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NFL Power Rankings: Say hello to the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 1

John Tomase
September 19, 2018 - 4:18 pm
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By Tim Tully

Week 2 represented a weird NFL slate: We saw another tie, the top team fell in our Power Matchup of the week, and an upset that featured No. 29 (Buccaneers) beating No. 2 (Eagles). The Bengals jumped 11 places, while the Redskins dropped eight. Here's where we stand entering Week 3, with Tim Tully's previous rankings in parentheses.

1. Jaguars (5): When you beat the No. 1 team in a Top-5 battle, you get the top spot. The Jaguars defense was all over the Patriots in the Florida heat. Round 2 in January is going to be the showdown of the season.

2. Rams (6): The Rams opened the season a little slow against the Raiders, but after halftime they have looked the part on both offense and defense of the team they were last year, dominant on both sides of the ball.

3. Patriots (1): The Patriots were up to a tall task when facing the Jacksonville defense, but I don't think many people saw Blake Bortles throwing four TDs without Leonard Fournette. Josh Gordon will help the Patriots offense get going, and Matt Patricia's woeful Lions are a perfect time for some fine-tuning for the Pats.

4. Vikings (3): The most complete team in the NFL just added the second best kicker in NFL history (Dan Bailey) after rookie Daniel Carlsen kicked them out of a win and into a tie vs. the Packers. Kirk Cousins was sharp yet again. If Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs stay healthy, the Vikes are going to be tough.

5. Packers (4): Are we done pretending Aaron Rodgers is on death's door? Brace or no brace, Rodgers is going to give the Packers a chance to win as long as he's in the game. Unfortunately sometimes the rest of the Cheeseheads aren't up to the task.

6. Chiefs (7): The Chiefs own the NFL's most explosive offense. Pat Mahomes throwing six TDs at Heinz Field should give any AFC fan pause. The defense on the other hand, well let's just say KC needs Mahomes to keep averaging five TDs a week.

7. Falcons (13): The Falcons bounced back against a division rival with a 31-24 win over Carolina. The Falcons went 100 percent in the red zone, which was their Achilles' heel coming into the game. Matt Ryan looked like Matt Ryan, which is a great sign for Atlanta as Devonta Freeman works his way back.

8. Eagles (2): The Eagles walked into Tampa expecting Ryan Fitzpatrick's glass slipper to fall off and boy did they learn quickly that would not be the case as DeSean Jackson housed a 75 yard TD on the game's first play. Carson Wentz will start in Week 3 after two putrid outings from Nick Foles, who looks to have been the QB turned back into a pumpkin.

9. Bengals (20): The Bengals offense is legit. Andy Dalton chucked four first-half TDs including three to A.J. Green, who remains one of the league's best when he's on. If the Bengals can keep getting the ball to Green and use the running game to keep defenses honest, Cincy will make a run at the wide open AFC North.

10. Carolina Panthers (9): Carolina might just be pretty good, and could make it hard for New Orleans and Atlanta to distance themselves in the NFC South. The Panthers are going to be in close games all season. They split the first two weeks because of their defense, which was stellar in the opener and ugly this weekend.

11. Ravens (10): Thursday night on the road is a really tough spot to play a division rival, so the Ravens get a bit of a break despite getting beaten off the blocks in the first half against Cincinnati. Is Joe Flacco going to be the guy who holds the Ravens back? If he keeps playing like he did Thursday, it might be time to let Lamar Jackson take some legitimate snaps.

12. Chargers (14): The Chargers got the Buffalo Bye weeks in Week 2. Melvin Gordon and Phillip Rivers looked great, but the Chargers did let up some points to the stagnant Bills offense. Joey Bosa being out for possibly another three to four weeks puts LA in a tough spot, but its schedule is weak enough to keep it afloat.

13. Saints (8): I'm not ready to give up on the Saints. I probably should, but I can't. Michael Thomas might be the league's hottest receiver, if not the best in the NFL. The Saints only sneaking away from the Browns? After letting up 48 points to the Bucs? That's a lonely place to be, but with a QB like Drew Brees, any day can be the day the Saints take over.

14. Broncos (15): Denver played a very boring game and beat a very boring Raiders team. The Broncos have yet to be tested on either side of the ball after playing Seattle and Oakland, but we'll learn a lot when they travel to Baltimore this week.

15. Steelers (11): The Steelers have the makings of a sinking ship. Le'Veon Bell has yet to report, Antonio Brown tweeted about getting traded and was spotted chatting with his agent after Sunday's loss, and who knows what Ben Roethlisberger has in the tank. The Steelers, an organization built on consistency and hard-nosed football, might be a little closer right now to the reality show that the Dallas Cowboys once were.

