By Bill Seals - Fred Altieri
Sports Reporters, PFWA Members 

2023 NFL Power Rankings – Week 02

Chargers, Rams Begin Season Closely Ranked


September 14, 2023

Brevin Townsell - LA Rams

Aaron Donald (99) & Co. dominated Seahawks, allowing only 180 total yards offense in 30-13 season-opening win at Seattle

1. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0): The Eagles did not have a Super Bowl hangover coming off their loss to the Chiefs, defeating the Patriots, 25-20, on the road. Cornerback Darrius Slay had a 70-yard interception return for a touchdown. Next: -7 vs Minnesota Vikings – Thu, Sep. 14 – O/U: 48.5 (ATS: 1-0 – O/U: 1-0)

2. San Francisco 49ers (1-0): The 49ers easily defeated the Steelers in Pittsburgh, 30-7. Running back Christian McCaffrey rushed for 152 yards and one touchdown in a blowout. This is a playoff team. Next: -8 at Los Angeles Rams – Sun, Sep. 17 – O/U: 44 (ATS: 1-0 – O/U: 0-1)

3. Dallas Cowboys (1-0): The Cowboys rolled over the Giants on the road on Sunday Night football, 40-0. The Cowboys returned an interception for a touchdown, blocked a field goal attempt and returned it for a touchdown. The Cowboys defense came up with seven sacks and three turnovers. Next: -8.5 vs New York Jets - Sun, Sep. 17 – O/U: 39.5 (ATS: 1-0– O/U: 0-1)

4. Baltimore Ravens (1-0): The Ravens got the easy win over the Texans on Sunday but lost running back J.K. Dobbins for the season with an Achilles injury. The backups are Gus Edwards, Justice Hill, and Melvin Gordon. Next: +3.5 at Cincinnati Bengals – Sun, Sep. 17 – O/U 46 (ATS: 1-0 – O/U: 0-1)

5. Miami Dolphins (1-0): The Dolphins have Tyreek Hill and with his speed, he is a tough matchup for any defensive back in the NFL. Against the Chargers, Hill caught 11 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns and in the process, exposed a weakness at the corner for the Chargers. Next: -2 at New England Patriots - Sun, Sep. 17 – O/U: 46.5 (ATS: 1-0 – O/U: 1-0)

6. Kansas City Chiefs (0-1): The Chiefs lost their opener at home to the Lions, with tight end Travis Kelce on the sidelines with a knee injury and defensive tackle Chris Jones still holding out for a new contract. Kelce should be back soon, and Jones ended his holdout on Monday, signing a new contract for one season at $19.5 million. Next: -3 at Jacksonville Jaguars - Sun, Sep. 17 – O/U: 51.5 (ATS: 0-1 – O/U: 0-1)

7. Buffalo Bills (0-1): The Bills still cannot run the football and it showed Monday Night in the 22-16 inexcusable loss to the Jets. Quarterback Josh Allen threw three interceptions and lost a fumble in the game. Next: -8.5 vs Las Vegas Raiders - Sun, Sep. 17 – O/U: 47.5 (ATS: 0-0-1 – O/U: 0-1)

8. Detroit Lions (1-0): The Lions proved in their opener that they are to be taken seriously, defeating the Chiefs, 21-20 in Kansas City. Former Ram quarterback Jared Goff is the leader of this resurgent Lions group. Goff currently has the third-longest interception-less streak of all-time at 359, behind Aaron Rodgers with 402 and Tom Brady with 399. Next: -5.5 vs Seattle Seahawks – Sun, Sep. 17 – O/U: 49 (ATS: 1-0 – O/U: 0-1)

9. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0): Quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw for 241 yards and two touchdowns, and wide receiver Calvin Ridley had eight catches for 101 yards and one touchdown in the 31-21 win over the Colts. The Colts are all alone in first place in the AFC South. Next: +3 vs Kansas City Chiefs - Sun, Sep. 17 – O/U: 51.5 (ATS: 1-0 – O/U: 1-0)

10. Cleveland Browns (1-0): The Browns defense held the Bengals to three points in a surprisingly easy victory over the Bengals. Quarterback Deshaun Watson threw for a touchdown and ran for a touchdown in the win. Next: -2.5 at Pittsburgh Steelers – Mon, Sep. 18 – O/U: 40.5 (ATS: 1-0 – O/U: 0-1)

