2012 NFL Power Rankings: NFC West Moving On Up

POWER RANKINGS! We take this seriously Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE

Week two of the 2012 NFL season has come and gone, and the NFC West must certainly take home the title of best divisional play for the week, as all four teams won their games. And it wasn't like they were facing a cupcake schedule either, as the four teams that the NFC West defeated were New England, Detroit, Washington, and Dallas. Needless to say, the West proved their legitimacy on a national level and the power rankings for the upcoming week should reflect that. This one in particular reflects the improvement of our Cardinals division, as all four teams improved over last week's power rankings, done up by our very own Randy Fields. In fact, the NFC West was the only division that saw every team improve their standing.

Hit the jump for the power rankings

1. San Francisco 49ers - Another week gone, another outstanding performance against an NFC powerhouse. Everyone knew that the 49ers defense was legit, but its their equally impressive offensive showing that garners the top spot in the NFL. And this praise, is coming from the mouth (or fingers I should say) of a division rival fan. (Up 1)

2. Houston Texans - Strength of schedule be damned, the Texans deserve to be the second highest ranked team. You can't fault them for handily winning two games they were supposed to win. Its tough to find a weakness on this team. (Up 3)

3. Green Bay Packers - The Green Bay offense might be the best in football, but it was a lackluster defensive performance that made pundits skeptical of this team after last week. Well Clay Matthews and company showed up big time against a divisional rival, and made Jay Cutler look like a child amongst men. (Up 3)

4. Atlanta Falcons - Matty Ice finally get the Monday Night Football monkey off his back. Very strong performance from Ryan, and an equally impressive outing by his defense against Peyton Manning keeps them in the illustrious top five. (Down 1)

5. Baltimore Ravens - Ok, so they lost against the Eagles in what may have been the most entertaining game of the week, but this is still a very well balanced team. Strong and disciplined defense, ability to control the game on the ground, and also explosiveness and consistency out of the aerial attack. (Down 4)

6. New England Patriots - Ok, so they lost against the Cardinals in what may have been the most entertaining game of the week, but this is still a very well balanced team. They have a much improved, young defense that will only improve with experience, a newly discovered run game through Stevan Ridley, and THE Tom Brady. They'll be fine. (Down 2)

7. Denver Broncos - Despite an uninspiring performance out of Manning, he still is Peyton Manning, and he was playing a very good Falcons team. No excuses though, Manning will have to play better next week or he'll see his Broncos falling down both the standings and power rankings. (Equal)

8. San Diego Chargers - Underachievement personified. Could this be the year the Charger finally live up to their immense potential and make some noise in both the regular season and playoffs? They've looked pretty good thus far, and getting a healthy Ryan Matthews back in the fold will make them that much better. (Up 11)

9. Pittsburgh Steelers - Tough to take much from PIttsburgh's two games so far. They got beat handily by good Peyton Manning, and then handily beat a not so good New York Jets squad. I'm going to side with history, and seeing as there wasn't a whole lot of change in the off season, I think this Steelers team still deserves top 10 slotting. (Up 2)

10. Detroit Lions - An inability to run the ball, mixed with the inability to slow down both Gore and Davis led to a lose against the 49ers. However, Detroit still played quite well, and should have more success next week if they can run the ball a bit better and pull the safeties down into the box, opening up Calvin Johnson for some deep passes. (Up 4)

11. New York Giants - Crazy game in the Meadowlands as Eli Manning threw for over 500 yards against the Bucs. Even more impressive was the fact that Manning put up 25 points in his fourth quarter comeback, including a four play 80 yard drive at the end of the game to win the game. (Up 4)

12. Philadelphia Eagles - Two games played, two wins, two point differential. The Eagles some managed to win both of their games in heart attack inducing fashion, beating both the Browns and Ravens by 1 point each. Pretty soon the Eagles are going to have to pay the medical bills for all the heart attacks their giving their fans.(Up 8)

13. Arizona Cardinals - This defense is legit. They were able to get to Brady fairly often using only the base four pass rushers, including a very impressive performance by our own Calais Campbell. On offense, the Cardinals were able to do enough to win, and Kevin Kolb managed the game very well and showed much better poise in the pocket than we have grown accustomed to. The Cards won this game with a complete team performance and should start to get some national attention for their efforts. (Up 4)

14. Cincinnati Bengals - In my opinion, the AFC North is the division most similar to the NFC West, in that every team focuses first on building a strong defensive foundation first. That was not evident, however, in this AFC North divisional match up with the Browns and Bengals (aka Battle of the Best Ginger QB in Ohio). Either way, Dalton looked much better than in week one. (Up 8)

