The NFL Season is about to begin and the Def Pen Sports team has calculated the 2021 NFL Power Rankings ahead of the week one games. This list will be rarely based on the current standings of each NFL roster and how we expect them to perform. The sole contributor to this week’s power rankings was Dylan Hargis.
2021 NFL Power Rankings: Week One
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The defending Super Bowl Champions will top the list until a team knocks them off of it. With Tom Brady under center, wins are almost a guarantee. Tampa Bay lost no notable names in free agency and looks to capture an unheard-of 8th Super Bowl ring for their future Hall of Fame quarterback. The offense and defense are both ready to win some games.
2. Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes rarely loses games and last year’s Super Bowl still likely haunts him and the team. A revamped offensive line and a tweaked defense should help the team remain atop the AFC. Stopping the offensive juggernaut in Kansas City is no easy task and few teams have found success.
3. Green Bay Packers
The Aaron Rodgers problem has seemingly been solved and with him, under center, the Packers will continue to be a top team in the NFL. Playmakers on both sides of the ball make dynamic plays, but Rodgers wins the games for the team. While they are capable of losing games it is incredibly hard to beat Rodgers on even his worst days.
4. Buffalo Bills
The Bills hit the NFL hard last year and were almost in the Super Bowl. Offense and defense alike are some of the best in the NFL. There are some questions about the run game, but the passing game and defense are at an elite NFL level. The Bills could be the biggest threat to the Chiefs in the AFC this year.
5. Cleveland Browns
The Browns are used to being in the bottom five of rankings, but in the 2021 NFL Power Rankings, they are among the top teams in the league. A top offensive and defensive line have carried the team to the Playoffs and should do that again this year. If the success continues the AFC North may have a new powerhouse to contend against the Ravens and Steelers.
6. Tennessee Titans
Adding Julio Jones makes the Titans one of the hardest punching offenses in the NFL. The idea of trying to cover Julio Jones, A.J. Brown, and Derrick Henry will give defensive coordinator nightmares all season long. One issue with the team could be a lackluster defense, but they should put up a lot of points to counter the problem.
7. Baltimore Ravens
A dynamic defense paired with a dynamic quarterback has the Ravens poised to be a top AFC team this year. The team addressed some of its issues at the wide receiver position which should take some pressure off Lamar Jackson. The torn ACL injury that J.K. Dobbins suffered will hurt the team, but they are still a dynamic offense overall. Gus Edwards showed promise last year and could make or break the team’s offense.
8. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks will go as far as Russell Wilson can take them. Fortunately for them, Wilson is talented and is used to carrying the Seahawks to victory. The team has playmakers on the team, but they also have some glaring holes as well. Seattle has the formula to win, but each week’s matchup will impact their success.
9. Los Angeles Rams
The Rams traded for Matthew Stafford in the hopes that would push them to the Super Bowl. Stafford is a talented player and should help make their offense more dynamic. Their defense also has some of the best playmakers in football in Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey. The trades for Matthew Stafford and Sony Michel will make or break the Los Angeles Rams this season on the 2021 NFL Power Rankings.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers
The story of the Steelers is their elite defense led by linebacker T.J. Watt. Ben Roethlisberger only has so many seasons left and if they want to compete for a Super Bowl the offense needs to step up. The playmakers on offense are young but talented and capable of winning games. Watt and the defense are ready to win. The biggest question will be about how many points the team can put up this year.
11. San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers seemingly have all the pieces to be a Super Bowl contender, but for now, simply are not at that level. While the defense isn’t a problem there are serious questions about the capability of the offense. Health was a major issue last year for San Fransisco and it will be again with the serious depth questions the team has. The team’s success may come down to what players stay healthy.
12. Arizona Cardinals
Arizona is building a competitive team, but Kyler Murray is young and mistakes will happen. The number of mistakes he does or doesn’t make will determine the Cardinals season. A roster stacked with playmakers on both sides of the ball will limit the impact of any mistakes, but it could cost the team some wins. That being said Arizona should compete for the NFC West division title this year.
13. Indianapolis Colts
Quarterback is the most important position in the NFL and perhaps in the entire world of sports. The Colts’ entire season hinges on the health of Carson Wentz with no solid plan if he misses a large amount of time. An elite defense will not save the team if they can’t score touchdowns on offense. A weaker division could help them make the playoffs, but they desperately need Wentz on the field throwing touchdowns every week.
14. Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers are a fairly young team still figuring things out on the field. Justin Herbert is entering his second year and the Chargers will need him firing on all cylinders this season. The defense is solid and there are plenty of playmakers on both sides of the ball. This Los Angeles team seems to be an average NFL team and for a younger team that might be okay this year.
15. Dallas Cowboys
Dallas looked like a top NFL offense last year before Dak Prescott went down for the year. The defense has several holes that weren’t exactly addressed in the offseason. If the NFC East performs like it did last year then Dallas with a healthy Prescott may run away with the division. Dallas isn’t a great team, but with their offensive weapons, they should be at least a good team this season.
