Week 2 of the 2023 NFL season helped solidify some early-season beliefs after the opening week.
The 49ers are the best team in the NFL, and I'm not sure it's all that close if they remain healthy. The Philadelphia Eagles are missing something, and we know the Dallas Cowboys will careen off the road at some point.
In the AFC, the Kansas City Chiefs got back on track with a win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, while expected contenders fell to 0-2 in Cincinnati and Los Angeles. If Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert can't right their ships, the Ravens, Dolphins, and Bills are the AFC's only chance to knock off Patrick Mahomes.
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Week 2 saw several teams that flopped in Week 1 get back on the horse. The Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans, and New Orleans Saints all rebounded to get back to .500.
The Bears did not.
Quarterback Justin Fields struggled, and the defense got diced up by Baker Mayfield in a dismal 27-17 loss to the Bucs in Tampa.
The Bears have real issues, and there doesn't appear to be a quick fix for anything that ails them, which led to a precipitous drop in this week's power rankings:
San Francisco 49ers
32. Houston Texans (0-2): It’s going to be a loooong year for DeMeco Ryans.
31. Arizona Cardinals (0-2): The Cardinals are absolutely going to eff around, and both their chances at the No. 1 pick. It’ll happen, give it time.
30. Chicago Bears (0-2): Given the influx of talent over the offseason, it’s fair to say the Bears look worse than they did last year. An unacceptable start in Chicago – one that should have fans worried about the direction of the franchise.
29. Carolina Panthers (0-2): The Bears might wind up having two top-five picks next year. That’s a silver lining.
28. Denver Broncos (0-2): Let’s ride … to the dump. Part 2.
27. Indianapolis Colts (1-1): Anthony Richardson is going to be the real deal. Planting my flag.
26. Los Angeles Rams (1-1): Where in God’s name did Puka Nacua come from?
25. New York Giants (1-1): How much is Daniel Jones making next season? Whatever the number, it’s way too damn high.
24. Minnesota Vikings (0-2): How long until the Vikings plummet into the Caleb Williams’ sweepstakes? I give it a month.
23. Las Vegas Raiders (1-1): The Raiders can’t have nice things.
22. Washington Commanders (2-0): I don’t believe in the Commanders, but two wins over two bad teams is more than I can say for a lot of other teams.
21. New England Patriots (0-2): The Dolphins gave up 233 rushing yards in Week 1. Despite having most of their top offensive linemen available, the Patriots struggled to move the ball on the ground against the ‘Fins. A troubling sign for my preseason sleeper.
20. Los Angeles Chargers (0-2): Brandon Staley is wandering into “what is it you do here?” territory.
19. Tennessee Titans (1-1): I’ll never understand how the Titans win games. Mike Vrabel is a warlock.
18. Seattle Seahawks (1-1): Geno Smith shrugged off a late mistake to help the Seahawks avoid an 0-2 hole. It’s a nice win, but it’s not one that convinces me the Seahawks are anything more than a middling NFC team.
17. Atlanta Falcons (2-0): Bijan Robinson is worth the price of admission.
16. Cincinnati Bengals (0-2): The Bengals are giving me “year from hell” vibes.
15. Green Bay Packers (1-1): It’s unclear if Jordan Love is good or if the Bears just made him look good in Week 1. The jury will return next Sunday to see if we have an early verdict.
14. New York Jets (1-1): How quickly can the sounds of dolphins mating heal Aaron Rodgers’ Achilles?
13. Cleveland Browns (1-1): Who regrets their trade-and-sign for a washed veteran quarterback more: The Browns or the Broncos?
12. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1): The Steelers got back to .500 but it's never a good sign when the home crowd is chanting to fire the offensive coordinator.
11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0): This spot might be reserved for whatever team kills the Bears and makes me think they are better than they really are. This Bucs team is salty, has a ton of talented veterans on defense, and a staff that knows what it wants to do. Also, I think Baker is back (I reserve the right to delete this take).
10. New Orleans Saints (2-0): New Derek Carr, same as the old Derek Carr.
9. Detroit Lions (1-1): All that talk about Jared Goff’s interception-free streak undoubtedly led to Sunday’s back-breaking pick-six against the Seahawks. The Motor City Kitties are still the cream of a putrid NFC North … I think.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1): Steve Spagnulo had Trevor Lawrence in hell Sunday, but I still have faith in where Lawrence and the Jags are headed this season.
7. Buffalo Bills (1-1): Maybe Week 1 was too early to bury Josh Allen. Just maybe.
6. Baltimore Ravens (2-0): Lamar Jackson looks comfortable in Todd Monken’s offense, and the Ravens are getting elite linebacker play from Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen on defense. Good organizations find a way.
5. Miami Dolphins (2-0): Tua and Mike McDaniel are cooking early. The Dolphins might be the best chance the AFC has to unseat the Chiefs.
4. Kansas City Chiefs (1-1): The Chiefs got into the win column Sunday and now get a “pick your number” game against the lowly Bears in Week 3—a get-right bloodbath for KC.
3. Philadelphia Eagles (2-0): Defenses are throwing new things at Jalen Hurts this season, and he’s struggling to adjust. Shane Steichen might end up being the biggest loss of the offseason for Philadelphia.
2. Dallas Cowboys (2-0): The Cowboys got pressure on 53.3 percent of the Jets’ dropbacks Sunday and did so while only blitzing five times. Dallas is a well-oiled machine that will break down when the seasons change.
1. San Francisco 49ers (2-0): Kyle Shanahan still owns Sean McVay. Clockwork.