NFL Power Rankings Week 2: Chiefs topple Patriots, take top spot

Kansas City Chiefs running back Charcandrick West (35) runs for a touchdown past New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) during the second half of an NFL football game, early Friday, Sept. 8, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. (Steven Senne/AP)

Week 1 didn’t go exactly how the New England Patriots drew it up as they lost at home to the Kansas City Chiefs. That doesn’t mean they won’t figure things out by season’s end, but it does mean we get a new No. 1 in only the second edition of our panel’s weekly NFL power rankings.

As always, the panel includes editor Geoff Lowe, and staff writers Donnovan Bennett, Mike Johnston and Emily Sadler.

Rank Team
1

Few people predicted the turnout of the Chiefs’ season-opener battle against the powerhouse Patriots, but now that we’ve seen how dynamic this offence can be, we’re predicting plenty more wins for Alex Smith & Co. (ES)
2017 record: 1-0

Previous: 6

2

Is there a better QB-to-receiver combo than Jordy Nelson and Aaron Rodgers? The last three seasons Nelson’s been healthy, they’ve hooked up for over 1,200 yards. Rodgers was looking for his favourite target again in Week 1 to the tune of eight targets, seven completions, 89 passing yards and a TD. As long as these two are healthy the Packers will be tough to beat. (DB)
2017 record: 1-0

Previous: 5

3

Marshawn Lynch is back, and had no problem shaking off retirement — or massive Titans tackles — as the Raiders claimed a tough Week 1 win. Derek Carr proved last year’s leg injury is long behind him.
(ES)
2017 record: 1-0

Previous: 3

4

Atlanta finished last season with an embarrassing fourth-quarter collapse — this season nearly began the same way. They had difficulty finding success running the ball and need to tighten up on defence, but they managed to squeak by the Bears. (MJ)
2017 record: 1-0

Previous: 2

5

Much like after 2014’s loss to the Chiefs, Thursday’s loss could work as a wake-up call for the Patriots. But K.C. exposed some real holes in New England’s defence. (GL)
2017 record: 0-1

Previous: 1

6

They didn’t look convincing, but they got the win. Steelers fans should take solace in the fact their defence showed it will be able to get pressure with seven sacks and Stephon Pruitt’s injury is not expected to be season ending. (DB)
2017 record: 1-0

Previous: 4

7

Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott were important in the opening game, but it was the Cowboys’ defence that fuelled Sunday night’s win. (GL)
2017 record: 1-0

Previous: 7

8

The Lions won, but their run game is concerning. They had only 82 yards rushing and 24 of it came from their QB and punter. Matt Stafford justified his big off-season deal by putting up four TD passes to carry Detroit to a win. (DB)
2017 record: 1-0

Previous: 9

9

Seattle sits atop many Super Bowl predictions, but they didn’t play like it on Sunday. Russell Wilson & Co. couldn’t fire up much offence, though the defence showed promise in the the first half against Green Bay. They’ll surely rebound in Week 2 against the 49ers. (ES)
2017 record: 0-1

Previous: 8

10

The defensive line trio of Fletcher Cox, Timmy Jernigan and Brandon Graham is a sight to behold and will be a difference-maker all season long for the Eagles. (GL)
2017 record: 1-0

Previous: 13

11

Odell Beckham Jr. can’t get healthy soon enough. The Giants’ offence was woeful on Sunday night, and has now gone seven straight games with 20 points or less. (GL)
2017 record: 0-1

Previous: 10

12

It will be interesting to see how a Week 1 bye due to weather will impact this team in the long-term. They host the Bears in Week 2. (MJ)
2017 record: 0-0

Previous: 11

13

There’s no shame in losing a tightly contested game to a team like the Raiders. Tennessee did throw the ball nearly twice as many times as they ran it, which is something few would’ve predicted. (MJ)
2017 record: 0-1

Previous: 12

14

Cam Newton is clearly not 100 per cent as evidenced by some of the throws he missed. Christian McCaffrey had a strong debut and the defence was as good as it needed to be against an overmatched 49ers team.
(MJ)
2017 record: 1-0

Previous: 16

15

The most impressive performance of Week 1 might have been by the Baltimore Ravens. With their first shutout since 2009, the Ravens dominated their AFC North rivals from Cincinnati. The surprising part is they did it with a commitment to the run. Baltimore put up 157 rushing yards in comparison to just 121 passing yards. (DB)
2017 record: 1-0

