We’ve waited a long time, and football is finally back! With the dramatic end in Denver, Week 1 is now in the books, and while some games went as expected, others were far from predictable. New pieces were on display and some coaches put out great gameplans, while others seemed to not even know where they were.
So how has it shaken up the power rankings? Well, our preseason rankings have seen a lot of turnover, with a new team at #1 and at several teams plummeting down the rankings.
1 Kansas City Chiefs
When you walk into the home of the five-time champs, punch them in the mouth and walk out comfortable winners then you deserve to shoot up the rankings.
The Chiefs put out an offense full of misdirection, good running schemes and explosive plays down field. Tyreek Hill was a monster, but it was the play of rookie running back Kareem Hunt that truly tilted the game in the favor of Kansas City.
Now the question is if the Chiefs can maintain this level throughout the season and be there come January and February.
2 Green Bay Packers
Green Bay vs Seattle has become one of the best rivalries in football, and once again the Packers came out on top. While it took Aaron Rodgers and the offense a little time to get up to speed, once they did it was easy to see why there is such a Super Bowl buzz around them.
The defense was ferocious, with Mike Daniels a legitimate terror to Russell Wilson all afternoon. It will take something special for them to lose at home this year.
3 Oakland Raiders
Oakland got the job done on the road and the key players looked good. Amari Cooper had some trouble with catching, but once the ball was in his hands it was all good. Road wins early are a good indicator of their future success, and with Derek Carr back in the fold they will be a tough team to beat.
4 New England Patriots
It was a humbling defeat for New England after an over-the-top celebration before kickoff. The offense didn't look itself, however it did still score 27 points and it would have been 30+ had a few early fourth downs been kicked or converted.
The worry is more on the defensive side, where the lack of pass rush and quality at linebacker got exposed and abused. Can Matt Patricia and Bill Belichick work their magic and fix things before it takes its toll when it really counts?
5 Atlanta Falcons
The defending NFC champions looked sluggish and tentative on the choppy grass of Soldier Field. The ground game struggled to get going, but Matt Ryan did enough to dictate the game and take advantage of errors from the Bears secondary.
However, that young, hungry, defense showed its teeth in a lot of situations and looked like it will be truly destructive once they get the chance to prepare fully for an opponent.
6 Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys weren't explosive in their victory on Sunday, but they did beat a side they failed to last year.
Dak Prescott looked good and Ezekiel Elliott kept the offense ticking, but Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith were fantastic on the defensive side of the ball, hitting everything that moved and bottling up the Giants offense while DeMarcus Lawrence abused their poor offensive line. It was a promising performance for the Cowboys defense.
7 Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers labored to a win over Cleveland, with just 35 total yards on the ground and only Antonio Brown being able to consistently win on the offensive side.
A blocked punt, some rookie errors by the opposing quarterback, and a great performance from rookie TJ Watt kept them in front, but it wasn't the kind of performance that strengthened their Super Bowl hype.
8 Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks defense put in a great effort, but when the offense can't get in the endzone things aren't going to end well.
Sheldon Richardson's addition had a great effect on the pass rush and overall effectiveness of the front seven and they harassed Aaron Rodgers all day.
Unfortunately, the offensive line was so shambolic that Russell Wilson, Eddie Lacy, and the rest had little opportunity to really show their talents or make an impact on the game.
The only blemish on the Seahawks defense was the pick-six that got called back due to a block in the back and entirely unnecessary fighting from Jeremy Lane. Did he deserve to get ejected? No. But taking another player to ground when you are 60 yards away from a ball on the way to the endzone is very poor from a player who should know better.
9 Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings had to wait until Monday night to play, but when they got on the field they showed why there is some buzz around them.
Sam Bradford was supreme, slicing up the Saints defense for 346 yards and completing 27 of his 32 passes. He was far more than the "Captain Checkdown" moniker he received last year, throwing down field to Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs with impressive accuracy. Rookie running back Dalvin Cook had a wonderful debut as well.
Defensively, the Vikings limited the Saints offense, took away big plays and stifled the running game.
The hope now is that they avoid the same crash to earth they experienced last year.
10 Detroit Lions
New season, same old Lions.
An early pick-six from Matt Stafford had everyone worried, but defensive stability from Teryl Austin's group, together with some takeaways and some fourth-quarter Stafford magic, gave the Lions a win that in the end was comfortable.
People discredit these late wins, but the Lions have been doing it for long enough for it to be far more than just dumb luck.
11 Carolina Panthers
The Panthers were workmanlike in their 23-3 win over San Francisco. Cam Newton and the offense were far from explosive, but on the defensive side Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis were their usual destructive selves as they tackled everything and blitzed effectively.
Ron Rivera will hope that Cam Newton and the offense can rediscover it's old big-play ability as well as integrate Christian McCaffrey, who had 18 touches for 85 yards.
12 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers didn't get to play due to Hurrican Irma, which makes ranking them hard. However, we are still very upbeat about their performance this season. Some of it may be excitement over Hard Knocks, but with Mike Evans getting some new talent around him and Jameis Winston's third-year bump coming anything other than a playoff appearance will be a disappointment.
13 Philadelphia Eagles
Carson Wentz drew comparisons to Michael Vick and Brett Favre with his escapology for the 58-yard touchdown to Nelson Agholor, but the real engine room of this Eagles team is the defensive line.
Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, and new-comer Timmy Jernigan were all over a good Washington offensive line and were consistently living in the backfield.
14 Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars executed their perfect gameplan on Sunday, using their defense and running game to dominate Houston and limit the damage Blake Bortles can do.
Now the question is if their defense can still get pressure against a good offensive line, and we'll find out when they play Tennessee in Week 2.
