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On a weekly basis we rank NFL teams from best #1 to worst #32
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Welcome to OddsTrader's 2021 NFL Power Rankings. With free agency and the 2021 NFL Draft done and dusted, we look ahead to the upcoming season and serve up projections for all 32 NFL teams.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs predictably top our NFL preseason power rankings as the No.1 and No.2 teams, respectively. And after this top tandem, several notables coming off stellar 2020 campaigns inside the top 10. There might be a few surprises as far as the order of the first 10 goes and, maybe even, the ensuing No.11 -15 spots. However, that's the nature of these NFL power rankings — to be clinical and impartial in are a legitimate Super Bowl contender from those that are merely a pretender.
On the flipside of our current NFL rankings, the Houston Texans prop up the table in the No.32 spot. Well, who else could it have been? into 2021 than the Houston Texans are, surely.
Elsewhere in the basement of these NFL power rankings, there's bound to be a few surprises too with the order of things. A slew of teams that might have bright prospects for the future might rank lower than many expect. The reason for that is that insofar as the present goes they're simply not there yet. It's a harsh assessment but true nonetheless. That's what NFL power rankings are all about: tough love.
So, without further ado, here are the NFL team rankings as of now. Of course, they are in no way set in stone and will change over the course of the season with NFL weekly rankings updating accordingly.
Tampa Bay has returned all 22 starters from season and that singularly impressive decision by GM Jason Licht Tampa Bay's championship credentials for Super Bowl LVI. Tampa Bay's defense was one of the top defenses in the league, including their run defense which finished the regular season as the first-ranked in NFL rankings. Tom Brady must be chuffed to have the defensive core back for another run at Super Bowl glory. Separately, Licht's savvy wheeling and dealing put the Bucs into an enviable position with respect 2021 NFL draft. While others looked to plug glaring holes, the Bucs were able to take a more pragmatic approach and stocked up on assets quarterback Kyle Trask along with right tackle Robert Hainsey.
Depending on the current NFL power rankings 2021 in question, as the No.1 or No.2 team going into the upcoming season. Here, they're obviously No.2. This is a reflection of their loss to to the wholesale changes that they've undergone during the offseason, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Learning the lessons from the 31-9 defeat to the Bucs in SBLV, Chiefs general manager Brett Veach and coach Andy Reid were left with no alternative but to hack apart ninepins all the while their prized quarterback Patrick Mahomes was left running for his life.
The Chiefs have owned for the last couple of years with most NFL team power rankings, but with five new starters on offense this season, including offensive tackle Orlando Brown, who was picked up from Baltimore, these improvements remain to be seen in action. Suppose having the prodigal Patrick Mahomes anchoring the quarterback position is always going to earn the Chiefs high marks with scores of NFL analysts and it's a matter of time before they climb up the NFL football rankings.
NFL rankings overall have seen the Green Bay as the uncertainty surrounding the future of Aaron Rodgers prevails. There's serious doubt about his return to Green for the 2021 NFL campaign. Having said that the assumption here is that he'll return before week 1 gets underway until proven otherwise. And given the fact that the Packers have reached the NFC Championship game in back-to-back seasons, including Rodgers' MVP winning 2020 season, the Packers deserve to be projected inside the top three teams.
Easily, with one of the most exciting and up-and-coming offenses according to NFL rankings the Buffalo Bills are one of the hottest teams to spot ahead of the 2021 NFL season. Nobody doubts credentials as a legitimate Super Bowl contender, but it remains to be seen how well they manage their new-fangled lofty expectations. It's one thing to be the team in the hunt and another to be the team that's hunted. It's safe to after the Bills reached the AFC Championship game nobody will be underestimating them. or their offense which rankings in 2020 was the second-best offense overall behind the Kansas City Chiefs. But they might face a much tougher road in 2021 within the AFC East, seen marked improvement this offseason.
