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2021 NFL Power Rankings Week Two

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


2021 Week 2 NFL Power Rankings

Hard to believe that two weeks of the NFL season are in the rear view mirror. Seven teams remain unbeaten with five of them residing in the West divisions. We’ve already had some thrilling primetime games with three of them coming down to a last-second score to seal the win. Maybe that trend continues Thursday night when Carolina visits Houston. I don’t think I have a good read on either of those teams just yet, but, I do have to rank them and the other 30 teams so I’ll quit stalling and get right to it.

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0) ~ In the season opener, Tom Brady threw for four touchdowns. On Sunday, he threw five more. If math isn’t your strong suit, that puts his season total at nine. There’s fifteen more games and, at this pace, Brady would shatter the NFL record of 55 touchdowns in a season held by Peyton Manning. Odds are with the 17th game that a few records will fall. This could certainly be one of them. (Last Week’s Ranking 1)

2. Los Angeles Rams (2-0) ~ 30. That is the number of wins Matthew Stafford has when his team was trailing at any point in the fourth quarter. Those 30 wins are the most by any quarterback since Stafford entered the league back in 2009. It only took until the second game of the season for him to engineer his first fourth quarter comeback as a Ram. Stafford and the Rams host Brady and the Bucs this Sunday so that might be the earliest matchup of number one vs number two in my rankings. (LWR 3)

3. Kansas City Chiefs (1-1) ~ It only took one week of rankings for this guy to jinx someone. Last week I mentioned that Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs were 11-0 in September games. Now that record stands at 11-1. Mahomes had also never lost to Lamar Jackson, but streaks are meant to be broken. Or is that records? Both I guess. Anyway, the Chiefs are still one of the best teams around. We didn’t expect them to go 17-0, did we? (LWR 2)

4. San Francisco 49ers (2-0) ~ All he does is win. Jimmy Garoppolo is now 28-8 as a starter in the NFL. Remember when the team drafted quarterback Trey Lance with the third pick overall in this year’s draft? If Jimmy GQ keeps up his winning ways, Lance may not see much of the field this year. I think the 49ers would be OK with that if it results in a trip back to the Super Bowl. (LWR 5)

5. Buffalo Bills (1-1) ~ After blowing a 10-0 halftime lead last week, the Bills came out and straight up whupped Miami. Some people might say there are no such things as statement games in the NFL, but a 35-0 road win against a divisional opponent is a statement. I’m just wondering who had a worse day: the Dolphins or the folding tables in Buffalo? (LWR 7)

6. Cleveland Browns (1-1) ~ Pro Bowl wide receiver Jarvis Landry was placed on injured reserve which means he will miss at least the next three games due to a knee injury. This, after the Browns are already without Odell Beckham Jr who is recovering from a knee injury that ended his 2020 season prematurely. Donovan Peoples-Jones and Rashard Higgins could be the two Browns starting wideouts this Sunday against Chicago. (LWR 6)

7. Seattle Seahawks (1-1) ~ Well, that was unexpected. Seattle twice blew leads of at least 14 points and lost at home in overtime to Tennessee. It is just the fourth time in franchise history that the team lost when leading by at least 15 points at the half. It was also their first loss in a home opener in thirteen years. Really, just a game the whole franchise will look to put behind them quickly. (LWR 4)

8. Arizona Cardinals (2-0) ~ This team looks fun. The legend of Kyler Murray continues to grow and there might not be a more exciting player in the game right now. His nine total touchdowns accounted for (seven through the air and two more on the ground) are tied for the most in the league with that Brady guy. He and the rest of the Cardinals offense should be licking their lips seeing Jacksonville up next on the schedule. (LWR 9)

9. Baltimore Ravens (1-1) ~ The monkey is off the back. Lamar Jackson’s back to be exact. Jackson finally outdueled Mahomes and got his first win against the Chiefs quarterback. Jackson was 0-3 vs Mahomes going into Sunday night’s game and was 33-9 against all other teams. My only regret is going to bed before the fourth quarter. (LWR 12)

