NFL Power Rankings: The Patriots can't be No. 1 anymore ... right?

Weird things happen in Week 1. We see results that, when you look back at the end of the season, make no sense at all.

2016: The Buccaneers went to Atlanta and handled the Falcons fairly easily in a 31-24 win. The Falcons ended up winning the NFC, while the Buccaneers missed the playoffs.

2015: San Francisco blew out Minnesota 20-3. The Vikings ended up 11-5; the 49ers were 5-11.

2014: The Titans went 2-14 this season. The Chiefs went 9-7. You couldn’t have predicted that by Week 1, when the Titans won 26-10 at Kansas City.

2013: The Texans won 31-28 at the San Diego Chargers. That was one of the two wins for the 2013 Texans, who finished 2-14. The Chargers went 9-7 and made the playoffs.

You get it. Some things we saw in Week 1 this past week that will prove to be absolute flukes.

If I had to guess, the New England Patriots‘ shocking loss will be this season’s strangest result when we look back.

Not that the Kansas City Chiefs aren’t good. The Chiefs suddenly have an exciting offense and a good defense. They were very good last season and will be good again. But I don’t think the Patriots are as bad as they looked Week 1. If I had to guess, the Patriots will be No. 1 in these power rankings again at some point this season. And if I had to bet on one team winning this season’s Super Bowl, I’d still bet on the Patriots. They’ve earned that after years and years of success. But the Patriots obviously can’t stay at No. 1 in the power rankings after after giving up more than 500 yards and being beaten soundly at home.

We’ve been through this before though. Each season is different, so New England’s famous rebound from a blowout loss to the Chiefs in 2014 might not apply this time around. But it’s hard to believe a Patriots team that was 14-1 with Tom Brady in the lineup last season and had a good offseason has suddenly lost it. They didn’t look good in Week 1, and there are some legitimate issues that need to be worked out (I wrote about the potential problems that were exposed here). But I’m going to assume Bill Belichick can figure it out.

Bill Belichick and the Patriots will need to bounce back from a rough Week 1. (AP)
Bill Belichick and the Patriots will need to bounce back from a rough Week 1. (AP)

The Patriots weren’t the only good team to start this season slowly. Plenty of teams that were considered among the top contenders before the season didn’t look great in Week 1. It’s tough to sort out what will stick from the season openers and what will prove to be a one-week aberration, but let’s try as we get into the post-Week 1 NFL power rankings:

32. New York Jets (0-1, Last week: 32)
It’s not going to get any better this week at Oakland.

31. Indianapolis Colts (0-1, LW: 28)
Wow, that loss to the Rams was awful. I can’t put them No. 32 based on just one game, but another performance like that one and it’ll have to be strongly considered. Everyone assumes when Andrew Luck comes back the Colts will be competitive again, but did that look like a team that is anywhere close to being good?

30. San Francisco 49ers (0-1, LW: 30)
It is going to be a tough season for Kyle Shanahan. We saw last season how good he can be calling offensive plays. But you still need talent, and he doesn’t have Matt Ryan, Devonta Freeman or Julio Jones anymore. The 49ers might have a few 3-point games this season.

29. Cleveland Browns (0-1, LW: 31)
Not everything was going to be fixed in one offseason. But coming off a 1-15 season, they lost by a field goal to a Steelers team most people view as one of the two best in the AFC. You can see the progress.

28. Buffalo Bills (1-0, LW: 29)
LeSean McCoy had 27 touches in the opener, mostly because the Bills are seriously thin behind him. He’s 29 years old with more than 1,900 career carries. The Bills aren’t going to cut back on his usage. “If I give him the ball 50 times, he’ll make 50 plays,” said offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, via ESPN’s Mike Rodak. We’ll see how that works out.

27. Chicago Bears (0-1, LW: 26)
The Bears are going to be competitive most of this season. The problem is that receivers Cameron Meredith and Kevin White are already out for the season. White’s injury is especially cruel. The seventh pick of the 2015 draft will have played five games with 21 catches and no touchdowns in the three seasons since he was drafted.

26. Houston Texans (0-1, LW: 22)
The Texans are going to struggle to field a full lineup Thursday night. They have five players in the concussion protocol and many other players are banged up. Also, the offense was a total mess against the Jaguars. There was nothing positive to come out of the season opener for Houston.

25. New Orleans Saints (0-1, LW: 20)
It’s not surprising the Saints’ defense made Sam Bradford look like Dan Marino. New Orleans hasn’t been able to stop anyone in years. What was concerning was how much the offense struggled. They didn’t find the end zone until late in the fourth quarter. That’s something worth watching early this season.

24. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1, LW: 15)
The Bengals might not have been the worst team of Week 1 (hello, Colts) but maybe the most disappointing. That was a pathetic performance at home. Now they get a Thursday night game at home against Houston, another good candidate for “most disappointing Week 1 team.” Whoever is 0-2 after Thursday night is in big trouble.

23. Washington Redskins (0-1, LW: 21)
Terrelle Pryor did not have a sparkling debut. He misplayed a couple of deep balls that could have made a big difference. Maybe the NFL knew something when nobody handed him a long-term deal. He is still learning a new position.

22. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0, LW: 27)
The Jaguars have a pretty big Week 2 game. They get the Titans at home. Win that and they’ll be 2-0 with two division wins. The defense looked amazing in the season opener. But the season-ending injury to Allen Robinson is crushing to an offense that wouldn’t have even been that impressive with him.

21. Arizona Cardinals (0-1, LW: 11)
The Cardinals offense looked like it hadn’t improved too much from last season, and now it appears they’ll be playing for a while without do-everything tailback David Johnson. Not good.