16. New England Patriots
It is seemingly a new era of Bill Belichick football after he dove into free agency and spent millions of dollars on new players for the roster. Without Tom Brady, the magic is seemingly gone with the team and the Bills seemingly lead the AFC East now. Counting out Belichick wouldn’t be wise, but for now, the Patriots seem like an average-at-best NFL team.
17. Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota has seemingly been stagnant and average for some time now. It feels like their playoff window has passed them by and this year that isn’t likely to change. Kirk Cousins keeps the team above water and a fringe playoff hopeful, but that’s about it. While the offensive weapons are above average it will seemingly not be enough in a tough NFC.
18. Miami Dolphins
Miami has a promising future with young and talented playmakers. The growing pains that come along with a team like that will be evident this year. If reports are to be believed the team has some doubts about its young starting quarterback Tua Tagovalioa. The team was a pleasant surprise overall last year, but still aggressively average. That isn’t likely to change after just one offseason.
19. Washington Football Team
Washington’s defensive line is young, hungry, and talented, but it isn’t enough to put them higher on the 2021 NFL Power Rankings for now. Ryan Fitzpatrick should bring with him a more dynamic offense, but will it be enough to beat a healthy Dallas Cowboys? The NFC East doesn’t look much better than last year, so it’s possible. Washington has some potential and a solid shot at the playoffs in the NFC East.
20. Las Vegas Raiders
It is unclear what plan Head Coach Jon Gruden and the Raiders have to get better on the field. Derek Carr gets the job done on the field, but can he really be a playoff-winning quarterback? This could be a make-or-break year for the team.
21. Chicago Bears
The Bears have a stagnant offense that likely can’t be fixed by Andy Dalton or Justin Fields alone. There is talent on both sides, but it seemingly isn’t coming together under the current coaching staff.
22. New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees is gone and that will absolutely impact the team in a negative way. Jameis Winston can score plenty of points, but unfortunately, he’s been known to do it for both teams. Sean Payton is a master of game planning, but it may not be enough.
23. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers, like many teams, are in a rebuild, and adding Sam Darnold does little to inspire confidence in their offense. They may be better than last year, but it also may not translate to many more wins. The rebuilt Panthers are not ready to take on the likes of Tom Brady and the Buccaneers.
24. Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta is a long way away from the team that blew a massive lead in the Super Bowl. Things are seemingly only going to go more downhill before they begin to get better. Both sides of the ball need major improvements before the Falcons can be considered playoff contenders.
25. Denver Broncos
Peyton Manning has retired and entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Broncos have not been good since that happened. Things don’t seem to be looking up for this season. Teddy Bridgewater isn’t that dynamic and is a bridge quarterback at best. The team has more problems than he can solve.
26. New York Giants
Saquon Barkley is coming off a torn ACL and is entering a situation where the offense’s production is completely on his shoulders. The Giants’ offensive line doesn’t seem that much better and last year the running back suffered for it. Things look bleak for the bottom-dwelling NFC East team.
27. Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals did improve some things this offseason, but the most glaring issue, the offensive line, might be more of the same. Rookie quarterback Joe Burrow tore his ACL last season behind that offensive line and that should be concerning for the team. Putting all of the pressure on Burrow will show the team what he’s made of perhaps.
28. Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia is paying Carson Wentz a lot of money to play football in Indianapolis this season. That statement alone describes the current state of the team and their decision-making. The Giants and Eagles have a lot of work to do to even get to the levels of the average Dallas and Washington rosters.
29. Detriot Lions
The trading of Matthew Stafford signaled a new era for the Lions. It appears the team was ready to finally launch a full rebuild and no longer lean on his talents. Bad football is likely ahead for a team used to bad football. Jared Goff was lackluster on a talented team and Detriot is not exactly full of talent right now.
30. New York Jets
New York needs to focus on one thing this year and that is the development of rookie quarterback Zach Wilson. Getting him ready for a more talented roster is the priority for the team. It is hard to see when and how this team wins games unless Wilson delivers historic numbers. Even then it might not be enough.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars
Much like the Jets, the only goal for Jacksonville is to get Trevor Lawrence ready for a better roster. Head Coach Urban Meyer has made weird decisions so far, but he can not afford to fail here. Lawrence could be the future of the NFL and that is good for the Jaguars. Travis Etienne’s season-ending injury does not help the team.
32. Houston Texans
It is not an overestimation to say the Texans have one of the worst-looking rosters in modern NFL history. Several players on the roster likely wouldn’t start on any other roster in the NFL. The future looks bleak, but this season looks 0-17 worthy. A win or two could happen, but things look bad. The 2021 NFL Power Rankings could have their year-long bottom-feeder right here.