Putting the Pittsburgh Steelers at No.5 might not be met with unanimous approval, especially given how the wheels came undone down the stretch in 2020 they failed to advance into the second round of the NFL playoffs after losing to the Cleveland Browns in the wild card round. However, this is the team that started 11-0 SU before things eventually caught up with them during a trying, coronavirus pandemic-impacted season. To go undefeated for 11 straight games is something of a big deal and it comes down factors, one of which is the stout defense that finished third overall in NFL def rankings. Moreover, there's this tiny detail with regards to head coach Mike Tomlin, who has yet to preside over a losing season in his 14-year career in Pittsburgh. That's simply nothing to scoff at either. There's a feeling that this may be Ben Roethlisberger's swan song season and possibly his last chance for another Lombardy Trophy.
The Los Angeles Rams finished 2020 as the top defense in ESPN's NFL defensive line rankings. Thus, the Rams are ranked high with most NFL power rankings that are currently available in the market. It's going to be a bit of an adjustment with Matthew Stafford leading the Rams offense, but as the veteran quarterback is undeniably one of the quarterbacks in NFL offense rankings, the Rams offense might benefit from another boost in general. This is going to be the first on a team that is considered a legitimate contender, largely thanks to the strength of two of the best defensive players in the game: Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey, both of which are regulars at the top of the NFL defensive player rankings. Separately, Ramsey is in the eyes of many one of the best cornerbacks in the league, a fact underscored by his stellar 2020 campaign in which he was amongst the cornerbacks according to NFL cornerback rankings.
SI NFL Power Rankings elevated the San Francisco 49ers up to No.7 following the 2021 NFL draft, as we at OddsTrader. But not for entirely the same reasons. There's a lot of hype and buzz surrounding the No.3 overall pick Trey Lance and an assumption that he's an upgrade on Jimmy Garoppolo, the Niners improved their stock considerably with many savvy draft picks. More importantly, this was a team that reached SBLIV less than two years ago and was 15 minutes away from potentially hoisting the Lombardy Trophy. Last season, the Niners were totally decimated by injury. With a healthier squad going into 2021, this is a team that could contend again even in the coach Robert Saleh who has left for the greener pastures of New York.
Russell Wilson made no secret about some of his frustrations with the Seattle front office at the end of 2020 that speculation about a potential trade captured the imagination of scores of NFL analysts. who were only too keen to debate potential landing spots for the veteran. Tale it all proved to be much ado about nothing. The Seahawks stalwart, who enjoyed an absurdly hot start to his 2020 campaign and earned on for a stretch in the NFL com player rankings, won't be going anywhere —at least not for the foreseeable. The Seahawks are consistent double-digit winners in the regular season and regular playoff contenders. However, since winning Super Bowl 49, they've flattered to deceive. Have they improved all that much this offseason?
By and large, the Tennessee Titans are ranked on the edge of the top ten with most national power rankings outlets. it wasn't for their lack of a bona fide top-ranked defense according to NFL team stat rankings they might have been ranked higher. That's Titans offense has been a force to contend with for the last couple of seasons. And going into 2021 it may well be even more stunning to behold. Adding Julio Jones to A.J. Brown could give Ryan Tannehill one of the best two-punch wide receiver in the AFC, if not the league. The Titans also added wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL draft. Then there's Derrick Henry who needs no introduction. He's unquestionably the league's best running back and a leader in NFL running back rankings ever since he burst onto the scene.
The Baltimore Ravens have been the vogue NFL pick for the past few seasons, but they've come up short in the postseason where it counts the most. To date, Lamar Jackson has yet to get the better of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs and until that happens the Ravens are going to be held back somewhat ahead of NFL power rankings Week 1. They're on the 10, but with the second toughest NFL schedule in the league going into 2021 it remains to be seen which side of the top 10 they're going to be straddling in NFL rankings after Week 1, never mind later in the season.
