Pickwatch Week 2 Power Rankings
A rundown of all the happenings on Pickwatch, and our new weekly power rankings!
15 Sep, 2020
What a start to the season!
With so much being written about the death of the NFL (mainly by people with dog photos as profile pictures posted 7 times on Facebook), you'd be forgiven for thinking week 1 would be a bit of a an anticlimax.
But not only did it live up to our hopes, it exceeded them.
This new blog will give you a weekly power ranking of each team in the NFL.
Kansas City They made me feel foolish for taking Houston to even cover 9.5 points within about 10 minutes of kickoff on Thursday. That TD throw by Mahomes to Demarcus Robinson in the first quarter that was called back told us what we already suspected: The Chiefs are playing on a higher plane. Next up: @ LA Chargers
Baltimore I don't love Baltimore this year, but they have a game that just works. Admittedly the Browns were poor, but the Ravens were dealing. JK Dobbins looks good, both lines were dominant against a Browns team that is competitive in those areas. The signs are good for another division win Next up: @ Houston
Green Bay Oh you forgot about Aaron Rodgers? I have the Packers as division champs, and nothing about Sunday made me regret that choice. The Vikings are a misleading opponent (not as strong as they were on defense) but in terms of beating what is in front of you, the Packers did everything that was needed and then some. Next up: vs Detroit
Seattle The Seahawks are legit. If this team gets out of it's habit of starting slow and relying on narrow, Russel Wilson-driven last gasp wins, then we are potentially looking at the best team in the NFC. Everything was firing on Sunday, but this week's home game against the Pats will tell us a lot about this team's chances in 2020. Next up: vs New England
New Orleans Maybe I was wrong... maybe they will run the table and the NFC South will be again easy pickings for the Saints... or maybe this was one of their 7-8 victories this season? They earned their stripes this week, I can't argue that if that victory was indicative of how the Saints are set up this season, they have a chance to be deep into the playoffs once more. Next up: @ Las Vegas
New England CAM IS BACK. Look, whatever your feelings on Cam Newton, the sport is poorer without him. He's pure entertainment and lays it out there on every play. The Pats looked shaky at times on Sunday and I'm worried about them in the long haul, but there are good signs on defense. One of the toughest trips of the season awaits... Next up: @ Seattle
Dallas The controversial PI call against Michael Gallup means we're talking about the Cowboys as victims of officiating, but Mike McCarthy needed to kick the field goal with 13 minutes to go on 4th and 3 rather than 13 seconds to go anyway. That game was dictated by 2 bad calls, but the Cowboys are still in good shape and will rebound. Next up: vs Atlanta
San Francisco I mean... it was sloppy. The 49ers started the season slow, without the rushing attack they utilized so well in 2019. I worry about that, and the loss of George Kittle at TE for any extended time. Fortunately, they travel to New York to play the Jets this week, so he gets a week off anyway. Next up: @ NY Jets
Pittsburgh I can't get on the bandwagon just yet, but the defense is legit. Whether the Giants are much of anything is up for debate and I still have doubts about Ben's arm (he dinked and dunked it last night to an alarming degree) but they may be a pleasant surprise contender for the AFC North on this showing. The defense alone maybe enough... Next up: vs Denver
Tennessee The Titans are who we thought they were. Solid, unspectacular. They actually moved the ball very well on Monday night, and 3 missed field goals made this one a question mark where it should really have been a little more comfortable. The Titans also missed a wide open last minute TD, which again says there is more gas in this tank when it's needed. Next up: vs Jacksonville
Las Vegas Possibly my most controversial choice, but the Raiders are a good team and I think the Panthers will upset other teams in 2020. Josh Jacobs looks the real deal, Derek Carr was as good as he needed to be. The knock on them will be playing in a division with the Chiefs, but I think they remain a solid wild card contender. A visit from the Saints this week will be a huge chance to gauge how far they've come. Next up: vs New Orleans
Tampa Bay Not getting carried away knocking Brady for a mediocre game. He was still just 2 TD's and 2 INT's. I know the game itself was more difficult than that stat line suggests, but it's day one for a guy who has played in the same system for 20 years. Equally, the defense actually stopped the Saints from gaining a lot of yardage through the air - their biggest weakness in 2019. Next up: vs Carolina
SHOCK. DeAndre Hopkins is really good. I mean good enough that the Cards look competent enough to edge their way up these rankings. I still don't know how good their defense truly is, but if - and it's a big one - they are good, then this team has a shot in a week NFC of a wild card slot. Tough division though, all 4 teams are in the top 16... Next up: vs Washington
LA Rams This is a good start for an average team. The Rams were flattered by the two mistakes the Cowboys made, but they still did what they needed to do and that when you look at the teams below them, it's hard to make a case that they aren't a better all round team. I do worry, however, that they're not explosive enough on offense these days and that could hinder them in a division with playmakers galore. Next up: @ Philadelphia
