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Week 2 NFL power rankings: Cleveland Browns soar, Bills drop after Week 1

The first week of the 2023 NFL season is in the books and it delivered some absolute stunners. While it’s important to not overreact to a single game by any team, there’s still plenty of movement in our Week 2 NFL power rankings.

After blowout wins on Sunday, the Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns are shooting up the NFL power rankings. Of course, shocking losses by the Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings and the New York Giants ugly defeat resulted in all three teams plummeting down after Week 1.

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Let’s jump into our NFL power rankings for Week 2.

Week 2 NFL power rankings

32. Chicago Bears (27)

If Sunday was any indication of what’s to come, the Chicago Bears might as well get used to being at the bottom of the NFL power rankings. Justin Fields wasn’t great, but a team that hired a defensive-minded head coach looks like it will have the worst defense in the NFL for a year-plus.

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31. Houston Texans (29)

We still believe the Houston Texans have a very bright future. In his first game as head coach, DeMeco Ryans’ defense had some really bright moments. C.J. Stroud didn’t have a great box score, but he showed enough promise to believe he could become an above-average starter in his prime. Unfortunately, the Texans’ decision to give away their 2024 first-round picks looks like one of the worst decisions in this organization’s history and let’s not forget everything that is included in that long list of mistakes.

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30. Arizona Cardinals (32)

Week 1 almost feels like the perfect outcome for the Arizona Cardinals. Despite having one of the worst rosters in the NFL, Jonathan Gannon squeezed far more out of this defense than anyone could’ve seen coming. The cherry on top is the Cardinals’ odds of having a pair of top-five picks in the 2024 NFL Draft look great.

29. Indianapolis Colts (30)

Sunday represented a victory for the future of the Indianapolis Colts. Before suffering an injury, which isn’t a long-term concern, Anthony Richardson flashed a lot of things for the fans and coaching staff to get excited about. Of course, he probably would’ve looked even better if he had an All-Pro running back who could make plays all over the field and force defenses stack the box to try and stop the run. Imagine if the Colts had that kind of player long-term, pairing perfectly with Richardson’s rookie contract.

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28. Los Angeles Rams (31)

Easily the most surprising result of Week 1. Everyone wrote off the Los Angeles Rams and the Cooper Kupp injury served as more proverbial nails in the coffin. Yet, here come Kyren Williams and Puku Nacau looking like draft gems. The offensive line and defense are still massive concerns, but Matthew Stafford and Sean McVay might have just enough up their sleeve for the Rams to keep surprising everyone.

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27. Tennessee Titans (24)

The alarm bells aren’t going off quite yet for Ryan Tannehill. After all, he played a top-10 defense and the Tennessee Titans offensive line is infamously bad. If Father Time has come for Tannehill, though, the Titans better start thinking about tearing the remnants of this offense down and being sellers at the trade deadline.

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26. Denver Broncos (25)

Russell Wilson wrote the names down of all his critics and Sean Payton spent the summer ripping his predecessors with the Denver Broncos to shreds. Guess what happened in Week 1? The Broncos’ offense scored the same amount of points (16), averaged fewer yards per play (4.5 vs. 6.8) and had a lower third-down conversion rate (45.5% vs. 53.3%) than Nathaniel Hackett’s debut as Denver’s head coach and play-caller. The ‘opposite’ approach Payton preached to the world about certainly didn’t yield better results.

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25. Minnesota Vikings (15)

Two one-score losses within the matter of five days to open the 2023 NFL season. After falling to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the opener, Minnesota was a mistake waiting to happen Thursday night against the Philadelphia Eagles. They turned the ball over four times, resulting in 17 Eagles points. Defensively, the Vikings yielded 259 rushing yards on 48 attempts. Offensively, they ran the ball for 28 yards on nine attempts. This is going to be a disaster class of a season for Minnesota.

24. Carolina Panthers (20)

Yeah, the Carolina Panthers have a problem. No one would ever mistake the Atlanta Falcons for having even an above-average defense. Yet, Bryce Young finished with a 48.8 quarterback rating and averaged just 3.8 yards per attempt with two interceptions and a fumble. It’s almost as if putting a 5-foot-10 quarterback behind a bad offensive line with one of the NFL’s worst receiving corps is a recipe for your rookie to fail

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23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (27)

Very few NFL experts gave the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a chance to win on Sunday. Yet, the Bucs’ defense came through with critical takeaways and it snuffed out Minnesota’s hopes of establishing a ground game. It’s a nice win, but we just can’t move a team with Baker Mayfield behind this offensive line up any higher in the Week 2 NFL power rankings.