The Cleveland Browns are in uncharted territory after capping off a standout 2020 campaign with a divisional round appearance in the playoffs (l. to Kansas City Chiefs). Second-year head coach Kevin Stefanski will have his work cut out now that he's set the bar so high — heck, there are many that believe the Browns could potentially top their field's NFL division rankings even though the AFC North is billed as one of the toughest divisions in the league. Can Baker Mayfield deliver? That's the big question. Cleveland's offense was middling according to ESPN NFL team offense defense overall. There's also the NFL schedule to consider. Last season, the Browns benefited from a rather easy schedule. In 2021, the Browns have the ninth toughest schedule in the league.
No team as the New England Patriots this offseason shoring up its assets. On paper, Bill Belichick's moves bode well — from bringing back Cam Newton, drafting Mac Jones defense to restore it to its former glory days when it was one of the most feared in NFL defense rankings. How this all pans out remains to be seen, but Belichick is one of the greatest coaches in the league and that's something to hang one's hat on at least initially.
The Arizona Cardinals are poised to make a significant step in 2021 if all their wheeling and Last season, the Cardinals snapped up De'Andre Hopkins and that move saw marked improvement on the offense. This season, the Cardinals snapped up J.J. Watt, a move that is sure to elevate the Cardinals in the NFL defense power rankings going into 2021.
Washington Football Team surprised many in 2020 by winning the NFC East, even though it was one of the worst divisions in the league. The key to their success was the defense which by the NFL second-best unit after the Los Angeles Rams. The Washington Football ways with Alex Smith, who led Washington into the playoffs in his comeback season before announcing his retirement in the offseason. They start a new chapter with Ryan Fitzpatrick, one of the most popular journeyman quarterbacks in the league and an exciting player to watch even if he doesn't score high in NFL player rankings consistently.
Carson Wentz jumped ship in the offseason, abandoning the sinking Philadelphia Eagles in favor of the Indianapolis Colts, a side that by all accounts is knocking on the door of contention. On the surface, Wentz's move to Indy makes sense as he reunites with Frank Reich, under whom he had his best statistical season in the early days of his career. However, in recent seasons performance has been on the decline and that's why they're ranked in the middle of our power rankings. Put simply, if Wentz doesn't play well he'll likely take the Colts down with him. Let's see where first few weeks, say in NFL power rankings after Week 3.
The Los Angeles Chargers are entering a new ear with a new head coach but there's a lot to like about this team from top to bottom. Brandon Staley is an excellent hire to replace Anthony Lynn, who was fired after four seasons No.6 draft pick Justin Herbert proved to be a revelation in 2020 after he was thrown into the fray in Week 2. Indeed, he won offensive rookie of the year on the back of his rookie season. The Chargers have a lot of key positions that are well developed already and that sets them up as a team to pay close attention to.
The Dallas Cowboys rank much higher in many national power ranking polls than the No.17 spot they're getting here. On one hand, the Cowboys have the second easiest NFL schedule and that should work in their favor. On the flipside, Dak Prescott is coming off a horrendous injury, Mike McCarthy is coming off a horrific first year as the head coach of America's beloved team and the defense in Dallas remains a question mark, never mind special teams which barely made an impression on the NFL special teams rankings. The Cowboys drafted on the defensive side of the ball predominantly but that just adds inexperience to the list of other factors that would take the shine off Dallas.
The Miami Dolphins present one of the biggest question marks ahead of 2021 as they could go either up or down in each NFL power rankings week. Tua Tagovailoa enters his sophomore year without the comfort of having Ryan Fitzpatrick to fall back on in the quarterback room or on the sidelines during a game. As a matter of fact, Brian Flores won't be able to rely on 'Fitz Magic' either if things don't go to plan. The Dolphins may be a popular sleeper pick, but everything rests on Tagovailoa rising to the occasion.
Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy's tenure in Chicago hangs by the slimmest of threads. They've received some reprieve after landing one of the most intriguing quarterback prospects in Juston Fields, trading up to No.11 to snap up the Ohio State Buckeyes prospect. However, the Bears also signed Andy Dalton on a one-year deal. Dalton was under the impression be the starter in 2021, but whether that remains the case only time will tell. The Chicago Bears would have ranked much lower in this power rankings had their season rested exclusively on Dandy Andy. As it is, they're slightly higher on account of the potential that Justin Fields promises.
Sports Illustrated NFL power rankings recorded a drop for the New Orleans Saints at the conclusion of the 2021 NFL Draft, a fall from No.7 (post-Super Bowl) to No.11 ( Draft). Given that we don't know if Sean Payton will turn to Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill as the starter, now that Drew Brees has officially hung up his cleats, the Saints are. This isn't going to be the same team of seasons past that was a consistent . In fact, the Saints' predicament isn't too far off the New England Patriots' predicament going into 2020 for the first time without Tom Brady. And we all know how well that went. Hence, the NFL football power rankings here.
The Minnesota Vikings were one of the worst teams in the first half of the 2020 NFL season and only a better second half salvaged head coach Mike Zimmer's job. The Vikings are a big question mark for 2021, Kirk Cousins remains an average quarterback and the Vikings overall are average and that's a view that's shared with many and unlikely to change before NFL rankings Week 1.
The Denver Broncos find themselves in an interesting position speculation with Rodgers. Nothing official or tangible has been announced, of course. That said should the Broncos land Rodgers before the 2021 NFL season gets underway then they'll skyrocket up the NFL position rankings, not unlike the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did last season when they landed Tom Brady. For the time being, with things being the way they are, the Broncos occupy the No.22 spot here. The Broncos in the interim have picked up Teddy Bridgewater after the Carolina Panthers decided they'd seen enough from the journeyman quarterback in one season. How, Bridgewater adjusts or, even, if seen. There's talk of a quarterback battle with Drew Lock. On the , the Broncos are a team to spot in the NFL team defense rankings. With a better quarterback, the Broncos might have started ranked much higher on the strength of their defense. Unfortunately, the defense is paying the price for the uncertainty on the offense right now.
The Atlanta Falcons enter a new era with a new GM and new head coach. Interestingly, the new regime chose not to hack the team apart this offseason. retool on the fly with some cosmetic fixes, particularly on offense. Matt Ryan is back for 2021. And he gets one of the most coveted tight ends from the 2021 NFL draft, Kyle Pitts (selected fourth overall) to bolster the Falcons' O-line. However, Ryan loses one of his favorite offensive weapons at the same time as the Falcons have bid adieu to stalwart wide receiver Julio Jones — one of the game's veterans and a player that consistently ranks high in NFL receiver rankings. Nevertheless, the Falcons offense has the potential to be dynamic again but the jury is out on the Falcons defensive line, which has been the weak link in recent years.
New York Jets fans finally have reason to be excited about the future. The Jets bagged one of the hottest NFL head coaches on the market this offseason and snapped up their franchise quarterback Zach Wilson with the No.2 The Jets are rebuilding in 2021, so cautious optimism is the order for the day. However, there's a lot to like about this team.
The Las Vegas Raiders have flattered to deceive for far too long and so they start their 2021 campaign in the bottom half of the NFL power rankings today. Of course, opinion is split on the Raiders with some still entertaining the idea that this is a legitimate contender for SBLVI. However, given the fact that the AFC West has been dominated by the Kansas City Chiefs ever since Andy Reid took over as the head coach, GM Mike Mayock coach Jon Gruden their work cut out for them to raise the profile of the of the NFL league rankings.
NFC East hopefuls the New York Giants are coming off a solid draft and an offseason that bodes well for 2021. Second-year head coach Joe Judge has earned a lot of praise for his first term in the Big Apple and his second term may well be better. A lot of that though rests on Daniel Jones, who needs to show the necessary improvement in his third year as a starter in the NFL otherwise the Giants may have to make some tough decisions down the road.
