Updated NFL Power Rankings: New 1-32 poll, plus adjustments every team needs to make — quickly

Sports

Welcome to Week 3 of the NFL regular season.

Week 2 was the week of the comebacks. We saw the Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals and New York Jets do the improbable and pull out wins after being down multiple scores. The New York Giants are 2-0 and the Jacksonville Jaguars shut out the Indianapolis Colts for the first time since 2016. The Bengals lost again and the Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions put up serious points in an offensive outburst. And Jimmy Garoppolo is now the starting quarterback again for the San Francisco 49ers after Trey Lance went down with a season-ending right ankle injury.

Our updated NFL power rankings reflect all of that and more.

Heading into the upcoming week, what on-field adjustment does each team need to make now to have success? Our NFL nation reporters identify the biggest adjustment that will set up teams for the rest of the season. Which players need the ball more and where can other adjustments be made?

Let’s look at the updated rankings. The top three teams stayed the same, though the middle of the pack was shuffled.

Jump to a team:
ARI | ATL | BAL | BUF | CAR | CHI | CIN
CLE | DAL | DEN | DET | GB | HOU | IND
JAX | KC | LV | LAC | LAR | MIA | MIN
NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF
SEA | TB | TEN | WSH

Week 2 ranking: 1

Biggest early adjustment: Improve the running backs production

Quarterback Josh Allen finished the Bills’ season opener as the team’s leading rusher. In the second game against the Titans, Buffalo struggled to pick up first downs in short-yardage situations. This Buffalo offense has high potential, there’s no doubt about that, but an inability to get the running game going was an issue at times for the Bills last year. They don’t need Devin Singletary to have 20-plus carries a game, but this offense could be even harder to stop if it was able to get consistent production from its running backs. Alaina Getzenberg


Week 2 ranking: 2

Biggest early adjustment: Create more pressure on the pass rush

The Chiefs are 28th in the league in pressures (26.4%), according to NFL Next Gen Stats. But they are seventh in pressures when blitzing (40.9%). Other than Chris Jones, who has two sacks, the Chiefs aren’t getting the job done with their front four. They need the help of sending an extra defender. The Chiefs are 17th in the league in blitz percentage at 24%. — Adam Teicher


Week 2 ranking: 3

Biggest early adjustment: Red zone production

The Bucs have scored on just 25% of their trips to the red zone — that ranks 30th in the league and is totally uncharacteristic of a Tom Brady-led offense, one that scored at will last year. Getting wide receivers Julio Jones and Chris Godwin, along with starting left tackle Donovan Smith, back should help, as will giving Brady more time to build chemistry with Jones and new additions such as Russell Gage. — Jenna Laine


Week 2 ranking: 5

Biggest early adjustment: Stop turning over the ball

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford has thrown five interceptions in the first two weeks, and he was quick to say after the win Sunday against the Falcons that those plays are “frustrating for me, and I know frustrating for our team.” Stafford said he’s his own worst critic, and he knows he needs to clean up those mistakes. “I’m hard on myself at all times,” he said. “I’ll definitely look inward and try to figure out a way to make sure those things don’t happen.” Stafford was tied for the league lead with 17 interceptions last season. — Sarah Barshop


Week 2 ranking: 11

Biggest early adjustment: Get Raheem Mostert more touches

Chase Edmonds was Miami’s lead back in Week 1 and throughout the offseason as Mostert rehabbed from a left knee injury. But the former 49ers running back gained 47 yards on 10 carries Sunday in the Dolphins’ win over the Ravens, and it was the first time in months that Miami’s run game looked like it had some bite to it. Edmonds, while versatile and still deserving of a role, was ineffective against a mediocre Patriots run defense in Week 1; he broke off a 28-yard run on Miami’s game-winning drive Sunday, but Mostert should get his second start of the season against the Bills in Week 3. — Marcel Louis-Jacques


Preseason ranking: 4

Biggest early adjustment: Protect Justin Herbert

Herbert was hit eight times and sacked twice in the Chargers’ 27-24 loss to the Chiefs. In the fourth quarter, the quarterback went to the sideline after one monstrous hit, only to return and get crunched between two defensive players. Now, the third-year pro is dealing with fractured rib cartilage. If the Chargers want to capitalize on their offseason investments (Khalil Mack, J.C. Jackson), they must protect Herbert so he can make it through the season. — Lindsey Thiry


Week 2 ranking: 8

Biggest early adjustment: Get quarterback Aaron Rodgers in rhythm

Even Rodgers admitted his stats in Week 2 against the Bears looked a little better than he and the offense actually performed. “This was better than Week 1,” Rodgers said, “but we’ve got to be better than this if we want to compete with Tampa.” A fumbled handoff exchange by Rodgers and a mistimed shotgun snap by Josh Myers were signs the offense is still trying to work out the early-season kinks. — Rob Demovsky


