2012 NFL Week 1 Performance Rankings

Instead of trying to put together a Power Ranking, I decided to opine on which teams had the most impressive performances for the week. Commencing with the second week, I will combine the rankings in order to have a separate cumulative "Year to Date Performance Rankings."

Margin of victory is largely irrelevant in this ranking, as it is designed to grade the overall performance of each team for the game they played that week. Playing well against a quality opponent will be rewarded with a higher ranking than blowing out an overmatched foe.

Comments will be taken into consideration in modifying the "Year to Date Performance Rankings." Rest assured that all strong arguments will impact the upcoming rankings: especially those from Cowboys fans.





Dallas Cowboys

Defeating the defending Super Bowl champions in the New Meadowlands with a blend of balanced offense and stout defense earned the Cowboys the top spot in this week's performance rankings.


San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers completely diffused one of the best passing attacks in the league. A dominant defensive performance on the road combined with an effective offense against a Packers team that still has huge defensive issues merits the second spot in the rankings.


Denver Broncos

Manning was magnificent. The Broncos defeated a very good Steelers team at Mile High with an unstoppable offense. Pittsburgh had no answer for Peyton's no huddle offense. Roethlisberger, however, exposed some defensive concerns for Denver by continually converting long third downs.


Baltimore Ravens

An above average performance from the Ravens in trouncing an average Bengals team in Baltimore. A surprisingly effective Ravens' offense established a lead, permitting the defense to aggressively focus on the opposing passing game, which led to big plays (turnovers).


New England Patriots

Another solid performance from the Patriots in dispatching a below average Titans team. The New England defense focused on stopping the Tennessee running game, and held them to 20 yards. Conversely, the Patriots showed an effective running game of their own (35-162-1).


New York Jets

The Jets won the game easily, as the Bills turned the ball over four times (3 interceptions and a fumble). New York returned one interception for a touchdown, and also had a punt return for a touchdown. Buffalo was down 41-14 going into the fourth quarter.


Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta's offense looked good against a Chiefs team lacking its best pass rusher, and its top two corners from last season. The Falcons defense looked vulnerable as Matt Cassel and the Kansas City running game rang up almost 400 yards of total offense.


Chicago Bears

The Bears did what they were supposed to do to the Colts. Forte and Bush looked like a strong running back tandem, while Brandon Marshall (9-119-1) and Jay Cutler picked up where they left off in Denver. The defense continues to play sound and collect turnovers.


Houston Texans

Houston got off to a slow start until turnovers kick-started the offense. The defense stoned the rookie quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, while the offense put together a respectable performance. The Texans still look to be a player or two away from being a Super Bowl contender.


Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers defense was victimized by Manning's no huddle offense in Denver. Pittsburgh's offense, however, looked quite good in controlling the ball for over 14 minutes in the third quarter. Roethlisberger looked sharp in converting countless third downs and maintaining drives.


New York Giants

Despite losing, the Giants are still a formidable team. The New York defensive front looks to be a dominant unit, but could not make-up for the troubles the team is having in the secondary. The offense may need more balance this season if the Giants hope to make the playoffs.


Washington Redskins

Robert Griffin III looked poised in his debut. The Redskins still boast a solid defense and an above average running game that helped RGIII play within himself. Washington's defense completely made the Saints one-dimensional, as New Orleans rushed for 32 yards.


San Diego Chargers

Despite gaining excellent field position because of special teams break downs by the Raiders, the San Diego offense sputtered in the red zone. The defense played well in the second half and demonstrated the ability to pressure the quarterback off of the edge.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

10 yards. That is the total rushing yards gained by Carolina. Tampa Bay's defense was stifling, forcing Cam Newton to win the game by throwing the ball. The Buccaneers offense was below average, as Josh Freeman is playing about the same as he was last season (16-24 138, 1 TD).


Green Bay Packers

The Packers still have major defensive concerns. The secondary looks porous, and the pass rush is only effective if Clay Mathews gets a push or if Charles Woodson blitzes. The Green Bay offense lies squarely on the shoulders of Aaron Rodgers, as he was also the leading rusher.


Cincinnati Bengals

Besides a drive to end the first half, the Bengals looked average. The Cincinnati defense did not make many plays, and neither did the offense. The Bengals look to be one of the teams that made the playoffs in 2011, but will not return in 2012.


Philadelphia Eagles

I am starting to wonder if this may be Reid's final season in Philadelphia. Vick threw 4 interceptions (and could have had more), but Reid had him drop back to pass over 60 times. McCoy gained 110 rushing yards on 20 carries, but maybe he should have had more opportunities.