15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - The Bucs loss is probably viewed as a negative by most of their fan base, considering they held a 14 point lead. However, they should take pride in the fact that they managed to dominate the Giants stout defense, and showed great resiliency with a late TD to tie the game (which they gave back up 4 plays later). (Up 14)

16. Seattle Seahawks - The Seahawks, much like our Cardinals, have a very underrated team, especially on defense. Well, that defense will definitely get some deserved recognition after holding Dallas to seven points. (Up 2)

17. Washington Redskins - RG3 is one heck of an exciting football player. Washington is on the edge of legitimacy with Griffin III at the helm, and despite the loss against the Rams, the Redskins still should be feared week in and week out. (Down 5)

18. Carolina Panthers - Speaking of exciting football players: Cam Newton. Only knock on Newton from last year was his win loss record. If the game against New Orleans was any indication, he may be figuring out how to win the close games. (Up 8)

19. Dallas Cowboys - Some may think this is too low to place the Cowboys, but it's tough to justify putting them any higher after they got manhandled by the Seahawks. Play better next week and you will be moved up accordingly. (Down 11)

20. New Orleans Saints - Saint's sure look like they're missing Sean Payton. Drew Brees is still Drew Brees, but the defense is not playing well enough to get this team into the top 15. Maybe if they had a little incentive? (Down 11)

21. Chicago Bears - Jay Cutler played like bad Jay Cutler. He's got all the talent, but needs to put it together upstairs, and quick, or else Chicago won't challenge for the playoff spot they should be in the hunt for. (Down 11)

22. St. Louis Rams - And finally we reach the last team from the NFC Best. I really liked what I saw from Bradford against the Redskins; he seems to be working his way back to the form that earned him a number one overall selection. Keep it up Rams! (Up 1)

23. New York Jets - Yikes, Mark Sanchez did not look very good against the Steelers. Bad passes all over the place. Over/Under on weeks until Tebow Time? I'll go with 2 (Down 10)

24. Indianapolis Colts - Luck looked like Peyton at the end against the Vikings, leading the first fourth quarter game winning drive by a rookie in September. It may be a mouthful, but its still damn impressive. (Up 6)

25. Minnesota Vikings - Percy Harvin is one hell of a gamer. For years in Minny, it was the Adrian Peterson show featuring others. Now its gotta be the Harvin show with special guest AP. Despite this, the Vikings still aren't very good. (Down 1)

26. Buffalo Bills - More fun stats for not so good teams: CJ Spiller is the first player since Jim Brown to average over 10 yards a carry through the first two games with a minimum of 25 carries. I'm a fan of a lot of the pieces in Buffalo, let's see if they can put it together. (Down 5)

27.Jacksonville Jaguars - After taking a huge step forward last week, Blaine Gabbert regressed against the Texans. Granted, the game was never close, so the Jags couldn't fully utilize their best weapon in Maurice Jones-Drew. The Jags defense may surprise some however, and shouldn't be taken lightly. (Down 2)

28. Miami Dolphins - Ryan Tannehill had his best professional football game against the equally inept Oakland Raiders, so there is a positive for Phin's fans. Still, this team has a lot of room for improvement before they can be considered a playoff contender. (Up 3)

29. Cleveland Browns - On the topic of the best professional football games of rookies playing their second pro game, see Richardson, Trent and Weeden, Brandon. Could their impressive offensive showing against the Bengals be a glimpse into the future for the Browns? (Up 3)

30. Tennessee Titans - Two really bad loses have the Titan faithful worried, especially considering Chris Johnson has not looked anything like CJ2K. Jake Locker was the Titans leading rusher yesterday with only 2 carries. He's going to half to carry the whole team if they hope to win some football games. (Down 3)

31. Kansas City Chiefs - Don't look at the score to see how badly the Chiefs were out-played against the Bills. Two late meaningless fourth quarter touchdowns to Dwayne Bowe made the score look better than the game was for Kansas City. A preseason contender for the AFC West title, the Chiefs will have to right the ship quickly. (Down 15)

32. Oakland Raiders - McFadden's healthy, so there's a positive for the Raiders, but unfortunately he hasn't been able to do much on the ground rushing for a combined 54 yards through two games on 26 carries. At least there's a silver lining: Fall Flat for Matt, right? Maybe not even as Barkley's USC Trojans lost to the underdog Stanford Cardinals. (Down 4)

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