“Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski put away any offseason speculation about their futures in New England by picking up where they left off,” said Jenny Vrentas of The Monday Morning Quarterback. “Just as notable was the much improved performance by the Patriots’ defense.”
The Eagles received six first-place votes for 366 points despite their sluggish 18-12 win over the Atlanta Falcons.
The Minnesota Vikings remained at No. 3 with 363 points. In his first start with the Vikings, Kirk Cousins had 244 yards and two touchdowns in a 24-16 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
“Solid start for Kirk Cousins at quarterback,” said John Clayton of 710 ESPN in Seattle.
The L.A. Rams are close behind again at No. 4. The Rams earned the other three first-place votes for 360 points.
“After a shaky first half, Rams put on a clinic against the overmatched Raiders and show that (coach) Sean McVay’s team looks ready to live up to the Super Bowl hype,” Newsday’s Bob Glauber said of the Rams’ opening 33-13 rout of the Raiders on Monday night.
The Jacksonville Jaguars moved up two spots to No. 5 and face a big test on Sunday when they host the Patriots in a rematch of last season’s AFC championship game.
“The Jags have waited almost eight months to avenge a bitter loss in Foxborough that cost them a Super Bowl berth,” said Ira Kaufman of Fox 13 in Tampa, Florida.
The Green Bay Packers jumped three spots to No. 6 after Aaron Rodgers led a remarkable comeback from a 20-0 deficit to a 24-23 victory on Sunday night after briefly leaving the game with a knee injury.
The Packers will host the Vikings on Sunday in one of the top matchups of Week 2.
“Aaron Rodgers and the Packers were impressive in the second half Sunday, but let’s be honest, the real test comes against the Vikings,” said Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk.
The Kansas City Chiefs moved up six spots to No. 7 after beating the AFC West rival Los Angeles Chargers 38-28. The Chiefs will get another road challenge this week as they head to Heinz Field to face the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Carolina Panthers rose three spots to No. 8 after topping the Dallas Cowboys 16-8.
The Baltimore Ravens leaped five places to No. 9 after routing the Buffalo Bills 47-3.
The Ravens will open Week 2 when they head to Cincinnati to face the Bengals on Thursday night.
“(The Ravens) look like AFC North favorites,” Fox Sports’ John Czarnecki said.
The Falcons fell two spots to No. 10. They are scheduled to host the Panthers on Sunday in their home opener at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, site of the next Super Bowl.
The New York Jets, who opened the season in last place, soared to No. 17 after their 48-17 rout of the Detroit Lions, who fell from No. 19 to No. 30.
“Either the Detroit Lions are that bad or the Jets are going to be a lot better than I thought,” said Alex Marvez of The Sporting News.
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