That’s it, the curtain has closed on the 2021 NFL regular season and the playoffs have arrived. Let’s see where the top 10 teams stand in our Power Rankings entering the postseason as we prepare for the Wild Card round this weekend.
Don’t forget, you can go over our nifty tool explanation with our Week 1 post, and remember to check back every Tuesday for analysis of the adjustment in the positions.
Now, let’s review our Top 10 teams and see if you agree.
1. Buffalo Bills (11-6 SU, 10-6-1 ATS) Next: vs. Patriots – The Bills did what many preseason pundits believed they would do and won the AFC East.
Entering this rubber match with their archrivals from New England, the Bills have a four-game winning streak and made their backers happy when they not only defeated the lowly Jets, 27-10, in their regular-season finale, but narrowly covered the 16-point impost.
2. Dallas Cowboys (12-5 SU, 13-4 ATS) Next: vs. 49ers – If you had an inkling that Dallas was going to be the juggernaut they have proven to be over the 2021 season and just bet them blindly week after week in your NFL picks, you would be squarely in the black as the Cowboys covered a sizzling 70.5 percent over the course of the regular season.
They ended with a 51-26 win over the Eagles and will now welcome the gritty-as-dirt 49ers into Jerry’s billion-dollar playground.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (12-5 SU, 8-9 ATS) Next: vs. Steelers – The Chiefs came alive in the second half of the season as their defense tightened up and Patrick Mahomes began zipping the ball like the gunslinger he is.
Although KC’s regular season concluded with a 28-24 win over the Broncos, it was not the kind of dominating performance many were expecting as the victory turned on an 86 yard fumble return to seal the deal. And although the Chiefs did not cop the top spot and the first-round bye, they will be getting what should be a cakewalk in the Steelers coming to Arrowhead.
4. Tampa Bay Bucs (13-4 SU, 9-8 ATS) Next: vs. Eagles – Tom Terrific and the Bucs will be the No. 2 seed in the NFC, defending their Super Bowl title after finishing the season in fine fashion, a 41-17 destruction of the Panthers.
Tampa Bay enters the postseason fray as one of the hottest teams in the league, winning seven of their last eight contests, and will look to beat the Eagles a second time this season after handing Philadelphia a 28-22 loss back in Week 6.
5. New England Patriots (10-7 SU, 10-7 ATS) Next: at Bills – On one hand, Patriots fans should be delighted their boys are back in the playoffs after a one-year absence. But on the other, they should also be concerned with the recent rookie mistakes being made by their first-year quarterback, Mac Jones.
The Patriots’ late-season woes versus the Dolphins in Miami continued as they fell, 33-24, to their division rivals and have now lost 9 of their last 11 games in South Beach during December and January. New England will get a third crack at the Bills on Saturday and try to replicate their 14-10 Week 13 victory in Buffalo.
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6. Green Bay Packers (13-4 SU, 12-5 ATS) Next: BYE – The Packers enter the postseason as the top seed in the NFC, earning them a well-deserved first-round bye but they ended with a whimper rather than a bang in a 37-30 loss to the lowly Lions to wrap their regular-season.
Nevertheless, the aim was to emerge healthy as their playoff seed had already been determined, win or lose. And it appears as though they accomplished that goal which bodes well for their postseason chances, especially after offensive tackle and 2020 All-Pro, David Bakhtiari, made his first appearance in over a year after two surgeries for a torn ACL.
7. Tennessee Titans (12-5 SU, 10-7 ATS) Next: BYE – The NFL odds at all of the top online sportsbooks installed the Titans as 10-point road favorites over the lowly Texans on Sunday. But Houston came to play and gave the Titans all they could handle.
When the smoke cleared, the Titans captured a 28-25 win and copped the No. 1 spot in the AFC as well as a first-round bye. Tennessee may see the return of the most ferocious running back in the game if Derrick Henry can make his way back from a foot fracture suffered in a Week 8 over the Colts.
8. San Francisco 49ers (10-7 SU, 9-8 ATS) Next: at Cowboys – The 49ers have endured many tough times this season but they have proven themselves impossible to count out.
For example, in their Week 18 overtime win over the Rams they not only erased a 17-point deficit but did it without their starting left tackle and 9x Pro Bowler, Trent Williams while losing their punter in the first half with a concussion.
They then watched two of their safeties exit with injuries. If gritty wins in the postseason, then the Niners could be NFC champs.
9. Los Angeles Rams (12-5 SU, 8-9 ATS) Next: vs. Cardinals – The Rams lost their final game of the season to the 49ers and watched their five-game winning streak come to an abrupt end.
But what has confounded Rams fans is the mercurial Matthew Stafford whose big arm was wasted in Detroit for all of those years and would finally find a home in LA to lead his team to the promised land.
And while Stafford has impressive numbers; 41 touchdowns, 4886 passing yards, and a 67.2 completion percentage, it is the bewildering interceptions he throws, 17 this season, that has fans on edge.
10. Cincinnati Bengals (10-7 SU, 10-7 ATS) Next: vs. Raiders – Joe Burrow and Joe Mixon took a seat for a meaningless Week 18 contest and it’s not all that surprising that their divisional rivals from Cleveland came away with a 21-16 win.
But when Burrow returns we are likely to see the resumption of one of the most electric pass/catch combos in the game when he hooks up early and often with rookie-extraordinaire, Ja’Marr Chase.