1. New England Patriots (2-0; Last Ranking: 1)
Winning without your starting quarterback is already difficult enough. Losing Jimmy G would hurt this team significantly, especially against a really good Houston Texans defense. It would be very surprising to see the Patriots walk out of their home stadium with a win over Houston on Thursday Night (but it’s not a big deal).
2. Denver Broncos (2-0; Last Ranking: 3)
The Broncos are winning the same way they did last year. However, Trevor Siemian and the rest of the offense has seemingly picked it up, and even with the losses of Danny Trevathan and Malik Jackson, the defense has not even lost a step.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0; Last Ranking: 5)
The Steelers are 2-0 and beat two division champions to get to that point. The offense has over 800 yards through the first two weeks, and Big Ben has six touchdowns. It is truly frightening to think how good they could be when they get back their number two receiver in Markus Wheaton, and arguably the best running back in the NFL in Le’Veon Bell.
4. Carolina Panthers (1-1; Last Ranking: 4)
The Panthers have ridiculous offensive potential. They can score 40 points in any game they play, and it’s because no one really knows how to stop Cam Newton. If Carolina had not gifted the 49ers with two touchdowns, this game would have been an even bigger blowout.
5. Arizona Cardinals (1-1; Last Ranking: 8)
The Cardinals looked sluggish in Week 1, but that was the complete opposite for Week 2. They smashed the Buccaneers, and proved that their offense and defense are both fantastic units. One really great stat for them through two weeks: no turnovers.
6. Minnesota Vikings (2-0; Last Ranking: 9)
In the first game in their brand new stadium, the Vikings did what they needed to do to win the game. Sam Bradford played a great game, and the defense completely held Rodgers in check. As long as Adrian Peterson doesn’t miss too much time, who is to say that this team can’t win the NFC North?
7. Houston Texans (2-0; Last Ranking: 11)
The Texans have one of the best defenses in the NFL, a really smart head coach, and a bunch of shiny new toys on offense. Event though they are 2-0, they could have played better in their first win. Regardless, the more time the offense spends together, the better they will be.
8. Green Bay Packers (1-1; Last Ranking: 2)
After sitting at #2 last week, the Packers deservedly drop six points in the rankings. Although the Vikings had momentum and energy playing their new stadium, the Packers should have won the game. Aaron Rodgers is supposed to be one of the best players in the NFL, but this offense looks a little out of sync.
9. Cincinnati Bengals (1-1; Last Ranking: 7)
The Bengals looked very dysfunctional against the Steelers on Sunday. While 400 yards on offense is great, they only had one touchdown. They finished the day with three field goals in three red zone trips, two turnovers, and over 120 rushing yards allowed. They need to be better to win this division.
10. New York Jets (1-1; Last Ranking: 14)
Oh, how sweet the revenge. After losing twice (and ruining their playoff berth) to the Bills last season, Rex finally lost to his old team. Clearly the Jets were the better and more talented team last Thursday. New York has the talent to be a playoff team, but their schedule may hold them back.
11. New York Giants (2-0; Last Ranking: 16)
It is time for New York fans to bELIeve in their team. Even though they still have some big holes on the roster, they are pretty clearly the best team in the NFC East right now. Unless Dallas stays close without Romo and gets hot when he returns, the Giants should win the NFC East.
12. Baltimore Ravens (2-0; Last Ranking: 13)
Starting 2-0 is a great sign for the Ravens. Beating the Bills and Browns on the way there makes it look much less impressive. In fact, they almost lost to Cleveland on Sunday. All in all, what makes the Ravens a really good team is their coaching staff, toughness, and ability to win games late.
13. Kansas City Chiefs (1-1; Last Ranking: 10)
The Chiefs have looked pretty bad for two weeks in a row. Before mounting a comeback for the ages against the Chargers in week one, they traveled to Houston where they won twice last season. This year, the additions made by the Texans seemed to make the difference.
14. Seattle Seahawks (1-1; Last Ranking: 6)
One touchdown through two games is not what the Seahawks want. Dropping to #14 symbolizes hitting the panic button, but this is what happens to Seattle. The ‘Hawks have gone 6-8 over the last three season during their first 6 games. Over the last two seasons, the Seahawks have totaled three losses in November and December.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (2-0; Last Ranking: 22)
The Eagles are my nominee for the 2015 Falcons award–the team that gets off to a hot start but ends up hovering around .500 by the time December rolls around. Carson Wentz is the real deal right now, but the Eagles still have a lot of holes on their roster.
16. Oakland Raiders (1-1; Last Ranking: 12)
The Raiders surely listened to the hype between Week 1 and Week 2. They were supposed to beat the Falcons at home, but instead faltered to 1-1. The Raiders have a tough time getting above .500 for some reason. They will need to do better when they play Tennessee next week.
