Now that Week 8 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 entering Week 9. Even more power rankings discussion in this week’s episode of The ODDcast on The SB Nation NFL Show.
New Off Day Debrief with @BrandonGowton & @StatsOnFire is here!— SB Nation NFL (@SBNationNFL) November 2, 2021
Are the Chiefs paper tigers?
What the heck are the Giants doing?
Sean Payton deserves more love
Week 9 Power Rankings
MVP LVP points of the week
: https://t.co/giuYj3YYIf pic.twitter.com/plevcVed9H
BLG’S WEEK 9 NFL POWER RANKINGS
1 - Los Angeles Rams (Last Week: 2) - The Rams lead the league in offensive EPA per play and now they have a defense that features Jalen Ramsey, Aaron Donald, AND Von Miller. Los Angeles is pushing all their chips in for a Super Bowl win. They’re a scary group.
2 - Buffalo Bills (LW: 4) - Buffalo should’ve beat Miami with more ease than they did but, hey, division games are always prone to being tougher than expected. The Bills have a legitimate claim to being the top team in a crowded AFC playoff picture.
3 - Green Bay Packers (LW: 5) - The Packers took down the NFL’s only remaining undefeated team. On the road. Without Davante Adams. That victory could prove to be crucial when it comes to determining the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoff picture.
4 - Arizona Cardinals (LW: 1) - A.J. Green cost the Cards at least a chance to take Green Bay to overtime. Arizona failed their opportunity to prove they’re an indomitable juggernaut. They’ll probably settle for being merely one of the league’s best teams. To be determined just how much the J.J. Watt injury will hurt the Cards’ defense.
5 - Dallas Cowboys (LW: 6) - The Cowboys won with Cooper Rush under center. Doesn’t that kind of undermine Dak Prescott’s MVP argument? Trolling aside, the Cowboys are giving off really good vibes. They don’t struggle to score points and they’re playing some inspired defense. They’re going to make a push for the No. 1 seed.
6 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LW: 3) - How does Tom Brady lose by two possessions to the combination of Trevor Siemian and Jameis Winston? The Bucs are obviously still really good but this loss could prove costly when it comes time for playoff seeding.
7 - Tennessee Titans (LW: 9) - The Titans are currently the No. 1 seed in the AFC after beating Buffalo, Kansas City, and Indianapolis. At the very least, Tennessee is in strong shape to win their division since they now have a multi-game lead and a head-to-head tiebreaker over Indy. The bad news is that Derrick Henry is potentially out for the season. Can a 36-year-old Adrian Peterson pick up some of the slack?
8 - Baltimore Ravens (LW: 8) - The Ravens regained the AFC North lead while on their bye. They return with a home game against Minny.
9 - Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 7) - Just when everybody was ready to believe in the Bengals, they went out and lost to the friggin J-E-T-S with a backup quarterback playing. Bad loss for Cincy.
10 - New Orleans Saints (LW: 14) - The Saints were able to beat the Bucs despite Trevor Siemian filling in for Jameis Winston. Credit where it’s due: Sean Payton is a really good head coach. He’s 12-3 in his last 15 games without Drew Brees. Defensive coordinator Dennis Allen also deserves some love. He continues to oversee top defenses down on the bayou.
11 - Los Angeles Chargers (LW: 10) - The Chargers needed to beat the Pats to avoid the “same old Chargers” vibe. Alas, they did not. Justin Herbert MVP talk has cooled following two straight games with passer ratings in the 60s. For some reason, Bill Belichick owns Herbert. Two of the young quarterback’s very worst games came against Old Man Hoodie.
12 - Las Vegas Raiders (LW: 12) - The Raiders regained the AFC West lead while on their bye. They return with a road game against the G-Men, who will be playing on short rest.
13 - Kansas City Chiefs (LW: 13) - The Chiefs sure don’t look like The Chiefs this season. They can’t be counted out because we all know Andy Reid is quite capable of leading a team on a big run. But it’s going to take Patrick Mahomes playing a lot better than he is right now. He has more interceptions (5) than touchdowns (4) in his last three games. Not to mention two lost fumbles.
14 - New England Patriots (LW: 18) - Don’t look now but the Pats are 3-1 in their last four games with the sole defeat being an overtime loss to Dallas. New England has some more winnable games (at CAR, vs. CLE, at ATL) coming up next.
15 - Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 16) - Mike Tomlin might be able to drag any group of 53 random men to being a half-decent football team. The Steelers can hardly be viewed as serious championship contenders. But they’re a tough group that’s going to push for a playoff spot.
16 - Cleveland Browns (LW: 11) - The Browns are 1-3 in their last four games with the sole victory being a three-point home win against Denver. Not the most inspiring stuff. Cleveland is trending in the wrong direction and it might not get better with Baker Mayfield playing through injury.