Four seasons ago, the Philadelphia Eagles were Super Bowl champions. Today, they're down in the dumps and amongst the basement dwellers in NFL power rankings now. The main reason for this less than favorable outlook is the fact that the Eagles are entering a total rebuild in 2021 with a new general manager and head coach. As well, they parted ways with disgruntled quarterback Carson Wentz in the offseason after the starter took issue with the way he was treated in the City of Brotherly Love towards the end of Philly's 2020 campaign. This leaves many question marks hanging over the Eagles. Jalen Hurts is expected to be the starter, the 2020 NFL draft is very much an untried and untested quarterback. Can he be a viable starter over the course of an 18-week NFL season? For the last few seasons, the Eagles have struggled to stay healthy, the defense hasn't stepped up consistently enough and special teams have been uninspired. Thus, it should come as no surprise that the latest NFL power rankings across the board have Philly ranked low — in some cases, they're ranked even lower than the generous No.27 ranking they've received here.
Is Sam Darnold the answer for the Carolina Panthers? Well, if Teddy Bridgewater serves as any kind of example, merely one year to prove his worth or he too might be looking for employment at the conclusion of the 2021 season. Darnold's first three seasons in the NFL have left much to be desired. Right now, allowances are being made for Darnold who may very well prove that his poor play was the result of bad coaching. Should his struggles follow him to Carolina, he'll be out of excuses. Frankly, it wouldn't be surprising if he's not in the starting lineup before the season ends.
A new era is set to dawn in Detroit after a total spring clean in the offseason involved hiring a new general manager, head coach and concluded with a blockbuster trade that saw the Lions swap quarterbacks with the Los Angeles Rams. How Jared Goff will fare in Motor Town is a big question mark. On paper, the team isn't a total shambles, but it's a rebuild that's likely going to take time to flourish. Add to that the sixth toughest NFL Strength of Schedule (tied with Cincinnati Bengals) and it may well be a tough slog. As such, the Lions are low in NFL team rankings overall.
Joe Burrow is entering his sophomore year and while there's a lot to like about tant to keep in mind that he's coming off a serious injury last season. His status is looking auspicious but we won't truly know for certain until the season kicks off. Then there's the status of the team in general, which is a big question mark. There are many holes as yet on the roster that could prove problematic, especially when considering the NFC North is stacked in talent, It's hard o see how the Bengals will be competitive in their own division, never mind the league. Additionally, head coach Zac Taylor is on the hot seat after his first two seasons with Cincinnati left much to be desired. He's not getting any favors either because according to NFL schedule rankings — the so-called strength of schedule — the Bengals have received the sixth toughest schedule in the league.
The Urban Meyer era is underway1, but if early signs were any indication at all it's already off to a bit of a rocky start. Granted they drafted Trevor Lawrence, who according to the pre-draft NFL quarterback rankings was the prohibitive top prospect. But the Clemson Tigers The Jaguars are in total redevelopment and that usually means it's going to be an uphill climb. Separately, the hiring of controversial strength coach Chris Doyle lasted about two days as he was forced to retire which doesn't provide good optics. On the contrary, while the resurrection of Tim Tebow is easy on the eyes, repositioning him as a tight end is a bold move that may not pay dividends in the end.
Houston's well-documented nosedive last season was epic. It prompted the swift firing of GM and head coach Bill O'Brien barely a month into Houston's 2020 campaign, and it caused widespread disenfranchisement of players in the locker room and spread disenchantment amongst Texans fans who'd had high hopes. Hence, the NFL rankings 2021 with just about every single NFL analyst and media outlet.
From Super Bowl contender to no-hopers, the repercussions of Houston's fall from grace are still reverberating today. Moreover, Houston's prospects remain iffy for a number of other reasons: quarterback Deshaun Watson's future in Houston — NFL potentially even — is uncertain; the roster overall still has more holes than a sieve and the former face of the franchise, J.J. Watt, has hightailed it out of town faster than a speeding bullet. To be fair, there's little to recommend the Texans in any way shape or form.
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