FanPost

2012 NFL Week 2 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. 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.

This is intended to be a weekly snapshot on the league. If the Rams upset the 49ers in San Francisco in convincing fashion, St. Louis could have the week's best performance. It doesn't matter if the team was winless coming into the game: if they play well against a quality opponent their weekly performance will be reflected by a high rating.

Conversely, a team that loses against a quality opponent, but is competitive, will probably be ranked higher than a team that squeaked by a weak opponent. This rating is based greatly on how well one team plays against another good team.

In other words, to beat a bad team, your team only has to be better than bad. To beat a great team, your team has to be better than great.

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.

Rank

Teams

Notes

1

San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco showed some offensive firepower, but given the opponents' defensive strength, the truly impressive facet of their victory was dominance exhibited by their defense against a very talented offensive team. The 49ers look very good.

2

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals were opportunistic in winning at New England. A missed field goal, a blocked punt, and a Tom Brady interception were all Arizona needed to topple the Patriots despite losing the turnover battle and being outgained by more than a 2 to 1 ratio.

3

Philadelphia Eagles

Instead of focusing on the turnovers, focus on how dominant this team may truly be when / if the mistakes stop. The offense ran and passed on the vaunted Ravens defense. The defense shut down the Baltimore passing attack.

4

Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta's defense started the game by collecting 3 interceptions from Peyton Manning: no small feat. As a result, the Falcons took a 20-0 lead. The Broncos made this a game, however, making the Falcons earn the win.

5

Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh found its offensive rhythm late in the second quarter, scoring 3 consecutive touchdowns. Roethlisberger carried the offense as the running game only averaged 2.4 yards per carry. The defense was great after the half.

6

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle is tough in the trenches and will win their share of battles along the line of scrimmage. The Seahawks will stay in most games with tough defense combined with a great running game, and should be in the playoff race at the end of the season.

7

Green Bay Packers

Green Bay's defense looked much better, but the strategy was simple: pressure Cutler, double cover Brandon Marshall, and force someone else to beat them. Once Forte left, Chicago had no answers. Surprisingly, the Packers' offense ran the ball more effectively, gaining over 100 yards.

8

Buffalo Bills

Buffalo pressured the quarterback (5 sacks), collected turnovers (3), and ran the ball very well (201 yards). The Bills also did not suffer a single sack, did not turn the ball over, and scored on a punt return.

9

Houston Texans

Houston mauled the overmatched Jaguars in Jacksonville. The Texans ran at will, Schaub faced little pressure in completing short passes in running their ball control offense. The defense should have pitched a shut-out.

10

San Diego Chargers

San Diego gained almost twice as many yards as Tennessee, with Philip Rivers carrying the offense. The Chargers offense should receive a boost in the near future when Matthews returns from his injury. San Diego still has concerns along the offensive line that will likely limit the team's success.

11

St. Louis Rams

The Rams fell behind early but came roaring back behind the young arm of Sam Bradford and the youthful legs of Daryl Richardson. The St. Louis defense struggled against a very explosive Redskins offense.

12

Denver Broncos

Four turnovers and Peyton Manning was only a 3rd and 6 stop away from getting the ball with over 2:00 minutes, down by six. Was anyone else impressed that Manning handed the ball off on 4th and 1 at the goal line instead of making the play himself?

13

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens defense gave up 486 yards to the Eagles. Despite collecting four turnovers, and getting 99 yards from Ray Rice, Flacco struggled to complete just over 50% of his passes while averaging a meager 5.5 yards per attempt.

14

Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati was an Adam Jones return from losing this home game. The Bengals have offensive line issues (6 sacks) that are limiting their production. The Cincinnati defense is also suspect, giving up 439 yards to the Browns.

15

Detroit Lions

The high powered Lions offense with Calvin Johnson and Matt Stafford was completely diffused by a physical San Francisco defense. The Lions should call the Cowboys again about sending a high draft pick for Mike Jenkins.

16

New York Giants

A tremendous fourth quarter comeback does not hide that the Giants are a one-dimensional offense. Eli Manning needs to carry the Giants much in the same way that his brother needed to carry the Colts for all those years.

17

Miami Dolphins

Just as Weeden looked much better in his second game, Tannehill also demonstrated significant improvement in game two. Reggie Bush looked like the non-Heisman winner from USC that the Saints drafted in the first round.