Week 2 ranking: 9

Biggest early adjustment: Be more aggressive on defense

The Eagles were gashed for 35 points in the season opener against Detroit, in part because defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon had his defensive backs playing soft in coverage at times and didn’t make Jared Goff uncomfortable in the pocket. On Monday night against the Vikings, he flipped the script. The corners gave Minnesota’s receivers little room to operate, making life difficult for quarterback Kirk Cousins, who threw multiple interceptions and faced a number of creative blitzes. Gannon must keep his foot on the gas. — Tim McManus


Week 2 ranking: 6

Biggest early adjustment: Turn the run game around

The return of running back J.K. Dobbins can’t happen soon enough. Dobbins, who has been out since suffering a devastating left knee injury 13 months ago, represents Baltimore’s best hope of getting a once-proud run game back on track. With Kenyan Drake and Mike Davis, the Ravens’ running backs have totaled 79 yards rushing in the first two games of the season. That’s the fewest of any running back group in the NFL. The Ravens will struggle to finish out games if they can’t run out the clock like they’ve done in the past. — Jamison Hensley


Week 2 ranking: 12

Biggest early adjustment: Adjust to Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback

In theory, the Niners should have no problem adjusting to Garoppolo taking over for Trey Lance. After all, Garoppolo has been in this position for most of the past five years. But the Niners just went through a training camp and offseason with Lance under center. That meant new wrinkles in the offense specific to Lance, receivers adjusting to his arm strength in terms of timing and a different voice in the huddle. It’s not a huge ask, but the sooner the Niners and Garoppolo get back to where they’ve been, the better their chances to make a run this season. — Nick Wagoner


Week 2 ranking: 10

Biggest early adjustment: Target Adam Thielen more

One of the more curious aspects of the Vikings’ season is the relatively low involvement of receiver Adam Thielen. He took a clear back seat to teammate Justin Jefferson in Week 1, but even when Jefferson was slowed Monday night by the Eagles, Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins looked elsewhere. He didn’t target Thielen once until midway through the third quarter — a play that led to an interception. If defenses focus on Jefferson, Thielen needs to be a more prominent option. — Kevin Seifert


Week 2 ranking: 13

Biggest early adjustment: Protect the quarterback better

The Saints have given up 10 sacks, the second most in the league. While not every sack can be blamed on the O-line, it’s critical the protection is solid considering quarterback Jameis Winston is already hurt. Assessing whether an injured Winston should start moving forward is one point the Saints will have to consider, but whether it’s Winston or Andy Dalton, the point still remains: The protection needs to be better if the offense is ever going to play at its best. — Katherine Terrell


Week 2 ranking: 15

Biggest early adjustment: Run the ball in the red zone

Yes, it’s a passing league. Yes, the Broncos shaped the near future of the franchise with the trade for Russell Wilson. And yes, Nathaniel Hackett was hired as the team’s head coach because of his work on the offensive side of the ball. But the team’s monumental struggles in the red zone can be traced directly to penalties and an unwavering desire to throw the ball (without much success). They have completed none of their past eight pass attempts inside the opponent’s 5-yard line. Eventually Wilson and the passing game will be option No. 1 in scoring territory — but not right now. Just run the ball and take the touchdowns. — Jeff Legwold


Week 2 ranking: 22

Biggest early adjustment: Get more players involved early on offense

To say the Cardinals’ offense has started slowly in each of the first two games this season would be an understatement. To get going quicker, Arizona needs to spread the ball around. Once it gets guys such as Marquise Brown, A.J. Green, James Conner and Zach Ertz going, the offense will start to flow. Kyler Murray called the team’s scheme a rhythmic offense, but there are times when the Cardinals need to create their own rhythm, especially early in games. — Josh Weinfuss


Week 2 ranking: 7

Biggest early adjustment: Beat the Cover 2

Cincinnati knew it was going to see more Cover 2 defensive looks this season, with the safeties aligned to take away the deep part of the field. That has certainly been the case. Last year, the Bengals were able to gash teams with explosive plays. But different variations of those two-high-safety shells have prevented Cincinnati from breaking out in 2022. The solution could be as simple as getting more production out of running back Joe Mixon and the rushing attack and working the ball to wide receiver Tyler Boyd over the middle of the field. — Ben Baby


Week 2 ranking: 21

Biggest early adjustment: Spread the snap wealth at receiver

The Patriots are going five deep at receiver, with DeVante Parker, Jakobi Meyers, Nelson Agholor, Lil’Jordan Humphrey and Kendrick Bourne, but Parker has played the second-highest total of snaps. Despite that high volume, he has just one catch on the season as the 50-50 balls that were prevalent in training camp haven’t shown up in games. Spreading around some of his playing time to others makes sense — and maybe less will be more with Parker, especially in the red zone. — Mike Reiss


