Tom E. Curran's AFC Power Rankings after Week 1
Haven’t seen you since Andrew Luck retired. Haven’t seen you since Antonio Brown was a Raider and Josh Gordon, Julian Edelman and Demaryius Thomas hadn’t set foot on the field. Haven’t seen you since the third week of August when we dropped our preseason power rankings. Now that we’ve got Week 1 under our belts, here’s how the official and endorsed, authentic power rankings stack up.
16. Miami Dolphins (previously ranked 15)
They CANNOT be that bad. Cannot.
15. Denver Broncos (14)
Nothing but field goals until there were two minutes left against the Raiders on Monday night. They are going to get throttled at Chicago this week.
14. Jacksonville Jaguars (9)
I hitched my wagon to the Jags because of Nick Foles. They were the team I figured was going to flip the switch and be back in the mix at the top of the conference. It was Blake Bortles and a lack of understanding of how hard it was to maintain excellence that screwed their 2018. They’d be back. Now Foles is done for a while and the team is still not very smart.
13. Cincinnati Bengals (16)
A one-point loss at Seattle for the boringest team in the conference? That’s a very encouraging start for the team coached by … go ahead … you tell me … go ahead … OK. Zac Taylor.
12. Oakland Raiders (13)
That team needed an enema and it got it at the end of last week. They got a BP fastball in their opener opening up against Denver. We’ll see how seriously they should be taken when they host the Chiefs this week.
11. Pittsburgh Steelers (11)
I didn’t think they were going to be very good before Sunday night’s pummeling. I feel more confident about that now.
10. New York Jets (8)
So it’s Browns-Jets Monday night and we get to see if either is ready to extract themselves from the La Brea Tarpit of sub-mediocrity under their first-year head coach. I’d take the Jets.
9. Buffalo Bills (12)
Buffalo’s gonna be 2-0. They have the Giants this week. They came back from 16 down against the Jets to win 17-16. As long as Josh Allen doesn’t butcher things, the Bills are going to be a problem for every team they play.
8. Indianapolis Colts (3)
I don’t know whether they are going to be good or just pesky. I’m going with pesky until further notice.
7. Cleveland Browns (6)
The most important person in the organization right now is Freddie Kitchens. Five sacks, 1-for-10 on third down and 18 penalties for 182 yards. That’s a team that’s not ready to go. First Year Freddie better fix it fast.
6. Baltimore Ravens (10)
We are grading on the curve here. Obviously, Miami is not a potent team. At all. So we drain off a little of the impressiveness of the Ravens’ destruction of Brian Flores’ boys but still salute the fact that Lamar Jackson went off. All cured as a passer? I mean … it’s one game. But better. So much better.
5. Tennessee Titans (7)
No. 5 in the rankings after hammering the Browns but No. 1 in our hearts for lancing the boil of over-the-top hysteria about how good Cleveland would be this year. They have the Colts at home on Sunday.
4. Los Angeles Chargers (5)
They needed overtime and a woeful day from Adam Vinatieri to escape in OT against the Colts? They allowed 203 on the ground? I’ve got my reservations on these guys.
3. Houston Texans (4)
Six sacks of Deshaun Watson. That’s the difference between upsetting the Saints on the road to open the year and getting a huge momentum boost and losing a nut-crusher. Still, for degree of difficulty, they fit in right here at three.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (2)
On the road, in the heat, against a talented (if undisciplined) Jaguars defense, Kansas City put up 40 including 17 in the first quarter and had their opener over by halftime. Even if Tyreek Hill misses time, it probably won’t hurt them much because they’re too stacked. Next up, at the Raiders.
1. Patriots (1)
They had one glaring weakness all offseason. Pass-catchers both at tight end and wide receiver. Now the cup runneth over and the Patriots are poised this Sunday to runneth over the renovating Dolphins.