Cleveland Browns

Cleveland should have won the game against the Eagles, but Weeden played like a rookie quarterback, and threw 4 interceptions. The Eagles forced Weeden to pass, shutting down Richardson, and as happened often on Sunday, the rookie quarterback could not get the job done.


Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck had three interceptions against a ball-hawking Bears defense, but also delivered the ball to his big-play targets as Avery, Fleener, and Wayne combined for 18 receptions for 244 yards and a touchdown. The Colts will go far in the future with Luck at QB.


Detroit Lions

The Lions played down to the level of competition. The team will sink or swim on the arm of Stafford. Detroit has no running game, but with targets like Johnson, Pettigrew, Burleson, and Scheffler, the offense can be explosive, as witnessed in the last 2:00 minutes of the game.


Kansas City Chiefs

Matt Cassel played well for two quarters, which is two quarters better than the amount of time the defense played well. Kansas City entered the game depleted by injuries on the defensive side of the ball, and it showed as Atlanta drove the ball mercilessly through the Chiefs defense all day.


Oakland Raiders

The Raiders still commit too many mistakes and lack playmakers outside of McFadden on offense. Once the Chargers' defense began to key on him in the second half, Oakland's offense sputtered. Every team in the league will now have their back-up long snapper take extra reps this week.


St. Louis Rams

The Rams played hard, and did not put too much pressure on Sam Bradford to carry the team, but St. Louis has a serious lack of talent. Losing the starting left tackle, Saffold, did not help the team, especially in the running game, where Jackson never could find a hole.


Arizona Cardinals

Arizona lost their starting quarterback, Skelton, and responded to Kolb by playing better. The Cardinals could not open enough holes to establish any type of running game. The defense was up and down against a passing attack that hardly tested them.


Minnesota Vikings

In an ugly game, the Vikings found a way to win. Ponder was unspectacular, but did not lose the game (as many rookie quarterbacks did). Peterson was not quite all the way back from his ACL reconstruction, but his presence was felt on Sunday (17-84-2).


Tennessee Titans

The Titans showed how dependant the offense is upon a rushing attack. Locker is nowhere near ready to place the team on his shoulders (especially since separating the left one) and move the team through the air. Tennessee's defense also looked sub par in the contest.


Seattle Seahawks

Wilson may become a quality starting quarterback in the NFL, but he struggled in his first action on Sunday (18-34 139 yards 1-1). Lynch was solid, but struggled to find holes. The Seattle secondary appears to be a relative strength on this team.


New Orleans Saints

The Saints looked like a team that was poorly coached and unprepared. New Orleans did not execute well on offense or defense. This team still has a great deal of talent, but the lack of focus demonstrated during the season opener needs to be addressed and corrected.


Carolina Panthers

Carolina is in big trouble if Cam Newton is not able to develop beyond what he is: a running quarterback that can chuck a deep ball. Tampa Bay took away the Panthers' ability to run (including Cam), and showed that Newton could not make enough consistent pass plays to win a NFL game.


Buffalo Bills

The Bills were not ready to play. After signing a nice contract during the 2011 season, Fitzpatrick has failed to live up to expectations. The Bills defense and special teams played poorly, and Buffalo's offense contributed heavily to the blow-out by turning the ball over four times.


Jacksonville Jaguars

It took a 55-yard field goal to send the game into overtime. The Jaguars competed well with the Vikings, but once they were forced to score at least a field goal in overtime, Jacksonville found a way to lose.


Miami Dolphins

Tannehill looked like a rookie, throwing three interceptions and guiding the offense to a solitary field goal. The defense kept the Dolphins in the game until the Texans began registering takeaways. Miami has many holes to fill.

Some games that should affect the top of the rankings next week:

Bears @ Packers (Thursday night)

Ravens @ Eagles

Jets @ Steelers

Lions @ 49ers (Sunday night)

Broncos @ Falcons (Monday night)

My notes:

  • This week I felt that the top ten teams looked like strong playoff contenders.
  • Sans serious injuries, I think the top three teams will improve significantly as the season progresses.
  • Of the top ten teams, only the 49ers and the Texans are considered to have good offensive lines: I believe this is a cost containment trend in the NFL.
  • The AFC looks much stronger at the top this season than it has in the recent past.
  • Teams most likely to draft a quarterback in the upcoming NFL draft (in order of need):
    1. Arizona
    2. Kansas City
    3. Buffalo

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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