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NFL Power Rankings Week 2: Packers Top The Heap, Cardinals Flying High(er)

The first full week of the 2011 NFL season is in the books. There were some surprising results (what the heck happened to the Pittsburgh Steelers!) and some expected winners. It's far too early to get a real good sense of what teams are actually going to do this season but we have a lot more information than we did one week ago. We certainly have enough for Week 2 NFL Power Rankings.

The theme from Week 1 games was poor defense and questionable special teams play. That's probably a result of the shortened offseason and will likely (hopefully) improve with time. Here's how SB Nation's NFL expert Joel Thorman sees things across the league.

1. Green Bay Packers: At the top of the heap, the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers took care of business in the first game of the season. Aaron Rodgers put up a ton of yards and points but the New Orleans Saints weren't exactly stuck in the mud either. 

2. Baltimore Ravens: I guess when you totally dismantle your rival and one of the league's (allegedly) best defenses you earn some respect. We'll see if these birds don't come back to earth. I think they will.

3. New England Patriots: There was no way Tom Brady was going to put up with Cam Newton having more passing yards in a single game. He dropped 517 of them on the Miami Dolphins, another defense that was supposed to be good this year. Sense a theme?

(Go to Joel's rankings to see the rest. We're not ranking then entire league here.)

17. Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals jumped up from the 21st spot with their win and undefeated record. There was plenty of reason to be hopeful coming out of Sunday's win but there's also plenty of concern. The defense got torched by a rookie QB in his first start, but then again defense around the league was iffy. A theme, if you will.

Elsewhere in the NFL West, the St. Louis Rams hung on to the 15th spot despite losing to the Eagles (4) and taking several big injury hits. The San Francisco 49ers are 19th with their crazy win over the Seattle Seahawks. The Water Chickens take up the rear in the division with a 23 rankings.

Cardinals Week 2 opponent, the Washington Redskins are ranked 22 and are coming off their win over the New York Giants (18). It's likely going to take at least a 4-1 record for the Cardinals to break into the top 15. But that's OK, flying under the radar has worked well for the baseball team in Arizona.

What do you think?