Two weeks are done in the 2013 season, and as the sifting begins teams rise and fall up and down the rankings. Heading into week 3 a few pre-season favorites are showing why they had that hype. Certain others are dark horse candidates. Most teams fall into the clustered mingle of the pack, mired in mediocrity. Far a better fate than the cellar dwellers, although the top consolation prizes this year look like sweet condolences.
And without further ado, I present my take at 1 - 32.
1: Denver Broncos (2 - 0) - A pre-season favorite, Peyton Manning and company are the team to beat in the NFL right now.
2: Seattle Seahawks (2 - 0) - The offense has been sluggish at the start but the Seahawks defense just finished punching the 49ers in the mouth the other night.
3: Houston Texans (2 - 0) - Two rallies for victories. Matt Schaub is building a connection with rookie WR DeAndre Hopkins.
4: New Orleans Saints (2 - 0) - Drew Brees and Sean Payton have the Saints back to a 2 - 0 start after the Bountygate suspensions. Still as explosive as ever, look for them to make noise.
5: San Francisco 49ers (1-1) - San Fran learned that they might just be the 2nd best team in the NFC West. That's still good enough to beat most of the rest of the league.
6: Atlanta Falcons (1-1) - Atlanta loses to the Saints and then handles the Rams at home. Matt Ryan continues to move the Falcons forward
7: Green Bay Packers (1-1) - Aaron Rodgers is still to be feared when airing out the rock. The defense can't stop ice or molasses, but the offense is scoring points.
8: New England Patriots (2 - 0) - Perhaps Tom Brady is mortal after all. Take away his security blankets and he still wins, it just isn't pretty when he does so.
9: Chicago Bears (2 - 0) - Jay Cutler frightens me every time I see him. Sure he's playing good football now, finding targets like Brandon Marshall and Martellus Bennett but when will the Jay Cutler we've all seen the past few season rear his turnover head?
10: Cincinnati Bengals (1 -1) - The Bengals handled the Steelers with ease, Andy Dalton carving them up while rookies Tyler Eifert and Giovani Bernard showed why the organization drafted them.
11: Baltimore Ravens (1-1) - 11 because Ray Rice went down with a hip flexor issue. Sure, there is other talent on the team, but I don't see it clicking yet.
12: Kansas City Chiefs (2 - 0) - I know the Chiefs are 2 - 0, but I struggle to place them any higher until I see consistency week in and week out. Andy Reid and Alex Smith have the Chiefs pointed in the right direction though.
13: St. Louis Rams (1-1) - The Rams, probably the best of the middle of the pack. Look for them to be a spoiler team for many dreams this year.
14: Dallas Cowboys (1-1) - The Cowboys are at it again, pretending to be a complete, dangerous team. Unfortunately for them the mask got pulled from their disguise in KC last weekend.
15: Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) - The good news, Chip Kelly's high octane offense can win ball games. The bad news, that same offense can also lose ball games. Just ask the Eagles after the dropped a high scoring game to the Chargers.
16: Indianapolis Colts (1-1) - The Colts are middling. Andrew Luck is still the real thing, but the team around him isn't there yet.
17: Miami Dolphins (2 - 0) - The Dolphins are 2 - 0, but I'm not crowning them yet. A generous opening schedule might be a mirage as the season moves forward.
18: San Diego Chargers (1-1) - The Chargers. Points on the board are no problem. Stopping points seems to be an issue. Can Phillip Rivers score enough to keep the Chargers winning? I don't see the consistency.
19: Tennessee Titans (1-1) - The defense is keeping the Titans in the middle of the pack, but QB Jake Locker isn't the future heading forward.
20: Arizona Cardinals (1-1) - The Cardinals dropped a close one to the Rams and then beat the Lions in another close game. 1 - 1 looks good now, but the schedule only gets harder from here for Carson Palmer and the Cards offense.
21: Detroit Lions (1-1) - The Lions. For a team with talent on both sides of the ball, Jim Schwartz does a good job of getting the worst out of his personnel.
22: Minnesota Vikings (0 - 2) - Sure they were close games, but the Vikings are also behind the 8 ball with 2 losses. Christian Ponder has become the poster child for the mantra, "lets see you beat me with your arm." while Adrian Peterson faces 8 and 9 man fronts.
23: Buffalo Bills (1-1) - The Bills own a victory over the Panthers and frightened the Patriots. Not this season but next could pay dividends for E.J. Manuel and the rest of the Bills.
24: Oakland Raiders (1-1) - I would never have thought that Terrelle Pryor would look even half as good as he has been for the Raiders. Sure, that's not saying a lot, but take the positives where you can get them.
25: New York Giants (0 -2) - Eli Manning got another lesson from big brother Peyton last week. The Giants right now aren't playing good football. Maybe Tom Coughlin has a fix in place. And it is early, last 0 - 2 start for the Giants took them to the big dance.
26: Washington Redskins (0 - 2) - The Redskins struggle stopping the run and the Packers James Starks had a field day. RG3 and company are on the wrong side of the winning bubble.
27: Pittsburgh Steelers (0 -2) - The Steelers got trounced by the Bengals. Big Ben and the Steel curtain look to be in trouble, as the whole team is in disarray.
28: Carolina Panthers (0-2) - Cam Newton is running for his life behind the Panther's offensive line. Dropping a game to the Seahawks might be expected, but then losing to the Bills. Call me concerned.
29: New York Jets (1-1) - The Jets are 1 - 1, but every time I watch I can't help but feel that the wheels are just waiting to fall off the bus. Perhaps things will get better. Most likely not with Rex Ryan.
30: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-2) - All sorts of drama unfolding in Tampa between Josh Freeman and Coach Schiano. On top of that, they're sporting a goose egg in the W column due to foolish mistakes.
31: Cleveland Browns (0-2) - QB Brandon Weeden isn't the answer, even less so as a 30 year old. I see changes coming to the Browns in 2014.
32: Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2) - Things are bad in Jacksonville, so bad that it looks like they're playing for the 2014 draft. Start the Bridgewater chants now.