Sunday 25 February 2018 / 06:44 AM


  1. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) +2

Boy, was that an impressive start for the Steelers. Big Ben looked flawless in his debut as a healthy starter again, and Antonio Brown removed the doubt about him being the top receiver in football. Even DeAngelo Williams looked amazing, and the defense bent plenty to Cousins, but never broke. This team looks more prolific than we all thought.

  1. New England Patriots (1-0)  +3

These guys refuse to take a dip, don’t they? The Patriots looked like they were a top team even without Brady, Gronk, two linemen, and one of their defensive linemen. The defense was solid against Palmer and company, especially on the interior. But the story has to be Jimmy Garoppolo. He looked poised, calm and  ready to handle a starting job.

  1. Green Bay Packers (1-0)  +2

It wasn’t pretty, but the Packers got out of Jacksonville with the win. And I’ll give credit for a big road win against a really talented team. Rodgers looked good as ever, and Jordy Nelson was sharp in his return. Add in a defense that looked much better on Sunday, and the Packers look back to being a force.

  1. Denver Broncos (1-0)  +4

That Thursday night game got ugly. And I don’t mean the scoreboard, I mean between the two teams. The Broncos needed some help at the end, but that pass rush was merciless. The defense doesn’t look to have missed a step. The offense was a little rough, but if that defense is going to show up every game, they’ll just need to score a few.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) +1

It was close to disaster for the Chiefs on Sunday, as things looked pretty bleak for about 80% of the game. But credit to the toughness of this team for being able to work their way back. That was an impressive comeback, albeit against an unimpressive team. The Chiefs are going to have to shore up that slow-starting offense before the deficits get run up against better teams.

  1. Cincinnati Bengals (1-0) +3

It’s the regular season, which means the Bengals are back to being a tough out. They looked ready and able on Sunday, and staved off a good Jets team to lock up the win. It was a tight contest, but Andy Dalton looked sharp and calm. The defense was solid in the second half, and they’ll need it in a division that looked really good on Sunday, outside of Cleveland.

  1. Seattle Seahawks (1-0)

A win is a win. That’s the mantra I’m taking for the Seahawks, who, by judging the rest of the top of the NFC, could have had much worse fortunes. But to struggle that mightily against the Dolphins defense at home presents some serious concerns. The running game was bland, and it took until the fourth quarter for Russell Wilson to finally look like himself. On the bright side, that defense looked nasty again.

  1. Carolina Panthers (0-1) -7

Cam Newton got butchered on Thursday, the second time that fate has befallen the last two times he’s stepped onto the field. The offensive line was really bad, even for an effort against Denver. The defense was solid, but that secondary should scare you against better quarterbacks. It all goes back to that O-Line. If that’s the level of play they’re getting, this team is taking a big step back in 2016.

  1. Arizona Cardinals (0-1)  -7

I’m trying not to overreact, because the Cardinals have one of the most talented teams in the NFL. But to lose to a team down five starters, including their Hall of Fame QB and TE, at home to start the season is not a great look. The offense was effective, and if a shanked field goal doesn’t sail left, we sing a different tune. But such is life in the NFL.

10. Houston Texans (1-0) –

The Brock Osweiler Experience got started in terrific fashion, as the new QB tossed two touchdowns in his debut. The defense also looked strong, and has many believing this is the season in Houston. They certainly look the part of a playoff team, but Bill O’Brien is thinking more. I’m going to need a larger sample on Brock first.

11. Oakland Raiders (1-0) –

After an offseason of hype and good fortune, the Raiders finally got on the field and put some levity to it. It took a comeback, but upending Drew Brees in the Dome is a solid feat on opening day. Derek Carr and the offense look great, but that vaunted improved defense struggled big time in the secondary. Still, I don’t think last year’s team wins that game Sunday.

12. Minnesota Vikings (1-0) +1

Don’t call it a comeback in Minnesota: coach Mike Zimmer insisted all week that his team would be just fine without Teddy. And while that probably isn’t totally true, they had no problem riding a defense to a win over Tennessee. The QB play was really bad, however, and that meant the running play was bad. A better opposition won’t yield the same result for the Vikes; they need Bradford ready to roll now.

13. New York Giants (1-0) -1

I’m not overtly surprised, as I had these guys as the winners of the division. But still, taking care of business in Dallas had to be a good feeling for a new coaching staff and Eli Manning, even if it was against two rookies. The offense clicked and the defense played solid, much better against the pass than a year ago. We’ll see how they fare against some veteran competition.

14. Baltimore Ravens (1-0) +4

How about that defense?  The Ravens swung back to form in their debut with everyone healthy, keeping the prolific Buffalo offense completely in check. Shareece Wright was really good, and that front seven kept Buffalo guessing all day. Flacco also looked better than the scoreboard indicated. The Ravens appear ready to climb back in the AFC hunt.

15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) +9

All aboard the Jameis Express. The Bucs got their season started in the best way possible: as the only winners in the NFC South. Going to Atlanta and getting the win had to be sweet, and it certainly felt like a changing of the guard in the division. It looks like it may be Tampa Bay that gives Carolina trouble, but let’s see some more action before I rule out the rest of the pack.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) +4

I know, I know, jumping up on a loss is an odd thing to do. But that was a good Green Bay team the Jags lost too, and it sure felt like this team grew up a lot in that game. The defense started to piece things together late in the game, and the offense was great. Late-game stuff needs some work, but you’ve got to be excited if you’re a Jags fan watching this opening weekend.

