NFL Week 2 Power Rankings

You know those people who start peppering you with birthday reminders about three weeks before their actual birthday? They give you text reminders and verbal wish lists despite the fact that we're both aware the only present I'll be gifting this year is a potential Vegas bomb if I'm intoxicated enough to direct the bartender to the bottom shelf.

In fact, I've seen people declare a whole month their "birthday month" like them and their shit job at Payless Shoes deserves equal recognition to Black History Month or Breast Cancer Awareness. Shut up; I'll write "hbd" on your Facebook because I don't like you enough to take the extra eight seconds to type it all out.

I've never been one to announce my birthday. My family and good friends know when it is, and being the center of attention for the mere fact that I originated on this date is a bit futile. You should be praising my Mom if anything. Then, when people find out it's your birthday, they always say the same thing. "Why didn't you tell me?!" Because I'm not a douchebag, that's why.

Though, this year seems different. I turned 27-years-old on Monday, and while 27 is not a milestone; this number feels important for some reason. Historically, a birthday was just another excuse to navigate the bar scene. I'd wake up at 12:45 the next day to set my fantasy lineup, and then sit slumped and immobile on my stained-ridden couch watching football all day and getting stoned out of a poorly man-made device.

It wasn't like that this year. I woke up without a headache and made breakfast with my beautiful lady. I prepped for my morning meeting tomorrow and glanced over notes from last week. I went for a damn run. Of course, that ultimately turned into a modified power walk, but nonetheless, the last time I did that was when I thought I was being chased by that dragon after hanging out with Gary Busey.

Though things have changed drastically, some things remain the same. The NFL, week to week, is an unpredictable beast, an apparently arbitrary hierarchy of teams assembled together by some imperfect algorithm. September annually serves as the feeling-out month of the season, and right when we think we know a team front-to-back, we often realize it was a masquerade. So, for now, we must keep things in perspective and enjoy each game without making definitive proclamations following a single game. But look at the standings. Who had the Bengals, Dolphins, Broncos, and Buccaneers at 2-0? Who knew the Steelers would be winless and ties would be a welcomed form of conclusion? Here's your Week 2 power rankings.

Oh yeah, you can just wish me a happy birthday in the comments. It's not a big deal, just do it. Seriously. Do it.

1. Los Angeles Rams (2-0) — The Rams +54-point differential through two games is the best in the league, and perhaps their only flaw is an injury to Greg Zuerlein. They face the Chargers in what is being called "The Fight For Los Angeles" next weekend. LeBron James is currently favored.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-0) — The Jaguars made a statement in a rematch game against the reigning AFC champs without their best offensive weapon on the field. We don't want to look ahead too far, but that could be big for home field advantage down the line. Will Doug Marrone have the same courage come playoff time?

3. Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) — This team can score, and damn are they exciting to watch. Patrick Mahomes has 10 touchdowns through two games, and threw 6 against a Steelers team the Chiefs hadn't beaten on the road since 1986. You would have liked to see them run away with it after going up 21-0, but that wouldn't have been as fun.

4. Minnesota Vikings (1-0-1) — It is difficult to win in Lambeau. It's even harder when your kicker has the yips. A back-and-forth game between two NFC North powerhouses resulted in the second stalemate of the season, and Dan Bailey's phone just blew up.

5. New England Patriots (1-1) — The Patriots were very un-Patriot like through three quarters, letting Jacksonville dictate the pace and flow of the game. It's on to Detroit for New England, though. As cliché as it may be, it holds true for New England who knows better than to agonize over an early-season loss to a good team. Josh Gordon is going to make an impact; we just don't know whether it will be positive or negative.

6. Green Bay Packers (1-0-1) — Green Bay certainly had their chances, and had the win sealed but-for a Clay Matthews roughing the passer body-weight penalty on a play that resulted in an interception late in regulation. I'm not sure how you're supposed to hit the quarterback, but I appreciate the irony on the Aaron Rodgers-inspired penalty nonetheless. Matthews got a similar penalty last week at a key moment.

7. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) — The Super Bowl champs fought back after going down 20 points in the third quarter, though they didn't do enough to upend the legend that is Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Birds suffered a few key injuries along the way, most notably Jason Peters, but will be getting Carson Wentz back next week. Reports are that he has been cleared for contact, sort of like Taylor Swift on her 18th birthday.

8. Atlanta Falcons (1-1) — The Falcons solved their red zone troubles, if only for a week, and Matt Ryan rushed for 2 touchdowns for some reason. I'm not quite ready to say Atlanta's red zone miscues are a thing of the past. Some things always reappear. Think Frank Gallagher after a month-long bender in Mexico.

9. Carolina Panthers- (1-1) — I'm glad that Cam bounced back after a first-quarter cheap shot by Damontae Kazee, but it was the Falcons who set the pace after the hit. I guess Atlanta needed the victory more, but Carolina missed an opportunity to establish themselves as the alpha-males of the division early on.

10. Cincinnati Bengals (2-0) — A.J. Green had a hat trick, and the Bengals defensive line wreaked havoc on the Raven's offense throughout most of the game. I'm not on the bandwagon yet, but if they win in Carolina next week, I'll probably have to start trying to scalp a ticket to hop on.

11. Los Angeles Chargers (1-1) — Smooth sailing for the Chargers in Buffalo this week. Everybody always talks about how difficult it is for a West Coast team to play on the other side of the country for a 1 PM kickoff. Everybody also always talks about how bad the Bills are. Something had to give. The Chiefs look great, but I still think Los Angeles is the most dangerous team in this division come playoff time if they stay healthy.

