WEEI NFL Power Rankings, Week 2: Patriots remain on top, Bills jump into top 10

September 16, 2015 - 6:42 am
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[caption id="attachment_95439" align="alignright" width="400"]How much should Tom Brady play Friday against the Panthers? (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)Tom Brady and the Patriots keep their hold on No. 1, with the Packers right behind. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)[/caption] The Patriots retain their position at the top of the WEEI NFL Power Rankings after the first week of the season. Tom Brady continued his career dominance of the Steelers with four touchdown passes and a near-perfect passer rating. The Bills hit the ground running under Rex Ryan and climbed three spots to get into the top 10. Philip Rivers and his shiny new contract brought the Chargers up 10 places with a furious comeback against the Lions. As expected, the Rams took down the defending NFC champion Seahawks at home, which moves St. Louis in the top 10 as well. The Colts, Ravens and Giants all suffered crushing defeats, leading to significant drops. Andrew Luck needs to get his offense rolling. Same for Joe Flacco and the Ravens. The Giants were victims of their own ineptitude, and should have been able to pull out an upset win in Dallas. The Eagles have yet to be defined, as DeMarco Murray scored twice but only rushed for nine yards. Marcus Mariota annihilated Jameis Winston in their first contest. We'll undoubtedly have to wait four years to see them face off again. Big-time injuries in Dallas and Baltimore will force those teams to make some adjustments going forward. On to the rankings: 1. (1 last week) Patriots (1-0)-- Tom Brady was nearly perfect against the Steelers to the tune of four TDs. Malcolm Butler had his hands full with the best receiver in football but was in position to make a play all day. The injury bug bit Dominique Easley, and he's expected to miss a week or two. Expect future opponents to roll some coverage Rob Gronkowski's way after he dominated the defenseless Steelers. 2. (3) Packers (1-0) -- Aaron Rodgers looked great and was all smiles in Chicago. He spread the ball around and hooked up with newly reacquired WR James Jones for a pair of scores. On the other side of the ball, Clay Matthews made a huge fourth-quarter pick to put the game away. 3. (2) Seahawks (0-1) -- Holdout Kam Chancellor may have cost his team a divisional win. His backup, Dion Bailey, slipped late in the fourth quarter, allowing the Rams to tie and then win the Week 1 matchup. Pete Carroll's curious decision to go for a surprise onside kick in OT should have Hawks fans fuming. 4. (7) Cowboys (1-0) -- Tony Romo put the team on his back, as the Cowboys won a narrow victory over the Giants. He'll have to move forward without Dez Bryant, who broke a bone in his foot. Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden didn't exactly pick up where DeMarco Murray left off, as the duo combined for just 81 yards on the ground. 5. (6) Cardinals (1-0) -- This team is not going anywhere. Carson Palmer and his repaired ACL looked sharp, just like he did in the first half of last season before he went down with an injury. The defense shut down the Saints running attack, forcing Drew Brees to unload 48 passes for 355 yards but only one score. 6. (9) Chiefs (1-0) -- Alex Smith and Travis Kelce took it to the vaunted Texans defense early and often. The Chiefs defense had an interception and five sacks. This is Andy Reid's most talented roster since the 2004 Eagles. 7. (16) Rams (1-0) -- Just like last year, the Rams played the Seahawks tough all day and eked out a 34-31 OT win. Tavon Austin continues to be an electrifying player, as he rushed for a 16-yard touchdown and returned a punt 75 yards for another. Jeff Fisher takes an early lead in the Nick Foles-Sam Bradford exchange. 8. (11) Bills (1-0) -- Tyrod Taylor will get the headlines this week, but the Buffalo defense will be the story at the end of the year. Despite committing 11 penalties for 113 yards, Rex Ryan's team shut out Andrew Luck and Colts for the first three quarters of Sunday's game. 9. (12) Broncos (1-0) -- This defense is so good, it masked the inefficiencies of Peyton Manning and his noodle arm. Forty passes and only 175 yards while getting sacked four times could force Manning to become a game manager overnight. 10. (19) Bengals (1-0) -- At the start of the fourth quarter, the Bengals were up 33-0 and the rout was on in Oakland. Andy Dalton continues to be an impressive regular-season QB. Adam "Pacman" Jones continues to be a punk, but he likely will avoid a suspension for bashing Amari Cooper's head into his own helmet. 11. (21) Chargers (1-0) -- After his team went down 21-3 in the second quarter, Philip Rivers exploded and finished the game with 404 yards and two touchdowns. Keenan Allen was targeted 17 times for 15 catches. Maybe a Super Bowl run could save this team from relocation. 12. (4) Steelers (0-1) -- Keith Butler picked up where Dick LeBeau left off. Tom Brady now has 22 TDs and three picks against the Steelers all time, with a 113.4 passer rating. So, don't hold this loss against them. Ben Roethlisberger still is pretty good, and Antonio Brown is the best receiver in football. 13. (10) Eagles (0-1) -- Chip Kelly surely expected more than nine yards on eight carries from DeMarco Murray. Sam Bradford didn't look awful, but an ill-advised pass over the middle bounced off Jordan Matthews and into the hands of the defense. Kelly will look to correct an unbalanced run-pass ratio and have his commit fewer penalties in Week 2. 