1. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) | Last week’s rank: 1
It’s not as if the Chiefs needed another offensive star. They have one, anyway, with the immediate emergence of rookie RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire with his dazzling performance against the Texans in the NFL season opener Thursday night.
2. Baltimore Ravens (1-0) | Last week’s rank: 3
Lamar Jackson picked up right where he left off in his MVP season. The big-play contributions by second-year WR Marquise Brown also were a promising sign.
3. Seattle Seahawks (1-0) | Last week’s rank: 4
Russell Wilson was excellent, and second-year WR DK Metcalf continued to progress toward star status in the opening win at Atlanta.
4. New Orleans Saints (1-0) | Last week’s rank: 5
The Saints had some huge advantages against the Buccaneers, given that they were playing at home and had the continuity edge due to the longtime pairing of Coach Sean Payton and QB Drew Brees. That was evident Sunday. It will be interesting to see if things are different when these two teams meet again in November.
5. Tennessee Titans (1-0) | Last week’s rank: 6
Stephen Gostkowski’s arrival didn’t exactly solve the Titans’ kicking woes from last season, as he missed three field goals and an extra point Monday night in Denver. But he partially redeemed himself with the game-winning field goal with 17 seconds left, as the Titans try to build on last season’s run to the AFC title game.
6. Green Bay Packers (1-0) | Last week’s rank: 7
Aaron Rodgers threw for 364 yards and four TDs, with no interceptions and a passer rating of 127.5, in the first game since the drafting of Jordan Love. Those who don’t mind the Love pick will say that Rodgers looked especially motivated. Those who despise it will wonder how much better the Packers would be if they’d used that pick to help their still-productive QB.
7. New England Patriots (1-0) | Last week’s rank: 10
Cam Newton ran the ball effectively. He passed it efficiently. The Patriots used their new dual-threat QB perfectly, and Newton delivered. It’s not like anyone is forgetting Tom Brady and the six Super Bowl titles, but football life went on. And, at least for one Sunday, life without Brady was better for Bill Belichick and the Patriots than life without the Patriots was for Brady.
8. Buffalo Bills (1-0) | Last week’s rank: 13
Josh Allen showed considerable improvement as a passer, and Stefon Diggs was the threat at WR that he was acquired to be. If the passing game becomes a reliable component of the Bills’ offense, watch out.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) | Last week’s rank: 15
Ben Roethlisberger’s return went well. He got better as the night progressed and ended up throwing three TD passes. The Pittsburgh defense was its usually rugged self, and the Steelers looked capable of being a factor in the AFC playoff chase.
10. Los Angeles Rams (1-0) | Last week’s rank: 18
The stadium is stunning and the Rams, at times, looked capable of returning to top-contender status. But there were inconsistencies. The Rams needed some major fourth-quarter breaks to hold off the Cowboys.
11. Arizona Cardinals (1-0) | Last week’s rank: 19
Have the Cardinals arrived as a contender in Year 2 for Coach Kliff Kingsbury and QB Kyler Murray? It’s far too early to say for certain. But a road victory over the defending NFC champs in Week 1 is certainly a good way to start.
12. San Francisco 49ers (0-1) | Last week’s rank: 2
There’s no reason to panic just yet. But given how competitive the NFC West is, losing at home to a division opponent in Week 1 is not a good beginning as the 49ers try to maintain conference supremacy.
13. Minnesota Vikings (0-1) | Last week’s rank: 8
Kirk Cousins wasn’t good enough until the game was out of hand and the Vikings missed an early chance to have the Packers chasing them, instead of them chasing the Packers, in the division race.
14. Houston Texans (0-1) | Last week’s rank: 9
The Texans had little to offer Thursday night in Kansas City. It’s not a game that anyone should have expected them to win. But a better performance would have been more encouraging.
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1) | Last week’s rank: 11
Tom Brady was not supposed to make Jameis Winston-like mistakes, and that’s exactly what he did with his two-interception beginning to his Bucs tenure in the loss at New Orleans. But be careful about judging Brady and the Bucs after one game, given the challenges Brady faced in making his transition to his new team during the coronavirus-altered offseason.
16. Chicago Bears (1-0) | Last week’s rank: 16
Just when an Opening Day QB switch from Mitch Trubisky to Nick Foles seemed possible, Trubisky turned things around with three fourth-quarter TD passes Sunday in Detroit. But which is the real version of Trubisky these days?
