NFL Power Rankings Week 2: Week 1 MVPs for every team

Ben Roethlisberger threw for 229 yards and 3 TDs as the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the New York Giants 26-16

The NFL season has officially begun, and Week 1 is in the books. And despite the complete lack of a normal off-season, some teams actually looked ready from the jump.

But which teams deserve the biggest early buzz, and which players propelled them there? That’s why this edition of the power rankings from our expert panel is here to figure out.

This week, the panel includes editors Geoff Lowe and Craig Battle, and staff writers Mike Johnston and Emily Sadler.

1. Kansas City Chiefs

2020 record: 1-0
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: Patrick Mahomes

Feels a little obvious. The guy who won league MVP in 2018 and Super Bowl MVP last year wins Week 1 MVP? Of course he did. Maybe we should’ve gone with “Week 1 MVP not named Patrick.” But Mahomes put up a monster week with three touchdown passes and a 123.3 QB rating, and managed to get sacked just once. Credit where it’s due. (Honourable mention, of course, to Clyde Edwards-Helaire, the rookie running back who leads the league in rushing with 138 yards after the first game of the season.) (CB)

2. Baltimore Ravens

2020 record: 1-0
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: Lamar Jackson

Rookie running back J.K. Dobbins’s two touchdowns were a stellar way to introduce himself to the NFL, but you can’t say “MVP” without also saying “Lamar Jackson.” Jackson’s dominant season debut against the Browns begins what will surely be a strong bid to defend his league MVP honours. (ES)

3. New Orleans Saints

2020 record: 1-0
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: Janoris Jenkins

Jenkins had a strong Week 1 outing for the Saints. The veteran cornerback made nine tackles and had a pick six against Tom Brady. Jenkins and Marshon Lattimore are a formidable duo in the New Orleans defensive backfield. No Buccaneers receiver had more than 80 yards in the season opener. (MJ)

4. Seattle Seahawks

2020 record: 1-0
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: Russell Wilson

Forget Week 1 team MVP — Wilson is off to a great start in what many are guessing could be a push for league-wide MVP. He completed 31 of 35 passes for four touchdowns to three receivers, and also led the team in rushing. (CB)

5. Green Bay Packers

2020 record: 1-0
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: Aaron Rodgers

No receiving help? No problem. After an off-season that saw Packers management forego offensive help for Rodgers, the veteran paired up with his old pal Davante Adams for two touchdowns to propel the Packers over the Vikings. Rodgers’s 364 passing yards for four total TDs is a sign of more great things to come in Green Bay this season. (ES)

6. Buffalo Bills

2020 record: 1-0
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: Josh Allen

Fumbling and inaccuracy remained an issue in Week 1, but Allen still had the best passing game of his career in a dominant win over the Jets. The third-year pivot threw for 300-plus yards for the first time and completed nearly 72 per cent of his passes. More improvement from Allen will be the key to Buffalo’s success in 2020. (GL)

7. Arizona Cardinals

2020 record: 1-0
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: Deandre Hopkins

Hopkins made Cardinals brass look fantastic Sunday, catching 14 passes on 16 targets for 151 yards — including a 33-yarder that set up the game-winning rush from Kenyan Drake. Cardinals receivers combined managed just four 100-yard games between them in 2019. (CB)

8. New England Patriots

2020 record: 1-0
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: Cam Newton

Newton led the Patriots not only to a win in his first game, but also in every major rushing category. This New England offence looks to be a much different beast than we’re used to from Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels, and if Newton continues to contribute in the way he did Sunday against the Dolphins, then the post-Brady Patriots are going to be just fine. (GL)

9. Pittsburgh Steelers

2020 record: 1-0
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: The whole entire defence

Big Ben’s comeback meant his strong chemistry with receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster also made its return to the gridiron, but no force was more powerful Monday night against the Giants than that dangerous Steelers defence. (ES)

10. Los Angeles Rams

2020 record: 1-0
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: Malcolm Brown

