October 20, 2021   6 MIN READ

ITB’s NFL Power Rankings

Arizona Blazes To No. 1


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In our weekly NFL team rankings, we’ll grade them by:

– Roster
– 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.]

1) Arizona Cardinals (6-0; ranked last week: #2): There’s simply no way any other team could be ranked here. With all of the issues they had to deal with (HC, QBs coach, 2 DLS, top OLB out last week), they dominated on the road against the Browns. Kudos to the Cardinals.

2) Los Angeles Rams (5-1; ranked last week: #3): They’ve been very good except their loss at home to the Cardinals and only play one team over .500 over their next four games.

3) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-1; ranked last week: #5): They have some company in the NFC this season (Cardinals, Rams, Cowboys, Packers), so getting back to the Super Bowl is going to be difficult. However, the Buccaneers are still one of the NFL’s elite teams.

4) Dallas Cowboys (5-1; ranked last week: #6): What a performance by QB Dak Prescott during last week’s win over the host Patriots, who clearly is a top-5 player at his position in the NFL.

5) Baltimore Ravens (5-1; ranked last week: #9): An impressive victory over the Chargers last week after just skating by against two lesser opponents (Lions, Colts).

6) Buffalo Bills (4-2; ranked last week: #1): So much for the Bills not having a weakness. Wow. They’ll return after their bye to face four teams with a less than .500 record.

7) Green Bay Packers (5-1; ranked last week: #7): Their record is great, but I still have concerns about their defense. Let’s see how they do in Weeks 8, 9 against two of the NFL’s best offenses (Cardinals, Chiefs).

8) Los Angeles Chargers (4-2; ranked last week: #4): That’s two weeks in a row that their defense didn’t show up, and that’s concerning.

9) Cincinnati Bengals (4-2; ranked last week: #11): They’ve been a nice story so far, but can the Bengals actually beat a good team on the road? We’ll get a really good idea on Sunday when they play the Ravens.

10) Tennessee Titans (4-2; ranked last week: #15): What an incredible win over the visiting Bills on Monday night, but their injury issues are really taking a toll on depth from both sides of the ball.

11) Las Vegas Raiders (4-2; ranked last week: #16): We could tell very early in last week’s road game against the Broncos that they were ready to
play. Now they have to go back home and play with emotion again on Sunday against a weaker opponent in the Eagles.

12) Kansas City Chiefs (3-3; ranked last week: #17): A win is a win and the Chiefs will take it. It will be very interesting to see if they can be competitive against the NFL’s best running back on Sunday..

13) Cleveland Browns (3-3; ranked last week: #8): Their injury issues are a huge concern going forward. They’ll still be good enough to nail down a Wild Card spot, but depth is going to be tested in a big way.

14) New Orleans Saints (3-2; ranked last week: 13): QB Jameis Winston is attempting just 23.3 passes per game, which is a very surprising number.
And he is attempting few passes per game than any other starter. It brings into question whether the coaching staff trusts him enough to up his attempt total once WR Michael Thomas comes back.

15) Chicago Bears (3-3; ranked last week: #12): They’re lucky that there are three Wild Card spots, as the Bears are going hovering around the .500 mark for most of the season.

16) Carolina Panthers (3-3; ranked last week: #16): They badly need starting RB Christian McCaffrey back. QB Sam Darnold is really struggling and they can’t keep expecting the defense to carry this team..

17) Minnesota Vikings (3-3; ranked last week: #21): Their defense might be just starting to get better as the team enters their bye week.

18) Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3; ranked last week: #18): They barely beat a bad Seahawks team, so the Steelers should feel fortunate to be .500 at their
bye week.

19) Denver Broncos (3-3; ranked last week: #14): You can’t keep asking their defense to carry the offense and expect to win each week.

20) San Francisco 49ers (2-3; ranked last week: #20): They’ll get their starting QB back this week and it’s good timing after the bye.

21) Indianapolis Colts (2-4; ranked last week: #26): They’re way better than their record would indicate, but they’ll play a team coming off their bye and it’s on the road Sunday night.

22) New England Patriots (2-4; ranked last week: #22): They seem a little better than their record would indicate at this point. Tough loss last week.

23) Seattle Seahawks (2-4; ranked last week: #20): It’s hard to win without your starting QB, which this team found out against the host Steelers.

24) Atlanta Falcons (2-3; ranked last week: #25): They come off their bye week with a 2 out of their last 3 games.

25) Washington Football Team (2-4; ranked last week: #23): They’ve lost three out of their last four games and are clearly one of the NFL’s most disappointing teams through the first six weeks.

26) Philadelphia Eagles (2-4; ranked last week: #24): They continue to be a major work in progress on both sides of the ball.

27) New York Jets (1-4; ranked last week: #28): Hopefully the bye week self-scouting will help their offensive coaches figure out a way to score more

28) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5; ranked last week: #32): Finally, a win and against the more talented Dolphins.

29) Miami Dolphins (1-5; ranked last week: #27): Sure, they had injury issues at WR and CB coming into last week’s loss to the lowly Jaguars, but
that’s not a legitimate excuse if you consider that the Dolphins had been playing poorly before that. Mark this team down as the NFL’s most disappointing this season.

30) Detroit Lions (0-6; ranked last week: #29): They continue to play hard, but still can’t win..

31) New York Giants (1-5; ranked last week: #27): Oy, what was I thinking picking them to win the NFC East? I know they’ve had a lot of injuries, but
their record should not be this bad.

32) Houston Texans (1-4; ranked last week: #31): I suspect they’ll always be ranked anywhere from 30-32 every week and deservedly so.

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


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