11. Los Angeles Chargers (0-1): After Week 1, the Chargers are ranked No. 2 in total offense. Against the Dolphins, the Chargers had 433 yards in total offense, a league best 234 yards rushing, had 30 first downs and scored 34 points. Terrific performance from Kellen Moore's offensive unit. Now, about that defense... Next: -3 at Tennessee Titans - Sun, Sep. 17 – O/U: 45 (ATS: 0-1 – O/U: 1-0)

12. Green Bay Packers (1-0): Jordan Love is finally the starting quarterback in Green Bay, and he appears to be ready for the challenge. The former first round pick from Utah State and Liberty high school in Bakersfield threw for 245 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-20 win over the Bears. Next: -1.5 at Atlanta Falcons - Sun, Sep. 17 – O/U: 40.5 (ATS: 1-0 – O/U: 1-0)

13. Los Angeles Rams (1-0): The Rams came roaring out, crushing the Seahawks in Seattle, 30-13. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has obviously become acquainted with his young receiving squad, with rookie wide receiver Puka Nacua hauling in 10 passes for 119 yards. Next: -8 vs San Francisco 49ers – Sun, Sep. 17 – O/U: 44(ATS: 1-0– O/U: 0-1)

14. Las Vegas Raiders (1-0): The Raiders are alone in first place in the AFC West after edging the Broncos 17-16 in Denver. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo completed 20 of 26 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns in the victory. Next: +8.5 at Buffalo Bills - Sun, Sep. 17 – O/U: 47.5 (ATS: 1-0 – O/U: 0-1)

15. New Orleans Saints (1-0): Quarterback Derek Carr threw for 305 yards and a touchdown in leading the Saints to an opening day victory. In the NFC South, Carr may have found an easier path to a division title and home playoff berth, something he could not achieve with the Raiders in the AFC West. Next: -3 at Carolina Panthers - Mon, Sep. 18 – O/U: 40.5 (ATS: 0-1 – O/U: 0-1)

16. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1): Quarterback Joe Burrow completed 14 of 31 pass attempts for 82 yards, and the offense produced a paltry 142 yards in an embarrassing 24-3 loss at Cleveland. Burrow missed about a month of training camp with a calf injury and looked rusty. Next: -3.5 vs Baltimore Ravens – Sun, Sep. 17 – O/U 46 (ATS: 0-1 – O/U: 0-1)

17. Denver Broncos (0-1): The Broncos start the season with a loss, which sounds familiar to Bronco fans. The Broncos have had six consecutive losing seasons and there is no reason to believe that they are not capable of a seventh consecutive losing season. Next: -3.5 vs vs Washington Commanders - Sun, Sep. 17 – O/U: 39.5 (ATS: 0-1 – O/U: 0-1)

18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0): Kicker Chase McLaughlin nailed a 57-yard field goal late in the game at Minnesota to give the Bucs a 20-17 win over the Vikings. Quarterback Baker Mayfield threw for two touchdowns to lead the Bucs. Next: -3 vs Chicago Bears - Sun, Sep. 17 – O/U: 41.5 (ATS: 1-0 – O/U: 0-1)

19. Atlanta Falcons (1-0): The Falcons opened the season with a victory at home over the Panthers. That is the good news. The bad news is their passing attack. Wide receiver Drake London, a first-round pick in 2022, finished with zero receptions and just one target, as the Falcons had just 91 yards passing in the game. That might be good enough to beat the Panthers, but not the rest of the NFL. Next: 1.5 vs Green Bay Packers – Sun, Sep. 17 – O/U: 40.5 (ATS: 1-0 – O/U: 0-1)

20. New York Jets (1-0): On the fourth offensive play of the season, the Jets lost their future Hall-of-Fame starting quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, for the season. Rodgers suffered an Achilles injury. The Jets stunned the Bills in overtime, 22-16, but their path to the playoffs and Super Bowl just got a lot more difficult. Next: +8.5 at Dallas Cowboys - Sun, Sep. 17 – O/U: 39.5 (ATS: 1-0 – O/U: 0-1)

21. Seattle Seahawks (0-1): The Seahawks were stunned in their season opener by the Rams, getting blown out, 30-13. The Rams outgained the Seahawks in total yardage, 426 to 180. Next: +5.5 at Detroit Lions - Sun, Sep. 17 – O/U: 49 (ATS: 0-1– O/U: 0-1)

