Paul Ulane

NFL Power Rankings: Week 1

Yes friends, it’s the moment NFL fanatics have been waiting for all off-season. No, I’m not talking about the return of pro football, I’m talking about the return of Professor Ulane’s NFL Power Rankings.

Will you think I’m perfect and agree with how I ranked all 32 teams? Will you think I don’t know what I’m talking about and that your team got snubbed? Will you think I shouldn’t include Detroit in the rankings at all until they finally win a game?

Whatever your answers are, now you don’t have to wait to e-mail me anymore, you can just register at and leave me a comment directly beneath the rankings. I’ll even show up in the comments to answer some of your thoughts myself! So enough with the chit-chat, click "more" to get to the rankings!

1 Pittsburgh Steelers
The defending champs opened with a win over the team with the best record in 2008. For now, that’s enough to keep the Iron City in the top spot. However, the offensive line needs to improve (1.6 yards per rush and four sacks allowed) in order to pick up the slack while Troy Polamalu heals up.
2 New England Patriots
Yet another ugly win rewarded with a high spot in the rankings. What’s going on here? Well, Tom Brady hasn’t lost a regular season game since 2006, so as long as he’s under center, I believe the Pats are a team to be reckoned with.
3 New York Giants
The defensive line delivered three sacks and Osi Umenyiora’s fumble return for a touchdown. The offense didn’t rack up points, but did manage to control the game by holding onto the ball for over 36 minutes. Once again, the line play on both sides of the ball will determine the fate of the G-Men.
4 Indianapolis Colts
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Peyton Manning is still the Colts quarterback and the Colts still win. Manning’s Week 1 victory pushed him to 6th all-time among starting quarterbacks, one win ahead of some guy named Joe Montana.
5 New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees and company are clearly on a mission to prove that you can win a Super Bowl title with offense. While I don’t think it will happen, I sure am looking forward to watching them try.
6 Green Bay Packers
All anyone could talk about in Green Bay during the pre-season was their explosive offense. Then in Week 1, the defense carries the Pack to victory over the archrival Bears with four momentum-shifting interceptions. These guys are the early NFC North favorites.
7 Philadelphia Eagles
Five sacks and seven forced turnovers? Donovan McNabb should take all the time he needs to heal that sore rib of his, it looks like the defense has this one under control for now.
8 Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore piled up 501 yards on offense. Don’t rub your eyes, that stat is for real. Still, something bugs me about the defensive effort. The Ravens built their reputation on the defensive side of the ball, yet they gave up 24 points to the Brodie Croyle-led Chiefs.
9 Tennessee Titans
What’s up with Rob Bironas? After making the seventh most field goals in the NFL last year, Bironas shanked two out of three field goal attempts in Week 1, contributing to the Titans close OT loss.
10 New York Jets
Remember before last season when it was common knowledge that rookie QBs couldn’t lead a team to the playoffs? Then along came Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan to set an example. This year's precocious rook? Mark Sanchez, who coolly helped the Jets to a Week 1 win. Enjoy it now, Mark - Week 2 brings the Pats and Bill Belichick’s confusing defensive schemes.
11 Dallas Cowboys
Terrell Owens who? Tony Romo launched three TD bombs of 40 or more yards to lead the ‘Boys to a high-scoring rout over the Bucs. So much for missing that deep threat.
12 Minnesota Vikings
Adrian Peterson has done some amazing things in his young career, but Week 1 in 2009 might’ve been his most impressive yet. A-Pete’s 198 yard, 3 TD performance made Brett Favre a non-story – and that’s almost impossible to do.
13 San Diego Chargers
Whether it’s Darren Sproles or LaDainian Tomlinson carrying the ball, the Chargers are going to have to shore up their offensive line. 77 total rushing yards isn’t going to deliver that many victories…unless you’re playing the Raiders, like the Chargers did in Week 1.
14 San Francisco 49ers
Mike Singletary’s first full season as head coach kicked off with a bruising defensive effort. The Niners held the Cardinals high-powered offense to under 300 yards and forced Kurt Warner into two picks.
15 Atlanta Falcons
Five catches, 73 yards and a third quarter touchdown catch. That’s called instant results on a new investment, which is exactly what the Falcons got out of tight end Tony Gonzalez in his Falcons debut.
16 Seattle Seahawks
What a difference a quarterback makes. After an injury-plagued 2008, Matt Hasselbeck stayed on the field all game and tossed three touchdown passes to lead the Seahawks to an opening week shutout.
17 Buffalo Bills
Leodis McKelvin had the Bills’ only turnover in Week 1…and it cost his team the game. McKelvin chose to take a sure touchback out of the end zone late in the fourth quarter and wound up putting the pigskin on the ground, ruining what was otherwise an inspiring opening week performance by the Bills.
18 Kansas City Chiefs
Without Matt Cassel in the season opener, we’re still not totally sure what to expect from the Chiefs this year. One thing we do know, KC has plenty of fight in them under new head coach Todd Haley. The Chiefs only won two games last year, but battled the tough Ravens deep into the fourth quarter on the road in Week 1.
19 Denver Broncos
Kyle Orton is 1-0. Jay Cutler is 0-1. Does that mean Denver made the right decision? Um, I’m gonna say no. Call me next week when Orton doesn’t have one of the flukiest game-winning passing plays of all-time to bail out an otherwise unspectacular performance.
20 Jacksonville Jaguars
Maurice Jones-Drew proved he can be a feature back for at least one week. Unfortunately, a completely stuffed passing game only averaged 3.9 yards per passing play, so there was no room for Jones-Drew to run.
21 Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals shaky 2009 debut added fuel to the argument that it’s never easy to come off a Super Bowl-losing season. I wouldn’t want to be at practice this week if I were a Cardinal. After committing 12 penalties for 82 yards, I’m sure head coach Ken Whisenhunt is going to work his players ragged to get the kinks straightened out.
22 Houston Texans
Ho-hum. Another promising Houston season kicks off with another epic stinkbomb. Not only did the defense get shredded by a rookie QB, but their supposedly high-powered offense, featuring Matt Schaub, Steve Slaton and Andre Johnson, managed a measly 183 yards against the Jets.
23 Chicago Bears
Bears fans are having flashbacks to Rex Grossman after Jay Cutler’s long-anticipated regular season debut went down in a pile of interceptions. Between Cutler’s terrible decision-making and the devastating news that Pro Bowl linebacker and team leader Brian Urlacher is out for the season with a wrist injury, many Bears fans might head into hibernation early.
24 Washington Redskins
I don’t see Jason Campbell winning any games on his own any time soon and that’s a problem. The Redskins only totaled 51 rushing yards in Week 1, 34 of which were accounted for by Clinton Portis’ game-opening rush.
25 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa held onto the ball for seven more minutes than the Cowboys in Week 1, but the big plays the defense allowed resulted in a blowout loss. I’ll be interested to see if the Bucs can sort out their pressure defense as the season unfolds.
26 Oakland Raiders
The running game looks alive and well in Oakland as Darren McFadden and Michael Bush helped lead the Raiders to 148 yards on the ground against a solid Chargers defense. If Jamarcus Russell can cut down on his turnovers, the Raiders might be back on the road towards respectability.
27 Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins rode their sure hands (plus-17 turnover margin in 2008) to a surprising AFC East title last year. This year? Yeah…not so much. Four turnovers led directly to 19 Falcons points in a Week 1 loss.
28 Cincinnati Bengals
This was an ugly game to watch from the get-go, but for Bengals fans, it got absolutely hideous with around 14 seconds left. Look on the bright side, at least Carson Palmer is still healthy heading into Week 2.
29 Carolina Panthers
It doesn’t really look like Jake Delhomme is ready to move on from last year’s disastrous playoff meltdown. In his last two games, Delhomme has 11 turnovers and the Panthers have lost by a combined score of 71-23. Ouch.
30 Cleveland Browns
Is it official? Has Joshua Cribbs passed Devin Hester as the league’s most dangerous special teams return man? Cribbs pulled off his seventh career return TD to keep the Browns close in an otherwise uneven Cleveland performance.
31 Detroit Lions
Giving up a ton of points to the overpowering Saints offense isn’t a sin, but gaining only 33 yards against a still vulnerable Saints defense? I guess nothing’s surprising with a team who's next win will start their longest win streak in over a year.
32 St. Louis Rams
Everyone continues to tout Steven Jackson as an elite running back, yet going back to last season, he has only two 100-yard games in his last six. Once Jackson starts dominating games again, the Rams might start winning again.
Your rating: None Average: 3.2 (53 votes)