Buffalo Honestly? This may be the highest they get on that showing. The Jets are the worst team in football by some distance, but Josh Allen contrived to miss... everything in sight. 3 times he missed wide open - and I mean wide open - receivers that you could have lobbed the ball under-arm to, such was their distance from defenders. That may put a hard limit on this team, and a lot depends on which of the teams below this line forces themselves out of the chasing pack. Next up: @ Miami
Houston Not going to despair, but the Texans look very poor on defense again. It makes sense, they didn't really make many moves there all offseason, but it was still shocking to see them make the same mistakes as they did last season. If that is indicative, this team will struggle mightily. Tough schedule too - they face the Ravens, Steelers and Vikings next. Next up: vs Baltimore
Jacksonville Big movers. Who are the Jags? If they're a defensive team that needs Gardner Minshew to play what I hope becomes known as Minshewball, then I am all for it. If they get cocky, then they could end up plummeting. You do worry about a team with just 150 passing yards in a game trying to get too far away from what works, particularly as their defense was given a bit of a freebie against the Colts. Next up: @ Tennessee
Cincinnati Joe Burrow has moxy. He has... it. He'll just do this. I still maintain he has the look of a child star in rehab, but maybe what I mean is that ultimately, he looks like a long lost Culkin brother. Of course, typically, the Bengals are on the road this week so I can't make a Home Alone joke. THANKS A LOT GUYS. Cinci handled a relatively weak Chargers team as best they could. They are my favorites to bust loose in the backfield of the teams below 16 in these rankings, but a tough division complicates their playoff chances. Next up: @ Cleveland (Thursday)
Atlanta Another contender for better things. Atlanta were outplayed for long stretches of Sunday, but still grabbed 'dem garbage yards to make things look slightly less bad. They are bad though. I mean, they learned from the Bucs last season that playing a no RB, no defense, all air attack is not quite a recipe for success. The game against Dallas might be an early season defining moment for both teams. Winner stays on. Next up: @ Dallas
LA Chargers Hear ye, Hear ye. Let it be known that I do not think the Chargers are very good. They'll be a stern defensive test, but we know what Tyrod Taylor's offense will be a about. He's the Ryan Fitzpatrick of actual Quarterbacks. He'll get you some yards, he'll run for some, throw for some, but ultimately, he won't put up many points. Also, he has to play the Chiefs this week and that won't be very nice. OH. And their unis look like early 90s World League of American Football jerseys. I had a Scott Mitchell Orlando Thunder playing card when I was a kid that I wish I'd kept, this reminded me of that missed opportunity.
Next up: vs Kansas City.
Carolina I'm conversely high on Carolina, and if their defense hadn't been SO bad on Sunday I would have them higher. I was happy the Bridgewater to Anderson connection went as I said, that was a nice prediction, but defensively... yeah Luke Kuechly is a huge miss. I don't know that we will realistically see the Panthers in the playoffs, but they have a chance to get 5 or 6 wins still, with the Chargers, Cardinals, Bears Lions and Footballteams on the schedule. Next up: @ Tampa Bay
Washington Oh it's you. So first off, Washington are here because they deserve it. They were good in the second half. They desperately need to work out if they can play with Dwayne Haskins though, because this team is wasted if the answer isn't positive. They were also helped out by the Eagles fielding a collection of sickly children on their offensive line this weekend, which is unlikely to happen again. Let's see if Haskins can break out, if he does, they have a team here. It's a FOOTBALL team in fact. Hence the name. It all makes sense now. Next up: @ Arizona
Denver Denver were lower than this but they have a good nucleus of young players who can theoretically drag them further on than the teams below. Lock, Jeudy, Fant, Gordon, Sutton. It's a young team that has a chance to get substantially better this season. They were flattered by last night's score though, don't forget that and accidentally pick up their defense in fantasy football. Next up: @ Pittsburgh
Detroit So let's get this out of the way - I picked Chicago, and I'm a Bears fan, but the Lions should have won this game. D'Andre Swift dropped a touchdown out of nowhere with seconds to go and the Lions should have taken it and got out with a narrow W. Instead, we're talking about a team that looks bad under Matt Patricia for blowing a lead in the 4th Quarter to the guy who came with the Eagles O-line in a package deal. Their saving grace may be when they get Kenny Golladay back, and everyone else in the NFC is catchable. Next up: @ Green Bay
Miami Ah. Now. About that prediction that they're going to win the division. Look, it was one game, so let's not go crazy, but they may need Tua ready sooner than they thought if Fitzmagic keeps up the 0:3 TD:INT ratio. There is this context though - I think the Pats will get a lot out of Cam Newton against other teams too, and the Dolphins hung around a long way into this game on merit. It's not a complete disaster, but there's work to do, particularly on offense. Never thought I'd say this, but their matchup against the Bills will be very watchable this week. Next up: vs Buffalo.
