The biggest lesson the NFL teaches us is that Week 1 lies.
I say that as a preface to the season’s first power rankings after a wild Week 1 Sunday.
San Francisco 49ers (1-0): With the Trey Lance cloud removed and Nick Bosa locked up for five years, the 49ers came out and strangled the preseason darling Pittsburgh Steelers. When healthy, the 49ers are the most complete team in the NFL. A wrecking ball that can demolish opponents in whatever way is needed.
Philadelphia Eagles (1-0): Jalen Carter had a 32 percent pass rush win rate on Sunday against the Patriots. I mention this for no reason in particular … Oh, Jordan Love converted another third-and-long.
Kansas City Chiefs (0-1): Patrick Mahomes’ first venture with Matt Nagy as play-caller was an exercise in pain. The Chiefs will be fine, but with no proven wide receivers and Nagy running the show, the level of difficulty has been ratcheted up for the face of the NFL.
Dallas Cowboys (1-0): A 40-point shutout win on the road. OK, Cowboys, you have my attention.
Buffalo Bills (0-0): Josh Allen and the Bills will get the NFL’s first look at the new-look Jets. A tone-setting Monday night Week 1 contest against Aaron Rodgers awaits.
Miami Dolphins (1-0): Tua Tagovailoa threw for 466 yards and three touchdowns in Miami’s shootout win over the Chargers. Your first way-too-early MVP leader has arrived.
Detroit Lions (1-0): The Lions couldn’t have dreamed up a better way to start the season. Their much-maligned draft class shined, and they knocked off the defending champs on the road. But are they for real, or will this end up being a Week 1 mirage?
Baltimore Ravens (1-0): The Ravens were unspectacular in a Week 1 win over the hapless Texans. A win is a win, but Todd Monken’s new offense still has a lot of kinks to iron out.
New York Jets (0-0): The Aaron Rodgers-Jets hype train has left the station. First stop: Orchard Park. Will it break down in Buffalo, or pick up steam heading into Week 2?
Cleveland Browns (1-0): Deshaun Watson still doesn’t look like a $250 million man. But if the Browns’ defense is going to be the reincarnation of the 2000 Ravens, it won’t matter.
Green Bay Packers (1-0): Jordan Love didn’t do anything special, but it was enough to pick up where Aaron Rodgers left off in his ownership of the Bears.
Los Angeles Chargers (0-1): I see Brandon Staley still hasn’t fixed the Chargers’ defense.
Cincinnati Bengals (0-1): Chalk it up to rust, but the Bengals got their brains beat in by a Browns team with a huge question mark at quarterback. They’ll get better, but it might be a tough opening month for rusty Joe Cool.
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0): Calvin Ridley is going to be to Trevor Lawrence what A.J. Brown was for Jalen Hurts and Stefon Diggs was for Josh Allen.
New England Patriots (0-1): There were positive signs everywhere for the Patriots on Sunday. The offense was fixed, Mac Jones looked sharp, the defense was stout, and Tom Brady declared himself a Patriot “for life.” That’s all positive, but it didn’t show up on the scoreboard.
Las Vegas Raiders (1-0): Sunday’s game was one the 2022 Raiders would have lost. An offseason of focusing on culture fits paid off for the Silver and Black in Week 1.
New Orleans Saints (1-0): Derek Carr is the exact same quarterback with the Saints that he was with the Raiders. That might be good enough to win the NFC South.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0): When the world doubts Baker Mayfield, he finds a way to win. Bad news for the Bears in Week 2.
Atlanta Falcons (1-0): The Falcons spent three premium draft picks on Drake London, Kyle Pitts, and Bijan Robinson. On Sunday, London didn’t catch a pass, while Pitts only grabbed two balls for 45 yards. Meanwhile, Tyler Allgeier received more carries than Robinson, including in the red zone, where Allgeier cashed in two touchdowns. Why draft them if you aren’t going to find a way to utilize them?
Minnesota Vikings (0-1): The “competitive rebuild” in Minnesota might turn into a straight rebuild if things start rolling downhill.
Tennessee Titans (0-1): I will not doubt Mike Vrabel. I will not doubt Mike Vrabel. I will not doubt Mike Vra…..
Los Angeles Rams (1-0): Matthew Stafford might not be on TikTok, but he connected with young receivers Tutu Atwell and Puka Nacua just fine in the Rams’ upset win over the Seahawks.
Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1): There’s no shame in losing to the 49ers. But the Steelers were trucked from the opening kick and didn’t look like they belonged on the same field with Nick Bosa and Co. That’s what I get for buying preseason hype.
Denver Broncos (0-1): Denver looked like a sharper operation in Week 1, but the offense was the same old punchless attack we saw last season with Russell Wilson at the helm. More work to be done by the $20 million head coach in the Mile High City.
Seattle Seahawks (0-1): Giving up over 400 yards to a Rams offense without Cooper Kupp should be grounds for relegation. Can we work that into the NFL bylaws?
Chicago Bears (0-1): Nine months of optimism led to Sunday’s disappointing flop against the Aaron Rodgers-less Raiders. The Bears’ offense was stale, the defense was gashed, and the coaching staff put up an all-time dud.
New York Giants (0-1): The Giants have lost their last two games to the Cowboys and Eagles by a combined score of 78-7. WOOOF.
Indianapolis Colts (0-1): It will take time, but Anthony Richardson is A DUDE. I think the Colts finally found their guy.
Washington Commanders (1-0): Barely beating the Cardinals only earns you half credit.
Carolina Panthers (0-1): In what is music to Ryan Poles’ ears: The Panthers have real issues – issues Bryce Young won’t be able to solve by himself.
Houston Texans (0-1): C.J. Stroud might end up being fantastic, but he will take some lumps in Year 1.
Arizona Cardinals (0-1): One week in, and the Cardinals remain on track for Caleb Williams. Well done, Jonathan Gannon.