The NFL Season is officially underway, and with week 1 in the books it is time to review and update our Power Rankings. The opening week was full of entertaining matchups and epic endings, with multiple games that came down to the wire. More than one of which ended with an unexpected outcome.
1. Buffalo Bills↑
This one is obvious. The Bills destroyed the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams in the NFL’s season opening game. Josh Allen was in midseason form as he made a case for early MVP consideration, completing 26 of 31 passes for 297 yards and 3 touchdowns. Allen did throw two interceptions, but other than that he was incredible.
Stefon Diggs continues to be a huge weapon, 8 catches for 122 yards and a touchdown. On the other side of the ball, the Bills defense intercepted Matt Stafford 3 times in a dominant performance. For all the weapons that the Rams have, to hold them to 10 points is a great accomplishment.
Defensive tackle Ed Oliver rolled his ankle during week 1, and was wearing a walking boot after the game. However, he is expected to be okay.
2. Kansas City Chiefs↑
The Chiefs are another team that impressed me in week one. Admittedly, I was a bit down on the Chiefs heading into this season. Not just due to the departure of Tyreek Hill, but that combined with the increase in competition within the division had me thinking this team could take a step back. WRONG!
Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense looked better than ever, if that is even possible. Mahomes was 30/39 for 360 yards and 5 touchdowns. Travis Kelce did his thing with 8 catches for 121 yards and a touchdown. Juju Smith-Shuster had 6 catches for 79 yards, but fumbled twice, one of which was recovered by the Cardinals.
Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker injured his ankle on a kickoff last week, and is still struggling with the injury. Justin Reid stepped in as the teams emergency kicker, though Butker was able to come back into the game to hit a 54 yard field goal with a heavily taped up foot and ankle. His status is in doubt, especially given that the team has such a quick turnaround as they play the Chargers on Thursday night this week.
3. Los Angeles Chargers↑
The Chargers are exactly who many expected them to be. A team with a talented young QB and a top level defense. Justin Herbert did everything you could ask for, going 26/34 for 279 yards and 3 touchdowns with 0 interceptions.
Herbert spread the ball around to a variety of receivers, running backs, and tight ends. It was a true team effort from the Chargers. The Charger defense played well in the 4th quarter with 2 interceptions and forcing a critical turnover on downs to essentially seal the victory.
Star wide receiver Keenan Allen left the game early due to a hamstring injury. With the Chargers scheduled to take on the Chiefs Thursday, Allen’s status is still questionable.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers↓
Despite getting a win over the Cowboys in week 1, the Bucs are sliding down a bit in the rankings due to a relatively unimpressive showing against the Cowboys. Sure, Tampa controlled the game throughout and somewhat cruised to an easy win, but it was thanks in large part to the defense. Tom Brady and the Bucs offense was less than stellar.
Leonard Fournette had a big day on the ground, rushing for 127 yards on 21 carries. Tom Brady was decent enough, finishing 18/27 for 212 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Definitely not a performance up to the Brady standard, but enough to get the Bucs the win.
Wide receiver Chris Godwin left the game early with a hamstring injury, though it is not believed to be serious. The team also lost left tackle Donovan Smith to a hyperextended elbow in week 1, his return will be based on how it feels before the game.
5. Baltimore Ravens↑
New contract or not, Lamar Jackson came to play and was ready to go when the Ravens kicked off their season against the New York Jets. Lamar threw for over 200 yards and 3 touchdowns, including a 55 yard bomb to Rashod Bateman.
Baltimore’s defense also came ready to play, holding the Jets to only 9 points. Despite holding them to 9 points the Ravens defense did give up a lot of yards and first downs to the Jets offense. However, they stepped up and asserted themselves as a bend but don’t break defense.
The Ravens were hit hard by injuries in week one as they lost both Ja’Wuan James and Kyle Fuller for the rest of the season.
6. Cleveland Browns↑
First and foremost, the Browns finally won a season opener. Huge win for Browns fans. It wasn’t the cleanest game nor the easiest win, but the team is 1-0 and still undefeated. Jacoby Brissett missed a few open receivers and made a few mistakes, but overall played well enough to help get the victory.
Nick Chubb showed up in midsession form, rushing for 141 yards on 22 attempts. The other member of the Browns dynamic duo at running back had a big day as well. Kareem Hunt had 46 rushing yards and a touchdown, plus 24 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Right tackle Jack Conklin was inactive for the week 1 matchup against the Panthers, and remains in doubt due to a patellar tendon injury back in November. Coach Stefanski says he is really close, but until he’s announced to be on an active game day we’ll assume he’s still recovering.
