Week two of the NFL had some injuries and questionable calls by NFL officials, but the better teams got the job done. The Def Pen Sports team has analyzed the week two games and made the needed adjustments for week three 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 Three
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2-0 (-)
Brady continues to defy father time. The offense looks explosive and Brady’s ability to spread the ball around based on mismatches makes them hard to stop. The defense, however, has looked shaky at times. The unit isn’t as good as it looked in the Super Bowl vs the Chiefs and they will have to elevate their level of play if the team hopes to win back-to-back championships.
2. Los Angeles Rams 2-0 (+1)
Some questionable playcalling in the Red Zone and an inexplicable special team blunder made this game closer than it had any business being. Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp’s chemistry has the offense humming two games into the season. The Rams and Bucs face off for the top spot in the 2021 NFL Power Rankings next week.
3. San Fransisco 49ers 2-0 (+3)
The San Francisco defense showed up and was able to smother the Eagle offense. The niner offense, however, left a lot to be desired. Jimmy Garoppolo threw for just 189 yards despite completing 22 out of 30 pass attempts. The team is undefeated but has yet to look like the juggernaut many expected them to be heading into the season.
4. Kansas City Cheifs 1-1 (-2)
The Cheifs faced an injured Baltimore Ravens team that desperately needed to win the game. It looked like the Cheifs had the game in hand but a poorly timed fumble by Clyde Edwards-Helaire cost the team the game.
5. Las Vegas Raiders 2-0 (+14)
The Raiders are coming off back-to-back weeks beating top NFL teams and the defense, for now, looks like a contender. Game Planning for Darren Waller looks like a nightmare as long as Derek Carr is capable of getting the ball to other players.
6. Arizona Cardinals 2-0 (+2)
Kyler Murray is one of the more electrifying players in the league but his propensity to turn the ball over all but cost his team the victory. His ability to evade the pass rush and extend plays sometimes leads to poor decisions. Murray has to learn that throwing the ball away or taking the occasional sack is actually the correct play. This game was ridiculous from beginning to end and the Cardinals were fortunate to walk away with the victory.
7. Baltimore Ravens 1-1 (+2)
The Ravens defense came up clutch in key moments against the Kansas City Cheifs which is no easy feat. For now, the injuries haven’t caught up to them, but let’s hope the team can stay healthy. Lamar Jackson made early mistakes, but bounced back and won the game.
8. Carolina Panthers 2-0 (+14)
The jury is still out on Sam Darnold but the Panthers appear to have a top 5 unit on defense. Christian McCaffrey is still the best running back in the league but the team’s ceiling will be determined by Darnold’s play. They are a team to watch as the season unfolds.
9. Seattle Seahawks 1-1 (-4)
At halftime, Seattle appeared to be on top of the world. Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett were gashing the Titans through the air while the defense frustrated the Titans’ offense. Then came the second half. Derrick Henry cut through Seattle’s defense and helped lead an improbable comeback win for the Titans in overtime.
10. Dallas Cowboys 1-1 (+3)
Despite losing Demarcus Lawrence to injury, the Dallas defense played much better than anyone anticipated. It was an ugly game marked by penalties and mental mistakes by both teams. It was a good win for the Cowboys who were dangerously close to falling to 0-2. They are a flawed team but appear to be the best team in a weak division.
11. Cleveland Browns 1-1 (-1)
The Browns beat the Texans, but the win didn’t look great. Baker Mayfield and his receivers didn’t look great and injuries aren’t helping. The run game is still elite, but that won’t be enough when the team is down in games. Time will tell how well the team can perform.
12. Buffalo Bills 1-1 (-)
The Bills dismantled the Dolphins and didn’t allow them to score. Josh Allen and the offense got all the hype in the offseason, but the defense has been the heroes so far. The team needs to beat a better opponent before they can rise in the 2021 NFL Power Rankings.
13. Los Angeles Chargers 1-1 (-2)
Mental mistakes ruined the Chargers’ chance to start 2-0 this year. The offensive line ruined drives and stopped touchdowns all game long. This year’s defense looks good enough, but Justin Herbert needs better from the men that protect him.
14. Tennessee Titans 1-1 (-)
Just when it looked like Derrick Henry had hit the infamous running back wall he changed the talking points. King Henry dominated the Seahawks’ defense and saved the team from an 0-2 start. The defense and passing game have several issues they need to work out for next week.
15. Denver Broncos 2-0 (+6)
The Broncos have beat the Giants and the Jaguars so far and those are both bottom five teams. This team is winning games but hasn’t proven they are winners just yet. A game against the New York Jets should see them start 3-0, but how good are they really? We don’t know yet.
16. Pittsburgh Steelers 1-1 (-12)
The Steelers looked like pretenders against the Las Vegas Raiders. Najee Harris got more involved in the passing game, but the offensive line hasn’t helped him at all in the run game. Watt being out for some of the game didn’t help matters and the Steelers have questions to answer.
