Well, two weeks into the NFL season and slowly we are starting to put the pieces of the puzzle together. While we can separate the pretenders and contenders fairly easy, there is still not much separation from .500 ball clubs to potential playoff teams performing well on Wild Card weekend.
The sport is as fluid as ever before and while there are nearly a dozen brutal teams, they are still fully capable of pulling off a stunner every blue moon or so. Without further ado, here are your power rankings heading into the third weekend of the 2012 NFL season.
To look at last week’s Power Rankings, click here.
32. Oakland Raiders
There is not much you need to know other than their defense allowed Reggie Bush to look like Barry Sanders, and Darren McFadden has been a bust. Some thought he could lead the NFL in rushing, and he won’t even lead the AFC West as he has 54 yards on 26 carries only.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars
Throwing for 336 yards is not bad, but it is awful once you realize that it is in two whole games! The Jaguars will lose 11 or 12 games, if not perhaps more.
30. Kansas City Chiefs
Remember when some laughed at me for saying Charles and Hillis won’t be a deadly duo? Well, the two stink these days since Matt Cassel has throw the ball a bit to the other team (3 INT). Plus, the defense just gave up another TD.
29. Tennessee Titans
Mike Munchak says he will not bench Jake Locker, but he may not have a choice if this starts out eating bagels for the month of September.
28. Cleveland Browns
Brandon Weeden showed why he was a stud last year at Oklahoma State, but their defense is lost right now without Joe Haden.
27. Miami Dolphins
Ryan Tannehill finally put together a decent game thanks to Reggie Bush going bonkers against the Raiders. Oakland is putrid though, and the AFC East may be a tough division with the Bills and Jets perhaps overachieving.
26. St. Louis Rams
Congrats on defeating Washington, but unless Danny Amendola can haul in 15 passes every single week they will not avoid a 10-plus loss season.
25. Minnesota Vikings
Percy Harvin is quite te mismatch on the gridiron since he can do it all, but Christian Ponder was lucky on a few throws and he could get assaulted by the Niners defense this weekend. Just bank on 11 or 12-plus losses is all.
24. Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck has ways to go before becoming a superstar, but it helps to play the Vikings and Jags right out of the gates.
23. New Orleans Saints
They may be 0-2 and be abysmal on defense, but they host a Kansas City defense that will allow them to take their frustrations out on them.
22. Washington Redskins
RGIII is quite the show, but the lack of discipline and a consistent pass rush (Orakpo, Carriker out for year) will be their doom.
21. Carolina Panthers
“Cam….Ohhhh Cam!” He is a stud and the running game goes as he does, but the defense may get torched in the clutch by Eli and the Giants.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa gets a decent respect level here despite blowing that game against the Giants, and while many look at the whole cheap shot incident with the Giants….this is the NFL where you cannot take anything for granted. There were no injuries and they didn’t come close to taking Eli out, so while it was borderline out of line everybody needs to relax a bit.
19. Buffalo Bills
C.J. Spiller brought sexy back for the Bills, but Ryan Fitzpatrick needs to avoid costly mistakes since his defense is capable of keeping him in many games.
18. Cincinnati Bengals
Andy Dalton would love to find A.J. Green more often, and until the two can connect on a regular basis this offense is still a step away from becoming playoff worthy.
17. Seattle Seahawks
Dallas made this defense look like 1985 Bears, and that is simply how this team can perform at home. The only issue is the passing game and rookie quarterback Russell Wilson still need improvement.
16. New York Jets
Mark Sanchez may be dating Eva Longoria, but this team seemed as if they joined the date since they failed to show up against the Steelers. Returning a healthy Darrelle Revis might help though.
15. New York Giants
Eli threw for 510 yards, and he may need three-fourths of that to defeat the Panthers this Thursday without ptentially Ahmad Bradshaw.
14. Detroit Lions
Matthew Stafford needs a third option to step their game up because Nate Burleson and Titus Young certainly are not drawing any separation.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers
Ben Roethlisberger makes so many plays that the typical signal-caller couldn’t perform in their wildest of dreams, and for that this team under Mike Tomlin will always be in the playoff hunt.
12. Dallas Cowboys
Which Cowboys team will show up this weekend against the Bucs?
11. Denver Broncos
Peyton Manning was a bust in the first quarter, but he battled back like no other typical quarterbacks could. The guy is still a stud, it just may take some time for his young receivers to get in rhythm against elite competition.
10. Arizona Cardinals
Darnell Dockett and Quentin Groves are studs up front, but the best defensive player in the NFL might just be Patrick Peterson. The kid is simply a superstar that can flat out do everything: wildcat, kicks, punts, tackle, coverage, technique.
9. Chicago Bears
Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall need to do less talking and more executing because they flat horrid against a Packers defense that isn’t among the respectable defenses in the league. If they want to even make the playoffs, they need to shut up and ball. The talent is there, but the concentration and overall talent around the two can be too shaky for comfort.
8. Green Bay Packers
The Champs (two years ago) are not going anywhere despite some feeling they would miss the playoffs after just one loss to arguably the best team in football. A win on the road against Seattle would propel them to great success once again, whereas a loss would prove the naysayers right.
7. New England Patriots
Well, going 16-0 is gone and dead and they better turn things around or else they will start out 1-2. Baltimore can stifle them and the loss of Aaron Hernandez will enable Julian Edelman to be featured even more. Throwing the ball to that Gronk and Welker guys may be something to look at though.
6. Baltimore Ravens
Joe Flacco and a few media outlets act as if he is a future Hall of Famer just because he was the quickest to landmark victories etc, but until his Ravens can consistently execute on offense they will always come up a play short. Certainly January has been a major meltdown for this team in general and expectations are always high. They are a class act on the field with a bunch of talent, so need to really ever fret.
5. San Diego Chargers
Is San Diego really a top five team? A victory over those Dirty Birds would be one hell of a start.
4. Philadelphia Eagles
They may be 2-0, but they have won both games by just one stinking points. Michael Vick has seven turnovers in two games which spells doom going up against a dangerous Arizona Cardinals team. That said they have the talent to defeat any team in football, so as long as No. 7 stays healthy.
3. Houston Texans
The defense is great but my former high school and college teams could give the Dolphins and Jaguars a run for their money. Their division is easily the worst in football, which may skew them towards a 14-2 type of season. Will they do it in January?
2. Atlanta Falcons
They looked like the best team in football in the first half against Denver, but their inability to run the ball nearly cost them. Matt Ryan, Tony Gonzalez, Julio Jones and Roddy White are practically unstoppable though. The defense played lights out despite giving up some late yards and touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but this team looks legit as any out there.
1. San Francisco 49ers
Hands down the best team in the NFL, anybody arguing against this team would simply be a hater right now. Will they run the table? Not likely, but the could win 12 games playing with their eyes closed since this defense is the closest thing since the 1985 Chicago Bears defense. Patrick Willis, Navarro Bowman, Carlos Rogers and Justin Smith are arguably all the best players in the NFL at their respected positions, which is flat out filthy. The defense makes you cry by the fourth quarter because the intimation and relentless is disturbing. If Alex Smith can avoid mistakes all season, they won’t lose often, if ever.