Patriots

NFL Power Rankings 2021: Where each team stands entering Week 2

Patriots

Rejoice, football fans. The NFL season is finally underway, and it kicked off with some thrilling matchups on Sunday.

We were treated to Mac Jones' NFL debut with the New England Patriots, plus the debuts of all four other 2021 first-round quarterbacks. Jameis Winston and the New Orleans Saints pulled off a stunning blowout win over Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, plus the Kansas City Chiefs worked their usual offensive magic in a nailbiter vs. the Cleveland Browns.

Here's Harris' reaction to costly fumble in Pats' Week 1 loss

That's just the tip of the iceberg. Here's a brief rundown of each game along with our updated NFL Power Rankings after Sunday's slate.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)

Previous ranking: 30

Trevor Lawrence and Urban Meyer's debuts did not go how they had hoped as the Jags were crushed by the Texans, 37-21. The former Clemson star threw for three touchdowns, but he also had three uncharacteristic interceptions. He'll look to turn it around vs. the Broncos in Jacksonville next week.

31. Houston Texans (1-0)

Previous ranking: 32

The Texans silenced the naysayers with a dominant win over No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars. Houston's defense forced three Lawrence interceptions in the victory while new Texans QB Tyrod Taylor led the way with 291 yards and two TDs. Danny Amendola found the end zone in his Texans debut as well, and his former Pats teammate Julian Edelman was fired up about it.

 

30. New York Jets (0-1)

Previous ranking: 29

Rookie QB Zach Wilson showed poise late Sunday vs. the Panthers but it wasn't enough as he fell 19-14 in his NFL debut. The BYU product threw for 258 yards, two TDs and one INT with both of his touchdowns going to Jets newcomer Corey Davis. To make matters worse for New York, offensive tackle Mekhi Becton was carted off with a brutal knee injury in the loss. Next up is a Week 2 matchup vs. Mac Jones and the Patriots at MetLife Stadium.

29. New York Giants (0-1)

Previous ranking: 26

The Giants couldn't get much going vs. the Broncos defense as they fell by a score of 27-13. Saquon Barkley couldn't get into a groove in his return from injury as he rushed 10 times for only 26 yards. They'll look to bounce back next week in an NFC East showdown vs. the Football Team.

28. Atlanta Falcons (0-1)

Previous ranking: 25

Not much to write home about here. The Falcons' efforts on both sides of the ball were abysmal as they were blown out 32-6 by the Eagles.

27. Detroit Lions (0-1)

Previous ranking: 31

Give the Lions credit, they fought hard when many expected them to roll over vs. the 49ers. Jared Goff was solid in his Lions debut, throwing for 338 yards, three TDs and one interception in the 41-33 loss. Perhaps this team will be better than we had thought, though the porous defense is a huge issue.

26. Chicago Bears (0-1)

Previous ranking: 22

The Bears suffered a predictable loss to the Rams with Andy Dalton under center in Week 1. The ex-Bengals QB completed 28 of his 37 pass attempts for only 208 yards and a pick. On the bright side for Chicago, rookie first-rounder Justin Fields tallied a rushing touchdown for his first career TD. It's likely only a matter of time before he takes over for Dalton as the Bears' starter.

25. Cincinnati Bengals (1-0)

Previous ranking: 28

Joe Burrow is all the way back. The second-year QB returned from an ACL tear to lead Cincinnati to an overtime victory over the Vikings. The 2020 No. 1 overall pick finished with 261 yards and two TDs in what was a solid all-around day for the Bengals offense.

24. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)

Previous ranking: 27

Is Jalen Hurts the real deal? The jury is still out, but the Eagles QB is off to a fine start in 2021 as he tossed three touchdown passes and rushed for 62 yards in a 32-6 win over the Falcons. A much tougher matchup awaits next week as Philly will host the 49ers.

23. Denver Broncos (1-0)

Previous ranking: 24

The good news: the Broncos cruised to a 27-13 win over the Giants. The bad news: they lost second-year wideout Jerry Jeudy to an ankle injury. Despite the victory, that's a tough pill to swallow heading into next week's game vs. the Jaguars.