17 - Indianapolis Colts (LW: 17) - There was a notion that Frank Reich “fixed” Carson Wentz because the Colts beat Houston and San Francisco. Uh, yeah, not quite. Wentz is still stubborn and too careless with the football. Wentz inexplicably draw praise for throwing a pick-six instead of taking a safety, which likely would’ve ended the game in regulation. The reality is he had a chance to kill the play for an incompletion. Even putting that aside, he forced a throw on first down in overtime to seal a very damaging loss. The Colts’ chances of winning the AFC South are slim after this result.
Carson Wentz connects with Kevin Byard in OT— PFF (@PFF) October 31, 2021
18 - San Francisco 49ers (LW: 19) - The 49ers broke their four-game losing streak with a win in Chicago. They’re still not going very far with Jimmy Garoppolo under center, which is why there are calls for Trey Lance. But there seems to be some question if Kyle Shanahan actually wanted Lance.
I've written this: I believe he initially wanted to draft Mac Jones, changed to Lance late in the process after many in the building argued against Jones and now is handling the situation as if he didn't really want Lance. That might change. But it's one explanation. https://t.co/Kyq6ff9tmW— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) October 31, 2021
19 - Seattle Seahawks (LW: 20) - Seattle managed to get their first win with Geno Smith under center. That much was important to keep their season on life support. Russell Wilson might be ready to return after the Seahawks’ Week 9 bye.
20 - Minnesota Vikings (LW: 15) - The beginning of the end of the Mike Zimmer era has arrived. The Vikings losing at home to Cooper Rush is pretty inexcusable. A new head coach and new quarterback are needed in Minny. Kirk Cousins puts up some good stats or whatever but the guy absolutely crumples in the biggest moments. Perfect guy if you want to be stuck in quarterback purgatory.
21 - Carolina Panthers (LW: 21) - Sam Darnold stinks but Carolina’s defense does not. The following EPA chart shows how the Panthers are in a unique position with a bad offense but a good defense.
22 - Philadelphia Eagles (LW: 25) - Nick Sirianni finally gave in to the calls for the Eagles to Run The Ball. Philly picked up a 44-6 win by pounding the rock. Is this a sustainable blueprint for them moving forward? Probably not. They’re going to need more from Jalen Hurts and their passing game against better teams. The defense has also yet to prove they can be good against a quarterback who isn’t terrible.
23 - Atlanta Falcons (LW: 22) - Turns out that close wins over NYG, NYJ, and Miami doesn’t mean the Falcons are anything close to being a good football team.
24 - Denver Broncos (LW: 23) - The Broncos have wins against NYG, JAX, NYJ, and WFT. They have losses against BAL, PIT, LVR, and CLE. They can beat the terrible teams but can’t beat the non-terrible ones. And, while likely the right move in the long run, Denver is now worse off this year after trading Von Miller.
25 - New York Giants (LW: 24) - The Giants had a real opportunity to pull off the upset against the Chiefs. But moral victories can’t mean much for a franchise that’s been so bad for so long and is now 2-6 this year. Also, Joe Judge is a loser and a coward.
Joe Judge said the #Giants have been having headset issues all season which is why they’ve burned a lot of timeouts at inopportune times. Said he’s contacted the league.— Zack Rosenblatt (@ZackBlatt) November 2, 2021
“They better get it fixed fast.”
---> NYG (7) @ KC (14) <---— 4th down decision bot (@ben_bot_baldwin) November 2, 2021
NYG has 4th & 2 at the KC 5
Recommendation (STRONG): Go for it (+3.4 WP)
Actual play: G.Gano 23 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-C.Kreiter, Holder-R.Dixon. pic.twitter.com/VdLg2bYmHE
26 - New York Jets (LW: 28) - Robert Saleh has led the Jets to wins over two of the teams in the top nine of these rankings. Promising start for him given the lack of talent he has to work with. Can Mike White continue to have success? The odds are against him but we’ll see if he’s actually legit or not. Interesting to see that Saleh didn’t rule out White supplanting Zach Wilson.
27 - Chicago Bears (LW: 26) - Justin Fields continues to be the most over-hyped player in recent NFL history. His touchdown run was legitimately great! But what’s it say when his most promising game thus far is a 175-yard passing performance in an 11-point loss to San Fran? So bizarre to me that people act like teams who passed on him in the 2021 NFL Draft is this clear and obvious mistake.
28 - Washington Football Team (LW: 27) - The Football Team has lost four straight. There isn’t much interesting to say about this bad and boring group.
29 - Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 29) - On paper, Urban Meyer had a realistic chance to get his second win. Jacksonville was coming off their bye to face Geno Smith. Instead, the Jags got blown out.
30 - Miami Dolphins (LW: 30) - If not for the Pats for blowing the game in Week 1, Miami would be winless. The Dolphins showed some good fight against Buffalo but, as we said about NYG, moral victories aren’t doing much for them right now.
31 - Detroit Lions (LW: 31) - Up until Week 8, the Lions had been showing some good fight under Dan Campbell. Many thought Detroit could actually beat Philly. Nope. They got absolutely destroyed. Jared Goff is unwatchable.
32 - Houston Texans (LW: 32) - There’s some hope for the Texans looking slightly more competent when Tyrod Taylor returns. Until then, they’re an absolute joke.