December 7, 2021   6 MIN READ

ITB’s NFL Power Rankings

Colts, Chiefs Heating Up In December


In our weekly NFL team rankings, we’ll grade them by:
– Roster
– Current Injury Issues
– Coaching
– Performance
– Record

[Caplan’s Note:] We don’t subscribe to the theory that a team with a lesser record can’t be ranked higher than a team with a better record. It’s about how they look as
of now based on the criteria listed above.

Carson Wentz

Carson Wentz and the Colts are 6-2 in the last 8 games

1) Arizona Cardinals (10-2; ranked last week: #1):
Another win for the best team in the NFL last week and for whatever reason, no one realizes how good they are.

2) Green Bay Packers (9-3; ranked last week: #2): They have a very favorable schedule for their final four games, so the #1 seed is still in reach.

3) New England Patriots (9-4; ranked last week: #3): That’s seven wins in a row and the Patriots did what they had to do in order to beat the host Bills — that’s take the air out of the ball on offense due to windy conditions — and they did just enough on defense to get the job done.

4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-3; ranked last week: #4): They’ll host the Bills this week, which should be one of the best games on the schedule in Week 14.

5) Kansas City Chiefs (8-4; ranked last week: #5): HC Andy Reid is working his late-November, early-December magic again. Maybe some teams will study what he does after the bye (20-3).

6) Los Angeles Rams (8-4; ranked last week: #10): They’ve got a rematch this week against the Cardinals team that went in and dominated them in LA. To have any chance at winning the NFC West, the Rams have to win this game and then they’d need some help over their final three games.

7) Tennessee Titans (8-4; ranked last week: #7): No team in the NFL is more banged up than the Titans, so hopefully their Week 13 bye helped them get healthier.

8) Dallas Cowboys (8-4; ranked last week: #11): It will be interesting to see how the Cowboys handle success down the stretch as we get closer to the end of the season. They have played quite well when you consider their injury and COVID-19 issues.

9) Buffalo Bills (7-5; ranked last week: #9): A very tough loss against their archrival Patriots, but the Bills will still earn an AFC Wild card spot by the end of the regular season.

10) Indianapolis Colts (7-6; ranked last week: #12): Quite the turnaround for the Colts after their 1-4 start. And it’s starting to feel like it did when they were 1-5 in 2018, but still made the playoffs.

11) Baltimore Ravens (8-4; ranked last week: #6): Another top defensive player lost for the season (Marlon Humphrey) for the Ravens, but they’re still in the driver’s seat to win the AFC North.

12) Los Angeles Chargers (7-5; ranked last week: #15): Good luck trying to figure out this team, but a very impressive win last week over the mercurial Bengals.

13) Cincinnati Bengals (7-5; ranked last week: #8): No team is harder to trust than the Bengals. Right when you’re ready to say they’re ready to take off, they lay an egg (see the two games before the bye and Week 13’s loss to the Chargers).

14) Cleveland Browns (6-6; ranked last week: #16): It’s hard to put my finger on why this team isn’t better than their record would show, but hopefully QB Baker Mayfield is a bit healthier than he was before their bye.

15) Miami Dolphins (6-7; ranked last week: #17): That’s five wins in a row, but the Dolphins still are unlikely to make the playoffs unless they go at least 3-1 over their last four games and they still would need help.

16) Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5-1; ranked last week: #19): Great win over the visiting Ravens, but the Steelers are still going to have a tough time securing an AFC Wild Card spot this season.

17) Denver Broncos (6-6; ranked last week: #14): Another poor game from QB Teddy Bridgewater. I’ll say it again: once they get a solid QB, they’ll make a strong playoff run.

18) San Francisco 49ers (6-6; ranked last week: #13): Tough loss last week against the host 49ers, and while they’re the 7th seed currently in the NFC, the 49ers are far from a lock to make the playoffs.

19) Washington Football Team (6-6; ranked last week: #20): I didn’t think they had a prayer to make the playoffs when they were 2-6, but they’ve won four straight games and are in the thick of the NFC Wild Card race.

20) Las Vegas Raiders (6-6; ranked last week: #18): It’s starting to feel like they’ll be on the outside of the playoffs this season because of the inconsistency from week to week.

21) Philadelphia Eagles (6-7; ranked last week: #23): A nice win over the lowly Jets as they head into their bye week and they’re actually in the hunt for an NFC Wild Card spot.

22) Atlanta Falcons (5-7; ranked last week: #21): They’re probably a little better than most of us thought, but it’s still rather obvious they don’t have a playoff-type of roster.

23) Minnesota Vikings (5-7); ranked last week: #22): A bad loss last week and there’s not much help on the horizon due to their injury issues.

24) New Orleans Saints (5-7; ranked last week: #24): To have any chance at an NFC Wild Card spot they’ll need to get healthy and do that in a very timely fashion.

25) Carolina Panthers (5-7; ranked last week: #25): Lots of turmoil with this team of late. QB situation is questionable, the OC was fired, the star RB is out for the rest of the season, and their OL is struggling.

26) Seattle Seahawks (4-9; ranked last week: #28): Great win last week, but this is still a team that will be outside looking in for the playoffs.

27) New York Giants (4-8; ranked last week: #26): Any realistic chance at the playoffs pretty much evaporated after last week’s loss to the host Dolphins. They may have some injury issues, but the Giants have underachieved this season.

28) Chicago Bears (4-8; ranked last week: #27): Hopefully rookie QB Justin Fields (ribs) can get back in the lineup soon in order to further his development.

29) New York Jets (3-9; ranked last week: #29): It will be a while until the Jets are a playoff contender, but I do believe they have their franchise QB in Zach Wilson.

30) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10; ranked last week: #30): It’s hard to win when you have an expansion type of roster. They’re at least two seasons away from competing for a playoff spot.

31) Houston Texans (2-10; ranked last week: #31): A major QB upgrade would help, but the Texans have one of the NFL’s worst rosters, which would explain their dismal record.

32) Detroit Lions (1-10-1; ranked last week: #32): Well, they finally won a game, but they won’t be moving from this spot.

– Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) is co-host of the “Inside the Birds” podcast and staff writer for

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