Thankfully, mercifully, blessedly, football is back. After a manic, amazing Week 1, here are the official and unimpeachably correct ONE37pm NFL power rankings.
ONE37pm's Week 1 NFL Power Rankings
1. Buffalo Bills (1-0)
I mean, yeah. In last Thursday’s season opener against the Los Angeles Rams, the Bills ravished the reigning champs by transforming into a fire-spewing godhead in the second half, going on a 21-0 run to seal their 31-10 victory. While Josh Allen is continually inventing and reinventing new modes of quarterbacking greatness, the Bills now have a supporting cast with the capacity to elevate Allen rather than solely be elevated by him. Gabe Davis has built upon last year’s postseason breakout to emerge as a legitimate weapon in the passing game; Tre’Davious White’s eventual return will give Buffalo the league’s best secondary; off-season addition Von Miller adds much-needed juice to their pass-rush. All summer, the Bills had been hyped up as a potential juggernaut that’ll flatten all comers—it turns out all that fanfare was too tempered.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)
Despite trading All-Pro receiver Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins over the summer, the Chiefs offense seems no worse for the wear. To open the season, Patrick Mahomes had one of the best games of his career—360 yards, five touchdowns and zero turnovers on 30-39 passing. As a unit, the offense put up 44 points and earned 488 total yards, dicing up the Arizona Cardinals by mixing tempos and personnel groupings. Whereas the Chiefs previously relied on their star power, they’re now buoyed by their depth; nine Chiefs caught a pass and five received a carry. What will the Kansas City Chiefs do without Tyreek Hill? Same thing they did with Tyreek Hill, apparently
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0)
The most impressive thing about the Buccaneers is how inessential Tom Brady seems. While Brady gives the whole organization a clarity of purpose and gravitas that belies their cartoon pirate flag logo, the team is so loaded that Brady is freed from the mammoth responsibility of being Brady. Against the Cowboys, Brady scuffled to just 212 yards on Sunday night, but the rest of the Bucs comprehensively dominated Dallas en route to a 19-3 win. Offensively, Leonard Fournette and a patchwork offensive line gashed Dallas for 127 yards on the ground; defensively, Carlton Davis and company held Dak Prescott to 134 yards on less than 50% passing.
4. Baltimore Ravens (1-0)
If you don’t like Lamar Jackson, you are the police. The swarm of narratives around Jackson are inescapable—why won’t he just sign an extension? Why does he get covid every month like an issue of Vanity Fair?—but they ignore that he’s still the most electrifying football player on the planet. Even as the Ravens sleep-walked through their 24-9 victory over the Jets, the foundation of their goodness was easily recognizable. Jackson slung three touchdown passes, taking to the air to compensate for an uncharacteristically bottled-up ground game; the revamped secondary put a lid on New York’s passing attack, limiting the Jets to just 5.9 yards per attempt. While a historic wave of injuries forced them to slum it outside of the playoffs last year, the Ravens once again look the part of a contender.
5. Los Angeles Chargers (1-0)
Everybody is in a tizzy to anoint Justin Herbert as The Next Big Thing and showings like Sunday demonstrate why. During a 24-19 win against the Las Vegas Raiders, Herbert was surgical; he completed 76.5 percent of his passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns. Herbert possesses a rare cocktail of gifts, combining immense physical talent with a quick processing computer brain—his true talent isn’t merely that he can make every throw, but the recognition that he doesn’t always have to. Beyond Herbert, the Chargers’ all-star defense looked like all-stars; Khalil Mack sacked David Carr three times in his Chargers debut while mainstays like Joey Bosa and Derwin James chipped in sacks of their own.
6. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)
If you remove quarterbacks from the equation, the Eagles might be the most talented team in the NFL. Their roster is a cornucopia of elite players—both lines are immovable and composed of mutants; the rushing attack led the NFL in yards last season; the secondary has depth players better than some playoff teams’ starters. The problem has been that quarterback Jalen Hurts was (is?) too limited as a passer to win anything significant. But, if Sunday’s closer-than-it-appears 38-35 win over the Detroit Lions is any indication, that might no longer be the case. More than his impressive-enough 243 passing yards, Hurts showed an instant, easy chemistry with receiver AJ Brown, connecting with the Eagles’ marquee offseason addition for 155 yards and 10 catches on 13 targets.
7. Minnesota Vikings (1-0)
Justin Jefferson kicks so much ass that even Kirk Cousins has osmotically learned to kick a little bit of ass by being around him. In Minnesota's new, Sean McVay-inspired offense, Jefferson had six catches for 158 yards and two touchdowns…in the first half. While Jefferson’s greatness has garnered the bulk of the headlines, the Vikings defense did yeoman’s work in there 23-7 win; as a unit, they held the Packers to just seven points.
