Now that Week 3 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 4. Even more power rankings discussion n this week’s episode of The ODDcast on The SB Nation NFL Show.
BLG’S WEEK 4 NFL POWER RANKINGS
1 - Cleveland Browns (Last Week: 3) - There’s a new No. 1 this week with the Browns at the top. Cleveland is No. 2 in DVOA (behind Carolina, who’s had a much easier schedule) after three weeks. They’re a well-rounded squad with the No. 4 offense, the No. 10 defense, and the No. 6 special teams unit. It was their defense that really dominated in Week 3 with Myles Garrett picking up 4.5 sacks in one game.
2 - Los Angeles Rams (LW: 4) - The Rams are the top team in the NFC right now after beating the reigning Super Bowl champions. Matthew Stafford is proving to be a significant upgrade from Jared Goff, as expected. The Rams didn’t even need DeSean Jackson in their first two wins but they were able to break him out in a big spot against Tampa Bay. Dangerous weapon to have in arsenal.
3 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LW: 1) - The Bucs will not be going undefeated. A loss to LAR could potentially cost them the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoff picture. Tom Brady’s team can get back on track this week with a win against his old team. And the Bucs’ defense might get a boost from adding Richard Sherman to the mix.
4 - Buffalo Bills (LW: 8) - Sunday was a “get right” game for the Bills. Buffalo put the struggles of Week 1 behind them as Josh Allen turned in his best game of the season. The Bills have a claim to the top spot in the AFC.
5 - Arizona Cardinals (LW: 5) - The Cards took care of business against the worst team in the NFL despite Kyler Murray having his worst game through three weeks. He’ll need to bounce back with a game against the Rams up next.
6 - Las Vegas Raiders (LW: 10) - The Raiiiiiiiiduhz are undefeated through three games! And it’s not like they’ve been playing cupcakes. They came from behind to beat Baltimore in Week 1, traveled east to beat Pittsburgh by two possessions in Week 2, and outlasted a scrappy Miami team in Week 3. Derek Carr and Jon Gruden don’t deserve to be slept on right now.
7 - Baltimore Ravens (LW: 6) - The Ravens were in serious danger of losing to the Lions in Detroit. Not the best look for them. On the bright side, Justin Tucker’s record breaking 66-yard field goal could be a moment that really sparks this team. Not unlike how the Eagles were boosted by Jake Elliott’s 61-yard game winner in Week 3 of 2017.
8 - Green Bay Packers (LW: 9) - R-e-l-a-x. Aaron Rodgers is just fine.
9 - Los Angeles Chargers (LW: 13) - The Bolts were my pick to win the AFC West this year, overtaking the Chiefs. LAC is currently behind Las Vegas and Denver in the standings but their arrow is very much pointing up. They’re a dangerous team with Justin Herbert’s ability to get the ball to contested catch monsters like Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. Brandon Staley also deserves major props for coaching aggressive (going for it on fourth downs, going for two) to beat KC.
10 - Kansas City Chiefs (LW: 2) - It’s hard to say the Chiefs are “in trouble” when they still have Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes going for them. But sitting at 1-2 at the bottom of their division, they clearly have some issues. No team has allowed more points than the 95 that KC has surrendered thus far.
11 - Dallas Cowboys (LW: 12) - Statement win for the Cowboys over the Eagles on Monday Night Football. Dallas looks to be in good shape to win the NFC East. One significant concern to emerge from their win was more mismanagement by Mike McCarthy. That much could be their undoing against tougher competition.
12 - Seattle Seahawks (LW: 7) - The Seahawks are 1-2 with San Fran up next. One must wonder how things might go in Seattle if they drop to 1-3. A slow start might only refuel the rumors about Russell Wilson wanting out. The Seahawks’ struggles certainly aren’t his fault considering he has zero turnovers and leads the NFL with a 133.6 passer rating.
13 - San Francisco 49ers (LW: 11) - The 49ers shouldn’t have even been in the game at the end. Refs missed an obvious intentional grounding penalty that would’ve had the 49ers down 17-0 instead of 17-7 at the end of the first half. Jimmy Garoppolo really caps this team’s ceiling. Kyle Shanahan needs to turn to Trey Lance sooner than later.
14 - Carolina Panthers (LW: 15) - The Panthers are the No. 1 team in DVOA after three weeks. They’re not higher in these rankings because we need to see more from them. They’ve beaten Zach Wilson, Jameis Winston, and Davis Mills so far. How they fare against Dallas could tell us more about them, especially as they try to survive injuries to Christian McCaffrey and Jaycee Horn.
15 - New Orleans Saints (LW: 16) - Jameis Winston threw one of the most Jameis Winston touchdowns you’ll ever see in the Saints’ road win over the Pats. His week-to-week variance makes it hard to get a great read on New Orleans, which is why I like keeping them around the middle of these rankings. The ups and downs could end up evening out to a middle ground.
