Chiefs rise to top in Power rankings
1. Kansas City Chiefs (Previous ranking: 9): They’ve probably been unfairly overlooked until now. Alex Smith, Kareem Hunt and Justin Houston ensure they won’t be any longer after statement win.
2. Green Bay Packers (5): The game ball goes to Mike Daniels, who had 11⁄2 sacks and stripped Russell Wilson at his own 6-yard line to set up the Pack’s first TD.
3. Oakland Raiders (8): Defense was their biggest issue, but it held a capable Tennessee offense in check on the road. Very positive start.
4. Atlanta Falcons (2): Predictably, Kyle Shanahan-less offense wasn’t same in opener. But we now know why Matt Ryan has been talking up sophomore TE Austin Hooper.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (4): Since stats became official stat in 1982, T.J. Watt is first rookie to debut in Week 1 with two sacks and an interception. Brother J.J. Watt has never had such a game.
6. Dallas Cowboys (6): Dallas caught the Giants without OBJ and exploited New York’s shaky O-line. But give young, beleaguered Cowboys D credit for starting strong.
7. New England Patriots
(1): Panic button? Start Garoppolo? Can Belichick? Definitely. Oh, by the way, Pats won Super Bowl last three times (’01, ’03, ’14) they lost in Week 1.
8. Seattle Seahawks (3): Russell Wilson was sacked 3 times and hit 7. The running backs gained 53 yards, averaging 3.5 per carry. Yeah, that O-line is still horrendous.
9. Denver Broncos (15): For most of Monday, they resembled their 2015 championship form, playing suffocating defense with Trevor Siemian leading an efficient offense.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12): Promising season got off to a scary start, and Bucs didn’t even play. At least they can move forward after Tampa avoided a
direct hit from Irma.
11. Baltimore Ravens (18): If Joe Flacco has to throw only 17 times a week, there won’t be any need to put this depleted but battle-hardened team on his injured back.
12. Tennessee Titans (7): They didn’t live up to the hype, failing to establish the run or convert in the red zone.
13. Detroit Lions (23): Can $135 million be well spent on a QB? Matthew Stafford had a record eight fourth-quarter comebacks last year. He’s on pace to have 16 in 2017.
14. Carolina Panthers (14): Offensively, what we expected — limited exposure of QB Cam Newton and lots of touches for Christian McCaffrey. Resurgent D a nice surprise.
15. Minnesota Vikings (17): QB Sam Bradford, RB Dalvin Cook and WR Adam Thielen looked like quite a set of triplets with blocking to help them.
16. Philadelphia Eagles
(19): LeGarrette Blount caught a TD pass. Why is that noteworthy? He’d done that one other time in his eight-year career.
17. Los Angeles Chargers
(13): They showed a lot of grit in Monday’s fourth-quarter comeback. They also suffered the type of lapses that swung the outcome in Denver’s favor.
18. New York Giants (10): If an offense with this many weapons is that dependent on Odell Beckham Jr., then this evidently isn’t a very good football team.
19. Los Angeles Rams (24): QB Jared Goff notched first career W and 300-yard game. The offense scored 30 points, which the Rams did once in 2016. Even better, the D scored 16.
20. Miami Dolphins (20): Can’t catch a break. Numerous camp injuries, then Irma throws a huge wrench into their schedule and lives. At least they catch Bolts on short week.
21. Jacksonville Jaguars
(26): No Jag has had a 10-sack season since 2006. Yet they had 10 collectively Sunday, including four from newbie Calais Campbell. Helps mask their QB issues.
22. New Orleans Saints
(21): The defense still stinks. The offense had empty-calorie
production. And Adrian Peterson looked like a woeful fit for this scheme.
23. Arizona Cardinals (11): The injury to David Johnson is catastrophic given how the offense runs through him. Maybe Kerwynn Williams (5.4 career yards per carry) can hold the fort. 24. Chicago Bears (30): Could rookie Tarik Cohen’s stellar start (113 scrimmage yards) and Jordan Howard’s killer drop in clutch significantly alter the running backs’ share of touches? 25. Washington Redskins
(22): Not a $24 million performance from Kirk Cousins (one interception, two fumbles), unless you count his team-high 30 rushing yards. (You shouldn’t count that.)
26. Houston Texans (16): Given what they went through with Harvey, a letdown is probably understandable. But they need direction at QB and definitely need LT Duane Brown.
27. Buffalo Bills (28): Nifty start for rookie coach Sean McDermott, who unexpectedly has long-suffering Bills alone in first place. Next up, team he knows well — Carolina.
28. Cleveland Browns (29): Rookie QB DeShone Kizer had encouraging debut (pass/rush TD), and the defense limited imposing Steelers offense to 290 yards. Factory of happiness?
29. Indianapolis Colts (27): Nice job by QB Scott Tolzien, who threw 2 TD passes, while filling in for Andrew Luck. Oh wait, Tolzien’s TD passes were to the Rams. NVM.
30. Cincinnati Bengals
(25): Andy Dalton was picked off 4 times, lost a fumble, was sacked 5 times and hit on 3 occasions. Maybe Cincy will invest in O-line in future.
31. San Francisco 49ers
(31): To all those pundits who urged you to look out for the Niners as a sleeper, we now remind you to cover your eyes as we’d warned all along. 32. New York Jets (32): Whew, that was close. Nice effort in Buffalo nearly cost them inside track on No. 1 pick. But Josh McCown got memo and tossed two fourth-quarter INTs.
With quarterback Alex Smith leading the way, the Chiefs won’t be overlooked after their win.