7. Cincinnati Bengals↑
It may seem strange that the Bengals are moving up in the rankings after losing in week one. However, the Bengals had multiple opportunities to win that game and likely would have had their long snapper not been injured. That said, not the best overall day at the office for Joey Burrow and the boys.
Burrow threw 4 interceptions on his way to finishing with 338 yards and 2 touchdowns. Ja’Marr Chase was his usual self with 10 catches for 129 yards and a potential game-winning touchdown on the final play of regulation. The “improved” offensive line struggled against the Steelers defensive front, and Burrow was sacked 7 times.
Wide receiver Tee Higgins remains in concussion protocol and is not a guarantee to play in week 2.
8. Las Vegas Raiders↑
The Raiders are another team that remain winless but are moving up in the rankings. This is partly due to teams above them dropping below, but also because even though they lost to the Chargers in week 1, the team played well and had moments.
Raiders QB Derek Carr threw for 295 yards and 2 touchdowns, but he also had 3 interceptions on the day. Two of the INTs came in the second half, derailing any chance of a comeback victory. Davante Adams had a big day with 10 catches for 141 yards and 1 touchdown.
Cornerback Anthony Averett was placed on short term IR after suffering a thumb injury in week 1 against the Chargers. Averett will be eligible to play again in week 6.
9. Los Angeles Rams↓
Opening night was a very forgettable one for the defending Super Bow Champions. The Rams hosted the Buffalo Bills to kick off the 2022 NFL Season, and the Bills absolutely embarrassed them.
Despite reports to the contrary, Stafford appeared to still be dealing with discomfort in his throwing elbow. The timing and rhythm of the offense was noticeably absent, as Stafford turned the ball over 3 times via interception. Cooper Kupp was the lone bright spot for the Rams, as he had 13 catches for 128 yards and a touchdown. Though even he seemed to be laboring with the weight of having to do it all.
The Rams will be without their starting center, Brian Allen, who underwent knee surgery. He is expected to miss 2-4 weeks before returning to the lineup.
10. Green Bay Packers↓
Talk about coming out flat to start the season, which is not necessarily unfamiliar territory for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. So perhaps we should all just R-E-L-A-X, but the absence of Davante Adams was very evident. Rookie WR Christian Watson dropped a would-be touchdown on the first offensive play for the Packers, and that sums up how the day went.
It was clear Rodgers still has some work ahead of himself in order to get in better sync with his young wide receivers. Rodgers finished the game with 195 yards passing, 0 touchdowns and 1 interception.
Linebacker Krys Barnes suffered what is believed to be a high ankle sprain, and was carted off the field in week 1. Left guard Jon Runyon left the game early due to a concussion. Wide receiver Allen Lazard was inactive week 1 as he recovers from an ankle injury.
11. Indianapolis Colts↓
The Colts came in as one of the biggest disappointments from week 1 in my opinion. This is a team that is solid in the trenches on both sides of the ball, plus they have one of the best running backs in the league. Matt Ryan replacing Carson Wentz is an upgrade for that offense. Matt Ryan finished with 352 yards passing, 1 touchdown and 1 interception.
Ryan led a 7 play 80 yard drive resulting in a touchdown and extra point to tie the game with just under two minutes remaining in the game. Kicking woes cost the Colts the win, as now former Colts kicker Rodrigo Blankenship missed on a 42 yard game-winning field goal attempt in overtime prior to the game ultimately ending in a tie.
Running back Damien Williams is dealing with soreness in his ribs, which limited him to just 10 snaps in week 1 against the Saints. He’s not expected to miss time, though his workload will vary based on the level of discomfort he’s experiencing on game day.
12. Miami Dolphins↑
The Miami Dolphins really impressed in week 1 by getting a dominant win over the New England Patriots. Miami controlled the game from start to finish, out scoring the Patriots 17-0 in the first half and never looking back on their way to a 20-7 victory.
Tua Tagovailoa was solid on the day going 23 of 33 for 270 yards and a touchdown. The real bright spot for the Dolphins is their defense, which recovered 2 fumbles and had 1 interception. One of the fumble recoveries came after a sack and resulted in a defensive touchdown.
Right tackle Austin Jackson sat out the end of last weeks game, though Coach Mike McDaniel mentioned that it was purely precautionary and stated that Jackson is fine.
13. New Orleans Saints↑
Jameis Winston was able to shake off a slow start in Atlanta and led the Saints to a week 1 win. Winston threw for 269 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.
Taysom Hill ripped off a big 57 yard run to set up the Saints first score of the day, which featured Hill running the ball in from the 11 yard line for a touchdown.
