1. Patriots (-) (W 43-0 @MIA) (2-0, 2-0 ATS)
The evil empire continues onward with new secret weapon Antonio Brown. Despite their recent history in Miami, New England was unbothered, smothering the helpless fish. Expect New England to own this spot for the foreseeable future. Their next three dances? NYJ, BUF, WAS.
Oh and Antonio has been cut due to multiple sexual assault accusations. Good riddance but it doesn’t diminish New England’s superiority.
2. Chiefs (+2) (W 28-10 @OAK) (2-0, 2-0 ATS)
Mahomes’ Revenge is continuing its plundering through the AFC. It’s been smooth sailing thus far but rough tides approach: BAL.
3. Rams (+3) (W 27-9 vs. NO) (2-0, 2-0 ATS)
The rematch of the NFC Championship was dented by a Drew Brees injury but a win is a win and it was a dominant one despite another so-so performance from Goff. The NFC West is home to three undefeated teams, however. The Rams need to keep their foot on the gas.
4. Cowboys (+3) (W 31-21 @WAS) (2-0, 2-0 ATS)
Dallas’ case is upended by a weak schedule but they still deserve a top-ten spot. This is likely high given they’re unproven against their peers but they’ll have a chance to prove their worth. Following a vacation in Miami, they have the Saints and Packers back-to-back.
5. Packers (+4) (W 21-16 vs. MIN) (2-0, 2-0 ATS)
My top five teams all come in undefeated in games and against the spread. Green Bay’s offense jumped to life against one of the league’s most talented d-corps, putting up 21 unanswered. They then surrendered 16 straight and might have lost the game at home outright if not for the brainfart that is 2019 Kirk Cousins. Still, despite some concerns, Green Bay sits alone atop the North, the most competitive division in football.
6. Vikings (-4) (L 21-16 @GB) (1-1, 1-1 ATS)
Minnesota floundered early before rallying with 16 unanswered. Had they completed the comeback, they would have surpassed New England for my top spot due to strength of schedule. Instead, Kirk Cousins throws one of the worst interceptions you’ll ever see in professional football and Minnesota, despite two great performances, sits at 1-1. Dalvin Cook and the rushing attack are on a tear, the defense is rejuvenated but Kirk Cousins has been awful. Sunday he was 14/32 for 230, a touchdown and two interceptions, including the costly one in the end zone, and a fumble. That’s not what you’re hoping for when you shell out $27 million guaranteed.
Oh, and the Vikings kicking woes continue. They left four points on the board. They lost by five.
7. Texans (-2) (W 13-12 vs. JAC) (1-1, 1-1 ATS)
Sloppy divisional games happen. I think the team we saw in New Orleans is closer to the mark. Still, the Curse of Bill O’Brien has nearly dragged what should be a 2-0 team to 0-2. Houston needs a statement game against the Chargers this week. Please protect Deshaun Watson.
8. Ravens (+3) (W 23-17 vs. ARI) (1-1, 1-1 ATS)
Had it not been for Kliff Kingsbury kicking three field goals inside the ten, Baltimore likely loses this game. It was a regression and the only reason they move up in my rankings is the continual improvement of Lamar Jackson. It’s crazy what can happen in one summer. At this moment, Lamar Jackson, not Baker Mayfield, is the best quarterback of the 2018 class. Next week we see how good he really is when Mahomes’ Revenge comes to play.
9. Saints (-6) (L 27-9 @LAR) (1-1, 0-2 ATS)
The Drew Brees injury looms large. You could see the offense begin to stutter step when he left the huddle. Great teams overcome injury and the team’s performance without him will say a lot about their character and system. The Saints can and should be a playoff team without Drew Brees.
10. Eagles (-2) (L 24-21 @ATL) (1-1, 0-2 ATS)
Another slow start for the Eagles. Wentz looked awful in the first half, the worst I’ve seen him. He transformed in the fourth quarter and the Eagles nearly escaped playing half a football game. That’s a charade that won’t last against great teams. Philly needs to get their vehicle into gear.
11. Seahawks (+4) (W 28-26 @PIT) (2-0, 1-1 ATS)
The offensive line is an ongoing cause for concern but Russ finds a way, as per usual. DK Metcalf had some moments as Tyler Lockett becomes a WR1. Chris Carson is in danger of losing RB1 duties after multiple fumbles.
12. Falcons (+4) (W 24-21 vs. PHI) (1-1, 1-1 ATS)
Julio had a day but the evening belonged to the Falcons defense. They flustered Wentz most of the night and their defensive front was eating the Eagles offensive line throughout the contest. The Eagles have a top-five offensive line and it was a notable performance from a defense that has struggled to create pressure in recent years. Unfortunately, they play another top-five unit in Indianapolis this week. They can look at it two ways: an impossible expectation or another chance to prove themselves. With Brees and Cam out with injury, the division is theirs for the taking.
13. 49ers (+7) (W 41-17 @CIN) (2-0, 2-0 ATS)
Vegas has underestimated San Francisco in back-to-back weeks as they’ve cruised with relative ease. Matt Breida is beginning to look like a starting running back. Kyle Shanahan is a great coach and now has the team to demonstrate it. Still, their journey to the playoffs is rocky. The NFC is a far tougher conference and their division one of the most formidable in the league.
14. Bears (-4) (W 16-14 @DEN) (1-1, 1-1 ATS)
Chicago has one of the best defenses in football but one of the worst offenses. They are some roughing the passer baloney and a long field goal away from being 0-2. Matt Nagy better find his offense quick before he lets his defense’s efforts go to waste.
