Year in and year out, NFL fans alike try to position their teams in a ranking type of way, saying their team is better than so and so, their team is a dark horse, or their team is tanking. I have decided to start my own NFL rankings, going through all eighteen weeks of the season, updating them week by week. Week One was an incredible first week for football, containing major upsets, crazy statlines, and wacky events. There are some things you’ll notice are different from my rankings and other analysts. There is a game ball awarded to one player of every winning team that week. When losses or ties occur, no game ball is awarded because myself and The Dyspatch do not believe ties should be in the NFL, and a loss doesn’t warrant a game ball, but that’s a discussion for another day. Join me in the inaugural Shane Dunn NFL Season Rankings and tell me where your team should rank in Week One of the NFL season.
1-Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)
Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs left no room for an overtime coin toss, steamrolling the Cardinals 44-21, the most points scored in a win in Week One. Patrick Mahomes completed thirty passes, throwing at a 76% completion rate as well as having five passing touchdowns. Patrick Mahomes completed passes to nine different receivers, a feat no other quarterback did this week. Travis Kelce led the team in receiving yards with 121 yards and a touchdown. The defense in Kansas City didn’t do anything too note-worthy but did allow Arizona fourteen points in the fourth quarter, but being up 44-7 didn’t make them lose any points in the rankings. The Chiefs did have an issue with Harrison Butker’s ankle, keeping everyone interested in Justin Reid, who plays defense but also kicks. Maybe the only interesting thing to happen in this game on Sunday Night Football.
Game Ball- Patrick Mahomes
2-Buffalo Bills (1-0)
The first Thursday Night Football game of the year is usually one of the most watched games of the season and is planned to have the Super Bowl Champions introduce the season, which is the opposite of what the Rams did against Buffalo. While this game was sloppy for sure, Josh Allen finished with 297 yards passing, four passing touchdowns, and two interceptions. Josh Allen also led the team in rushing with 56 yards on ten attempts as well as a rushing touchdown. The Bills can really prove how good they are this season, but they need to tighten up on offense. The bright side is their defense, with new veteran Von Miller on fire. The Bills defense grabbed three interceptions off of Matt Stafford, coming off of one of the best years of his career, as well as seven sacks, proving to keep up with last year’s expectations.
Game Ball- Josh Allen
3-Baltimore Ravens (1-0)
The Ravens defeating a Joe Flacco-led Jets wasn’t the most unbelievable story in week one, but it was a dominant showing for the Ravens. Lamar Jackson threw 17/30 for 213 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Devin Duvernay had an incredible start to the season, having four catches for fifty-four yards and two receiving touchdowns. The only thing of note for the Ravens is keeping their offense on the field. Punter Jordan Stout had six punts for 291 yards, which isn’t a great thing if you’re hearing about the punters stats. If Baltimore can score more points on their possessions, this offense could be lethal, especially when combined with a strong special teams unit and a defense that forced an interception and three sacks.
Game Ball- Lamar Jackson
4-Miami Dolphins (1-0)
While most people didn’t even expect a Dolphins win, I’m sure no one expected them to be up 17-0 at halftime over one of the most dominant franchises of all time. Tua didn’t do anything spectacular, throwing for 270 yards and a touchdown, but it came down to the Dolphins defense. The Phins picked off Mac Jones in the endzone on the Patriots first drive, taking the wind out of their sails early. Then, on the ensuing drive, a strip sack by Brandon Jones capped off with a recovery touchdown by Melvin Ingram. If Tyreek Hill and Tua can get on the same page, this team could easily clinch a wildcard spot right behind Buffalo in what is shaping up to be a stacked division.
