NFL Power Rankings are meant to be a measure of a team's performance that looks further than just the record. They take into account, not just wins and losses, but the spreads and the venues. They aren't predictions of who will win in the future, but rather a writer's objective attempt to provide some order to past developments.

For instance, power rankings could look at all the teams that are 2-0 and try to order them based on who had the tougher schedule and the better scores. From that point of view, the Kansas City Chiefs would be considered stronger than, for example, the Carolina Panthers. Even though both teams are 2-0 the Chiefs beating New England at New England by 15 is a lot more impressive than the Panthers hosting the Buffalo Bills and beating them by six.

If you think "a win is a win" and don't think further than that, power rankings simply aren't for you.

NFL.com's power rankings have New England wrong

Elliot Harrison, following Monday night's result that saw the Detroit Lions defeat the New York Giants, offered his power rankings at NFL.com. He made the New England Patriots No. 3 in the league and justified his selection in the following way:

"So much for the demise of the Patriots. Felt so much pressure from the comments section of this article, Twitter and Maurice Jones-Drew on the 'NFL Power Rankings' show to move New England further down, and I wouldn't do it. The most encouraging sign from Sunday's win in New Orleans -- one of the tougher venues in which to pull such a thing off -- was the re-emergence of Rob Gronkowski, who was effectively neutralized in Week 1 by Kansas City" (September 19th).

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You wouldn't move a team up or down based on other people's comments. However, you would move them up or down based on achievements. It sounds like Harrison picked New England as more of a prediction (ie. he saw an "encouraging sign") that they will bounce back in the weeks ahead and without really looking at what beating New Orleans means. His selection of them as the third-best team in power rankings, despite a loss this season, maybe more a reflection of opinion bias than a serious look at what has transpired in the NFL.

New England losing by 15 at home means that they can't be No. 3 at this early point in the season where teams have only played two games. A 16-point win over the No. 25 team in his list, the New Orleans Saints, doesn't prove a ton and, both results taken together, the Patriots would have to ranked outside of the top five in any serious power rankings. That doesn't mean that they won't win the Super Bowl: it's just an assessment of what they've proven this season so far.

There are a lot of people that confuse power rankings with predictions or opinion.

The Patriots could be outside of the top 10 except for the fact that KC has earned the top spot and a loss to them isn't terribly discrediting. Here's a look at another take on the NFL's top-ten power rankings following Week-2 action.

  • No. 1: Kansas City Chiefs
  • No. 2: Atlanta Falcons
  • No. 3: Denver Broncos
  • No. 4: Detroit Lions
  • No. 5: Oakland Raiders
  • No. 6: Pittsburgh Steelers
  • No. 7: Philadelphia Eagles
  • No. 8: Green Bay Packers
  • No. 9: New England Patriots
  • No. 10: Carolina Panthers

One of the highest-ranked teams with a loss is Green Bay. They are 1-1 with a nice win in the first week by eight at home against Seattle. However, there is a reason to be skeptical of the Seahawks at this point as they posted just a small spread against San Francisco in Week 2. Green Bay losing by double digits on the road in Week 2 hurts, but they did lose to Atlanta, a team that scores high on power rankings. That means Green Bay does not look that bad at this point in the season.

Philadelphia look sharp through two weeks

Some might regard the Philadelphia Eagles as a team that doesn't deserve to be in the top 10 of power rankings. However what has Philly done that would make them so bad? They dumped Washington in Week 1 by 13 at Washington and the Redskins, if we looked deep, would rank as a middle team following their road win in Week 2. A seven-point loss to the Chiefs at Kansas City is hardly discrediting for Philly given where the Chiefs are ranked. 1-1 after two road games, with a good score in their win, and a competitive game against the strongest team in their loss put the Eagles among the best in the league.

The Broncos as a No. 3 selection might surprise some people. They have not played on the road yet, but a 25-point victory against the Dallas Cowboys proves a lot about the Broncos, a team that entered the game as 2-point underdogs. They are a team that might slide down as road games come up. However, based on what has happened, instead of trying to predict the future, the Broncos look very strong thus far.

The Lions posting two double-digit wins, one on the road and one at home, is convincing. There's some fuzziness with them as it's not clear how strong their competition has been. Mainly, the New York Giants might not be that good this season. However, a 14-point win at New York still bolsters the Lions' power ranking. Furthermore, Arizona, the other team the Lions beat, could be regarded as a middle team and Detroit beat them by 12.

Carolina rounds out the Top Ten. They have two wins against two really bad teams, but at least they posted a 20-point spread at San Fran in Week 1. Losing Greg Olsen for a month may cause the Panthers to slide down, but let's not dabble in predictions as that's a wait-and-see situation. Based on what's been proven on the field, a 2-0 team can't be given a middle spot in power rankings.

Everything will start to shake up again when action resumes. This week the Thursday game is between the Los Angeles Rams and the 49ers, two peripheral teams. An interesting game next week for power rankings will feature the Atlanta Falcons at the Detroit Lions. Furthermore, the Redskins could barge their way into the top ten by beating the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.