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Dr. Z's NFL Power Rankings

Week 2

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Posted: Tuesday September 18, 2001 4:24 PM


I feel pretty good about the teams at my top of the chart and OK about the teams on the bottom. It's the middle of the pack that's skewed, especially in light of how I had the teams ranked in the magazine's preview edition. So I ask for indulgence on the part of those of you who might feel justifiably outraged. Give me a little breathing room. Hold off the rips for another week or so. Things will sort themselves out. But just to let you know that I'm not unaware of your complaints, I'll voice them for you.

"Carolina beats Minnesota fair and square, and you still have the Vikings ranked seven places higher. How could you be so dumb?"

I still believe the Vikings are a better team. They came in cocky and overconfident and they got knocked off. It happens.

"The Chiefs lose and you raise them 10 places? Are you nuts or something?"

They lost a squeaker to a highly-ranked team. I had them too low in the first place.

"What do you have against the Bears? They gave Baltimore all it could handle and they're still four off the bottom."

They're a team without balance. The defense was terrific for a while, before it wore out, but it got no help from the other side of the ball.

I've delayed long enough. Here are the magic numbers:

Dr. Z's Power Rankings
Rank Pre*      Team
1 1
St. Louis Rams (1-0)
OK, the Eagles game was ragged in spots, but they played in a very tough place and still had enough left to get the win.
2 2
Baltimore Ravens (1-0)
Competent, not thrilling. Still they won by 11 against a team that was pretty fired up.
3 4
Denver Broncos (1-0)
Offense was a thing of beauty, defense good enough. This team has a Super Bowl look; I just hate that cockamamie name for the new stadium.
4 5
Oakland Raiders (1-0)
Jerry Rice's new role as a possession receiver paid off with eight catches, and now they've got an element to their offense that had been missing for years. They won't have to ask Tim Brown to do it all.
5 7
New Orleans Saints (1-0)
Are they really that good or did they just beat up on a crippled Buffalo team? We'll find out, but not this week because they're in the bye mode.
6 13
Miami Dolphins (1-0)
Granted, they were terrific against Tennessee, and I raised them five places, and there will be those of you who will write nasty letters insisting that they should be higher. But could I have dropped Oakland or New Orleans after victories?
7 8
Indianapolis Colts (1-0)
I watched the defense carefully. Decent, certainly better than what they had last year, but not really big league as yet.
8 6
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0)
The stat that jumped out at me after the Dallas win was that they controlled the ball for 70 plays while their defense was on the field for only 44. A guaranteed formula for success.
9 3
Tennessee Titans (0-1)
Well, this is my Super Bowl team, and now their quarterback is banged up. I'll have more to say about them in my column later in the week, which is what is known as a teaser.
10 10
Philadelphia Eagles (0-1)
Yeah, the reversal that gave them a TD and brought them back against the Rams was a big play, but to me, the biggest one in the game came at the end of regulation, when St. Louis' Aveion Cason fumbled the kickoff and four Phillies had a shot at the ball and screwed it up.
11 17
Green Bay Packers (1-0)
Eight plays went for 20 yards or more. The Big Play is back, or at least it was against Detroit's decimated secondary.
12 9
New York Giants (0-1)
A defensive team that couldn't play defense Monday night. At this point, I wouldn't make too much of it, which lends a bit of credence to the endlessly voiced accusation that I'm prejudiced in favor of the N.Y. teams.
13 15
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0)
The wounded played, Mark Brunell and the boys put it to the Steelers, and now they're catching the Titans at home, on a downer. After a couple of lean years, things are finally looking up for the Jags.
14 23
Kansas City Chiefs (0-1)
They crack the top half of the board via a good effort against Oakland, but when only one pass is caught by a wideout there's some serious game-planning to do.
15 12
Minnesota Vikings (0-1)
Ex-Vike Jimmy Hitchcock, the Carolina nickel back, said that the Vikings felt they just had to show up. That same attitude in Chicago Sunday could earn them L No. 2.
16 11
New York Jets (0-1)
Bad goal-line offense, bad defense against the run, sloppy tackling. This is not the way to impress your new coach.
17 21
San Francisco 49ers (1-0)
My rank-o-meter will be finely tuned to their showing against the Rams Sunday. I'm especially interested in how their DBs and linebackers hold up against that attack.
18 14
Detroit Lions (0-1)
I'll suspend judgment until they get some semblance of a secondary together. Offensively, I don't believe Ty Detmer is the answer, which is an understatement.
19 16
Buffalo Bills (0-1)
Sam Cowart was the one guy on defense they couldn't afford to lose. Rob Johnson came apart against the Saints, but not many defenses can exert that much pressure. If the Colts overrun him on Sunday, the Bills are in big trouble this season.
20 18
Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1)
Kordell forced to play catch-up in a rainstorm. Four turnovers by the club. Better days ahead.
21 26
San Diego Chargers (1-0)
Norv Turner is my favorite offensive coordinator. Doug Flutie's a terrific competitor, but I just wish his completion percentage were a bit higher. So does Norv.
22 27
Carolina Panthers (1-0)
Honestly, I don't know how good they are or if Chris Weinke is ready to put any kind of a stamp on the game. I didn't overlook their victory over Minnesota. I raised them eight notches. But I don't think they'll beat the Falcons.
23 20
Seattle Seahawks (1-0)
A 49-yard kick return by Charlie Rogers set them up for the winning field goal. Until then they hadn't done much, and this was against the Browns.
24 19
Arizona Cardinals (0-0)
Still without a game, and now they have to set up a scheme for the Broncos. At least the game's at home, not at Mile High, make that Inves... no, I simply cannot write the name of the new stadium. Not yet.
25 22
Washington Redskins (0-1)
OK, Skins rooters, let's hear it. I know, I know, they're a lot better. So what if they're having QB problems after Game 1? Everything will be just fine, won't it?
26 24
Atlanta Falcons (0-1)
They showed real spirit against the Niners. I wish their O-line were better. I wish they weren't locked into that formula of having to play Michael Vick somewhere, at some time, during the course of a game.
27 28
Cincinnati Bengals (1-0)
Cincy has the honor of being the lowest ranked team that won. So why didn't they move up? Only because I don't think they're better than the teams I rated higher.
28 30
Chicago Bears (0-1)
For no logical reason, I have them as my Upset Special against the Vikings. I see emotion here, and that could just do it.
29 25
New England Patriots (0-1)
Bad first outing, Terry Glenn distraction, but despite all that they'll give the Jets all they can handle in Foxboro.
30 29
Cleveland Browns (0-1)
Sooner or later Carmen Policy and Dwight Clark are going to run out of people to blame.
31 31
Dallas Cowboys (0-1)
Two receivers, count 'em, caught passes against the Bucs. Rookie QB Quincy Carter averaged 3.8 yards on each of his nine completions. My advice is to take a chance, go downfield, be bold, get beaten in style.

*Preseason rankings

To send a question or comment to Dr. Z, click here.

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