Game Ball- Tyreek Hill
Regardless of weapons, holding the back-to-back MVP Aaron Rogers to no touchdowns, less than two hundred yards and an interception is a feat in itself. Kirk Cousins picked up where he left off last season, efficient. Cousins threw 23/32, 277 yards and two passing touchdowns. Dalvin Cook had a very steady game with twenty rushing attempts for ninety yards, and Justin Jefferson had nine catches for 184 yards and two receiving touchdowns, easily getting the game ball this week. The Minnesota defense really gelled together well, putting up four sacks as well as a Harrison Smith interception. If Minnesota can capitalize on their odd-ball division and keep up the tempo, they can easily make a playoff run and look dominant in Week One.
Game Ball- Justin Jefferson
6-Los Angeles Chargers (1-0)
Justin Herbert had an electric debut to the season, throwing twenty-six-for-thirty-four, 279 yards, and three passing touchdowns. Herbert had three receivers with over fifty yards receiving and also threw all three of his touchdowns to three different receivers. The Chargers defense had an incredible game, having a game-winning sack come from Khalil Mack, who was easily their best addition in the offseason. The Chargers defense came up big with six sacks, three of which came from Khalil Mack, while also pulling down three interceptions from Derek Carr. The Chargers are a dark horse team with an elite defense and a young stud of a quarterback while also having experienced X-factors such as Sony Michel.
Game Ball- Justin Herbert
7-Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0)
Tom Brady walked into Dallas and became the oldest quarterback to start a football game and the second oldest player to throw a touchdown behind George Blanda. This was easily the most boring game of Week One, with the only highlights being Mike Evans’ one-handed grab for a touchdown or the Julio Jones catch. While Tom Brady threw for 212 yards, a touchdown and an interception, Leonard Fournette was the hero of this game. Coming out of the offseason overweight and doubted, Fournette rushed for 127 yards in the game. While this game wasn’t incredible for offense as a whole, kickers had a big day, making up for every point of the game besides the lone touchdown between Brady and Evans, even including a punt that hit the scoreboard for Jake Camarda. With the Saints and Falcons rebuilding, the Buccaneers look to win the division once again, while Brady looks to win his eighth Super Bowl.
Game Ball- Tom Brady
8-Chicago Bears (1-0)
Justin Fields was the only quarterback drafted in 2021 to win in Week One this year. Fields didn’t have the prettiest game of all time, throwing for 121 yards and going eight-for-seventeen with two touchdowns and one interception. One bright spot for the Bears was Khalil Herbert, who rushed for forty-five yards and a touchdown. While many assumed the receiver core in Chicago would be awful, Dante Pettis and Equanimeous St. Brown both caught touchdowns and made it look easy. This game had a whole lot of punts and a whole lot of nothing at the end of the day. While Chicago has some quirks to work out, they’ve started off the season on a high note.
Game Ball- Justin Fields
9-New York Giants (1-0)
Easily the biggest upset of Week One was the Giants sneaking past the Titans, 21-20. Daniel Jones outplayed expectations, going seventeen-for-twenty-one for 188 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Jones has faced much criticism for not progressing in his first few seasons, but this is his first chance to shut the world up. Saquon ran away with the game ball this week, rushing for 164 yards and a touchdown, and was the best running back on the field that night. The biggest question is, are the Titans not that good, or are the Giants better than expected? Find out next week when they take on Baker Mayfield at Metlife Stadium in what could be one of the most intriguing storylines of the 2022-2023 NFL season.
Game Ball- Saquon Barkley
10-Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)
The Eagles would’ve ranked much higher if they didn’t have a seventeen-point lead over the Hard Knocks team, just to only win by three. Jalen Hurts went eighteen-for-twenty-three and had 243 passing yards, but his only touchdown of the day was rushing alongside his ninety rushing yards. The Eagles lived off of the rushing game, having Miles Sanders lead the team with ninety-six yards rushing and a touchdown. The other two players with rushing touchdowns were Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell, a trend you can expect to see more often. A. J. Brown had a great debut, having ten receptions for 155 yards, we can expect a lot more from him this season in Philadelphia. Scoring twenty-four points in the second quarter alone was impressive, and it is only the beginning for Philly.
