Chiefs rise to top in Power rank­ings

USA TODAY International Edition - - SPORTS - Nate Davis @ByNateDavis USA TO­DAY Sports

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.

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