16. Cowboys (22): Speaking of the Cowboys, no team had the five-alarm fire this past week quite like Dallas, and in a surprise turn of events, the Cowboys coaching staff flipped the script and went down a long list of complaints about their offense and ran each and every play suggestion. If the Cowboys can keep Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott mixing up how they run the ball, the defense (6 sacks on Sunday) will carry the rest.

17. Bears (21): The Bears defense looks great, but their offense is hard to judge, stalling after opening drive scores in the first two games. As Mitch Trubisky and Matt Nagy get comfortable, this team will improve, but with Green Bay and Minnesota in the division, it's a tough hill to climb for the Bears.

18. Titans (18): Mike Vrabel's group looked much better in Week 2 after its weird weather delay loss to the Dolphins. The Titans were able to move the ball on Houston despite playing Blaine Gabbert at quarterback. Vrabel's special teams unit made the play of the day with a 66-yard fake punt TD throw from star safety Kevin Byard.

19. Texans (12): The Texans took a big drop this week primarily because they look lost on offense. DeShaun Watson has not looked like the QB who was dominating the league before he went down with a torn ACL. The Texans will get a chance to work some things out on defense, but their offense faces a surprisingly tough defense in the Giants next week, so their woes may continue.

20. 49ers (19): The Niners looked much better on offense in Week 2, but their defense almost let the woeful Lions back in on Sunday. They certainly still have the look of a team that's one year away.

21. Buccaneers (29): Fitzmagic is alive and well. The Buccaneers have a legitimate discussion at quarterback as Jameis Winston is one week away from returning from suspension. The Bucs beat the Eagles with some big plays early in the game, but almost let the defending champs back in at the end, so their rise, while impressive, is just short of meteoric.

22. Seahawks (17): Seattle once again has serious concerns protecting Russell Wilson. The Hawks are 0-2 and after surrendering six sacks against Chicago, Seattle will have similar troubles on short rest against the Cowboys next week. Dallas had six sacks on Eli Manning, and Russell Wilson doesn't have nearly the same weapons as Manning.

23. Colts (27): Andrew Luck is back and he might have some form of a suitable defense? The Colts held the Redskins to just nine points at FedEx Field just a week after the Skins scored 24 points in the blink of an eye in a blowout win over Arizona. The Colts are going to lean on Luck, but that is just how their team is constructed. I would've loved to see what Luck could do with Josh Gordon or Dez Bryant on the field.

24. Redskins (16) : After a strong performance in Week 1, the Redskins laid an egg at home vs the Colts. To hurt their cause even more, the Redskins Week 1 foes, the Arizona Cardinals, have solidified themselves as one of the league's worst teams.

25. Dolphins (25): The Dolphins are a surprise 2-0, but the jury is certainly still out on after two weeks. The Dolphins crushed the Jets, but still showed some problems of their own in Week 2. Their Week 3 opponent is another tweener -- the Oakland Raiders.

26. Raiders (24): The Raiders lost to a very good team in Week 1, but with the fear of going 0-2 in a winnable game vs the Broncos, Jon Gruden's team crumbled when it had the opportunity to win the game and now it faces a must-win situation entering Week 3.

27. Giants (23): The Giants defense remains strong, but the offensive line limits New York's ceiling. Eli Manning had no time vs Dallas and had to dump the ball off to Saquon Barkley 14 times to avoid being sacked more than six times. Odell Beckham was a non-factor due to the rush and the Giants have a tough pass rushing group ahead in Week 3, as they face the Texans.

28. Browns (30): The Browns still have a bit of the bad voodoo of their 0-16 season haunting them. Late against New Orleans, the Browns looked to have scored a miraculous touchdown to take the lead on the Saints when Zane Gonalez missed his second extra point of the game, leading to the loss. Gonzalez has been released but I'm not sure the bad luck is anywhere further from the Browns going into Week 3, but their Thursday Night Matchup with the Jets might be just what the doctor ordered.

29. Jets (26): The Jets took a complete 180 after their Week 1 demolition of Detroit in their loss to the Dolphins. Sam Darnold came back down to earth and the Jets defense didn't look like the same group that picked off Matt Stafford five times in Week 1.

30. Lions (28): The Lions are 0-2 and almost a lock to start off the Matt Patricia era 0-3 with a matchup against the Patriots looming this week. The Lions showed admirable fight in their loss to the 49ers, but the talent on defense outside of Quandre Diggs is a serious problem for Detroit.

31. Cardinals (31): These last two spots are going to be a fun battle throughout the year. Both the Bills and Cardinals have separated themselves as the league's worst two teams. After a 34-0 drubbing from the Rams, the Cardinals need to move on from Sam Bradford and let Josh Rosen learn on the run and build for the future.

32. Bills (32): The Bills moved on from Nathan Peterman, which was their only correct move while getting demolished by the Chargers. The Bills are supposed to have a tough defense under Sean McDermott, but even that unit looks to be a disaster for the second-year coach.

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