1. New York Giants (2-0) - The Giants big question mark going into the season was at WR. Who was Eli Manning going to throw to without Plaxico Burress? All Manning's has done to silence his critics is throw for 586 yards and 3 TD's in his first two games, and find two WR's averaging over 100 yards per game in Steve Smith and Mario Manningham. Add that to the best offensive and defensive lines in the game and you have your clear cut number 1 team, simple as that.
2. Baltimore Ravens (2-0) - All the talk about San Diego handing the ball to Darren Sproles with the game on the line overlooks one simple fact: Ray Lewis is just that good. The defense denied the Chargers a TD on each of their 5 red-zone visits...that is championship football. Joe Flacco is proving more and more with each game that he is the real thing at QB.
3. Atlanta Falcons (2-0) - New TE Tony Gonzalez is, in case you missed it when I said it last week, the single best offseason pickup any team had this year. In his first two games, he already has 12 catches for 144 yards, 2 TD's, but most importantly, 9 first downs. And, oh ya, that Matt Ryan guy? Passer rating of 108.5 thus far into the season.
4. New Orleans Saints (2-0) - 93 points of offense in two games. That's intense. Drew Brees might be the best free agent signing of all time. This team could be even higher than this, as their defense has also been impressive, including a league leading 3 INT's by Darren Sharper, but the teams they've played are holding me back from giving the defense too much props. Beating up on a team like Detroit and a team with a backup QB makes it hard to judge how good that defense really is. Still, this is easily the best offense in the NFL.
5. New York Jets (2-0) - Both victories have been very impressive. This might be a little high, a little fast for them, but the defense has been phenomenal and Mark Sanchez has been incredibly efficient. They dominated a Houston team that most people thought could be a surprise playoff team this year, and then backed up their big talk by upsetting a perennial AFC favorite New England Team. They are showing that last season's success (until the final few games) was not simply Brett Favre carrying them on his shoulders. This is a very good team, and Rex Ryan has them focused.
6. Minnesota Vikings (2-0) - Speaking of Brett Favre, he's showing that he doesn't need to make his signature risky throws to be effective. He is third in the league with a passer rating of 110.2 (only 0.1 out of a tie for second). Admittedly, this team was a little low in last week’s rankings. My apologies to the state of Minnesota. Still, it will be hard to move up much farther until they start playing some real teams.
7. Indianapolis Colts (2-0) - Overrated? Or are they just rated so highly because they do just what they can to squeak by and pull out close wins against teams like Jacksonville and Miami? The defense is very, very concerning. The running game needs to be much better to keep the defense off the field, seeing as they can't get off the field on their own. You have to wonder if Indy is playing the right defensive scheme for their personnel. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis are pure speed pass rushers, and the majority of their DT's are hybrid DE's...did someone say 3-4?
8. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) - The defending champs fall to a Chicago team that looked simply poor last week. Not good. The Steelers have yet to show they are able to run the ball. Not good. Still, the defense and QB are among the top in the league. This team just needs to start doing what they do best: pound the ball!
9. San Francisco 49ers (2-0) - Frank Gore is a beast. 246 total yards is going to win a lot of games when you have a defense that is playing great and a QB who isn't making mistakes. This is not an explosive offense aside from Gore's huge runs, but they are the type of team that can grind you down and simply out-physical you.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) - This team looked great in Week 1, and not so great in Week 2. The difference: Donovan McNabb. They need him back as soon as possible. It's honestly as simple as that. With him, they are a top 5 team in the NFL. Without him, they are on the fringe of the playoffs, likely out.
11. Arizona Cardinals (1-1) - Bounce back week against a weak Jacksonville team. The defense held the Jags to 3 points for the first 43.5 minutes. Kurt Warner and the offense are looking more in sync than the San Francisco game.
12. Green Bay Packers (1-1) - On the flip side of my statement about the Vikings, this team was admittedly a bit too low last week. How does the O-Line let Aaron Rodgers get sacked 6 times in one game? Pathetic. Greg Jennings, after my high praise last week, goes without a catch. Don't expect that to happen again anytime soon.
13. San Diego Chargers (1-1) - Lost to a fantastic Baltimore team, but last week almost lost to a not fantastic Oakland team. I'm sure you've all heard the "why wouldn't you put the ball in Philip Rivers' hands when the game is on the line" argument circulating the media this weekend. Maybe it’s the 150 combined rushing a receiving yards that Darren Sproles had all game. Still proved to be the wrong move, however.
