The NFL season had yet to kickoff but there was already plenty of drama. From holdouts to odd social media posts, this week had it all even before the games, but our NFL power rankings are full of familiar faces.
To recap the crazy start to the season, Ezekiel Elliott was holding out in Cabo demanding a new deal before heading back to Dallas. Just days before the Falcons-Vikings opener, Julio Jones threatened not to play if he did not have a new contract in place.
Antonio Brown called out the Raiders on Instagram then had a verbal altercation with GM Mike Mayock. This was before an “emotional apology” followed by posting a video of a recorded conversation with Jon Gruden. Finally, Brown demanded his release from the Raiders on Instagram only to have the Patriots sign him by dinner time.
Jerry Jones decided to open up his wallet after all which meant Zeke returned from Cabo, and Bill Belichick got one of the most talented (albeit temperamental) wide receivers in the league. In other words, some things never change even on the NFL’s 100th year anniversary.
Top 5: Patriots & Chiefs Top the List
What became clear in Week 1 is that the Patriots are going to be fine with whatever the final outcome of Brown’s signing becomes. New England is banking on the idea that either Brown or Josh Gordon will end up working out.
Even if both receivers do not last the entire season, the Patriots proved in the playoffs that they will come up with a winning scheme no matter the players on the roster. If last year taught us anything, it is better for us to be a year too late when backing the Patriots rather than trying to throw dirt on them before the dynasty is dead.
It is fitting that the Patriots and Chiefs top our power rankings after giving us a classic AFC Championship during last season’s playoffs. The Chiefs survived a brief Week 1 scare when Patrick Mahomes exited the game with an ankle injury. Mahomes was able to re-enter the game, but Tyreek Hill was not as fortunate. It looks like the Chiefs could be without their star receiver for a few weeks.
Elliott may have missed training camp but the Cowboys offense was already firing on all cylinders. Dak Prescott has as many weapons at his disposal as he has ever had in his career which pairs well with an already stout defense. The Rams also once again find themselves near the top despite an up-and-down start to the season. Sean McVay’s crew has too much talent not to figure it out and be a force this season.
The Ravens are the one surprise addition to the top five, and critics may point out that their blowout victory came against the lowly Dolphins. While this is true, the Ravens offseason additions showed they may just make this Baltimore offense into a force.
Mark Ingram proved he was worth the signing, while rookie Justice Hill offers the team insurance at running back. Rookie wide receivers Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin both shined in their NFL debuts. Mark Andrews looked like one of the best young tight ends in the league on Sunday. All the while, Lamar Jackson did his damage passing from the pocket.
Bottom 5: There Are the Dolphins Then There Is Everyone Else
No team had as bad of a weekend as the Dolphins, yet it seems like this is the way Miami expected things to go. We have seen various forms of tanking in other sports. The NBA recently implemented new lottery rules to try to discourage teams from trying to lose. NFL teams have typically shied away from this idea for a few reasons.
With so few people on an NBA roster, one superstar player really can help turn around an entire franchise. A successful NFL team needs a lot more than just one player, so the idea that jumping up a few draft slots would drastically alter your future makes it harder to rationalize losing. There is also the very real violence of the game, and asking players to sacrifice their bodies with no desire to win seems like something that falls in the category of cruel and unusual punishment.
It is no surprise that some of the Dolphins players appear to be doing their best to get out of town. Multiple players have already spoken with their agents to try to land a trade, per Pro Football Talk.
The Dolphins are joined by the Giants and Jaguars near the bottom of the list. The Steelers were the one surprise addition to the bottom five, but deservingly so after scoring just three points on Sunday Night Football. With two of their top offensive players off to greener pastures, the Steelers have some work to do to prove they can still put up points.
Here is a look at our initial power rankings heading into the final few games of Week 1 on Monday night.
NFL Power Rankings: After Week 1
|1.||New England Patriots (1-0)|
|2.||Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)|
|3.||Dallas Cowboys (1-0)|
|4.||L.A. Rams (1-0)|
|5.||Baltimore Ravens (1-0)|
|6.||New Orleans Saints (1-0)|
|7.||Minnesota Vikings (1-0)|
|8.||Tennessee Titans (1-0)|
|9.||Philly Eagles (1-0)|
|10.||Seattle Seahawks (1-0)|
|11.||L.A. Chargers (1-0)|
|12.||Houston Texans (0-1)|
|13.||San Francisco 49ers (1-0)|
|14.||Oakland Raiders (1-0)|
|15.||Green Bay Packers (1-0)|
|16.||Buffalo Bills (1-0)|
|17.||Carolina Panthers (0-1)|
|18.||Cincy Bengals (0-1)|
|19.||Indianapolis Colts (0-1)|
|20.||Denver Broncos (0-1)|
|21.||Detroit Lions (0-0-1)|
|22.||Arizona Cards (0-0-1)|
|23.||NY Jets (0-1)|
|24.||Washington Redskins (0-1)|
|25.||Tampa Bay Bucs (0-1)|
|26.||Chicago Bears (0-1)|
|27.||Atlanta Falcons (0-1)|
|28.||Cleveland Browns (0-1)|
|29.||Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1)|
|30.||NY Giants (0-1)|
|31.||Jacksonville Jags (0-1)|
|32.||Miami Dolphins (0-1)|