As we cross the halfway point of the season, it is time for reflection, optimism and harsh realities. Each team is about to tell us if they are contenders and pretenders, it is a great time of the year. It is also a perfect time to bring you this week’s NFL power rankings!
As always, while I truly am trying to be as subjective as possible during the writing of this article, I do acknowledge that it is impossible to not be biased towards your favorite NFL team, and against your rivals. With the explanation for the headline out of the way, let’s get in to what you came to see!
1 | Pittsburgh Steelers | 6-0 | last week (3)
I said they would be number one if they beat the Ravens, and I am a man of my word. The Steelers have shown that they are the most complete team in the NFL so far. The Chiefs have been number one for a while, but how long can they continue to win with a bottom barrel defensive line?
2 | Kansas City Chiefs | 6-1 | last week (1)
The Chiefs are dropping in the rankings even though they didn’t lose. That just goes to show how big Pittsburgh’s divisional win over Baltimore was. Also, as mentioned earlier, the Chiefs defensive line is ranked 26th in the NFL so far.
3 | Baltimore Ravens | 5-2 | last week (2)
The Ravens only two losses this season are to the two teams ahead of them on this list. This defense is legit, but what is Lamar Jackson when he has no running game? Not much, apparently. Baltimore has been a mainstay in the top three of these rankings, but this spot is tenuous…to say the least.
4 | Tampa Bay Buccaneers | 6-2 | last week (4)
The Bucs’ are challenging the Steelers as the most complete team in football. Leonard Fournette seems fresh, and the team is inexplicably adding Antonio Brown into the fold. This is going to be must-see TV for the rest of the season.
5 | Green Bay Packers | 5-2 | last week (5)
The Packers followed up an embarrassing loss to the Bucs’ with an outstanding performance against the hapless Texans. They then turned around and lost to the one-win Vikings. This team makes no sense. One thing that is for sure, and that is that Davante Adams is going to be a problem for the league during the course of this stretch run.
6 | Seattle Seahawks | 6-1 | last week (6)
Russell Wilson is having an MVP season and the team is getting Jamal Adams back from injury. No offense in the NFC is hotter right now, and they are pushing KC for the most explosive in the whole NFL. Hopefully, for ‘hawks fans, Adams can fix the defense that is in shambles.
7 | Buffalo Bills | 6-2 | last week (9)
The Bills got off of their little losing streak with a huge win over the division-rival Patriots. The win is huge, not only in the standings but in the locker room. Knowing that they can beat New England is huge for this team’s morale.
8 | Arizona Cardinals | 5-2 | last week (11)
Arizona is building a team that is capable of being dominant on both sides of the ball. They still have some down games, as any team with a young quarterback would, but when they put it all together it is magical. They are going to have a chance to prove their mettle down the stretch as they are set to play the Rams (twice), the Seahawks (again), and have games against Buffalo and a tough Miami squad this week.
9 | Tennessee Titans | 5-2 | last week (7)
Mike Vrabel and Ryan Tannehill have been outstanding at their jobs this season. Too bad they can’t play in the secondary. That part of the Titans defense needs to be addressed before this team can become elite. A loss to the Bengals may be the wake-up call this team needed, they had better hope it was.
10 | Los Angeles Rams | 5-3 | last week (10)
This offense can be pushed around. It’s that simple. The good thing for the Rams, though, is that when they don’t get pushed around, they usually win the football game. There is still plenty of time for this team to find its true offensive identity. The defense is certainly holding it down in the meantime.
11 | Indianapolis Colts | 5-2 | last week (12)
Philip Rivers still scares the hell out of me, but the Colts are starting to grow on me. The defense is legit, and the offense can adjust weekly to attack the opponent. Indy is still a step behind most of the good teams in the AFC, however, as they have serious deficiencies at the receiver position.
12 | New Orleans Saints | 5-2 | last week (13)
Another week, another win without Michael Thomas. This team was able to weather the storm of not having one of the best receivers in the league. Now having a chance to get him back and fully integrated by the playoffs, the Saints are a team on the rise.
13 | San Fransisco 49ers | 4-4 | last week (8)
This team has been destroyed by injuries and Covid, but still plays hard and with heart each week. Having heart will only get you so far, however, and they know that. If this team wants to compete with Nick Mullens under center, they need to get healthy, especially on defense.
14 | Cleveland Browns | 5-3 | last week (14)
The Browns are going to have to figure out a way to win games without their best receiver, maybe they should look to the Saints for some pointers. Their first chance at that was not a success, to say the least, as Cleveland only managed to put up six points.
