An incredible and entertaining first week of the 2016 season in the NFL is officially in the books. Week 1 is always the hardest of the remaining fifteen to predict whether you are betting games with the spread (I learned the hard way) or identifying which teams are looking to make a statement out the gate. These weekly power rankings are here to explain to which ten teams (in my opinion) have made the biggest impression and who I project will continue being in the playoff picture throughout the 2016 season.
On with the rankings
1. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
No Brady. No Gronk. No problem for the Pats — especially Jimmy Garropollo. Safe to say when Tom Brady returns after his 4 game suspension there will be no hole to dig the Pats out of either as their next three games will be in Foxboro. A 4-0 start by the time Brady returns under center is very likely.
2. PITTSBURGH STEELERS
The Steelers posted one of the most impressive wins for Week 1. Big Ben Roethlisberger proves why he’s a top 5 quarterback in the league. Antonio Brown has entered the category of downright unguardable. Oh and in case you forgot, DeAngelo Williams is really their backup running back when LeVeon Bell returns. But he still managed to torch the Redskins (or Washington football team depending who you ask) at the tune of 143 yards on 26 attempts and two touchdowns to boot. Not bad for the current oldest running back in the league
3. CINCINNATI BENGALS
It is the Bengals who possessed the most impressive win for Week 1. Beating a Jets team I predicted to compete with Cincy for an AFC Wildcard spot later this season.
4. GREEN BAY PACKERS
Sure they struggled vs. the Jaguars, but it’s a more interesting Jacksonville team they beat on the road. Aaron Rodgers not overly impressive but got the job done.
5. DENVER BRONCOS
I must apologize to the defending Super Bowl champions for not even giving them a benefit of the doubt in Week 1 of the rankings. Glad we cleared things up after they’re dominant defensive performance in their Super Bowl rematch against Carolina last Thursday. I am still a bit skeptical if the Broncos can sustain this for the entire season.
6. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
Wasn’t a bit shocking to me that their battle with the Miami Dolphins was tougher than the Vegas spread was. Seattle’s offensive line once again looked troubled and ultimately the Seahawks were rescued by both their stout defense and Russell Wilson’s late game heroics.
7. CAROLINA PANTHERS
Only concern I have for Carolina is the fact they had a 10 point lead in the second half of their loss in Denver and couldn’t add to it. Otherwise they should be fine big picture.
8. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Great comeback vs. a divisional foe in San Diego. Still one of my sleepers to make significant noise in the AFC.
9. ARIZONA CARDINALS
Very disappointed in how sluggish they looked vs. a depleted New England team devoid of their two best players. Still almost pulled out the win, but the game honestly shouldn’t have been lost.
10. OAKLAND RAIDERS
Coach Jack Del Rio’s decision to go for the win via a two-point conversion late in their win over New Orleans last Sunday signafies that these aren’t the same ‘ol Raiders of the last 13 years. They are back. Derek Carr looks poised and his receiving core featuring second-year man Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree are ready to take the next step.