Quick Rundown of What NFL Power Rankings are
NFL Power Rankings are like a grain of salt, you must take them very lightly.
They are a measuring stick as to where teams are from week to week progress-wise. They are especially interesting before the season start, as you can gauge throughout the season where a tea, is.
Time to Break out the First Batch of NFL Power Rankings
The 2021 NFL Season officially kicks off tomorrow night when the Dallas Cowboys travel to Tampa Bay to take on the defending champs Buccaneers.
To celebrate the kickoff of the season, it is time to dive into my first of multiple Power Rankings.
These power rankings will be posted every Wednesday throughout the season.
So without further ado, it is time to dive in!
32. Houston Texans
I mean, most likely the obvious choice out of the bunch, the Houston Texans are coming into this season with a new coach, staff, and Quarterback. Tyrod Taylor will be holding down the signal calling for a team with no identity.
It is hard to imagine in any way
that this team comes out with anything other than a top 5 pick. Especially with the looming legal concerns of star quarterback Deshaun Watson
31. New York Jets
This is a tough one. The Jets could range anywhere from 31-28, but for this week they are at 31. The team is on the right track as they took QB, Zach Wilson and beefed up their O-Line with Vera-Tucker in the draft.
The team is on the rise, but not quite there yet. I expect them to struggle for yet another yet.
30. Detroit Lions
Oh, where to begin with the kneecap biters. They could 100 percent be a contending team this year. With a weak NFC North outside of Green Bay, this team could easily finish 2nd.
On the other hand. Jared Goff does not have much for weapons. TJ Hockenson and rookie, Amon Ra St. Brown are the two targets that stick out the most. After that, the water gets murky.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars got their future with 1st overall pick QB, Trevor Lawrence, now it is time to see how the team does in real game action.
The weapons are there for the young star to break out with Marvin Jones, DJ Chark, and James Robinson.
The downside, the offensive line could be atrocious for this team this year and could hinder them this season.
All in all, though, this team is going in the right direction
28. Atlanta Falcons
This team has fallen a long way since their epic collapse against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51.
Not much stands from the offense now as longtime star WR, Julio Jones left for Tennessee. The weapons are still there though for veteran QB, Matt Ryan.
Calvin Ridley, and rookie TE, Kyle Pitts will look to pick up where Jones left off last season. The move will officially allow Calvin Ridley to become a legit Number 1 WR.
As with the Jaguars though, the offensive line will be a problem though for Matt Ryan and new head coach Arthur Smith. Something that could hinder a hot offense.
27. Philadelphia Eagles
New head coach Nick Siriani has his hands full with this Eagles team. Amazing to think this team is 3 and a half years out from winning the Superbowl and now they have a new head coach and a new Quarterback.
The question is, can Jalen Hurts show his full potential and make this his team? A team with not a lot of offensive power other than Dallas Goedert, Zach Ertz, and rookie DeVonta Smith.
There is just not much to get excited about with this team right now, and it’s shocking that it has reached this point with this team.
26. Carolina Panthers
I have high hopes for this team in the next couple of years. I was a big Sam Darnold guy when he came out, but, Adam Gase massively killed that vibe.
New life though as Darnold is now in Carolina with Matt Rhule and Joe Brady where he will look to revive his career like Ryan Tannehill did post-Adam Gase era.
This team has the weapons, with superstar RB, Christian McCaffrey, WR, DJ Moore, and rookie Terrance Marshall Jr. The team could be a playoff threat this year. Only issue standing in their way. Tom Brady and the Buccaneers being in the same division along with the New Orleans Saints.
25. New York Giants
This team is on the right track. They get their star RB in Saquon Barkley that. They have a decent coach in Joe Judge. They also have, well… Daniel Jones.
Once again though, the biggest flaw will be the O-Line who has struggled this preseason, and 2nd-year tackle Andrew Thomas has not shown any signs of hope so far.
24. Cincinnati Bengals
The main signal-caller in Joe Burrow returns from a torn ACL in hopes to lead the Bengals in a wide-open AFC North.
