Power Rankings: Week 2 2007
Cold, Hard Football Facts for Sep 10, 2007
By Jonathan Comey
Cold, Hard Football Facts ruling ranker
If the NFL's opening week can be predicable and unpredictable at the same time, the 2007 kickoff was exactly that.
The top three in our preseason Power Rankings won in impressive fashion, the bottom four lost in unimpressive fashion.
But in the middle, there was an awful lot of unpredictability going on – Tennessee won in Jacksonville, Carolina won in St. Louis, Baltimore turned it over six times in Cincy, Detroit won on the road.
Still, it was the old reliable Colts and Patriots – as predictable as it gets over the past half-decade – who garnered the biggest headlines of Week 1 by the sheer scope of their dominance.
The Colts proved they can play in January with their Super run of 2006, but it didn't affect their status as the unquestioned kings of September. In their last 16 September games, the Colts are 15-1 and have outscored opponents 456-238.
The 41-10 shellacking of the Saints, however, was impressive even for them – it was their biggest September win since 2003, a 55-21 blowout, also over the Saints.
Meanwhile, New England (possibly with the use of illegal surveillance) had one of those good-in-all-three-phases masterpieces that have been fairly commonplace under Bill Belichick.
San Diego wasn't half-bad either, flummoxing Chicago's offense and winning by 11 over the defending NFC champs.
Well, as of right now Seattle is our No. 4 team, so let's call it precipitous.
For now, at least. One thing that we can surely predict is that things will change plenty over the next five months.
On to the rankings ...
THE DOMINANT DOZEN
1. INDIANAPOLIS (1-0, previous rank: same)
- Last week: The Colts turned in one of the best performances of the Manning Era, crushing New Orleans 41-10.
- Cold, Hard Football Facts: Since returning from an injury in the final week of the 2006 regular season, TE Dallas Clark has hauled in 27 passes for 421 yards in six games; this would project to 72 catches for 1,123 yards over a full season.
Next: at Tennessee. Manning vs. Young, let the hype begin.
2. NEW ENGLAND (1-0, previous rank: same)
- Last week: 38-14 win over the Jets was New England's most dominant opener since 1997, when they beat San Diego 41-7 under coach Pete Carroll.
- Cold, Hard Football Facts: Randy Moss' 183 receiving yards Sunday were the most by one receiver in the Tom Brady Era (Troy Brown, 176 yards in 2002).
- Next: San Diego. Brady vs. L.T., let the hype begin. Is the NFC still in business?
3. SAN DIEGO (1-0, previous rank: same)
- Last week: Controlled the clock for 37+ minutes in a 14-3 win over Chicago.
- Cold, Hard Football Facts: Even when measured against their own low standards, San Diego wide receivers were remarkably ineffective against Chicago (5 catches for 43 yards).
- Next: at New England. Will Tomlinson's anti-Patriots talk be a factor?
4. SEATTLE (1-0, previous rank: 8)
- Last week: Dispatched lowly Tampa Bay 20-6 at home.
- Cold, Hard Football Facts: Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is 23-9 over his last 32 regular season starts – a game better than NE's Tom Brady over his last 32 (22-10).
- Next: at Arizona. Seahawks-Cardinals should be among the 10,000 greatest NFL games ever played.
5. CHICAGO (0-1, previous rank: 4)
- Last week: Pathetic offense (202 net yards, three turnovers) overshadowed great defensive effort in a 14-3 loss to San Diego.
- Cold, Hard Football Facts: Held LaDainian Tomlinson to 25 yards rushing, his worst output since a 17-carry, 7-yard day at Philadelphia in October 2005.
- Next: Kansas City. One-dimensional KC offense will be easy to contain in Chicago's home opener.
6. BALTIMORE (0-1, previous rank: 5)
- Last week: Committed 10 penalties and six turnovers at Cincy ... yet still had a chance to win before the Bengals held on for 27-20 win.
- Cold, Hard Football Facts: Pass rush continued to struggle against Cincinnati – after accumulating four sacks in the teams' two games last year, Baltimore managed just one on Monday night.
- Next: N.Y. Jets. Which one of these 2006 playoff teams wants to be 0-2?
7. DALLAS (1-0, previous rank: 13)
- Last week: Tony Romo turned that frown upside down with a ridiculous 15 of 24 (62.5%), 345 yards, 14.4 YPA, 4 TD passes, 128.5 rating and 1 TD run in a 45-35 win over the Giants.
- Cold, Hard Football Facts: Dallas averages 26.8 PPG in Romo's 12 career starts including playoffs; Romo has 24 touchdown passes.
- Next: at Miami. The Cowboys are 3-7 all-time against the Dolphins.
8. PHILADELPHIA (0-1, previous rank: 7)
- Last week: Two fumbled punts doomed the Eagles in a 16-13 loss at Green Bay.
- Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Eagles are being labeled as pretenders after their loss to Green Bay, but don't tell that to the defense – figuring in sacks, Philly held the Packers to 2.8 yards per play and forced two turnovers.
- Next: Washington, Monday night. 0-1 vs. 1-0 ... but not the way you'd think.
9. CINCINNATI (1-0, previous rank: 14)
- Last week: Rare two INTs by defensive linemen helped spark 27-20 win over Baltimore.