8. Los Angeles Rams
Yes, they’re defending champs. Yes, they're rankedbelow teams like the Ravens and Vikings and Chargers who missed the playoffs last year. By virtue of the NFC being the NFL’s junior varsity, the Rams are automatically in the inner sanctum of Super Bowl contenders, but their 31-10 shellacking against the Bills hardly inspires confidence. Nevertheless, nearly every significant player and coach returns from last year’s Super Bowl winners. Similarly, they won’t have to play Josh Allen every week. Expect them to be significantly higher soon as they beat up on the Falcons and Cardinals over the next two weeks.
9. Green Bay Packers (0-1)
No matter how grisly their 23-7 defeat to the Vikings was, there’s no need to overreact—just last year, the Packers got boat raced 38-3 in their opener before rebounding to earn the #1 seed in the NFC. The defense should be among the NFL’s stoutest, despite their inexplicably lackadaisical coverage against Justin Jefferson. Aaron Rodgers should be among the NFL’s best quarterbacks, despite seeming to intensely hate the assortment of wanna-bes and never-beens that the Packers have left him with at receiver. This team is too good to keep looking this bad.
10. San Francisco 49ers (0-1)
Speaking of being too good to look this bad, come on down, San Francisco! Their 19-10 loss to the Bears was the most shocking result of Week 1, but can probably be explained by the fact that the game was played in a monsoon that turned Soldier Field's turf into Dagobah. Nick Bosa, Fred Warner, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and head coach Kyle Shannahan give the team a fairly high floor; their ceiling will be determined by the development of Trey Lance, the third pick in the 2020 draft who has struggled so far to justify being the third pick in the 2020 draft. Troublingly, Lance was outplayed by fellow 2020 draftee Justin Fields, failing to make an impact with his arms or legs.
11. Miami Dolphins (1-0)
Their quarterback’s arm leans more towards t-shirt cannon than bazooka and their new head coach is kind of a dork. I love them and you should too. After spending their whole offseason enmeshed in a whorl of cascading existential crises, the Dolphins were able to simply be a football team on Sunday—and they looked like a good one at that, dog walking the Patriots 20-7. There are nits to picks—namely, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa left some meat on the bone by not being more aggressive—but new coach Mike McDaniel has already provided proof of concept for how his scheme can maximize Tagovailoa and star receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.
12. New Orleans Saints (1-0)
Led by Jameis Winston, the Saints ate a 27-26 W over the Atlanta Falcons, but it wasn’t a tasty one. Although the Saints have made stifling defense their calling card over the last few seasons, they seemed utterly overmatched by Marcus Mariota and Cordarrelle Patterson, which isn’t great. Without legendary coach Sean Payton, the Saints will have some growing pains, but their comeback demonstrated their grit and depth.
13. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)
The Bengals had pretty much the worst game imaginable. Joe Burrow turned the ball over five times. Tee Higgins got concussed, Evan McPherson had a game-winning extra point blocked and then doinked a game-winning field goal off the upright. In this sense, it’s remarkable that they only barely lost in overtime 23-20 to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Whatever pixie dust and good voodoo that propelled the Bengals to last year’s Super Bowl may have worn off, but the Bengals are a force all the same. Ja’Marr Chase is so good that he’d go for 100 yards and a touchdown with you as his quarterback.
14. Indianapolis Colts (0-0-1)
A 20-20 tie with the Houston Texans is nasty business. Still, the Colts offensive triumvirate of Jonathan Taylor, Matt Ryan and Michael Pittman are enough to win the abominable AFC South, though it’s hard to feel too enthusiastic about anything AFC South related at the moment.
15. Denver Broncos (0-1)
The good: The refurbished, Russell Wilson-led offense was humming from the get-go and the Broncos absolutely dominated the Seattle Seahawks, outgaining them by nearly 200 yards and shutting them out in the second half. The bad: the Broncos lost 17-16 to a presumed bottom-feeder. The ugly: rookie coach Nathaniel Hackett has a rock tumbler for a brain.
16. Las Vegas Raiders (0-1)
While the Raiders would be a surefire playoff team in the NFC, they have the misfortune of being the worst team in the loaded AFC West. Former college teammates and longtime friends Derek Carr and Davante Adams immediately clicked in their reunion, linking up for 141 yards and a touchdown on 10 receptions. Sadly, that kind of chemistry was absent throughout the rest of the roster as the Raiders got punked along the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and lost 24-19.