Aaron Donald and the defence did great work against the Cowboys, but Brown racked up 79 yards and punched in two short touchdowns — one in the first quarter and one in the third — to account for the bulk of the team’s scoring, not to mention hold off rookie Cam Akers for another week. (CB)

11. San Francisco 49ers

2020 record: 0-1
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: Raheem Mostert

He couldn’t get much going on the ground outside of a long 14-yarder, but Mostert turned a short slant into a 76-yard TD catch with his blazing speed. He accounted for 151 yards of total offence on the day. (CB)

12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2020 record: 0-1
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: Tom Brady

Despite the loss and a forgettable stat line that included two interceptions, Brady was Tampa’s most efficient player. Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski had a combined three catches and 13 yards, which must improve if Tampa is going to have realistic playoff hopes this year. (MJ)

13. Tennessee Titans

2020 record: 1-0
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: Derrick Henry

Well, it’s definitely not Stephen Gostkowski despite him hitting the game-winning field goal. The Titans squeaked by the Broncos after riding the strength and durability of Henry. The powerful running back chewed up 116 yards on 31 and continues to be the most important asset Tennessee has on offence. (MJ)

14. Los Angeles Chargers

2020 record: 1-0
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: Joey Bosa

Melvin Ingram came up with the late interception on the Joe Burrow shovel pass, but Bosa gets the nod here for how hard he made the rookie QB’s job all game long. His one sack and two tackles for a loss only begin to tell the story. (CB)

15. Minnesota Vikings

2020 record: 0-1
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: Adam Thielen

Minnesota lost a major offensive threat when Stefon Diggs was dealt to Buffalo, but a healthy Thielen rose to the challenge as the de facto leader of this receiving corps with two receiving touchdowns. (ES)

16. Las Vegas Raiders

2020 record: 1-0
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: Josh Jacobs

Jacobs outduelled Christian McCaffrey with three TDs to help the Raiders get their first win of the season on the road and head home for their first game in Vegas undefeated. (CB)

17. Dallas Cowboys

2020 record: 0-1
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: Ezekiel Elliott

The Cowboys’ much-hyped offence was nowhere to be found Sunday night at SoFi Stadium, but Elliott proved once again why he’s the most important part of what Dallas does on that side of the ball — especially if he continues to contribute in the passing game. (GL)

18. Houston Texans

2020 record: 0-1
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: Will Fuller IV

In the first game without DeAndre Hopkins, Deshaun Watson frequently turned to Fuller. The team’s new top target hauled in eight of his 10 targets for a game-high 112 yards. A healthy Fuller is essential if the Texans want to be a playoff team. (MJ)

19. Jacksonville Jaguars

2020 record: 1-0
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: Gardner Minshew II

In perhaps the most shocking upset of Week 1, Minshew helped the Jags beat the heavily favoured Colts thanks to a near-perfect outing that saw him go 19 for 20 and throw three touchdowns with no interceptions. (MJ)

20. Washington Football Team

2020 record: 1-0
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: Washington defensive line

We thought about going with rookie Chase Young (1.5 sacks, forced fumble), Ryan Kerrigan (two sacks, fumble recovery) or Matt Ioannidis (1.5 sacks, four QB hits), but instead we’re naming the entire Washington defensive line, which battered Carson Wentz all day and was the catalyst for Sunday’s victory. (GL)

21. Chicago Bears

2020 record: 1-0
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: Mitch Trubisky

Yes, really. Just when we thought we’d all made up our minds about Trubisky, the fourth-year quarterback went and orchestrated a remarkable late-game comeback against the Lions that saw him throw for three touchdowns in the final frame. Receivers Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller at their best saw Trubisky at his. (ES)

22. Atlanta Falcons

2020 record: 0-1
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: Matt Ryan

As the Falcons defence was getting picked apart by Russell Wilson, Ryan showed he can still air out the ball with the best of them. The veteran QB threw for a league-high 450 yards in a losing effort. Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage each had more than 100 receiving yards against the Seahawks. (MJ)