Star running back Alvin Kamara is dealing with soreness in his ribs, which resulted in reduced snaps in week 1. With that said, Kamara is expected to play in week 2. His expected workload remains unknown.
14. Philadelphia Eagles↑
The Eagles defeated the Detroit Lions in what was one of the more entertaining games to watch from week 1 of the NFL season. Philadelphia score 21 unanswered points in the second quarter to go ahead 21-7 by the midway point of the 2nd quarter. The Lions fought back late, but the Eagles were in control throughout the majority of the game.
Wide receiver AJ Brown had himself a day, with 10 catches for 155 yards. Miles Sanders had a big day as well rushing for 96 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. Jalen Hurts had 243 pass yards paired with 90 yards rushing and a touchdown on the ground.
Tough loss for the team, as edge rusher Derek Barnett was lost for the season due to an ACL injury during the game against Detroit.
15. Minnesota Vikings↑
Let’s start this off by stating that the Vikings demolished Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in week 1. Minnesota jumped out to a 17-0 first half lead thanks to 2 touchdown passes from Kirk Cousins to Justin Jefferson.
The Vikings defense came ready to play, creating multiple turnovers and holding Rodgers and the Packers offense to just 7 points. The Vikings looked much better than I anticipated, and thus they are moving up the rankings.
Rookie corner Andrew Booth Jr. left the game early in week 1, but is expected to be back and available to play week 2.
16. Seattle Seahawks↑
The Seahawks played host to Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos is week 1, and exceeded all expectations by beating the Broncos. Geno Smith was very solid, especially in the first half. He finished the game 23 of 28 for 195 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.
Star wide receiver DK Metcalf had 7 catches on 7 targets, but only a total of 36 receiving yards. DK also had a fumble that was recovered by Denver, so definitely not the start he was hoping for individually. Despite getting the win and Geno Smith playing well, the limitations of this Seahawks team were evident. They are a middle of the road team relative to everyone else, which is why they find themselves in the middle of the rankings.
Star safety Jamal Adams left the game with what is being described as a serious quad injury. He hurt himself on a play in which he sacked Russell Wilson and appeared to land awkwardly. His status remains in doubt, with little likelihood of him playing again anytime soon.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers↑
I did not anticipate that the Mitch Trubisky led Steelers would go to Cincinnati and beat the Bengals in week 1. With that said, the Steelers were still not overly impressive in their overtime win. Trubisky finished the game going 21/38 for 194 yards and 1 touchdown. So he completed 55% of his passes, and averaged 5.5 yards per completion. Neither of which are ideal.
The Steelers defense got the party started early when they intercepted Joe Burrows first pass attempt. Throughout the game the Steelers defense was able to rack up a total of 7 sacks and 11 total hits on Joe Burrow. Despite these positives, this is the same defense that gave up a game tying touchdown as time expired, which resulted in overtime.
Star defensive player TJ Watt was injured during the week 1 game against the Bengals. Watt is dealing with a pectoral tear, though the degree of the injury is unknown. He has been seen by multiple doctors as he tries to get more information and find the fastest way back onto the field. He is expected to miss anywhere form 6 weeks to the entire season, which is obviously a huge blow to the Steelers chances of success.
18. Denver Broncos↓
Russell Wilson’s return to Seattle did not go anything like had had hoped it would, as it ended in disappointment with the Seahawks getting the win. Many people assumed the addition of Wilson would immediately make the Broncos contenders to win it all, however given the strength of the division they’ll be lucky to make the playoffs.
Jerry Jeudy found the end zone for the first time in a long time, finishing with 4 catches for 102 yards and a touchdown. The Broncos threw the ball more than twice as often as they ran it, despite averaging over 5 yards per carry on the 20 times they did hand it off. It seems “letting Russ cook” resulted in a loss.
Starting right tackle Billy Turner was inactive and missed week 1. His return is questionable for week 2.
19. Arizona Cardinals↓
The Kyler Murray drama finally concluded with the massive contract extension he and the team agreed to this offseason. Now that the contract negotiations are done, when does the winning start?
The Cardinals got their asses kicked by Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. Kyler threw for 195 yards and 2 garbage time touchdowns. On the flip side the defense was a strong spot last season, but that was not the case last week against Kansas City.
JJ Watt was inactive last week, and is questionable to return this week. The same is true for both Justin Pugh and Rondale Moore as well. Cornerback Marco Wilson injured his leg last week, but he’s expected to be okay.
20. San Francisco 49ers↓
Trey Lance got the start for the 49ers, though it was a forgettable day for both Lance and the 49ers. In fairness, the weather definitely impacted the game with wind and rain limiting passing game. San Francisco was ahead 10-0 to early in the game before being outscored 19-0 by the Bears and losing.
