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WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 2

09.14.10 at 11:54 am ET
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Maybe that’s what Rex Ryan was talking about on “Hard Knocks” when he screamed to Darrelle Revis‘ agents, “Watch what happens Monday night!” What a crazy opening weekend around the National Football League. After months of trash talk, the “team to beat” in the NFL didn’t even look like it had a playoff caliber offense, never mind Super Bowl caliber. The Jets fall to No.9.

The Colts, Cowboys, and Chargers all lost to teams that didn’t even make the playoffs last year. The Lions were close to opening their season with a rare win, the Steelers didn’t need Ben Roethlisberger to beat the Falcons, and the Patriots shocked many around the league with a dominating win over the Bengals.

Despite all the madness that happened in Week 1, it’s still early and difficult to react too drastically. The Saints remain at No.1 after a very un-Saints-like victory over the Vikings Thursday night to kick off the season. The Ravens jump ahead two spots after the team’s defense physically dominated the Jets on Monday Night Football. Ray Lewis and Baltimore are at No. 2. The newest member of the top five is New England. The Patriots jumped out of the gate with a strong performance at home and their defense proved it can make big plays and put pressure on the passer. Tom Brady and the Pats are at No. 5.

Other notable teams that dropped in the rankings are the Cowboys, Chargers and Falcons. Following a bunch of head scratching and “what were they thinking?!” plays, the Cowboys fall hard to the No. 10 spot.

New Orleans Saints1. (Last week, 1) 1-0-0 The Saints played great defense, allowing just 171 passing yards and one touchdown. It was a sloppy game, but the defending champs did what they had to do and won. I’m guessing this will be the last time the Saints score 14 or less points all season.

2. (4) 1-0-0 WOW. Although the Jets offense is anemic, the Ravens defense played smash mouth football and was very impressive. Baltimore’s D held Mark Sanchez and the Jets to just nine points, 176 yards and six first downs. The Ravens also got the type of production they were hoping for from offseason acquisition Anquan Boldin.

Green Bay Packers3. (3) 1-0-0 Green Bay is a solid team all around. The key to its Super Bowl hopes lies within the team’s offensive line. If they can protect Aaron Rodgers, the Packers can compete for the championship.

4. (2) 0-1-0 The Texans followed the Dolphins’ format on how to beat the Colts — run the ball. Although the Dolphins were unsuccessful last year, the Texans ran the ball down Indy’s throat and managed to come out victorious. The Colts are too good to let that happen much more this season and will bounce back. They’re still the favorite to win the AFC South.

New England Patriots 5. (8) 1-0-0 The Patriots were very impressive in all three areas of the game: offense, defense and special teams. Enough can’t be said about the performance of the offensive and defensive lines. Brady was well protected and the Patriots found the pass rush everyone in New England has been looking for.

Minnesota Vikings6. (6) 0-1-0 The Vikings had a tough test on the road when they opened their season against the Saints. The offense seemed out of sync but should be able to find a rhythm in the next few weeks. Percy Harvin missed a lot of training camp and Sidney Rice was out. A couple of good things Minnesota can take from the loss was the play of Adrian Peterson and the fact that the defense held the Saints’ prolific offense to just 14 points.

Pittsburgh Steelers 7. (13) 1-0-0 Who needs Ben Roethlisberger when you have a dominating defense and a strong run game? The Steelers will if they want to compete in the AFC North, but for now they’ll take the win. They need just one more W to guarantee being at least 2-2 when Big Ben comes back. Then the Steelers will be a legit threat in the AFC.

8. (14) 1-0-0 The Giants defense made key stops down the stretch and really made the difference in a win over the Panthers. Great job by the Giants stopping the run and not allowing DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart to have big games.

New York Jets9. (7) 0-1-0 Jon Gruden summed up the Jets offense perfectly following the 10-9 loss to the Ravens: “New York has a lot of work to do with their passing offense, and that’s an understatement.” The Jets offense looked just like the one we saw during the preseason. Mark Sanchez and crew were able to convert just six first downs. The Rex Ryan-led team had 10 penalties in the first half alone. Also, if Kris Jenkins seriously injured his knee again, that’s a big loss for the team’s defensive line.

Dallas Cowboys10. (5) 0-1-0 What a pathetic performance from the Cowboys. The poor coaching staff was greatly exposed on national TV Sunday night when the team committed 12 penalties, one coming during the most important moment of the game. Does anyone think Wade Phillips is capable of taking a team to the Super Bowl?

Houston Texans11. (16) 1-0-0 The Texans pulled off one of the shockers of the week by knocking off the defending AFC champion Colts. If Arian Foster can be a dynamic running back all season to go along with Matt Schaub and the prolific passing offense, the Texans can make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

Miami Dolphins12. (12) 1-0-0 Not much offense from Chad Henne and Brandon Marshall, but I expect the Dolphins passing game to improve. The defense, behind top free agent offseason addition Karlos Dansby, was the story of the game. The defense completely took Bills running back C.J. Spiller out of the game, as well as rushed the passer effectively, and that made the difference.

13. (9) 0-1-0 Philip Rivers and his offensive line were not on the same page Monday night and it showed big time. The Chargers looked very confused on offense throughout the game. It also wouldn’t hurt getting Pro Bowl tackle Marcus McNeill back on the field.