16 - Denver Broncos (LW: 19) - The Broncos are undefeated after beating the Giants, Jaguars, and Jets. Those teams are literally the worst three in these rankings. Need to see how they fare against a tough opponent. The Broncos probably aren’t a bad team but it remains to be seen just how good they are.
17 - Tennessee Titans (LW: 17) - The Titans haven’t scored a lot of style points this season but they’re in a good spot atop the AFC South after beating Indy. The struggles elsewhere in their division should afford them breathing room to figure things out.
18 - Minnesota Vikings (LW: 26) - Minny really needed a win to avoid dropping to 0-3. To his credit, Kirk Cousins balled out in a critical spot. Not something he often does, which is why it’s hard to believe in this team’s ceiling.
19 - Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 25) - There were concerns about Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase coming out of training camp. The young LSU duo quelled some of those doubts with a quality showing in Pittsburgh.
20 - Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 14) - The Steelers just might be in danger of their first losing season since 2003 after all. Ben Roethlisberger is looking mighty cooked. It’s crazy how Pittsburgh didn’t invest in any kind of real contingency plan behind the 39-year-old. And, no, Dwayne Haskins does not count.
21 - New England Patriots (LW: 18) - Mac Jones struggled against the No. 3 DVOA defense. Now the rookie gets to face the franchise legend he’s trying to replace as a franchise quarterback in New England. No pressure, kid.
22 - Miami Dolphins (LW: 22) - The Dolphins are almost always going to turn in a scrappy effort under Brian Flores. But they’re just not serious threats with Jacoby Brissett under center. The veteran backup has a 67.8 passer rating so far.
23 - Philadelphia Eagles (LW: 20) - So much for “the Eagles are going to be better than people realize!” this year. No, the Eagles are who we thought they were. They have a flawed roster and major questions at the two most important spots: head coach and quarterback. They’re a team admittedly in transition. Philly might struggle to win a game in the near future with the following games up next: vs. KC, at CAR, vs. TB, at LVR. Could be a 2-5 or 1-6 start to the season.
24 - Washington Football Team (LW: 21) - What happened to Washington’s defense? It’s one thing for them to experience some natural regression since defense isn’t always stick on a year-to-year basis. But they went from having one of the NFL’s most formidable units to a defense that ranks fourth in points allowed. It also doesn’t help that they don’t have a legitimate starting quarterback.
25 - Indianapolis Colts (LW: 23) - Carson Wentz probably shouldn’t have played on Sunday but he’s too stubborn to do what’s potentially best for the team. The Colts are off to an 0-3 start. They have a must-win game in Miami coming up next. If the losing continues, they’ll have to consider benching Wentz to retain a very high 2022 first-round pick.
26 - Chicago Bears (LW: 25) - Justin Fields had one net passing yard in his first NFL start. ONE! Look, I’m not going to argue that Matt Nagy did everything he could to set Fields up to succeed. But if Fields is truly this incredible talent that many purport him to be ... this guy that so many teams (including the Eagles) are supposedly total idiots for passing on ... he needs to show a little bit more than he did on Sunday. People can’t seem to accept that Fields might not be as good as they thought. This isn’t to suggest his career is over or he can’t better. But, hey, maybe there was actually some reason to why he didn’t beat out Andy Dalton? Fields might be headed back to the bench with old friend Nick Foles (!) having a chance to start this week.
27 - Detroit Lions (LW: 28) - If not for a blatant missed delay of game penalty near the end of Sunday’s tilt against Baltimore, the Lions might have had their first win of the season. This team clearly lacks talent but, hey, they play hard. Dan Campbell deserves some credit for that much. Realistically speaking, the Lions are in an ideal tanking spot: play competitive football but lose and get a higher draft pick to select your next franchise quarterback.
28 - Houston Texans (LW: 27) - Davis Mills? More like Davis Mehlls. It might be some time before the Texans get another win.
29 - Atlanta Falcons (LW: 31) - The Falcons are pretty bad. But not as bad as the Giants!
30 - New York Giants (LW: 29) - The Giants are 0-3 and they have the NFL’s toughest remaining schedule. Yikes. Looking at their upcoming games, there’s a pretty realistic chance they’ll start out 0-10.
31 - New York Jets (LW: 31) - Hard to fault Robert Saleh when he has so little talent to work with. Perhaps a bright spot to consider is that the Jets rank 16th in defensive DVOA. He seems to be maximizing that side of the ball? But, yeah, this team just needs a big infusion of better players.
32 - Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 32) - The kick six was cool. It might very well be the best highlight from the Jags’ 2021 season.