1: Kansas City Chiefs (Week 1: 1)
A blowout over the overrated Texans wasn’t a surprise, but the way the Chiefs did it was. Everybody’s talking about Helaire’s awesome game (and rightfully so), but the real story is that Mahomes had a Brady-like game, which should scare the rest of the league.
Although he only had 6.6 Y/A, his completion percentage was 75%, the 5th best of his career. And these weren’t just check downs that went nowhere, 48.5% of his plays went for a 1st down (even including his sack), which is the 2nd best rate of his career. And all of that without running a single time, which outside of his first game back after his knee injury he’s never done before. This was a game where Mahomes sat in the pocket and picked apart the defense without benefiting from big plays.
Sure, the Texans defense is awful, but it’s good to see Mahomes put this type of game together to show that he can do it.
2: New Orleans Saints (Week 1: 2)
3: Pittsburgh Steelers (Week 1: 3)
4: Seattle Seahawks (Week 1: 12)
The Saints looked like they were ready for the season. At this point they’re in a similar situation as the Chiefs, not wondering if they’ll make the playoffs, but hoping to avoid any injuries that will keep them from having the top seed.The Steelers also look as good as advertised so far.
But it’s the Seahawks who look to be most improved. Their biggest issue the last couple years was the coaching preventing the second best quarterback in the NFL from handling the ball as much as possible, but in Atlanta they finally let him loose. If this continues they’ll finally be a real contender this year and Russell Wilson will finally get his coveted MVP vote.
5: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Week 1: 4)
6: Arizona Cardinals (Week 1: 6)
Unlike most power rankers, I don’t drop teams just because they lose, especially if they lose to better teams. Brady looked worse than expected, but the Saints are a legit team so I’m not ready to give up on them yet. But if they lose to the Panthers this week then we’ll have issues.
On the other hand let’s not get too excited about the Cardinals (I say as I rank them as a top 10 team). Let’s remember that this game wasn’t too dissimilar from what they did against the 49ers last year. Just to review from when I watched every 49ers game in preparation for the Super Bowl.
Week 9 28-25 over ARI. In the 2nd quarter they got stopped twice in the red zone, but were bailed out by a ticky-tacky PI call and an ARI timeout. Had they not scored a TD there they very likely lose. On the other hand, they had an impressive drive to milk the clock at the end.— Tony Sommer (@Tony_Sommer) January 24, 2020
Week 11 36-26 over ARI. This wasn't really a 10-point game. ARI had a 16 point lead early, the 49ers came back, but ARI retook the lead. ARI had the ball 1st down and the lead with 4:32 remaining. SF got the ball back quickly, drove down the field, and took the lead late.— Tony Sommer (@Tony_Sommer) January 24, 2020
7: Tennessee Titans (Week 1: 7)
8: Baltimore Ravens (Week 1: 13)
Both of these teams took care of business as expected, so they stand pat (well, the Ravens technically go up due to other teams failing to meet expectations).
9: Dallas Cowboys (Week 1: 9)
10: Minnesota Vikings (Week 1: 10)
11: Indianapolis Colts (Week 1: 11)
Not a great start for any of these teams, but I’m not ready to declare them dead yet. Minnesota and Indianapolis were the victims of great quarterback play, while the Cowboys lost a game on the road against a team that’s not a complete disaster. But so far the Mike McCarthy era in Dallas looks a lot like the Jason Garrett era.
12: Green Bay Packers (Week 1: 18)
13: Buffalo Bills (Week 1: 14)
14: Philadelphia Eagles (Week 1: 8)
15: Denver Broncos (Week 1: 15)
16: Atlanta Falcons (Week 1: 16)
17: Detroit Lions (Week 1: 17)
18: San Francisco 49ers (Week 1: 19)
19: Los Angeles Chargers (Week 1: 20)
Is Aaron Rodgers finally living up to his talent again? He’s been mediocre the past several years, but crushed the Vikings. I’m not sure I completely buy them yet, but if he can maintain that level of play the Packers could be a real contender in the NFC.
20: New York Jets (Week 1: 21)
21: Houston Texans (Week 1: 22)
22: Cleveland Browns (Week 1: 5)
23: Miami Dolphins (Week 1: 23)
24: Los Angeles Rams (Week 1: 24)
25: New York Giants (Week 1: 25)
26: New England Patriots (Week 1: 26)
The Browns keep dragging me in, but this time I’m not giving them the benefit of the doubt. There’s no reason a team with this much talent should lose like they did Sunday. But you have to feel for Browns fans, it feels like it’s impossible for them to have a good team. They’ve changed quarterbacks. They’ve changed coaches. They’ve changed general managers. They’ve even changed owners. What else is there to change?
I had high hopes for Mayfield, but he looked even worse than he did last year. He has to show something against the Bengals if he wants any hope of remaining a starter this time next year.
27: Washington Football Team (Week 1: 27)
28: Carolina Panthers (Week 1: 28)
29: Jacksonville Jaguars (Week 1: 29)
30: Oakland Raiders (Week 1: 30)
31: Chicago Bears (Week 1: 31)
32: Cincinnati Bengals (Week 1: 32)
I feel bad for leaving the Bengals dead last, since they showed signs of life against the Chargers, but nobody looks bad enough to take over the spot yet.
As for the Jaguars, they’re in a similar spot. I think they’ll be higher than 29 by the end of the year as Minshew drags them to wins over teams they have no business beating, but right now it’s hard to see exactly who that’ll be.