The games become more and more important as the weeks continue. The Def Pen Sports team has analyzed the Week 12 games and made the needed adjustments for Week 13 of the 2021 NFL Power Rankings. The contributors to this week’s rankings are Dylan Hargis and Xavier Santos. Team names will be followed by their record and the number of spots they moved up or down from last week’s rankings.
2021 NFL Power Rankings: Week 13
1. Arizona Cardinals 9-2 (-)
2. Green Bay Packers 9-3 (-)
It’s impressive that the Packers continue to find ways to win while missing three blue-chip players. If all three return in time for the playoffs, this team is well-positioned to make a deep run. Due to an overall lack of depth, a first-round bye is imperative for this team.
3. Baltimore Ravens 8-3 (+1)
That Sunday Night Football game was ugly. Lamar Jackson threw four interceptions, but somehow still found a way to win that game. Winning is the most important thing and the Ravens are experts at doing just that.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8-3 (+3)
It’s hard to praise the packers for winning ugly while knocking the Buccaneers for doing the same but it feels appropriate. This team should be better. We expected the defense to struggle at times but the offense has stalled in some key moments. Overall, they probably have the highest ceiling of any NFC team and Tom Brady will probably get this team ready to go by the time the postseason arrives.
5. New England Patriots 8-4 (+4)
Just like that New England is leading the division and winners of six straight games. Mac Jones looks like a franchise quarterback and the defense is still at an elite level. The two games against the Bills are the team’s final regular seasons tests.
6. Cincinnati Bengals 7-4 (+6)
Joe Burrow and the Bengals have officially arrived at the top of the AFC North. This team could seriously compete with the Ravens for the division title this year. While they may not win it they will be a dangerous team in the playoffs this year.
7. Tennessee Titans 8-4 (-4)
The Titans have hit a wall without Derrick Henry and again are fortunate to have already played and beat the Colts twice this season. While Ryan Tannehill needs to play better, the defense is costing this team games.
8. Kansas City Cheifs 7-4 (-)
9. Buffalo Bills 7-4 (+1)
It looks like the Bills righted the ship against the Saints on Thanksgiving Night. This team is still in control of their own destiny. The AFC East will likely come down to the two games between the Bills and the Patriots.
10. Dallas Cowboys 7-4 (-4)
The Cowboys stunk on Thanksgiving. They will run away with the division by default but they will need to improve if they have any hopes of making noise in the playoffs. Dak Prescott, in particular, must improve his level of play. One could point to injuries at the wide receiver position as the reason for their offensive struggles but his accuracy must improve regardless of who is lined up outside.
11. Los Angeles Rams 7-4 (-6)
Matthew Stafford is injured. That much we know. The Rams should consider sitting him for a week and allowing his body to heal. In his current state, he is a liability and has really hurt his team. If his injuries are unlikely to heal during the season, we may have to reconsider how we view this team moving forward. We’d also be remised if we didn’t mention McVay’s struggles in late-game clock management. It hasn’t been pretty.
12. Denver Broncos 6-5 (+2)
The AFC West is a tight race right now and the Broncos got an important win over the Chargers on Sunday. Things would get very interesting if they find a way to beat Kansas City in Week 13. Could the Broncos jump into the top five of the 2021 NFL Power Rankings?
13. Los Angeles Chargers 6-5 (-3)
Los Angeles looks like a good team on paper, but obviously, they aren’t ready to win the games they need to win. This team is likely a year or two away from being a serious threat in the division race.
14. Indianapolis Colts 6-6 (-1)
The Colts just couldn’t seal the deal against Tampa Bay with Jonathan Taylor bottled up. Carson Wentz started the game off hot but got worse as the game progressed. This is a year-long story for the team.
15. Cleveland Browns 6-6 (-)
Baker Mayfield should not be playing this year and the team is not saving him from himself. The injuries on the quarterback are piling up and it is hurting the team. This team might squeak into the playoffs, but should they?