15 Denver Broncos
Denver held on after starting strong in the final game of Week 1, but they managed to resist a furious Chargers comeback.
Trevor Siemian and the offense were far from dominant, but 321 total yards and 8-of-15 on third down suggests that this offense could be enough to keep an elite pass defense in a competitive position.
16 Baltimore Ravens
Joe Flacco looked rusty, but a big play from Jeremy Maclin and a solid running game kept the offense ticking, while the defense showed that they are still to be feared.
Brandon Williams was an immovable monster in the heart of the front, and allowed CJ Mosley and the rest to fly around and cause havoc.
If the defense can play at this level all season then there is no ceiling on what they can achieve.
17 Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins now have the toughest schedule in NFL history thanks to Hurricane Irma. Not only do they get 16 games in a row, but they also head to London in Week 4 to "host" the Saints.
Their season gets under way in LA against the Chargers next week, and we get to see just how Adam Gase-Jay Cutler part II goes.
18 New York Giants
The Giants defense looked good against on Sunday night, but due to their offense's ineptitude they had to face 45 plays in the first half and it had a knock on effect in their second half performance.
The known problems along the offensive line together with Odell Beckham's absence left the Giants with one of the worst offenses on show in Week 1. Can Ben McAdoo fix it? I'm not so sure.
19 New Orleans Saints
The Saints defense was powerless to slow Sam Bradford, which isn't a good sign.
More worrying however, was that the Saints offense couldn't keep up. The Vikings defense is good, but Drew Brees is usually raining fire on teams, and without Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead it wasn't quite ticking as smoothly as usual while the running game stalled almost immediately.
20 Tennessee Titans
A home loss isn't a good way to start the season, but losing to Oakland isn't the stain it used to be.
The worry is that the running game, which was the spine of the team in 2016, wasn't as impressive as expected, while the passing game was still trying to find its way.
As ever the AFC South looks very winnable, so Tennessee need to get back on the horse and start showing some of the potential so many people have written about.
21 Houston Texans
Speaking of the AFC South, the emotion of Houston's return to the city and the field gave way to a disastrous result.
10 sacks, 12 tackles for loss and a half-time benching of Tom Savage has left huge question marks over the judgment of both general manager Rick Smith as well as head coach Bill O'Brien.
With both the offense and defense falling flat in Week 1 there is a looming sense of panic. Can DeShaun Watson come in and right the ship?
22 Buffalo Bills
The Bills win over the Jets was perhaps the least-watched game of the weekend, but a win is a win even over a team like New York.
LeSean McCoy was once again a key part of the performance, racking up 159 yards on 27 touches and Tyrod Taylor had a nice game, but Week 2 against the Panthers will be a far better test of the Bills ability in 2017.
23 Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers struggled early against the Broncos impressive defense, but they made a late surge and but for a blocked field goal they could have gone to overtime.
The standout performers for LA were the pass rushing duo of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, who combined for three sacks and six QB hits. If they can maintain their quest to crush every quarterback in the league this season then the Chargers may just rise up these rankings sooner rather than later.
24 Washington Redskins
Kirk Cousins is already receiving a lot of blame for the loss against Philadelphia, but he didn't get a lot of help with dropped passes from Terrelle Pryor and consistent pressure as the offensive line was overwhelmed.
A Week 2 game against the Rams will give the Redskins an opportunity to get back on track and keep pace in what is going to be an extremely competitive NFC East.
25 Arizona Cardinals
Oh dear. It looks like the 2015 version of Carson Palmer is never coming back, and with David Johnson now on the shelf for a minimum of eight weeks it looks like the 2017 season is already done for the Cardinals.
26 Los Angeles Rams
The Rams feasted on Scott Tolzien and a poor Colts defense, but what does that really tell us about them? Not much.
Scott McVay seems to be making an offense that Jared Goff can use, even if it means sidelining Tavon Austin, which is good, but we can't truly judge the new offense until they face a real defense.
27 Chicago Bears
It was an encouraging performance for Chicago, especially defensively. They slowed the Falcons on the ground and, a few blown coverages aside, looked good throughout the game. Tarik Cohen was one of the most electric players of the week.
28 Cincinnati Bengals
Andy Dalton and the Bengals offense were no match for the Ravens defense, and while there was some bad luck in the huge turnover count, some of it was simply bad play by both Dalton and the rest of the team.
Their Thursday night game against Houston could end up defining if they can compete for the wild card this year or if they are doomed to an uncompetitive season.
29 Cleveland Browns
Cleveland's performance would have given them a lot of hope for the future, but there are things to worry about too. A blocked punt is never good, and nor is giving up seven sacks after you invest so heavily in the offensive line. Some of those sacks were on DeShone Kizer, who looked good when he did get the ball out of his hands.
There is still a long way to go for the Browns, but the light at the end of the tunnel seems closer now than it has done in quite some time.
30 Indianapolis Colts
The Colts got walloped hard in Los Angeles, and it's not just because Scott Tolzien was under center. The defense was abysmal and there was almost no redeeming aspect of the performance outside of Frank Gore's effort levels.
Chuck Pagano mistaking the Rams for the 49ers in the post-game press conference may have distracted some of the conversation, but make no mistake this is going to be an ugly season even if Andrew Luck comes back.
31 San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers posed little threat against the Panthers, but the defense looked good right up until Reuben Foster got hurt. The defensive line will be what fuels the success of this team in 2017, but they are playing for next season and beyond. That's ok, but it will be frustrating in the short term.
32 New York Jets
The Jets put up more of a fight than expected thanks to two sacks, six QB hits, and seven tackles for loss most of which was fueled by the play of Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson.
However, 3.9 yards per play is so far from good that you have to think there is no hope for this version of the Jets offense, despite some talented running backs and Jermaine Kearse.
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