17. Dallas Cowboys (0-1) | Last week’s rank: 12
There was plenty to digest in the aftermath of Sunday night’s loss in L.A., with Mike McCarthy’s decision on the failed fourth down and the controversial offensive pass interference call. But the bottom line is that the Cowboys continue to lose close games, even with the offseason coaching switch from Jason Garrett to McCarthy.
18. Los Angeles Chargers (1-0) | Last week’s rank: 21
Narrowly beating the Bengals, even on the road, isn’t exactly inspiring. But it’s far better than losing to the Bengals.
19. Las Vegas Raiders (1-0) | Last week’s rank: 23
The Raiders approached respectability last season but didn’t reach contender status. They could take that step this season, and the opening victory on the road at Carolina was a good first step.
20. Denver Broncos (0-1) | Last week’s rank: 20
Suffering losses in which they surrendered late leads was a recurring theme for the Broncos last season. It happened again in this season’s opener with Monday night’s defeat to the Titans. There was plenty of room to wonder why Coach Vic Fangio didn’t use his timeouts on defense to give his offense a last-gasp chance to respond.
21. Washington Football Team (1-0) | Last week’s rank: 31
The defensive front was dominant, and the offense did its part in the comeback win over the Eagles. No one should get carried away after one game, obviously. But the prospect that the Washington team would play very hard and at least be far more competitive with Ron Rivera as its coach materialized in the opener.
22. Atlanta Falcons (0-1) | Last week’s rank: 22
Matt Ryan and his receivers put up some big numbers in the passing game. But the issues are on defense. Atlanta must improve there — and quickly — or it’s going to be another disappointing season.
23. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0) | Last week’s rank: 32
Tanking? What tanking? The Jaguars, even after paring their roster and being accused of being in pursuit of the top overall choice in the NFL draft next spring, beat the Colts in the opener as Gardner Minshew outplayed Philip Rivers.
24. Philadelphia Eagles (0-1) | Last week’s rank: 14
No one should overreact to Week 1. But the offensive line issues were glaring as the Eagles simply could not block the Washington defensive front in the loss at FedEx Field. Squandering a 17-point lead to a team coming off a three-win season is not exactly a promising beginning.
25. Indianapolis Colts (0-1) | Last week’s rank: 17
Philip Rivers threw two interceptions in the loss at Jacksonville in his Colts debut. He’s simply going to have to cut down on the mistakes if his NFL second act in Indy is going to work.
26. Miami Dolphins (0-1) | Last week’s rank: 24
Maybe it’s now that the Dolphins are tanking. The expectations were high, and they gave a dud of a performance in the opening defeat at New England. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three interceptions and the Dolphins couldn’t take advantage after getting some good fortune, with the Patriots’ fumble through the end zone and two pass interference penalties on defense, to draw briefly within three points in the fourth quarter.
27. Cleveland Browns (0-1) | Last week’s rank: 25
The Cleveland defense had no answers for Lamar Jackson. That’s understandable; few NFL defenses do. The bigger issue was the Browns’ offensive struggles Sunday in Baltimore. Three catches on 10 targets for WR Odell Beckham Jr.? Beckham and QB Baker Mayfield need to be better than that.
28. Carolina Panthers (0-1) | Last week’s rank: 26
With a new coach and a new QB, it’s probably not fair to expect much from the Panthers early in the season. They played down to those low expectations by losing the opener at home to the Raiders.
29. New York Jets (0-1) | Last week’s rank: 27
New season. Same Jets. That’s not a good thing.
30. Detroit Lions (0-1) | Last week’s rank: 28
The dropped would-be TD catch by rookie RB D’Andre Swift in the final seconds cost the Lions a win. But the defensive breakdowns that allowed Mitch Trubisky to rally the Bears should not be ignored, either.
31. New York Giants (0-1) | Last week’s rank: 29
The Giants were competitive for much of the night in Joe Judge’s NFL head coaching debut. But Daniel Jones’s interceptions were costly, and there was no running room for Saquon Barkley against the Pittsburgh defense.
32. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) | Last week’s rank: 30
Joe Burrow’s NFL debut was decent, as he ran for a TD and completed 23 of 36 passes. But the Bengals suffered an all-too-familiar result with the near-miss loss, this one on a late missed field goal. Now comes a quick turnaround for Thursday night’s meeting with the Browns.