The Arizona Cardinals stunned the NFL world, beating the New England Patriots 20-18 on Sunday. In fact, the NFC West was dominating in Week Two, going 4-0 for the first time since Week 10 of last season.
Here are the update The Fan AM 1060 NFL Power Rankings, which will be posted every single Tuesday on thefan1060.com. Bob Kemp will react to these ranking on Wednesday in the SportsZone.
1) San Francisco 49ers (2-0) LW: 1
San Francisco was showcased for the world to see and Sunday night, and boy the Niners did not disappoint. The defense shutdown Calvin Johnson, stifled the run game and held Matthew Stafford to 230 passing yards. One concern was the amount of drops by the 49ers wide receivers. But that didn’t faze Alex Smith, who is continuing to mature as a starting quarterback.
2) Atlanta Falcons (2-0) LW: 4
The Falcons made a statement on Monday, but much of it was lost in hoopla surrounding the horrible replacement refs. Atlanta’s revamped defense confused Peyton Manning all night, which is no easy task. Meanwhile, Dirk Koetter (cut to ASU fans cringing) is fitting in smoothly with Matt Ryan and company.
3) Houston Texans (2-0) LW: 5
It wasn’t pretty, but it didn’t have to be. Houston did just enough to beat the lowly Jaguars. Through two games, the defense has not missed Mario Williams as much as many people, including myself, thought. Still, I want to see the Texans against some of the better teams in the NFL, like the Broncos this week.
4) Baltimore Ravens (1-1) LW: 2
Baltimore took a small step back, but it wasn’t too surprising. The Ravens are never a sure thing on the road and were facing a much better defense against the Eagles. Still, Flacco appeared to have won the game, but Torrey Smith was flagged for a questionable PI. The Ravens host the reeling and banged up Patriots in Week 3.
5) Green Bay Packers (1-1) LW: 6
Green Bay responded well against the Bears last Thursday, in what was really a must-win game. The defense, which got burned by the 49ers the week before, shut down Matt Forte and caused fits for Jay Cutler. The Packers D will have to keep it up on Monday Night Football against the Seahawks.
6) Philadelphia Eagles (2-0) LW: 10
Philadelphia is 2-0 and it baffles me. The Eagles fumbled twice and Mike Vick threw two picks, but it was enough to beat the Ravens. But you have to wonder how long Philly can keep winning like this. The Cardinals defense is capable of making Vick pay, but can Arizona’s offense capitalize. That will be the key this Sunday.
7) New England Patriots (1-1) LW: 3
New England lost its first home opening since 2001 to the Arizona Cardinals. Read that last sentence again. Okay, we move on. Bill Belichick was completely out-coached by Ken Whisenhunt and cost the Patriots the win by settling for a field goal attempt in the closing seconds. For as great as the hoodie is, he sure makes some questionable coaching decisions.
8) Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) LW: 5
Pittsburgh was without two of their biggest defense stars (Troy Polamalu and James Harrison), but eventually wore down the vastly inferior New York Jets. The Steelers are still trying to find their identity on offense. If they ever do, Pittsburgh will be a major player in the AFC.
9) New York Giants (1-1) LW: 11
The Giants seemed destined for a 0-2 start. Eli Manning put New York a big hole, throwing three first-half interceptions, but was able to recover and lead the G-Men to a come-from-behind win. Still, the Giants are not built for Eli to be throwing the ball over 50 times and Ahmad Bradshaw’s injury is a major cause for concern.
10) Denver Broncos (1-1) LW: 7
Peyton Manning dug himself too big of a whole to climb out of. The Falcons confused Manning, which contributed to the three first quarter picks. But another factor was the running game. Willis McGehee did have 113 yards and two touchdowns, but that was a tad misleading. Atlanta seemed to own the Broncos in short-yardage situations.
11) Chicago Bears (1-1) LW: 9
Jay Culter should have kept his mouth shut. Wishing the Green Bay Packers, a team that has owned Culter for several years, good luck was ill-advised. It fired up a shaken defense and ultimately decided the game. But, I wouldn’t write off Chicago just yet.
12) San Diego Chargers (2-0) LW: 13
San Diego is off to a hot start thanks to the play of Philip Rivers. The Chargers picked apart the Titans weak secondary, ran the ball effectively and shut down Jake Locker and Chris Johnson. San Diego will face a much tougher test this week when Atlanta comes to town.
13) Arizona Cardinals (2-0) LW: 23
The Arizona Cardinals might have the best defense in the NFL. I’m not kidding. Ray Horton had the perfect gameplan against Tom Brady and his players executed it beautifully. This defense will keep the Redbirds in every game. The question is whether or not the offense can put up enough points week in and week out.
14) Carolina Panthers (1-1) LW: 18
Cam Newton was a one-man show Sunday in Charlotte. The 2011 Rookie of the Year threw for 253 yards, ran for 71 more and found the end zone twice. But the bigger story was the Panthers defense. Sure, Carolina gave up a ton of yards, however the D made several big plays that contributed to the win.
15) Seattle Seahawks (1-1) LW: 26
Beastmode returned in big way for Seattle against the Dallas Cowboys. Marshawn Lynch ran all over the Dallas defense to a tune of 122 yards and a touchdown. Seattle’s defense and special teams had a great day as well in what turned out to be a complete team win for the Seahawks.