14. Dallas Cowboys (1-1) - Solid Running game, but Tony Romo takes a big step back from his big day in Tampa by throwing 3 interceptions. This is the first team I have moving up despite losing. This is simply because they played very tough against the Giants, so I'll give them a little pat on the back. Plus, I believe they are better than every team listed below them, which makes it the right ranking anyways.
15. New England Patriots (1-1) - If not for Leodis McKelvin, this team is 0-2. I'm sure they'll bounce back, but right now they simply don't look like themselves.
16. Buffalo Bills (1-1) - If not for Leodis McKelvin, this team is 2-0. Trent Edwards has started out nicely, fifth in the league in passer rating. Fred Jackson is making everyone in Buffalo ask "Marshawn Who?" He's showing no signs of letting up, which is good news for the Bills.
17. Denver Broncos (2-0) - An undefeated team ranked in the bottom half of the league. Fair? Probably not. Still, this team needed a miracle to win their first game, and the beat up on a terrible Cleveland team. The bright spot? Kyle Orton's 90.9 passer rating, compared to Jay Cutler's 71.5.
18. Chicago Bears (1-1) - Yes, they beat the defending champs. Yes, that should put them higher on the list than 18. But they just can't run the ball all of the sudden, and when winter hits in Chicago, passing isn't going to be much of an option for this team. Matt Forte needs to step it up if this team is going to be successful.
19. Cincinnati Bengals (1-1) - Maybe Pete Prisco wants to take his mulligan back now. Overshadowed by Antwan Odom's 5 sack performance is rookie Rey Maualuga, with a sack and two forced fumbles himself. Carson Palmer has more interceptions than touchdowns on the year...
20. Oakland Raiders (1-1) - This team could be 2-0 had they been able to pull it off against the Chargers last Monday night. Still, winning by 3 points against Kansas City isn't my idea of impressive.
21. Tennessee Titans (0-2) - I eat my words. There IS a way the Titans start the season 0-2. Chris Johnson does his best to save the day with 285 total yards and 3 TD's, but it's not enough. The WR's were invisible.
22. Houston Texans (1-1) - They shocked the team above them, meaning they should be ranked above them, right? No. This was a close game, but last week Tennessee held tough against the defending champs and Houston got spanked by the Jets. Matt Schaub looked like most expected him to this season, with over 350 yards, 4 TD's, and no interceptions. Keep that up and Steve Slaton might not even have to start rushing the ball, which he hasn't done yet this season.
23. Seattle Seahawks (1-1) - Last week they beat up on a very bad St. Louis team. This week they lose their starting QB, have a virtually nonexistent running game, and lose to a 49ers team that looks pretty good thus far in the young season. They need Matt Hasselbeck healthy to be successful. Without him, they'll be drafting in the top 5 for the second straight year.
24. Washington Redskins (1-1) - How do you not score a TD against St. Louis? The Redskins are lucky to escape with a win. Not a good sign.
25. Miami Dolphins (0-2) - I'd love to have this team ranked higher, especially after they looked pretty good against the Colts. But they still just aren't able to find a way to win. The schedule doesn't get any easier next week, travelling across the country to play the Chargers in San Diego.
26. Carolina Panthers (0-2) - You hung tough with a very good Falcons team. Great. You still haven't won yet. At least your QB only threw one interception this week. Seriously though, the offense did look pretty good with Steve Smith and DeAngelo Williams topping 100 total yards each.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-2) - 13 penalties and a running game that simply didn't show up. The defense has given up 583 passing yards and 5 passing TD's. Fantasy Owners take note: Eli Manning is next week's "Start of the Week."
28. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2) - After pushing the Colts up to the end of the game, they got walked on by Arizona. The offense played decent, the defense did not.
29. Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) - These last 4 teams are really pathetic. Just not good at all. Let's try to point out the positives...They hung tough with Oakland I guess. They got their supposed franchise QB back, although he threw a pair of interceptions. Larry Johnson rushed for 78 yards...on 24 carries.
30. Cleveland Browns (0-2) - 6 points against Denver's defense. 6. 0 TD's. They only had one last week and that was in garbage minutes. This team is going nowhere fast.
31. St. Louis Rams (0-2) - Steven Jackson tops 100 yards, and the defense holds Washington to 9 points. Any other team in the league would have won that game.
32. Detroit Lions (0-2) - 19 straight and counting. If they would just win a game they would jump up this list, as I think they are talent-wise a much better team than the Chiefs, Browns, or Rams by a long shot. Still...19 straight regular season losses. Can't move you up from the bottom knowing that.