Cincinnati Bengals14. (10) 0-1-0 After the game, Chad Ochocinco said he knows the Bengals will bounce back. The defense is a lot better than how it played on Sunday against the Patriots. I’m not ready to give up on the Bengals after Week 1. Cincinnati should be able to compete for a playoff spot.

15. (18) 1-0-0 The Titans play strong, physical football, and that’s what makes them a solid team. Against the Raiders, Tennessee’s offensive line allowed star running back Chris Johnson to take over the game and rush for over 150 yards. Vince Young was very efficient, completing 76 percent of his passes.

16. (11) 0-1-0 There’s no excuse for the Falcons to lose to a Dennis Dixon-led Steelers team when they expect to be a serious playoff contender. Atlanta has to rely on its running game, and Michael Turner has to perform better than he did on Sunday.

Washington Redskins17. (21) 1-0-0 The Redskins greatly benefited from all of the Cowboys’ mistakes Sunday night and managed to play well enough to upset Dallas and pick up the win. It was a step in the right direction, but the Redskins still need to get their offense going. They scored no offensive touchdowns Sunday and Donovan McNabb played mediocre at best.

Seattle Seahawks18. (22) 1-0-0 It’s fun to watch the enthusiasm and emotion Pete Carroll brings to the football field. He’s got his team headed in the right direction. Seattle’s defense played extremely well, causing turnovers and allowing 49ers star running back Frank Gore just 38 yards. It was a huge win for the Seahawks, who might actually be able to compete in their division.

19. (17) 0-1-0 Great effort from the Eagles against one of the best teams in the NFC, especially after losing their starting quarterback. It was exciting to watch the old Michael Vick on the field making plays and giving his team a shot to win the game.

Jacksonville Jaguars20. (23) 1-0-0 David Garrard had a very impressive performance Sunday against the Broncos. Coming into the 2010 season, many questioned if Garrard can actually get the job done. He did a great job managing the game and moving the ball up the field. His performance was very encouraging for Jacksonville.

San Francisco 49ers21. (15) 0-1-0 The 49ers entered the season as the popular pick across the NFL to win the NFC West. Toward the end of last year it looked as if Alex Smith was starting to find a rhythm and many were anticipating a career year from him. However, the story of the game Sunday was interceptions and missed targets from Smith. Now in his fifth season, the 49ers quarterback doesn’t have much time left to prove he can lead this team into the playoffs before the 49ers will be forced to move on.

Carolina Panthers22. (19) 0-1-0 The Panthers collapsed in the second half in their game against the Giants and that made the difference in the team’s loss. Carolina turned the ball over five times and went just 1-5 in the red zone.

Kansas City Chiefs23. (28) 1-0-0 The Chiefs are a very exciting young, talented football team surrounded by a great coaching staff. Scott Pioli and Todd Haley have this team headed on the right path with players such as Dexter McCluster, Javier ArenasJamaal Charles and Tony Moeaki. Romeo Crennel‘s defensive game plan against Philip Rivers and the Chargers was impressive.

Arizona Cardinals24. (25) 1-0-0 It was obvious the Cardinals were missing Kurt Warner on Sunday against the Rams. Larry Fitzgerald was targeted 15 times but only caught three passes. It could be a long season in Arizona with Derek Anderson taking snaps behind center.

Chicago Bears25. (24) 1-0-0 The truth is, the Bears were on the brink of losing to the Lions Sunday if it wasn’t for the now infamous Calvin Johnson “catch/no catch” in the end zone. Chicago did its typical thing against the Lions — lots of turnovers, penalties and mental mistakes.

Denver Broncos26. (20) 0-1-0 Denver needs to play a lot better on the offensive line if the Broncos want to win games. The good thing they can take out of Sunday’s loss was the play of Kyle Orton, who had a solid game, putting any, “Why isn’t Tim Tebow starting?” questions to bed. If it can get its running game going with Knowshon Moreno, the Broncos offense can be effective.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers27. (31) 1-0-0 For a team that started out 0-7 last year, the Bucs will certainly take a win at home to open the season no matter how bad the Browns are. The Bucs should enjoy being over .500 while it lasts.

Detroit Lions28. (27) 0-1-0 It’s tough not to feel bad for this Lions team. As soon as things start to look up for a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs since 1999, the Lions lose their young star quarterback to a shoulder injury for 4-8 weeks. Not only that, they had Sunday’s game won if it wasn’t for a poorly worded section in the NFL rulebook.

Oakland Raiders 29. (26)0-1-0 Despite having a better quarterback, the Raiders looked just as bad Sunday as they did all of last year. Jason Campbell was sacked four times and managed to pass for 180 yards.

Cleveland Browns30. (29) 0-1-0 The Browns really don’t have many players on offense to make big plays and put points on the board. Jake Delhomme had his typical mediocre game against the Bucs.

Buffalo Bills31. (30) 0-1-0 No surprises Sunday watching the Bills’ below-average performance on offense. The Bills went three-and-out two times in a row while starting in Miami territory, committed key penalties and couldn’t generate any type of running game.

St. Louis Rams32. (32) 0-1-0 It was a very impressive performance from rookie quarterback Sam Bradford. He gave his team a great chance to win, and that’s all the Rams can ask for at this point in his career. He threw the ball 55 times in his debut.

Read More: NFL Power Rankings, Ray Lewis, Rex Ryan,
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