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Week 2 NFL Power Rankings: Overreaction edition

The New England Patriots were the heavy favorites heading into the season, but with a loss in their opener, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are now outside the top three.

Are they at risk for falling to 0-2?

Here’s how ESPN’s power panel — a group of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities — voted in the Week 2 edition of our Power Rankings, with a take on possible overreactions to the limited sample size Week 1 offers.

ESPN Stats & Information research contributed the information below. Take a look back at our preseason Power Rankings here.

2017 record: 1-0
Preseason ranking: No. 4

T.J. Watt became the third player to record two sacks and an interception in his NFL debut since sacks became official in 1982. Possible overreaction: Watt is the defensive playmaker the Steelers have been craving for years, and could make the defense more impactful than Pittsburgh’s offense.

2017 record: 1-0
Preseason ranking: No. 5

The Packers held the Seahawks without a touchdown in Week 1 as the defense swarmed Russell Wilson. Possible overreaction: This could be a sign of big things to come for a team that ranked 21st in defensive scoring last season. Any defensive improvement turns the Packers into a serious threat.

2017 record: 1-0
Preseason ranking: No. 8

Alex Smith threw four touchdown passes, Kareem Hunt set a league record with 246 yards from scrimmage in his NFL debut and Tyreek Hill scored another 60-yard TD. Possible overreaction: If the offense keeps it up, the Chiefs are the team to beat in the AFC. FPI currently agrees, giving them a league-best 90 percent chance of making the playoffs.

2017 record: 0-1
Preseason ranking: No. 1

The Patriots allowed the most yards (537) and points (42) by a Bill Belichick-coached team in Thursday’s loss to the Chiefs. Possible overreaction: The Patriots are still the team to beat, but if the defense can’t stop Alex Smith, how will they stop Drew Brees in Week 2? The Patriots first 0-2 start since 2001 seems like a distinct possibility now.

2017 record: 1-0
Preseason ranking: No. 6

According to Elias Sports Bureau research, Dak Prescott‘s four interceptions are fewest in a quarterback’s first 17 starts since the merger. Possible overreaction: Prescott’s ball control is crucial to the Cowboys’ success, and unless he starts throwing picks, they could be destined for a deep postseason run in 2017.

2017 record: 1-0
Preseason ranking: No. 7

Marshawn Lynch rushed for 76 yards in his return to the NFL as the Raiders beat the Titans 26-16. Possible overreaction: Lynch showed his power, gaining 41 of his 76 yards after first contact. His power running will only improve an offense that ranked seventh in scoring last season.

2017 record: 1-0
Preseason ranking: No. 2

The Falcons are 1-0 after holding onto a fourth-quarter lead against the Bears. Possible overreaction: The Bears were just 5 yards away from winning Sunday, and that was with Mike Glennon under center. The Falcons should still be a contender, but no lead is safe until proven otherwise.

2017 record: 0-1
Preseason ranking: No. 3

The Seahawks couldn’t muster even one touchdown against the Packers on Sunday, instead settling for three field goals on offense. Possible overreaction: Russell Wilson has been the most-pressured quarterback since he entered the NFL, and Week 1 was no exception. The Seahawks’ success will depend on the offensive line, not Wilson.

2017 record: 1-0
Preseason ranking: No. 15

Carson Wentz made a big play under duress on Sunday, matching his total of passing touchdowns when pressured all of last season. Possible overreaction: Hop on the Wentz Wagon while there’s still room. The young quarterback should continue to improve, and he’ll have a lot of help from the second-ranked defense according to FPI.

2017 record: 1-0
Preseason ranking: No. 19

Matthew Stafford shook off an early pick-six to throw four touchdowns in Sunday’s 35-23 victory. Possible overreaction: Stafford ranks sixth in Total QBR since the start of last season. The Lions will find themselves in the playoffs yet again as long as he keeps this play up.

2017 record: 1-0
Preseason ranking: No. 16

The Panthers opened the season with a 20-point victory, a positive beginning considering they went 1-5 to start last season. Possible overreaction: They beat the 49ers in Week 2 last season, so let’s not read too much into this victory. Cam Newton failed to complete at least 60 percent of his passes for the eighth straight game, and his accuracy will matter more going forward.

2017 record: 1-0
Preseason ranking: No. 17

Sam Bradford posted the best Total QBR in Week 1 (94) and Dalvin Cook had the second-most rush yards (127). Possible overreaction: The run-pass balance is exactly what Bradford needs to finally flourish in the NFL. Watch out for Minnesota, NFC.

2017 record: 0-0
Preseason ranking: No. 13

The Buccaneers make their season debut in Week 2 after scoring the fewest PPG (10.8) this preseason. Possible overreaction: Preseason doesn’t matter, but if Jameis Winston doesn’t cut down on the picks (he had 18 in 2016), the Buccaneers’ offense might not be as high-powered as one would think, even with the additions of DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard.

2017 record: 1-0
Preseason ranking: No. 21

The Ravens rushed for 157 yards and pitched a shutout on defense in Sunday’s opener against the Bengals. Possible overreaction: Rushing and defense is the formula the Ravens need to follow, especially if Joe Flacco isn’t healthy enough to post more than 121 yards on 9-of-17 passing.

2017 record: 1-0
Preseason ranking: No. 9

Two late turnovers nearly cost the Broncos the win on Monday, but a blocked kick in the closing seconds saved the day. Possible overreaction: The offense hasn’t ranked higher than 19th in scoring in either of the previous two seasons, but it could be three straight seasons after 2017. Good thing the defense is as great as it is (again).


