I’d rather not be in danger of my heart EXPLODING every week, but I’ll take the win! Such is the life of a Bills fan. While our own fortunes appear to be on the rise, some teams are proving themselves contenders while others are falling like rocks. Just like last year, from here on I’ll put each team’s change from last week next to their name (so you can see how they’re trending). Lots of shuffling in the early weeks!
1. Denver Broncos (same): I’ll remind you… THEY ARE MISSING PLAYERS and they’re still dominating. Denver stays on top.
2. Seattle Seahawks (+4): I think I judged them too harshly for having trouble against Carolina in Week 1. After obliterating the 49ers, what else can you say? That Seattle home crowd does a lot, though. I can’t wait for the rematch in San Francisco.
3. Green Bay Packers (+1): I know they’re ranked above the Niners, who beat them last week, but the way they demolished the Redskins has me believing that Week 1 was a fluke. Aaron Rodgers is still Aaron Rodgers, and the Packers defense ain’t no slouch.
4. San Francisco 49ers (-2): What happened? Kaepernick goes from a career high to a career low in the span of a week? Anquan Boldin with a goose egg? Was it the game plan? Is Seattle really THAT good? They can answer a lot of those questions against the Colts on Sunday.
5. New Orleans Saints (-2): I would have expected a better performance against the Bucs, but the defense continues to hold up their end of the bargain.
6. Houston Texans (-1): Is this gonna become a weekly thing? 2 weeks, 2 4th quarter comebacks. I mean, they’re winning so that’s good. Still, they need to start opening games better if they’re going to maintain success. They have the Ravens this week, so that will be a good test.
7. Chicago Bears (+2): Looks like that defense will remain dominant this year. What’s more, Jay Cutler seems to have discovered how to move on from mistakes. The guy looks transformed. No more pouting or whining on the sideline. I’m sure it helps that he’s only been sacked once in the first two games.
8. Cincinnati Bengals (+2): The Bengals are probably feeling pretty good right now. They share the top of the division with the Ravens (as far as records go), and the Ravens look weak (especially after losing Ray Rice). They clearly gained a weapon this year in Giovani Bernard.
9. New England Patriots (-2): Yep, they’re 2-0, but they aren’t winning anything convincingly. Without Amendola, the offense looks anemic. Their red zone performance is horrible. Their insanely lucky early schedule continues against the Bucs this week.
10. Atlanta Falcons (-2): Yep, they won. They also lost Steven Jackson, and the absence of Roddy White is showing too. I’ll be rooting for them to silence the boasting Dolphins fans this week, hopefully with a convincing win this time.
11. San Diego Chargers (+9): Sure, it’s early, but the Chargers look SCARY this year. Their players are finally playing up to expectations. Philip Rivers has been phenomenal, and Ryan Mathews is still standing after two weeks of play. The emergence of Eddie Royal has been icing on their cake. I doubt they can catch the Broncos this year, but they could be looking at a wild card bid.
12. Baltimore Ravens (+1): Good job getting that first win out of the way… barely… against the Browns. I’m not sure they deserve this high of a ranking, but I’m giving the defending champs the benefit of the doubt for one more week.
13. Kansas City Chiefs (+12): Wowza, the Chiefs may just be the real deal. Alex Smith has picked up right where he left off, and the defense is performing well. That defense gets a big test this week against Chip Kelly’s Eagles.
14. Miami Dolphins (+10): I absolutely LOATHE ranking the fish this high, but it’s hard to argue with the fact that they’ve won their first two games, both of them on the road. That’s hard to do. Let’s see how they handle the Falcons.
15. Indianapolis Colts (-3): If I were a Colts fan I’d be worried. In the first two games the Colts BARELY beat the Raiders, and then they lost to the Dolphins. Now they have to play the 49ers. Ow.