Game Ball- Jalen Hurts
11-Washington Commanders (1-0)
The Carson Wentz campaign has begun in Washington, and it starts off with a win. Seeing Carson in that mustard yellow and red varsity jacket, most expected this to be another failed Wentz stint, but what we got was 313 yards passing, four touchdowns, and two interceptions. While the two picks aren’t lovely, you can’t expect a whole lot more from Wentz. Antonio Gibson led the Commanders in rushing and receiving, showing he can be a weapon this season for Washington. While it wasn’t a dazzling game and felt more fit for a London game, Washington starts off with a win in what could be a promising season
Game Ball- Antonio Gibson
12-Cleveland Browns (1-0)
The Browns have odd expectations this season, to say the least. With Watson out until December 4th, this team will be having weird games left and right, and their first matchup against Baker Mayfield went that way specifically. Jacoby Brissett played well, passing for 147 yards and a touchdown. The air attack isn’t expected to be huge until Watson joins the team later in the season, so Nick Chubb took over. Nick Chubb had twenty-two rushing attempts for 141 yards and a touchdown, while Kareem Hunt caught the lone passing touchdown. The Browns combined for four sacks and an interception, showing signs of the type of team they could be down the line. If this is the low end of the bar we see from the Browns, I wouldn’t be shocked. As usual in the last five years, the sky’s the limit for Cleveland and getting a win over their ex-quarterback puts them in this spot.
Game Ball- Nick Chubb
13-New Orleans Saints (1-0)
The Saints-Falcons rivalry is one of the most underrated rivalries in the NFL, yet it still provided one of the closest games of the week. Jameis Winston had an average game by his standards, throwing for 269 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Alvin Kamara disappointed many fans by only rushing for thirty-nine yards in the game and not scoring. The secret weapon in New Orleans, Taysom Hill had four carries for eighty-one yards and a rushing touchdown, proving to be too much for Atlanta’s defense. Michael Thomas was on fire, with five receptions, two of which were touchdowns, and fifty-seven total yards. The most impressive yet predictable part of this game was the Saints coming back to beat Atlanta down 26-10 with 11:35 left in the fourth quarter. The Falcons and Atlanta sports teams have become an internet sensation since Super Bowl LI, and now the Saints join the likes of the Patriots, Dolphins, Cowboys, Bears, San Diego Chargers, and Buccaneers, just to name the double digit ones.
Game Ball- Michael Thomas
14-Seattle Seahawks (1-0)
The Seattle Seahawks impressed the entire league in their gritty win over the Denver Broncos. Geno Smith gets the start over Drew Lock, proving to be the better decision in Week One. Geno Smith went 23/28 with 195 yards passing and two passing touchdowns.Rashaad Penny had a phenomenal game and felt to gravitate to the ball, rushing for sixty-yards and seven yards receiving. Will Dissly opened the game with a shocking touchdown while Colby Parkinson hauled in the other. This was one of the biggest upsets of the week and an absolute masterclass of pretty offense, and the Seahawks and their 98.7 decibel crowd had a successful night on Sunday. In the words of Geno Smith, “They wrote me off, I didn’t write back.”
Game Ball- Geno Smith
15-Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)
The Steelers and Super Bowl attendant Bengals faced off in a game that can only be described as a horrible day to be a kicker. The Steelers are the lowest ranked team to have won a game, and with good reason. Regardless of missed kicks by both teams, the Steelers-Bengals was the toughest game to watch in Week One. Mitch Trubisky went 21/38 and threw for 194 yards and a touchdown, but nothing crazy exciting came out of him. Chase Claypool led the team in rushing yards with thirty-six, not something to be proud of if you’re Najee Harris. Najee Harris did catch the lone passing touchdown for the Steelers. The only thing holding this team back is their offense, because their defense shone. The Steelers picked off Joe Burrow four times, the most he’s thrown in a game in his NFL career. They also stripped sacked Joe Burrow, creating five turnovers for Joe Burrow alone. If this offense of misfit toys can pull themselves together, it could be a fun run they have paired with this defense. If not, this division will be tough to beat all four ways.
