NFL Power Rankings: Dolphins, Eagles on the rise; offense is back!

NFL Power Rankings: Dolphins, Eagles on the rise; offense is back!

Josh Kendall
Sep. 19, 2023

The Power Rankings are happy to announce that offense is back in the NFL. After a sluggish Week 1 that saw the lowest EPA (expected points added) per dropback by quarterbacks since at least 2000, we were worried the league was going to change another rule to get more points on the board. “What do we think about only 10 defenders?” But order was restored in Week 2.


Eleven of Sunday’蝉 13 games hit the betting over, and scoring improved to 24.88 points per team from 20.5 points per team a week ago, according to TruMedia (the good people who provide all of our statistics today unless otherwise noted). The Commanders, Giants and Falcons all erased double-digit deficits.

So the theme of the week is an offensive check-in as the Power Rankings shuffle in Week 2.

1. Dallas Cowboys (2-0)

(Last week: 1)

Sunday: Beat New York Jets 30-10

The offense is the reason the Cowboys stayed in the top spot. After being led by the defense and special teams in Week 1, Dallas’ offense put up 382 yards and 30 points against a Jets defense that was fearsome in Week 1. CeeDee Lamb had 11 catches for 143 yards. If the Cowboys hadn’t kicked four field goals in the red zone, this one would have been gross(er).

Up next: at Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

2. Miami Dolphins (2-0)

(Last week: 3)

Sunday: Beat New England Patriots 24-17

After two games, the Dolphins lead the NFL in yards per game (462.5) and yards per play (7.3, which is a full yard more than second place), and one of those games was against Bill Belichick. Opponents are trying to disrupt quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. He has been blitzed on 30.8 percent of his dropbacks, which is the seventh-highest rate among starters, but Tagovailoa has been sacked just once. That’蝉 because his average time to throw (2.32 seconds) is the second lowest in the league. We think Mike McDaniel might know what he’蝉 doing.

Up next: vs. Denver Broncos, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET



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3. Philadelphia Eagles (2-0)

(Last week: 6)

Thursday: Beat Minnesota Vikings 34-28

Quarterback Jalen Hurts is not throwing the ball as well as he did last season. His expected points added (EPA) per dropback (.17) ranked eighth in the league in 2022. Through two weeks, it’蝉 .00, which is 21st in the league. So far, it doesn’t matter. Philadelphia ran the ball 64 percent of the time against the Vikings and gained 259 yards on the ground. Both of those numbers are league highs this season.


Up next: at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Monday, 7:15 p.m. ET

4. San Francisco 49ers (2-0)

(Last week: 2)

Sunday: Beat Los Angeles Rams 30-23

We (sincerely) hate to even bring this up given the 49ers’ recent history with devastating injuries, but all of San Francisco needs to be saying its prayers for Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel. The duo had 32 of the Niners’ 45 touches Sunday. For the season, it’蝉 66 of 98.

Up next: vs. New York Giants, Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET

Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, still learning a new offense, are off to a 2-0 start. (Jeff Dean / Associated Press)

5. Baltimore Ravens (2-0)

(Last week: 8)

Sunday: Beat Cincinnati Bengals 27-24

Quarterback Lamar Jackson is quickly getting comfortable in offensive coordinator Todd Monken’蝉 system. After totaling 207 yards in Week 1, Jackson had 291 in Week 2 (237 passing, 54 rushing). He was 8-for-9 passing for 96 yards and two touchdowns in the second half.

Up next: vs. Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

6. Kansas City Chiefs (1-1)

(Last week: 17)

Sunday: Beat Jacksonville Jaguars 17-9

Travis Kelce is back, and the Chiefs almost are. Kansas City almost hit 400 yards on Sunday (399) and is ninth in the league in yards per game (357.5) through two weeks. A good, if subtle, sign for Kansas City is Kadarius Toney had five catches, Skyy Moore and Justin Watson had three apiece and Rashee Rice had two Sunday. Patrick Mahomes is bringing them along slowly, but he’蝉 bringing them along.

