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redeyechicago.com

Pompei's NFL power rankings

Dan Pompei

On the NFL

7:35 PM CDT, September 18, 2012

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1. 49ers (1 last week): There isn't much not to like about the 49ers. At this point, the only question is who is No. 2?

2. Packers (4): Cut them some slack for losing to 49ers. They still are one fine football team.

3. Falcons (5): The defense is rejuvenated under Mike Nolan, and the offense looks pretty good too.

4. Eagles (18): Beating the Ravens showed they are for real. But unless they stop giving the ball away they won't keep winning.

5. Ravens (3): Joe Flacco thinks they would be 2-0 if not for the replacement officials.

6. Texans (6): It's difficult to get too excited about victories over the Jaguars and Dolphins. They will be tested Sunday against the Broncos though.

7. Patriots (2): Bill Belichick hasn't lost too many games the way the Patriots lost Sunday, and he won't lose too many more.

8. Chargers (16): They are 2-0 now; imagine how good they could be when they get Ryan Mathews and Antonio Gates back.

9. Cardinals (25): Given their quarterback issues, the Cardinals have plenty of doubters. But they could be one of those teams that finds ways to win.

10. Giants (10): Eli Manning derailed the Giants Sunday. And he saved them. Luckily for them, it was in that order.

11. Steelers (11): They didn't seem like the Steelers without James Harrison, Troy Polamalu and much of a running game, but they still won.

12. Bears (7): If the Bears can't play with the Packers, they won't get where they want to go.

13. Broncos (8): Let's not cut Peyton Manning or give up on the Broncos after one bad quarter.

14. Cowboys (9): If only they could play the defending Super Bowl champions every week.

15. Lions (12): This is a team that has not found its rhythm. When will it?

16. Panthers (21): Cam Newton is getting it cranked up, and that could mean the Panthers are about to take off.

17. Bengals (19): The Bengals can score, but they are going to have to score plenty to keep pace with what opponents are doing against their defense.

18. Redskins (13): Injuries are starting to pile up quickly on the Redskins. Can RGIII compensate?

19. Seahawks (22): Looks like the Seahawks are going to be able to give Russell Wilson some help with a running game and solid D.

20. Buccaneers (20): Get out the blackjacks and brass knuckles the next time an opponent tries the victory formation.

21. Jets (17): It may not be Tim Tebow time yet, but the Jets might need something to spice up the offense soon.

22. Rams (27): This team knows how to draw an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty with the best of them.

23. Saints (14): We knew they would miss Sean Payton, but they may be the most disappointing team in the NFL.

24. Colts (29): One more victory and they will match their total from 2011.

25. Vikings (24): If they couldn't beat the Colts, they really might have a hard time against the 49ers and Lions.

26. Chiefs (15): You can only blame Matt Cassel for so much. The Chiefs apparently have bigger problems.

27. Bills (31): Are the Bills the team the Jets whitewashed, or the team that whitewashed the Chiefs?

28. Dolphins (32): They really didn't want the first pick in the draft anyway.

29. Raiders (22): Things get tougher for the 0-2 Raiders with games against the Steelers and Broncos next.

30. Titans (23): In their first two games they have been outscored 72-23, which means the Titans have a lot of issues.

31. Jaguars (30): They look pretty inept offensively, and it could be a long season in Jacksonville.

32. Browns (28): If Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson can keep developing, all will not be lost for the Browns.