Mike Check

Michael Cunningham’s ramblings from the world of sports

NFL power rankings: How low can Falcons go?


1. Patriots (1-0)

No Tom Brady? No Gronk? No problem in Arizona for the Pats, who still had Bill Belichick.

2. Bengals (1-0)

The Jets sacked Andy Dalton seven times and he still got the W. The defense looked good, too.

3. Packers (1-0)

The offensive line gave QB Aaron Rodgers plenty of time against the Jags and when it didn’t, Rodgers shook off pressure and made plays. The defense made plays to preserve the victory.

4. Steelers (1-0)

Yeah, it was the Redskins, but dominant road wins don’t come easy in the NFL.

5. Broncos (1-0)

They got away with multiple headshots against QB Cam Newton and needed a botched field goal to win at the end. But they did win.

6. Seahawks (1-0)

Why do they always seem to play down to their competition? They needed a Russell Wilson-led comeback to beat Miami at home.

7. Panthers (0-1)

Big WR Kelvin Benjamin is going to be a problem for cornerbacks. LB Luke Kuechly makes plays on the backside to blow up game plans.

8. Texans (1-0)

New QB Brock Osweiler came back from a slow start to rally the Texans. The victory was marred by an injury to LB Brian Cushing that will sideline him for six weeks.

9. Cardinals (0-1)

A bad snap influenced Chandler Catanzaro’s missed field goal in the final minute. The bigger issue is the boom-or-bust defense.

10. Chiefs (1-0)

They rallied from three touchdowns down in the second half to win in OT at San Diego. They won’t be able to pull of something like that in Houston.

11. Vikings (1-0)

They traded for QB Sam Bradford following Teddy Bridgewater’s season-ending injury. He didn't play, but they beat the Titans with a smashmouth-and-D formula.

12. Raiders (1-0)

Coach Jack Del Rio went against the odds—and beat them--when he decided to try a two-point conversion at the Saints.

13. Buccaneers (1-0)

Other than the one ugly pick, QB Jameis Winston was fantastic.

14. Giants (1-0)

Say what you want about Eli Manning but the guy has a knack for turning a bad day into a good one with clutch throws.

15. Ravens (1-0)

That was some vintage Ravens defense against the Bills, whose high-powered attack managed seven measly points.

16. Dolphins (0-1)

The defense looked good enough in Seattle to portend good things.

17. Jets (0-1)

Their defense played well enough to beat the Bengals. The offense couldn’t get first downs and special teams floundered with a missed PAT and blocked FG.

18. Lions (1-0)

In a nice change for the Lions, they won a shootout at the Colts even while shooting themselves in the foot.

19. Eagles (1-0)

It’s going to get tougher for rookie QB Carson Wentz once opponents see more video but the No. 3 overall pick had a spectacular debut.

20. Jaguars (0-1)

Should they be encouraged by playing the Packers tough or disappointed by their inability to finish the comeback? I'm going with the former.

21. 49ers (1-0)

Is the defense really that good? We’ll find out Sunday in Carolina.

22. Falcons (0-1)

Matt Ryan wasn't the problem against the Bucs. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Matt Ryan was good. The defense was sub par. The running game was awful.  The schedule gets tougher.

23. Cowboys (0-1)

Rookie QB Dak Prescott looked OK. Rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott did not.

24. Washington (0-1)

Considering QB Kirk Cousins’ 329 yards were offset by two picks, nothing good at all came out of that loss to the Steelers.

25. Bills (0-1)

There’s just no excuse for that offense to manage one TD.

26. Saints (0-1)

The good news is Drew Brees can still sling it. The bad news is the secondary can’t cover anybody.

27. Colts (0-1)

What else does Andrew Luck have to do? Play defense, it seems.

28. Titans (0-1)

They’ve got two victories at home since 2014. Two!

29. Chargers (0-1)

They lost their best offensive option, WR Keenan Allen, to another ACL injury.

30. Bears (0-1)

The defense couldn’t get off of the field on third down against the Texans.

31. Rams (0-1)

It won’t be long before they are forced to play QB Jared Goff, if only for business reasons.

32. Browns (0-1)

They’ve lost their opener in 12 straight seasons. 12!


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About the Author

Michael Cunningham has covered the Hawks and other beats for the AJC since 2010. He is the author of the AJC’s Mike Check blog.