NFL Week 2 Power Rankings: Cowboys Remain No. 1 after Week 1
Action Network design. Pictured: Dak Prescott, Tyreek HIll and Josh Allen, as we dive into the NFL power rankings for Week 2, where Dak’s Cowboys remain No. 1.
Week 1 of the new season is in the books — and the NFL scriptwriters were on one this weekend.
The Chiefs, Bills, and Bengals are 0-1, the Bucs, Raiders, and Commanders are 1-0, and Zach Wilson is the quarterback of the undefeated New York Jets. What a time to be alive.
We already overreacted to a Week 1 takeaway for all 32 teams. Now, it's time to rank them. This is the NFL Week 2 Power Rankings. We'll try our best not to abandon our preseason priors too much, but one week of data is just so much more than zero weeks of data.
Let's dig in. (To skip directly to a specific team, click on the team's name in the table below!)
NFL Week 2 Power Rankings
Tier I — One Eye on the Lombardi
1. Dallas Cowboys (Last week ranking: 1)
When a team starts the year No. 1 in your Power Rankings, you'd love for them to go out Week 1 and absolutely wallop a division rival that won a playoff game earlier this year.
So, yeah — 40-0 will certainly suffice.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (4)
The Chiefs lost the first game of the year, but I'm not sure we should be too worried.
Kansas City was missing its second and third best players and should've won anyway if not for an absolutely nightmare night from Kadarius Toney. Chris Jones is back, Travis Kelce will be soon, and the Chiefs didn't even lose any ground on the Bills or Bengals, since they lost, too. Charmed life.
3. Philadelphia Eagles (3)
Let the record show I have seriously considered dropping the Eagles out of the top tier two weeks in a row, but I'm giving Philly a chance to demolish the Vikings on Thursday night like they did last September.
But that was a very underwhelming win against the Patriots, especially when this team was such a brilliant front runner last fall and was gifted a 16-0 Sunday lead before limping to the finish line.
Tier II — All the Potential in the World
4. Miami Dolphins (6)
The Dolphins won the game of the week with a dazzling display of speed and offensive ingenuity. Mike McDaniel was in his bag. To do that against a super talented defense that had six months to prepare, and to do it without stud LT Terron Armstead? The Fins are cooking up something really special.
This is what Miami has been when healthy. If the Dolphins look just as unstoppable in New England against Bill Belichick, they're headed to the top tier.
5. San Francisco 49ers (11)
Rumors of San Francisco's demise appear to have been greatly exaggerated. The 49ers might have been the most impressive team in Week 1, and you're forgiven if you think they belong at No. 1.
The 49ers offense completely solved a terrific Steelers defense, and San Fran's D might have been even more impressive. I still need to see this team in a dogfight where they can't just play as front runners all game, but at some point, you just have to give credit for staying above the fray week after week.
6. Buffalo Bills (2)
Just losing a road game to the Jets would usually be no reason for concern, but losing to Zach Wilson — and losing like that — is the sort of thing that can hang over an entire season.
Josh Allen was miserable, in a frustrating I've-told-you-once-I've-told-you-a-thousand-times way. Allen can make the game look so easy, so it's maddening when he makes it this hard. We're sure this guy can win four straight in the playoffs?
Last year was a nightmare in Buffalo. Everything went wrong. This was the chance for a fresh start, and I have a tiny, creeping fear it might be deja vu all over again.
7. Cleveland Browns (8)
The Browns might be the biggest Week 1 winner. They dominated the in-state, division rival Bengals, and Jim Schwartz's defense looks nasty. They won a second straight opener after going winless the previous 17, and they're already up a game on the Bengals, Bills, and Chiefs — and up a quarterback on the Jets.
That QB is the one reason I'm staying cautious, though. Deshaun Watson looked way too much like he did last season, slow to process and missing some zip, and the loss of RT Jack Conklin hurts, too.
I'm almost ready to buy in, but I need just a little bit more.
8. Los Angeles Chargers (5)
Lots of talk about classic Chargers blowing another game late, and this pass defense got shredded, but this was not the same old Chargers. Early signs on Kellen Moore's new offense are extremely promising.