16) Washington Redskins (1-1) LW: 14
Washington squandered a great chance to move to 2-0 against the Rams. While much of the talk is centered on Josh Morgan’s stupid penalty, let’s not forget the Redskins blew a 15 point lead. Now Washington will be without Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker for the year. RG3 will likely have to out-score everyone from here on out.
17) Cincinnati Bengals (1-1) LW: 17
Andy Dalton and the Bengals recovered nicely after getting blown out by the Ravens in Week 1. But some concerns still remain. Cincinnati’s defense couldn’t stop Brandon Weeden or Trent Richardson. If the Bengals want to make a repeat playoff performance, the D will have to improve.
19) Detroit Lions (1-1) LW: 15
No one should be surprised by the outcome of the Lions’ loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Detroit is going to struggle against the better teams in the league this year, for a lot of the reasons we saw on Sunday night. The running game in practically ineffective and better teams can make Calvin Johnson a non-factor.
15) Dallas Cowboys (1-1) LW: 12
The Dallas Cowboys came back down to earth in predictable fashion in Week 2. It was a collective letdown by the entire team, something that has become routine in Dallas over the years. The Cowboys should bounce back in their home opener, but the key word is should.
20) New York Jets (1-1) LW: 19
Rex Ryan and the Jets were also given a small dose of reality on Sunday. Mark Sanchez looked 4-for-5 on an 8-play, 90-yard touchdown drive. Sanchez was 6-for-22 for the rest of the game. Yikes. I’m sure Skip Bayless is well aware of that stat.
21) New Orleans Saints (0-2) LW: 16
At the beginning of the season I said the Saints would not make the playoffs because the Don’t-Call-It-BountyGate scandal. After two weeks, its clear New Orleans is affected by Sean Payton’s absence. The Saints defense has allowed 922 yards and 75 points in the first two games. I doubt that improves any time soon.
22) Buffalo Bills (1-1) LW: 27
CJ Spiller finally showed why Buffalo drafted him so high, rushing for 127 yards and two touchdowns in the Bills win. Mario Williams was a presence again, recovering a fumble, but he’s still sackless through two weeks. The Bills can easily move to 2-1 this week against the Browns.
23) St. Louis Rams (1-1) LW: 29
Sam Bradford erased all those questions surrounding him, at least for one week. Bradford picked apart the Redskins for 310 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Rams showed some toughness, rallying from a 15-point deficit. They’ll need that same toughness against the Bears this week.
24) Minnesota Vikings (1-1) LW: 22
The Vikings shook off a bad first half and were able to march down the field in the final minutes to tie the game with 23 seconds left. Unfortunately, that was plenty of time for Andrew Luck. Christian Ponder took a baby-step forward with that two-minute drive, but Minnesota cannot afford slow starts in the NFC North.
25) Indianapolis Colts (1-1) LW: 28
It only took Andrew Luck two games to lead his first game-winning drive. Luck had his ups, two touchdowns, and downs, a 17-yard sack with 3:00 left & spiking the ball with 8 seconds left, but all in all the rookie lived up to the hype. I have a feeling Luck will be bailing out the terrible Colts defense several times this year.
26) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1) LW: 24
Tampa Bay was cruising to a victory. The Bucs picked off Eli Manning three times, Josh Freeman found a new favorite target in Vincent Jackson and the Giants couldn’t run the ball. But then it all fell apart. Tampa’s collapse shows Greg Schiano still has a lot of work to do. Facing Tony Romo (3-0, 908 yards, 11 TDs, 0 INTs vs TB) won’t help things.
27) Miami Dolphins (1-1) LW: 30
The Dolphins ran all over the Raiders, literally. Miami outgaining Oakland 259-93 on Sunday, with Reggie Bush have a breakout game with 172 rushing yards. A positive sign was Ryan Tannehill taking care of the football after throwing three picks in Week 1.
28) Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) LW: 20
Maybe Todd Haley wasn’t the problem. Matt Cassel underperformed once again and the defense resembled the team that got Haley fired last season. Scott Pioli must be walking on thin ice after this start.
29) Tennessee Titans (0-2) LW: 21
The Jake Locker Era hasn’t gone smoothly so far. One of the reasons is Mike Munchak’s play calling. How does Chris Johnson have only 19 carries for just 21 yards? He’s the best weapon Tennessee has, time to start using him more.
30) Oakland Raiders (0-2) LW: 25
Carson Palmer looks old and Oakland isn’t getting the ball to Darren McFadden enough. Looks like it will be another long season by the bay for the Raiders.
31) Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2) LW: 31
Jacksonville finished with a franchise-low 113 yards of total offense against Houston. I know the Texans have a pretty good defense, but they aren’t that good. Blaine Gabbert left the game with an injury, but could start this week against the Colts. With the Jags offensive line, that seems like a bad idea.
32) Cleveland Browns (0-2) LW: 32
The Browns looked improved offensively against the Bengals, but their defense that held the Eagles to 17 points regressed badly. If Cleveland can find an even-ground, they could pick up their first win against the Bills this week.