NFL Power Rankings: Broncos replace Niners at No. 1; Saints rising
After watching Peyton Manning take apart the Super Bowl champs, Denver supplants the Niners atop these rankings. And the Saints show they are back, moving up to No. 4.
After watching Peyton Manning take apart the Super Bowl champs, Denver supplants the Niners atop these rankings. And the Saints show they are back with an impressive win over the Falcons, moving up to No. 4.
1. Denver Broncos : Switched top spots with San Francisco because of all the matchup issues the offense presents. So, they didn't run the ball very well last week. Who cares when Peyton Manning throws seven TD passes?
2. San Francisco 49ers : They are very physical up front. Colin Kaepernick just had his first 400-yard passing day and he did it without Michael Crabtree. Anquan Boldin brings a whole other dimension to this team.
3. Seattle Seahawks : Some might think is too high for a team coming off a 12-7 win over Carolina, but they were missing some pass rushers and on the road. Let's see what they do next week with the 49ers before we move them.
4. New Orleans Saints : When Sean Payton is back on the sidelines this team is just better. Rob Ryan's defense has been hit hard by injuries but still managed 3 sacks, a fumble recovery and an interception. A steady defense and an explosive offense is a dangerous combination.
5. Dallas Cowboys : Monte Kiffin makes a difference, as with the defense and 6 turnovers is a strong statement. Tony Romo didn't force ball into Dez Bryant , and he took what was open. Having a healthy DeMarco Murray in the backfield makes them a tough out.
6. New England Patriots : Tom Brady got solid production from Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman in the absence of Wes Welker . Shane Vereen is a dangerous weapon who will get better. But They need Rob Gronkowski back ASAP. It must be nice to start the year off against two rookie quarterbacks ( EJ Manuel , Geno Smith ).
7. Houston Texans : A very balanced team that will be better throwing the ball now that DeAndre Hopkins is on the field. They had a scare in San Diego but showed their ability to fight back into the game for a win. There was a time when they couldn't do that very well.
8. Atlanta Falcons : Protecting Matt Ryan is a concern, especially when you consider the Saints didn't have their top three pass rushers in Week 1 and still got to Ryan three times. The defense limited the Saints to fewer than 3 yards a carry but needs more pass rush.
9. Green Bay Packers : The offensive line is questionable. The defense will get better, especially up front. But the secondary can't let young QBs like Colin Kaepernick throw for more than 400 yards. RG3 is up next.
10. Chicago Bears : New coach Marc Trestman is doing a nice job harnessing QB Jay Cutler , which is a never-ending process. The defense creates turnovers, doing so again in Week 1 (scoring 14 points off those turnovers to beat Cincinnati by 3).
11. Cincinnati Bengals : I like them. But how does a team which recorded 51 sacks last year not get to Jay Cutler once when he has two rookies on the offensive line? A.J. Green is a great receiver but Cincinnati needs more from the tight ends and running game.
12. Indianapolis Colts : Andrew Luck plays like a 10-year pro. Colts could be in for 30 years -- spanning the tenures of Manning and Luck -- and know nothing except elite QB play. It's troubling that the defense couldn't contain Terrell Pryor in Week 1. They see Kaepernick, Russell Wilson and Jake Locker later this year.
13. Baltimore Ravens : They sure miss Anquan Boldin! Their run game last week was disappointing -- averaging 2.8 ypc vs. Denver. Hopefully, Joe Flacco doesn't have to throw it 62 times a game, as he did in Week 1. The gave up a franchise-record 49 points vs. the Broncos.
14. Detroit Lions : The addition of Reggie Bush is as important as the 49ers getting Boldin. Bush opens up Calvin Johnson and the passing game, or he can beat you himself. Bush touched the ball 25 times for 191 yards. The Lions started two inexperienced offensive tackles, but yielded only one sack in 44 pass plays.
15. Philadelphia Eagles : A rookie head coach a new system on offense and defense it will take some time. They capitalized on early turnovers by the Skins. Can they keep up that pace all season long?
16. Washington Redskins : Robert Griffin III is back, Alfred Morris is one of the best backs in the NFL and the defense can get after quarterbacks. RG3 was rusty to say the least, and the offense can't protect him and be effective.
17. Kansas City Chiefs : Playing Jacksonville is not a true test of where the Chiefs are right now but they looked very good anyway. Holding Maurice Jones Drew to 3 yards per carry is a good sign of things to come.
18. St. Louis Rams : The Rams had their hands full with the Arizona Cardinals . I like the pass rush, but I'm not so sure RB Daryl Richardson will deliver all that Steven Jackson did. Good news for Sam Bradford : Better pass protection and two new receivers, Tavon Austin and TE Jared Cook .
19. Tennessee Titans : The Titans sure surprised me with the beating they put on the Steelers at Pittsburgh. The Steelers could neither run the ball nor protect Ben Roethlisberger . The Titans will need more offense to climb these rankings.
20. New York Giants : They suffered six turnovers, resulting in 17 points for the Cowboys, in a Week 1 loss -- and here come the Broncos. The offensive line remains a big question mark. They gave up three sacks, generated little or no running game and were partially responsible for some of the turnovers. I still think Tom Couglin cleans up this mess.
21. Miami Dolphins : They play good defense up front and QB Ryan Tannehill is improving. Three of their five scores were field goals, and that will not hold up against the good teams. They let Reggie Bush leave, and his replacements ran 18 times for 17 yards.
22. Carolina Panthers : Their solid front seven on defense will give most teams trouble. But can Cam Newton and the offense live up to their end of the bargain?
23. Arizona Cardinals : A dangerous team with Carson Palmer throwing to Larry Fitzgerald . I wish the offensive linemen were better pass protectors and the running game was a bigger threat. Their pass rush didn't get to Bradford last week which is not a good sign.
24. San Diego Chargers : Before the season started, this looked like a team with too many holes and a QB struggling. If they play the rest of the season the way they did against Houston, they will move up these rankings.
25. Minnesota Vikings : It's clear that QB Christian Ponder needs to do more if this team is going anywhere. Adrian Peterson can't carry the team on his back, though he will try. After Peterson's early 78-yard run, he collected only 15 more yards on 17 carries.
26. Buffalo Bills : I liked EJ Manuel in college, even more at the Senior Bowl and was convinced after my camp visit that he was the real deal. The Bills will be dangerous in the second half of this season.
27. New York Jets : My hat is off to Rex Ryan for having his team ready to play with a rookie QB. The defense will keep them in games.
28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers : Frustration levels already are boiling over. They need to right the ship fast or this could get ugly.
29. Pittsburgh Steelers : They suffered Week 1's most shocking loss, and injuries already are mounting.
30. Oakland Raiders : Dennis Allen had his team of misfit veterans and inexperienced rookies ready to play in Indy last week. Pryor can run. But can he pass well enough to win?
31. Cleveland Browns : The Browns should be more ready to go than the first week indicated. Hopefully they get things going when Josh Gordon gets back in two weeks.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars : They clearly look like the worst team in the NFL right now. I hope Gus Bradley turns it around.
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