NFL Power Rankings and Awards: Week 1


Sep 14, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) catches a touchdown pass past Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Byron Maxwell (31) in the second quarter at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Wow, what a week of NFL football. Week 1 is finally in the books, and it was an exciting week. The week started off right, with the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots grinding out a home victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers and ending with a 49ers victory over the Vikings.

Interesting fact: All three rookie head coaches won their debut games this weekend; Todd Bowles led the Jets to victory, Dan Quinn helped the Falcons beat the Eagles and Jim Tomsula guided the 49ers to a win over the Vikings on Monday Night Football.

We saw blowouts–with the Jets, Bengals and Titans respectively outscoring the Browns, Raiders and Buccaneers by at least 20 points each, and we saw some nail-biters–with the Rams, Chargers, Cowboys and Falcons all beating their respective opponents within the final minutes (or seconds) of the fourth quarter or in overtime.

AFC MVP: Tom Brady

Brady went 25-for-32, completing 78.1 percent of his passes for 288 yards and four touchdowns in a 28-21 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, putting the DeflateGate nonsense behind him and bringing excitement back to NFL fans.

NFC MVP: Julio Jones

Jones reeled in nine passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 15.7 yards per catch and gaining eight first downs in the Falcons’ 26-24 win against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Coach of the Week: Mike McCoy

Philip Rivers is equally deserving of an award, but I’m going to give McCoy the Coach of the Week here, partially because I didn’t want to give two awards to the same team (Dan Quinn is the obvious runner-up for this award). McCoy and Rivers rallied the Chargers back to score 30 straight points in a 33-28 comeback victory over the Detroit Lions after being down 21-3 late in the second quarter. The victory was San Diego’s largest home comeback in history.

The awards are out of the way, so let’s get right into the Power Rankings. Just remember, I ranked your team lower than it deserves to be ranked solely based on the principle that I don’t like your team.

(0-1). Previous: N/Ath. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 32. team. 48. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had the NFL’s worst offensive line in 2014, and things aren’t looking much better in 2015. <a href=

31. team. 57. John Fox is one of the NFL’s most underrated coaches, but coaching can only do so much when <a href=. (0-1). Previous: N/Ath. Chicago Bears

Previous: N/Ath. Cleveland Browns. 29. team. 53. The Browns had a favorable matchup with the Geno Smith-less New York Jets, but that didn’t seem to be enough. The Amish Rifle, <a href=. (0-1)

52. <a href=. (0-1). Previous: N/Ath. Jacksonville Jaguars. 28. team

Oakland Raiders. 27. team. 28. There weren’t many bright spots for the Raiders in the team’s 13-33 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The team was down 30-0 at the end of the third quarter and couldn’t move the ball past the 50-yard-line until the fourth quarter. <a href=. (0-1). Previous: N/Ath

(1-0). Previous: N/Ath. New York Jets. 26. team. 30. Here it is, the lowest ranked 1-0 team. The Jets trounced the Cleveland Browns, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. The team’s franchise quarterback is still recovering from a broken jaw (Thanks, <a href=

Tennessee Titans. 25. team. 35. I know I’m going to get some heat for this one. Marcus Mariota was fantastic in his NFL debut, torching a Buccaneers defense that looked like it had no idea how to stop an NFL quarterback. <a href=. (1-0). Previous: N/Ath

31. <a href=. (0-1). Previous: N/Ath. New York Giants. 24. team

(0-1). Previous: N/Ath. Minnesota Vikings. 23. team. 60. Minnesota’s offensive line was so bad that it sacked its own quarterback. <a href=

(0-1). Previous: N/Ath. Houston Texans. 22. team. 10. <a href=

team. 42. The 49ers-Vikings game was fairly uneventful and riddled with mistakes by both teams throughout the first half–including a <a href=. (1-0). Previous: N/Ath. San Francisco 49ers. 21

15. Sean Payton has long been known for his aggressive and confident play-calling, but his style was quite the opposite in New Orleans’ loss to the Arizona Cardinals. He elected to punt in a circumstance in which he should have absolutely gone for it, especially with his defense performing so poorly. <a href=. (0-1). Previous: N/Ath. New Orleans Saints. 20. team

54. What happened to the Chip Kelly offense? While Jordan Matthews looks primed for a big season, the team’s running game looks very suspect. Chip Kelly emphasized how the Eagles wanted to win by running the football, but Philly certainly couldn’t run the ball on Monday night. <a href=. (0-1). Previous: N/Ath. Philadelphia Eagles. 19. team

