The first week of the 2016 NFL season had a couple of marquee matchups, with the New England Patriots taking on the Arizona Cardinals, and the Denver Broncos facing the Carolina Panthers. The Patriots and Broncos both got the Ws, which has a serious impact on this week’s power rankings. And you can check out last weeks’ rankings here.
1. New England Patriots (1-0); beat Arizona 23-21, up 4 spots – Few people expected New England to win in Phoenix without Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. But the Patriots did, meaning other teams better be afraid.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0); beat Washington 38-16, up 1 spot – The Steelers’ stars were in good form, with Ben Roethlisberger tossing 3 touchdowns and Antonio Brown catching two of them.
3. Denver Broncos (1-0); beat Carolina 21-20, up 4 spots – Denver’s passing offense looks like it’ll struggle again, but the defense and run game looked very strong against the Panthers.
5. Carolina Panthers (0-1); lost to Denver 21-20, down 3 spots – Carolina started out hot, but their offense stalled in the second half. Any visions of repeating last season’s 15-1 record are likely gone, but the Panthers are still a legit Super Bowl contender.
6. Arizona Cardinals (0-1); lost to New England 23-21, down 5 spots – Losing to a short-handed New England team at home is a tough way to begin the season. But we have faith that Arizona will climb the rankings again.
7. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0); beat San Diego 33-27, down 1 spot – The Chiefs could have another budding star in RB Spencer Ware…or is it just that San Diego’s defense was bad?
8. Green Bay Packers (1-0); beat Jacksonville 27-23, same spot – Aaron Rodgers looked to be himself in the opener, throwing for two touchdowns and running for another.
10. Minnesota Vikings (1-0); beat Tennessee 25-16, same spot – Minnesota’s offense wasn’t very sharp with backup Shaun Hill starting. But two defensive touchdowns proved to be the difference-maker.
11. Baltimore Ravens (1-0); beat Buffalo 13-7, up 6 spots – A 66-yard touchdown reception by Mike Wallace proved to be the difference in this contest. The defense also looked stout, holding Buffalo to just 160 yards.
12. New York Giants (1-0); beat Dallas 20-19, up 7 spots – Eli Manning looked strong, throwing 3 touchdowns, including the game-winner to Victor Cruz.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0); beat Atlanta 31-24, up 7 spots – Thanks to 4 TD passes by Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay has a winning record for the first time since 2012.
14. Indianapolis Colts (0-1); lost to Detroit 39-35, down 3 spots – Andrew Luck came alive in the last three quarters, throwing for 385 yards and 4 TDs. But it wasn’t enough as the Colts defense surrendered too much.
15. Houston Texans (0-1); beat Chicago 23-14, up 6 spots – After an early interception, Brock Osweiler looked solid in his debut, throwing for 231 yards and two touchdowns.
16. Buffalo Bills (0-1); lost to Baltimore 13-7, down 4 spots – After an excellent season last year, Tyrod Taylor looked completely lost against Baltimore.
17. Dallas Cowboys (0-1); lost to NY Giants 20-19, down 4 spots – Dallas probably didn’t want Dak Prescott throwing 45 times, but it happened.
18. Atlanta Falcons (0-1); lost to Tampa Bay 31-24, down 4 spots – Atlanta’s running game was surprisingly bad, totaling just 42 yards on 19 carries.
19. Miami Dolphins (0-1); lost to Seattle 12-10, down 4 spots – This Miami team looked as expected: a really good defense, coupled with a pedestrian offense.
20. New York Jets (0-1); lost to Cincinnati 23-20, down 4 spots – The Jets played Cincinnati down to the wire, but ultimately lost. This doesn’t bode well for a team that has a terribly difficult early schedule.
22. Detroit Lions (1-0); beat Indianapolis 39-35, up 4 spots – Calvin Johnson may be retired, but this Detroit offense doesn’t look to have missed a beat.
23. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1); lost to Green Bay 27-23, up 1 spot – Jacksonville didn’t beat a superior Green Bay team, but they were very competitive and look like a .500 squad.
24. Chicago Bears (0-1); lost to Houston 23-14, down 1 spot – Jay Cutler was sacked 5 times and hurried on several other players, which isn’t a good sign for this offense moving forward.
25. San Francisco (1-0); beat Los Angeles 28-0, up 5 spots – While this isn’t the most-heralded team in San Francisco, it’s the first in franchise history to post an opening week shutout victory.
26. Washington Redskins (0-1); lost to Pittsburgh 38-16, down 1 spot – The secondary was torched, and Kirk Cousins looked bad on his first outing. But then again, Washington started off poorly last season too.
28. San Diego Chargers (0-1); lost to Kansas City 33-27, down 2 spots – San Diego was off to a hot start against an elite defense. Then top receiver Keenan Allen went down for the season, and they looked like a different team.
29. New Orleans Saints (0-1); lost to Oakland 35-34, down 2 spots – Drew Brees did about all he could have, with 423 passing yards and 4 touchdowns. But the defense looks like it’ll be bad again.
30. St. Louis Rams (0-1); lost to San Francisco 28-0, down 12 spots – Jeff Fisher’s first game in the new season couldn’t have gone any worse, which doesn’t bode well for his declarations of a winning year.
31. Tennessee Titans (0-1); lost to Minnesota 25-16, down 2 spots – DeMarco Murray had a polarizing game, scoring two touchdowns, but also being involved in two game-changing fumbles.
32. Cleveland Browns (0-1); lost to Philadelphia 29-10, same spot – With their starting quarterback out for the year, Cleveland’s prospects for the 2016 season look even more grim.