16. Buffalo Bills (+2): I feel good about this placement for now. There’s still a lot left to prove, but it should be noted that the Panthers are significantly better than their 0-2 record shows. That’s a stout defense, and we moved the ball fairly well against them (better than the Seahawks did… ahem). Also, let’s celebrate the rebirth of Mario Williams!
17. St. Louis Rams (-1): They don’t fall too far, because they really gave the Falcons (a very good team) a run for their money. Tavon Austin is looking like a draft pick well spent.
18. Arizona Cardinals (+4): They’re still below the Rams, but what a win over the Lions! Sure, the injury to Reggie Bush helped, but Carson Palmer’s play deserves praise. He’s not a stat machine, but he’s such a dramatic improvement over anything the Cardinals have seen in the last two years.
19. Detroit Lions (-8): Speaking of the Lions, perhaps I spoke too soon last week. When the durability of Reggie Bush is in question, this team looks a lot more questionable as a whole. If they can capitalize on the self-destructing Redskins this week, they can save some face.
20. Philadelphia Eagles (-6): I think we also spoke too soon in praise of Chip Kelly’s offense. The one thing it does is gives your OWN defense less time to rest. More plays in less time means more time for your opponent to make plays. I’m very interested to see how they handle Andy Reid’s return.
21. Dallas Cowboys (-4): Like I said… Romo-coaster. For some reason, this team has a very difficult time putting together consecutive performances of worth. If the pattern follows, they’ll have a good game against the Rams.
22. Washington Redskins (-7): Oh my. Right now the Redskins look like a train wreck, and it’s only been 2 weeks. They simply have to avoid falling into an insurmountable hole in the first half, and then they might have a shot at winning one of these games. As it stands, though, I could actually see them losing to the Lions this week.
23. New York Giants (-4): I don’t know what’s harder to watch… Eli throwing all these picks or Peyton being in visible pain talking about how his baby brother is effectively flailing uncontrollably on the field. It’s not all on Eli, though. The defense is performing poorly, and they have the league’s worst ground attack: Averaging 36.5 rushing yards per game. That’s ridiculous.
24. Carolina Panthers (-1): I really feel like the Panthers are a better team than this, but their performance so far puts them here. That defense is really damn good, but Cam Newton isn’t making plays.
25. Minnesota Vikings (-4): That offense just can’t get it done. Not with Adrian Peterson getting only 100 yards or less per game. They literally need 130+ yards and 2 TDs per game from Peterson to have a chance at the playoffs this year. Something has to offset Christian Ponder.
26. Tennessee Titans (same): From here on out, not much has changed. The Titans looked good in spots, but still lost. I’m currently calling them the best of the worst.
27. Pittsburgh Steelers (same): If the Steelers needed any more proof that they were no longer contenders, they got spanked by the AFC North’s likely new kings, the Bengals. The fans in Pittsburgh want to see a stellar defense like the old days. They’re sure to see one this week when the Bears come to town.
28. New York Jets (same): I’m not giving them credit for keeping it close against New England. Without Amendola and Vereen, those Patriots were not the same Patriots the Bills faced in Week 1. The Jets SHOULD be 0-2, so I’m ranking them accordingly.
29. Oakland Raiders (same): Also no credit is awarded for beating the league’s worst team. Did you hear about what the Raiders coaching staff told Terrelle Pryor? They said for him to effectively run the ball like a RB, and to NEVER dive unless it’s to clearly avoid a big hit. He’s not gonna last long like that.
30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (same): They managed to hang in there with the Saints, but I’m not ready to move them up the list yet. They get the Patriots this week, so…. GO BUCS.
31. Cleveland Browns (same): Nothing to see here. Zero touchdowns against a depleted Ravens defense. On the bright side, they get Josh Gordon back this week against the Vikings. Maybe they’ll climb out of the basement.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (same): Was there any doubt? Their first touchdown of the SEASON came in garbage time AGAINST THE RAIDERS. I can’t say much else. I kind of feel bad for them.