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2021 NFL Power Rankings - Week 9 Edition

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

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Week 9 NFL Power Rankings 2021

Wow. Upset central. The NFL world was flipped upside down this past weekend. Underdogs rose up and took down the favorites left and right. I’m sure the sports books had a good weekend. All that chaos has to mean there’s movement in my rankings, right?

1. Arizona Cardinals (8-1) ~ They did it without Kyler. They did it without D-Hop. They did it without A.J. Green. They even did it (mostly) without Chase Edmonds. What they did was go on the road, against a divisional foe, and pick up a win without a lot of their star players. That is the kind of win that should put the league on notice that the best in the business, at least for right now, resides in the desert. (Last Week’s Ranking 2)

2. Tennessee Titans (7-2) ~ I didn’t move them up last week because I thought losing Derrick Henry would be too big a hole to fill. That was a mistake. Well, there is no replacing Henry, but doubting the Titans was the mistake. They went in to Los Angeles and thoroughly outplayed the Rams who I had atop the rankings last week. A beatdown like that has the Titans atop the AFC. (LWR 8)

3. Green Bay Packers (7-2) ~ Aaron Rodgers did not play because of Covid and the Packers offense, predictably, struggled. Jordan Love, Rodgers’ assumed successor, made his first NFL start and it didn’t go all that well. He CAN, however, say that he had a better day than his counterpart Patrick Mahomes. Love threw for 190 yards and a touchdown. Mahomes went for 166 and a score. More on him later. (LWR 3)

4. Los Angeles Rams (7-2) ~ We already know they got whupped by the Titans. Watching that game made me think back to that Super Bowl which took place an alarmingly 21 years ago. The one where Kurt Warner capped off his breakout season with a Super Bowl title. The one where a tackle was made on the one yard line to preserve the win as time expired. It’s still one of the greatest Super Bowls I remember watching. (LWR 1)

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2) ~ The Bucs got a gift over the weekend when Atlanta beat New Orleans. The gifts don’t stop there either as their next two opponents reside in the woeful NFC East. First a road game in Washington and then they play host to the Giants. If Tom Brady gets his complement of receiving threats back, here’s looking at you Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski, then he should have little to no issue carving up those secondaries. (LWR 6)

6. Baltimore Ravens (6-2) ~ Lamar Jackson had the 12th 100-yard rushing game of his career in the overtime win against the Vikings. That broke a tie with Michael Vick for the most 100-yard rushing games by a quarterback in a career. Jackson is in just his fourth season. Who knows what the record will look like by the time he hangs up his cleats. (LWR 7)

7. Dallas Cowboys (6-2) ~ That was ugly. Look, bad games happen in the NFL. But this one was much, much worse than the final score indicated. At one point, the Cowboys were trailing 30-0 AT HOME to a team that was on a four-game losing streak and just traded away the face of the franchise. They’ll need to come out of the gate hot next week to really try and put this one behind them. (LWR 4)

8. Buffalo Bills (5-3) ~ Speaking of ugly, did you happen to see what the Bills did in Jacksonville? They put up just six points against a team that given up at least 20 points in every game this season. I’ve really been trying to figure out who suffered the worst loss this weekend: Dallas or Buffalo. It’s too close to call. (LWR 5)

9. Los Angeles Chargers (5-3) ~ I watched every play of this game since the Chargers played against my Philadelphia Eagles. That said, the Chargers were the better team. They were aggressive in going for it on fourth down not once, not twice but thrice! They came up short on their first two attempts, the first of which, capped a 98-yard drive that ended without any points. That’s hard to do. The third time was, in fact, the charm as it helped run out the clock before they booted a game-winning field goal. (LWR 12)

10. New Orleans Saints (5-3) ~ Last week I said they would be fine with Taysom Hill under center. They went with Trevor Siemian instead, and, while the team got off to a slow start, he didn’t play that badly. The loss hurts, but maybe it sparks them to make a move for Odell Beckham Jr. The Saints are starved for wide receiver production and OBJ did play his college ball at LSU. (LWR 9)

11. New England Patriots (5-4) ~ Don’t look now, but the Pats have won three straight and sit just a game behind Buffalo in the AFC East. They still have two games against the Bills and close the season with Jacksonville and Miami. It isn’t a stretch to think that the Pats have a chance at the division. Probably not what Bills fans want to hear. (LWR 15)

12. Las Vegas Raiders (5-3) ~ I feel like the gut punches keep coming for the Raiders. Their coach resigned amid an email scandal. They lost a starting wide receiver who was a first round draft pick after a fatal car crash. Now they lose another former first round pick as corner Damon Arnette was released after a video surfaced of him brandishing guns and threatening to kill a Raiders fan. What else can happen to this team? (LWR 10)

13. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3) ~ Who leads the Steelers in touchdown receptions? It isn’t Chase Claypool or Diontae Johnson. Not even incumbent tight end Eric Ebron. Instead it is rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth who scored twice last night to double his season total. Over the past three weeks he has hauled in 16 of his 20 targets for 135 yards and three scores. If you need help at the tight end position on your fantasy team, now might be your last chance to snag him off the waiver wire. (LWR 13)

14. Kansas City Chiefs (5-4) ~ The Chiefs have won two in a row to get back over .500, but should they feel good about it? They eked out a victory at home against a Giants team missing most of its skill players. They beat the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers by just six points. Either of those games could have gone the other way and then we’d be looking at a 3-6 Kansas City squad. Mahomes and the offense have struggled mightily for a good month. They still have time to snap out of this slump, but they need to do it sooner rather than later if they hope to make it to a third consecutive Super Bowl. (LWR 14)

