It’s that time again, ladies and gentlemen. Time to look at the rest of the league and see where everyone stands (including our Bills). I’ll include the disclaimer here that I gave last year: My power rankings (like all others) are meaningless, biased, and likely wrong. That said, I always enjoy reading power rankings and seeing where people place my team, and others, in the league. Last year was my first year trying my hand at writing power rankings and it was much harder than I thought! It was a lot of fun, though, so I’m back for more this year. Once again, feel free to tell me how wrong I am and tell me where YOU think a team should be ranked.
1. Denver Broncos: Seven touchdowns. Seven. Against the defending champs, no less. They don’t need a Robocop remake. Robocop is real. His name is Peyton Manning. As a side note, the Broncos defense was tough despite missing two of their biggest playmakers in Von Miller and Champ Bailey. They will… *gulp*… only get better.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Freaking Colin Kaepernick is TRYING to make me look stupid. I called out the fact that he hadn’t thrown for over 300 yards other than in the Super Bowl loss, saying he would likely take a step back this year as teams got to prepare for him. Yeah. 412 yards later… I’ll shut up now.
3. New Orleans Saints: WHA? TOO HIGH! WHO IS THIS CHARLATAN? Don’t care. Based on what I saw Sunday, I’m picking the Saints to win the NFC South. All that team needed was a defense. ANY defense other than the worst in history (like last year). They’ve already shown vast improvement. Even if that just means they’re average, Drew Brees can take them the rest of the way.
4. Green Bay Packers: Don’t sleep on Green Bay. Their biggest concern is defense, but they won’t have to face Kaepernick every week, so that’s good for them. With Rodgers at the helm, though, anything is possible.
5. Houston Texans: Staging such a large comeback on the road like that is pretty impressive. When their biggest strength on offense was effectively taken away (as the run game hardly got going for Houston), Matt Schaub proved he can still carry his team to victory. If he does that consistently, they could go far.
6. Seattle Seahawks: That defense is still as advertised, shutting down Cam Newton and the Panthers (something we hope happens again in Week 2). The offense had some troubles, but Carolina’s defense is underrated. Russell Wilson makes big plays when needed.
7. New England Patriots: Yeah, so they’re good, but they look a lot weaker than they did last year. If it weren’t for Amendola making acrobatic 3rd down catches, we would have won that game. What’s that? Amendola is injured again? I can’t wait until Week 17.
8. Atlanta Falcons: This is still a really good team, but they just came up against a better one on Sunday. Any questions about Steven Jackson remaining ageless have been dismissed outright. I’m convinced he will live forever.
9. Chicago Bears: This may seem high, but give them credit for defeating a really good Bengals team. We know what that defense can do. It’s always come down to Jay Cutler really taking over that offense and minimizing mistakes. With Cutler and Matt Forte looking their best last week, they looked dominant.
10. Cincinnati Bengals: Considering he was up against the Bears Defense, Andy Dalton handled himself very well. A.J. Green continues to be as advertised. Their defense keeps improving every year. They might have the AFC North in the bag if the Ravens keep sliding.
11. Detroit Lions: This is another one that may seem high, given last year’s record. Reggie Bush has absolutely transformed this team, however. With teams doing everything to cover Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush is watching the biggest holes open up for him. This thermonuclear offense is no longer one-dimensional. Defenses will have a difficult time covering both of those playmakers.
12. Indianapolis Colts: Kudos to Andrew Luck and Co. for the comeback, but they needed it against the Raiders? Really? When the Raiders defense is giving your offense trouble throughout the game, it does not produce warm fuzzies.
13. Baltimore Ravens: This is a completely different team from the one we saw in the postseason last year. Don’t get me wrong, they’ll still be a threat in this league, but remember: It’s the regular season now. The Ravens don’t start really trying until the postseason (based on last year).
