We are already more than halfway completed with the new three-game NFL preseason. How do our latest power rankings look?
And just like that, we are through two weeks of the 2021 NFL preseason. Each team has just one exhibition matchup remaining until the 17-game regular season commences on Thursday, Sept. 9.
This week’s power rankings don’t encompass many drastic changes from last week’s — teams haven’t played many of their projected starters so it’s tough to really evaluate a number of different ballclubs.
Regardless, there are a few organizations that find themselves in differing spots from the previous piece.
32. Philadelphia Eagles ( ↓ 1 )
I’m not doing this because the Giants are a big part of this website — trust me.
We still don’t know if Jalen Hurts is the answer at quarterback in Philly, and if he isn’t, it doesn’t seem like the Eagles have serviceable options behind him.
The defense additionally looked dreadful in last week’s 35-0 loss to New England.
31. Houston Texans ( ↓ 1 )
I don’t know why I put the Texans at No. 30 last week.
Deshaun Watson’s future is super unclear. In my mind, he won’t be playing for the Texans ever again. He may never play in the league ever again to be honest with you.
Could the NFL eventually suspend him amid his 22 civil lawsuits and 10 criminal complaints for sexual misconduct?
30. Jacksonville Jaguars ( ↓ 1 )
Is Urban Meyer ready to coach a team that actually loses games?
This Jacksonville offense didn’t look fantastic in a 23-21 loss to New Orleans Monday night — the offensive line very much looks below-average.
The defense couldn’t contain Jameis Winston either, who went 9-for-10 for 123 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
29. Detroit Lions ( ↑ 3 )
Due to the movement of the above trio of teams, the Lions now find themselves at No. 29.
I still don’t think they will even be decent, however.
28. Cincinnati Bengals ( → )
I’m not high on the Bengals and that feeling won’t change until I can see what Joe Burrow is able to do coming off a major knee injury.
27. Denver Broncos ( → )
The most interesting thing in Denver is this quarterback competition — in my mind, it’s the only legitimate signal-caller battle in the NFL (Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Jameis Winston should win their respective jobs).
In a 30-3 win over Seattle in Week 2 of the preseason, Teddy Bridgewater completed nine of 11 passes for 105 yards and one score. Drew Lock, on the other hand, was 9-for-14 for 80 yards.
26. Atlanta Falcons ( ↓ 1 )
Atlanta moves down one spot to make room for the Jets, whose offense showed promise in Gang Green’s Saturday victory over the Packers.
The Falcons defense also didn’t look great against Miami; the Dolphins put up 37 points in Saturday’s win.
The ranking doesn’t change too much though — it’ll be tough to evaluate the Falcons as long as Matt Ryan sits out of the preseason.
25. New York Jets ( ↑ 1 )
The Jets move up one spot from last week’s No. 26 ranking, but that’s as far as they’ll go.
Rookie Zach Wilson looked good in this past Saturday’s win over Green Bay, throwing for two touchdowns while completing nine of his 11 throws for 128 yards.
However, the Jets lost defensive end Carl Lawson (torn Achilles) for the season. Linebacker Jarrad Davis (ankle), on the other hand, will be sidelined into the regular season and will hopefully return around the team’s Week 6 bye.
24. Indianapolis Colts ( → )
The Colts sport a good roster but won’t improve in our power rankings until Carson Wentz proves he can be effective coming off foot surgery.
The veteran quarterback has returned to practice though, which is obviously a great sign for Indianapolis.
23. Chicago Bears ( ↓ 1 )
The Bears move back one spot because I did not like how they looked with Andy Dalton — who I believe will start Week 1 — under center this past weekend against Buffalo.
Chicago scored just six points in the first half. On the defensive end, it allowed former Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky to throw for 221 yards and one score on 20-of-28 passing.
22. Carolina Panthers ( ↑ 1 )
The Panthers are one of those teams that are unpredictable at this moment in time. Is Sam Darnold really going to produce at an effective and consistent rate? Will Christian McCaffrey return to the player he was prior to last year’s injury-ridden season?
Even after two exhibition matchups, it’s still tough to legitimately decipher this team. But the Bears’ drop-off in the rankings allows for Carolina to move up a spot (just one, though).
21. Minnesota Vikings ( → )
This defense was poor last season and I don’t think the acquisition of Everson Griffen will change much given his age.
Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook being on the field as full-time starters should give us a better idea of how this team will fare in 2021.
20. New York Giants ( ↓ 1 )
The Giants haven’t really played many starters up to this point — Daniel Jones has yet to take a snap in the preseason. Kadarius Toney, Kenny Golladay, Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram haven’t taken the field either.
However, I swap them with the Patriots (who were No. 20 last week) because of the seemingly superior quarterback situation in New England.
And speaking of whom…
19. New England Patriots ( ↑ 1 )
The Patriots seem fine at the sport’s most important position.
Against the Eagles last week, Cam Newton was 8-for-9 for 103 yards and one touchdown while rookie Mac Jones was 13-for-19 for 146 yards.
The former is expected to start, but even if he struggles, Jones at least looks comfortable.
18. New Orleans Saints ( → )
The Saints will still need to prove they can succeed in their first season following the Drew Brees era, so I’ll keep them at No. 18.
But it seems they have found their starting quarterback.