15. Cleveland Browns (5-4) ~ They dismantled Cincinnati over the weekend and picked up a huge win towards saving their season from disaster. Then, this morning, star running back Nick Chubb, fresh off his 134-yard two touchdown performance, tested positive for Covid-19. His status for this weekend’s game is unclear as of this writing. (LWR 16)

16. Cincinnati Bengals (5-4) ~ Two weeks ago they were the top seed in the AFC playoffs. Now they are all the way down to 10th. Maybe that surge to the top of the AFC was a fluke. Maybe they are the same old Bengals. (LWR 11)

17. Indianapolis Colts (4-5) ~ That’s six straight games with at least one rushing touchdown for Jonathan Taylor. He’s eclipsed 100 yards in four of those six and the Colts won all four. With Derrick Henry out for the season, could Taylor run away with the rushing title? (LWR 19)

18. Denver Broncos (5-4) ~ Earlier I mentioned that the Broncos took a 30-0 lead over the Cowboys during Sunday’s massacre. What I didn’t mention was it was a season-high in points scored for Denver. It also marked the sixth time in nine games that they’ve held their opponent to 17 or fewer points. Not sure how I feel about that as Denver travels to Philly this coming weekend. (LWR 21)

19. Minnesota Vikings (3-5) ~ This can’t keep happening, can it? The Vikings held a 14-point lead at two different points in this game and still needed a late touchdown drive to force overtime. Their possession in overtime? A three and out. Baltimore then drove down the field and let the most accurate kicker in NFL history put another one through the uprights. If we said Kansas City could easily be 3-6, the Vikings could conversely just as easily be 6-3. (LWR 18)

20. Seattle Seahawks (3-5) ~ Russell Wilson will be back this week to take on the Packers in Green Bay. Will his counterpart Rodgers be under center for the Pack? Let’s hope so. This has been a very interesting head-to-head as Wilson is 0-4 in Green Bay and Rodgers is 0-4 in Seattle including the postseason. Will that trend continue? (LWR 22)

21. Atlanta Falcons (4-4) ~ If the season ended today, Atlanta would be in the playoffs. Would they be a threat? Maaaaybe. Aside from scraping by a New Orleans team that just lost their quarterback, their other wins are against Miami and both teams from New York. Not exactly world beaters. They’ve also lost to my Eagles and Carolina. We haven’t even gotten to those teams yet in these ranks. Suffice to say, the jury is out on Atlanta. The jury of one. Me. I’m the jury. In case that wasn’t clear. (LWR 23)

22. San Francisco 49ers (3-5) ~ They got punked at home by Colt McCoy. Need I say more? (LWR 17)

23. Carolina Panthers (4-5) ~ Sam Darnold had six touchdowns (passing and rushing combined) versus just one interception during Carolina’s 3-0 start to the season. In his last six games he has six combined touchdowns versus ten interceptions. He’s starting to look like the Darnold that suited up for the Jets. Is his time in Carolina already running out? (LWR 20)

24. Philadelphia Eagles (3-6) ~ The tide has shifted. The Eagles are running the ball. During the first seven weeks of the season, Philly running backs had 96 rushing attempts for 444 yards and three scores. In their past two games, running backs had 66 carries for 258 yards and six scores. If the Eagles continue to run the ball with success, it will open things up for Jalen Hurts and the pass game. (LWR 24)

25. New York Giants (3-6) ~ Player A averages 3.7 yards per carry and has two rushing touchdowns on the season. He also has 20 receptions on 23 targets for 161 yards and another score. Player B averages 3.6 yards per carry and has two rushing touchdowns on the season. He also has 14 receptions on 20 targets for 130 yards and a score. Player A is Devontae Booker. Player B is Saquon Barkley. I’m not saying anything, but I’m not not saying anything. (LWR 26)

26. Chicago Bears (3-6) ~ My big takeaway from this game is the NFL’s rule on taunting. If this is taunting, then we have truly entered a new era of the No Fun League. (LWR 25)

27. Washington Football Team (2-6) ~ Joey Slye is now the third kicker for the Washington Football Team this season. Earlier in the year they released veteran Dustin Hopkins. They had Chris Blewitt for a few games, but that didn’t work out. Now it’s Slye’s turn. There’s a lot wrong with the Football Team this year. Why is so much focus ending up on the kicker? (LWR 27)

28. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6) ~ Josh Allen intercepted Josh Allen. Josh Allen sacked Josh Allen. Josh Allen recovered a fumble by Josh Allen. Josh Allen also had a regular tackle of, you guessed it, Josh Allen. This is some Inception kind of stuff right here. (LWR 30)

29. New York Jets (2-6) ~ I’d like to think that if Mike White wasn’t knocked out of Thursday’s game the Jets would have had a better chance at pulling off the upset. That said, who knew Josh Johnson was still in the league? And who expected him to throw for more than 300 yards and three scores? I wonder what Zach Wilson is thinking watching these guys come in and have immediate success. (LWR 28)

30. Miami Dolphins (2-7) ~ Yes, they got a win, but it was against Houston. And they did all they could to lose the game by turning the ball over five times. Color me unimpressed. (LWR 29)

31. Houston Texans (1-8) ~ Tyrod Taylor is back under center for the Texans. He was clearly rusty as he threw multiple interceptions for just the second time in his 11-year career. If he can stay healthy, I think Houston finds another win or two down the stretch. (LWR 31)

32. Detroit Lions (0-8) ~ We can end this the easy way or we can end this the hard way. The easy way would be to say that the bye week beat the Lions 24-21. Let’s go with the easy way. (LWR 32)

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.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2021 Rich

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