Two weeks in, with not that many surprises yet. Here is where everyone stands going into Week 3.
1. New England Patriots (2–0) | Last week: #1
Jimmy Garappolo was playing great until he hurt his throwing shoulder. Now the Pats will turn to rookie quarterback Jacoby Brisett on a short week against the Texans. It’s less than ideal, but if any team can make it work, it’s the Patriots.
2. Minneosta Vikings (2–0) | Last week: #2
The Vikings had a huge win over the Packers to open their new U.S. Bank Stadium. Sam Bradford looked great, and dropped dimes all over the field—mainly to second-year wide reciever Stefon Diggs. However, Adrian Peterson went down with a torn miniscus. AD is superhuman, so expect the unexpected when it comes to his recovery.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (2–0) | Last week : #5 (up 2)
The Steelers have looked as good as any team in the league through the first two games. The run defense is as stout as they come, and the secondary has played really well thus far. Their win over the Bengals had to feel great for them.
4. Houston Texans (2–0) | Last week: #8 (up 4)
After getting destroyed by the Chiefs in the playoffs last year, the Texans got a bit of redemption in Week 2. J.J. Watt and company were probably looking forward to the game all offseason. Now, they get the Patriots with a rookie quarterback making his first start on a short week.
5. Green Bay Packers (1–1) | Last week: #3 (down 2)
Aaron Rodgers had a subpar game against the Vikings tenacious defense. Next time, they’ll get the Vikings in Lambeau and will look to even things up, but that’s down the line. In Week 3, they’ll play the Lions in Lambeau.
6. Arizona Cardinals (1–1) | Last week: #6
Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers were no match for the Cardinals in Week 2, which was expected after the Cards dropped the opening game at home to the Patriots. The Cardinals are as deep on offense as any team in the league.
7. Kansas City Chiefs (1–1) | Last week: #4 (down 3)
The Chiefs have gotten off to slow starts in their first two games this year. They didn’t have enough to come back against the Texans in Week 2. The Jets are coming to town in Week 3.
8. Carolina Panthers (1–1) | Last week: #9 (up 1)
The 49ers hung around a little more than the score indicated in Week 2. Still, the Panthers ended up with a 19-point victory in a good bounceback from their Week 1 loss to the Broncos.
9. Denver Broncos (2–0) | Last week: #11 (up 2)
Von Miller might be the first defensive player to win MVP since Lawrence Taylor in 1986. He is completely unblockable. It doesn’t hurt that the rest of the defense is really good too. DeMarcus Ware will miss 4–5 weeks, which will hurt some, but the Broncos still have a top defense without him.
10. Seattle Seahawks (1–1) | Last week: #7 (down 3)
The Seahawks offense only has one touchdown through two games this season (the game winning touchdown drive against Miami in Week 1). Russell Wilson should be closer to 100% this week against the Niners, but the offensive line needs to start playing better for the Seahawks to be great.
11. Baltimore Ravens (2–0) | Last week: #12 (up 1)
Cleveland jumped out to an early lead against the Ravens in Week 2, and it didn’t look good. The Ravens didn’t panick and came back to go 2–0. They’ll face the 0–2 Jaguars in Jacksonville this week.
12. Oakland Raiders (1–1) | Last week: #10 (down 2)
The Raiders defense is not what many people anticipated before the year. They’ve given up 34 and 35 points in the first two games. Derek Carr and the offense looks really good, but the defense needs to step up.
13. Atlanta Falcons (1–1) | Last week: #20 (up 7)
After a Week 1 loss to the Bucs, the Falcons bounced back in a big way with a huge win in Oakland. The Falcons offense has been very balanced through the first two weeks. They have a tough stretch of games coming up though, starting with the Saints in New Orleans this Monday night.
14. Cincinnati Bengals (1–1) | Last week: #13 (down 1)
Cincinnati couldn’t get redemption in Week 2 against the Steelers. Things don’t get any easier, as they take on the Broncos this week.
15. New York Jets (1–1) | Last week: #16 (up 1)
The Jets came away with two big wins on Thursday night against the Bills. One, they won the game. And two, Brandon Marshall returned to the game after what looked like could have been a serious injury. Marshall should be good to go this week against the Chiefs.
16. Indianapolis Colts (0–2) | Last week: #14 (down two)
The Colts defense has been a mess through the first two games. They have had countless injuries at corner. Still, they have Andrew Luck and he will need to put his cape on to get the Colts some wins.
17. New York Giants (2–0) | Last week: #22 (up 5)
Money well spent in free agency…so far. Usually teams that go out and spend as much as the Giants did don’t mesh immediately. After locking down Drew Brees and the Saints, it’s so far so good for the Giants defense. They play the 0–2 Redskins in Week 3.