Game Ball- Alex Highsmith
16-Indianapolis Colts (0-0-1)
Ties are never fun in the NFL, no matter what. The reason the Colts got the nod over them is because they scored seventeen in the fourth quarter alone to tie this game up, even if no one ended up scoring in overtime. In his debut for Indianapolis, Matt Ryan went 32/50 for 352 yards, a touchdown and an interception in his debut. Jonathan Taylor wreaked havoc on Houston, gaining 31 carries for 161 yards and a touchdown. When you can run the ball thirty times and average over five yards per carry, you have someone special on your roster. Indy has a lot of potential. Michael Pittman Jr. led the game in receiving yards with 121 and a touchdown. The defense had three sacks and held Houston scoreless the entire fourth quarter and overtime, proving Indianapolis has a bright future.
Game Ball- Jonathan Taylor
17-Tennessee Titans (0-1)
The Titans earned middle of the pack this week with a loss to the Giants because I don’t believe they’re that bad, even if they lost to the underdog Giants. At the end of the season, everyone will forget that Randy Bullock missed the game-winning kick, and just that the Giants hold a W over the Titans on the schedule. Ryan Tannehill played alright, going twenty-for-thirty-three for 266 yards and two touchdowns. The biggest shock this week was Derrick Henry being held under 100 yards by the Giants defense, something that should’ve never happened. Dontrell Hillard caught both of Tannehill’s touchdown passes, showing a bright spot on this team. It should be fully expected that they will bounce back after a heartbreaking loss to New York, but the season is not close to over for the Titans.
18-Houston Texans (0-0-1)
You may wonder why Houston is ranked two below the Colts, with whom they are tied, and the answer is very simple. The Colts came back from being down seventeen points in the fourth, tied it up, and the game ended with no other scores occurring. That being said, I think the Colts “won,” that tie just for their huge comeback that didn’t result in a loss. Davis Mills continued to impress everyone with 240 passing yards and two touchdowns. Veteran Rex Burkhead led the team in rushing yards with forty yards on fourteen carries. Brandin Cooks led the team in receiving yards with 82, but it was O.J. Howard who grabbed both of Davis Mills’ passing touchdowns. Jerry Hughes caught the lone interception in the game as well as had two sacks, showing he could be a bright spot on a defense with some questions. The Texans can surprise a lot of people this year; that is, if they don’t let teams run wild in the fourth against them. If the Texans can finish out games, they could be a formidable opponent.
19-Carolina Panthers (0-1)
The Panthers appear as an odd darkhorse to make a playoff run in an easier division than some. Baker Mayfield made his debut for Carolina, throwing for 235 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Christian McAffrey had one of the biggest duds to start a season the NFL has seen in awhile, rushing the ball ten times for thirty-three yards but still managing to score a touchdown. Respectable numbers from C-Mac, but not the level fans are used to. Baker Mayfield also showed off his rushing ability, having a rushing touchdown alongside his passing one. The receiving core of Robbie Anderson, D.J. Moore, and Ian Thomas looks to be one full of promise. While losing by two points to your old team seems like a smack in the face, Carolina can easily bounce back and shock the NFL with the talent they have.
20-Detroit Lions (0-1)
No one could possibly expect the Hard Knocks team to score 35 points in Week One of the NFL season. Even with the loss, it was fun to watch the Lions nearly comeback and upset Philadelphia. Fan favorite D’Andre Swift rushed for 144 yards and 1 TD, proving his production doesn’t end in the preseason. Jared Goff went 21/37 for 215 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, about the level most expected him to be at this year. The biggest key to getting into the win column is cleaning up Jared Goff’s game as well as getting the defense more involved, but Detroit stays in the top twenty just for their shocking performance against Philly.
