1. New England (2-0). Any arguments? Didn't think so.
2. Green Bay (2-0). Notice how calm the Packers were, down 13-0 to the Panthers with the crowd going nuts in Charlotte. That's how winners approach hard times.
3. New York Jets (2-0). Shaky in Week 1, dominant in Week 2. But beware the Nick Mangold high ankle sprain. If he's out for a month, the Jets will be put to the test in protecting Mark Sanchez, starting Sunday in the Black Hole.
4. Baltimore (1-1). Ravens fans shouldn't panic after a bad loss at Tennessee just as they shouldn't have waved the purple towels so confidently after the Ravens whipped the Steelers so decisively. This is a very good team.
5. Detroit (2-0). No other team in the NFL is close to the Lions' plus-52 point differential. And yes, the earth is off its axis.
6. Pittsburgh (1-1). Defense sure didn't look old Sunday, though to be fair Tarvaris Jackson is Tarvaris Jackson.
7. Houston (2-0). Not really tested yet, but I like a defense that makes it hard for a quarterback to breathe.
8. New Orleans (1-1). There's a lot of evidence suggesting the Drew Brees contract will be done by the end of the month.
9. Atlanta (1-1). The Falcons gained a huge edge Sunday night when Mike Vick went out, but they might well have won this game with Vick on the field. Atlanta was determined last night.
10. Philadelphia (1-1). The offense will undergo a metamorphosis if Vick is out against the Giants this week with that concussion.
11. Buffalo (2-0). Love everything about the offense, obviously. But I don't know if they can come close to stopping a good offense, and Tom Brady's coming to town Sunday.
12. Washington (2-0). Not a believer yet. A win in Dallas a week from tonight would help.
13. Tampa Bay (1-1). Good comeback, Josh Freeman. The Bucs had to have that one in Minnesota.
14. Dallas (1-1). The Cowboys are a MASH unit right now. But given the way the defense smothered Niners quarterback Alex Smith, they'll be in every game as long as they don't make mega-mistakes in the passing game.
15. Chicago (1-1). Offensive line looks like big trouble now, and right tackle Gabe Carimi limped off and didn't return Sunday in New Orleans. More trouble.
Offensive Players of the Week
New England QB Tom Brady. Think about this: A week ago this morning, Tom Brady was a walk-in Hall of Famer if he never played another snap. And in the next six days, he went out and had two of the most explosive offensive days of his career. After his 31-of-40, 423-yard, three-touchdown, no-interception performance to beat San Diego, check out his two-game numbers:
One other thing: In the last 18 regular season games, Brady has thrown 43 touchdowns with five interceptions.
Atlanta QB Matt Ryan. Many others had better numbers than his 17-of-28, 195-yard performance. But he threw four touchdown passes, a career best, with two interceptions, while getting the tar beat out of him. "What poise,'' Tony Gonzalez told Michelle Tafoya on the field after the game. Agreed. With the Vick shadow hanging over him, Ryan came out and played a strong game against some pretty intense pressure.
The starting Tennessee offensive line (Michael Roos, Leroy Harris, Eugene Amano, Jake Scott, David Stewart). What did we all think before the game? That Baltimore would abuse Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and the Tennessee running game. Well, the Ravens had zero sacks and two quarterback pressures, Hasselbeck threw for 358, the Titans gained 471 while turning it over once, and scored 26 points against a premier defense. The Tennessee front was borderline impenetrable.
Defensive Players of the Week
Green Bay CB Charles Woodson. Welcome to the NFL, Cam Newton. Woodson made two superior veteran plays in a game against rookie phenom Cam Newton in his second NFL game. Woodson twice leapt in front of Carolina receivers to make interceptions to stunt Panther drives, including a diving fingertip grab that will be on his retirement highlight reel, for sure. He also was in the right place at the right time after a careless Steve Smith fumble, recovering the ball to stop a third Panther drive. Games like this one will make Woodson an even stronger candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Philadelphia DE Trent Cole. Maybe this year, now that the Eagles have all these stars, Cole will get the credit he deserves. He was dominant Sunday night, with one sack, two hits of Ryan, three additional tackles for loss and one pass batted down. And about 16 gee-whizzes from Cris Collinsworth in the NBC booth, justifiably.
Special Teams Player of the Week
Denver P Britton Colquitt. It wasn't only the six punts for a 55.8-yard average, with an amazing 51.0-yard net. It was the fact that he had no bad punts. How many times has a punter punted six times in a game, with the worst one being a 49-yarder? His punts traveled 57, 58, 59, 49, 57 and 55 yards in a 24-22 Denver win.
Coach of the Week
Houston defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. For a fairly seamless transition to a new defense and a 2-0 start for the Texans. Houston outscored Indy and the Dolphins a combined 50-3 in the first half, while holding Kerry Collins and Chad Henne to 46 percent completions. The Texans have a much tougher road from here on out, but the start under Phillips has been terrific.
Goat of the Week
San Diego RB Mike Tolbert. Pats 20, Chargers 14, 10:35 left in the fourth quarter, Chargers at the Pats' 34. Tolbert took a handoff from Philip Rivers, the Chargers' goal to eventually score but also to take some time off the clock so the explosive Patriots would have fewer touches in the last 10 minutes.
Tolbert shot into the line, met middle linebacker Jerod Mayo, who dislodged the ball, and Rob Ninkovich recovered. Four plays later, the Patriots had another touchdown and a 28-14 lead, and the Chargers were desperadoes. San Diego made too many mistakes in a big-time game to be on New England's level.