Week 2 NFL power rankings

With week two of the 2012 season in the books, we debut The Gavel’s weekly installment of NFL power rankings. With two impressive wins at Green Bay and vs. Detroit, the San Francisco 49ers indisputably deserve the top spot in the rankings and have emerged as the early Super Bowl favorite. But with just five other undefeated teams remaining, the next 31 spots are certainly debatable. Although this list is subjective, I do consider certain parameters when compiling these rankings: Last week’s performance, overall performance to date, potential/expectations, and injuries or other factors that could be detrimental to a team’s success. With such a small sample size only two weeks into the season, potential/expectations are a large factor in determining each team’s position. But once we get deeper into the season, week-to-week and overall performance become more significant.

 

Team Rank Previous Rank Record Thoughts

San Francisco 49ers

1

--

2-0

The 49ers, who were a muffed punt away from a super bowl last year, are continually overlooked because of their relatively boring yet extremely effective style of play. But after wins over most analyst's NFC champ, the Packers, and the formidable Lions, the 49ers have emerged as the NFC favorite.

 

 

Houston Texans

2

--

2-0

After blowing out the lowly Dolphins and Jaguars, we’ll see how Houston’s first-ranked passing defense fairs against Peyton Manning and the Broncos in what will be the first real test for Gary Kubiak’s team. For now, they remain the AFC favorite.

Atlanta

Falcons

3

--

2-0

Could this be the season Atlanta finally emerges as an elite team and collects the first playoff win of the Matt Ryan era? After a 2-0 start, Mike Smith and his team look poised and confident in advance of a looming match-up with the 2-0 Chargers.

 

Green Bay Packers

4

--

1-1

Even though the Packers' D struggled in pass coverage last season, they were surely opportunistic. They flashed this ability by picking off Jay Cutler four times in their 23-10 victory.

Philadelphia Eagles

5

--

2-0

After two wins by one point, the Eagles could easily be 0-2. But the fact that they’ve been able to win despite Michael Vick’s turnovers bodes well for a team with as much talent as anyone.

New England Patriots

6

--

1-1

More concerning than the home loss to the underrated Cardinals is the loss of Aaron Hernandez for at least a month.

Baltimore Ravens

7

--

1-1

I wouldn’t read too much into a one-point loss against a very good Eagles team. What’s concerning though, is the aging defense’s inability to stop the pass (275 yds/game) ahead of the showdown with Tom Brady’s Patriots.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

8

--

1-1

Many fail to acknowledge the Steelers among the AFC’s best. But after a 27-10 shellacking of the Jets, the Steelers' D is attempting to change this perception.

New York Giants

10

--

1-1

The Giants cannot feel too good about needing a 25-point fourth quarter to avoid going to 0-2. Nevertheless, Eli Manning continues to show why he is the best clutch QB in the league.

 

San Diego Chargers

9

--

2-0

I wouldn’t put too much stock in the Chargers 2-0 start after back-to-back inconsistent seasons. Until they show that they can put together 16 games, Charger fans shouldn’t get too excited.

 

 

Detroit Lions

11

--

1-1

The Lions have yet to play their best football. But with two easy games coming up against Tennessee and Minnesota, the offense should find their groove.

 

Denver Broncos

12

--

1-1

I can guarantee that Peyton Manning will not throw three interceptions in the first quarter of a game again this season. With the future Hall-of-Famer, and the best DE pass rush combo in the league (Miller and Dumervill), the Broncos will not go away, even taking their brutal schedule into consideration.

 

 

Arizona Cardinals

13

--

2-0

I feel inclined to put the 2-0 Cardinals higher after an impressive road win at New England. But until their 30th-ranked offense improves, they won’t crack the top ten.

 

Dallas Cowboys

14

--

1-1

Yes, the Boys were seriously outplayed by the Seahawks and their rookie quarterback. But this was predictably a “let-down” game after their impressive opening night win over the defending champs.

 

Chicago Bears

15

--

1-1

After a disappointing effort against divisional rival Green Bay, in which Jay Cutler was picked off four times, I’ve yet to see any indication that the Bears are a serious contender.

Carolina Panthers

16

--

1-1

Cam Newton and the Panthers’ offense looked potent in a 35-point showing against New Orleans. But if Carolina wants to be a legitimate contender, their 28th-ranked run defense needs to improve.

 

Seattle Seahawks

17

--

1-1

Seattle’s stout defense along with the continued development of Russell Wilson means that they could be a sleeper in the NFC. Don’t be surprised if the Seahawks are in the wild card hunt at the end of the season.

 

Washington Redskins

18

--

1-1

The Redskins deserve to be ranked higher, and their offense, led by RGIII, has been exciting. Unfortunately, the loss of Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker will not help their 28th-ranked defense.

 

New York Jets

19

--

1-1

Even after looking abysmal in a loss to the Steelers, don’t close the book on the Jets just yet. Remember, Tim Tebow is waiting in the wings.

 

Buffalo Bills

20

--

1-1

The Bills and their revamped defense have performed disappointingly thus far. Ranked 25th in total defense, Mario Williams and company have to step it up if Buffalo hopes to be competitive in the AFC East.

Cincinnati Bengals

21

--

1-1

The Bengals have looked very mediocre thus far, barely beating a terrible Browns team this past Sunday. Was last year’s successful season a fluke?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

22

--

1-1

Tampa Bay let a win over the defending champs and a 2-0 start slip through their fingers after allowing Eli Manning to go off in the fourth quarter. But one thing we do know is that Greg Schiano will ensure that the Bucs live up to their nasty, tough reputation. Just ask Tom Coughlin.

 

St. Louis Rams

23

--

1-1

The Rams have been competitive so far, losing to Detroit by only four, and defeating Washington by three. Danny Amendola starred this past week by tying an NFL record with 12 first-half receptions. Sam Bradford will be a star in this league one day.

 

Kansas City Chiefs

24

--

0-2

Yes, since 2006 only five teams who have started 0-2 have made the playoffs. Yes the Chiefs have been hurt by injuries. Call me crazy, but I still think this team can turn it around.

 

New Orleans Saints

25

--

0-2

Many predicted a poor season for the Saints after the “BountyGate” scandal. While the distractions continue, the Saints’ D has been downright awful.

 

Miami Dolphins

26

--

1-1

Averaging 171 rushing yards a game, the Dolphins rank second in this category. On the other end of the spectrum, their passing offense ranks 27th.

Indianapolis Colts

27

--

1-1

224 yards and two touchdowns helped lead the Colts to the first win in the Andrew Luck era. Still, Indy will have to surround Luck with more talent if they want to be competitive within the next five years.

 

Oakland Raiders

28

--

0-2

After a 0-2 start, the Raiders’ season could very well be over with matchups against Pittsburgh, Denver, and Atlanta on the horizon.

 

 

Minnesota Vikings

29

--

1-1

Although the rebuilding Vikings have yet to play a quality opponent, they rank in the top 15 in rushing and passing offense, as well as rushing and passing defense.

 

Tennessee Titans

30

--

0-2

After two straight blowout losses, the Titans are in a state of flux. After being held under 25 yards in both games, the once best NFL running back Chris Johnson voiced his frustrations to the media.

Cleveland Browns

31

--

0-2

After two tough losses to the Eagles and Bengals, Cleveland appears headed for another double-digit loss season.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

32

--

0-2

The Jaguars are terrible, there’s no way around it. You’ve got to wonder how much longer football can survive in Jacksonville.

 

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