(1-0). Previous: N/Ath. Miami Dolphins. 18. team. 59. Dolphins fans must be relieved after Miami almost lost to the Washington Redskins. Yeah, the Washington Redskins. Miami has been touted as a playoff team all offseason long, but it certainly didn’t look like a playoff team on Sunday. It took a late punt return touchdown from <a href=

(1-0). Previous: N/Ath. Carolina Panthers. 17. team. 87. Why are the Carolina Panthers ranked so low? Look no further than the wide receiver position. The team’s top three options are <a href=

Previous: N/Ath. Dallas Cowboys. 16. team. 123. How devastating is <a href=. (1-0)

15. team. 44. How happy is Dan Quinn? I’d say pretty happy. His Falcons were supposed to lose to Chip Kelly’s Eagles, but now Quinn is 1-0 as a head coach in the NFL. Matt Ryan looked decent, Julio Jones was incredible and Roddy White looked like one of the best number two wideouts in football. If Jones and White can stay healthy and Dan Quinn can help his defense improve after it was one of the NFL’s worst in 2014, the Falcons could have a great chance at winning the NFC South.. (1-0). Previous: N/Ath. Atlanta Falcons

36. Seahawks fans, what’s the worse call: calling a slant play on 4th-and-short or running the ball with <a href=. (0-1). Previous: N/Ath. Seattle Seahawks. 14. team

team. 50. What a brutal loss for a Lions team that was dominant throughout the first half of action in San Diego. <a href=. (0-1). Previous: N/Ath. Detroit Lions. 13

12. team. 51. A surprising performance by a St. Louis Rams team that has notoriously underachieved in the past. Jeff Fisher’s team is off to a hot start, and now Fisher will have to make sure that his team stays hot. <a href=. (1-0). Previous: N/Ath. St. Louis Rams

team. 46. It’s surprising how many people predicted the Bills to beat the Colts in Week 1, and look what happened. Credit to the Bills defense that had <a href=. (0-1). Previous: N/Ath. Indianapolis Colts. 11

10. team. 26. The Ravens’ heartbreaking loss in Denver was depressing, but losing <a href=. (0-1). Previous: N/Ath. Baltimore Ravens

55. No one expected the Steelers to put up a huge fight against Tom Brady in the NFL Kickoff Game, so it was actually a bit surprising to see such a close score. <a href=. (0-1). Previous: N/Ath. Pittsburgh Steelers. 9. team

Great win at home for the Broncos, but they have a lot of work to do. Peyton Manning can’t throw the deep pass anymore, Gary Kubiak didn’t commit to the run early on in the game and when Denver tried running, it couldn’t get anything going. The Broncos defense looks great, however; <a href=. (1-0). Previous: N/Ath. Denver Broncos. 8. team. 45

16. Like I mentioned earlier, a surprising number of people picked Buffalo to upset Indianapolis. Regardless, it was extremely impressive. Rex Ryan looks like the perfect fit in Buffalo, and while his defense was impressive, it was his offense that stole the show. First-time starting quarterback <a href=. (1-0). Previous: N/Ath. Buffalo Bills. 7. team

team. 13. People raved about Dez Bryant’s <a href=. (1-0). Previous: N/Ath. San Diego Chargers. 6

Previous: N/Ath. Kansas City Chiefs. 5. team. 124. Have yourself a day, <a href=. (1-0)

team. 56. I’m going to catch some flak for ranking Cincinnati this high, but look at the teams the Bengals are surrounded by. It’s not completely unfair to have them this high after just one week; after all, they were the top team in several analysts’ Power Rankings after a quick three-game winning streak at the beginning of the 2014 season. <a href=. (1-0). Previous: N/Ath. Cincinnati Bengals. 4

(1-0). Previous: N/Ath. Arizona Cardinals. 3. team. 32. It’s hard to tell whether the Cardinals offense looked great or if it was just the shaky Saints defense giving up big plays. Regardless, Arizona performed well. <a href=

2. team. 49. When was <a href=. (1-0). Previous: N/Ath. Green Bay Packers

New England Patriots. 1. team. 47. The reigning Super Bowl champions are still number one–for now. Tom Brady had an excellent performance, earning my AFC MVP of the Week award. <a href=. (1-0). Previous: N/Ath

That’s it for this week’s edition of the NFL Power Rankings. Be sure to let me know why your team is ranked too low on Twitter @CHoweSports. If you liked the article, feel free to tweet your positive feedback to my other account, @nflcommish (Just kidding, Roger, please don’t fine me).

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you around this time next week with another edition of the Stripe Hype’s NFL Power Rankings!

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