16. Tennesse Titans

2017 record: 0-1
Preseason ranking: No. 12

Marcus Mariota has now thrown one touchdown pass in his past four games combined, with the Titans averaging 16.3 points in those games. Possible overreaction: Mariota should be fine, but the Titans brought in Corey Davis and Eric Decker to improve the passing offense, not keep the status quo.

2017 record: 0-1
Preseason ranking: No. 11

The Giants scored three points without Odell Beckham Jr. in their season-opening loss to the Cowboys. Possible overreaction: How much better will the offense be, even with Beckham? The running game generated 35 yards on 12 tries in Week 1 and there’s still no clear No. 1 running back.

2017 record: 1-0
Preseason ranking: No. 27

The Rams scored 46 points in Week 1, their most in a season-opener in the Super Bowl era. Possible overreaction: New head coach Sean McVay has the offense moving the ball, and the defense dominated without Aaron Donald. The Rams will be in the NFC playoff picture in 2017.

2017 record: 0-1
Preseason ranking: No. 23

Six rushes for 18 yards for Adrian Peterson, seven for 17 for Alvin Kamara and six for 18 for Mark Ingram in Monday night’s loss. Possible overreaction: No single running back stepped up for a New Orleans team that wanted to emphasize the run in 2017, and if no one does going forward, it could be another losing season for the Saints.

2017 record: 0-1
Preseason ranking: No. 10

David Johnson accounted for 36 percent of the Cardinals’ yards from scrimmage last season, the highest percentage in the NFL, and could be out for an extended period. Possible overreaction: Without Johnson, the offense is a 37-year-old quarterback and a 34-year-old wide receiver. That rarely translates to wins in the NFL.

2017 record: 1-0
Preseason ranking: No. 28

Jacksonville’s defense recorded 10 sacks and generated pressure on 54 percent of dropbacks in Week 1, both tops in the NFL. Possible overreaction: Don’t expect 10 sacks every week, but don’t expect a pass rush featuring Calais Campbell, Malik Jackson and Dante Fowler Jr. to slow down either. The Jaguars could be on the rise.

2017 record: 0-1
Preseason ranking: No. 24

After losing a league-high eight games by seven or fewer points last season, the Chargers opened their 2017 season with a three-point loss Monday. Possible overreaction: Get ready for more heartache, Chargers fans. The city might have changed, but the inability to come back or pull away hasn’t.

2017 record: 0-0
Preseason ranking: No. 25

Jay Cutler‘s Total QBR since 2012 (54) was better than Ryan Tannehill‘s (51). Possible overreaction: We’ve yet to see Cutler in 2017 due to weather concerns, but it’s hard to see the Dolphins being that much worse (or much better) than they were last year when they made the playoffs, even with Cutler under center.

2017 record: 0-1
Preseason ranking: No. 20

Kirk Cousins posted a 33.8 Total QBR in Week 1, his third-worst since the start of 2015. Possible overreaction: Without Sean McVay calling the plays, Cousins will have games like this more often. A third straight winning season seems unlikely.

2017 record: 0-1
Preseason ranking: No. 22

Andy Dalton posted a 0.6 Total QBR in Week 1, the worst in the NFL. Possible overreaction: Dalton’s QBR was only slightly better than Flounder’s GPA (0.2) in “Animal House,” and that was with a healthy A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert and stable of running backs. The Dalton-Marvin Lewis era could be on its last legs.

2017 record: 0-1
Preseason ranking: No. 14

The Texans made a quarterback change after one half of play in 2017 and lost by 22 to the Jaguars. Possible overreaction:Deshaun Watson looked better than Tom Savage, but the offensive line allowed the most pressure and few running lanes. Houston needs to shore up its line fast to have a chance this year.

2017 record: 1-0
Preseason ranking: No. 26

LeSean McCoy notched 159 scrimmage yards in Week 1, the third-most in the NFL. Possible overreaction: The Bills are 16-17 the last three years basically following the formula of riding McCoy’s and Tyrod Taylor‘s play-making ability. They could hover around .500 again this year doing the same, even with their offseason makeover.

2017 record: 0-1
Preseason ranking: No. 29

Mike Glennon had a quiet three quarters before nearly capping off a comeback in Week 1 against the Falcons. Possible overreaction: The Bears’ running backs stole the show on Sunday, and comeback bid or not, Mitchell Trubisky will be leading the offense sooner rather than later.

2017 record: 0-1
Preseason ranking: No. 31

The 49ers scored three points in their season opener after ranking 27th in scoring last year. Possible overreaction: The offense was supposed to be better this year, but with the Seahawks and Rams on the schedule the next two weeks, it might be a while before San Francisco finds the end zone again.

2017 record: 0-1
Preseason ranking: No. 30

The Browns lost their 13th straight season opener, but on the plus side, they lost by only three points to a tough Steelers team. Possible overreaction: If DeShone Kizer cuts down on the sacks (seven), the Browns could be a competitive team.

2017 record: 0-1
Preseason ranking: No. 18

Scott Tolzien threw two pick-sixes as the Colts got smashed by the Rams 46-9. Possible overreaction: Tolzien. Jacoby Brissett. It doesn’t matter. If “Luck” isn’t on the back of the quarterback’s jersey, the Colts aren’t getting anywhere near the playoffs in 2017.

2017 record: 0-1
Preseason ranking: No. 32

The Jets were one of three teams to throw no touchdowns and multiple picks in Week 1. Possible overreaction: Probably not actually an overreaction, but get used to quarterback lines like that from the Jets this season. Their two leading receivers from Week 1 — Jermaine Kearse and Will Tye — were both acquired in September.

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