Free Press writers Dave Birkett and Shawn Windsor discuss the Lions’ Monday news conference Sept. 11, 2017, following their 35-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals.
This would’ve been so much easier had the New England Patriots just won their opener Thursday night.
Instead, the defending Super Bowl champions got slammed by the Kansas City Chiefs, and now we’re back to the drawing board and trying to figure out the NFL’s best team.
Granted, it could be the Patriots again in a couple weeks anyway. But we’re not putting an 0-1 team at No. 1, so that gives us a few options to choose from – 16 of them, in fact.
No, it’s not the Detroit Lions. That was a nice 35-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday afternoon, but they still have many issues to work out (as those of you who watched the whole game saw in the first half) and they need to trudge through that tough early-season schedule first before we know what they reall are.
Until then, we’ve got a different NFC North team to recognize as the king of the NFL. For now.
Here are our Week 2 NFL power rankings:
32. Cleveland Browns (0-1): Well, at least they have the Indians to root for right now. And they’ll have the Cavaliers in October. And they came within a field goal of the Steelers on Sunday. Other than that…
31. New York Jets (0-1): If you had to watch the Jets-Bills game Sunday, I’m really, really sorry.
30. Indianapolis Colts (0-1): Chuck Pagano’s days are numbered in Indy. Forget the absence of Andrew Luck for a second: How do you let Jared Goff’s Rams drop 46 points on you? How?
29. San Francisco 49ers (0-1): At the beginning of the second half Sunday, a photo of a near-empty Levi’s Stadium made the rounds on Twitter, with the team only down 13-0. In other words, we’re in midseason form in Santa Clara.
28. Chicago Bears (0-1): Give them credit. They almost turned a shocking upset on the Falcons. But they’re still among the worst teams in the league until they prove otherwise (in other words, by winning games).
27. Houston Texans (0-1): The starting quarterback should’ve been Deshaun Watson from the get-go. Bill O’Brien’s decision to start with Tom Savage was foolhardy.
26. New Orleans Saints (0-1): Adrian Peterson wanted the team to run the ball more. Getting just 60 yards on 21 rushes as a team – with Drew Brees throwing the ball, no less – is no way to convince your coach.
25. Arizona Cardinals (0-1): Losing David Johnson adds injury to insult, especially for fantasy football team owners who drafted him first overall (like, ahem, me).
24. Buffalo Bills (1-0): Congratulations! You’re the worst 1-0 team in the league. Basically because all you have is LeSean McCoy right now. (Okay, fine, Tyrod Taylor looked a little OK, too, albeit against the Jets)
23. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1): Andy Dalton just threw another interception as I typed this.
22. Miami Dolphins (0-0): To get serious for a moment, here’s hoping to a fast recovery for victims of Hurricane Irma.
21. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0): Leonard Fournette notches a 100-yard game in his NFL debut, which has to be refreshing for Jaguars to see – it means Blake Bortles doesn’t have to throw the ball quite as much.
20. Los Angeles Rams (1-0): Holy Jared Goff! It’s only been one game and against a bad Colts team, but he seems to have gotten over his growing pains from his rookie season with a 300-yard day through the air.
19. Washington Redskins (0-1): I won’t overreact too much to one game, but the defense needs to lock things down and Terrelle Pryor needs to make those catches.
18. Tennessee Titans (0-1): Maybe this is too low. We’ll see this weekend against Jacksonville. But the next step for Marcus Mariota and Co. is beating teams like the Raiders at home, and they failed to do that.
17. Los Angeles Chargers (0-1): If you stayed up late, they made a game of it in Denver on Monday night. If you didn’t, well, ho-hum, just another 0-1 start, no matter which city this team plays in.
16. Baltimore Ravens (1-0): Great defense, an adequate offense at best. The Ravens are in midseason form.
15. Carolina Panthers (1-0): Not that beating the 49ers in front of 15 fans in Santa Clara is that big of an accomplishment, but this team was in the Super Bowl two years ago and is a trendy pick for a bounce-back year. That was a solid start for such a narrative.
14. New York Giants (0-1): The way the G-Men looked on Sunday night, it gives Lions fans hope that they can start the season 2-0. Speaking of which…
13. Detroit Lions (1-0): … Nice win against Arizona. Still too early to say if this team will be better than we thought – for all we know, the Cardinals could be headed for a 5-win season, especially with DJ hurt – but given that disastrous first-half start, the Lions responded very well, especially on defense.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-0): Devastation from Hurricane Irma aside, the NFL really should’ve let the Buccaneers and Dolphins play at a neutral location. Now both teams have to play 16 consecutive weeks, which could especially be harmful for a Bucs team that’s poised to make a playoff push.
11. Minnesota Vikings (1-0): Dalvin Cook looked like the real deal in his NFL debut, but a word of caution: It was against the Saints. I’m confident I could rush for a few yards against them.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0): Good to see Carson Wentz picked up where he left off, getting a big road win against an NFC East rival.
9. Seattle Seahawks (0-1): Somebody tell that offensive line the season has started. It sure didn’t show up Sunday in Green Bay.
8. Denver Broncos (1-0): That comeback by the Bolts is a bit concerning, and the quarterback situation is still pretty uneasy (do you really trust Trevor Siemian to lead this team to the Super Bowl?), but a win’s a win.
7. Oakland Raiders (1-0): Marshawn Lynch is back! And he didn’t look too shabby, either. The Chiefs are going to be a nuisance, as they proved in New England last Thursday, but watch out for the Raiders again. They could be improved.
6. Atlanta Falcons (1-0): Like with Denver, a win’s a win. And they’re the defending NFC champions. But they came thisclose to blowing it against a bad Bears team.
5. Dallas Cowboys (1-0): If Ezekiel Elliott ends up playing the whole season, the Cowboys may spend the entire year in the Top 5.
4. New England Patriots (0-1): No team bounces back from a disappointment like Bill Belichick’s Patriots. It would be silly to rank them any lower.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0): That’s the Alex Smith that the 49ers were hoping for when they drafted him first overall many years ago. Now the Chiefs have him and, if he can look anything like that the rest of the year, look out.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0): Probably should beat the Browns by a better score than 21-18, but Le’Veon Bell will rush for more than 32 yards most weeks.
1. Green Bay Packers (1-0): I feel dirty for ranking them here, but somebody has to be No. 1 with the Patriots at 0-1. Aaron Rodgers and the offense get all the attention, but locking down a Seattle offense that’s difficult to defend is a heck of an achievement.
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