NFL Power Rankings: 2008 Week 2

Updated: September 16, 2008, 1:45 PM ET

If Week 1 was any indication, we're in for a wild NFL season.

In their regular-season debuts, starting rookie quarterbacks Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan played with the calm of 10-year pros. Meanwhile, four reigning division champions stumbled in their openers -- the San Diego Chargers, Indianapolis Colts, Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers each suffered losses -- while a fifth needed a last-second goal-line stand to win.

Yes, the New England Patriots escaped an upset bid by the Kansas City Chiefs with a four-play stand at the end. But nothing could prevent the Patriots, who lost quarterback Tom Brady to a season-ending knee injury early against the Chiefs, from falling from their perch atop the NFL Power Rankings.

The Patriots, who ended the 2007 season atop the ladder and reigned atop the Week 1 rankings, are now ranked ninth in the league, according to the weekly poll of our experts.

The new kings of the hill are the Dallas Cowboys, who turned in an impressive romp over the homestanding Cleveland Browns in Week 1. The Cowboys vault from third to the top position, just past the Pittsburgh Steelers. After rocking the Houston Texans in Pittsburgh, the Steelers moved up four spots to No. 2.

We've called upon some of our voting members to provide team-by-team commentary. Thus, for your reading pleasure, you'll have:

• Tim Graham on the AFC East
• James Walker on the AFC North
• Paul Kuharsky on the AFC South
• Bill Williamson on the AFC West

• Matt Mosley on the NFC East
• Kevin Seifert on the NFC North
• Pat Yasinskas on the NFC South
• Mike Sando on the NFC West's Power Rankings
The rankings were determined by a poll of's NFL staff: writers John Clayton, Jeffri Chadiha, Tim Graham, Matt Mosley, James Walker, Kevin Seifert, Paul Kuharsky, Pat Yasinskas, Bill Williamson, and Mike Sando; and Scouts Inc. Insiders Jeremy Green and Matt Williamson.

Despite a last-play home loss to the Carolina Panthers, the Chargers fell just one spot in the Week 2 rankings, to third overall. The fourth-ranked New Orleans Saints and the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants round out the top five. Each team vaulted three spots in the voting.

The Chicago Bears made the biggest leap of the week, thanks to an unexpected romp over the host Colts. Powered by rookie running back Matt Forte, the Bears moved from 25th to 15th overall in the voting.

The Seahawks, who apparently never got the wakeup call on a visit to Buffalo, tumbled nine spots to 18th overall.

(Editor's note: LW indicates each team's ranking last week.)

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