22. Washington Commanders (1-0): The Commanders opened up with a win at home, defeating the Arizona Cardinals, 20-16. Former Texas Longhorn quarterback was sacked six times but hung in to throw for one touchdown and run for another to lead the Commanders to victory. Next: +3.5 at Denver Broncos – Sun, Sep. 17 – O/U: 39.5 (ATS: 0-1 – O/U: 0-1)

23. Minnesota Vikings (0-1): The Vikings fell to the Buccaneers at home, 20-17 in Week 1. The Vikings spent the offseason clearing salary cap space by dumping veteran players. The future looks bright on the salary cap side, but the loss of veteran players will make this a rebuilding season. Next: -7 at Philadelphia Eagles – Thu, Sep. 14 – O/U: 48.5 (ATS: 0-1 – O/U: 0-1)

24. Tennessee Titans (0-1): The Titans lost a tough game on the road to the Saints, 16-15, and seemed to get away from their running attack. Derrick Henry had 15 carries for 63 yards. Expect that to change against their next opponent. Next: -3 vs Los Angeles Chargers – Sun, Sep. 17 – O/U: 45 (ATS: 1-0 – O/U: 0-1)

25. New England Patriots (0-1): Rember when the Patriots were a great football team? The Pats are 19-20 in their last 39 regular season games, and lost their opener at home to the Eagles, 25-20. Next: +2 vs Miami Dolphins – Sun, Sep. 17 – O/U: 46.5 (ATS: 0-1 – O/U: 1-0)

26. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1): The Steelers got physically beaten up in their opener, getting trounced by the 49ers, 30-7. Quarterback Kenny Pickett was sacked five times, hit nine times, and intercepted twice. The Steelers were held to 41 yards rushing. Next: +2.5 vs Cleveland Browns – Mon, Sep. 18 – O/U: 40.5 (ATS: 0-1 – O/U: 0-1)

27. Carolina Panthers (0-1): The Falcons lost the turnover battle 3-0 and the game, 24-10 to the Falcons. Rookie quarterback Bryce Young threw two interceptions and struggled in the loss. This will be a long season for Young and the Panthers. Next: +3 vs New Orleans Saints - Mon, Sep. 18 – O/U: 40.5 (ATS: 0-1 – O/U: 0-1)

28. Arizona Cardinals (0-1): Are the Cardinals tanking for Caleb? It's probably too early to tell, and there is still the question of injured quarterback Kyler Murray, who has a base salary of $37 million in 2024, and a salary cap hit of $51.8 million in 2024. Against the Commanders, they did keep it close before losing 25-20. Next: +5.5 vs New York Giants - Sun, Sep. 17 – O/U: 39.5 (ATS: 1-0 – O/U: 0-1)

29. Indianapolis Colts (0-1): The Colts drafted quarterback Anthony Richardson with the fourth overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. The Colts lost their opener against the Jags, 31-21, but Richardson threw for 223 yards and a touchdown and rushed for forty yards and a touchdown. There is hope if the fans are patient. Next: -1 at Houston Texans – Sun, Sep. 17 – O/U: 40 (ATS: 0-1 – O/U: 1-0)

Mike Nowak - LA Chargers

Chargers defense had very few answers in 36-34 home season opening loss against Dolphins, yielding 536 total yards at SoFi Stadium

30. Chicago Bears (0-1): The Bears lost their 11th consecutive game, falling to the Packers, 38-20 in Chicago. Quarterback Justin Fields led the Bears in rushing yardage with 59 yards. Fields running for his life in another loss. Not much has changed in Chicago. Next: +3 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Sun, Sep. 17 – O/U: 41.5 (ATS: 0-1 – O/U: 1-0)

31. Houston Texans (0-1): The Texans lost the Bryce Young lottery last season, but still landed C.J. Stroud to lead the way at quarterback this season. The Texans lost the opener to the Ravens, 25-9, but Stoud threw for 242 yards and did not look bad for a rookie quarterback in his first NFL game. Next: +1 vs Indianapolis Colts – Sun, Sep. 17 – O/U 40 (ATS: 0-1 – O/U: 1-0)

32. New York Giants (0-1): The Giants were embarrassed on Sunday Night TV at home, losing 40-0. In the offseason, quarterback Daniel Jones signed a four-year, $160 million dollar contract with $92 million guaranteed. That is a lot of money for a mediocre quarterback. There are better quarterbacks in the Pac-12 conference. Next: -5.5 at Arizona Cardinals – Sun, Sep. 17 – O/U: 39.5 (ATS: 0-1 – O/U: 0-1)


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