14. (5) Colts (0-1) -- The team did nothing to improve a terrible defense from 2014, so the only surprise was the lack of points that Luck and the offense put up. Per usual, Luck countered his two TDs with two INTs. 15. (23) Falcons (1-0) -- Julio Jones validated his huge contract with nine catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns. Roddy White also found open space on the crossing routes. But most importantly, Dan Quinn brought timely defense to the Falcons. 16. (15) Dolphins (1-0) -- A seven-point win over the lowly Redskins is hardly impressive. Ryan Tannehill makes baby steps each year to get better, but at this rate he won't be an elite QB until 2020. Ndamukong Suh is still the nastiest player in the NFL, and he should have been suspended for kicking Alfred Morris in the head. 17. (8) Ravens (0-1) -- Just 173 yards of total offense on Sunday is a really bad look. The Ravens start slow every year, and Joe Flacco saves his best stuff for the postseason. Terrell Suggs' torn Achilles is a big blow to the defense, and it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. 18. (18) Saints (0-1) -- Drew Brees threw for 355 yards but only one score. The loss of Jimmy Graham hurt the Saints in the red zone, as some early field goals could have been touchdowns a year ago. The defense continued its struggles from last year, allowing 307 yards in the air and 120 on the ground. 19. (20) Lions (0-1) -- The second-half collapse against the Chargers is on Jim Caldwell. The Lions had no answer for Philip Rivers. Eight targets for Golden Tate yielded just 24 yards. Regardless of the coverage, Calvin Johnson should have the lion's share of the targets. (He had four.) 20. (13) Vikings (0-1) -- Adrian Peterson was covered in rust, and he contributed just 31 yards on 10 carries in a loss to the 49ers. Don't be shocked if Father Time catches up with him. Defensively, Minnesota allowed nearly six yards per rush. Coach Mike Zimmer conceded after the game, "Maybe we're just not ready for prime time." 21. (22) Panthers (1-0) -- You're only allowed to move up one spot when you beat the Jaguars. I don't make the rules. 22. (24) 49ers (1-0) -- With Frank Gore out of the picture, Carlos Hyde seized the opportunity to prove he can be the featured back. Late Monday night, he ran for 168 yards and two TDs against a Minnesota team that was expected to take a huge step forward this year. Colin Kaepernick wasn't asked to do too much, throwing only 26 times with no picks. As teams begin to key on Hyde, coach Jim Tomsula will have to be ready to let Kaepernick win some games with his arm. 23. (25) Bears (0-1) -- The Bears felt that Jay Cutler played well in a Week 1 loss to the Packers. One teammate said he did a "tremendous job" managing the offense, and another said he was "lights out." Coach John Fox needs get the most of out of Cutler to give the Bears a chance in a tough division. 24. (14) Giants (0-1) -- Eli Manning took the blame for the poor clock management that allowed Dallas to come back and win, but Tom Coughlin needs to be more in control. He's a veteran coach and needs to have his players ready for late-game situations. 25. (30) Jets (1-0) -- Coach Todd Bowles showed a balanced offense on Sunday, as the backs rushed for 154 yards and Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 179. Brandon Marshall still is one of the best red zone threats in football. There's some reason for optimism in New York/New Jersey. 26. (17) Texans (0-1) -- The most important position in professional sports is an NFL quarterback, and the Texans epitomize this ideology. Arian Foster's absence is glaring. 27. (31) Titans (1-0) -- An unreal start to Marcus Mariota's career will put the fans in Tennessee into a frenzy. However, let's remember who he did it against. The Buccaneers were the worst team in football last year. 28. (27) Raiders (0-1) -- Derek Carr's hand injury doesn't appear to be serious. A thrashing at the hands of the Bengals certainly is disheartening for a team that entered the season with a tiny bit of optimism. The Raiders will need to run the ball for more than 63 yards if they want to open up some space for rookie WR Amari Cooper. 29. (32) Redskins (0-1) -- Kirk Cousins now has 21 career INTs and only 19 TDs. Robert Griffin III must be some sort of locker room cancer if this is the best option. Despite a lack of a passing threat, RB Alfred Morris mustered 121 yards. 30. (26) Buccaneers (0-1) -- The first pass of Jameis Winston's career was a pick-six. Expect a slight improvement going forward, but the lack of talent around him will make this season a humbling experience. 31. (28) Browns (0-1) -- Josh McCown went full Elway on the 17th play of a first-quarter drive, concussed himself and handed the job to Johnny Manziel. After a quick score on his first drive, Manziel's magic petered out and Browns were shut out in the second half. Mike Pettine needs more from his running backs -- Manziel and McCown were the two leading rushers for Cleveland. 32. (29) Jaguars (0-1) -- Blake Bortles threw two interceptions, one of which was his fifth pick-six in only 14 career starts. The O-line allowed five sacks, and wide receivers dropped catchable balls all day. With Julius Thomas nursing a broken hand, it seems impossible for the Jags to get out of the basement. DraftKings Football season is underway and DraftKings is crowning two new millionaires this weekend! Prizes worth $10 million are up for grabs, including $2 million for first AND $1 million for second! PLAY IN THE WEEK 2 MILLIONAIRE MAKER, CLICK HERE.