Sunday, March 29, 2015

49ers open on top of NFL Power Rankings

49ers open on top of NFL Power Rankings

Thanks to a road win over the Packers, Vernon Davis and the 49ers are atop our NFL Power Rankings. (Mike Roemer/AP Photo)
Thanks to a road win over the Packers, Vernon Davis and the 49ers are atop our NFL Power Rankings. (Mike Roemer/AP Photo)

San Francisco's Randy Moss is congratulated by quarterback Alex Smith after Moss caught a touchdown pass during the first half of the Niners' 30-22 victory over the Packers Sunday. (AP)

The opening week of the NFL season taught us a few things — RG III is legit, Brandon Weeden isn't — but the 16-game schedule is a marathon, not a sprint. What teams showed in the first week is not predictor of what's ahead. So, here's our first NFL power rankings of the season; do not expect the rankings to look the same at season's end, or even next week.

1. San Francisco (1-0): Everything went the 49ers’ way in a convincing 30-22 win over Green Bay—including an NFL-record-tying 63-yard field goal by ex-Eagle David Akers that hit the crossbar and bounced over. Alex Smith (20-for-26 passing, 211 yards, 2 TDs) and Frank Gore (16 carries for 112 yards and a TD) led the offense, while the team’s defense stifled Green Bay all game. Next up: vs. Detroit.

More coverage
 
Paul Domowitch: Healthy Vick bad for Reid?
Word on the Birds: Protection
 
SportsWeek: Most obsessed fantasy footballers

2. New England (1-0): Tom Brady was sporting a bandage on his nose after the game, but nothing else looked different as New England rolled to its ninth straight season-opening win with a 34-13 rout of Tennessee. Brady (23-for-31, 236 passing yards, 2 TDs) and Stevan Ridley (21 carries for 125 yards and a TD) led the offense and rookie Dont’a Hightower scored on a fumble recovery. Next up: vs. Arizona.

3. Houston (1-0): The Texans scored 24 unanswered points in the second quarter of a 30-10 victory over Miami. Arian Foster (26 carries for 79 yards) scored twice and Matt Schaub completed 20 of 31 passes for 266 yards and a TD. Houston’s defense forced four turnovers, including three interceptions by rookie Ryan Tannehill. Next up: at Jacksonville.

4. Baltimore (1-0): It was something old, something new for the Ravens as veteran Ed Reed scored on a pick-6 and their new no-huddle offense enabled Joe Flacco’s crew to collect 430 yards with no turnovers, and just two punts in a 44-13 win over Cincinnati. Next up: at Philadelphia.

5. Atlanta (1-0): Things couldn’t have gone much better for the Falcons in their 40-24 victory over Kansas City. Matt Ryan (23-for-31, 299 yards passing, 3 TDs), Julio Jones (6 catches for 108 yards, 2 TDs), and Roddy White (6 catches, 87 yards) all had big days, as the offense converted 5 of 10 third downs with no turnovers. Next up: vs. Denver.

6. Denver (1-0): Denver fans may already be buying New Orleans hotel rooms for Super Bowl XLVII after Peyton Manning (19-for-26, 253 yards, 2 TDs) showed he’s healthy after his four neck surgeries and the team’s vaunted defense lived up to its reputation in a 31-19 comeback win over Pittsburgh. Next up: at Atlanta.

7. Dallas (1-0): The Cowboys and Tony Romo started the season with a convincing 24-17 win over hated rival New York that didn’t feel as close as the score would indicate. Romo completed 22 of 29 passes for 307 yards and 3 TDs, with 1 INT, and DeMarco Murray ran for 131 yards on 20 carries, while the defense held the Giants to just 269 yards of total offense. Next up: at Seattle.

8. Green Bay (0-1): The Packers equaled their number of 2011 regular-season losses with a 30-22 opening-game defeat at San Francisco. The rushing game was non-existent as Aaron Rodgers (30-for-44 passing, 303 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) led the team with 27 yards. The final score was not indicative of how the 49ers controlled the game. Next up: vs. Chicago.

9. New York Giants (0-1): The defending Super Bowl champions fell behind early to Dallas and never really recovered, needing a late score to make the 24-17 loss look closer than it was. Eli Manning finished 21-of-32 passing for 213 yards and 1 TD, while the Giants’ defense surrendered 433 yards of total offense. Next up: vs. Tampa Bay.