Week 2 ranking: 18

Biggest early adjustment: Eliminate coverage breakdowns

Through two games, the Browns rank 27th in defensive efficiency. The quarterbacks they’ve faced? Baker Mayfield and 37-year-old Joe Flacco. Still, the Browns have collapsed in coverage, too often inexplicably turning opposing receivers loose — especially in the fourth quarter — leading to wide-open touchdowns. That’s primarily why Cleveland blew a 13-point lead in the final two minutes Sunday — and why the Browns needed a 58-yard field goal to avoid squandering another late lead in Carolina. The Browns don’t have good answers for why this is happening. They better figure it out quickly, or this season will begin to spiral. — Jake Trotter


Week 2 ranking: 14

Biggest early adjustment: Incorporate passing downfield

The Steelers have leaned on a conservative game plan through the first two weeks and aren’t stretching the field on offense. Through two games, Mitch Trubisky is averaging 4.85 yards per pass. While his decision-making is far from perfect and his completion percentage is just under 60%, the bigger issue appears to be play design and playcalling. After Sunday’s loss to the Patriots, Trubisky was asked how the team could open up the downfield passing game and he put it simply: “Just call concepts to get receivers there. And when the coverage dictates that, get them the ball within that.” — Brooke Pryor


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The Eagles pick off Kirk Cousins three times, with Darius Slay having two of them, as Philadelphia goes on for a 24-7 victory.

Week 2 ranking: 24

Biggest early adjustment: Find a No. 1 WR

It could be Kadarius Toney. He handled a bigger workload in Week 2, but he still had just two catches for zero yards. It could be Kenny Golladay, who saw just two snaps Sunday, or Sterling Shepard, who leads the Giants with 14 targets through two weeks. Or Richie James, who leads the team with 10 catches for 110 yards. As coach Brian Daboll said after this week’s win over Carolina, there will be a “continual competition” at wide receiver to determine playing time and, ultimately, targets. But someone needs to step up. — Jordan Raanan


Week 2 ranking: 27

Biggest early adjustment: Improvement from the secondary

Detroit’s secondary has some “work to do” to get more disciplined, according to head coach Dan Campbell. Cornerback Jeff Okudah has been solid while coming back from an Achilles injury, but the unit is still working on not getting beat on deep balls, which have been an issue in Weeks 1 and 2 against Philadelphia and Washington. Eagles star receiver A.J. Brown had 10 receptions for 155 yards — including a 55-yard catch — against the Lions in the opener. — Eric Woodyard


Week 2 ranking: 26

Biggest early adjustment: Make Micah Parsons a full-time pass-rusher

He can be an All-Pro off-the-ball linebacker, too, but pass-rushers change the game more than those guys. Against Cincinnati, Parsons almost exclusively lined up at pass-rusher and had two sacks and was credited with 10 pressures. He has four sacks in two games. He can win with speed and power. The Cowboys want to be able to line Parsons up all over the field to create mismatches, which is smart, but he is often a mismatch when he lines up solely at defensive end, too. If they do that, he might make a run at the single-season sack record. He might just do it anyway. — Todd Archer


Week 2 ranking: 19

Biggest early adjustment: Involve Treylon Burks more

Ryan Tannehill targeted Burks five times in Week 1 and six times in Week 2, connecting for a total of seven receptions for 102 yards. Those numbers need to be higher. Tennessee added Burks because his big, sturdy body makes defenders bounce off him while he gets extra yards after the catch. Burks’ 31 yards after the catch in Week 1 led all rookie receivers. Titans offensive coordinator Todd Downing needs to make sure there are more plays to get Burks the ball quickly in space to maximize his playmaking ability. — Turron Davenport


Week 2 ranking: 17

Biggest early adjustment: Get the expensive pass rush home

The Raiders’ out-of-alignment pass rush thus far needs a Silver and Black chiropractor. Stat! Indeed, affecting the quarterback by applying pressure and hitting him pays certain dividends down the line, but the fact that Las Vegas has only one sack through two games is cause for trepidation. Especially given the investments the new regime made in signing 32-year-old Chandler Jones to a three-year, $52.5 million free agent deal with $34 million guaranteed this spring to bookend him with Maxx Crosby, who signed a four-year, $99 million extension. — Paul Gutierrez


Week 2 ranking: 31

Biggest early adjustment: Use Travis Etienne Jr. a little more in the pass game

The Jaguars did a good job Sunday against the Colts by getting Etienne involved in screens, but he needs more touches. Get him in space and let him use his speed to try to generate big plays. He hasn’t been used as heavily in the first two games — just 18 touches — as many anticipated. Coach Doug Pederson is working to spread the ball around. A lot of it is matchup-oriented, so Etienne will likely have more work in some games than others, but averaging just nine touches per game seems low. — Michael DiRocco


