Week 1 of the 2021 NFL regular season has concluded. As of right now, Arizona looks like a legitimate playoff team.
And just like that, every NFL team’s Week 1 game has finished.
We witnessed a phenomenal Monday Night Football matchup in which the Raiders defeated the Ravens in overtime, Matthew Stafford make his Rams debut, and Jameis Winston throw five touchdowns against a Packers team that looked horrific.
Oh, and we also saw the greatness of Kyler Murray on display against a tough Titans team. Do not sleep on the Cardinals whatsoever — this is a highly talented squad with a dynamic quarterback.
Arizona looks like a playoff contender. Is Murray a darkhorse MVP candidate?
32. Jacksonville Jaguars ( ↓ 2 )
Everyone thought Houston was the clear-cut worst team in the NFL given its unproven head coach and the Deshaun Watson situation.
But the Jaguars couldn’t keep up with the Texans at all, losing 37-21 Sunday afternoon.
Trevor Lawrence is in town, yes. But Jacksonville has a long way to go before consistent success can be found.
31. Atlanta Falcons ( ↓ 4 )
The Eagles are another team that’s supposed to be toward the bottom of the league. Many believe they could be the surefire last-place team in the NFC East.
So then…how bad are the Falcons?
Atlanta lost 32-6 in its regular-season opener and Matt Ryan threw for just 164 yards.
30. Houston Texans ( ↑ 2 )
Although they won their first game by 16 points, the Texans have a ton of work to do before they can show any semblance of being a good team.
Maybe they shock the world by defeating the Browns on the road this weekend?
29. Detroit Lions ( → )
The Lions stay right where they are.
Despite only losing by eight to a 49ers team that could be strong, the score was on pace to be much worse. Detroit notched 16 points late in the game thanks to an onside-kick recovery and a pair of successful two-point conversions
28. New York Giants ( ↓ 7 )
Many were optimistic about the Giants heading into this season given the moves they made in the offseason.
But boy were they dreadful on Sunday against Denver. The defense couldn’t contain a Broncos air attack led by Teddy Bridgewater and the Big Blue offense failed to consistently execute.
27. New York Jets ( ↓ 1 )
This is a developmental season for the Jets and the first year of a new era, so the expectation is for the team to max out at about five or six wins.
However, they still didn’t look great in Sunday’s loss to Carolina.
While the defense improved in the second half and Zach Wilson showed a ton of promise, the offensive line was atrocious. Familiar faces Sam Darnold and Robby Anderson additionally connected on a 57-yard touchdown pass for the Panthers.
26. Philadelphia Eagles ( ↑ 5 )
The Eagles still aren’t a strong team, but they did impress many in a huge Week 1 win over the Falcons.
Jalen Hurts threw three touchdowns in a 32-6 victory.
25. Chicago Bears ( ↓ 1 )
I move the Bears down just one spot — while they did lose by 20 to the Rams Sunday night, it wasn’t a total blowout the entire game.
And I think this team could actually be better if Chicago would just make the correct decision to start rookie quarterback Justin Fields over Andy Dalton.
24. Minnesota Vikings ( ↓ 1 )
Out of the bad teams in the league, Minnesota remains in the middle of the pack.
The Vikings suffered an overtime loss to the Bengals Sunday.
23. Cincinnati Bengals ( ↑ 5 )
The Bengals move up five spots because I thought they wouldn’t be able to match up with the Vikings especially considering their starting quarterback, Joe Burrow, is coming off a major injury.
However, Burrow showed he’s still one of the more talented young quarterbacks in this league. The 2019 Heisman Trophy winner threw for 261 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the overtime victory.
22. Denver Broncos ( ↑ 3 )
Denver looked much better than I thought, which is why it moves up three spots.
I thought the Broncos defense was good against the Giants and truly only allowed seven points (six of the 13 allowed points were from a Daniel Jones touchdown run as time was expiring in regulation).
Teddy Bridgewater was impressive as well, throwing for 264 yards and two scores while completing 77.8% of his throws.
21. Carolina Panthers ( ↑ 1 )
The Panthers move up only one spot; while Sam Darnold looked good in the win, it was still against a developmental Jets squad.
I do think Carolina sports a good offensive roster though.
20. New England Patriots ( → )
The Patriots remain right where they are because they’re exactly what I thought they would be against Miami.
In the loss, the defense was strong and only allowed 17 points while the offense was limited with a rookie quarterback.
The Dolphins ultimately won the game 17-16.
19. Indianapolis Colts ( ↓ 4 )
The Colts drop four spots after their tough loss to Seattle. Indianapolis’ defense is supposed to be strong and it couldn’t contain quarterback Russell Wilson, who threw for four touchdowns this past Sunday afternoon.
18. Washington Football Team ( ↓ 2 )
Washington was what we thought it would be in a Week 1 loss to the Chargers — a team sporting a good defense but an ineffective offense.
Regardless, the Football Team move down a few spots due to the hip injury to Ryan Fitzpatrick, which is forcing the veteran quarterback to hit injured reserve.
Taylor Heinicke is expected to be under center for Washington this Thursday night against the Giants.
17. San Francisco 49ers ( ↓ 3 )
The 49ers could be good, but I don’t like the late-game struggles that led to the Lions making it interesting in their Week 1 showdown.