10. EAGLES (1-0): Twelve penalties, five turnovers, four Michael Vick interceptions — if Eagles fans feel bad about the team’s start, how must Cleveland fans feel knowing their team somehow still lost, 17-16? As for the positives, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (2 INTs), Kurt Coleman (2 INTs), DeMeco Ryans and the defense looked strong, and they’ll need to be this week against Baltimore’s potent no-huddle offense. LeSean McCoy (20 carries, 110 yards) rolled through the Browns and could have done even more damage with a few more plays called his way. Next up: vs. Baltimore.


11. Pittsburgh (0-1): The Steelers let a fourth-quarter lead slip away in a 31-19 loss at Denver, despite controlling the time of possession and converting 11 of 19 on third down. Ben Roethlisberger was sacked five times and threw a late, game-deciding pick-6 to Tracy Porter. Next up: vs. the New York Jets.

12. Detroit (1-0): Matthew Stafford’s game-winning touchdown pass to Kevin Smith with five seconds left made up for his three-interception day as Detroit beat St. Louis, 27-23. Calvin Johnson finished with 6 catches for 111 yards as the Lions had 23 passing first downs and Stafford went 32-for-48 with a league-high 355 yards. Next up: at San Francisco.

13. Chicago (1-0): The reunion of Jay Cutler (21-for-35 passing, 333 yards, 2 TDs) and Brandon Marshall (9 catches for 119 yards and 1 TD) upstaged the debut of No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck as the Bears routed the Colts, 41-21. The Bears’ defense created five turnovers and allowed just two third-down conversions. Next up: at Green Bay.

14. San Diego (1-0): Philip Rivers managed a simple game plan efficiently (24-for-33, 231 yards, 1 TD 0 INT) as the Chargers beat Oakland, 22-14, without starters RB Ryan Mathews and WR Vincent Brown. Their 32 rushing yards were the team’s fewest in a win since Dec. 6, 1992. Next up: vs. Tennessee.

15. Washington (1-0): Robert Griffin III could do no wrong in the Redskins’ 40-32 upset at New Orleans.  He had a perfect passer rating in the first half and finished 19 of 26 for 320 yards, with 2 TDs and a final rating of 139.9. Oh, he also rushed for 42 yards. Pierre Garcon (4 catches, 109 yards, 1 TD) and Alfred Morris (28 carries, 96 yards, 2 TDs) rounded out Washington’s attack. Next up: vs. St. Louis.

16. New Orleans (0-1): The Saints lost their first game last year and proceeded to win 13 of 15, so Drew Brees (24-for-52 passing, 339 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs) remains confident after his team’s 40-32 loss to Washington. The loss snapped their franchise-record eight-game home winning streak. Bounty-related distractions may have affected New Orleans, which finished with just 32 rushing yards compared to Washington’s 153. Next up: at Carolina.

17. Cincinnati (0-1): The good news for the Bengals: they were only down, 17-10, at halftime against Baltimore. The bad news: they’re still waiting for another touchdown after losing, 44-13. Andy Dalton (22-for-37, 221 yards) and BenJarvus Green-Ellis (18-for-91 rushing, 1 TD) put up decent numbers in the rout heading into next week’s Battle for Ohio. Next up: vs. Cleveland.

18. Kansas City (0-1): The Chiefs hung tough for half the game against Atlanta, trailing 20-17 at the break, before the Falcons scored 20 unanswered points to win, 40-24. Kansas City was an impressive 11-of-16 on third downs, but three costly turnovers spoiled things. Matt Cassell finished 21-of-33 for 258 yards with a TD, two interceptions, and three sacks. Next up: at Buffalo.

19. New York Jets (1-0): Mark Sanchez threw all the distractions aside and threw New York a whale of an opening-day party, completing 19-of-27 passes for 266 yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT in a 48-28 rout of division-rival Buffalo. Jeremy Kerley had a 12-yard TD reception and a 68-yard punt return TD. However, the Jets yielded 195 yards rushing on the day. Next up: at Pittsburgh.

20. Tampa Bay (1-0): The Buccaneers’ 16-10 win over Carolina snapped their 10-game losing streak, thanks to a stingy defense led by Ronde Barber (INT, sack), the team’s lone holdover from their Super Bowl title 10 years ago. Tampa Bay held Carolina to an NFL-best 10 yards rushing. Next up: at New York Giants.