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22. New York Giants (17)

Well, fans have to hope that’s the most embarrassing thing to happen to the New York Giants this year. Let’s not overreact with Daniel Jones too much, few quarterbacks could’ve handled the amount of pressure he faced on Sunday Night Football behind that paper-mache offensive line. Now, if Arizona does that to the Giants’ offensive line and Jones commits turnovers like it’s 2019, New York has a Big Apple-sized problem.

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21. Las Vegas Raiders (26)

The Las Vegas Raiders had to absolutely love ruining Sean Payton’s debut. Even on an afternoon when Jimmy Garoppolo made some mistakes and Denver’s defense contained Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas found a way to win. We’re not the biggest believer in Josh McDaniels, but this isn’t a game Las Vegas wins a year ago. That could mean a lot moving forward.

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20. New England Patriots (21)

After entering the second quarter with a 16-0 deficit against the reigning NFC champions, the New Patriots took the Philadelphia Eagles down to the wire. Bill Belichick’s defense looks great and Mac Jones played more like the player we saw in 2021 than last season. Yet, watching that game, what could ultimately sink new England is the offensive line.

19. Pittsburgh Steelers (16)

Well, so much for the possibility of the Pittsburgh Steelers keeping things close with the San Francisco 49ers. Kenny Pickett captured why it’s dangerous to overreact to the preseason. Then again, our own expectations for the Steelers’ secondary proved to overrate the talent. With all of that acknowledged, a well-coached team with this much talent should at least remain very competitive in 2023.

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18. Atlanta Falcons (24)

The Atlanta Falcons spent big bucks on safety Jessie Bates in free agency and he immediately rewarded them for their investment. Meanwhile, the tandem of Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier combined for 177 scrimmage yards and three touchdowns. It was also apparent Arthur Smith has zero faith in Desmond Ridder, but that might not matter quite as much because Atlanta has a weak schedule and its running backs can carry the offense in winnable matchups.

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17. Seattle Seahawks (10)

Preseason expectations and Devon Witherspoon being inactive are the only thing keeping the Seattle Seahawks from plummeting further in the Week 2 NFL power rankings. With that acknowledged, the injuries to Seattle’s offensive tackles and an embarrassing loss to the Rams hint at this club’s 2022 success being a complete fluke. If this type of performance shows up against Detroit, no one should believe in the Seahawks.

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16. Washington Commanders (22)

It wasn’t a pretty win on Sunday, but this is a new era for the Washington Commanders. While the roster and coaching staff are largely the same, this wasn’t a game Washington wins in previous years. As long as the Commanders have a top-10 defense and Sam Howell can clean up his turnovers, there’s an outside shot at making it as a Wild Card team.

15. New Orleans Saints (18)

The New Orleans Saints aren’t a great football team, but that’s not necessary to win the NFC South. As long as Derek Carr protects the football and the Saints’ defense keeps playing at a high level, New Orleans has a shot at double-digit wins thanks to one of the easiest schedules in the NFL. Just understand, New Orleans will never have a very high ceiling in the NFL power rankings.

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14. Jacksonville Jaguars (13)

It’s certainly possible a close matchup like that can be chalked up to the competitive nature of division rivalries. Yet, it was apparent in Week 1 that Jacksonville has a defense that will force Trevor Lawrence to have an All-Pro caliber season in order for the Jaguars to experience anything more than a Divisional Round exit.

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13. Los Angeles Chargers (9)

We were expecting Justin Herbert to be unleashed in Kellen Moore’s offense, but it was the ground attack that came alive. Joshua Kelley (91 rush yards, 5.7 ypc) has never looked like this, but great run blocking and an excellent game plan unleashed a ground-and-pound attack that was unstoppable. The fact that Herbert is also capable of playing at an MVP level only strengthens the Chargers’ ceiling offensively. However, this defense looks like a serious issue for Los Angeles.

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12. Green Bay Packers (19)

It’s far too early to proclaim Jordan Love as the next face of the franchise for the Green Bay Packers. What Sunday demonstrated though is that Matt LaFleur’s system has the playmakers to cause a lot of problems for defenses, even when Christian Watson is sidelined. On the other side of the ball, a defense loaded with talent showed a lot of flashes that suggest it could be a top-10 unit this year. If Love is for real, Green Bay can challenge for the NFC North.

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11. Detroit Lions (14)

A strong showing by the Detroit Lions in the NFL Kickoff Game captured why they are the favorites in the NFC North. Jahmyr Gibbs had a reduced workload, with Detroit easing him in, but the explosiveness he showed puts him in elite company even in the NFL. Offensively, it would still benefit the Lions to have a No. 2 receiver or a vertical threat, but this is still an above-average offense. Defensively, a better assessment can be made when the Lions face a team that has offensive weapons who aren’t actively hurting their own team.

