Now that Week 4 of the 2021 NFL season is in the books, it’s time for everyone’s favorite meaningful exercise: NFL Power Rankings! What differentiates these rankings from others is that they’re the only truly accurate ones in the entire universe. Let’s take a look at how all 32 teams stack up heading in to Week 5. Even more power rankings discussion in this week’s episode of The ODDcast on The SB Nation NFL Show.
BLG’S WEEK 5 NFL POWER RANKINGS
1 - Cleveland Browns (Last Week: 1) - The Browns have shown the ability to both score a lot of points and play suffocating defense. They held a team averaging 29 points per game to just seven. Cleveland might be the NFL’s most complete team, hence their place in the top spot.
I go sleeveless for one game and they hit me with a “you got a random drug test in the morning” ♂️ pic.twitter.com/P3i2EMHuFD— Flash Garrett ⚡️ (@Flash_Garrett) October 5, 2021
2 - Buffalo Bills (LW: 4) - The Bills’ Week 1 loss was clearly more about beating themselves than it was a signal of bad things to come. Buffalo is very much back on track, outscoring their opponents 118 to 21 over their last three games. Pretty decent when you can pitch two shutouts in the span of three weeks.
3 - Arizona Cardinals (LW: 5) - The NFL’s only remaining undefeated team isn’t at No. 1?! Yes. Power rankings aren’t the same thing as official NFL standings. And being No. 3 isn’t really a knock. The Cards are off to a tremendous start after picking up a statement win over the presumed NFC favorites in their own stadium. Kyler Murray is going to continue to play at a high level with a number of weapons in his arsenal.
4 - Los Angeles Rams (LW: 2) - So much for the idea that the Rams are unstoppable. They’re really good, yeah. But for all of Sean McVay’s strengths as an offensive play-caller, his game management is an absolutely fatal flaw. His continued cowardice is going to prevent the Rams from ever winning a title.
One more way to look at it:— Computer Cowboy (@benbbaldwin) October 4, 2021
Sean McVay's, uh, performance, yesterday was the worst over the past 2 seasons in terms of foregone win probability pic.twitter.com/A3vKQNxrjZ
5 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LW: 3) - Tom Brady and the Bucs didn’t exactly score style points in the most anticipated matchup of Week 4 but they ultimately emerged with a win. Survive and advance.
Think of your favorite team— SB Nation (@SBNation) October 4, 2021
Tom Brady has beaten them pic.twitter.com/EJTNCdfiYO
6 - Los Angeles Chargers (LW: 9) - Officially declaration: the Chargers are my AFC team. They’re fun to watch and root for. Brandon Staley is aggressive and smart. He’s going to be the Coach of the Year. Justin Herbert is clearly talented and belongs in the MVP conversation. I said it in the offseason and I’ll say it again: this team is winning the AFC West.
7 - Baltimore Ravens (LW: 7) - The Ravens handled a Denver team that wasn’t as good as their record indicated. Still a quality win on the road.
8 - Green Bay Packers (LW: 8) - Aaron Rodgers was awful in Week 1. Since then, he’s completed 75% of his attempts for six touchdowns, zero interceptions, and a 133.7 passer rating. He’s still here.
9 - Kansas City Chiefs (LW: 10) - KC’s offense is fantastic. Their defense, however, is a real problem. The former matters more but the latter could still be their undoing. They need to get healthier and maybe even make a trade deadline acquisition or two.
10 - Dallas Cowboys (LW: 11) - The Cowboys have a case to be even higher. Only three teams have scored more points than they have. Dallas ranks sixth in point differential. They’re probably going to run away with the NFC East. The Cowboys have an easy schedule coming up, especially in terms of the quarterbacks they’ll face.
11 - Seattle Seahawks (LW: 12) - What can you say? Russell Wilson is ridiculous. As long as he’s around, the Seahawks are going to have a chance every week.
12 - Las Vegas Raiders (LW: 6) - Derek Carr’s MVP hype took a hit with an uninspiring performance in which he threw the game-sealing pick. The Raiders are a solid team but they’re not an elite power.
13 - San Francisco 49ers (LW: 13) - San Fran continues to be owned by Russell Wilson, who is now 16-4 against the 49ers. Kyle Shanahan’s conservative approach hurt his team in this game. And I’m not just referring to his decision to stick with Jimmy G. We’ll see if he finally has the courage to move on to Trey Lance full time.
14 - Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 19) - The Bengals rebounded from a slow start to beat the worst team in the NFL. That Joe Burrow dude is pretty good.
15 - Carolina Panthers (LW: 14) - People were waiting for a shoe to drop with Sam Darnold and it did on Sunday with Carolina’s quarterback throwing two picks. Darnold could really benefit from the return of Christian McCaffrey. In the meantime, relying on him to carry the team with his arm might not go so well.