15 | Chicago Bears | 5-2 | last week (15)
Chicago showed much more than I thought they would, in a hard-fought OT loss to the Saints on Sunday. If they continue to have that kind of offensive performance, they can win some games down the stretch and challenge for a wild-card spot.
16 | Las Vegas Raiders | 4-3 | last week (16)
Las Vegas got a win this week and hopes to continue that good mojo into their next three games. All are divisional matchups and all are going to be critical if the Raiders want to have a shot at the playoffs. Losing two of those games practically eliminates them.
17 | Miami Dolphins | 4-4 | last week (21)
Wow. What a performance by the Dolphins defense last week. Brian Flores deserves a huge amount of credit for being able to shut down Sean McVay yet again. The first time was in Super Bowl LIII, where Flores applied a similar scheme in order to make Jared Goff make quick decisions. The Dolphins are probably too far behind in the standings to make a wild-card run, but can still rack up some wins down the stretch.
18 | New England Patriots | 2-5 | last week (17)
This is the worst Patriots start in over twenty years, and that is saying something considering Matt Cassel ran the offense for one of those years. At this point, it is probably better to try and lose out. Justin Fields has looked incredible so far, so the Pats’ wi=ould have to be in the top-two to get a shot at the two “guaranteed” franchise quarterbacks.
19 | Carolina Panthers | 3-5 | last week (18)
The Panthers have undergone more changes than practically every team in the past few years. Big props to Matt Rhule for having this team ready to compete and win games, even without Christian McCaffrey. They might be one of the most exciting teams in the league, but not one of the best just yet.
20 | Minnesota Vikings | 2-5 | last week (20)
Big win for the Vikings last week, taking out the leaders of their division. The sweet victory over the Packers must have felt even better this year because the Vikings have not played well. Maybe this is the start of something big for the squad, but most likely it was just a one-off. Their own GM doesn’t even believe in them, trading away Yannick Ngakoue at the deadline.
21 | Los Angeles Chargers | 2-5 | last week (22)
The Chargers are going to be looking for a new coach in the off-season and should have suitors beating down their doors to have a shot at grooming the young Justin Herbert.
22 | Detroit Lions | 3-4 | last week (19)
This Lions got taken to school on Sunday. There is no way around it. I do think this team has some potential, however, and has a chance to build some momentum for next season. The NFC is going to be way too competitive to compete for a wild card spot this year.
23 | Philadelphia Eagles | 3-4-1 | last week (23)
This might go down as the worst division winner in league history. Despite doing virtually everything they can to be a bad football team all while being decimated by injuries, they are still in the first place.
24 | Denver Broncos | 3-4 | last week (28)
Drew Lock is probably going to be the backup to a rookie or Sam Darnold next year. This team is going to be set up to succeed, but Lock does not seem like the guy to steer that ship. He did get a big win last week, tossing three fourth-quarter touchdown passes. Maybe he gets a shot somewhere else in 2021?
25 | Atlanta Falcons | 2-6 | last week (26)
Atlanta finally got a big win last Thursday night, granted it wasn’t against a great team, but still a quality one. The offense may start to get on track as they get healthier, but the defense is sure to let them down.
26 | Cincinnati Bengals | 2-5-1 | last week (30)
If the Bengals can spend the off-season upgrading the defense, as well as it upgraded the offense last off-season, 2021 will be a great year in Cincinnati. Joe Burrow seems like the real deal, and last week was a really big win for this franchise. If they can finish the year around the .500 mark, the Bengals can build some serious steam heading into next year.
27 | Dallas Cowboys | 2-6 | last week (22)
This might be the biggest dumpster fire in the whole NFC and that is saying something considering the division the Cowboys are in. Dak Prescott is sitting back and counting his millions as he rehabs. This team cannot win without him.
28 | Houston Texans | 1-6 | last week (25)
This team should have sold more at the deadline. They might have tried and teams were unwilling to take on any of their big contracts. Regardless, it has been a failed season in Houston and many believe the franchise is in dire need of a complete rebuild.
29 | Washington Football Team | 2-5 | last week (27)
30 | Jacksonville Jaguars | 1-6 | last week (29)
The Jaguars have predictably fallen back to earth after a week one win against the Colts. They have also fallen back into the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes.
31| New York Giants | 1-7 | last week (31)
The Giants made a coaching change in the off-season, but not enough changes to the roster to make me believe in them this season. They do have the benefit of playing in possibly the worst division in football. That is still unlikely to take them above the .500 mark even once all year.
32 | New York Jets | 0-8 | last week (32)
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