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ramss 32
lions 31

Steelers, Colts, and Giants are the best teams ever.

r u scared!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

steelers are going back to superbowl sunday. Because they are number1!

vikings are number 1

too bad for you! the pats are the best and this year they are gonna win the super bowl this year.

go pats!!

u r so rite!


I'm not a Colt's fan, but the way they performed should put them at number one. While the Steelers may have top receivers like Santonio Holmes and Hines Ward their not as effective as recent years and do not have a consistent running game. The Patriots have lost earlier today and no touchdowns for Brady, but showed a stronger defense. The Giant's last week and right now are showing a strong and quick defense, but Brandon Jacob's in these two week's has been struggling and getting stuffed at the line of scrimmage. The offense seems proficent without a top receiver, but Steve Smith is proving how he can be the go to guy. New Orleans beat my team the PHILADELPHIA EAGLES today with the talented offense led by Drew Brees passing all over the field especially to Susquehanna Receiver Marques Colston one of the best I think there is. The defense has struggled, but looks to improve throughout the year. Here is my top 5 teams:1. Indianapolis Colts 2. New Orleans Saints 3. New York Giants 4. Pittsburgh Steelers and 5. New England Patriots. Thank You for listening to my opinion.

Eagles may have looked bad today with the defense, but I think their going to be on a winning streak as they face the Chiefs at home next week. I sure hope Jeff Garcia will hang around. If you want a good defense for next week for fantasy football take the Philadelphia Eagles. The trouble they could pretty much only have is Tony Gonzalez because the linebackers aren't very good at coverage. Eagles should be all over the run game and Matt Cassel piling up a huge amount of sacks.

i'd watch out 4 the jets...they r likely to sneek up on a lot of teams...i don't think the pats saw that coming

the titans?

they lost

I kind thought that the New York Jet's would win. It's at home and Mark Sanchez could do a few trick's with that defense.

i don't think you schould rank the lions or the rams till they win a game

There so low because they haveen'y won a game, if u know football u need too win games to win, and just because u didn't win a game yet, u dont get a free pass of not being ranked

Did a pretty good job.

The Cowboys should be higher!!

Jets should be ranked lower

Nope they did awesome!!

Giants should be rankes #1 because they have one of the best qbs but they need more pass to guys

WHAT????? manning isnt one of the best qb's?????? he isnt even in the top 10. there are a heck of alot of qb's better then him

Carolina 29th? Wow.

i think g men should be nuber1 with eli and the best defense in the NFL

really, how do you say the packers are better then the saints and the vikings???? brees had 6 td's!!!!! and ap dominated in his game and favre did pretty good also.

pitsburgh should have not won the superbowl and sure not be first place it should be the panthers.

Colts over Saints are you CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Drew Brees threw 6 TD passes and the Colts beat the #20 Jaguars by 1 point that was idiotic!!!!!

Saints are cool, but Colts are awesome.

your right saints could beat colts

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