Bortstein's NFL Power Rankings -- September 20

posted by Steve Bortstein - 

1 -- LOS ANGELES RAMS (Up 1 spot from last week)
This really shouldn't surprise anyone. The Rams have been one of the more ballyhooed teams this offseason, and all the praise has come back to be totally justified.

2 -- KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (Up 4 spots from last week)
Let's be perfectly clear here, Patrick Mahomes most likely isn't going to throw 80 touchdown passes this year, though inevitably someone will make mention he's on pace to do so after throwing ten after just two games. 

3 -- PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (Down 2 spots from last week)
The rather small sample size of this season's version of Nick Foles has been far less impressive than the slightly larger sample size we saw during his Super Bowl run last season. Never fear, Captain Wentz is back under center this weekend. We'll see if that's the magic elixir.

4 -- NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (Down 1 spot from last weekend)
Is the balance of power beginning to change in the AFC? Perhaps. Does that have any real impact on the divisional race in the East? Not yet, and as long as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick can (reportedly) keep from stabbing each other in the back this season, they'll be fine. The target on their back is still quite prominent and the window for success may be closing a bit more every day.

5 -- JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (Up 5 spots from last week)
Despite the fact that Jacksonville beat the Patriots last week, the overall power scheme leads me to want to see more.  The Jaguars were the better team Sunday against, but can they maintain that status all season long and will Bortles prove to always be Mr. Reliable?

6 -- MINNESOTA VIKINGS (Down 2 spots from last week)
The setting couldn't have been any better for the Vikings, playing against a wounded and clearly slowed Aaron Rodgers. Instead, they come away with a tie in a game that had more to do with missed opportunities, missed field goals and shady officiating. QB Kirk Cousins had himself a few highlight reel moments, but a missed opportunity is what winds up as the end result.

7 -- CINCINNATI BENGALS (First time on the list)
Since I was totally wrong about the Baltimore Ravens in my opening week list, let's at least reward the team that showed me to be wrong. Joe Mixon might turn out to be a very good rookie running back once he returns from a knee injury. The defense is playing very well and a promising start to the season could reap some rewards.

8 -- TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (First time on the list)
Of course it Ryan Fitzpatrick, and of course it's while Jameis Winston is still dealing with a dumb suspension played out in another chapter of his self-titled book "How To Screw Up A Good Thing... Again". For the moment, it's fun to enjoy it.

9 -- GREEN BAY PACKERS (Down 1 spot from last week)
We still don't know long until Aaron Rodgers will be 100 percent (or as close to it as possible, dealing with the knee injury suffered in Week One). That said, the bruised and battered version of Rodgers is still infinitely better than half the starting quarterbacks currently playing in the league.  

10 -- NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (First time on the list)
You have to win ugly sometimes. And that may still not be giving credit to a Cleveland Browns team that has over exceeded expectations in their first pair of games. An ugly win can propel some bigger things for a Saints team with a whole lot of expectations.


HONORABLE MENTION
Denver Broncos
Los Angeles Chargers
Atlanta Falcons

The FOX FLUSH this week
AFC -- OAKLAND RAIDERS
NFC -- SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

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