32. Cleveland Browns
The Browns showed bits and pieces of what they could be. With an incredible Terrell Pryor catch and the thought of Josh Gordon returning after week 4 should bring a few small tears to the eyes of the Brown’s Faithful. But with the news of recently signed QB, RG3’s injury, those tears of joy might turn into a tear of “Here we go again”, Classic Cleveland.
31. Los Angeles Rams
Football is back in Los Angeles for the first time in more than 20 years and in the wise words of Uncle Ben, “With great power, comes great responsibility”, and unfortunately the Rams were not able to shoulder that responsibility, getting shut out by a new and improved 49er team. But lets not jump on them too quickly, the Rams aren’t used to having a 2-hour commute to play a divisional game.
30. San Diego Chargers
If you only watched the first half of the Charger/Chiefs game you have to be wondering why the Chargers are so far down on this list. The Chargers were able to jump out to a 24-3 lead at the half against a Jamaal Charles-less Chief backfield. In the 2nd half, San Diego must have forgotten that Melvin Gordon had 2 touchdowns when they didn’t feed him nearly as much and relied on the Uncle Rico throwing motion of Philip Rivers to finish the game off. The Chargers ended up losing their #1 receiver, Keenan Allen, for the year with an ACL tear and ultimately lost in overtime.
29. Chicago Bears
Da Bears are always a team right on the edge of success every year. On paper the team could finish around 10-6, but once those cleats hit the turf the Bears always find ways around that. A great WR #1 and a great RB #1 the Bears have all the tools around their QB to put up the points, but Jay Cutler and his musket arm have yet to bring all the pieces together. When you can’t put up points and your defense gives up 12 3rd down conversions to the Brock-lobster, it’s going to be a long week.
28. Atlanta Falcons
To fantasy fans, Devonta Freeman is already dead. The Falcons were able to start the game off very well, but were not able to contain Famous Jameis in the middle quarters and ended up giving up a majority of the points in those 2 quarters. The Falcons are capable of putting drives together, their defense just has to stop letting offenses get into the end zone and start making them kick the ball through those 2 yellow posts.
27. New Orleans Saints
The Saints were faced with a tough task on their home opener, they were asked to go up against a new an improved Oakland Raider team. No one knew what to expect out of the Raiders, but we could guess what we would get from the Saints. Brees was able to throw for over 400 yards and 4 touchdowns, 15/16 games this season that would be more than enough to get into the win column, unfortunately they went up against an opposing head coach that has more guts then sense.
26. Tennessee Titans
Tennessee must be spending time in practice coming up with ways to lose games. On paper the Titans should have pummeled the Vikings into the ground and started the season off with 1/3 the wins they had the year before. With a young, aspiring QB and a veteran RB, the Titans can still be a playoff team this year, they just have to get back to the nuts and bolts of their offense and execute on every play.
25. Indianapolis Colts
At the beginning of Andrew Luck’s career he thrown into the fire and told to be Indiana’s savior, he was Peyton incarnate. The Colts have always struggled when it came to the defense and the offensive line, but drafting 2 O-Lineman in this year’s draft was supposed to help one of the problems, but 2 injuries to Indy’s starting secondary set it back. If Indy can learn to block for their franchise QB and make a few stops on defense this team could rise through the ranks quickly.
24. San Francisco 49ers
A new head coach means a new chapter for the 49ers. Players who have been there for multiple years might find that Chip Kelly is a little different from Jim Harbaugh, but a win is a win. The Carlos Hyde we saw this game looked like very similar to the Carlos Hyde that we saw in the opener last year, finding the end zone twice while never shying from a hit. Next week will be a true test for him, as the 49ers will face arguably the hardest test of their season next week in Carolina.
