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Matt Tabeek's Wildly Important NFL Power Rankings: Vikings, Packers jump; Falcons tumble several spots


I told you to forget the preseason hype and prognostications. None of that stuff means a thing once they start playing the games for real. Yes, my thoughts were directed toward the Falcons at the time but it holds true for every team.

Need proof? Just check out the Week 1 scores from around the NFL. Who saw the Buccaneers going into New Orleans and dropping 48 points and 528 yards of total offense on the Saints? Or how about the Browns – winless a year ago – being a kick away from dropping the Steelers in the opener? The Browns still went Browns and tied. And then there's the J-E-T-S Jets. Who saw Gang Green going into Motown and scoring the most points on the road in franchise history? Uh, not me.


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Needless to say, all three of those teams – the Bucs, Browns and Jets – are making some big jumps in my Wildly Important NFL Power Rankings this week. On the flip side, the Lions, Cowboys, Saints and Chargers all took significant tumbles after losing. The Falcons also dropped this week, but not by much. They took on the top team in the league and had a chance to knock 'em out in the final seconds. That matters here.

Regardless, if Week 1 is any indication, we're in for a wild-and-crazy 2018 NFL season – and I expect plenty of more shakeups in the weeks to come. But for now, these are my rankings. Check 'em out below:

Table inside Article
1 Eagles (1-0) It isn’t pretty sometimes, but all the Eagles do is win. They’re worthy kings of this hill for now. 1
2 Patriots (1-0) Brady to Gronk still works like a charm, but it was their defense that caught my attention. 2
3 Jaguars (1-0) It wasn’t pretty at times on offense, but with #Sacksonville it doesn’t really matter. 4
4 Rams (1-0) After a slow-ish start against the Raiders, the talent kicked in. Todd Gurley and Co. are tough. 7
5 Vikings (1-0) If you didn’t think Kirk Cousins would be an upgrade under center, think again. "You Vike that!" 10
6 Panthers (1-0) They have a new offensive coordinator, but some things never change: Cam is still gonna run it. 9
7 Chiefs (1-0) What happens when you pair the strongest arm and the fastest receiver in the NFL? Look at KC. 11
8 Packers (1-0) Aaron Rodgers reminded us all once again on Sunday night that he’s a national treasure. Wow. 12
9 Steelers (0-0-1) They dodged a bullet in the form of missed Browns field goal attempt. Where’s Le’Veon, again? 6
10 Ravens (1-0) Surround Joe Flacco with some weapons and he looks, well, elite. This team is going to surprise. 15
11 Jets (1-0) Sam Darnold is the first QB to win his first start by 31 or more points since some guy named Brady in ’01. 25
12 Falcons (0-1) Didn’t play great in a loss on the road but still had a chance to knock off the defending champs late. 5
13 Bengals (1-0) Day-time Dalton showed up. This team has talent and is often overlooked in the AFC North. Not here. 19
14 Chargers (0-1) Too little too late in a tough loss at home to a division rival. How many times do we say that about the Bolts? 8
15 Buccaneers (1-0) Jameis Winston who? Everyone in Tampa Bay capable of growing a beard should be required to after that performance. 27
16 Texans (0-1) Deshaun Watson needs to play better if this team wants to take the next step. Not there yet. 14
17 Saints (0-1) Call the missing persons hotline. Tell ’em we found the 2016 Saints defense and they were at home. 3
18 Redskins (1-0) There’s the old Adrian Peterson we once knew. Apparently there’s still some tread left on those tires. 29
19 Dolphins (1-0) The Dolphins aren’t doubting Ryan Tannehill and neither should you. Not this week, anyway. 24
20 Bears (0-1) They had the Packers down on the mat for a 10-count and then Aaron Rodgers got back up. 17
21 Broncos (1-0) They got the version of Case Keenum they were hoping for when they signed him and it was just enough. 26
22 Browns (0-0-1) After finishing last season winless they begin 2018 with … a tie. Progress takes time. Should’ve won. 32
23 Seahawks (0-1) This is what the Russell Wilson Show looks like: Their blocking tight end was their leading receiver. 23
24 Titans (0-1) I’ll sum up their last game by pointing out that Blaine Gabbert outplayed Marcus Mariota, but not by much. 21
25 Cowboys (0-1) I wonder how many times Jerry Jones reached for his phone during the game wanting to dial up Dez. 13
26 Giants (0-1) They’ve got a shiny new toy in Saquon but the results on offense don’t look much different from last year. 20
27 Lions (0-1) Matt Stafford tossed three picks and Matt Patricia’s defense looked abysmal. Nightmare start for the new coach. 16
28 49ers (0-1) Jimmy Garoppolo played like a backup and we can finally tap the brakes with all the playoff talk in Frisco? 22
29 Colts (0-1) Andrew Luck was back behind center playing and played well. But the Colts still look like the Colts. 31
30 Raiders (0-1) The Black Hole was fired up for this one, but Derek Carr’s three picks hurt ’em in Jon Gruden’s debut. 30
31 Cardinals (0-1) New coach, new offense, new defense, new quarterbacks and, man, did it show. Ugly loss at home. 18
32 Bills (0-1) The quarterback situation is, well, unsettled to put it nicely and the Bills Mafia is ready to riot. 28

Be sure to catch Matt Tabeek, D.J. Shockley and Dave Archer every Monday afternoon on Falcons Audible podcast.Download it on iTunesorwatch it hereon

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