23. Indianapolis Colts

2020 record: 0-1
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: Nyheim Hines

With Marlon Mack sustaining a season-ending injury, Hines stepped up with two touchdowns from the Indianapolis backfield. Hines and rookie Jonathan Taylor will share the load going forward, but Hines was the main source of offence this past Sunday. (MJ)

24. Philadelphia Eagles

2020 record: 0-1
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: Dallas Goedert

Nobody is more valuable to the Eagles right now than injured right guard Brandon Brooks and injured right tackle Lane Johnson – both Pro Bowlers were desperately missed as the Eagles surrendered eight sacks on Sunday. Of those who did play, tight end Goedert was the MVP and the lone bright spot on an offence that went silent in the second half of an embarrassing loss to Washington. (GL)

25. Cleveland Browns

2020 record: 0-1
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: David Njoku

With a season-opener as poorly executed as Cleveland’s, it’s a stretch to call anyone an MVP right now, but shoutout to tight end Njoku for being the only Brown to get on the scoreboard in Week 1 and a strong target for a struggling Baker Mayfield. Let’s hope this wasn’t the last we’ve seen of Njoku this year — he was placed on injured reserve on Monday. (ES)

26. Denver Broncos

2020 record: 0-1
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: Drew Lock

Melvin Gordon led the team in rushing and scored the go-ahead touchdown after the loss of backfield mate Philip Lindsay to a foot injury, but he also lost a costly fumble in the Broncos’ own end that led to the first Titans first TD. And the defence held the Titans to 14 points largely by committee (and thanks in part to Stephen Gostkowski, who missed a PAT and two field goals, and had another blocked). So this goes to the QB of the future, who put up a 95.0 passer rating in his first-ever home opener with one passing TD on a dart to Noah Fant against zero interceptions. (CB)

27. Detroit Lions

2020 record: 0-1
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: Adrian Peterson

It was weird enough seeing the veteran running back in Honolulu blue. That the veteran and former longtime Viking led his new team, with whom he signed just a week ago, in all-purpose yards (114) was a serious throwback. (ES)

28. New York Giants

2020 record: 0-1
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: Darius Slayton

Unable to get anything going on the ground against the Steelers (Saquon Barkley averaged 0.4 yards per carry), Daniel Jones threw the ball 41 times on Monday night and it was Slayton who made the most of his opportunities. The second-year wideout caught six balls on nine targets for 102 yards and a pair of touchdowns, accounting for 12 of Big Blue’s 16 points. (GL)

29. Carolina Panthers

2020 record: 0-1
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: Christian McCaffrey

McCaffrey had more than 130 all-purpose yards and got into the end zone twice, which is basically what fans can expect on a weekly basis from the 2019 All Pro running back. The Panthers will play from behind often this season so McCaffrey should continue putting up impressive stat lines. (MJ)

30. Cincinnati Bengals

2020 record: 0-1
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: Joe Burrow

Burrow, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 draft, made a strong first impression on Sunday, and experienced a lot firsts — first career NFL touchdown in the first quarter of his first NFL game. After executing a two-minute drill like a savvy veteran, the rookie also experienced his first Cincinnati-style heartbreak. (ES)

31. Miami Dolphins

2020 record: 0-1
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: Jerome Baker

It was not a pretty start to the second year under Brian Flores, especially on offence. So we’re giving a nod on the defensive side of the ball to linebacker Baker, who led the league in total tackles this weekend (16), sacked Cam Newton once and forced a touchdown-saving fumble against the Patriots. (GL)

32. New York Jets

2020 record: 0-1
Last week:
Week 1 MVP: Marcus Maye

There wasn’t very much at all to like about the Jets performance in Buffalo, but safety Maye had a monster day in the defensive backfield. Being asked to step up into a much bigger role in the absence of Jamal Adams, Maye delivered in a big way with 10 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble. (GL)

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