Moore's system starts with the run, and the Bolts have struggled to run the ball successfully for years. That apparently changed overnight, with Los Angeles running 40 times for 234 yards and three scores, and Chargers series that started with a rush hitting 94.7% Success Rate. The defense needs work, and we need to see more from Justin Herbert. But this was a meaningful first step.
Tier III — Sorry for My Skepticism
9. Baltimore Ravens (7)
The 25-9 scoreline over the Texans flattered Baltimore. Houston had just as many first downs and more yards, and Todd Monken's new offense was unaggressive and far from cogent.
That's all fine in a comfortable Week 1 win for a team that's supposed to come together later, but now the annual Ravens injury list is already mounting. Mark Andrews is banged up, J.K. Dobbins is out for the season, Marcus Williams adds to an already decimated secondary, and the two best offensive linemen are hurt. Come on, we're not really doing this again, are we?!
10. Detroit Lions (14)
On the one hand, I didn't find Detroit's win in Kansas City particularly convincing or overwhelming, especially against an opponent missing key players.
On the other hand, when you hit the road on Opening Night and beat Patrick Mahomes and the Super Bowl champs, however you did it, you're top 10 — them's the rules!
11. Cincinnati Bengals (9)
You don't get to stay in the top 10 when you score a whopping three points in the opener, but the Bengals have these occasional clunkers — often against the Browns, for whatever reason — and always seem to bounce back just fine.
For now, we'll assume Joe Burrow's calf is fine, but it's another story if they lose to the Ravens too.
Tier IV — You Know, There Might Be Something Here…
12. Atlanta Falcons (10)
I'm all-in on the Falcons, so you'd think I'd be pleased with a 14-point Week 1 win over a division rival, but I came away underwhelmed. The defense was good, but it should be, at home against a rookie QB debut.
The offense was disappointing, though. Not enough Bijan Robinson, almost nothing from Kyle Pitts and Drake London, and zero trust or belief in Desmond Ridder. The Falcons told us all offseason they believe in Ridder. It's time to start showing it on the field.
13. Green Bay Packers (13)
The Packers looked awesome against Chicago, and Jordan Love already looks vastly improved in his composure and processing speed, but let's see it against a defense that doesn't leave guys open all game.
Green Bay plays Atlanta Sunday in what might be my most intriguing Week 2 matchup. Winner is the early favorite to be this year's shock Cinderella team and pile up 12+ wins in the NFC. The focus will be on which QB is ready, but I need to see if the Packers have found any run defense yet.
14. Jacksonville Jaguars (15)
The Jaguars won but didn't impress, needing a fourth quarter comeback against a Colts team that started a rookie QB and that's now won exactly twice in its last 16 opening games.
Calvin Ridley looked awesome and showed instant chemistry with Trevor Lawrence, but we already knew that part would be good. I came away much more concerned how blah the defense felt and how worrying the offensive line play is, especially with another name potentially missing this week.
15. Houston Texans (12)
Listen, I'm a stubborn man. The Texans played the Ravens far closer than the score looked, and I thought this DeMeco Ryans defense looked awesome and ready for prime time.
The offense? The offense isn't great. The line is all sorts of banged up, and C.J. Stroud was okay in his debut but has a long way to go. The Texans win total stupidly dropped to 5.5 after losing a game everyone expected them to lose and looking relatively good in it. I still believe.
16. Los Angeles Rams (29)
Let's get wild, shall we? I aim to avoid being reactionary, which is why most teams aren't moving too far in either direction just yet, but I'm diving into the deep end on Matt Stafford. I couldn't help but wonder all offseason why Sean McVay really came back for this mess of a roster, but maybe he's got something again.
Stafford was absolutely dealing, Tutu Atwell had the game of his life, an entire nation of fantasy footballers learned the name of rookie Puka Nacua, and the Rams defense played shockingly well.
Maybe it was a one week fluke. Maybe it will end quickly Sunday against the 49ers. But I still don't fully believe in San Francisco, Seattle looks bad, and Arizona is in the tank. Am I crazy for eyeing the Rams at +1100 to win the NFC West?!