12. Denver Broncos (2-0) — The Broncos played with their food so to speak, and were abysmal on offense in the first half while simultaneously allowing Derek Carr to pick them apart. They managed to get the win though, so it's survive and advance for the 2-0 Broncos.

13. Baltimore Ravens (1-1) — Remember that Bobby Shmurda song that was hot in like 2014? "Things were all good about a week ago..." That's sort of how the Ravens feel now after getting punched in the mouth by Cincinnati. Sad to admit I was a temporary member in the Joe Flacco is Elite Club after they won the championship.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0) — In the battle of the backups, Ryan Fitzpatrick pulled another rabbit out of his beard to throw for 400+ yards en route to a 2-0 start. Forget second string, this man may have just won himself the starting job. More importantly, his Uber rating is 4.9 and his post-game outfit was out-of-control.

15. New Orleans Saints (1-1) — In perhaps the strangest game of the week, the Saints escaped with a victory against the Browns. The Saints offensive struggles through three quarters must be an anomaly, as this team usually is an offensive juggernaut in the Dome. Either way, this team hasn't been impressive thus far.

16. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1-1) — Not an ideal start for Pittsburgh. This defense is like an all-you-can eat buffet, and Patrick Mahomes went back for sixths on Sunday. That's something even Ruben Studdard couldn't do back in his heyday. I wonder if Le'Veon Bell loves or hates this.

17. Miami Dolphins (2-0) — After finishing their Week 1 game on Wednesday afternoon, the Dolphins are 2-0. However, so were the Raiders and Broncos last season, who finished 6-10 and 5-11, respectively. I expect the Dolphins to regress to a similar spot, but we have to give them credit for taking care of business to start the year. Frank Gore is evidently still in the league.

18. Washington Redskins (1-1) — The Redskins are going to dink and dunk their way to an 8-8 season and nobody will bat an eye. This team is like the NFL's equivalent of purgatory.

19. Dallas Cowboys (1-1) — Dak Prescott was challenged, and he answered it on the first drive with a bomb to Tavon Austin. He was pretty pedestrian the rest of the way, but the Cowboys defensive line caused fits and the Giants never had a chance. Now, can somebody please return Jerry Jones's high-five request?

20. San Francisco 49ers (1-1) — The 49ers won the game, but they lost the Josh Gordon lottery. Though, that's more of a mystery box than anything. Off topic, but remember when Peter Griffin took the mystery box over the boat? "A boat's a boat, but the mystery box could be anything. It could even be a boat."

21. Chicago Bears (1-1) — The defense masked a lot of offensive complications, but Matt Nagy officially has the Bears in compete mode. I don't know how many victories that equates to, but this is a team you're not excited to see on the schedule.

22. Tennessee Titans (1-1) — Mike Vrabel picked up his first win as a head coach, even with the cast of "The Replacements" on the field. If Marcus Mariotta stays on the mends, it could be a revenge game for Blaine Gabbert next week in Jacksonville. Blaine Gabbert vs. Blake Bortles — the excitement is killing me.

23. Indianapolis Colts (1-1) — The Colts look surprisingly competent through two weeks. They'll have a tough test next week, when they're greeted with spitballs and profanity by 8-year olds in Philadelphia.

24. New York Jets (1-1) — The Jets came crashing back down to earth, but not all is lost for New York. They scrapped in the second half, and now have a quick turnaround against the Browns on Thursday. I'm not sure if I'll ever forgive Isaiah Crowell for ruining my should-have-been Week 1 fantasy win.

25. Cleveland Browns (0-1-1) — Oh man, this one's going to hurt tomorrow. The Browns are so damn close, and you have to think they'll eventually get the monkey off their back even if he and Hue Jackson are buddy-buddy. Forget the missed field goals and extra points, Cleveland was up two scores in the fourth quarter. That's a game you have to win.

26. New York Giants (0-2) — Cris Collinsworth loves Saquan Barkley's thighs, perhaps a little too much. Besides that, there's not much else to like about this team right now. The Giants showed life against the Jaguars, but they were hard to watch Sunday night. It may be another long season for us Giants fans. Whatever, ESPN specifically told me that Sundays were for bowling.

27. Seattle Seahawks (0-2) — The Seahawks were the next NFL dynasty just a few years ago. After watching this team for two weeks, it's hard to envision that. Where's the sense of urgency from this team?

28. Houston Texans (0-2) — I hate to say it, but Deshaun Watson doesn't look like the same player we saw last year. His pass protection hasn't helped, though the Texans do lead the league in rush yards through two weeks. Does Houston have what it takes to turn it around?

29. Oakland Raiders (0-2) — It was a tale of two halves for the Raiders, and it was encouraging to see Derek Carr shine, even in a loss. Oakland's run defense has more holes in it than Camp Greenlake. That's a Holes reference. Read a book.

30. Detroit Lions (0-2) — The Lions comeback bid was a case of too little, too late — sort of like showing up to Matt Patricia's house eight minutes after the pizza arrives. Okay, I get that this is low-hanging fruit, but maybe Patricia should reach out and grab some. This team looks lost.

31. Arizona Cardinals (0-2) — The Cardinals are one of the early front-runners for the Sacko, and changes could be coming soon for Arizona. Sam Bradford looks like Ryan Reynolds with astigmatism.

32. Buffalo Bills (0-2) — Vontae Davis just took his $5 million and went home. I'm sure a bunch of Bills were thinking about it, but only Davis had the courage to actually retire from the team at halftime of their game against the Chargers. What an absolute power move. Give this man the game ball.

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September 18, 2018



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