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NFL power rankings: Ravens prove they're still a contender, while Saints and Steelers take a tumble

C.J. Doon, The Baltimore Sun on

Published in Football

Each week of the NFL season, The Baltimore Sun will rank all 32 NFL teams. The rankings will take into account not just weekly performance, but how well each team measures up as Super Bowl contenders, regardless of win-loss record.

Here are the rankings after Week 2:

Super Bowl favorites

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0; No. 1 last week)

2. Kansas City Chiefs (1-1; No. 2)

Let’s first take a moment to acknowledge that quarterback Tom Brady leads the NFL with nine touchdown passes at age 44. He’s going to play until he’s 50, and will probably win at least two more Super Bowls. Aging is clearly not part of the TB12 method. The Bucs might not be as dominant on defense as their stacked roster suggests — the Falcons pulled within 28-25 with a second-half surge Sunday before Tampa Bay pulled away — but as long as Brady is playing this well, the defending champs are still the team to beat.

 

That brings us to Kansas City. A 36-35 loss in Baltimore showed that quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are mortal, but if not for rookie Odafe Oweh’s hit on Mahomes that forced an interception, Kansas City might have gone up 42-24 late in the third quarter. That doesn’t excuse a poor performance from a defense that let the Ravens rush for 251 yards, but it’s not as if the Chiefs didn’t put themselves in a great position to win. It took a costly fumble by running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the final minute and a gutsy fourth-down conversion by quarterback Lamar Jackson to hand Kansas City its first September loss with Mahomes under center. This week’s matchup against the Chargers will show whether the Chiefs have real concerns or if this was just another speed bump on their way to a third straight AFC title.

Solid contenders

3. Los Angeles Rams (2-0; No. 3)

4. Buffalo Bills (1-1; No. 6)

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