22. Carolina Panthers (1-0)

Previous ranking: 23

The Sam Darnold revenge game was a success as the Panthers defeated Zach Wilson and the Jets, 19-14. Christian McCaffrey was outstanding in his return, rushing 21 times for 98 yards while catching nine passes for 89 yards. Carolina will host Jameis Winston and the Saints in Week 2.

 

21. Washington Football Team (0-1)

Previous ranking: 19

Washington lost Ryan Fitzpatrick early to a hip injury and never recovered as Taylor Heinicke couldn't keep up with Justin Herbert and the Chargers. The injury is a tough blow to a team that many believe could content for the NFC East crown this season.

20. Minnesota Vikings (0-1)

Previous ranking: 18

The Vikings fell late in overtime to the Bengals, 27-24. While Minnesota improved its defense during the offseason, Cincinnati QB Joe Burrow still exploited it in his return from injury. It won't get easier in Week 2 as the Vikings will visit the Cardinals and their scary Kyler Murray-led offense.

19. Las Vegas Raiders (1-0)

Previous ranking: 21

Derek Carr and the Raiders stunned the Ravens with an overtime win in their Las Vegas debut on Monday Night Football. They still don't have a run game and have a mediocre defense, but if they'll turn heads if they can upset the Steelers in Week 2.

18. Indianapolis Colts (0-1)

Previous ranking: 17

Carson Wentz looked OK in his Colts debut but it wasn't enough for the win as Indianapolis fell to Seattle, 28-16. Russell Wilson had his way with the Colts defense and offensively, it was evident Wentz doesn't have a whole lot to work with outside of running backs Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines. Zach Pascal, however, did have two TDs on the day.

17. New England Patriots (0-1)

Previous ranking: 13

Sunday's loss to the Dolphins was a rough one no matter how you slice it. The four fumbles were inexcusable and ultimately cost New England a chance to pull off the Week 1 win. Still, there's reason for Patriots fans to be optimistic heading into Week 2. Rookie quarterback Mac Jones looked the part, completing 29 of his 39 passes for 281 yards and a TD.

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He'll look to build off the encouraging performance next week when New England visits the New York Jets.

16. Miami Dolphins (1-0)

Previous ranking: 16

The Dolphins were able to edge out the Patriots 17-16 on Sunday after forcing a turnover late in the fourth quarter. Tua Tagovailoa rushed for a TD and threw another to rookie and fellow Alabama product Jaylen Waddle. They'll host another AFC East foe in the Bills next week.

15. Los Angeles Chargers (1-0)

Previous ranking: 20

It wasn't pretty, but a win is a win. The Chargers took down the Washington Football Team 20-16 after Ryan Fitzpatrick went down early with a hip injury. Next up is a tough game vs. the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.

14. Tennessee Titans (0-1)

Previous ranking: 9

It was a rough start to the season for Mike Vrabel's group as the Cardinals had their way with the Titans on both sides of the ball. Tennessee's offense was unable to get in much of a groove, thanks in part to Chandler Jones' huge day, and defensively it just didn't have an answer for the dynamic Kyler Murray. Things won't get any easier with a trip to Seattle on the schedule next week.

 

13. Dallas Cowboys (0-1)

Previous ranking: 14

Dallas fell victim to a classic Tom Brady game-winning drive on Thursday night, but there's plenty to be encouraged about. The passing attack looks incredible with Dak Prescott back from injury. Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb will be a force to be reckoned with all season long, and Ezekiel Elliott should see better days going forward. The Cowboys are the team to beat in the NFC East as long as Prescott stays healthy.

12. Green Bay Packers (0-1)

Previous ranking: 3

Yikes. The Packers were throttled by Jameis Winston and the Saints, 38-3. To say Aaron Rodgers looked rusty would be an understatement as the reigning MVP tossed two INTs in the blowout. Green Bay will look to get back on track when it takes on the Lions next week.