21-Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)
Trevor Lawrence had an absurd forty-two pass attempts, completing twenty-four of them in a 22-28 loss against Washington. Of those passes, he threw one touchdown pass to James Robinson and one interception. On the ground for Jacksonville, we saw James Robinson rush for a touchdown, having all of the touchdown plays in his name in Week One. Christian Kirk showed his impact in a sample size of Week One, catching six passes for 117 yards and leading the team in receiving. The defense was in the air all night, grabbing two interceptions off of Carson Wentz, but besides that, they didn’t show the potential we’re all hoping to see this year for Trevor Lawrence and company.
22-Las Vegas Raiders (0-1)
The Raiders played the Los Angeles Chargers in a rematch from Week 18 last season, and after this week, maybe the Chargers should have made it through after all. The rushing game was mediocre at best, with Josh Jacobs rushing ten times for 57 yards and Branden Boden rushing seven times for seven yards for a total of sixty-four yards. Davante Adams had a great debut for Las Vegas, but Derek Carr didn’t do great, even with his college teammate on the field. While Davante Adams had ten receptions for 141 yards and a touchdown, his counterpart struggled. Derek Carr had 295 yards throwing 59%, but coughed up three interceptions. The offensive line is easily the Raiders biggest flaw, showing in the rushing stats and in how many sacks were given up to the Chargers, being six. The Raiders have a lot of promise this year, but it feels as if this team is a few years away from contending.
23-Denver Broncos (0-1)
Broncos country, let’s cry. The Denver Broncos had a great game offensively, but could not get it done in the red zone. Russell Wilson went 29/42 for 340 yards but only one passing touchdown. The duo of Sutton and Jeudy proved to be a lethal pairing, Jeudy catching his first touchdown in six-hundred days. The decision to go for the 64-yard kick instead of 4th and 5 was a risky one that didn’t pay off, letting the Seattle Seahawks upset the Broncos.
24-New England Patriots (0-1)
The weather in Miami was ugly, to say the least; temperatures in the 90’s yet feeling like 101° with a UV rating of 11. And not even so much the temperature, but the shade being on Miami’s sideline for sure played a huge part in this win. Mac Jones looked to pick up where he left off with an average game of 213 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Other standouts included Damien Harris, who led the team in rushing yards with forty-eight, and Ty Montgomery, with his first receiving touchdown of the season. This Patriots loss was a shock to many, but not a preview of what’s to come this season.
25-San Francisco 49ers (0-1)
The 49ers had a dramatic offseason and a lot of controversy at quarterback, but it looks like Trey Lance will work out in the long run. Emphasis on the tense of words there. While Trey Lance has loads of upside, he had a rough Week One. Trey Lance went 13/28 with 164 passing yards and one interception, as well as a team-high of fifty-four rushing yards. Talanoa Hufanga picked off Justin Fields and the defense picked up two sacks, but it was an ugly start for the red and gold, who are looking to rebound next week.
26-Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)
You hear of Super Bowl hangovers year in and year out, but not usually for the losing team. The revenge tour for Cincinnati starts with a road bump and an ugly overtime loss to the Steelers. Joe Burrow went 33/53 in the game, throwing for 338 yards, two touchdowns and a career-high four interceptions, as well as a fumble. If there were an award for the opposite of the game ball, Joe Burrow would’ve won it this week. The fact that the Bengals stayed in the game and brought it to overtime shows that this is just a rough loss, one they plan to bounce back from, but if this is a preview of the season, they will lose this stacked division in a heartbeat. And for everyone wondering about the Evan McPherson kick, it doesn’t matter. They should’ve been well out of that game. A sophomore kicker missing a game-winning kick in the ugliest game of the week is not a reason to worry. The Bengals are ought to figure it out.
27-Los Angeles Rams (0-1)
A Super Bowl hangover is a real thing, and Los Angeles needs a liquid IV as fast as possible. A sloppy game on both sides of the ball, besides their two interceptions of Josh Allen, resulted in a three-touchdown loss and the second biggest blowout of Week One. One might wonder why not closer to the bottom, but the reigning Super Bowl Champions can have a bad week one and still easily repeat this year.If Cooper Kupp can get a tighter grip on the football and Cooper Kupp keeps doing the same as he did last season, this team will jump up the rankings very quickly.