17. Washington Commanders (1-0)
Besides the roughly six moments each year where Carson Wentz does the dumbest thing you’ve ever seen on a football field, he’s honestly not that bad—as long as you ignore the memes, he’s potentially even above average, ranking 11th in touchdown percentage and third in interception percentage last year. Either way, he’s the best quarterback to play for Washington in nearly a decade. The Commanders 28-22 comeback win against the Jacksonville Jaguars wasn’t pretty, but it suggests that Washington can muster enough competence to keep their head above water and maybe grab a Wild Card playoff bid.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)
Pittsburgh’s defense is as good as their offense is bad. All-world players like Minkah Fitzpatrick, Cameron Hayward and TJ Watt (pending an update on his potentially torn pec) are enough to keep the Steelers in just about any game, but a gormless offense helmed by Mitch Trubisky caps their ceiling.
19. Arizona Cardinals (0-1)
Of the teams that outwardly fancy themselves a real football team, it’s hard to find one with worse vibes than the Cardinals. Kyler Murray likes Call of Duty more than he does football; alleged air raid mastermind Kliff Kingsbury is handsome but empty headed, like a Faberge Egg. In their season opener, the Cardinals got molly-whopped 44-21 by the Chiefs. Murray’s impish brilliance and the eventual return of Deandre Hopkins in Week 7 should help stabilize the team—it’s just a matter of if there’s anything worth stabilizing left by that point.
20. Seattle Seahawks (1-0)
Geno Smith—not that bad! Although Smith cooled down in the second half after a scorching first half that saw him complete 17 of his first 18 passes, he’s exactly the kind of sure-handed custodian who can keep the Seahawks offense on-schedule. The team is bad, but they’re feisty. Ultimately, though, this season is already a success; after spoiling Russell Wilson’s return to Seattle, everything else is gravy.
21. New England Patriots (0-1)
This is the team that Bill Belichick wants. The spine of the roster comes from recent draft picks and a record $163 million shopping spree in free agency in 2021; the coaching staff is primarily made up of Belichick’s sons, both figuratively and literally. So why do the Pats suck so hard? For starters, they don't have an offensive coordinator! Without anybody pushing back against him, Belichick has been free to indulge his worst impulses, building a roster consisting entirely of fourth wide receivers and fifth linebackers and third tight ends. Somehow, it'll all work out in the end.
22. New York Giants (1-0)
Even coming off a game-winning two-point conversion to steal a 21-20 upset victory over the Titans, the Giants are a snooze-fest; Daniel Jones could give birth at midfield during a game and I’d still be annoyed if Scott Hanson showed them on Redzone. This boringness, however, has a clear remedy: a fully healthy Saquon Barkley is so breath-taking that he could single-handedly make this Nike Monarchs-ass team worth watching.
23. Cleveland Browns (1-0)
The Browns can only hope to tread water until their serial sexual assaulter comes back. What a grim sentence.
24. Tennessee Titans (0-1)
Basically the same general idea as the Giants except with Derrick Henry subbed in for Saquon Barkley. Oh, and they lost to the Giants, somehow..
25. Detroit Lions (0-1)
Hard Knocks? Cool. A 38-35 loss to open the season? Less cool.
26. Chicago Bears (1-0)
The Bears are in the midst of one of the NFL’s most flagrant teardowns, but there’s still some fun to be had dancing around in the ashes. Second year quarterback Justin Fields is a blast—there’s a certain joy in watching somebody so immensely talented try to figure out how to play quarterback in real time. The fact that the Bears stole a victory from the 9ers to open the year is a nice bonus too.
27. Dallas Cowboys (0-1)
Dallas’s 19-3 crap-out on Sunday night was so abject and ugly that it almost undercut the schadenfreude of watching the Cowboys lose. At the risk of sounding fatalistic, Dak Prescott’s hand surgery and the paucity of weapons on offense have essentially ended the season already.
28. New York Jets (0-1)
Sauce Gardner looks like a future superstar in the Jets’ secondary, which means he’ll probably demand a trade in two years. Between Sauce and Zach Wilson, the Jets have no shortage of dawg in them.
29. Houston Texans (0-0-1)
For a team as threadbare as the Texans, a tie against the Colts is a major win.
30. Carolina Panthers (0-1)
Sadly, Baker Mayfield didn’t end up being able to “f**k [the Browns] up,” as Cleveland kicker Cade York drilled a walk-off 58 yard field goal to beat the Panthers. Even if the team isn’t particularly good, Carolina’s cadre of big-name players like DJ Moore, Christian McCaffrey, Mayfield and Brian Burns makes them very watchable.
31. Atlanta Falcons (0-1)
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)
One day, generational quarterback prospect Trevor Lawrence will lead the Jags out of the NFL’s sub-basement. But that day is not today