Minnesota This is going to be one that people say is unfair. Well tough, we haven't got a comments section to rant into. You know why? Because we read other comments sections and they're HORRIBLE. Anyway, the Vikes are a lop-sided enigma. The offense is again run-heavy with flashes of Kirk Cousins pretending to be a top 5 QB (someone actually said this on air somewhere) but I maintain that their defense is too flimsy. A sneaky run of winnable games over the next 6 weeks may flatter to deceive Next up: @ Indianapolis
Chicago Ah, my Bears. How long have you got? Because they're not good, let's start there. Positively, Mitch(ell) Trubisky did get better as the game progressed, but it was rough going for much of the game and the vaunted defense looked impotent at times against a pretty sorry collection of street urchins and ne'er do wells at receiver for the Lions. I worry about Mitch's ability to hold off a born leader like Nick Foles, but then people often forget that Nick Foles isn't a very good football player either, so on further reflection, I don't care. Their favorable schedule might be the best reason to back the Bears this year. Next up: vs NY Giants
Philadelphia I mean, when I said in my season preview article that I thought the Eagles were going to have a down year, I didn't mean that I thought their offensive line would simply offer the WFT defensive line a massage as they rushed past towards a dazed Carson Wentz. 8 sacks this week (no other team gave up more than 4, fyi) puts Philly on course for... 17... multiplied by... 8... is... 136 sacks this season. That, my friends, is the type of advanced analytics that we thrive on here at Pickwatch. Some other players play on this team but they don't matter because that's how bad the offensive line is. Seriously. Just imagine Aaron Donald against them this week. Limbs EVERYWHERE. Next up: vs LA Rams
Indianapolis TOLD YOU. Philip Rivers coughed up a clunking interception in the 4th quarter in true Riversesque fashion. I expect a lot of Indy's games to go down to the 4th quarter (not a bold prediction, most games go down to the 4th quarter in today's NFL) and that means ample opportunity for Phil to throw the ball aimlessly into some open space. The Indy defense actually stacked up well, but I think this one is still a disaster waiting to happen. Losing your starting RB doesn't help either. Next up: vs Minnesota
Cleveland Now... no need to overreact, but that was garbage from Cleveland and they may as well re-hire Hue Jackson and stick DeShone Kizer in at QB if that's how they are going to play. A short week won't give them much chance to adjust, and it's frustrating because they have so much talent. They're an ok defense, middle of the road, but they looked helpless against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens this week. Oh, and you probably want me to say bad things about Baker Mayfield, so I will. He played badly. THERE. You win. Mayfield can't complain about his supporting cast, the offensive line remains good, so completing 53.8% of your passes? Oh you'd better believe that's a paddlin'. Next up: vs Cincinnati (Thursday)
NY Giants Ah. Now. Yes. Over? I meant to say UNDER. They'll be under their projected wins. What's that? How many wins? It doesn't matter. UNDER I SAY. The Giants looked bad but I'm going to give them a pass here, because the Steelers are a good defense. It does worry me that they still can't get Saquon Barkley going and somehow Sterling Shepard is still a receiver for them and has a giant contract extension. Let's see how they go, but the early signs are very, very bad. Next up: @ Chicago
NY Jets They are who we thought they are. Because this is the end of the rankings I'm just going to rant. The Jets are a joke. They have a joke coach, a joke collection of receivers, JOE F*CKING FLACCO at backup QB and a defense that may consist of made up players. There isn't any hope here, they have maybe 3 players worth keeping and they will probably trade all of those to get Adam Gase more 'product'. Apart from that...
Next up: vs San Francisco