28-Atlanta Falcons (0-1)
You just can’t make this stuff up. 28-3 against the Patriots; 30-20 against the San Diego Chargers; 17-0 against Miami; 39-24 against Dallas; 26-10 against the Bears; 24-7 against Tampa Bay, and most recently, 26-10 against the Saints with 11:35 left in the fourth quarter. Marcus Mariota becomes the first player to start a Falcons game not named Matt Ryan for the first time in over a decade. Mariota threw for 215 yards and went twenty-for-thirty-three with a rushing touchdown. Fan favorite Cordarrelle Paterson ran for a touchdown as well. Drake London looked good with five catches for 74 yards in his NFL debut and could be the promising receiver the Falcons need. There’s not much to say besides stop blowing leads. The back of the pecking order is where Atlanta is due to stand if they don’t change something very fast.
29-New York Jets
While the Jets had to rely on Joe Flacco this week at quarterback, they still did better than most thought they would do. The key reason they lost was that Joe Flacco threw the ball 59 times, going 37/59 for 307 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. While Joe Flacco’s throwing way more than average did result in a 300-yard game for him at the age of thirty-nine, it is also the reason they only scored nine points. The Jets lone touchdown was caught by Tyler Conklin in the fourth quarter of a game that was already over, but the Jets’ season is not over just yet. While I personally don’t expect them to make a playoff run in a division with both the Bills and Dolphins, I could see them improving from last season, especially when Zach Wilson is throwing and not former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco.
30-Green Bay Packers (0-1)
Green Bay had a really rough start to their NFL season against a wicked Minnesota Vikings defense. Aaron Rodgers did not look like himself, throwing for only 195 yards, zero touchdowns, and an interception. A-Rod played so badly that Jordan Love got one drive at the end of the game where he went four-for-five and sixty-five yards. AJ Dillon scored the lone points in the game with a rushing touchdown, an area of play the Packers didn’t capitalize on. Aaron Jones only had five rushes but averaged nearly ten yards a carry and had 49 yards. AJ Dillon also led the team in receiving yards, looking like a potential gem for this Packers team. The Packers are most likely knocking the dust off, but waiting until week one to knock the dust off could put the nail in the coffin for an entire season.
31-Arizona Cardinals (0-1)
The Chiefs absolutely smacked Arizona into November, where they’ll need the In-Season Hard Knocks. The issue is the rushing game and defense. Kyler Murray wasn’t the worst, throwing 64% for two touchdowns. Kyler Murray led the team in rushing yards with 29, which is a big issue for Arizona. When a quarterback leads a game in rushing, either they threw a lot of passes and didn’t rush the ball much or they are a special talent like Lamar or Mahomes, but the running backs just didn’t show up on Sunday. The Cardinals are the land of misfit toys in the NFL, with all of their touchdowns going to players who were once great on other NFL teams, such as James Conner, Zach Ertz, and Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. The Cardinals can easily shake this loss off and still have a successful season, but with the bright lights of hard knocks and double XP weekends still in Call of Duty, it’ll be a season they have to prove to the world.
32-Dallas Cowboys (0-1)
It is already not their year and we are only halfway through Tuesday. The Cowboys put up the fewest points in Week One and had an awful game no matter which way you look at it. Dak Prescott threw under 50% for 134 yards and an interception and now has to be out for several weeks due to an injury to his throwing hand, leaving the keys of the offense in the hands of Cooper Rush. Everyone expected Ezekiel Elliott to have a huge first game, but he only had ten rushes for fifty-two yards. Micah Parsons had two sacks and Donovan Wilson intercepted Tom Brady, but that’s about it. A rough end to Week One looks to be a prediction for the rest of the season, and the Cowboys could easily have their worst year in decades.
Thank you for joining me in Week One of my NFL Rankings, did you agree or disagree? Where does your team rank? Where did I go wrong? Tell me in the comments below!