18

Carolina Panthers

Carolina is only as good as Cam Newton's arms and legs. When Cam can throw the ball downfield effectively, run around to buy time, and gain rushing yardage, Carolina is a threat. If Cam is neutralized, the Panthers defense is not yet able to carry the team.

19

New York Jets

New York's defense kept the Jets in the game for one half. Mark Sanchez struggled, however, and accumulated just over 130 yards passing. Tim Tebow had one of the two big plays (a 22-yard run), so calls for Mark to go to the bench will start soon.

20

Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck is amazing. For a rookie to lead a winning field goal drive in his second pro game with less than 30 seconds left in the game is incredible. The Colts still need to upgrade the defense and could use a few more targets for Luck, but they are on the right track.

21

New England Patriots

Special teams errors doomed the Patriots in Foxboro. The offensive line struggled against an active Arizona defensive front (4 sacks); decreasing the time Tom Brady had to throw the ball downfield.

22

Cleveland Browns

If not for two plays, Cleveland could easily be 2-0 right now. Brandon Weeden went from looking lost a week ago (4 interceptions), to tossing two touchdown passes in leading his team to 27 points on the road. Trent Richardson looks much better than his predecessor at Alabama.

23

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers played well enough through three quarters to have an 11-point lead entering the fourth quarter. Tampa Bay then gave it all away in the fourth quarter. Freeman was hot and cold, as was the defense.

24

Washington Redskins

The Redskins offense still looks potent with RGIII at the helm. The Washington defense sprung leaks after injuries depleted the unit. The Redskins could not stop the Rams in the second half.

25

Chicago Bears

Jay Cutler struggled to find receivers on his team, but had no problem getting the ball to the opponent. Green Bay took advantage of a weak offensive line and it resulted in 4 interceptions. The Bears need better pass protection and for Alshon Jeffery to develop very quickly.

26

Dallas Cowboys

The offense was held to 7 points, the special teams directly gave up another 7 points, and the defense was overrun for 182 yards rushing. In a game where Dez Bryant needed to make big plays, his lack of effectiveness was the final nail in the Cowboys' coffin.

27

New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans defense is providing proof to the NFL that bounties indeed do work. A week after rushing for 10 yards, Carolina marched on the Saints' defense to the tune of 219 yards. Is it too early to call Mark Ingram a bust?

28

Kansas City Chiefs

Matt Cassel had an interception and one fumble lost. The offensive line was overrun, yielding 5 sacks. The defense gave up over 200 yards rushing and did not record a single sack. Dwayne Bowe (8-102 2TD) continues to play well despite the poor quarterback play.

29

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings may have found a quarterback in Ponder. For the second consecutive game, the Vikings quarterback looked pretty good (27-35 245 2TD). Maybe Christian gained some confidence practicing against a Minnesota pass defense that looks confused.

30

Tennessee Titans

Jake Locker cannot carry this Tennessee team, and with Chris Johnson MIA, that is position Locker finds himself in: Jake led the team in rushing yards as well as passing yards. The defense has some bite (4 sacks, 1 INT), but not enough.

31

Oakland Raiders

The Raiders yielded 263 rushing yards to the Dolphins. Oakland was able to keep Carson Palmer clean, who in turn completed passes of 64 (TD), 31, 31, and 21 yards, but McFadden was grounded, as he only ran for 22 yards. It looks like a long season for Raiders fans.

32

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars were outgained 411 to 117, including giving up 216 yards rushing to Houston. Jacksonville only had the ball for 16:43, and amassed 52 passing yards. All of this was at home. No wonder fans are allowed to bring their own food into the stadium and get seats at last minute for $25 or so.

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

Eagles @ Cardinals

Falcons @ Chargers

Texans @ Broncos

Patriots @ Ravens (Sunday night)

Packers @ Seahawks (Monday night)

My notes:

  • It is amazing how many teams avoided going 0-2 (10 teams were 0-1 and are now 1-1).
  • In an odd twist of symmetry, 10 teams went from 1-0 to 1-1.
  • Oddly, six teams that were 1-0 went 2-0, while 6 teams that were 0-1 went 0-2.
  • Only 2 teams won on the road this week (Arizona and Houston). Road teams were 2-14 during week 2. Maybe there is something to home field advantage.
  • Dallas dropped more than any other team: 25 places. This makes the Cowboys the most wildly unpredictable team in the NFL (according to me). Arizona was second by going up 22 spots.

I always thought that being unpredictable made one dangerous.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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