16 - Denver Broncos (LW: 16) - Vic Fangio complaining about the Ravens looking to extend their 100-yard rushing game streak is weak. If you don’t want to see them get that, stop them. Denver’s in jeopardy of getting exposed with a tougher schedule coming up and Teddy Bridgewater injured.
17 - New Orleans Saints (LW: 15) - Once again, the most difficult team to rank on a weekly basis. They’re the NFL’s highest-variance team. They blow out the Packers and they lose to the Giants. Probably destined for an 8-9 or 9-8 finish.
18 - Minnesota Vikings (LW: 18) - It’s getting late early for the Vikings, who are now 1-3. They probably aren’t going to be able to catch Green Bay so they’ll looking at a wild card spot at best. More mediocrity in Minny.
19 - New England Patriots (LW: 21) - Albeit against a team with cornerback issues, Mac Jones turned in a quality game in a big spot. He’ll need to do more than just throw everything short to prove he’s an inspiring franchise quarterback as opposed to a mere game manager. On the whole, he’s been OK.
20 - Tennessee Titans (LW: 17) - Missing Julio Jones and A.J. Brown isn’t ideal but, c’mon. You can’t expect to be taken seriously if you’re losing to the Jets. The Titans still might win the AFC South because the rest of the division is bad. But they’re not a good team.
21 - Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 20) - Many have made the comparison and it rings true: what the Steelers are going through right now with Ben Roethlisberger is not entirely dissimilar to what the Giants did with Eli Manning. That’s to say, keep franchise icons too long past their prime for the sake of nostalgia. It’s crazy how the Steelers didn’t invest in a better backup plan.
22 - Washington Football Team (LW: 24) - The Football Team’s defense continues to an issue. Thankfully for them, Atlanta’s defense also stinks, allowing Taylor Heinicke to have a career day in a Washington win.
23 - Philadelphia Eagles (LW: 23) - The Eagles are not a well-coached team right now. They lead the league in penalties … by far. They have too many game management issues. Nick Sirianni and his coaching staff shoulder a lot of blame for Philly’s struggles. Sirianni’s willingness to kick red zone field goals against the Chiefs was incredibly alarming. Was he actually interested in doing everything he could to help the Eagles win? His actions didn’t indicate as much. It remains to be seen if his struggles are a product of inexperience or lasting issues that will continue to plague this team. On a separate note, allowing 40+ points in two straight games also isn’t a recipe for success. Jonathan Gannon deserves to be taking some heat as well.
24 - Indianapolis Colts (LW: 25) - Carson Wentz had his best game of the season against a Miami defense that had surrendered 66 points in their last two games. It was a critical win for the Colts as they managed to stay alive in the NFL’s worst division.
25 - Chicago Bears (LW: 26) - Justin Fields looked less worse with Bill Lazor calling the plays than he did with Matt Nagy handling those responsibilities. Of course, Fields still wasn’t awesome or anything. And playing Detroit probably helped the rookie out. We’ll see if he can build on this (and if he’ll even get the chance to play) but he has a long way to go to justify the insane hype he gets. Dude has yet to throw a touchdown pass and is sporting a 86.8 passer rating thus far.
26 - Miami Dolphins (LW: 22) - The Dolphins are down bad. They’re going nowhere fast with Jacoby Brissett under center. And Jacoby will start at least one more game, if not more, with Tua Tagovailoa still on IR. Even if/when Tua returns, it’s hardly like he’s going to be the definite solution to their problems. This was supposed to be the year Miami was going to make the playoffs and it’s looking like that’s not gonna happen. They (and by “they” I mean the Eagles) could be ending up with a much high draft pick than expected.
27 - Atlanta Falcons (LW: 29) - The Falcons move up here because they were in the game until the end and they beat the team directly below them last week. But they don’t really deserve a boost with how bad they are. No team is allowing more points per game (32).
28 - New York Giants (LW: 30) - The Giants were seriously in jeopardy of starting out 0-10. Now it might only be 1-9! Snark aside, Daniel Jones is quietly doing some good things.
29 - New York Jets (LW: 31) - The Jets are on the board! J-E-T-S! JETS, JETS, JETS! Robert Saleh is doing his best to make the most of a team that really lacks talent. Zach Wilson turned in his best game of his career.
30 - Detroit Lions (LW: 27) - The Lions had one of the more crazy turnovers you’ll ever see. Fitting for a team that’s now 0-4.
31 - Houston Texans (LW: 28) - The Texans are totally listless. They just don’t stand a chance with Davis Mills under center. Playing them is a free win.