On Monday night against Jacksonville, Jameis Winston completed nine of 10 passes for 123 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The former No. 1 overall draft pick has a bigger arm and definitely looks the part more than Taysom Hill.
17. Las Vegas Raiders ( → )
Derek Carr has yet to take the field in preseason so I refrain from really altering where the Raiders sit on our weekly power rankings.
The defense did look good against the Rams though despite Los Angeles’ backups being in the game, only allowing 16 points and just 202 total passing yards.
16. Dallas Cowboys ( ↓ 1 )
Dallas sneaks into the top half of the power rankings, but one of the latest takes on quarterback Dak Prescott and his injury-related issues wasn’t intriguing.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter says Prescott is “not fully back, he may not be back all season long.”
That makes me a tad bit skeptical. Think of how this team was without Dak for much of last year.
15. Washington Football Team ( ↓ 1 )
Washington defeated the Bengals 17-13 last Friday, and although it was a preseason game, a strong defense and a not-so-strong offense should be the story of the Football Team in 2021.
This defensive unit could bring Washington to the postseason for the second consecutive season. The Football Team move back one spot from last week, however, to make room for our next team…
14. Miami Dolphins ( ↑ 2 )
I moved the Dolphins up a few spots because of Tua Tagovailoa‘s performance in Miami’s recent game against Atlanta.
I know, it’s the preseason, and I did say I’m not high on the second-year quarterback. However, he completed 16 of his 23 throws for 183 yards and a touchdown.
If Tua can greatly improve from his rookie campaign, expect Miami to absolutely be a playoff team.
13. San Francisco 49ers ( → )
Nothing changes with San Francisco — I think the 49ers will be a talented team with a good head coach, but I don’t put them above the Cardinals (who are at No. 12) due to the quarterback comparisons.
While I’m extremely high on Kyler Murray, I don’t think Jimmy Garoppolo has a ton of upside and I don’t believe rookie Trey Lance is entirely ready to take on a starting role in this league.
12. Arizona Cardinals ( → )
I think the Cardinals definitely have enormous potential but still need to unlock it.
Watch out for rookie second-round wide receiver Rondale Moore…
11. Pittsburgh Steelers ( → )
Ben Roethlisberger didn’t look half bad against the Lions over the weekend.
The veteran completed eight of his 10 passes for 137 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
I still don’t love Pittsburgh enough to put it in the top 10 though. The late-season struggles of last year along with the Wild Card loss to Cleveland (by a score of 48-37) rub me the wrong way.
10. Los Angeles Chargers ( → )
The Chargers stay right where they are due to the preseason absences of some big names, including up-and-coming star quarterback Justin Herbert.
I still think Los Angeles is a top-10 team — this will be a playoff ballclub.
9. Cleveland Browns ( → )
Baker Mayfield sat Sunday against the Giants and so did the main offensive weapons.
But I wouldn’t question whether Cleveland is a top-10 team in the NFL right now.
However, that’s not to say that can’t change at some point.
8. Seattle Seahawks ( → )
I want to eventually move the Seahawks up past the Titans, but right now, I still need to see Seattle “let Russ cook.”
The Hawks will likely remain here as long as Russell Wilson sits out of the preseason. Week 1 of the regular season could certainly change things though.
7. Tennessee Titans ( → )
I cannot wait to see what this offense looks like with Julio Jones, Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown, and the talented (yes, talented) Ryan Tannehill on the field.
The defense looked good against Tampa though, despite the Bucs not playing a number of their offensive weapons. The Titans allowed just a field goal in what was a 34-3 win for Tennessee.
6. Baltimore Ravens ( → )
We didn’t see much from Panthers starters this past weekend against the Ravens (Sam Darnold threw just two passes).
Regardless, this Baltimore defense could be dominant.
The unit — seventh in total defense and second in scoring last year — allowed just three points and 189 total yards in Saturday’s exhibition win.
5. Los Angeles Rams ( → )
The Rams’ No. 5 ranking doesn’t change — it’s tough to really alter my opinion on them given quarterback Matthew Stafford hasn’t played yet.
For right now, I still believe they’ll be one of the top teams in the NFC and a potential Super Bowl contender though.
4. Green Bay Packers ( → )
The Packers didn’t look great against the Jets on Saturday. But don’t sweat it, Green Bay fans.
Aaron Rodgers hasn’t taken a snap in the preseason and neither has Davante Adams or Aaron Jones.
This team will be fine, just like it has been in recent years under head coach Matt LaFleur.
3. Buffalo Bills ( → )
Hey, if Josh Allen somehow doesn’t work out, maybe Mitch Trubisky will? The 2017 No. 2 overall pick of the Bears threw for 221 yards and a touchdown against his former team this past weekend.
But all jokes aside, Buffalo still comes in at No. 3 and proved its backups can even be successful — the Bills won 41-15 this past Saturday.
2. Kansas City Chiefs ( → )
Patrick Mahomes is still Patrick Mahomes. Andy Reid is still Andy Reid.
Nothing drastic has occurred in the preseason to warrant a change in Kansas City’s ranking.
However, the Chiefs are still behind the Buccaneers following Super Bowl 55.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers ( → )
This ranking isn’t changing until I find a legitimate reason to make an alteration.
Just remember: All 22 Super Bowl starters are back in Tampa.
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