Lance finished with 164 passing yards and 1 interception, in addition to his 13 carries for 54 yards on the ground. Put the weather impact aside, Lance did not appear to be the answer the 49ers are hoping he will be. When it got late in a close game and the 49ers needed to move the ball downfield through the air to score, it was a struggle.
Running back Elijah Mitchell left the game early due to a knee injury, and he is expected to miss 2 months of action while recovering. The team is also without star tight end George Kittle, who is battling a groin injury.
21. Tennessee Titans↓
The Titans blew a 13-0 halftime lead on their way to losing their season opener and home opener to the New York Giants. Definitely a disappointing way for that team to start the year. Ryan Tannehill was decent, though the loss of AJ Brown was evident as Tannehill was throwing to a lot of wide receivers I had never heard of prior.
Derrick Henry and the Titans run game struggled, as Henry was only able to average 3.9 yards per carry, while the Titans as a team average 3.6 for the game. Without being able to get any momentum on thr ground, the Titans offense was out of sorts. Play-action passing game is non-existent anytime the team fails to get the run game going.
Safety AJ Moore suffered an ankle injury in week 1 that resulted in him being carted off the field. Moore had only appeared on a few special teams plays prior to getting hurt.
22. New England Patriots↓
Many just assume that Bill Belichick will “figure it out” and will have the Patriots poised to make a playoff run by the end of the season. However, the eyeball test from week 1 was not great for the Patriots. New England has historically struggled to win in Miami, but I did not expect them to get thoroughly dominated in the way that they were in week 1.
Things started off looking promising, as Mac Jones engineered an opening drive that had the Patriots on the Dolphins 22 yard line about to score and set the tone. That’s when Mac Jones threw a costly interception the resulted in a field goal for the Dolphins. After the teams traded punts Mac Jones was sacked and fumbled, which was recovered by Miami for a touchdown. The day never really got much better for Patriots fans. The offense lacks any true playmakers, and the defense struggled to slow down the Dolphins offense.
There was concern surrounding the status of Mac Jones and his back, however follow-up testing indicates that he should be okay moving forward.
23. Washington Commanders↑
Carson Wentz and the Washington Commanders were able to get a win week 1 over the Jacksonville Jaguars to start the season 1-0. Washington scored touchdowns on their first two offensive drives of the game to jump ahead 14-3.
The Commanders QB had a solid day statistically speaking, with 313 yards passing and 4 touchdowns. In classic Carson Wentz fashion he did throw 2 interceptions, one of which allowed Jacksonville to get back into the game. Running back Antonio Gipson had a big day with 130 total yards (58 yards rushing, 72 yards receiving).
Defensive tackle Jonathan Allen had an MRI on Monday, but he told reporters that it was purely precautionary and that he is fine.
24. Detroit Lions
The season opener started great for the Lions, as they went on a 9 play 75 yard drive for a touchdown before the Eagles scored 21 unanswered points.
Running back D’Andre Swift had a monster day rushing for 144 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. Jared Goff was decent at times throughout the game, but the interception was a costly one. There are no moral victories in the NFL, but the positive note for the Lions is that they were in the game and had a chance. Hopefully for Lions fans they can start to win some of the close games instead of always coming out on the losing end.
No new injuries to report from week 1 for Detroit.
25. Chicago Bears↑
The Bears got an unexpected win, thanks in part to mother nature. The wind and rain throughout the game made it difficult for either team to move the ball through the air, at least that’s what is being said. Regardless of weather conditions, I believe both the Bears and 49ers will struggle to move the ball via the passing game.
The Bears were down 10-0 before scoring 19 unanswered points on their way to getting a week 1 win. Bears QB Justin Fields finished the game 8 of 17 for 121 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. Fields also ran the ball 11 times for 28 yards. It will be interesting to see the Bears offense in better weather conditions, but I still have low expectations for this team as a whole.
No new injuries for the Bears during week 1, though rookie Velus Jones Jr. missed the game due to a hamstring injury.
26. Carolina Panthers↓
Baker Mayfield got the start against his former team, and almost got the win. The Browns controlled the majority of the game, until Baker hit Robbie Anderson for a 75 yard touchdown to make the score 23-21 Browns. The Panthers then forced a Cleveland punt and Mayfield got the team into range for a go-ahead field goal to put the Panthers up 24-23 with one minute remaining in the game. The Browns ended up getting the win, but Baker played well.
Mayfield completed 16 of 27 passes for 235 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. He and the Panthers offense struggled early, but got things going in the second half. Star running back Christian McCaffrey had a rough day, gaining only 33 yards on his 10 carries.
