December 14, 2021   5 MIN READ

ITB’s NFL Power Rankings

Packers New No. 1; Bucs Got 'Championship Look' Again


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.

Tom Brady

Tampa Bay QB Tom Brady and the Bucs have that championship look again

1) Green Bay Packers (10-3; ranked last week: #2): It’s the first time they’ve been in this spot (#1), but they deserve it.

2) Arizona Cardinals (10-3; ranked last week: #1): Tough loss at home (now just 3-3) against the Rams, but they’ll rebound against the lowly Lions this week.

3) New England Patriots (9-4; ranked last week: #3): Big test this week against the much-improved Colts, and both teams are coming off their bye week.

4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-3; ranked last week: #4): They’ve got that championship look, but the Packers, Cardinals, Cowboys and Rams will have something to say about that in the playoffs.

5) Kansas City Chiefs (9-4; ranked last week: #5): Huge test coming against the Chargers, who beat them in Week 3.

6) Los Angeles Rams (9-4; ranked last week: #6): Tremendous win over the Cardinals, especially considering how many key players were missing.

7) Dallas Cowboys (9-4; ranked last week: #8): They got some key players back from injury and are probably a lot better than most thought they would be this season.

8) Tennessee Titans (9-4; ranked last week: #7): Their defense really got it done last week at home, but they’ll face a Steelers offense this week that’s very talented.

9) Los Angeles Chargers (8-5; ranked last week: #12): They’ve won three out of their last four, but face the Chiefs this week. We’ll learn how good they really are.

10) Indianapolis Colts (7-6; ranked last week: #10): Their next two games are against some of the best teams in the NFL (vs Patriots, at Cardinals), so we’ll get a real idea of just how good the Colts are at this point.

11) Buffalo Bills (7-6; ranked last week: #9): Another tough loss for the Bills last week, but three of their final four games are against teams with a record of less than .500.

12) Baltimore Ravens (8-5; ranked last week: #11): The Ravens still should be able to secure an AFC Wild Card spot even if they don’t win the AFC North, but they’re too banged up at CB to make a deep postseason run.

13) Cleveland Browns (7-6; ranked last week: #14): Despite all their injury issues, the Browns are still only one game back of first place in the AFC North.

14) Cincinnati Bengals (7-6; ranked last week: #13): Once again, you really can’t trust this team and I would argue that they’re actually underachieving when you consider how talented their roster is.

15) Denver Broncos (7-6; ranked last week: #17): Just imagine how good this team will be with an upgrade at QB next year.

16) San Francisco 49ers (7-6; ranked last week: #18): Great win last week, and it’s looking more and more like an NFC Wild card spot is very realistic.

17) Miami Dolphins (6-7; ranked last week: #15): They should be able to get back to .500 this week after hosting the Jets, but the Dolphins still are unlikely to secure an AFC Wild Card spot this season.

18) Pittsburgh Steelers (6-6-1; ranked last week: #16): They were flat for a half last week and it cost them. Now, they’ll have to face the Titans, who are still in it for the #1 seed in the AFC.

19) Philadelphia Eagles (6-7; ranked last week: #21): They’ve got four divisional games left to round out the regular season. It’ll likely take three wins of those four to solidify an NFC Wild Card spot.

20) New Orleans Saints (6-7; ranked last week: #24): They’re back in the NFC Wild Card hunt with their win over the Jets.

21) Atlanta Falcons (6-7; ranked last week: #22): Nice win last week on the road, and like the Saints they’re back in the NFC Wild card race.

22) Washington Football Team (6-7; ranked last week: #19): They got completely outplayed last week by the Cowboys and they’ll face the Eagles on Sunday bruised and battered.

23) Las Vegas Raiders (6-7; ranked last week: #20): They’ve really fallen off lately (lost 5 of 6 games) and will be on the outside looking in for a playoff spot after showing promise earlier this season.

24) Minnesota Vikings (6-7); ranked last week: #23): They barely squeaked by last week over the visiting Steelers, but the Vikings are still alive for an NFC Wild Card spot.

25) Seattle Seahawks (5-8; ranked last week: #26): They’ll likely have to win a minimum of three of their last four to have a chance at an NFC Wild Card spot, but give them credit for the recent improvement.

26) Carolina Panthers (5-8; ranked last week: #25): Their offseason plan isn’t hard to figure out; improve OL and QB and they’ll be a solid playoff team. Of course, that’s easier said than done.

27) New York Giants (4-9; ranked last week: #27): They’ve underachieved a bit this season with a roster that should’ve made them around an 8–9-win team.

28) Chicago Bears (4-9; ranked last week: #28): At this point, it’s all about the development of rookie QB Justin Fields.

29) New York Jets (3-10; ranked last week: #29): The rebuild will continue next season.

30) Houston Texans (2-11; ranked last week: #31): Their “expansion-like” roster needs a major overhaul before next season.

31) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-111; ranked last week: #30): How long will Urban Meyer last as their head coach?

32) Detroit Lions (1-11-1; ranked last week: #32): At least they won’t have a zero in the left-hand side record column.

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

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