Week 2 ranking: 16

Biggest early adjustment: Better play from the offensive line

The Colts failed to make necessary defensive adjustments Sunday against the Jaguars, which is certainly an issue. But even more appalling is the lack of toughness seen from the offensive line. Running back Jonathan Taylor is getting hit in the backfield and quarterback Matt Ryan is under siege. This is unacceptable for a team with the NFL’s highest-paid offensive line. The success of the offense hinges largely on running effectively and using play-action, and neither is happening right now. — Stephen Holder


Week 2 ranking: 20

Biggest early adjustment: Limit the big plays

Washington’s defense has allowed an NFL-high four plays of 40 yards or more in two games, with three coming vs. Detroit on Sunday. The Commanders have an explosive offense that can help them compete all season, but the defense needs to reduce the big plays — almost always a result of an individual breakdown. Sometimes it’s a young defensive back taking a bad angle or playing the wrong coverage. Sometimes it’s a couple of guys messing up a play. Washington has dealt with some injuries on defense, so that hasn’t helped, but the coaching staff needs to quickly develop its young talent — or scrap some of its aggressive plans — or the season could be derailed. — John Keim


Week 2 ranking: 23

Biggest early adjustment: Get Rashaad Penny and Kenneth Walker III going

To do that, the Seahawks need to avoid falling into a big early hole like they did Sunday against the 49ers, who jumped out to a 20-0 first-half lead. With Penny and Walker, the Seahawks have the makings of one of the NFL’s better backfield duos. But Seattle’s running backs have combined for only 25 carries and 96 rushing yards through two games, not nearly enough to get defenses out of the two-deep-safety looks that are designed to prevent explosive passing plays. The result: Geno Smith ranked 27th in average air yards per attempt in Week 1, then completed only one pass Sunday that gained more than 17 yards. Brady Henderson

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Field Yates, Daniel Dopp and Liz Loza offer their fantasy takes on a number of players, including Travis Etienne Jr. and Christian Kirk.


Week 2 ranking: 25

Biggest early adjustment: Find ways to generate a passing attack

Justin Fields had 48 net passing yards against the Packers. Sure, the Bears ran the ball effectively behind David Montgomery‘s 15 carries for 122 yards, but Chicago’s offense must generate some semblance of a passing attack to not make themselves one-dimensional and easy to defend. Through two weeks, the Bears are running just 48.5 plays per game (the second lowest in the NFL), have the highest sack rate (12.5%) and the league’s lowest percentage of passing plays (32.04%). Chicago can lean predominantly on the run game with its developmental quarterback, but it can’t abandon the passing game entirely the way it did against the Packers. — Courtney Cronin


Week 2 ranking: 32

Biggest early adjustment: Give the ball to Michael Carter and Breece Hall more

The Jets are too pass-reliant, which explains why Carter and Hall have combined for only 30 carries through two games. And it’s not like they’re not productive — the duo is averaging 5.2 yards per carry. If the Jets want to make serious noise this season, they have to get back to their roots: balance on offense. That will be especially important when quarterback Zach Wilson (knee) returns to the lineup, which could be Week 4. — Rich Cimini


Week 2 ranking: 28

Biggest early adjustment: Get help for left tackle Ikem Ekwonu

Either get him help or switch left guard Brady Christensen back to the position he was at during the final three games last season and at the start of training camp. The Panthers knew Ekwonu, the sixth pick of the draft, had issues with pass protection when they made him the starter but felt it was best to let him learn on the run. The problem is defenders running right past him at the most inopportune moments, such as third-and-6 with the game on the line Sunday against the Giants. As a result of his inconsistency, the Panthers are among the worst in the league in third-down efficiency. — David Newton


Week 2 ranking: 30

Biggest early adjustment: Improve the passing game

Davis Mills hasn’t built on the momentum he generated from last season in the first two games. He has completed 56% of his passes and has a passer rating of 80. Through two games, the defense has played well, holding opponents to 18 points per game. But the Texans’ offense has failed to score more than 20 points, and a good amount of the blame is on Mills. He’s struggling on third downs (8-for-19 for 41 yards) and is completing only 36% of passes thrown beyond 10 yards (29th in the NFL). — DJ Bien-Aime


Week 2 ranking: 29

Biggest early adjustment: Get Kyle Pitts more involved

The star tight end is doing a little bit of everything for the Falcons — he has increased his ability as a blocker and has become a constant distraction for opposing defenses, but catch production is still catch production. So trying to find ways to get the ball in his hands, even if he’s blanketed in coverage, can only cause more stress for opponents. — Michael Rothstein

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