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My 2021 NFL Week 13 Power Index

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Rich has a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Penn State. WE ARE!!!


Week 13 NFL Power Rankings 2021

The first week of games in December saw a team get their first win of the season and another see their season officially come to an end as they were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. It saw star players return to Arizona who currently boasts the best record in the NFL. It also saw a few backup quarterbacks take the field for injured starters. One of those backups might cause a controversy in Philadelphia as the Eagles head into their bye week. It’s a lot to unpack, so let’s get to it.

1. Green Bay Packers (9-3) ~ The Packers are 5-0 at home and have a legit shot at securing homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. Even taking in their loss in last year’s NFC Championship Game at home, I can’t imagine there are too many teams out there who want to travel to Lambeau Field in late January. (Last Week’s Ranking 1)

2. Arizona Cardinals (10-2) ~ They have the best record in the league and welcomed back Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins to their lineup. Arizona currently holds that top seed in the NFC, but they did lose to Green Bay which could haunt them as a tiebreaker. That said, Arizona is 7-0 on the road and did just win in Chicago in less than ideal weather. (LWR 2)

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-3) ~ Antonio Brown will miss two more games due to a covid policy suspension, but Tom Brady is doing just fine without him. He found one of his favorite targets, Rob Gronkowski, for two more scores Sunday as Brady seemingly put himself back as the front-runner for MVP honors. Brady and Gronk have now combined for 90 regular season touchdowns which is behind only Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison (112 total tds) for the most all-time. (LWR 3)

4. New England Patriots (9-4) ~ If you polled the most optimistic Patriots fans at the beginning of the season, I’m not sure how many would have truly believed they would be alone atop the AFC one week into December. But here we are. And it isn’t a fluke. The Patriots point differential of +150 is the best in the NFL. It’s Bill Belichick’s world and we’re all just living in it. (LWR 5)

5. Baltimore Ravens (8-4) ~ If the two-point attempt at the end of the game was successful we would all be lauding the decision. Since it failed, it’s easy to second-guess it. John Harbaugh said his depleted secondary factored into the decision to go for two. The Ravens seem to live and die by these decisions. I’m not going to rip them apart for having one backfire. (LWR 4)

6. Kansas City Chiefs (8-4) ~ During their five-game win streak, Kansas City is allowing just over 11 points per game. Prior to the streak, the Chiefs had given up at least 20 in six of their first seven games. That’s quite the turnaround. (LWR 8)

7. Tennessee Titans (8-4) ~ Perhaps one of the best things an injury-ravaged team coming off their bye week can see is a home game against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars coming up on the schedule. That’s exactly the case for the Titans. (LWR 6)

8. Dallas Cowboys (8-4) ~ Ezekiel Elliott must be hurt. Something has to be wrong. He has 51 or fewer rushing yards in each of his last six games. This from a player who has twice led the league in rushing yards. I get that Tony Pollard has looked good in relief, but Zeke simply hasn’t looked like himself this year. They’ll need him to find his old form if this team wants to play deep into January. (LWR 9)

9. Los Angeles Rams (8-4) ~ After going winless in November, the Rams got just what the doctor ordered when Jacksonville came to town. Matthew Stafford ended his consecutive games with a pick six at three. Cooper Kupp again went over 100 yards receiving and Odell Beckham Jr. found the end zone for the second straight week. This is the Rams offense we have been accustomed to seeing week in and week out. (LWR 11)

10. Buffalo Bills (7-5) ~ OK. There was wind. A lot of it. But this is a game that Buffalo was supposed to win. They held New England to just 14 points. They had their chances and came up short time after time. A team with serious Super Bowl aspirations entering the year is now clinging to a playoff spot a week into December. (LWR 7)

11. Indianapolis Colts (7-6) ~ Jonathan Taylor has 1,348 rushing yards. No other player in the NFL has reached the 1,000 yard mark. Taylor’s 18 total touchdowns match the entire season output of the New York Giants. He’s scored in 10 straight games. The only thing that can stop him is the bye week. (LWR 12)

12. Los Angeles Chargers (7-5) ~ In the battle of first round quarterbacks from last season, this round went to Justin Herbert and the Chargers. L.A. opened up a 24-point lead in Cincinnati before nearly allowing the Bengals to storm all the way back. Both the Chargers and Bengals are tough to figure out if they are good or not, but I’m sure they are both teams that nobody wants to face in the playoffs. (LWR 15)

13. Cincinnati Bengals (7-5) ~ Joe Burrow’s pinky finger didn’t look great. He did, however, gut it out and nearly bring his team back from that aforementioned 24-point deficit. What did work in Cincy’s favor Sunday was the fact that Baltimore also lost so they didn’t lose any ground in the AFC North race. (LWR 10)

14. San Francisco 49ers (6-6) ~ Two of their best playmakers are uncertain to play in Sunday’s game against the Bengals. Deebo Samuel is nursing a hamstring injury and Eli Mitchell was placed in concussion protocol yesterday. They’ll need both of them to suit up Sunday to keep their playoff hopes alive as San Fran can’t exactly afford another loss. (LWR 14)