23. Buffalo Bills
Four falls in Buffalo might not be enough for this fan base as they deal with more heartbreak year after year. Tyrod couldn’t manage to hit 100 net yards on 22 attempts though in the air and new acquisition, Reggie Bush, managed negative yards on the ground on 3 attempts. The team held the Ravens to only 13 points on the afternoon, but when you can’t put up your own points, getting to 13 sounds as difficult as hitting a 47 yard field goal.
22. Philadelphia Eagles
Don’t get too excited Eagle fans; the year is still very young, but I guess without Chip Kelly there is some sort of celebrating to be done. Rookie QB Carson Wentz shined in his debut as he threw for 278 yards, 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. That’s a stat line Eagle fans have been wishing for since Mark Wahlberg suited up for them.
21. Washington Redskins
Dustin Hopkins might be a household name for Washington fans this upcoming season with the way the Redskin offense looked Monday night. Cousins did throw for 329 yards, but it seemed like Cousins’ visibility only limited him to see routes that were 5 yards down field. Antonio Brown torched the Redskin secondary, beating Breshaud Breeland multiple times for a couple scores. Josh Norman was only thrown at 2x during his first game with Washington.
20. Dallas Cowboys
The first rookie-rookie backfield for Dallas since 1969 was put in place Sunday afternoon when Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott took the field together. There were a few opportunities that were missed by Prescott, but show me a rookie QB who doesn’t make mistakes and I’ll bring Harambe back to life. The Cowboys were a few yards away from being able to kick a game winning field goal, but let it slip away when Terrance Williams couldn’t* (read wouldn’t) get out of bounds as time expired.
19. Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins were a few missed connections away from upsetting the Seattle Seahawks in one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL. Holding the Seahawks to just one touchdown at home is a huge key to build on in upcoming weeks. This team couldn’t put up the points they needed to win this one, but don’t count on opposing offenses to put up a ton of points on this team either.
18. Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions were 37 seconds away from leaving their kicker, Matt Prater, in Indianapolis. Luckily, Matt Stafford was able to lead a march downfield to get Prater into range to redeem himself from missing an earlier PAT that kept the Colts in the game. The Lions didn’t have to worry about a Hail Mary at the end of the game, the defense held strong and forced the Colts into a safety on the last play of the game.
17. Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens defense looked smothering, as the Bills couldn’t attack by land, air or sea. The kibosh was quickly put talks of Tyrod’s return to Baltimore talk when they managed to hold him to under 100 net yards passing and only 7 points. If the Ravens can keep those numbers against more elite quarterbacks, this team could be playing in January.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars break the top 20 for the first time in a very long time. Although they did end up losing to the Packers, no one figured the game would be as close as it was. The Jags had a couple possessions at the end of the game to take the lead on the Packers, but just couldn’t bring it all together. The Jags will be a good team once they mesh more as a team.
15. New York Giants
Victor Cruz was able to break out the spicy salsa, Eli was able to manage his way to another victory without a touchdown from OBJ and the Giants went back to East Rutherford happy. The Giants held Dez out of the end zone all day and limited him to only 1 catch for 8 yards. If they are able to do that against more big name receivers this team could have a great shot at post-season play. Drew Brees and the Saints visit next week, expect a shootout Sunday afternoon.
14. New York Jets
Someone must have moved the “No Fly Zone” sign from the Jets defense Sunday morning because when Andy Dalton wasn’t on the turf he was delivering dots to his receivers. Dalton finished the day 23 of 30 for 366 yards, but only 1 touchdown. This game could have gone either way, but Nick Folk missing a PAT and having a chip-shot field goal blocked paved the way for a 0-1 start in 2016.
13. Tampa Bay Bucs
Sophomore QB, Jameis Winston finished with a QBR of 122.6 in his season opener with the Bucs, leading all the experts who picked Winston for a slump to collectively stop talking. The Bucs were the only AFC South team to secure a victory in week 1, and while that doesn’t sound all that impressive, starting the season on the right foot is always ideal.
