By James Wagstaff – Green Bay Packers Writer
1. New England Patriots 2-0
As the age old saying goes the rich get richer and so it appears do the Patriots. As the leagues other older quarterbacks bodies start to falter, Tom Brady looks as good as ever, throwing passes to a supporting cast that includes Antonio Brown (for how long it remains to be seen), Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman.
Couple that with a defence that includes Stephon Gilmore playing at an all pro level at corner, its fair to say, it is going to take something big to stop TB12 adding another Lombardi to his collection come February.
2. Kansas City Chiefs 2-0
After last season it was difficult to see where Patrick Mahomes could improve after he had an other worldly season. Well, it appears we may be about to find out as the third-year quarterback (second as a starter) has started the season in sensational style passing for 821 yards, 7 TDs and 0 INTs. Of which, including an outrageous four touchdown quarter against the Raiders.
This Chiefs team looks shaky in the secondary but Mahomes looks so good it might not even matter. Lamar Jackson and the Ravens visit Kansas City this weekend for their home opener.
3. Dallas Cowboys 2-0
What a difference Kellen Moore has made to Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys offence. They have now gone over 30 points in both games so far this season with Dak throwing for 674 yards, 7 TDs and 1 INT. It is very early days but at this level, Prescott could have a season for the ages and earn every cent of the reported $40 million a year contract that he was rumoured to be looking for in the offseason.
This week the Cowboys place host to the Dolphins, so Dak may much his first two weeks output in the first half.
4. LA Rams 2-0
Two professional if unspectacular wins to start the season for the Rams. They have looked relatively confutable in both games without playing that well. Which, as they say, is usually the sign of a very good team. Todd Gurley has been eased back into the fold with a total of 30 carries over the first two weeks it is clear that they are going to manage his workload a lot more closely than in previous seasons.
Rams travel to Cleveland this week to face the Browns.
5.Baltimore Ravens 2-0
Is Lamar Jackson this seasons Patrick Mahomes? I wouldn’t go that far but he has certainly been very impressive. He has passed for 7 TDs and zero picks after two weeks. Eclipsing the 6 TDs he threw in 7 starts last season.
We must consider the level of opposition that he has faced thus far as a factor with his and the Ravens two wins coming against the hapless Dolphins and Cardinals team that had the first overall pick back in April.
However, this will change this week as the team take on the Kansas City Chiefs on the road. Guess we will get to see if he can live up to his early season billing.
6. Green Bay Packers 2-0
Back to back division wins to start the season has raised the hopes for those of a Green and Gold persuasion. The fact that it has been primarily the defence to thank for those two wins is certainly a new one (at least in recent memory) in Green Bay.
With Aaron Rodgers and the offence coming out the traps with 3 straight TD drives to start the game, it is clear that should the offence find its rhythm for more than one quarter they could be a very dangerous team.
7. Seattle Seahawks 2-0
Written off for much of the offseason despite the fact that they made the playoffs last season and they still have Russell Wilson as their starting QB. This Seattle team has quietly started the season 2-0. Following a tricky home win against the Bengals, they went into Pittsburgh and took home the win. It was by no means easy and they got a little help from the officials on a questionable pass interference call but the arrow is certainly pointing up for this team.
Seahawks face Teddy Bridgewater and the Saints at home in week three, which looks a good time to play them considering Drew Bree’s injury.
8. Philadelphia Eagles 1-1
The Philadelphia Eagles were a Nelson Agholor drop away from from sneaking out of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium with the win and a 2-0 record. However, it wasn’t to be for an Eagles team that took a beating with injuries to DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, Tim Jernigan and Corey Clement.
As deep as this Eagles roster is, this team will struggle if they keep picking up injuries at such an alarming rate.
Eagles stay home to face the Lions in week three.
9. LA Chargers 1-1
After going 7-1 on the road last season on route to a 12-4 season, the Chargers matched their loss total on the road with a scruffy 13-10 defeat to the Lions. They did, however, halve two touchdowns called back by the refs. Austin Ekeler also fumbled in the red zone and they missed two FGs in a game they will feel that got away.
