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Week 1 Power Rankings

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We all can agree that Power Rankings are as useless as (bleep) on a bull, but since everybody and their mother does them, I'm not ashamed to throw my hat into the ring:

1) New Orleans Saints (1-0) - the defending Super Bowl champions will be in the top spot until they are knocked off. Started the season with a solid home victory over the Vikings in a repeat of the NFC Championship Game.

2) Green Bay Packers (1-0) - in the top spot somewhat by default, but had a hardfought road victory over Mike Vick and the Eagles in a game where Aaron Rodgers didn't look his best. Defense and special teams picked up the slack, showing the Packers are making strides toward becoming a complete team.

3) Baltimore Ravens (1-0) - If the Ravens could have held onto the ball last night, they would have blown the Jets out. Regardless, being able to win on the road when you lose the turnover battle convincingly and are hamstrung all night in field positions by excellent special teams play on the other side, that's impressive.

4) New England Patriots (1-0) - The Pats made a statement on Sunday by throttling fellow playoff participant Cincinnati. Now they go into the Meadowlands with a bit of a swagger and I know they have a bullseye painted on Rex Ryan's Jets. So far, the defense has been up to the challenge and I don't think Mark Sanchez can test them this week.

5) Houston Texans (1-0) - Houston earns a jump to the Top 5 with a thoroughly impressive victory over the Colts, but this team has not proven it can consistently sustain success.

6) Indianapolis Colts (0-1) - The Colts went 14-0 last year but they were a high wire act all season and Peyton Manning always saved the day. He wasn't able to beat Houston all by himself on Sunday and the AFC South division race is now very interesting.

7) Minnesota Vikings (0-1) - It's hard to punish the Vikings too much for losing on the road in New Orleans, and after watching many offenses struggle in Week 1, it's not hard to give Brett Favre a mulligan here either.

8) Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) - Very impressive performance by the defense, which looked very glad to have Troy Polamalu back. I thought the Steelers would struggle without Big Ben, and they certainly did offensively, but the defense may have enough juice to let them tread water until their QB returns.

9) New York Giants (1-0) - A sloppy victory for Big Blue, but I'm sure Eli Manning will take it. Hard to tell whether the Giants defense has improved or Matt Moore is just that bad. Peyton Manning provides a much better barometer next Sunday night.

10) Tennessee Titans (1-0) - Blowing out the Raiders doesn't tell us a whole lot, but if you take out last season's 0-6 start, this team is 21-5 in their other games over the last two years, and they are a definite dark horse to steal the AFC South from the Colts and Texans. I am looking forward to their matchup with Pittsburgh next week.

11) Atlanta Falcons (0-1) - A rough start for my predicted NFC Champions. They will need better play from Matt Ryan if they are going to go anywhere this season. Pittsburgh's defense has been known to make a few good offensive teams look bad, and I am looking for a bounceback this week at home against the Cards.

12) Dallas Cowboys (0-1) - Yes, I have them ranked higher than the team that beat them on Sunday night. I still think Dallas is a better team but made some key mistakes that cost them the game. Still, given their brutal schedule, Dallas can ill afford to blow any more games against mediocre competition. They should be able to handle the Bears with relative ease next week.

13) New York Jets (0-1) - Jet fans seem ready to jump off the George Washington Bridge, but this team is what we thought it was. Very good (but not great defense) with no help from its offense. Mark Sanchez isn't ready to lead this team across the finish line - he had two opportunities for a winning FG drive and he couldn't even get close. Ready for more bad news? Here come the Pats next week, and New York will have no patience for an 0-2 start.

14) Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) - The Bengals got blown out by New England, but I suspect they won't be the last team to suffer that fate this season. But the schedule doesn't get any easier as the Ravens come to town on Sunday. It's hard to call Week 2 a must-win game, but this comes pretty close...

15) Washington Redskins (1-0) - The Redskins get some benefit of the doubt for being able to more or less shut down the Cowboy offense, but their own offense has yet to show anything. But, if they are able to win at home against Houston this week, there will definitely be some buzz about the Skins.

16) Philadelphia Eagles (0-1) - Let's be clear. Mike Vick gives this team their best chance to win games. But, he's not going to be the long-term answer at QB for the Eagles - they have too much invested in Kevin Kolb, and this season is more about developing Kolb than winning games. The Eagles are not a Super Bowl contender, Andy Reid has the luxury of job security, and the only QB controversy will be in the heads of the Eagles fans, not in their coach.

17) San Diego Chargers (0-1) - This may well be Norv Turner's last season in San Diego, as the Chargers look like they are getting out of the gate slow again. The loss to the Chiefs has a little bit of a fluke feel to it, but it was disappointing that Rivers couldn't find a way to get his team in the end zone to tie the game.

18) Miami Dolphins (1-0) - I incorrectly left them out of the discussion in my post yesterday for "least impressive victory in Week 1." The Dolphins did not look impressive in a lackluster victory over Buffalo.

19) Seattle Seahawks (1-0) - The big upset Sunday belonged to Pete Carroll - not necessarily for getting the W against an overrated Niners team, but for blowing them out.

20) San Francisco 49ers (0-1) - Mike Singletary thanked Pete Carroll for kicking his team's tail on Sunday. I wonder if he'll have another Thank You note prepared for next Monday night when the defending Super Bowl champions come to town.

21) Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) - The Chiefs move to the top of the bottom, so to speak, with their opening night victory over San Diego. Jamaal Charles looked tremendous, and Dexter McCluster showed what a good return man can bring to the table (are you taking notes, Ted Thompson?), but I'm not convinced this team will have any staying power.

22) Carolina Panthers (0-1) - Meet the new QB, same as the old QB. Matt Moore shot this team in the foot repeatedly, and the team went away from their strength, which is cramming DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart down the opponents' throats. Now, Moore has a concussion and Jimmy Clausen may get his first start next week against the Bucs.

23) Arizona Cardinals (1-0) - Arizona held on for dear life against Sam Bradford and the Rams, but Derek Anderson looked atrocious doing it. All offseason, I thought Arizona still had a chance to retain their division title, and maybe they do, but only because the rest of the division is so awful.

24) Chicago Bears (1-0) - This had all the feeling of a loss, but it counts as a W on the scoreboard. But, the new Bears sure look a lot like the old Bears - too many turnovers and unable to convert on the goal line.

25) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0) - A ho hum victory over an injury depleted mediocre Bronco team. Kyle Orton was able to carve them up through the air - I wonder what Philip Rivers will do to them next week?

26) Denver Broncos (0-1) - I fear the Broncos will be permanent residents down here.

27) Tampa Bay Bucs (1-0) - The Bucs somehow battled back from a 14-3 deficit to win their home opener. Unfortunately, nobody saw it because the game was blacked out.

28) Cleveland Browns (0-1) - So much for my 2010 sleeper. Can someone explain to me why Jerome Harrison only got nine carries in this game?

29) Oakland Raiders (0-1) - What's that sound you hear? People jumping off the Oakland Raider playoff sleeper bandwagon.

30) Detroit Lions (0-1) - I'd love to put them higher, but a loss is a loss and it counts double when you lose your starting QB for a potentially significant amount of time.

31) Buffalo Bills (0-1) - I really don't think this team is that bad, but I can't find anybody to put them above right now in the rankings. I still think they surprise some people before the year is out, but they will need more contribution from CJ Spiller to do it.

32) St. Louis Rams (0-1) - At the bottom until they prove otherwise. I'm not sure Sam Bradford will get his first win this week - the Black Hole is still an intimidating spot for a rookie.

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