15. Las Vegas Raiders (6-6) ~ We’ve heard this story before. The Raiders started the year 3-0 and were 5-2 at one point before dropping four of their next five games. Last year, the Raiders were 6-3 before missing out on the playoffs. They were 6-4 the prior year and, you guessed it, missed the playoffs. They’re looking down the barrel of a third straight year of disappointment if they don’t turn things around. (LWR 13)

16. Cleveland Browns (6-6) ~ It is do or die time for the Browns. They come off their bye and host the Ravens who are seemingly going to be starting guys off the street in their secondary. If the Browns win this game they’re back in the thick of things. If not, it may be the swan song of their season. (LWR 16)

17. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5-1) ~ Prior to Sunday’s game, word came out that Ben Roethlisberger was hinting that this would be his final season in the NFL. Thanks captain obvious. Big Ben and the Steelers did pick up a big win against the Ravens to keep their playoff hopes alive. That tie could eventually come back to help them. Seems to me they help more often than they hurt when all is said and done. (LWR 20)

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18. Washington Football Team (6-6) ~ Four straight wins for the Football Team and, believe it or not, they control their own destiny in the NFC East. The five remaining games on their schedule are all against NFC East opponents and they will play Dallas twice. If they win out, the division is theirs. (LWR 21)

19. Miami Dolphins (6-7) ~ When Miami was 1-7, I speculated that Brian Flores could be the first head coach to lose his job this season. Now they’ve reeled off five straight wins and get to enjoy their bye week. After that, they host the Jets and visit a New Orleans team that looks lost. It’s not out of the question that the Dolphins could stretch the streak to seven and get back over .500. (LWR 22)

20. Denver Broncos (6-6) ~ The Javonte Williams coming out party took place Sunday in Kansas City. With Melvin Gordon out for the game against the Chiefs, Williams was given the lead back role and he did not disappoint. He totaled 178 yards from scrimmage and scored Denver’s only touchdown. He is the future back for Denver. Now the question is when will Denver make the move permanent? (LWR 18)

21. Philadelphia Eagles (6-7) ~ Minshew Mania is back. At least for one week. Gardner Minshew started in place of the injured Jalen Hurts and led the Eagles to a must-have win against the Jets. He completed 80% of his passes albeit against a terrible Jets defense. Hurts has topped 70% just once all season and that was in the opener against Atlanta. Hurts should be the starter going forward, but, if any team knows how important it is to have a solid backup, it’s Philly. (LWR 23)

22. New Orleans Saints (5-7) ~ Last week I asked when the Saints would turn to Taysom Hill at quarterback. They did for Thursday’s game against Dallas and he promptly threw four interceptions. Seems like Hill will get the start again Sunday and this could be his opportunity to prove to the Saints that he can be a viable starting quarterback beyond this season. (LWR 17)

23. Minnesota Vikings (5-7) ~ They lost to the Lions. The Vikings have officially reached rock bottom on their season. (LWR 19)

24. Carolina Panthers (5-7) ~ Carolina said bye bye to offensive coordinator Joe Brady who was fired Sunday during the team’s bye week. Why couldn’t that have come a week earlier? Now the team will have to adjust to a new OC without the benefit of extra time that would be provided by the bye. (LWR 24)

25. Atlanta Falcons (5-7) ~ Not much has gone right for the Falcons this year, but they aren’t out of it yet. They have a winnable game Sunday in Carolina and still get to play the Lions and Saints (whom they’ve already beaten) at home. They might not be a great team, but they might be able to sneak into a playoff spot in the weak NFC. (LWR 25)

26. Seattle Seahawks (4-8) ~ Adrian Peterson found paydirt in Seattle. That marks his second touchdown this season for as many teams. That also ties him with Jim Brown for 10th all-time as it was the 126th touchdown of his storied career. (LWR 27)

27. New York Giants (4-8) ~ Daniel Jones is out with a neck strain. His backup, Mike Glennon, is in concussion protocol. As it stands, Jake Fromm is slated to make his first NFL start Sunday when the Giants visit the Chargers. (LWR 26)

28. Chicago Bears (4-8) ~ Andy Dalton threw four interceptions in a loss to Arizona. Dalton is not the future in Chicago, but he continues to get the starting nod while Justin Fields is nursing a rib injury. The Bears aren’t going anywhere this season, so it is understandable that they aren’t going to rush their rookie quarterback into the lineup. (LWR 28)

29. New York Jets (3-9) ~ After Alex Kessman missed his first two extra point attempts, the Jets decided to bring in yet another kicker. Eddy Pineiro may handle extra points and field goals this Sunday and he would be the third kicker this season for the Jets. He would be their eighth kicker since 2017. (LWR 29)

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9) ~ The more I see from this team the more I wonder how in the hell they beat Buffalo earlier this year. I mean, is there a bigger upset this entire season? (LWR 30)

31. Detroit Lions (1-10-1) ~ They won a game! The nightmare is over for at least one week. (LWR 32)

32. Houston Texans (2-10) ~ The first team officially eliminated from playoff contention. Your Houston Texans! (LWR 31)

And that is that. That's all I've got this week. You're now free to go about the rest of your day. Or night. Whatever it may be. If you want more of me, leave a comment below or follow me on social media via the link in my bio.

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