20. Los Angeles Rams (1-0, LW: 25)
It’s hard to get too crazy, because the Colts looked incompetent. But it was a fantastic performance in every way for the Rams, and also figure that star defensive tackle Aaron Donald didn’t play because of his holdout.

19. Miami Dolphins (0-0, LW: 16)
The Dolphins are going to have a tough season of travel, without any question. But there was really nothing the NFL could do about a hurricane pounding South Florida. And the notion that the NFL might or should let the Dolphins reschedule their London game for Miami … come on.

18. Detroit Lions (1-0, LW: 24)
If Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, Kenny Golladay, Eric Ebron and Ameer Abdullah stay reasonably healthy, this will be by far the best offensive group the Lions have ever put around Matthew Stafford. And he played well on Sunday after his early pick-six.

17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-0, LW: 14)
Too bad we had to wait for Week 2 to see the start of Jameis Winston’s MVP season.

16. Baltimore Ravens (1-0, LW: 23)
Not to rain on any parades, but Joe Flacco completed nine passes, the Ravens averaged 4.5 yards per play and they lost running back Danny Woodhead to injury. The defense is going to have to carry this team for a while, but at least that unit looked capable of it in Week 1.

15. Los Angeles Chargers (0-1, LW: 18)
Tough loss to the Broncos, but Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa are going to make life very tough on opposing quarterbacks this season.

14. New York Giants (0-1, LW: 7)
It sure doesn’t look like Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram can save the Giants’ offense. Odell Beckham’s eventual return won’t fix everything either. I don’t like to overreact to anything in Week 1, which you’ll notice at different spots in these rankings. But it seems like the Giants offense is legitimately awful.

13. Tennessee Titans (0-1, LW: 10)
I’m not giving up on the Titans, but it would have been nice to see a better performance. The Raiders were clearly the better team. There’s no shame in that, but the Titans don’t want to dig an 0-2 hole by losing at Jacksonville this week.

12. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0, LW: 17)
I was very impressed with Carson Wentz. He threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns on the road and generally looked more comfortable than he did during his rookie slump last year. And he’ll be even better when Alshon Jeffery (three catches, 38 yards) warms up. This is a team that was better than its record last season and looked pretty strong in Week 1.

11. Carolina Panthers (1-0, LW: 13)
The Panthers should feel a bit lucky they faced a bad opponent in Week 1. Cam Newton missed a lot of throws after missing almost all of the preseason. The good news is Newton should be better next week and the Panthers are 1-0 as he knocks the rust off.

10. Minnesota Vikings (1-0, LW: 19)
I’m not sure if the offense is that much better, or it just happened to start the season against the Saints’ defense. But it’s clear the offensive line has improved, and Dalvin Cook might make a big difference.

9. Denver Broncos (1-0, LW: 12)
How do you feel if you’re the Broncos? For three-plus quarters they absolutely dominated a talented Chargers team. Then they almost gave it away and needed a really nice field-goal block to win. It’s probably correct to feel good about Week 1 as a whole, especially with how efficient the offense was.

8. Seattle Seahawks (0-1, LW: 5)
I know the Seahawks prefer defensive linemen and there weren’t a lot of quality offensive linemen in the draft or free agency, but it’s amazing how little Seattle did to revamp a bad line this offseason. It’s a serious problem, and it was so bad in Week 1 I’m not sure how much better it can get.

7. Oakland Raiders (1-0, LW: 9)
That was an impressive win. The Raiders always seemed in control of that game at Tennessee, even though it was close most of the time. The defense looked like it has improved.

6. Dallas Cowboys (1-0, LW: 6)
The Ezekiel Elliott court decision, assuming it holds all season and allows Elliott to put off his six-game suspension, is obviously huge for the Cowboys. Dak Prescott got all the attention this offseason, but Elliott was the Cowboys’ MVP last season. It’s hard to not place them as NFC East favorites with what we know about Elliott’s situation and how they dominated the Giants on Sunday night.

5. New England Patriots (0-1, LW: 1)
If there was one problem I’m not sure the Patriots can turn around, it’s the lack of pass rush. It’s hard to say this now because New England won a Super Bowl last season, but I wonder if they regret not keeping and paying Chandler Jones. They don’t really have anyone like Jones who can consistently beat an offensive lineman one-on-one and get to the quarterback.

4. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0, LW: 8)
What a performance. If we’re just looking at the NFL in a Week 1 vacuum, they were the best team. What we need to see now is Alex Smith continue to be as aggressive as he was in the season opener. There are some really good targets around Smith now. Let’s see how they follow up this week against a good Eagles team.

3. Atlanta Falcons (1-0, LW: 3)
Here’s why it’s not not the best idea to overreact to final scores. If any one of the Bears’ first three throws from the 5-yard line at the end hit the mark (all of them could have been touchdowns), we’re freaking out about the Falcons all week. Instead, they won and nobody paid their mediocre Week 1 performance any mind. The Falcons should be happy they didn’t play their best and still got a win.

2. Green Bay Packers (1-0, LW: 4)
Mostly, I blame the Seahawks’ bad offensive line more than I believe the Packers will be that much better rushing the quarterback this season. But if the Packers are suddenly as good at generating pressure as they were in Week 1? That dramatically changes their outlook this season.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0, LW: 2)
It’s a little troubling that they had so much trouble with the Browns and a rookie quarterback. But let’s assume Le’Veon Bell will be better going forward and that will help. The Steelers get the top spot a bit by default, with a close eye on how they look at home against the Vikings in Week 2.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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