15. Titans (-2) (L 19-17 vs. IND) (1-1, 1-1 ATS)
Divisional games are always tougher than they should be. Still, the offense looks so…bland. Remember when Corey Davis got drafted fifth overall? That hasn’t aged well and neither has Marcus Mariota. Two top-five picks and two players who haven’t been the maestros they were expected to be.
16. Colts (+1) (W 19-17 @TEN) (1-1, 1-1 ATS)
Nothing spices up the wagons like a road rivalry win. The Colts are still a good football team. Stop overlooking them.
17. Chargers (-5) (L 13-10 @DET) (1-1, 1-1 ATS)
Los Angeles has had no problems in the backfield but Rivers has been average two games in. A narrow win against a team missing their franchise quarterback and a splattered egg of a performance against the Lions. Not a way to get into my good graces.
18. Bills (+4) (W 28-14 @NYG) (2-0, 2-0 ATS)
Buffalo has an underrated defense (I’ll keep saying it) and Josh Allen hasn’t lost them games though he almost did week one before the Jets went full Jets. With the Dolphins tanking and the Jets wrecked by injuries and coaching malpractice, Buffalo is the clear runner-up in the division. That means a chance at a wild card.
What do you mean Devin Singletary’s out this week?
19. Panthers (-5) (L 20-14 vs. TB) (0-2, 0-2 ATS)
Carolina is in trouble. Cam is not himself. The core is older. McCaffrey and the corpse of Greg Olsen seem to be the only threats on offense. Cam is ruled out for the road game against Arizona. 0-3 looms.
20. Lions (+3) (W 13-10 vs. LAC) (1-0-1, 1-1 ATS)
Matt Stafford is in top form and Kerryon Johnson is a threat. Kenny Golladay ages better every day. The defense isn’t complete turdblossoms. If it wasn’t for the Lions going full Lions, they’d be 2-0. That tie stings.
21. Bengals (-3) (L 41-17 vs. SF) (0-2, 1-1 ATS)
Cincinnati played so well against Seattle and played so poorly against San Francisco. Joe Mixon is trapped behind a porous offensive line. Any news on A.J.?
22. Steelers (-1) (L 28-26 vs. SEA) (0-2, 0-2 ATS)
The playcall cancer known as Big Ben is out for the season following elbow surgery. In a development no one saw coming, the offense looked dramatically better with him off the field. The season is not over. Minkah Fitzpatrick comes in a historic blockbuster for Pittsburgh. For the first time in forever, the Steelers will be without a first-rounder. Minkah should be worth it. Now can they win a football game? Or at least cover a spread?
23. Jaguars (+1) (L 13-12 @HOU) (0-2, 1-1 ATS)
Jacksonville was a trash Doug Marrone play call away from 1-1 and capturing a crucial road rivalry win. How long is this talented roster going to be saddled with this pleeb?
24. Redskins (-5) (L 31-21 vs. DAL) (0-2, 1-1 ATS)
Washington has started off strong in two consecutive contests but remains unable to finish. This Terry McLaurin kid looks good at least.
25. Cardinals (+3) (L 23-17 @BAL) (0-1-1, 2-0 ATS)
If Kliff Kingsbury wasn’t a complete coward, Arizona would have upset Baltimore. Kicking three field goals inside the ten should be a fireable offense.
26. Raiders (-1) (L 28-10 vs. KC) (1-1, 1-1 ATS)
Oakland is not as bad as expected but also isn’t strong enough to compete with Kansas City. That is by no means an indictment. Most teams can’t.
27. Browns (-1) (W 23-3 @NYJ) (1-1, 1-1 ATS)
Congratulations. You won a football game. Against a third-string quarterback. I look forward to you getting plastered on national television by the Rams.
28. Broncos (+3) (L 16-14 vs. CHI) (0-2, 0-2 ATS)
Denver might have lost on Sunday but it felt like a win. An offense that outgunned managed to face a Chicago nightmare. Bravo. Turns out your heart is still beating.
29. Buccaneers (+1) (W 20-14 @CAR) (1-1, 1-1 ATS)
The Famous Jameis Bakery was closed on Thursday night and when it is, life is at least manageable at Raymond James Stadium.
What do you mean that was a road game? They don’t win those. Can’t be right.
30. Giants (-1) (L 28-14 vs. BUF) (0-2, 0-2 ATS)
At this point, might be time to start the Free Saquon campaign.
What do you mean Daniel Jones is starting?
31. Jets (-4) (L 23-3 vs. CLE) (0-2, 0-2 ATS)
The Jets started Thursday with their second-string quarterback and ended with third option Luke Falk. Still, the offense was a complete dumpster fire. Adam Gase sure looked like a football savant, I’ll tell you that.
32. Dolphins (-) (L 43-0 vs. NE) (0-2, 0-2 ATS)
The Dolphins had a chance to do something amazing on Sunday. New England had lost six of their last seven games in Finland and had Miami done the unthinkable, I think most of the country would have been overjoyed. I was just hoping they’d cover the 18.5 point spread and not embarrass the home crowd. It looked like they might do just that at half, down only 16.
The game ended in a 43-0 shutout. Miami is in full tank mode and Flores is on his way out before his career even started. Minkah Fitzpatrick got shipped this week. The only promising thing going in Miami is their 2019 draft capital.
What do you mean Josh Rosen is starting? Can someone give that guy a break already?
Biggest Climb: SF +7
Biggest Fall: NO -6