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Old 09-21-2004, 11:47 AM  
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CBS Sportsline Week 2 power rankings

Power Rankings: Don't get 2 excited, it's too early
By Pete Prisco
SportsLine.com Senior Writer
Tell Pete your opinion!


Updated Sept. 21

Don't you just love fans of teams off to good starts who delight in playing the "if" game after just two weeks?

You know, "if the season ended today, our team would be in the playoffs!"


PHOTOS: PREV | NEXT

Corey Dillon's No. 1 Pats should be wary; Philly is creeping up. (AP)
Memo to demented fans: There are 15 more weeks.

A good start is nice, and it usually translates into something good down the road, but the enthusiasm has to be tempered for four of the unbeatens.

The Patriots, Eagles and Seahawks are legit; we all thought they would be heading into the season.

We don't know yet about the Jaguars, Lions, Falcons and Jets -- four non-playoff teams from last year who would be division champs now if we allowed ourselves to play the "if" game.

Here's a fly in the punch bowl for those teams: After two weeks in 2003, the Redskins, Vikings and Bills all led their divisions; none made the playoffs.

However, what these 2-0 starts by surprise teams accomplish is make it that much more difficult to come up with a new batch of SportsLine.com Power Rankings.

For example, where does a 2-0 Detroit team rate? Should the Lions be moved into the top 10 based on their record? Or is this like college football, meaning where you start impacts where you get placed?

(College football digress: As an alumnus of Arizona State, how in the heck can the Sun Devils beat Iowa by 37 points and still be ranked behind them? And you wonder why the college game can't touch the NFL?)

We'll know much more about the Lions come Sunday when they play the Eagles at home. If they win that game, they're for real. If they don't, the verdict is still out.

For now, we'll move them up a little, but not into the top 10.

The top five remains the same this week, although the Eagles have moved into the second spot by virtue of beating the Vikings on Monday night. Minnesota falls from second to fifth.

The rest of the top 10 has three new entries in the Jaguars, Falcons and Jets, three of the seven 2-0 teams. Those teams started much higher than the Lions, which is why they get into the top 10.

Staying there will be the tough part.

The biggest faller so far is the Kansas City Chiefs, falling out of the top 10 to No. 20. And we wonder why Dick Vermeil cries? If you had to watch that defense every day, you would weep like a baby, too.

Turning around 0-2 starts can happen, but the Chiefs better do it now. Because if the season ended ...

Ah, forget that.

The complete Power Rankings after Week 2:

POWER RANKINGS
Current Team Previous
1 New England Patriots 1
They get a bye Sunday before returning to face the Bills the following week in a weird opening three games. They have done little to dispute the notion they will push for a Super Bowl again.
2 Philadelphia Eagles 3
If Donovan McNabb can play like he did Monday night, this might be the year they get past the championship game. McNabb was sharp, and that defense created turnovers at the right time.
3 Indianapolis Colts 4
Peyton Manning went against Tom Brady, then Steve McNair and now Brett Favre. If he can get to 2-1 in those games, which means beating the Packers, the Colts will breathe a big sigh after a nasty schedule to open the season.
4 Seattle Seahawks 6
They hoped to go 1-1 in their first two road games, but 2-0 says a lot about this team and how far it has come. They are the real deal. I was wrong about them.
5 Minnesota Vikings 2
Mistakes crippled any chance they had to beat the Eagles Monday night. How can a man with Daunte Culpepper's huge hands continue to drop the ball?
6 Tennessee Titans 7
They can't feel good about the way they played in the second half against the Colts. The defense was shredded.
7 Jacksonville Jaguars 11
They're 2-0, despite having the lowest-ranked offense in the league. Says something about that defense. They have a big one Sunday at Tennessee.
8 Denver Broncos 5
Mike Shanahan cost his team a chance to go to 2-0 by eschewing the field goal on third down. But the offense has to play better inside the 20 if this is to be a deep playoff team.
9 Atlanta Falcons 17
They should go to 3-0 at home against Arizona this week, but then get a tough test at Carolina the following week. Michael Vick does make everyone else play better.
10 New York Jets 15
They are 2-0, the schedule remains favorable for a few more weeks. J-E-T-S Jets. They're back.
11 Green Bay Packers 8
They get their mulligan for Sunday's loss to the Bears. They looked so flat coming off the big Monday night victory over Carolina.
12 Baltimore Ravens 10
They still can't do much with the passing game, and that will be a season-long worry. It's on the defense. Isn't it always?
13 Carolina Panthers 12
Give John Fox a lot of credit for getting his team turned around in six days, without the star runner and receiver. That's season-saving stuff that happened in Kansas City.
14 Detroit Lions 23
Are they for real? Or did they just get help from a tissue-soft easy schedule the first two weeks? We'll find out Sunday when they play the Eagles.
15 St. Louis Rams 13
The offensive line is a mess, and it's showing up in a big way. Even an offensive guru like Mike Martz struggles to call plays with his quarterback on his back.
16 Pittsburgh Steelers 14
It's Big Ben time in Pittsburgh, and it could be that way for a long time.
17 Dallas Cowboys 21
It wasn't a pretty victory over Cleveland, but this team won't win a lot of pretty games. They have a big one next Monday night in Washington, renewing a lot of old rivalries.
18 New Orleans Saints 18
That hold-on tight victory over the 49ers could be the thing that gets this group going. Bad thing is they have to do without Deuce McAllister for a couple of weeks.
19 Washington Redskins 16
It's funny how one week can quiet the Joe Gibbs lovefest. The Redskins need to take care of the ball or you could put Gibbs, Lombardi and Shula on the same staff and they still couldn't win.
20 Kansas City Chiefs 9
When this defense learns to stop somebody, then they will move up. That might not be for a while -- if at all.
21 Cincinnati Bengals 20
They should thank the scheduling gods. If they were playing any other team except Miami on Sunday night, they would be 0-2.
22 Cleveland Browns 19
They teased everybody on opening day, but then the offense went bad against Dallas. A .500 season is the best they can hope to get, particularly with all the injuries mounting.
23 Oakland Raiders 25
They're still trying to find a running back -- perhaps trading for Lamont Jordan of the Jets -- which is an indication of a problem they've had all summer long: nobody to carry the load.
24 Chicago Bears 29
That's an impressive victory going into Green Bay and beating the Packers. Lovie Smith said that was a priority when he took the job, and he lived up to it.
25 New York Giants 32
Tom Coughlin knows how to turn around a bad situation quickly, and he'll do that in New York. How many players will gripe this week, not that they see he can get results?
26 Buffalo Bills 22
It might be wise to keep the defense and offense apart to keep the peace. The offense has been terrible, while the defense has been very good. That's a cause for division.
27 Miami Dolphins 24
Their offense is atrocious, but at least they've scored an offensive touchdown, which is more than what Tampa Bay, their neighbors to the north, can say.
28 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26
The Bucs have not scored an offensive touchdown in eight quarters. So is Jon Gruden still an offensive wizard?
29 San Diego Chargers 27
Are we ready for another round of Flutie-mania? Boy, let's hope not. But maybe it is time to go to rookie Philip Rivers.
30 Houston Texans 28
Word of warning: Do not hand Domanick Davis a baby to hold. He'll almost surely drop it.
31 San Francisco 49ers 30
They're at least competing, which some didn't think they could do. Now if they could only get healthy.
32 Arizona Cardinals 31
They might be the second best team playing in their stadium, a good ways behind the Arizona State Sun Devils. OK, so I'm an alumnus who's a little giddy over a 3-0 start. Watch out, Southern California, on Oct. 16.
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Old 09-21-2004, 11:54 AM   #2
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