16. Las Vegas Raiders 6-5 (+3)
The win against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving was surprising, but much needed for the team. They were in a free fall and a win could very save their season. The AFC West is still wide open, so the Raiders still have a chance.
17. San Francisco 49ers 6-5 (+4)
The 49ers are not a good football team. They aren’t as good as their record and every game reminds us why the 49ers felt the need to trade up for Trey Lance. As long as Jimmy Garoppolo is behind center, this team isn’t going anywhere.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers 5-5-1 (-1)
We have said this several times now, but it is time for Ben Roethlisberger to retire from football. That showing against the Bengals was hard to watch and it reminds us that most quarterbacks nearing 40 should hang it up around this time.
19. New Orleans Saints 5-6 (-1)
The Taysom Hill situation continues to be one of the league’s more perplexing storylines. Is he healthy? If not, why list him as the backup QB? Why, exactly, did Sean Payton feel the need to lavish him with yet another lucrative extension? What sort of kompromat does Taysom Hill have in his possession?
20. Minnesota Vikings 5-6 (-)
Kirk Cousins is one of the more frustrating players in the league to watch. On some plays, he looks like a top-tier quarterback. On others, you wonder what Minnesota was thinking giving him so much guaranteed money. The loss of Dalvin Cook could be devastating for a team currently sitting as the last wild card team.
21. Philadelphia Eagles 5-7 (-5)
Jalen Hurts threw two game-winning touchdowns late in the game. Jalen Reagor dropped both of them. The hot streak ends and the Eagles drop on the 2021 NFL Power Rankings.
22. Atlanta Falcons 5-6 (+2)
The unfortunate part about Sunday’s contest between the Falcons and Jaguars is that one of them was credited with a victory. It’s time for this organization to embrace a full rebuild.
23. Washington Football Team 5-6 (-)
This team is sloppy and the defense isn’t as good as they were supposed to be. That being said they are winning some games and that last NFC playoff spot could still be in play for the team.
24. Miami Dolphins 5-7 (+2)
Seemingly out of nowhere this team looks like a competent and complete team on both sides of the ball. It may be too little too late for them to make the Playoffs, but stranger things have happened.
25. New York Giants 4-7 (-)
That was as uninspiring a win as they come. The offense had one good possession while the defense made enough plays to capitalize on Jalen Hurt’s inconsistent play. If Jalen Reagor had two functioning hands, that would have been a brutal loss for the Giants. At this point in the season, it’s probably best for them to lose out and position themselves for the draft.
26. Carolina Panthers 5-7 (-4)
The Cam Newton hype plane went down in a fiery crash this weekend. His arm is cooked and he can no longer throw with both anticipation and velocity. He doesn’t trust himself to throw the ball before a player makes his break and usually lacks the velocity to fit the ball in once the receiver comes open. Cam had a great career but injuries have taken their toll on him.
27. Chicago Bears 4-7 (-)
The Bears stink. Matt Nagy stinks. That is our hashtag analysis. They are bottom dwellers on the 2021 NFL Power Rankings.
28. Seattle Seahawks 3-8 (-)
This team needs to give it up this season. Russell Wilson is no longer capable of covering up this team’s glaring flaws. The season is truly lost after a Monday Night Football loss to the Washington Football Team.
29. New York Jets 3-8 (+2)
Much like the Falcons and Jaguars game the Jets and Texans had to have a winner. The Jets winning doesn’t help them long-term.
30. Houston Texans 2-9 (-1)
This team can’t even beat the Jets. That’s all that needs to be said.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars 2-9 (-1)
Urban Meyer might get a second year with the team, but he really shouldn’t. He isn’t cut out for this level.
32. Detroit Lions 0-10-1 (-)
With the 1st pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions select….
* The biggest movers of the week were the Cincinnati Bengals (+6) and the Los Angeles Rams (-6) *