14. Philadelphia Eagles: DO NOT overreact to the first half of that MNF game. Yes, Chip Kelly’s offense is INSANE. It should be noted, however, that the Eagles showed hardly any production in the 2nd half when they just tried to burn clock and keep the lead. That offense was also significantly helped by RG3’s miscues (which gave the Redskins defense no time to rest). The cat’s out of the bag. Let’s see what the rest of the league does with it.
15. Washington Redskins: I can’t drop the Redskins too far because, like I said, that first half was almost a throwaway. Griffin improved drastically in the second half, and we’re unlikely to see him look that shaky again this season. Given the shock of that first half, the defense adjusted admirably later in the game.
16. St. Louis Rams: This team looks MUCH improved. Sam Bradford might still have a job at the end of this year if he keeps this up.
17. Dallas Cowboys: Sorry, Jerry, I’m not buying it. We’ve seen this before. Dallas fans love riding the Romo-coaster, and until I see him put up two solid performances in a row, I’ll assume it’s the same up-and-down show as last season.
18. Buffalo Bills: Yes, I’ve ranked our Bills WAY higher than most Power Rankings, but I don’t care. Based on what I saw, this is a team that is poised to grow as the season progresses. In recent years we’ve started hot and fallen flat later in the season. I’m happy to get our tough times out of the way early if it means it pushes us to success later. Time will tell.
19. New York Giants: That was just sad. Watching Eli’s face contort into every aspect of emotional pain was so depressing. 6 turnovers. The Giants are better than that. C’mon man.
20. San Diego Chargers: The Chargers have some reason to be hopeful, despite blowing a 3-score lead in the 4th quarter. Philip Rivers looked like his old self, and Ryan Mathews got through the game without dying. Optimism!
21. Minnesota Vikings: Everyone pointed at Christian Ponder during the offseason and said, “That guy. That’s who the Vikings are depending on to take them to the next level.” Hey, sometimes we don’t get what we want. Adrian Peterson can’t be their ONLY threat. They need more versatility or they won’t be able to compete.
22. Arizona Cardinals: I was really impressed with how the Cardinals looked Sunday… considering how bad they were in 2012. Carson Palmer was a definite upgrade, and Larry Fitzgerald couldn’t be happier.
23. Carolina Panthers: They get a little credit for playing the Seahawks tough, but Cam Newton and the Panthers haven’t proven that they can handle defeat well. Their defense is good, but when their leader is moping after losses then I get concerned.
24. Miami Dolphins: I’m not giving them much credit for manhandling the Browns with Weeden sucking it up. I’m astounded by the news, though: It only took ONE WEEK for their new receiver, Mike Wallace, to start complaining. That’s gotta be a new record.
25. Kansas City Chiefs: I was really tempted to rank them higher, but they’ve got to beat a semi-decent team before I do. They did a great job embarrassing the Jaguars, though. Alex Smith is the future in KC.
26. Tennessee Titans: I never would have expected their defense to be the heroes, but good for them. Of course, I wouldn’t expect their offense to win any games either. I think the Steelers are just that bad this year.
27. Pittsburgh Steelers: Speaking of which, what happened? Their leading rusher had 19 yards? Bring back Jerome Bettis! Even now he’d put up better numbers!
28. New York Jets: Yes, they are the lowest ranked team that actually won this week… but we all know they shouldn’t have. A gift from the Bucs changed everything. Let’s see how they handle the Patsies on Thursday night.
29. Oakland Raiders: They got a lot out of Terrelle Pryor’s legs, but he’s probably never gonna see a day like that again in this league. And he still lost.
30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: This is what you get for the absolute STUPIDEST penalty of the week. Against the Jets, no less. For shame.
31. Cleveland Browns: Thud. High expectations for the Browns this year, but they got slaughtered by a ho-hum Dolphins team. Despite looking great in the preseason, Brandon Weeden was atrocious in Week 1.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars: It’s rare when your starting QB goes down and the backup steps in, and fans are glad. That may be happening in Jacksonville. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ricky Stanzi is starting by the end of the season.