With a second week of games in the books, eight teams are 2-0, another eight are 0-2, and the rest are 1-1. Parity, you say? Or is it mediocrity? We'll see over the next fifteen weeks.
1.) New Orleans (2-0) [no change]
The defending champions looked "aight" against San Francisco. Count me among those who think that losing Reggie Bush is more of a story among the media than the team itself. They're also the only team not to move an inch since last week. Lots of turmoil all over the league is the reason.
2.) Green Bay (2-0) [+1]
After winning on the road in Philly, Green Bay's encore was a resounding beatdown of the Bills. That's what I like to see. As a result, they move up. Now the question is, are they better than the Saints?
3.) Pittsburgh (2-0) [+2]
Now Dennis Dixon is out. Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch between them have to keep the train rolling. It sounds like a difficult task, but both of the Steelers' games were won by defense and the running game. So I don't expect much different in Week 3. Heck, I might even pick them to win this time.
4.) Houston (2-0) [+5]
One of the many teams I love to hate made good by beating...another of the teams I love to hate. Consequently, I'm not really sure what to say. Having been around this team since the beginning (2002), I've seen a lot that indicates this start is nothing more than a fluke. That said, the Texans had never won an overtime game before 2010, and they were a measly 1-15 against Indianapolis as well. Now both of those have been emended. Does that mean playoffs for the Texans? Or will Houston fans have to wait another year? The big clash with the Cowboys is this week, and I don't think it could be more weird.
5.) Miami (2-0) [-]
They won, and they're not looking too bad. That's about all I know about this year's Miami team. It's been bandied about that Cameron Wake and Koa Misi were the most important additions; they're on the defensive line and are expected to pressure the opposing QB (thank you, Peter King). So far, they've been productive, and the Dolphins have won as a result.
6.) Chicago (2-0) [-]
I'm as surprised as anybody that the Bears are in my Rankings. As far as I know, this is a first...because since I started doing these in 2007 or 2008, the Bears haven't really been "good". Or there were other teams that were clearly a step ahead. Now the Bears are tied with Green Bay for the division lead, and despite what some say is a "porous" offensive line (I didn't see it after the first half, to be honest), Jay Cutler and his boys have done well for themselves. Who do we credit more here, Cutler, or Mike Martz? Martz is the supposed genius here, so I'll go with him.
7.) Kansas City (2-0) [-]
Color me surprised, again. Thanks to some stumbles by teams I figured would win (and one I figured would get crushed anyway), the middle and bottom of the Rankings are populated by surprise 2-0 teams. The Chiefs debuted on Monday Night Football to great acclaim and lots of cheering from the fans at Arrowhead. This week, they took on Cleveland and got the win. The Browns look like an also-ran again, while the Chiefs are clearly trending upward. I think this is good; at least the Chargers have some competition now to keep them from getting stale.
8.) Tampa Bay (2-0) [-]
Dealing a loss to Carolina was big to me. That means the Bucs are now in the Rankings again, along with their surprising 2-0 record. I figured they would find a way against Cleveland, but the fact that they beat a division rival was huge. Not only that, Carolina is now 0-2, while Tampa is tied with the Saints. Atlanta is still a dangerous team, of course, but now that the Bucs and Saints have gotten a leg up, it should be an interesting race. Tampa is another team winning with defense, and just enough contributions from QB Josh Freeman to not be one-dimensional. Will this run last? Probably not, but who knows.
9.) Atlanta (1-1) [-]
Speaking of the dirty birds, here they are at 9. After a tough OT loss to Pittsburgh last week, they came out firing on all cylinders this week. It was an ugly game against Arizona, at least on the scoreboard. I'm sure Falcons fans were pleased, though. The beatdown had to have been welcome. This puts them at 1-1 after the first two weeks. I contend that they're still dangerous. Carolina's going to a rookie QB, and Matt Ryan is clearly better than Moore, Clausen, or Freeman. Is he up there with Drew Brees? No, not yet. But I don't imagine it'll be too long before he's accounted among the elite QB's.
10.) Indianapolis (1-1) [-]
Though they're only coming in at 10 this week, Indianapolis had one of the better victories from Week 2. They absolutely owned the Giants from kickoff to the final whistle, running up and down the field at will. Joseph Addai and Donald Brown were pretty much unstoppable. Peyton Manning didn't throw as much as he did last week, but he didn't need to. Still, the throws he did make were crisp and on-target, and he's without an INT as well. I guess the loss in Week 1 was an aberration. Maybe it was needed to wake them up. In any case, I expect great things from the Colts again this season.
See you next week. Thanks for reading.