Chargers will look to get back on track at home (if you can call it that) against the Houston Texans next week.
10. Minnesota Vikings 1-1
In week one, the Vikings set out the blueprint of how they want to play. Establish the run early, get a lead, and then seal the win with their defence. Unfortunately, in week two, the Packers jumped out to an early 21-0 lead. This meant that they had to rely on Kirk Cousins and as he has on numerous occasions in his career, he could not come up big when it mattered.
However, Cousins aside this is a very good team and Dalvin Cook, who rushed for a career-high 154 yards against the Packers is a bonafide superstar.
They face the Raiders at home this week.
11. Chicago Bears 1-1
The Bears were seconds away from dropping to 0-2 on the season and those in the Windy City would have put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the offence and Mitch Trubisky. The 25-year-old young man had another poor showing going 16/27 for 120 yards, throwing 0 TDs and zero INTs.
It was clear that although he may not say it publicly, but Matt Nagy does not have complete faith in the third-year quarterback.
Next up for the Bears a trip to the Nation’s capital to face the Washington Redskins.
12. Houston Texans 1-1
A week after losing to the Sayards a last second Will Lutz field goal. The Texans were a yard away from losing another heartbreaker. However, they managed to stuff Leonard Fournette on the two-point conversion attempt and hang up to register their first win of the season.
After lighting up the Saints in week one, Deshaun Watson had a much more pedestrian day at the office going 16/29 for 159 yards.
Texans head to LA to face the Chargers in week three.
13. San Francisco 49ers 2-0
After a hard-fought victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week one, the Niners followed it up with a big 41-17 beat down of the Bengals on the road.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo passed for 297 yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT while the 49ers team combined for 259 yards rushing. This was the sort of explosive offensive output that many expected more regularly when Kyle Shanahan was plucked from the Falcons.
A great start for the 49ers with an opportunity to start 3-0 against a Steelers side without the veteran Ben Roethlisberger.
14. Buffalo Bills 2-0
Two weeks, two trips to the MetLife Stadium, two wins and unquestioned New York bragging rights for Sean McDermott’s team.
After conceding an early Saquon Barkley touchdown run the Bills soon took control of proceedings.
Next up they host a Bengals team still looking for their first win. Could they finally challenge the Patriots in the AFC East?
15. New Orleans Saints 1-1
After some Drew Brees magic late in week one to sneak a victory away from Jaws of defeat, the Saints travelled to the West Coast to face the LA Rams in a rematch of the now infamous NFC championship game from a year ago.
Much was made in the build up about the Saints quest for revenge. However, a combination of the refs (AGAIN) and the nasty injury to Drew Brees’ throwing hand meant this game was a rather one-sided affair in favour of the Rams.
The Saints will now have to rely on Teddy Bridgewater as their starting QB for the next 6 weeks as Brees recovers.
A trip to Seattle to face the 2-0 Seahawks looks as if it could be very tough task.
16. Atlanta Falcons 1-1
After a poor week one showing against the Minnesota Vikings where the offence could not get out of its own way along with a defense that was gashed by the run, it led to few giving the Falcons much of a chance this week against a very talented Eagles squad.
However, with as many playmakers on offense as this team has including the perennial all pro Julio Jones, it is silly to ever right them off.
Next up for the Falcons, its a trip to Indianapolis face the Colts.
17. Indianapolis Colts 1-1
It was a good team win for Frank Reich’s men in Tennessee after pushing the Chargers close in week one, but it’s clear that Andrew Luck’s retirement is not going to be used as an excuse for this Colts team who beforehand had realistic Super Bowl aspirations throughout the offseason.
Next we will see the Colts host their first home game of the season against Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers 0-2
In a season that started out with such high hopes, it has started to unravel at an alarming pace for the Steelers. After an awful showing in week one against the Patriots, they looked to get back on track at home against the Seahawks.