- Cold, Hard Football Facts: Cincinnati scored five times (and missed a field goal) against Ravens, but never generated a drive of more than 50 yards.
- Next: at Cleveland. Somewhere, spurned Cleveland legend turned Bengals founder Paul Brown is smiling.
10. NEW ORLEANS (0-1, previous rank: 6)
- Last week: The Saints did their best deer-in-the-headlights imitation as Peyton Manning and the Colts blinded them to the tune of 41-10.
- Cold, Hard Football Facts: Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister took the idea of sharing the load a bit literally in Week 1; they had identical (and ineffective) individual totals of 38 yards rushing and 7 yards receiving.
- Next: at Tampa Bay. Ahhhh. Back to the NFC.
11. DENVER (1-0, previous rank: 12)
- Last week: K Jason Elam made up for his two misses with one of the more remarkable game-winning field goals ever to seal a 15-14 win in Buffalo.
- Cold, Hard Football Facts: RB Travis Henry has rushed for 764 yards and a 5.0 YPA over his past eight games.
- Next: Oakland. Broncos have limited Raiders to 9.0 PPG while winning last four straight meetings.
12. PITTSBURGH (1-0, previous rank: 15)
- Last week: 34-7 win in Cleveland was fifth straight season-opening win for Steelers, four of them by 10 points or more.
- Cold, Hard Football Facts: Eight different Steelers registered a sack or a turnover Sunday; Pittsburgh wideouts ripped off more rushing yards (48) than the Browns managed as a team (46).
- Next: Buffalo.
THE TEPID TWENTY
13. CAROLINA (1-0, previous rank: 16) – Before Sunday's 27-13 win over St. Louis, Jake Delhomme hadn't thrown three or more TD passes without a pick since October 2005.
14. JACKSONVILLE (0-1, previous rank: 9) – Jags have lost six straight close games (seven points or less) dating back to October 2006.
15. SAN FRANCISCO (1-0, previous rank: 18) – Rookie ILB Patrick Willis, get ready for your closeup: 11 tackles, 1 forced fumble for suddenly swarming Niners D.
16. TENNESSEE (1-0, previous rank: 20) – The Titans outgained Jaguars 84-2 in the fourth quarter of their 13-10 upset in Florida.
17. N.Y. JETS (0-1, previous rank: 10) – For a guy whose injury was cheered by the home fans and ended up losing 38-14, Chad Pennington had a hell of a day: 130.5 passer rating against tough NE defense.
18. GREEN BAY (1-0, previous rank: 22) – Packers are 8-4 over their last 12 games; Green Bay defense has allowed an average of 11.0 PPG while winning five straight.
19. ST. LOUIS (0-1, previous rank: 17) – Newcomer Dante Hall provided one of the few Week 1 highlights with an 84-yard kick return, his longest since October 2005 while with Kansas City.
20. KANSAS CITY (0-1, previous rank: 11) – With 3 points Sunday, the Chiefs have scored 10 points or fewer six times in 18 games under Herm Edwards (including playoffs). During Dick Vermeil's 81-game tenure from 2001-2005, the Chiefs were held to 10 or fewer just seven times.
21. WASHINGTON (1-0, previous rank: 24) – WR Antwaan Randle-El hauled in his two longest catches in a Redskins uniform (54 yards and a 49 yards). His 162 receiving yards were almost half of his entire output of 2006 (351 yards).
22. HOUSTON (1-0, previous rank: 26) – A win at Carolina this week, and the Texans will be 2-0 for the first time in franchise history.
23. DETROIT (1-0 previous rank: 27) – The 36-21 win at Oakland was just the fourth double-digit road victory for Detroit since Barry Sanders retired after the 1998 season (65 road games).
24. MIAMI (0-1, previous rank: 21) – Reigning defensive MVP Jason Taylor picked up where he left off with four tackles, a sack and a forced fumble in Miami loss – 'Fins fourth season-opening defeat in five years.
25. MINNESOTA (1-0, previous rank: 28) – The Vikings forced Falcons to start seven of 11 drives inside the 20-yard line, six of them inside the 15, leading to 24-3 victory.
26. N.Y. GIANTS (0-1, previous rank: 19) – 41-year-old punter Jeff Feagles extended his consecutive games streak to 305 when he took the field Sunday; when Feagles broke in with New England back in 1988, gas cost $1.08 and Reagan was president.
27. BUFFALO (0-1, previous rank: 23) – Filling in for injured starter Ko Simpson (broken left ankle), backup free safety Jim Lionhard matched his 2006 output with 13 total tackles and added his first career INT.
28. ARIZONA (0-1, previous rank: 25) – New coach, new approach, same net result for the worst organization in North American sports.
29. TAMPA BAY (0-1, previous rank: 29) – Gruden ready to walk the plank? Tampa has lost by 14 points or more in seven of its last 11 games dating back to 2006.
30. OAKLAND (0-1, previous rank: 32) – A new way to lose: the 36 points allowed by the Raiders Sunday were more than they allowed in any game in 2006.
31. CLEVELAND (0-1, previous rank: 30) – Starting QB Charlie Frye plays a quarter-and-a-half before getting benched? Tough town.
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