18. Jacksonville Jaguars (0–2) | Last week: #15 (down 3)
Blake Bortles and the Jags really struggled against the Chargers. Bortles struggled with accuracy and threw a couple of interceptions. They face the 0–2 Ravens in Week 3. Obviously, no games are “must-win” games at this point, but the Jags could really use a win.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1–1) | Last week: #17 (down 2)
The Bucs ran into the wrong team at the wrong time in Week 2. The Cards were not going to drop to 0–2. The Bucs will play the inconsistent Rams in Week 3.
20. San Diego Chargers (1–1) | Last week: #26 (up 6)
The Chargers have looked great this year besides the second half in Week 1. Despite the loss of Keenan Allen, Philip Rivers threw four touchdown passes in Week 2 against Jacksonville. They had more bad luck though, as Danny Woodhead is out for the season with a torn ACL. Look for breakout player Melvin Gordon to carry the load.
21. Philadelphia Eagles (2–0) | Last week: #23 (up 2)
Carson Wentz is all people talk about in Philadelphia. He has looked really good as a rookie, after spending five years at North Dakota State. NDSU prepared Wentz for a smooth NFL transition. But keep in mind, the Browns and the Bears are not that great. A big game in Week 3 against the 2–0 Steelers will be a great test to see how far along Wentz really is in his rookie year.
22. Washington Redskins (0–2) | Last week: #18 (down 4)
Kirk Cousins has not looked good so far this year. There are rumors that teammates are complaining (there was obvious frustration on the sidelines and even on the field shown by players in Week 2). It’s only been two weeks, but Cousins will need to turn it around. Jay Gruden will not hesitate to insert Colt McCoy into his offense.
23. Dallas Cowboys (1–1) | Last week: #25 (up 2)
The Cowboys had a key win over the Redskins in Week 2. The offense hasn’t been very explosive yet, but Dak Prescott has not thrown any interceptions yet. Ezekiel Elliott has had moderate struggles so far, and should improve quickly. The Cowboys could shoot up these rankings if things come together.
24. New Orleans Saints (0–2) | Last week: #19 (down 4)
Drew Brees and company struggled to put up points against the Giants, after putting up 52 on them last season. Sean Payton is one of the best coaches in the NFL, though, and the Saints could definitely turn it around with Brees and Payton running the show.
25. San Francisco 49ers (1–1) | Last week: #24 (down 1)
San Fran hung with Carolina into the 4th quarter, but the Panthers were just too much for them. Blaine Gabbert looks comfortable when he runs the ball, but still needs to improve his accuracy and decision-making if he wants to hang around in Kelly’s offense past this season.
26. Tennesse Titans (1–1) | Last week: #27 (up 1)
Marcus Mariota led a 4th quarter comeback for a Week 2 win over the Lions. The run game hasn’t really gotten going yet, but once it does—along with this sneaky good defense run by Dick LeBeau—the Titans could surprise some people.
27. Detroit Lions (1–1) | Last week: #21 (down 6)
The Lions were up on the Titans in the 4th, but gave up a 12-point lead to drop to 1–1. It won’t be easy in Week 3, facing the Packers coming off of a loss.
28. Los Angeles Rams (1–1) | Last week: #31 (up 3)
You can always count on the Rams playing the Seahawks tough. They won their first game back in Los Angeles, but it could be their high-point this year. They’ll look to improve to 2–1 this week against the Bucs, though.
29. Miami Dolphins (0–2) | Last week: #29
The Dolphins fell behind the Patriots and didn’t have enough to come back. The offense has some weapons, they just need to put it together. DeVante Parker is apparently not 100%, but still had eight catches for 106 yards; we wonder what he looks like at 100%.
30. Buffalo Bills (0–2) | Last week: #30
Rex Ryan’s days as Bills coach appear to be coming to an end. OC Greg Roman was fired after their loss to the Jets last Thursday night, and looking at their upcoming schedule, Ryan may be next.
31. Chicago Bears (0–2) | Last week: #28 (down 3)
The Bears are a work in progress. There are so many moving parts and new players on the team, that they likely won’t be able to compete this year. Quarterback Jay Cutler may also miss a lot of time with a right thumb injury. The Bears are going to just need to have some patience with John Fox.
32. Cleveland Browns (0–2) | Last week: #32
Hue Jackson doesn’t have many cards to play with. They have a rookie draft class that looks like it might be pretty good, including first-round rookie WR Corey Coleman (2 TDs in Week 2), but they probably don’t have a realistic shot at the AFC North this season.