-By Korbett Koselak
- New York Jets (1-0)
Last Week: n/a
There’s this concept in weekly Power Rankings, it’s called not-overreacting. Whoops. The New York Jets bent the Detroit Lions over their knee and spanked them like a red-headed step-child on the road on National Television with a rookie quarterback. Sam Darnold threw a pick-six on his first career pass. That was pretty much the only Jets blemish on what was otherwise a perfect night. One of the Jets four interceptions resulted in their first defensive touchdown in five seasons, ending the longest drought of its kind in NFL history. That combined with, a punt-return touchdown and the first 2-TD debut by a New York Jets quarterback in franchise history equaled a 31-point mashing of what some thought was a sleeper playoff-team. Well, Detroit was sleeping alright. This all may be an overreaction, but the New York Jets thoroughly dominated a quality opponent on Monday Night and belong in the top-10.
Next Game: v. Miami Dolphins (1-0)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (0-0-1)
Last Week: 6
So whenever you are on the wrong end of an NFL record losing streak coming to a close, it’s never fun. But things could be worse. The Pittsburgh Steelers tied the Cleveland Browns in the Dawg Pound on Sunday in what was the first Week One tie in NFL history. Since the Cleveland Browns came back to the NFL, teams with +5 turnover margins are 132-4-1. Cleveland is responsible for two of the losses and the tie. It looked like a tie was worst case scenario with a minute left in overtime and Pittsburgh possessing the ball, but the fifth turnover for the Steelers led to a golden opportunity for Cleveland to get their first win since Christmas Eve 2016. However, Zane Gonzalez’ blocked 42-yarder with 13 seconds left iced the…. tie. Either way the Browns fans are far more ecstatic than those in Steeler country. If the Le’Veon Bell holdout continues to affect the locker room in Western P-A, the Steelers could continue to fall.
Next Game: v. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)
- Carolina Panthers (1-0)
Last Week: 11
While the Dallas offense contains only one, maybe two NFL-caliber wide receivers, the Panthers defense was also very good at stifling Ezekiel Elliott in Week One. They held the former All-Pro to just 69 yards on 15 carries. They didn’t let the Cowboys score until halfway through the fourth quarter. While they still may be the second or third best team in their own division, the combination of the defense and NFL MVP Cam Newton are always a nice one to have. The Panthers looked really close to what was expected, which was quite abnormal for 2018 opening weekend.
Next Game: @ Atlanta Falcons (0-1)
- Atlanta Falcons (0-1)
Last Week: 7
Atlanta has a problem and it’s not going away anytime soon. They have a former MVP quarterback and a top-2 wide receiver, but they have an offensive coordinator that hinders any actual growth. Especially in the red zone. Steve Sarkisian’s play-calling is absolutely atrocious once Atlanta has a realistic chance at scoring. In the last two seasons, Matt Ryan has connected on just one of twenty passes to Julio Jones inside the red zone. Jones has just three touchdowns. While this won’t lose them games every week, it certainly did in Week One. With the ball inside the ten, the Falcons were given not four, but five chances to win the game down only six. They threw five, count ’em FIVE balls that were not catchable for even the best of wide receivers. There’s a point to be made that they’re only 0-1 because Steve Sarkisian made them 0-1. They’re still seven as a six-point loss visiting the defending Champions is nothing to sneeze at, but they better figure it out.
Next Game: v. Carolina Panthers (1-0)
- Green Bay Packers (1-0)
Last Week: 9
In the one-hundred year history of the Green Bay Packers, they had never won a game in which they entered the fourth quarter trailing by at least 17. Enter Aaron Rodgers. The rocket-armed, one-legged, super-hero of a quarterback re-wrote the history books with a 24-23 win over rival Chicago in week-one. Did I mention he was CARTED to the locker-room with a left leg injury in the first half. Even more impressive was the moves the Packers made to generate a pass rush and stifle the Bears’ after a massive first-half. Safe to say the Pack is back, as if they ever left.
Next Game: v. Minnesota Vikings (1-0)
- Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0)
Last Week: 8
Jacksonville defeated the new look Giants on Sunday 20-15 in East Rutherford. The defense allowed one Saquon Barkley highlight, but that would be it as in the end they did enough to move to 1-0. Blake Bortles did, as always, enough to win. With losses by every other AFC South team already in the books, Jacksonville is in sole-possession of first place and looks to stay. However, New England comes to town next week and Sacksonville will need to get to Tom Brady to stay unbeaten.
Next Game: v. New England Patriots (1-0)
- Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)
Last Week: 3
Philadelphia came back to move to 1-0 as starting quarterback Carson Wentz is still recovering from a torn ACL that occured last December. There were 44 less combined points scored in Philadelphia on Thursday than in Minneapolis in February, but the result was the same, an Eagles win. Another case of a top-flight defense and a quarterback good enough to win. If Philadelphia wants to return to the promised land, a Carson Wentz return is imperative.
Next Game: @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0)
- Los Angeles Rams (1-0)
Last Week: 2
One of the more thorough victories of Week One was the finale when the Rams defeated the Raiders in Jon Gruden’s return to the sideline. The 33-13 win was capped by a Marcus Peters pick-six to finish a 23-0 second-half run put together by Los Angeles. Running back Todd Gurley put together a complete performance with 108 yards on 20 carries and a receiving touchdown. New addition Brandin Cooks recorded 87 yards on just 5 catches and was featured in Jet-Sweeps and other gadget plays early and often. The Rams looked like a team on a mission and only fell in these rankings because of the performance by the team in front of them. The Rams will be near the top of this list for weeks to come.
Next Game: v. Arizona Cardinals (0-1)
- Minnesota Vikings (1-0)
Last Week: 4
Dominant is the word I would use to describe the defensive performance turned in by Minnesota this week. Jimmy Garoppolo, who had never lost an NFL start, looked overwhelmed and overmatched against a bigger, stronger, faster, better defense. The guys in purple seemed to be everywhere at US Bank Stadium on Sunday. The deafening crowd inside the Super Bowl LII venue doesn’t help the opposing offense either. This is nearly an impossible place to play and going undefeated at home this season is certainly not out of the question. One-hundred million dollar man, Kirk Cousins, shined in his debut with the team and adds a dimension to the offense they didn’t have last year, arm talent. Second-year running back Dalvin Cook returned after tearing his ACL a year ago and didn’t appear to miss a beat. The Vikings were very good week one and probably have the best defense in the NFC, if not football.
Next Game: @ Green Bay Packers (1-0)
- New England Patriots (1-0)
Last Week: 1
The toughest opener on paper that the Patriots had played in a while against a team that scored 35 points per game with Deshaun Watson in the lineup last year. It didn’t matter. A 27-20 score doesn’t indicate how much control New England seemed to have throughout. An early takeaway certainly setup Brady’s boys for success, but even after a Texans first-half interception, the Patriots defense, minus-Matt Patricia, held the Texans to a field goal. As long as TB12 is on the field, New England is staying at one.
Next Game: @ Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0)
- New Orleans Saints
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Baltimore Ravens
- Houston Texans
- Chicago Bears