Week 2 is in the books, and there are more questions than answers across the NFL landscape, as well as within our very own Pittsburgh Steelers organization. A total lack of any semblance of competent offense is limiting what has been a fairly impressive start to the season for the defense, despite the loss to New England on Sunday.
The league is the definition of a hot mess. The New York Giants are undefeated, while the 2021 AFC Champion Bengals are 0-2 and on the skids. It’s so whacky that I considered lumping teams into tiers as opposed to a straight ranking. I mean, the Steelers might have the worst offense in the league, but it doesn’t feel right to put them behind teams like the Browns, Saints, or Bengals.
So as it stands, the Steelers only fall one spot to 16th on this week’s Power Rankings. Another abysmal offensive performance in Cleveland though could send them plummeting when next we meet.
This week, we’re looking at each team’s biggest storyline heading into Week 3. Enjoy!
1. BUFFALO BILLS
Storyline: Is there any way we can rank the Bills higher than number 1? No? Oh well. This is the best team in football because Josh Allen is the best QB in football right now.
2. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Storyline: The Chiefs are just good. Mahomes is a top 2 QB and the Chiefs coaching staff gets its team prepped for an opponent in all facets better than almost anyone else.
3. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Storyline: The defense is going to be the lead catalyst for whatever the Bucs accomplish in year 3 of Tom Brady. The secondary in particular is putting the clamps down on opposing passing attacks.
4. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Jalen Hurts is having an MVP caliber start to his regular season and looks like the long-term solution at QB in Philly after some uncertainty in his first 2 seasons. He has improved drastically as a passer in year 3, and might be the smartest runner of the football at QB in the league.
5. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
Storyline: Justin Herbert is a man amongst boys. Playing the majority of the 4th Quarter against KC with fractured rib cartilage and throwing absolute ropes in the tightest possible windows is beyond elite.
6. LOS ANGELES RAMS
Storyline: The Rams involved a bunch more players in their wild Week 2 win over the Falcons. Allen Robinson and Cam Akers specifically were given a lot of run after quiet Week 1 performances. A must if LA wants to be more than just the “Cooper Kupp Show.”
7. MIAMI DOLPHINS
Storyline: Can Tua take advantage of the speed of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle? After Week 2, the answer is a resounding yes. If Tua plays consistently good football this year, watch out for Miami.
8. GREEN BAY PACKERS
Storyline: The cure for the Packers offense is the Bears, and Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon might just be pushing Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt as the league’s best RB duo. Green Bay would be wise to take advantage regularly.
9. BALTIMORE RAVENS
Storyline: The Ravens offense looks explosive with a dialed in Lamar Jackson, who again looked much improved as a passer in Week 2. The loss to Miami is on a defense that couldn’t get pressure on Tua for much of the game.
10. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Previous: 19 *RISER OF THE WEEK
Storyline: The extremely unfortunate injury to Trey Lance is disappointing for the ‘9ers to be sure, but with Lance now missing the remainder of the season, the best move of the offseason is the one that never happened: Jimmy Garoppolo staying in San Fran likely saved their season.
11. MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Storyline: The Vikings offense couldn’t continue it’s Week 1 magic against Philly. Kirk Cousins will need to figure out how to get the ball to someone not named Justin Jefferson if this unit wants to keep up.
12. DENVER BRONCOS
Storyline: Russell Wilson is struggling to get rolling in his new home, but the real story is new head coach Nathaniel Hackett looking unprepared for the rigors of being a head coach in the NFL. If the Broncos want to live up to offseason expectations, Hackett needs to take a few long, deep breaths.
13. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Storyline: The Patriots offense is still a problem, but Bill Belichick is still one of the best defensive scheme builders in the league. Nobody makes an opposing offense pivot like The Hoodie.
14. NEW YORK GIANTS
Storyline: The Giants are 2-0 with wins over the Titans and the Panthers. Not necessarily world beaters, but with the rest of the league struggling through two weeks as well, the Giants are better off than most, carrying an undefeated record into a suddenly saucy Week 3 matchup against the next team on our list.
15. DALLAS COWBOYS
Storyline: Micah Parsons is making his case as the best defensive player in football in only his second season, and that Cowboys defense made Joe Burrow look like a wide-eyed rookie for the 2nd week in a row, allowing Cooper Rush to do just enough with the ‘Boys offense to win the game.
16. PITTSBURGH STEELERS
Storyline: The Steelers struggles on offense run deeper than Mitch Trubisky, but the 6th year vet isn’t helping. Number 10 is struggling to see the field, often choosing the check-down option before letting the routes fully develop downfield. The Offensive Line has actually been pretty solid in pass protection through 2 games, so no leaning on that as an excuse for the issues at QB.