17. New York Jets (0-1) +4

Same boat as Jacksonville, this team looked pretty good in a loss. The defense was solid, but not on par with what everyone expected. But the offense looked really good again with Fitz and Brandon Marshall. Things may indeed be on the upswing in New York, but they’ll need that secondary to play better for that to be a possibility. Because that was pretty embarrassing for Revis Island.

18. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) +5

It was really, really hard to find a fault in the game that Carson Wentz had Sunday. Look, I know it’s the Browns, and that’s why I didn’t vault them up the rankings. But come on, the kid was playing an NFL defense for the first time and he looked poised and ready. The defense also looks a lot better, but let’s see these guys against someone other than the Browns before I get too excited.

19. Detroit Lions (1-0) +10

That was a fun game between the Lions and Colts, with a back and forth so wild that I didn’t think the Lions had it in them to answer. Matt Stafford looked really good, and while I’m sure he’ll miss Megatron, he showed this offense is ready to play in 2016. That defense, on the other hand…yikes.

20. Miami Dolphins (0-1) +8

The Dolphins impressed me more than any other losing team in Week One. Playing Seattle like that at home is a really good sign if the Fish can capitalize. The defense looked really good, and that front seven especially is fast and mobile. The offense needs some work, but getting points in that building is always hard. This was definitely a game to build around.

21. Indianapolis Colts (0-1) -2

The Colts are all too familiar with how Sunday went down, letting another spectacular performance from Andrew Luck go to waste. Luck kept swinging with that offense, and looked ready to get the win. But letting the other team go down the field in :30 second to beat you is just laughable for a defense that looked like it got worse, if that’s even possible.

22. San Francisco 49ers (1-0) +10

Was there a more dominant showing in Week One than what we saw in the last game? What a random team to go off, as the defense for San Fran grew up in a hurry. Under Chip, no less! Blaine Gabber was terrific against the Rams, and the offense was humming. This team isn’t winning 10 games, are they?

23. Buffalo Bills (0-1) -8

Another disappointing start for Rex and Co., as the Bills again fell flat against a quick defense. This offense was different kinds of bad, and with Sammy Watkins looking like he’s done for some solid time, it may not get better. On the bright side, the defense was good. But they need Tyrod Taylor to get better in a hurry.

24. Dallas Cowboys (0-1) -7

Yes, Romo is hurt. But a loss is a loss. On the positive, Dak Prescott looked about as good as a rookie thrust into the limelight in Week One could look. And Ezekiel Elliot appears ready. The defense was solid, and the offense is okay. But there’s not much about this team that pops out. Well, other than Dez Bryant – if he only gets the ball once again.

25. Washington Redskins (0-1) -11

That was rough night for Redskins fans. After months of hype and analysis of how the Redskins controlled the division, that was a flat showing at almost every level. Kirk Cousins looked average again, and the defense struggled big time. There was no pass rush, and the secondary was way worse than the money invested in them suggest it should be. This should be your go-to follow for a team that will fall apart quickly.

26. Atlanta Falcons (0-1) -10

Oh, Atlanta. Matty Ice dropping a home opener to a less talented team just screams of what we can expect out of the new Falcons. This team needs some work to contend in the division, but luckily for them, so does everyone else. Still, that loss hurt, and they’ve got some soul searching on offense before the rest of the NFC South packs their lunch.

27. San Diego Chargers (0-1) +3

Everything looked fine for the Chargers for about 45 minutes. A big win on the road against the top of the division seemed like just what the doctor ordered. But the narrative switched quick, and a collapse that size will no doubt have effects. More than that, the injury to Allen concerns me big time.

28. New Orleans Saints (0-1) -6

The Saints kept with Oakland, but it wasn’t quite the opening that Drew Brees expected. The offense was great, and looked to be ready to run away with it. But the defense just couldn’t get stops. It’s a problem that has plagued the Saints for a while, and something they’ll need to not waste nights like that from Brees.

29. Tennessee Titans (0-1) -4

The Titans just weren’t as impressive as a team looking to take the next step should be. Mariota looked like a sophomore slump candidate, and didn’t look as fluid in the pocket as he should. The offense really was the bad part of the day, as the defense didn’t bother me as much. Either way, this is probably still the bottom of the AFC South.

30. Chicago Bears (0-1) -3

The Bears just can’t get out of their own way. Losing this one to the Texans just felt deflating for Chicago, but at least the defense looks a little better. They aren’t getting gashed as bad, and now if they can just find a consistent offense to pair with it.

31. Cleveland Browns (0-1) +1

Cleveland’s out of the dweller for this week, as they looked kinda not so bad against Philly. The Browns losing RGIII again hurts big time, so it’s probably back to the bottom after this week. But it was fun while it lasted, right?

32. Los Angeles Rams (0-1) -6

There are bad openers, and then there is what LA did on opening day. When you’re offense is so bad that the worst defense from a year ago suddenly turns into the Seahawks, you’ve got a problem. Even the defense couldn’t stop anyone. What happened overnight with these guys? Where was Goff? Why does Jeff Fisher still keeping getting NFL jobs? So many questions.

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About the author

Austin Albertson

Austin is CBS' senior NFL and NBA analyst, bringing you commentary on everything between the lines and inside the hashes, from the film room to the scoreboard.

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