17. Green Bay Packers 1-1 (-1)
The Packers won a game against the Lions on Monday Night Football that they had no business losing. That literally saved their season, but in the first half, we saw some of the same issues that plagued them against the Saints. The second half was much improved, but which Packers team will we see each week?
18. New Orleans Saints 1-1 (-11)
Jameis Winston giveth and Jamies Winston taketh away. It was a terrible game on both sides of the ball for the Saints. Alvin Kamara was held to 6 yards rushing on 8 attempts while none of the team’s receivers was able to create separation on a consistent basis. It’s too early to give up on Winston but it’s clear the team needs Michael Thomas back in a hurry.
19. New England Patriots 1-1 (+1)
The Patriots made Zach Wilson see those ghosts that Sam Darnold saw a couple of years ago. Four interceptions made the rookie quarterback’s day a rough one. This defense may be back to its 2019 form, but for now, it is too early to say.
20. Chicago Bears 1-1 (+6)
The coach and General Manager are choosing self-interest over what’s best for the organization as a whole. This year should be able about the development of Justin Fields. As long as Andy Dalton remains the starting quarterback, this team will be mediocre at best. Dalton is incapable of elevating a flawed roster and does nothing for this team’s short and long-term outlooks.
21. Washington Football Team 1-1 (+4)
Heinicke was fine as the team’s starting quarterback. If the team has hopes of winning the division, it’s the defense that will need to step up. The defense should be better and it will need to be moving forward. Washington is a lower third member of the 2021 NFL Power Rankings for now.
22. Philadelphia Eagles 1-1 (+1)
The team’s inability to generate offense against a vaunted Niner defense should not have come as a surprise. Losing Brandon Graham to a torn Achilles heel hurts but they should have the depth to withstand his injury moving forward. The true test for this team comes in Week 3 on the road against the Cowboys. A win in Dallas would propel them into first and give them a crucial leg up in what could be a tightly contested division race.
23. Indianapolis Colts 0-2 (-8)
The Colts look like the best 0-2 team in the NFL, but they are still 0-2. Carson Wentz is still injury-prone and the receivers are lackluster. This year’s defense still looks solid, but it hasn’t been enough to win games so far. The Colts have to beat Tennesse next week to stay relevant in the AFC South race.
24. Miami Dolphins 1-1 (-7)
The Dolphins offense got shut out and the defense gave up 35 points to the Bills. Tua Tagovailoa went down and that made the offense even less impressive. There isn’t much to get excited about if you’re a Dolphins fan right now.
25. Cincinnati Bengals 1-1 (-1)
Joe Burrow and the offense came back down to earth this week and it cost them a win. Losing to the Bears isn’t great, but their defense looked good and shut Mixon and Burrow down. The Bengals’ offensive line just isn’t good enough.
26. Minnesota Vikings 0-2 (-8)
Cousins and the rest of the offense played well. The defense was able to capitalize on a couple of Kyler Murray mistakes but continues to allow yards at an alarming rate. Their chances of making the playoffs are slim but falling to 0-3 would all but eliminate them from playoff contention. Their season and their position on the 2021 NFL Power Rankings are on the line against the Seahawks.
27. Houston Texans 1-1 (+1)
The Texans are clearly better than their preseason rankings had people believe. They couldn’t beat the Browns, but they looked solid trying. It is far too early in the season to call them a good team. Tyrod Taylor missing time won’t help matters.
28. New York Giants 0-2 (+3)
The Giants are a mess. To some fans, Thursday’s loss was a sigh of relief. Everyone outside of the Giants organization recognizes that Daniel Jones isn’t the long-term answer at quarterback but any modicum of success might be enough to convince ownership that he is. This team should bottom out and rebuild around its two first-round picks in the upcoming draft.
29. Atlanta Falcons 0-2 (-2)
The Falcons are a tough watch. Matt Ryan should be moved as the team positions itself to draft their next franchise quarterback. Any notion this team was a piece or two away from contending should be dispelled. There are too many holes at too many key positions for Arthur Blank to believe this team can contend for a playoff spot.
30. Detriot Lions 0-2 (-)
The Lions don’t have much going for them at the moment and even then they look better than expected at times. Jared Goff just isn’t the answer at quarterback and the defense is way too young to help them win games. The offensive line shows promise, but this team is a year-long basement dweller.
31. New York Jets 0-2 (-2)
Zach Wilson threw four interceptions and at least three of them were absolutely his fault. The young players on the team have a few years to improve and the Jets should build around them. This team is at least four years away from winning a serious number of games.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars 0-2 (-)
The Jaguars are terrible on both sides of the ball. Both the Texans and the Broncos have embarrassed them in back-to-back weeks. Urban Meyer looks in over his head in the NFL and the sole goal of the team is to mold Trevor Lawrence into a franchise quarterback.
*The Biggest movers this week were the Las Vegas Raiders (+14), the Carolina Panthers (+14), and the Pittsburgh Steelers (-12)*