We’ll be doing weekly power rankings by conference this year, and even though we’re only one week into the season, we already have a good indication of how things look. Here are the NFC power rankings one week into the season.
1. San Francisco – The 49ers finished last season as the top team in the NFC, and they’ll begin this season in the same spot. The addition of Anquan Boldin paid off huge for San Francisco. Meanwhile, Colin Kaepernick did a great job of winning the game with his arm, showing off his ability to make plays from the pocket. After one game, the 49ers look very much like the team that went to the Super Bowl last year, if not a little bit better.
2. Seattle – A 12-7 win isn’t very convincing, but the Seahawks had to travel east and play an early game against a team that had a lot of momentum coming off of last season. The Seattle defense was in mid-season form and really clamped down hard on Cam Newton while Russell Wilson was efficient with the ball and made plays when he needed to, leading the offense on a game-winning drive and killing the clock once they got a fourth quarter lead.
3. Green Bay – There are a couple question marks for the Packers after one game, but a 6-point road loss against San Francisco is nothing to be ashamed of, as it means they’re not that far from the top. Aaron Rodgers doesn’t have the support around him he once had, but he doesn’t’ necessarily need a lot to keep the Packers competitive at the top of the NFC.
4. New Orleans – The Saints have their head coach back and a new defensive coordinator, and they made strong statement in week 1, pulling out a close win over the Falcons. We know they’ll score points this year, and while their defense wasn’t perfect, holding Atlanta to only 17 points, including seven points in the final three quarters, is impressive and a promising start to their season.
5. Atlanta – It’s tough to fault the Falcons for losing in Sean Payton’s return to New Orleans, although they had a chance at the end and couldn’t quite pull it out. This one loss shouldn’t change our perception of the Falcons too much, but it will definitely make it harder for them to run away with the NFC South title the way they did last year.
6. Chicago – The Bears erased an 11-point deficit to beat a talented Cincinnati team to open up their season. Jay Cutler limited himself to one interception and the offensive line kept him well protected, as he looked comfortable and confident while leading the Bears in a come-from-behind win. We’ll need to see a little more out of Cutler before being completely convinced he’s a different player from year’s past, but the Marc Trestman era in Chicago is off to a good start.
7. Detroit – The Lions looked like quite the offensive juggernaut on Sunday, as Matthew Stafford threw for over 350 yards like it was nothing, and Reggie Bush made a great first impression in his Detroit debut. They didn’t get a lot of production from Calvin Johnson, but they didn’t need much from him in order to put 34 points on the scoreboard. Defensively, they forced four turnovers, although doing so against Christian Ponder isn’t anything to get too excited about just yet, although they definitely didn’t look like a team that’s destined to lose four games again.
8. Philadelphia – We didn’t really know what to expect from the Eagles, but who could have seen this coming? Although they allowed the Redskins to creep back into the game in the fourth quarter, the Eagles were in complete control for the first three quarters of the game. It’s too early to be completely sold on the Philadelphia, but during week 1, the Eagles certainly looked better than half the teams in the NFC.
9. St. Louis – It was the Sam Bradford to Jared Cook combination that helped the Rams overcome an 11-point deficit heading in the fourth quarter and win their season opener at home. The Rams would have preferred to win more convincingly, and they would have liked to play better defense while at home, but they played well, especially Bradford, who completed over 70% of his passes. If Bradford can continue to play well, the Rams should have no trouble scoring points this year.
10. Arizona – For a team that blew an 11-point lead and will likely finish last in their division, the Cardinals played pretty well week 1. Arizona racked up nearly 400 yards of offense and nearly pulled out a road win. Even though they have a long road ahead of them in the NFC West, that doesn’t mean they can’t stay competitive, and after one game the Cardinals definitely look competitive.
Dallas and Carolina are on the cusp of the top 10. For the Cowboys in particular, barely winning the game after getting six turnovers isn’t as impressive as Dallas fans think.