12. Minnesota Vikings
Starting QB, Teddy Bridgewater, went down with a season ending injury in preseason, but that didn’t stop the Minnesota Vikings from starting off the season in the win column. AP couldn’t quite get going against the Tennessee defense that held opponents to just 65 yards/game last year. The Vikings will have to find a way for Shaun Hill to be more effective throwing the ball this year if they want to have any shot at a successful offense. AP did have all last year to work on his leg strength; maybe he is ready to put the team on his back.
11. Oakland Raiders
How quickly coaches can go from being the scapegoat to the real GOAT. Jack Del Rio made a decision that will set the tone for the rest of his season in week 1. With an improved defense that compliments their dual-threat stud, Khalil Mack and a young offense that is finally putting the pieces together, this team isn’t one to sleep on.
10. Houston Texans
We weren’t seeing the typical big names racking in huge performances in Houston, instead this was a game of firsts. Will Fuller and Lamar Miller both made their Texan debuts, both racking up over 100 yards in the air and on the ground respectively. Houston going to have a fun matchup in week 2 of the season as their new quarterback get his first home opening against a very familiar opponent.
9. Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals must have had unlimited points to use for flights to Revis Island because that man couldn’t stop a gas pump against AJ Green. Green finished the game with 12 receptions for 180 yards and a tuddy against the corner. Dalton and the Bengals were able to shrug off 12 sacks to beat the Jets for the first time in the last 10 meetings.
8. Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs faced a tough challenge the 2nd half of their home opener, coming back from 21 points against the San Diego Chargers, without their star running back. Relying on the skills on backup running back, Spencer Ware, the Chiefs came out a completely different team in the 2nd The Chiefs were up to the task though, and while Chief fans were treated to an extra quarter of football, they weren’t complaining on the drive home.
7. Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals suffered a brutal home defeat at the hands of a short-handed New England team. Bruce Arians looked like he didn’t recognize the team that suited up that day. Only by the hands of what we can assume is the 3rd member of the sticky bandits, Larry Fitzgerald, did the Cardinals keep it close, ultimately falling on a missed field goal with time expiring.
6. Seattle Seahawks
Seattle is back to doing Seattle things. The Seahawks barely escaped a home opener defeat with another magic trick by hobbled magician, Harry Houdi err… Russell Wilson. Seattle managed to pull out a 12-10 victory, but not without the assistance from a few missed Miami plays. Wilson’s injury should be something to keep tabs on. That is unless he goes on a Reliant Recovery Water diet again.
5. Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers were going up against the defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos on the road and although they suffered a loss in their first game of the season, there is still a lot to be excited for during this 2016 campaign. With a young Kelvin Benjamin returning from an ACL injury and the best linebacker in the league calling the shots on defense, this team can be very dangerous on both sides of the ball.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers
With a tank at quarterback and a receiver who can catch a cold in a Louisiana summer, the Pittsburgh Steelers made a statement win on Monday night. This team threatens to put up points on every offensive possession, while a young defense held a veteran Washington offense out of the end zone all night.
3. Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers isn’t a real person. He is just a created machine that is adept at drawing opponents offside, extending plays for about 4 seconds longer than they should be and finding the open window that only his receivers can catch the ball. This Packer team will be a top 5 team this year again because of the play of their robot quarterback.
2. Denver Broncos
While the Bronco’s defense wasn’t as sturdy as it was in the Super Bowl last year, the team still managed to pull off a huge win at home against a very capable Carolina team. New starting QB, Trevor Siemian, managed to hold his own against a defense that held a negative TD-Int ratio in 2015. CJ Anderson was invigorated this year already running for 20% of the touchdowns he had last year.
1. New England Patriots
No Brady, No Gronk, No Problem. The New England Patriots, led by football Gandalf, Bill Belichick, escaped Glendale without any significant injuries or suspensions and a positive number in the win category. Seeing as this was the Pats toughest matchup without Brady, the season seems to have started on the right track.