10. Dallas Cowboys (1-1) ~ After the opener against the Bucs, everyone seemed to be talking about Ezekiel Elliott’s disappearance. He had just 33 yards on 11 carries in that first game, but that was against a stout Tampa defensive front. Game two would be different. Game two saw Dallas’ leading rusher go over 100 yards and find the end zone. He even added 31 yards receiving on three catches. All is well in Dallas. Right? Well, it would be, if those numbers belonged to Zeke. Tony Pollard was the one with the big game in L.A. (LWR 13)

11. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) ~ When the Steelers drafted Najee Harris 24th overall in this year’s draft, he looked like an easy plug and play option. The Steelers have a long history of being a ground and pound team. Harris had tremendous success at Alabama which led to him being the first running back off the board in April. All that being said, I have to believe both Harris and the Steelers are disappointed with the rookie’s output through two games. He has yet to top 50 yards rushing and is averaging just 3.2 yards per carry which is 44th in the league. (LWR 11)

12. Los Angeles Chargers (1-1) ~ Too many costly penalties. Way, way too many. The Chargers had two touchdowns (that I saw) taken off the board due to penalties. One of which was the go-ahead score late in the 4th quarter. L.A. had to settle for a field goal and the tie before allowing Dallas to boot a 56-yarder for the win. I still believe in this team, but they’ve got a rough four game stretch that begins Sunday in Kansas City. (LWR 10)

13. Green Bay Packers (1-1) ~ It is very easy to look at the 35-17 final score and say that the Packers are right back on track. I’m not so sure. Green Bay was actually down 17-14 at the half to Detroit. That means, for six quarters this season, the Packers have mostly been outplayed. I won’t bet against Aaron Rodgers, but I need to see more from Green Bay before moving them up any further. (LWR 14)

14. New Orleans Saints (1-1) ~ Last week we all slurped Jameis Winston after he threw five touchdowns against the Packers. This week he crashed right back down to Earth, but I’m not going to pick on him. I’m instead going after Alvin Kamara who somehow managed just five rushing yards on eight carries against Carolina. That made the Saints one dimensional and we know we don’t want a one dimensional offense run by Winston. OK, so maybe I did pick on Jameis a little. (LWR 8)

15. Las Vegas Raiders (2-0) ~ OK, color me impressed. Derek Carr leads the NFL in passing with 817 yards through two games and the Raiders have impressive wins over the Ravens and Steelers. Who could have seen this coming after Vegas dismantled their offensive line? Carr did have an MRI on his ankle after the game, but if he’s healthy, he has a betting chance to help push the Raiders to 3-0 when they host the Dolphins this Sunday. (LWR 20)

16. New England Patriots (1-1) ~ Mac Jones became the first of this year’s rookie class of quarterbacks to get a win. I am not counting Trey Lance or Justin Fields since they are not starting for their respective teams. Jones didn’t have to do to much as his rookie counterpart Zach Wilson kept completing passes to the Patriots. We’ll discuss that when we get to the Jets. So far though, it seems like it was the right call to go with Jones over the recently departed Cam Newton. (LWR 17)

17. Denver Broncos (2-0) ~ The defense is off to a hot start allowing 13 points in each of their first two games. I’d expect that total to be even less this week when the Jets come to town. Denver and the Raiders are the only two remaining unbeatens in the AFC. (LWR 21)

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18. Tennessee Titans (1-1) ~ They needed to make a furious second half comeback in Seattle to avoid dropping to 0-2 and that’s exactly what they did. Derrick Henry, fresh off a 2,000 yard rushing season, rumbled for 182 yards and three scores in the victory. Perhaps more impressive was that he set a career-high with six catches for another 55 yards. Derrick Henry = receiving threat. (LWR 18)

19. Carolina Panthers (2-0) ~ The Panthers are 2-0 for the first time since 2017 which is the last time the team had a winning record. A lot of that can probably be put on the defense who has allowed just 21 points in two games. They’ll get to face a rookie quarterback making his first start Thursday night when they visit Houston. Will we get another thrilling primetime game? (LWR 24)

20. Miami Dolphins (1-1) ~ Tua Tagovailoa left Sunday’s game early with a rib injury and his status for this week is not yet known. It’s only Tuesday, so he might be just fine, but if he is forced to miss time it won’t help the narrative that the qb is injury-prone. I’m sure the talks of Deshaun Watson to Miami will start back up again even though Miami has a solid backup in Jacoby Brissett. (LWR 16)

21. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) ~ In just his second game as head coach, Nick Sirianni dialed up the Philly Special on a 4th and goal. It didn’t work. I didn’t like it. It’s arguably the most famous play in Eagles history. Let’s leave it at that. That playcall kept points off the board. Couple that with Jake Elliott having a field goal attempt blocked for the first time in his career and you get a close home loss. First place in the NFC East is up for grabs Monday night in Dallas. (LWR 19)

22. Washington Football Team (1-1) ~ Taylor Heinicke completed 74% of his passes while throwing for over 300 yards and two touchdowns as the Washington Football team picked up the first win of the season. It looks to be Heinicke’s team for the next six weeks or so before Ryan Fitzpatrick can possibly come back from injured reserve. Maybe we won’t see Cam Newton in the burgundy and gold like so many of us thought. (LWR 23)

23. Indianapolis Colts (0-2) ~ Somehow, some way, Carson Wentz sprained both of his ankles on the same play. He made it back from a foot injury in the preseason to start in Week One, but now his status for this weekend’s game is up in the air. This guy just cannot stay healthy. The rumors of Nick Foles coming to Indy are picking up steam. (LWR 15)

24. Minnesota Vikings (0-2) ~ One week they were done in by a last second field goal. The next, they had a chance to win on their own last second field goal. For what seems like the zillionth time, the kicking game let the Vikes down as Greg Joseph’s 37-yarder went wide right. He also missed an extra point earlier in the 34-33 loss. (LWR 22)

25. Chicago Bears (1-1) ~ It feels like the clock is about to strike midnight on Andy Dalton’s season. The quarterback avoided tearing his ACL in Sunday’s win over the Bengals, but he did miss time which allowed rookie Justin Fields to get some experience. Fields is the future and, if Dalton needs time to heal, it could become Fields’ team as soon as Sunday in Cleveland. (LWR 27)

26. Cincinnati Bengals (1-1) ~ Two late touchdowns made the game look close, but the Bengals were thoroughly outplayed by Chicago. They had four turnovers and you just aren’t going to win many games, let alone road games, when you turn the ball over like that. Things won’t get any easier when they visit Pittsburgh this Sunday. (LWR 25)

27. Atlanta Falcons (0-2) ~ They put a scare into the defending champs, but ultimately suffered their second loss this season by more than 20 points. Matt Ryan threw two pick sixes to the same guy! How does that even happen? The schedule gets a bit easier with games against both New York squads in the next three weeks. (LWR 26)

28. Houston Texans (1-1) ~ My heart goes out to Tyrod Taylor. He got benched in Buffalo for Nathan Peterman. He lost his job in Cleveland to Baker Mayfield. He had his lung punctured by a doctor in L.A. and never reclaimed the starting gig from Justin Herbert. Now, he leaves a game with a hamstring injury and will miss Thursday’s contest. Rookie Davis Mills will get the starting nod. Here’s hoping Taylor sees the field again in Houston before the season’s end. (LWR 28)

29. New York Giants (0-2) ~ For the seventh straight year the New York Football Giants have started the season 0-2. This is what I like to call a Buzz….your girlfriend moment. Woof. (LWR 29)

30. Detroit Lions (0-2) ~ Lions fans haven't had much to cheer for in recent years. Now I see that they are projected to have the first pick in next year's draft. We're just two weeks into the season. Can't we leave that stuff alone until a few more games are played? (LWR 30)

31. New York Jets (0-2) ~ Zach Wilson threw four interceptions on his first ten pass attempts. How does that make you feel Bill? (LWR 31)

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2) ~ Seventeen straight losses. (LWR 32)

Well, that's it. That's all she wrote. Better yet, that's all I wrote. I plan on being back next week, but for now, let me know how you feel in the comments. Or find me on Twitter @therichwhiteguy. Until next time!

© 2021 Rich


JOC from Syracuse, NY on September 21, 2021:

With the way Carolina dismantled New Orleans, no way they should be ranked below them.

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