Previous: 20

16

The Broncos answered two questions in their Week 1 win over the Chargers: Trevor Siemian is indeed a No. 1 quarterback; and the defence is alive and well after losing some big pieces this off-season. We also learned that they still know how to ice kickers in Denver. (ES)
2017 record: 1-0

Previous: 18

17

Four turnovers killed Washington on Sunday as the offensive line struggled to protect Kirk Cousins and the run game failed to materialize. (GL)
2017 record: 0-1

Previous: 14

18

After a bye week due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma, the Dolphins now face the challenge of 16 straight weeks of football. (GL)
2017 record: 0-0

Previous: 17

19

The Vikings know how to get over their ex. Their defence held Adrian Peterson to 18 yards while his replacement, Dalvin Cook, rushed for 127. The five new starters along the Vikings’ offensive line made all the difference for Sam Bradford and company. Bradford has now completed over 75 per cent of his passes in six of his last 10 games. (DB)
2017 record: 1-0

Previous: 22

20

After building up a nice lead against the Lions, the Cardinals fell victim to a Matthew Stafford comeback. Their own quarterback, Carson Palmer, certainly didn’t help things — he threw three picks. But the biggest loss here is running back David Johnson, who suffered a wrist injury that could see him miss up to three months. (ES)
2017 record: 0-1

Previous: 15

21

New city, same Chargers. Despite a strong late-game push and some high-flying heroics from running back Melvin Gordon, the Chargers came up short as they fell victim to the “iced kicker” tactic followed by a blocked field goal that would’ve sent them to overtime against the Broncos. (ES)
2017 record: 0-1

Previous: 19

22

LeSean McCoy looked great Sunday and the Bills’ offence was able to gain a lot of yards. But Tyrod Taylor and Co. will need to be more efficient in the weeks to come. (GL)
2017 record: 1-0

Previous: 26

23

Don’t look now, but L.A.’s on top of the NFC West. Quarterback Jared Goff showed glimpses of why he was taken No. 1 overall last year, though take this 46-9 victory with a grain of salt — they played the Colts. (ES)
2017 record: 1-0

Previous: 27

24

Allen Robinson is done for the year with a torn ACL and Blake Bortles predictably struggled. The good news is they still blew out the Texans. Leonard Fournette had 100 rushing yards and a TD in his pro debut. This defence led by Myles Jack, Dante Fowler Jr., and newcomers Calais Campbell and A.J. Bouye looks like it will give teams trouble. (MJ)
2017 record: 1-0

Previous: 29

25

Adrian Peterson was barely used and visibly frustrated in his Saints debut as his new team settled for four field goals. The defence was chewed up by Sam Bradford and Dalvin Cook to the tune of nearly 500 combined yards. (MJ)
2017 record: 0-1

Previous: 25

26

Such a disappointing effort considering the emotional investment fans in that hurricane/flood-damaged city made in this team. With no viable starting quarterback the offence looks completely lost. (MJ)
2017 record: 0-1

Previous: 21

27

Andy Dalton signed a six-year, $94-million extension in 2014. He’s now 29 and coming off of a five-turnover performance against Baltimore. The Bengals might need to move on from Andy Dalton to ensure they don’t waste A.J. Green in his prime. (DB)
2017 record: 0-1

Previous: 23

28

Kevin White is on the IR again with a fractured scapula. He’s now played just five games in his first three NFL seasons. Fourth-round rookie running back Tarik Cohen was the bright spot in Week 1 versus the Falcons and looked impressive with 113 yards from scrimmage. (DB)
2017 record: 0-1

Previous: 30

29

The bad news is the QB with the most all-time wins in Browns Stadium is Ben Roethlisberger. That underscores the difference between the two franchises. But the new Browns QB looks a lot like Roethlisberger — and not just because they both wear number seven and are from Northwest Ohio. After his rookie debut with a rushing and throwing TD versus a good defence, DeShone Kizer should give Browns fans hope. (DB)
2017 record: 0-1

Previous: 31

30

The loss to the Rams will be a sign of things to come for the Colts. Heck, the coach didn’t even know which team his group lost to. Even if/when Andrew Luck returns to the lineup the odds of this team succeeding with this roster are slim. (MJ)
2017 record: 0-1

Previous: 24

31

Kyle Shanahan’s San Francisco debut fell flat as the new head coach watched his team fall 23-3 to the Panthers. Though not unexpected, this one was messy for the 49ers at just about every position. This might be a long season. (ES)
2017 record: 0-1

Previous: 28

32

Considering the amount of yards the Jets surrendered, Sunday’s loss could’ve been much more lopsided; a positive in what is likely to be a negative season in New York. (GL)
2017 record: 0-1

Previous: 32