Tier V — Holding Steady… For Now
17. New England Patriots (18)
The three teams in this tier were here together last week, too, because of their high floor, and I haven't been moved enough to leave that position yet. In fact, I actually came away pretty impressed with the Patriots.
That defense really gave a great Eagles offense fits, and the offense rebounded after a brutal start to show clear improvement under Bill O'Brien. This team is clearly ahead of the Jets in the AFC East pecking order now, but it doesn't get any easier for Bill Belichick with the Dolphins offense up next.
18. New Orleans Saints (17)
The Saints had one of the least impressive wins of the week, surviving by a point against a Tennessee squad I don't love and one that should've beat them but for a terrible 10-point swing on a non-overturned defensive score and far too many Titans field goals.
That said, the Saints receivers look dangerous, and this might actually end up one of the more dangerous games on this cupcake schedule. Maybe just getting the W was enough.
19. Pittsburgh Steelers (16)
Everyone's favorite preseason darling landed with a thud in the opener, down 20-0 in minutes when just about no one else could score in Week 1.
The defense was disappointing early but responded late and should be fine. The offense was what tricked us though. Matt Canada still has no answers, and Kenny Pickett looked overwhelmed. Mike Tomlin always figures this stuff out right when we count him out, but there are way more questions than anticipated.
Tier VI — 1-and-Oh? That's As High As You Go
20. New York Jets (13)
Jets fans will remember Monday night forever, but I fear it could be the very definition of a Pyrrhic win. New York won with defense and special teams — in spite of Zach Wilson — and it's just really difficult to imagine that formula holding up over a whole season, in part because we just saw it fail last fall.
The drop off from Aaron Rodgers to Wilson is impossibly huge, and it drops the Jets to 30th in my offense rankings and 24th overall. Using that as a baseline, as with the other two teams in this group, I can only upgrade New York so far even with a miracle win. The Jets are doomed without Rodgers.
21. Las Vegas Raiders (30)
The Raiders basically played the Broncos dead even, so it's tough to get too excited even if they're alone at the top of the AFC West, still +1000 to win the division.
Maybe Jimmy Garoppolo is really an upgrade from Derek Carr, and maybe Josh McDaniels has finally figured everything out… or maybe it was just Week 1 against the Broncos.
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (31)
The only thing worse than playing a team below you dead even is playing a team below you, being clearly worse, but pulling out the win anyway.
The Bucs still can't run the ball, and they had no shot stopping Kirk Cousins and the passing attack, but three perfectly-timed turnovers was enough to luck into a close win. Tampa Bay has just enough talent to hang around and compete in games like that, but let's not pretend this was anything real just yet.
Tier VII — Playoffs? How About You Start with a Win?
23. Minnesota Vikings (21)
These five teams all think they're playoff contenders, but I'm not convinced any of them even finish over .500 after what we saw in Week 1.
The Vikings actually played pretty well and should've won the game, but "should" doesn't do much good for what should've been the easiest W on the schedule. Last year, this was a .500 team that caught every break to win 13 games. This is a similar team that already caught a bad break, and the Eagles, Chargers, and Chiefs await over the next four weeks. Even in the NFC, it's tough to come back from 1-4.
24. Seattle Seahawks (19)
The Seahawks may have been the most disappointing team of Week 1, getting blown out and physically dominated at home by a Rams team most of us had counted out.
Remember, this is a roster many expected to finish near the bottom of the league a year ago before a great rookie class elevated the offensive line and corners and before Geno Smith broke out. Now, those same young players are injured or struggling, and Geno is following suit. This has a chance to go sideways.
25. Tennessee Titans (25)
The Titans might be the most uninteresting team in football, so naturally, they're the only team not at No. 1 or 32 to finish at the exact same spot in back-to-back weeks.
Tennessee's trenches looked better than expected in Week 1, but none of that will matter if Ryan Tannehill is as cooked as he looked.
26. Denver Broncos (23)
See, and now the Broncos are getting FOMO from being left out of the most uninteresting team in football conversation. A shame.
You cannot make me bet on the Broncos-Commanders game this weekend. I simply refuse.