Two main concerns, the defense, which ranked 7th in total points allowed last season, and the O-Line. I know I sound like a broken record with the O-Line, but there are a lot of teams who need help on the line. Anyway, the Bengals will look to improve from last season and a lot of people think they will be able to.
23. Las Vegas Raiders
One of the weirdest teams to pinpoint in the NFL this year. The Las Vegas Raiders are teetering on playoff and bust. The last couple of years have been bust, but with a revamped backfield of Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake, the team hopes to keep its QB, Derek Carr upright behind a patchwork O-Line.
22. Minnesota Vikings
Ah yes, the roller coaster ride that is the Minnesota Vikings. With studs Justin Jefferson and Adam Theilen at WR. You would think this team would make a chance for themselves in the NFC North. Nope. In fact, Kirk Cousins has digressed some in the past couple of years.
They have a chance though, they beefed up that O-Line some and locked up some Key Players on Defense.
There’s a chance. A slight chance, but a chance nonetheless.
21. Indianapolis Colts
The Colts have been up and down this season, losing Wentz and Nelson to foot injuries (both expected to be fine) then losing Wentz to COVID IL. Add losing TY Hilton.
This team has a good chance to be a playoff contender, they just need to stay healthy, which includes their injury-prone signal-caller in Carson Wentz.
20. Chicago Bears
Look, I would put this team higher if they would start Justin Fields. They are not though, it appears the team is choosing to start the season with “The Red Rifle” Andy Dalton.
No knock against Dalton, but he is nowhere near the kind of QB that can take a team to the playoffs. The way the Bears will make it is through Justin Fields.
Until then, they see Dalton as the way to go. Thus, the Bears land at 20.
19. Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos decided to push Drew Lock to the backup job in favor of the veteran, Teddy Bridgewater.
Denver is a team to look out for this year, their offense is expected to be fully healthy again, and the same with their defense. Thus could be a big step forward for Denver. A massive step in the right direction.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers
Look, I do not have a lot of faith in the Steelers this year, but as long as Mike Tomlin is coaching the team, anything is possible.
With that being said. This all hinges on two things. How does Big Ben play, and does TJ Watt play?
Ben, coming off a pretty good season last year will look to keep that same pace this year, with the same receiving corp as last year. Add rookie Najee Harris to the backfield, and you may have something.
As for the defense, it all hinges on TJ Watt and his situation. As of right now, it appears to have gotten ugly between the two sides with contract negotiations. So we shall see.
17. New Orleans Saints
This situation could have gone one of two ways. You could have had the bad Saints, where they start Taysom Hill or the competent, half-decent Saints where they start a Jameis Winston, they decided to go the latter. A very smart idea.
With Winston at the helm, it gives the Saints a better chance at success with a true pocket passer. If he can stay composed and not throw a million interceptions, then the Saints are in a good spot for the upcoming season.
16. Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys have their signal caller back after a gruesome leg injury last season. We all saw last season that he is a big part of the offense, with that said, with him being back, we now all expect the Cowboys to do big things. The question is, will they?
15. Los Angeles Chargers
The breakout of Justin Herbert last year was music to Chargers fan’s ears. Now comes the Sophomore season, where we see how he does once teams start to figure him out some.
The Chargers have a good team again this year and most expect them to make a big playoff push, but can they dethrone the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West is what they will be challenged to do this season.
14. Miami Dolphins
In comes the Miami Dolphins who showed signs of life last season with a second-half playoff push. Tua going into his first full season at QB has his work cut out for him. He should be fine though, especially with some of the weapons around him, and the defense for the Dolphins will look to be elite once again this year.
13. Arizona Cardinals
Another team that made a strong push to the playoffs last year but fell short. Kyler Murray and Co. will look to do it again, this time actually getting in. Their defense has upgraded quite well, and the offense got better with the additions of Rondale Moore and AJ Green.
Expect a big year out of the high-flying Cardinals this year.
12. Washington Football Team
The best thing about the Football Team is that they most likely have the best defense in the NFL in 2021.