No new injuries to report for the Panthers from week 1.
27. Houston Texans↑
The Texans are another team that surprised me in week 1, as they faced off against the division rival Indianapolis Colts and managed to play them to a tie in a game in which I expected them to lose by double digits. Not sure which is more to blame, an underestimation of expectations for the Texans or an overestimation of the Colts. Perhaps it was simply a combination of the two.
Texans QB Davis Mills was impressive, completing 23 of 37 passes for 240 yards and 2 touchdowns. Wide receiver Brandin Cooks had 7 receptions on 12 targets totaling 82 yards. Tight end OJ Horward was on the receiving end of both Davis Mills touchdown passes. Despite the week 1 win, I still expect this Texans team to struggle finding wins.
Edge rusher Mario Addison was moved onto IR prior to the week 1 game, making him ineligible to retun until week 5.
28. New York Giants↑
The New York Giants are 1-0, and they beat the Tennessee Titans to get there. This was one of the more surprising outcomes in week 1. Saquon Barkley turned back the clock and put on a show, rushing for 164 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. He had 6 catches for 30 yards as well.
Daniel Jones completed 17 of his 21 pass attempts for a total of 188 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. Jones connected with wide receiver Sterling Shepard for an impressive 65 yard touchdown. The Giants run defense was surprising, as they were able to slow down Derrick Henry and the Tennessee Titans rushing attack, holding them to only 3.6 yards per carry as a team.
The Giants round draft pick, edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux has not played since he was injured in the teams preseason opener, though there is some optimism that he will be ready to return in week 2.
29. Dallas Cowboys↓
The Dallas Cowboys STINK! I actually had pretty high expectations for the Cowboys this season, but the loss of Dak Prescott is crippling to their chances of success. Without Prescott, the Cowboys really are an embarrassment. Even prior to Dak getting injured they were already down 19-3, with the offense struggling to move the ball against Tampa.
Moving forward the Cowboys will be starting Cooper Rush for the next 6-8 games until Prescott is healthy enough to return to the lineup. And that is exactly why the Cowboys have fallen so far in these rankings. It seems very likely that Dallas will be lucky to keep things competitive in their upcoming games without Dak.
Dak Prescott is out 6-8 weeks due to a thumb injury.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars↓
The Jaguars are a team I expected to improve significantly just from the simple fact that Urban Meyer was no longer associated with the team. Like many others, I assumed that Trevor Lawrence would show signs of progress and evidence of exactly why he was the consensus “can’t miss” first overall pick the year he was drafted. It’s obviously still very early, but week 1 was not a positive one.
Trevor Lawrence completed 57% of his 42 pass attempts, throwing for a total of 275 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. The Jaguars got the ball down 28-22 with a 1:46 remaining, and a chance to tie or win the game with a touchdown and extra point. This is exactly the type of moment in which Trevor Lawrence excelled in his time at Clemson. Clutch moment, game on the line with a chance to win it. No such luck on this day, as Lawrence threw an interception that sealed the loss.
The Jaguars suffered no new injuries during week 1 of the NFL season, making them perhaps the healthiest team in the league at this point.
31. Atlanta Falcons↓
The Falcons had a rollercoaster of a game against the New Orleans Saints in week 1. Atlanta had a 16 point lead with a little of 12 minutes remaining. That’s when things began to fall apart for the Falcons.
Marcus Mariota was impressive, as he looked very confident and comfortable. He was in total control of the offense, and was executing well for the most part. He did eventually cough of the football with a crucial red-zone fumble in late the 4th quarter. Overall the Falcons played well prior to blowing the 4th quarter lead. I expect them toy move up in the rankings moving forward, though they’re likely to remain in the bottom 25% of teams.
Reserve running back Damien Williams was limited in week 1 due to soreness in his ribs. This is something that he continues to deal with, and his workload will be determined by his level of discomfort during week 2.
32. New York Jets↓
The very top and very bottom of the list is usually the easiest to figure out. The Jets stink! Not trying to be overly negative or like on an organization that has struggled for years, but where are the positive takeaways from week 1?
Sure, the Jets won the time of possession battle by a few minutes. They also had 24 first downs compared to 13 for the Ravens. The Jets offense had 378 total yards, while Baltimore only had 274 yards. Despite all of that, the Jets were blown out 24-9 by the Ravens. With Zach Wilson injured, the excitement and expectations for this season were short lived. Jets stink, and for now they’re the worst.
Zach Wilson is expected to participate in individual drills during practices this week, though he is not expected to be part of any team sessions as he recovers from injury.