27. New York Giants (24)
The Giants got embarrassed by the Cowboys on national TV. They've lost by a combined score of 78-8 in their past two games and are 0-6 in the last calendar year against Dallas and Philadelphia with a -118 point differential. Seems bad.
In a weird way, though, I'm not sure Sunday night really taught us much about this team. The Giants were 7-1-1 against non-playoff teams last season and 3-7 against everyone else. Brian Daboll has raised this team's floor, but the ceiling is still nil against good teams.
Tier VIII — This Is About Building Toward a Future
28. Indianapolis Colts (27)
The Colts belong five or 10 spots higher but don't fit any of the tiers, but it's just as well because the teams in this tier probably aren't focusing on win-loss record this season anyway. This is about developing a young quarterback for a future, and Indianapolis is already off to a good start.
Anthony Richardson looks way readier than advertised. Shane Steichen is helping his rookie by using him like Jalen Hurts, attacking as a runner and getting him on the move to simplify reads. Add in good aggression and game management from Steichen and it looks like this team has found its two most important pieces going forward.
29. Carolina Panthers (22)
It wasn't quite as pretty for Bryce Young and Frank Reich, but it was palatable enough. Young had two terrible interceptions but made some spicy throws outside of those mistakes, enough of them to give Carolina fans hope for the future.
The exciting news for the Panthers was the return of Brian Burns to a defense that showed real potential for Ejiro Evero. There's still a chance that could be the best unit in a bad division, and that could be enough to contend for a division title at +850, but Carolina is already a game down on everyone.
30. Washington Commanders (26)
And then there's Washington, which managed to drop four spots despite getting a win. That's what happens when you struggle to beat the moribund Cardinals, and it's hard to get excited about even a 1-0 start.
Sam Howell struggled under pressure, and he faced a heap of it with a bad line. It's a bad sign if that's the case against Arizona. This is a rare spot where a team gets a win and I downgrade them anyway. I was hoping for an increased win total to fade, but the books were already counting Arizona as a free space.
Tier IX — And This Is Your Punishment
31. Chicago Bears (28)
We knew Aaron Rodgers owned Chicago, but the way this is going, the Packers should just apply for permanent ownership of Soldier Field. Maybe the Packers will turn out to be good, but getting embarrassed by Green Bay in the first chance you finally had post-Rodgers is the sort of ugly start that can bury an entire season.
Justin Fields had moments but still held the ball far too long and made too many mistakes, and he didn't get any help from his offensive line or his awful defense.
When you play that poorly, you gotta sit in the corner with the Cardinals for the week.
32. Arizona Cardinals (32)
I mean, look, the Cards almost won a game! They even led in the fourth quarter.
I vote for giving Arizona three-fourths of a win, cuz if they don't beat the Giants this week, I'm not sure when that win is coming. After this one, it's the Cowboys, 49ers, and Bengals, two division games, then the Ravens and Browns.
It's only one game, but the Cardinals have a real chance to go wire-to-wire at No. 32.
NFL Week 2 Power Rankings
- Dallas Cowboys (Last week ranking: 1)
- Kansas City Chiefs (4)
- Philadelphia Eagles (3)
- Miami Dolphins (6)
- San Francisco 49ers (11)
- Buffalo Bills (2)
- Cleveland Browns (8)
- Los Angeles Chargers (5)
- Baltimore Ravens (7)
- Detroit Lions (14)
- Cincinnati Bengals (9)
- Atlanta Falcons (10)
- Green Bay Packers (13)
- Jacksonville Jaguars (15)
- Houston Texans (12)
- Los Angeles Rams (29)
- New England Patriots (18)
- New Orleans Saints (17)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (16)
- New York Jets (13)
- Las Vegas Raiders (22)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (31)
- Seattle Seahawks (19)
- Minnesota Vikings (21)
- Tennessee Titans (25)
- Denver Broncos (23)
- New York Giants (24)
- Indianapolis Colts (27)
- Carolina Panthers (22)
- Washington Commanders (26)
- Chicago Bears (28)
- Arizona Cardinals (32)