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Week 2 NFL power rankings: Top 10 teams

falo Bills (7)

NFL: Preseason-Buffalo Bills at Chicago Bears
Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

So, when we wrote about Josh Allen ending the second half of the 2022 NFL season with a reckless stretch of play that later derailed the Bills in the playoffs, it was chalked up to the UCL injury. Well, he now has an 82.9 QB rating with a 19-13 TD-INT line and a 59.6 completion rate over his last 11 regular-season games. If this trend continues in September and the Bills’ defense struggles against good starting quarterbacks, it might be time to worry about the Buffalo Bills.

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9. Cincinnati Bengals (6)

Syndication: The Enquirer
Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Joe Burrow has a history of slow starts, so that isn’t a concern. What really drops the Cincinnati Bengals in our Week 2 NFL power rankings is the combination of the offensive line (10 QB hits allowed) and a defense that had no hope of stopping the run. The AFC playoff race is going to be extremely tight this year and as of now, Cincinnati looks like a team that will start slow and cost itself valuable home-field advantage.

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8. Miami Dolphins (11)

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Chargers
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Tua Tagovailoa played like an MVP candidate when healthy last season. Fast forward to Week 1, he dropped 466 passing yards and 36 points against a Chargers’ defense that contained him in their last meeting. Miami’s defense is now a bigger concern, especially with Jalen Ramsey sidelined, but the Dolphins have the talent to compete against anyone.

7. Cleveland Browns (12)

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Deshaun Watson didn’t prove he’s back to being a Pro Bowl quarterback in Week 1, but the Cleveland Browns didn’t need it. Defensively, Jim Schwartz’s guys put on a masterpiece with the help of a little weather to take down one of the best teams in football over the last two seasons. If Watson can ever regain his form, the Browns are a Super Bowl contender.

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6. Baltimore Ravens (8)

NFL: Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

There are plenty of things that the Baltimore Ravens offense needs to work out, but that’s to be expected considering the new personnel and the change in play-caller. Baltimore’s defense looks as good as it did in the second half of the 2022 season and when you pair that with an elite quarterback, you’ve got one of the best NFL teams. Of course, the Ravens could tumble down the NFL power rankings quickly if the injuries keep piling up on both sides of the ball.

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5. New York Jets (4)

Syndication: The Record
Chris Pedota, NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

On a night that ended in devastation for the New York Jets fan base, this team somehow still found a way to win. Monday Night Football proved New York has one of the best defenses in the NFL, easily, it also showcased why Garrett Wilson is a special wide receiver and Breece Hall can be the centerpiece of this offense. Unfortunately, Zach Wilson is now the Jets’ starting quarterback. So, based on what’s ahead, expect New York to start freefalling in the NFL power rankings in the weeks to come. We’re sorry Jets Nation, you of all fan bases deserved better than this…so much better.

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4. Dallas Cowboys (5)

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a reason many believe the Dallas Cowboys might finish the year with the No. 1 defense. Micah Parsons and Co. suffocated New York in the first half on Sunday Night Football, essentially putting the game away early. As for the Cowboys’ offense, it looked like something you’d expect from Mike McCarthy.

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3. Kansas City Chiefs (1)

NFL: Detroit Lions at Kansas City Chiefs
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

All things considered, that could’ve been a lot worse for the Kansas City Chiefs. There aren’t any significant long-term concerns that would knock Kanas City out of the Super Bowl picture and this team nearly beat a top-12 contender despite not having its second and third-best player. With that said, Kansas City will be dropping in the Week 2 NFL power rankings because its receiving corps is worse than expected and the front office won’t bite the bullet and pay what it costs to get Chris Jones back on the field.

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2. Philadelphia Eagles (2)

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at New England Patriots
Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t a great overall performance from Philadelphia in Week 2. Its defense allowed Kirk Cousins to complete 31-of-44 passes for 364 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions. Justin Jefferson caught 11-of-13 passes for 159 yards. Despite this, Philadelphia found a way to come away with a 34-28 win. Its offense gained 430 total yards, including 259 on the ground. Status quo in our NFL power rankings for now.

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1. San Francisco 49ers (3)

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Pittsburgh Steelers
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers played like the best NFL team in Week 1. Brock Purdy, months removed from elbow surgery, was outstanding, Christian McCaffrey performed like the Offensive Player of the Year and Brandon Aiyuk might be the new WR1 in the Bay Area. Oh, San Francisco also has the best defense in the league. The 49ers are the best NFL team right now.

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