NFL Top Five Power Rankings: Week One

Abrahim Karzai, Staff Writer

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One week down, sixteen more to go.

The NFL kicked off its 99th season this past weekend as thirty-two teams began their quest to hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy in Atlanta. Many of the top teams showed up on Sunday, such as the Vikings, who edged out the 49ers with their new quarterback, Kirk Cousins, leading the way, and the Patriots, who continued their offensive show against the Texans. While the top teams mostly held serve, we can’t ignore the many surprises of opening weekend.

Surprise one has to be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who rode a 5 touchdown passing explosion by journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick to shock the New Orleans Saints in the SuperDome.

We cannot talk Week One surprises without the Cleveland Browns. Their historical win-loss record over the last two seasons is well documented. But they certainly showed up on Sunday as they took the Pittsburgh Steelers all the way to triple zeroes, literally. A wet and wild contest in the Dawg Pound saw the Browns and Steelers play into overtime where neither team could score during the 10 minutes, resulting in a 21-21 tie.

And we cannot overlook the heroics of Aaron Rodgers, though heroics from A-Rod cannot be called a surprise. From being carted off in the first half, to leading a comeback for the ages in Lambeau against the Packers’ fiercest rivals, the Chicago Bears, Rodgers did it all on Sunday night.

With all that said, let’s see which team was able to crack the top five of the power rankings.

New England Patriots –  While Tom Brady is in the twilight of his hall of fame career, he shows no signs of slowing down. The Patriots’ defense, while showing some cracks, played well overall, holding Texans quarterback, Deshaun Watson to just 176 passing yards. Expect this New England team to remain in the top five for the entire season.

Philadelphia Eagles – Look, I get it. The Eagles’ offense did not look spectacular against the Atlanta Falcons, with the exception of the return of the Philly Special. However, this team will look different in the upcoming weeks as star quarterback Carson Wentz and receiver Alshon Jeffery are expected to return sometime in the near future. Plus, their defense got it done when they needed to with a goal line stand to start the game, and one at the end to close the game out.

Minnesota Vikings – With all the buzz surrounding their new gunslinger, Cousins, it was the Vikings’ defense that showed up on Sunday. The stingy Vikings’ secondary forced three Jimmy Garoppolo interceptions as well as a key fumble near the goal line. Skol, Skol, Skol.

Los Angeles Rams – The team of the offseason took a while to get into it Monday night against the Oakland Raiders, but a strong second half, especially by the Rams’ defense, propelled them to a 33-13 victory. The Rams were the pleasant surprise last year. Expect them to go even further this year.  

Jacksonville Jaguars – “Myles Jack wasn’t down.” That was being screamed from the rooftops of Duval County after that painful defeat at the hands of the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship last season.  However, while the fans might still be frustrated about last season, this Jacksonville team is past that. Behind a consistent running attack led by Leonard Fournette, minor injury aside, and a ruthless defense that is trying to pick up where they left off last year, they might just able to take that next big step as a franchise.

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