Up next: vs. Chicago Bears, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

7. Atlanta Falcons (2-0)

(Last week: 12)

Sunday: Beat Green Bay Packers 25-24

After the Falcons gained 446 yards Sunday, their second-highest total under coach Arthur Smith, Packers coach Matt LaFleur said, “They shredded us consistently,” which is a weird thing to hear about the Falcons. Atlanta is 11th in the league in offensive EPA per play (.03) and 2-0 for the first time since 2017.


Up next: vs. Detroit Lions, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET



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8. Green Bay Packers (1-1)

(Last week: 9)

Sunday: Lost to Atlanta Falcons 25-24

Jordan Love is second in the NFL in EPA per attempt (.40) and tied for the league lead in touchdown passes with six. The sting of blowing a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter should be offset by the fact the Packers have another answer at quarterback.

Up next: vs. New Orleans Saints, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

9. Los Angeles Rams (1-1)

(Last week: 10)

Sunday: Lost to San Francisco 49ers 30-23

This spot is a vote for Sean McVay. A Rams team that was left for dead in the preseason is second in yards per game (406) and fifth in offensive EPA per play (.12) and is being paced by fifth-round rookie Puka Nacua at wide receiver. Nacua leads the NFL with 25 catches and is second with 266 yards. He was targeted 20 times Sunday alone.

Up next: at Cincinnati Bengals, Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET

Quarterback Josh Allen got the Bills back on track after a rough season opener. (Timothy T Ludwig / Getty Images)

10. Buffalo Bills (1-1)

(Last week: 19)

Sunday: Beat Las Vegas Raiders 38-10

Good Josh Allen showed up Sunday. After his season-opening meltdown, Allen was 31-for-37 for 274 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions against the Raiders. It was his fifth career game with three or more touchdowns and a completion percentage above 80, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

Up next: at Washington Commanders, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

11. New Orleans Saints (2-0)

(Last week: 15)

Sunday: Beat Carolina Panthers 20-17

OK, so the Saints aren’t getting it done with offense. New Orleans is averaging 18 points per game, which ranks 26th in the league. But how about Derek Carr? The new Saints quarterback is averaging 7.7 yards per attempt, which ranks fifth in the league so far. Second-year wide receiver Chris Olave already has 198 receiving yards.

Up next: at Green Bay Packers, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET



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12. Washington Commanders (2-0)

(Last week: 16)


Sunday: Beat Denver Broncos 35-33

Maybe it’蝉 smoke. Maybe it’蝉 mirrors. Maybe it’蝉 playing Arizona and Denver. But it’蝉 not offense that has Washington undefeated. Running back Brian Robinson had 87 grueling yards and two touchdowns Sunday, so maybe it’蝉 a little bit of him.

Up next: vs. Buffalo Bills, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

13. Detroit Lions (1-1)

(Last week: 7)

Sunday: Lost to Seattle Seahawks 37-31

We would like to take a moment to appreciate Jared Goff. He’蝉 third in the league in yards per play (7.4) and had a passer rating of 121.8 against Seattle this week. In the first half, he was 11-for-12 for 141 yards and two touchdowns. Until Sunday, Goff had gone 383 pass attempts without an interception, which is the third-longest streak in NFL history, according to ESPN Stats & Info. It might be time to say the guy’蝉 pretty good.

Up next: vs. Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0)

(Last week: 11)

Sunday: Beat Chicago Bears 27-17

The Bucs offense has been basically neutral this season. Tampa Bay is 13th in the league in offensive EPA per play at zero. Its 2-0 start is a function of a defense that has held the Vikings and the Bears to 17 points each. Doing just enough has been enough for the Bucs so far, but how long will that last?

Up next: vs. Philadelphia Eagles, Monday, 7:15 p.m. ET

15. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1)

(Last week: 5)

Sunday: Lost to Kansas City Chiefs 17-9

The offensive resurgence missed Duval County. The Jags’ 4.2 yards per play in Week 2 ranked 31st in the league. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence’蝉 EPA per attempt through two weeks is minus-.10. That ranks 26th in the league, worse than Joshua Dobbs, Justin Fields and Anthony Richardson, among others. Since having seven catches in the first half of Week 1, Calvin Ridley has had three catches.