However, not only did they slip to 0-2 but in doing so, they also lost their future Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger to a season-ending injury. This remains a talented roster and Mason Rudolph looked ok in relief against the Seahawks, hence why they stay in the middle of the pack.
Steelers face a tough trip to a 2-0 49ers team in week 3.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1-1
Bruce Arians got his first win since returning to the NFL as a head coach against a struggling Carolina Panthers team on Thursday Night Football. A huge fourth-down stop on the shadow of their goal line sealed the win. Granted, it was by no means pretty but they will not care.
Tampa Bay host the Giants in week three before going on the road (technically their week six game in London is a home game) for five straight games.
20. Detroit Lions 1-0-1
After the disappointment of their week one tie with the Arizona Cardinals, a very good Chargers team come to Ford field and things were not looking good for the Lions going into week two.
However, a big defensive display with just enough offense handed them a close one beating the Chargers 13-10.
It’s a trip to Philadelphia for Lions team in week 3.
21. Tennessee Titans 1-1
After all the praise the Titans received for beating a talented Cleveland Browns team in week one, they came home to face the Jacoby Brissett lead Colts.
As we have become accustomed to, the Titans came up short. The offence struggled massively to consistently move the chains, converting only 1/10 while on a third down. Clearly, this isn’t a recipe for success especially when Marcus Mariota took four sacks and only threw for 154 yards and 1 TD.
This team looks remarkably similar to the 9-7 team we have seen for the last three seasons and that may well be as good as a Mariota led team can hope for.
Titans face the Jaguars this week on Thursday Night Football.
22. Cleveland Browns 1-1
The Browns bounce back from a hideous week one showing against the Titans by beating a helpless Jets team on Monday Night Football.
Odell Beckham Jr (6 Rec, 161 yards,1 TD) looked every bit the superstar they traded for in his first return to Metlife Stadium since leaving the Giants. OBJ had a spectacular one-handed grab along the sideline before a career-long 89 yard TD catch and run.
The other player to stuff the stat sheet for the Browns was Myles Garrett who had three sacks.
Browns face the Rams at home on Sunday Night Football this week.
23. Oakland Raiders 1-1
After a week one victory on Monday Night Football against the Denver Broncos many had higher than expected hopes for this Raiders team and after one quarter and a 10-0 scoreline against the Kansas City Chiefs, these hopes were raised further.
Few teams have managed to keep Patrick Mahomes down for long since he entered the league and in the second quarter, the reigning league MVP torched the Raiders secondary to the tune of 278 yards and 4 TD’s.
Clearly, there is work to be done on both sides of the ball before this Raiders team can really challenge Mahomes and the Chiefs in the AFC West.
The Raiders face a trip to Minnesota to face the Vikings this week.
24. Arizona Cardinals 0-1-1
While they might not be winning, at least this Cardinals team are more interesting to watch than the 2018 version.
Settling for field goals in this league is never going to yield many victories. However, passing for 349 yards and no picks on only your second start shows great promise for the 2019 number one overall pick – Kyler Murray.
This week the Cardinals host the Panthers.
25. Carolina Panthers 0-2
This Panthers team had high hopes coming into this season that they could regain the form that took them to a 6-2 record to start the 2018 season. Unfortunately, this has not been the case and instead the more closely resemble the team that closed the season 1-7.
With just one win in their last nine games, Coach Ron Rivera’s seat is beginning to get fairly warm. This team will go as far as Cam Newton’s shoulder and legs will take them and he is currently making even the most seemingly easy passes look laboured and he is flat out not running at all.
This could be a long season in Charlotte and next week and a trip to the desert to face the Arizona Cardinals led by Kyler Murray is something that already feels like a must-win the game if they are to have any serious hopes of reaching the playoffs.
26. Denver Broncos 0-2
Ouch! what an awful way to lose a football game for the Denver Broncos. Joe Flacco and company thought they had stolen the game late with a ballsy two-point conversion to take the win. However, the allowed the Chicago Bears to drive down the field with only 31 seconds left on the clock and kick a game-winning field goal as time expired.