San Francisco should not be beating Detroit by only eight points.
16. Miami Dolphins ( ↓ 3 )
The Dolphins move down three spots despite their win over New England.
Miami is supposed to be a legitimate playoff team in the AFC, and it won’t necessarily be if it’s only defeating a division rival with a rookie quarterback by one point.
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa wasn’t phenomenal either.
15. Las Vegas Raiders ( ↑ 4 )
I like how the Raiders looked Monday night against the Ravens. This is another team NFL fans shouldn’t sleep on — don’t be surprised if Vegas is one of the AFC’s Wild Card squads this season.
Derek Carr threw for 435 yards and two touchdowns against a Baltimore defense that was sixth in passing yards allowed last year.
14. Tennessee Titans ( ↓ 8 )
The Titans stunk it up Sunday when they faced the Cardinals at home.
Tennessee is supposed to be a legitimate contender to win the AFC South and is expected to be one of the teams to beat in that conference.
On Sunday, against Kyler Murray, Chandler Jones, and Arizona, the Titans looked like a third-place team, which is saying something considering they’re in the same division as Jacksonville and Houston.
13. Dallas Cowboys ( ↑ 4 )
The Cowboys played the Buccaneers extremely tough last Thursday. They won the yardage and time of possession battles — the latter by almost nine whole minutes.
They move up four spots because of their performance, even though it resulted in a loss.
Not to mention, their quarterback played fantastic in his return from last year’s ankle injury. Dak Prescott seemingly isn’t even 100%, and he still threw for three touchdowns and over 400 yards.
12. Baltimore Ravens ( ↓ 3 )
The Ravens drop three spots following Monday night’s loss to the Raiders, a team that can be strong but still hasn’t made the postseason since 2016.
Baltimore lost the yardage and time of possession battles during its trip to Allegiant Stadium.
11. Green Bay Packers ( ↓ 6 )
What a putrid performance by the Packers and superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The 2020 MVP threw for 133 yards and a pair of picks and Green Bay conjured up only 229 total yards as a team.
The Packers were also just 1-for-10 on third-down conversions.
Nonetheless, this team still has the potential to be a Super Bowl contender with a great quarterback and head coach, so I won’t lower the Packers’ ranking too much.
10. Los Angeles Chargers ( → )
The Chargers are still a top-10 team in this league following their Week 1 win over Washington.
I think they should’ve put more points on the board (they won 20-16), but facing the Football Team defense is certainly a difficult task.
9. New Orleans Saints ( ↑ 9 )
The Saints jump way up in our latest power rankings due to their blowout win over the Packers.
In the 38-3 victory, New Orleans’ defense picked off Aaron Rodgers twice (which is extremely rare) while Jameis Winston threw five touchdowns.
Once again, Sean Payton successfully changes his offensive game plan with a new quarterback. He did it with both Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill amid past Drew Brees injuries. Now with Brees retired, he’s doing it with Winston, the 2015 No. 1 overall draft pick.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers ( ↑ 4 )
Pittsburgh was much better than I thought; in Week 1, the Steelers defeated a highly talented Buffalo team by a score of 23-16.
Not to mention, Pittsburgh allowed just six points in the second half.
Could the Steelers give Cleveland and Baltimore runs for their money when it comes to winning the AFC North?
7. Cleveland Browns ( ↑ 1 )
The Browns impressed many in their Week 1 loss to Kansas City.
They must finish though — a late interception thrown by Baker Mayfield sealed the Chiefs’ victory.
6. Buffalo Bills ( ↓ 3 )
The Bills move back a couple of spots following their surprising season-opening loss to Pittsburgh.
Maybe it was just first-game jitters?
Regardless, I still think Buffalo will be a Super Bowl contender and the clear-cut winner of the AFC East.
5. Arizona Cardinals ( ↑ 6 )
Are the Cardinals a top-five team in the league?
After Week 1, I truly think so.
This team employs superb talent on both sides of the ball and proved it on Sunday against a tough Titans squad.
Kyler Murray threw for four touchdowns and rushed for one more while Chandler Jones recorded a whopping five sacks.
People sleep on the Cardinals and think they could finish last in the tough AFC West division…and they’re wrong for it.
4. Seattle Seahawks ( ↑ 3 )
The Seahawks move into the top five while the Bills drop out of it.
Russell Wilson put the 2020 late-season struggles behind him Sunday and threw for four touchdowns in Seattle’s road win over the Colts.
3. Los Angeles Rams ( ↑ 1 )
The Matthew Stafford era in Los Angeles has begun.
And to be honest, I don’t think these Rams fans are going to have a tough time forgetting Jared Goff.
Stafford, who LA traded for earlier this year, threw for 321 yards and three scores during a Sunday Night Football win over the Bears.
The Rams, at least for right now, look like a serious Super Bowl contender.
2. Kansas City Chiefs ( → )
Patrick Mahomes showed why he’s arguably the best quarterback on the planet Sunday against Cleveland.
Despite trailing for a good portion of the game, Mahomes completed 27 of 36 throws for 337 yards and three touchdowns and the Chiefs scored 23 second-half points in a 33-29 victory.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers ( → )
Tampa Bay wasn’t the better team in its opening win over Dallas last Thursday.
But I’ll keep putting the Bucs atop this list — they’ll right the wrongs from Week 1.
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