Up next: vs. Houston Texans, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

16. Seattle Seahawks (1-1)

(Last week: 25)

Sunday: Beat Detroit Lions 37-31

Welcome back, Tyler Lockett. One week after Lockett had two catches for 10 yards in a loss, the veteran wide receiver had eight catches for 59 yards and two touchdowns (including the game-winner) in a victory. In other news, Seattle had 393 yards of offense a week after opening the season with 180, and that was with both starting tackles out.

Up next: vs. Carolina Panthers, Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET

The Titans won on Sunday, but running back Derrick Henry may be showing signs of slowing down. (Christopher Hanewinckel / USA Today)

17. Tennessee Titans (1-1)

(Last week: 24)

Sunday: Beat Los Angeles Chargers 27-24

Ryan Tannehill led the NFL in yards per attempt (10.3) in Week 2 just as we all predicted after he looked washed in Week 1. There’蝉 no explaining that stat. There may be an explanation for this next one. Derrick Henry is second in the league in carries with 40, but he’蝉 35th in yards per carry (3.6). Henry has been carrying a heavy load for seven-plus seasons, and his lowest yards per carry in those seasons was 4.2.

Up next: at Cleveland Browns, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

18. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1)

(Last week: 23)

Monday: Beat Cleveland Browns 26-22

Outside linebacker T.J. Watt became Pittsburgh’蝉 all-time sacks leader (81 1/2) on Monday night. “But I thought we were talking scoring?” you say. Well, Watt also scored his first career touchdown against the Browns (on a fumble return), so he counts. In fact, the Steelers’ outside linebackers have scored more touchdowns this season (two) than any other position group. Quarterback Kenny Pickett and company have a lot of work to do.

Up next: at Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET

19. Cleveland Browns (1-1)

(Last week: 4)

Monday: Lost to Pittsburgh Steelers 26-22

Running back Nick Chubb’蝉 knee injury is devastating first of all in a global sense, but secondly, because Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson still doesn’t look like a player who can be the focal point of a good offense.

Up next: vs. Tennessee Titans, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

20. Las Vegas Raiders (1-1)

(Last week: 14)

Sunday: Lost to Buffalo Bills 38-10

Josh Jacobs had nine carries for minus-2 yards Sunday. He has 46 yards through two games. His yards before contact per rush is minus-.29.  A negative number! What exactly is the offensive plan in Las Vegas?

Up next: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET

21. New York Jets (1-1)

(Last week: 13)

Sunday: Lost to Dallas Cowboys 30-10

For the record, Robert Saleh, we do not believe that you’re riding with Zach Wilson the rest of the season. He had a passer rating of 38.1 Sunday against Dallas. We also don’t believe that Breece Hall had only four carries this week. Hall had 127 yards last week! Wilson was New York’蝉 leading rusher Sunday! That’蝉 a rough look.

Up next: vs. New England Patriots, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

22. Cincinnati Bengals (0-2)

(Last week: 21)

Sunday: Lost to Baltimore Ravens 27-24

What’蝉 worse than Joe Burrow ranking 29th in the league in EPA per pass attempt (minus-.13)? Joe Burrow sitting on the sideline during the game using a muscle massager on his calf, which he “tweaked” late in the game. The Bengals’ 212 yards per game rank last in the league. Cincinnati bucked the 0-2 start trend last season by making the playoffs despite a slow start, but that’蝉 a tough way to live.

Up next: vs. Los Angeles Rams, Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET



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23. New England Patriots (0-2)

(Last week: 20)

Sunday: Lost to Miami Dolphins 24-17

No one wants to talk about the New England offense, do they? But did you see that field-goal block? Everyone is going to be doing that this next week. True, all kickers have to do is change their pre-kick routine to disrupt it, but do you know what kickers hate? Changing their pre-kick routine.

Up next: at New York Jets, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

24. Minnesota Vikings (0-2)

(Last week: 22)

Thursday: Lost to Philadelphia Eagles 34-28

The offense is not the problem. Minnesota is averaging 6.3 yards per play, which ranks second in the league. The universe is the problem. It allows one-score game luck to go on only so long. The Vikings were 11-0 in one-score games last season. This year: 0-2. Vikings fans were very angry with the Power Rankings last week for a joke about moving wide receiver Justin Jefferson. How about a serious suggestion to make a call to New York and see how much the Jets will pay for quarterback Kirk Cousins?