Worst still the Bears were gifted 15 yards and a fresh set of downs on a very questionable roughing the passer call against Bradley Chubb.
A trip to Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers awaits the Broncos in week three, with first-year head coach Vic Fangio still awaiting his first NFL win at the reigns.
27. Washington Redskins 0-2
Two weeks in and two close division losses for the Washington Redskins. It is clear that the team are playing hard for under-fire head coach Jay Gruden. However, talent wins in the NFL and this team just does not boast the talent of the two NFC east squads it has faced thus far.
This week they will play host to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football desperately looking to end their two-game skid against arguably the best defence in the NFL.
28. Jacksonville Jaguars 0-2
After a week one performance that left alot to be desired in Duval County. Gardner Flint Minshew II made his first NFL start in place of the injured Nick Foles.
Minshew was one Leonard Fournette yard away from pulling off the come from behind win with the two-point play but Fournette ultimately fell painstakingly short of the end zone.
Next for the Jags, its the Tennessee Titans for Thursday Night Football in another AFC South Tilt.
29. Cincinnati Bengals 0-2
After an impressive week one performance on the road in Seattle where they gave the Seahawks all they could handle before eventually coming up short. There was quite a lot of optimism in Cincinnatit hat Zac Taylor was the second coming of Sean McVay.
That narrative and the air was taken out of the Paul Brown Stadium with a 41-17 beat down at the hands of the inform 49ers.
Next up for the Bengals it’s a trip to Buffalo to face the frisky 2-0 Bills. Will we find out who this team really are next week?
30. New York Jets 0-2
Up 16-0 deep into the 3rd quarter of their week one match up with the Bills, it would have difficult for even the most pessimistic Jets fan to predict that the situation could get so bad so quick.
Not only did they allow Josh Allen and the Bills to come back and steal the win, but following the loss to Buffalo, Sam Darnold went down with mono and is out for an unknown amount of time.
The imperfect week for the Jets was finished off with a 23-3 loss to the Browns at home on national television, where they also lost their backup QB Trevor Siemian for the season to an ankle injury.
It’s doesn’t get much easy for the Jets in week three as a trip to Foxborough to face the 2-0 Patriots is awaiting them. Things can only get better right?
31. New York Giants 0-2
Another week and another Giants loss with Eli starting under centre for Big Blue. Many reports suggested that in the Week one loss to the Cowboys, Manning was not at fault.
The same cannot be said for this weeks defeat against the new Kings of New York (or should I say New Jersey?). Eli looked terrible in a 26/45 showing for 250 yards, 1 TD and 2 INT’s.
The calls for Danny Dimes were getting loader and loader in New York and Coach Pat Shurmur clearly listened.
Daniel Jones was named as the Giants week three starter and this was as sad if not a predictable end to the more than likely future Hall of Famers career.
The single bright spark so far this season is Saquon Barkley (18/107/1TD) who continues to ball out even on this woeful Giants team, although even his outstanding play makes you feel a little sad when you realise a potential generational type talent is stuck on such a poor team.
Next up for the Giants is a trip to Tampa to face the Buccaneers.
32. Miami Dolphins 0-2
If I could rank this team 132nd, it may be too high for these rankings.
Although they refuse to publicly acknowledge it, this team was always planning to tank this season with a roster made up of AAF players and practice squad wannabes. I doubt even the most pessimistic Dolphins fans thought it would be this bad though.
After losing 59-10 in week one to the Ravens, the Phins welcomed defending Super Bowl champions the Patriots to South Florida. Even though they were able to avoid a second consecutive 50 burger, they were shut out instead with a heavy 43-0 beating.
This 2-week stretch is now tied with the 1973 Saints for the worst start to an NFL season with a -92 points differential after two weeks.
The trade of Minkah Fitzpatrick to Pittsburgh may look even worse as the season progresses in Miami.
Next up it’s a road trip to the 2-0 Cowboys. It is already starting to look a very long season for these Dolphins.