21. Carolina (0-1): Cam Newton’s sophomore season started slowly as the Panthers fell, 16-10, to Tampa Bay. Newton completed 23-of-33 passes for 303 yards, but threw two interceptions, and was sacked three times, as the Panthers converted just 2 of 10 third downs and gained just 10 yards rushing. Next up: vs. New Orleans.

22. Minnesota (1-0): Blair Walsh became the first kicker to win his NFL debut by sending the game into overtime with a last-second field goal—and then winning it with another. He had four field goals on the day as the Vikings beat Jacksonville, 26-23, in the return of Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 84 yards and 2 TDs on 17 carries. Next up: at Indianapolis.

23. Arizona (1-0): The Cardinals beat Seattle in a battle of middling, but evenly matched teams, 20-16, thanks to backup quarterback and ex-Eagle Kevin Kolb’s late rally. After John Skelton was injured, Kolb went 6-for-8 for 66 yards and a touchdown in a late, no-huddle attack. Next up: at New England.

24. Oakland (0-1): It hurts to lose a bitter division rivalry game when the post-game numbers favor you. But three botched punts killed the Raiders in their 22-14 loss to San Diego. Injuries limited Oakland, none more so than the one to Pro Bowl long-snapper Jon Condo; his replacement rolled two snaps to the punter. Next up: at Miami.

25. Seattle (0-1): Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson’s debut ended with three incompletions from the 4-yard line as Arizona rallied for 20-16 win. In a penalty-marred game, Leon Washington’s 83-yard kickoff return and 52-yard punt return were the team’s highlights. Next up: vs. Dallas.

26. Buffalo (0-1): Things started badly and then got progressively worse in the Bills’ 48-28 loss to the New York Jets. Buffalo trailed 21-0 early and then 41-7 in the third quarter. On top of that, RB Fred Jackson left the game with a leg injury in the fourth quarter and inconsistent QB Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three interceptions. Next up: vs. Kansas City.

27. Tennessee (0-1): After a bad first half in which they trailed New England 21-3, things got worse for the Titans when new starter Jake Locker left the game with a left shoulder injury in the fourth quarter of the 34-13 drubbing. Tennessee picked up just 20 yards rushing on 16 carries, and just one rushing first down. Next up: at San Diego.

28. St. Louis (0-1): The Rams went conservative in their upset bid against Detroit, and it worked, until Matthew Stafford won the game, 27-23, a 5-yard TD pass with 10 seconds left. Sam Bradford completed 17-of-25 passes for 198 yards, and St. Louis committed no turnovers. Next up: vs. Washington.

29. Jacksonville (0-1): Blaine Gabbert (23-for-39 passing, 260 yards, 2 TDs), the league’s worst-rated passer last season, showed vast improvement in the Jaguars’ 26-23 overtime loss to Minnesota. But he wasn’t the team’s big news. 2011 NFL rushing leader Maurice Jones-Drew, who ended his contract-related holdout a week earlier, filled in for injured starter Rashad Jennings and finished with 77 yards on 19 carries. Next up: vs. Houston.

30. Indianapolis (0-1): Instead of being No. 1, Andrew Luck was one of four — rookie quarterbacks to lose his debut last week. He completed 23-of-45 passes for 309 yards in the 41-21 loss to Chicago, but he fumbled once, got sacked three times and tossed three interceptions. On the plus side, veteran Reggie Wayne finished with 9 catches for 135 yards. Next up: vs. Minnesota.

31. Miami (0-1): The Dolphins committed four turnovers and went 0-for-3 in the red zone in coach Joe Philbin’s debut. But a six-minute, second-quarter stretch that featured three Ryan Tannehill interceptions turned a close game into a 30-10 rout. Next up: vs. Oakland.

32. Cleveland (0-1): A quarterback never wants to have his interception total almost equal his passer rating. But it was that kind of day for rookie Brandon Weeden, who was 12-for-35 passing for 118 yards, with 4 interceptions and a 5.1 passer rating. Trent Richardson’s debut wasn’t much better as he picked up just 39 yards on 19 carries. The defense, however, did force five Eagle turnovers in the 17-16 loss, including a pick-6 by D’Qwell Jackson. Next up: at Cincinnati.

About this blog
For news, stats, video, live chats and more, Red Zone is the place to find Eagles coverage you can't get anywhere else.

Red Zone Philly.com Staff
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
Stay Connected