The Defense has to make the plays it’s given, especially with an offense that leaves such little room for error. Cam Sutton has to real in the INT that hits him in the chest. Cam Heyward has to beat a Rookie LG more than he did, and Teryl Austin’s crew has to scheme up more pressure with TJ Watt in street clothes.
If the Offense looks anemic again on Thursday night against the Browns, it’s probably Kenny Pickett time in Pittsburgh. If Pickett comes in and the overwhelming struggles remain, you can bet that Matt Canada’s seat will start getting hot in a hurry.
17. CLEVELAND BROWNS
Storyline: A heartbreaking loss for the Browns, who continue to find ways to give up leads in the 4th quarter. They survived in Week 1, but the Jets made them pay with a wild final 1:55 of game time. Gotta recover that onside kick...
18. ARIZONA CARDINALS
Storyline: Kyler Murray is an absolute magician. I don’t know how sustainable of a winning model it is to rely on Murray to overcome your team’s many shortcomings, but man is it fun to watch.
19. CINCINNATI BENGALS
Storyline: The Bengals OL is the worst in the league right now, and it’s not close. Until that situation remedies, it is the only storyline of note in Cincy.
20. DETROIT LIONS
Storyline: Are the Lions a true machine on Offense? They might be with Jared Goff playing mistake-free, efficient football and DeAndre Swift moving with a different gear than everybody else. This team will be a tough out every week in 2022.
21. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Storyline: The calling card for the Saints is supposed to be defense, and for a large portion of Sunday’s matchup vs. Tampa, the defense controlled the game. Much like Pittsburgh and New England, the defense can only do so much with such inconsistent offensive play.
22. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
Storyline: The Raiders were a sneaky pick to win the AFC West after high profile additions on both sides of the football this offseason. It hasn’t looked cohesive through two weeks, though, and Josh McDaniels needs to figure out a way to coax some splash plays from his defense to help Derek Carr and the offense.
23. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Storyline: The Jaguars posted a shutout on the very team they ended the playoff hopes for in Week 18 last year. Trevor Lawrence is starting to look like the QB he was drafted to be, and the team’s offensive additions are working out. The Jags have a shot at this division if they keep playing football like this.
24. TENNESSEE TITANS
Storyline: Tennessee looked completely overmatched against Buffalo on Monday Night, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone. Outside of Derrick Henry, Tennessee is bereft of difference makers on Offense, and the Defense is only solid, not great. It’s going to be tough for this team to win consistently this year.
25. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
Previous: 14 *FALLER OF THE WEEK
Storyline: Talk about anaemic offense. The Colts under Matt Ryan look dysfunctional and out of sync over the 1st two weeks. They’ll need to figure it out quick after starting 0-1-1 in the division.
26. WASHINGTON COMMANDERS
Storyline: The Carson Wentz experience is in full swing, with the veteran tossing a couple critical picks against Detroit, but also leading Washington’s bevy of talented pass catchers to a near comeback vs. the Lions. If he can be more consistent, this offense will be tough to stop.
27. NEW YORK JETS
Storyline: What a win for the Jets, who rode a renaissance day from Joe Flacco and a breakout performance from Rookie Wideout Garrett Wilson to an unlikely victory against the similarly snake-bit Browns. This offense has weapons and unlocking them will be the key to competitive outings the remainder of the season.
28. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
Storyline: With the emotional victory over Russell Wilson and Denver in Week 1 out of the way, the Seahawks return to reality where their offense just isn’t that good and the defense is, well, not good either. If the ‘Hawks can’t rush the football successfully, there’s not much here to like.
29. CHICAGO BEARS
Storyline: Another “come-back-to-earth” week for an unlikely Week 1 winner, the Bears ran into their own personal buzz-saw named Aaron Rodgers. The Bears defense had no answer for the Packers’ running game, and Justin Fields just doesn’t have enough help on offense to sin shootouts.
30. ATLANTA FALCONS
Storyline: Another week, another heartbreaker for the Falcons who couldn’t close out a 28-3 comeback against the then reeling Rams. Arthur Smith is a fantastic offensive mind and he’s getting the most out of guys like Marcus Mariota and Rookie receiver Drake London, but this organization cannot close out a game to save their lives. That will need to change for this team to take the next step.
31. CAROLINA PANTHERS
Storyline: Baker Mayfield has struggled in his first 2 games as a Panther, and Matt Rhule is square on the hot seat. Despite having a good crop of weapons on Offense, the inability to take advantage is killing this team, especially late in games.
32. HOUSTON TEXANS
Storyline: The Texans might be the most talent-poor roster in the league, and don’t show much direction as an organization. The one bright spot is a defense playing better than the sum of it’s parts. It hasn’t equated to a winning performance through 2 weeks, but Lovie Smith’s group looks to be the team’s only hope at staying in games in 2022.
Who’s too high? Too low? What did I get right? Let me know about it in the comments section and don’t forget to vote in the poll below.
What team ranked behind the Steelers should be ahead of them?
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