11. Arizona Cardinals (1-0)

Previous ranking: 15

Is it an overreaction to say Kyler Murray is a legit MVP candidate this season? The dual-threat QB totaled five TDs (four passing, one rushing) in Arizona's 38-13 win over the Titans. It also may not be an overreaction to say Chandler Jones will be a Defensive Player of the Year favorite as the ex-Patriots edge rusher tallied five -- yes, FIVE -- sacks and two forced fumbles.

10. San Francisco 49ers (1-0)

Previous ranking: 11

They certainly made it interesting, but the Jimmy Garoppolo-led 49ers held off the Lions in Week 1 and earned a 41-33 win. It wasn't all good news for San Francisco, however, as starting running back Raheem Mostert exited with a knee injury.

9. Buffalo Bills (0-1)

Previous ranking: 4

Josh Allen's less-than-stellar day vs. the tough Steelers defense resulted in a 23-16 loss at home. The Bills should be just fine, but they'll have another tough matchup next week in Miami against a Dolphins team that just earned a road win over the Patriots.

8. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)

Previous ranking: 12

Ben Roethlisberger didn't exactly light up the box score, but he didn't need to. Pittsburgh's defense took care of business in a hard-fought win over the Bills, who many have pegged as a Super Bowl contender. The Steelers will look to improve to 2-0 when they host the Raiders next week.

7. Cleveland Browns (0-1)

Previous ranking: 7

For a while there it looked like the Browns were going to get the revenge win over Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Then, Kansas City's offense did what Kansas City's offense does. Despite faltering in the second half, Cleveland should be encouraged heading into Week 2. This is a talented group that will be contending for the AFC North title.

6. New Orleans Saints (1-0)

Previous ranking: 10

Jameis Winston and the Saints had a field day vs. the Packers on Sunday. Winston threw five touchdown passes in his Saints debut while Packers QB Aaron Rodgers tossed two picks and failed to get a tally in the TD column. New Orleans' defense limited Green Bay to three points in a 38-3 stunner.

5. Baltimore Ravens (0-1)

Previous ranking: 5

Lamar Jackson fumbled on Baltimore's final possession of overtime in a surprising loss to the Raiders on Monday Night Football. The Ravens also lost starting left guard Tyre Phillips due to injury. It's a long season, but this was a disappointing result for a supposed AFC contender.

 

4. Los Angeles Rams (1-0)

Previous ranking: 8

Matthew Stafford shined in his Rams debut as the ex-Lions signal-caller completed 20 of his 26 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns, two of which were deep balls thrown to Van Jefferson and Cooper Kupp. All signs point toward this L.A. team being a serious threat in the NFC West and a legit Super Bowl contender with Stafford at the helm.

3. Seattle Seahawks (1-0)

Previous ranking: 6

The Seahawks took down the Colts on Sunday thanks to brilliant performances from Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett. Wilson tossed four touchdown passes -- two to Lockett -- to lead Seattle to a 28-16 victory. A Week 2 matchup against a Titans team that got blown out by the Cardinals awaits.

2. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)

Previous ranking: 2

The Chiefs were on upset watch for a while in their Week 1 matchup vs. the Browns, but they were able to storm back and squeak out a 33-29 win. It was a vintage performance for Kansas City's explosive offense as Patrick Mahomes threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns. Three of those TDs went to superstar tight end Travis Kelce and the other went to speedy wideout Tyreek Hill. This Chiefs offense is in midseason form, though defensively there are some improvements that need to be made heading into next week's game vs. the Ravens.

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0)

Previous ranking: 1

It wasn't easy, but Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers narrowly pulled off the victory in their season opener vs. the Dallas Cowboys. Brady led one of his famous game-winning drives to set up a field goal that sealed the 31-29 victory. Tampa's defense -- especially the secondary -- will have to tighten things up going forward, but this undoubtedly is a Bucs team we can expect to make another deep run in 2021.