17. Atlanta Falcons (1-1; Last Ranking: 20)
The Falcons looked much better in Week 2 than Week 1. From one young quarterback to the other, the Falcons looked different defending Derek Carr vs. Jameis Winston. Next week should be a really interesting text, playing at the Superdome in NOLA on Monday Night.
18. Detroit Lions (1-1; Last Ranking: 15)
The Lions looked phenomenal last week, giving them a big jump in the rankings. This week? They crapped away a game that they should have won – classic Lions. They absolutely should have beaten the Titans, especially at home. Next week they travel to Green Bay.
19. Indianapolis Colts (0-2; Last Ranking: 17)
The Colts now sit at 0-2 and a solid two games behind the Texans. They started 0-2 last season and had a chance to get back in the race at the end of the season. It is probably going to take more than nine games to win this division this year, so they need to turn it around very quickly.
20. Los Angeles Rams (1-1; Last Ranking: 26)
The Rams looked terrible in week one. In week two, the defense certainly showed their true colors and helped the Seahawks to only 3 points of offense. That being said, they have nine points through two games, and miraculously ended one of those games with a victory. When will they throw Goff out there?
21. Dallas Cowboys (1-1; Last Ranking: 23)
The Cowboys are a team with talent. When you combine talent and coaching, it is very likely that you are gonna win a lot of games. Until this coaching staff can find more ways to set this team up for success, Dallas will see a lot of close games. If they are 3-3 after 6 games, they may be set up for a late season run.
22. San Diego Chargers (1-1; Last Ranking: 29)
The Chargers are one of the most pleasant surprises thus far. Before blowing a three-touchdown lead to the Chiefs last week, they came back home and didn’t even give the Jaguars a chance. Losing Danny Woodhead for the season is going hurt this team more than people think.
23. Washington Redskins (0-2; Last Ranking: 19)
No teams has repeated as division champs in the NFC East since the 2003 season. Based off the start the Redskins have gotten off to, it is reasonable to not anticipate that changing. Rumors and poor quarterback play are leading this team towards a cliff.
24. Tennessee Titans (1-1; Last Ranking: 30)
The Titans are still probably two seasons away from competing, but things like this give people a sneak peek of what might happen in the future. Mariota is a special talent at quarterback, and the Titans need to continue to surround him with talents that will advance his football skills.
25. Miami Dolphins (0-2; Last Ranking: 25)
The Dolphins allowed Jimmy G to pick them apart before they hurt his shoulder and forced Jacoby Brissett into the game. From then on, the Dolphins significantly outplayed the Pats. However, they will need a much better start next week in order to avoid falling to 0-3.
26. Buffalo Bills (0-2; Last Ranking: 18)
The Bills simply look bad. That being said, firing Greg Roman is not going to change the way this team operates. The Interim OC in Buffalo is gonna be using the same playbook and players. If this team wants to get better, maybe they should have fired the head coach…
27. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2; Last Ranking: 21)
The Jaguars were ready to be the young team that catches fire. Two weeks into the season? They’ve yet to put together a performance that would signal good things to come. That being said, Jacksonville needs to start winning games soon if they have any playoff hopes.
28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1; Last Ranking: 24)
A week after destroying the division rival Falcons, the Bucs lost by nearly 5 touchdowns in the desert. Winston looked poised for a breakout season last week, but threw multiple interceptions to the Cards. That being said, the Cardinals are one of the best teams, so you can’t read too much into this.
29. New Orleans Saints (0-2; Last Ranking: 27)
New Orleans is now sitting at 0-2 and they have lost to two teams that aren’t great. Drew Brees has played ok, and the defense has played just better than last year, which means still bad. This team is clearly lacking firepower on both sides of the ball: pass rushes and pass catchers.
30. Chicago Bears (0-2; Last Ranking: 28)
Needlessly to say, but the Chicago Bears were completely outplayed by a rookie quarterback on Monday night. To add insult to injury, it looks like Jay Cutler is going to miss a significant chunk of time. Maybe this is the year the Bears finally bottom out and get their quarterback.
31. San Francisco 49ers (1-1; Last Ranking: 31)
Some were surprised to see the 49ers in the 31st spot last week, but they are clearly one of the 5 worst teams in the NFL. Blaine Gabbert has been playing some good games, but this roster is depleted. It doesn’t help that their coaching isn’t all that great either.
32. Cleveland Browns (0-2;Last Ranking: 32)
Through two weeks, the Browns have lost two games, and now two quarterbacks to injury. This week was actually a pretty good game for the Browns. They hung tight with a Ravens team that is much better at basically every single position group. Next week they travel to Miami.
Photo courtesy of the Chicago Tribune.