Up next: vs. Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

25. Los Angeles Chargers (0-2)

(Last week: 18)

Sunday: Lost to Tennessee Titans 27-24

Another “offense is not the problem” team. Quarterback Justin Herbert is third among quarterbacks in offensive EPA per play (.23) and his yards per attempt are up from last season (7.2 compared with 6.8). Herbert is going to be a selling point when Los Angeles goes out looking for another head coach in the offseason (or sooner?).

Up next: at Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

26. Indianapolis Colts (1-1)

(Last week: 26)

Sunday: Beat Houston Texans 31-20

We want quarterback Anthony Richardson back from concussion protocol as soon as possible. The rookie had two rushing touchdowns Sunday before leaving the game after the first series of the second quarter. On his 18-yard touchdown run, he hit 19.15 mph and only 1.8 percent of other quarterbacks would have scored on the play, according to Next Gen Stats. He’蝉 tied with Patrick Mahomes in quarterback yards per rush this season (5.8).

Up next: at Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

27. New York Giants (1-1)

(Last week: 32)

Sunday: Beat Arizona Cardinals 31-28

After six scoreless quarters to start the season (the Giants’ slowest start since 1934, according to NFL Network), Daniel Jones threw for more than 250 yards, rushed for more than 50, threw multiple touchdowns, rushed for a touchdown and didn’t have a turnover, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to do that in a second half, according to OptaSTATS. Of course, now Giants fans have to hold their breath to see if Saquon Barkley’蝉 ankle is OK.

Up next: at San Francisco 49ers, Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET

Russell Wilson and the Broncos are 0-2, but they put up 33 points against the Commanders on Sunday. (Justin Edmonds / Getty Images)

28. Denver Broncos (0-2)

(Last week: 27)

Sunday: Lost to Washington Commanders 35-33

It’蝉 too early to say if Russell Wilson is “fixed” or not, but the quarterback is fourth among quarterbacks in EPA per play (.21). Last year, he was 36th at minus-.12. Denver scored 33 points Sunday against a Washington defense with one of the best lines in the league. “It hasn’t been terrible” counts as progress for the Broncos right now.

Up next: at Miami Dolphins, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

29. Carolina Panthers (0-2)

(Last week: 28)

Monday: Lost to New Orleans Saints 20-17

Bryce Young, the rookie quarterback, has totaled 299 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions thus far. His 4.2 yards per attempt is the third lowest in NFL history through a player’蝉 first two career games (minimum 50 attempts), according to ESPN Stats & Info. Miles Sanders, the free-agent running back addition, is averaging 3.6 yards per carry. And the Panthers are already two games behind everyone else in the NFC South.

Up next: at Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET

30. Chicago Bears (0-2)

(Last week: 29)

Sunday: Lost to Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-17

If your quarterback just got outdueled by Baker Mayfield, we think it’蝉 time to start thinking about a new quarterback, but Chicago fans have been thinking about a new quarterback for a while now if they’re honest. Justin Fields is averaging 5.54 rushing yards per carry after contact through two weeks. Breece Hall is the only player in the league averaging more. That’蝉 the only good news, and it’蝉 not that good.

Up next: at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

31. Houston Texans (0-2)

(Last week: 30)

Sunday: Lost to Indianapolis Colts 31-20

Rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud is averaging 323.5 yards per game, fourth among all quarterbacks. Combined with a good young defense, that’蝉 enough to give Texans fans some hope even if it hasn’t been enough to give Houston any wins yet.

Up next: at Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

32. Arizona Cardinals (0-2)

(Last week: 31)

Sunday: Lost to New York Giants 31-28

It’蝉 early, but the Cardinals are executing the perfect tank season so far. Arizona has been competitive but still is in great position for the No. 1 pick.

Up next: vs. Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET



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Josh Kendall

Josh Kendall , a Georgia native, has been following the Falcons since Jeff Van Note was the richly bearded face of the franchise. For 20 years before joining The Athletic NFL staff, he covered football in the SEC. He also covers golf for The Athletic. Follow Josh on Twitter @JoshTheAthletic