loss versus the Saints. Atlanta boasted a 26-10 lead with just 13 minutes left in the fourth quarter. But just like last season, a failure to stop defenses and move the ball in the fourth quarter cost the Falcons big time. What would football be if the Falcons didn’t blow leads? See, that rhymes!
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)
Previous Rank: 30 (-1)
Jacksonville looked like a more professional team than what debuted with Urban Meyer last season, but there’s still plenty of growing pains for this team to work through. Trevor Lawrence played one of his best games in the league since entering, showing some flashes of a franchise cornerstone, but also some mistakes of a young quarterback. An example? A timely fourth quarter interception and a miss on a wide open Travis Etienne for a touchdown.
32. New York Jets (0-1)
Previous Rank: 25 (-7)
Sunday’s loss against the Ravens was the equivalent of a butt fumble for New York. Nothing was clicking on offense for veteran QB Joe Flacco and while the defense lost its nerve after a strong first-half performance. Welcome to another season of Hell, Jets fans!