Offensively, they aren’t terrible. Ryan Fitzpatrick will be behind center for the team this year, looking at new weapons in Curtis Samuel. Adding Terry McClaurin, Logan Thomas, and Antonio Gibson as well to the mix. If FitzMagic can ball out for a full season and not turn into FitzTragic. Then the Washington Football team is in a good position for playoffs once again.
11. San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers are looking to bounce back from an injury-riddled 2020 season. It appears Jimmy G will start off the season under center (Although it has not been officially announced yet) for the Niners.
With Aiyuk and Samuel looking to have another stellar season, mixed with of course star TE, George Kittle, the 49ers are in good shape for a push in what should be a grueling NFC West.
10. New England Patriots
Man oh man how far this team has come from last year. A team that went on an absolute spending spree in Free Agency decided to go the route of their 15th Overall pick to man the quarterback position for the upcoming season. Who would have thought?
All of that being said, the New England Patriots have primed themselves to make a push back into the playoffs after missing out last year.
Jones will be equipped with one of the best offensive lines in the league, along with the two tight ends of Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith. Add in Jakobi Meyers returning the New England pass game could be pretty good this year.
Then you have a lethal backfield led by Damien Harris combined with what could be one of the best defenses in the league. The Patriots have pulled a full 180 compared to last year’s NFL Power Rankings and it shows on the roster.
9. Tennessee Titans
The Titans are primed for yet another strong push to the playoffs and even further. The addition of Julio Jones just makes that offense even more exciting. The pieces are there on both sides of the ball. Making the Titans once again a dark horse team for the Super Bowl.
8. Seattle Seahawks
When your team has Russell Wilson, you will 95 percent of the time be in the top 10. Wilson will look to work his magic again this year behind the same O-Line as last year. The weapons are there. The question is, can he be the Wilson of the last couple of years, and can the defense hold up for the Seahawks to make a push.
7. Baltimore Ravens
Will this be the year teams finally figure out Lamar Jackson? That is the biggest question leading into the season for the Ravens. The second biggest question? Who is gonna run behind Gus Edwards as the 2nd running back, because that Running Backroom is decimated, and nothing against the signing of Le’Veon Bell, but he is not the answer to that running back room?
6. Los Angeles Rams
The Matthew Stafford era will officially commence for the Rams this season. This is the best cast of weapons Stafford has had in his career, and it will benefit him majorly. This combined with what could be a lethal defense, the Los Angeles Rams could be a force to be reckoned with. Making them a favorite for a Super Bowl run.
5. Cleveland Browns
Is Cleveland finally a threat to the league? This will be the year we find out for sure, Mayfield and Co. will roll out once again and try to make another far push into the postseason. With OBJ returning and the rise of Donovan Peoples Jones, the Browns are primed to make a big push to the playoffs.
4. Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills are another major threat in the AFC this year. Josh Allen looks primed for another massive season with Stefon Diggs as his primary weapon. If there is one team that can dethrone the Kansas City Chiefs, it is going to be the Buffalo Bills.
3. Green Bay Packers
In what is being dubbed, the Last Dance, Rodgers, and Co. will look to make one last Super Bowl run before what is expected to be a breakup in the coming offseason. They have the team to do so, and outside of the Buccaneers, the Packers are favorites out of the NFC.
2. Kansas City Chiefs
Not much to say here, the AFC favorites are back again and will look to make it a 3rd straight Super Bowl appearance.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
As I said, the defending champs will once again be the team to beat this year. Tom Brady and legitimately the same team that appeared in and won the Super Bowl last year. This year will be no different, and if NFL Power Rankings dictate anything, Tom Brady is well on his way to his 8th ring.
Put a Wrap on the First Set of NFL Power Rankings
And there you have it, your first batch of NFL Power Rankings for the 2021 season!
Stay tuned Wednesdays each week as I will give my full NFL Power Rankings as the season progresses!
-Jeff Hoak (@jeffhoak1)
Featured Image: Audacy.com
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