NFL Week 1 Power Rankings
|Thursday, September 9, 2021, 8:28 AM- -|
The 2021 NFL season is just a day away. After free agency, the draft, and the offseason, we at ChicagoBearsHQ decided to give our power rankings ahead of the NFL’s first week. This year may look a bit different, with 17 games in 18 weeks and seven teams in each league earning a playoff berth. Nonetheless, we won’t have a week without football until February 2022, and we couldn’t be more excited to cover another year of NFL football.
*We decided to explain the top 16 and the Bears*
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It’s hard not to rank Tampa Bay number one in our rankings. First and foremost, the Bucs are our reigning Super Bowl Champion — and they have not lost a single starter over the offseason. The Bucs have a roster construction that could win another Super Bowl, and Tom Brady is never content.
2. Kansas City Chiefs
If they’re not number one, they’re number two, and frankly, it would be hard to imagine the Chiefs falling out of the top 2 this season so long as Patrick Mahomes is healthy. This team easily boasts the best offense in the league — while also adding to an offensive line that was exposed in the Super Bowl last year. Keep an eye on a motivated Chiefs team this season.
3. Buffalo Bills
It may have surprised some people last year, but the Buffalo Bills being one of the league’s best teams this season should come as no surprise. Buffalo is led by superstar QB Josh Allen and a brilliant coaching staff. Some strong offseason acquisitions have the Bills believing they can battle the Chiefs in the AFC.
4. Green Bay Packers
For most of the offseason, the Packers were one of the most questionable teams — and it all depended on reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers. Well, he’s back… which is good enough for last year’s NFC runner-up to be ranked in the top five this season.
5. Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens quietly have one of the league’s best rosters. Despite not winning the division in 2020 and being in one of the NFL’s hardest divisions, the Ravens boast a legit chance to win a Super Bowl behind a star quarterback in Lamar Jackson and a defense that consists of the best secondary in the sport.
6. Los Angeles Rams
The LA Rams may be the most improved team of the offseason just because of their upgrade at QB. Instead of Jared Goff, the Rams will have Matthew Stafford leading their speedy offense — and of course, still have Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald on the defensive side of the ball.
7. Cleveland Browns
Yes, you read that right. After years of being the NFL’s laughing stock, the Cleveland Browns have constructed a roster good enough to win a division and make a run in the playoffs. Don’t sleep on the Browns, who enter 2021 as one of the league’s best 10 teams.
8. San Francisco 49ers
It is important to remember that this team represented the NFC in the Super Bowl just two seasons ago. Last season the 49ers were decimated with injuries — but with those players back, the 49ers are once again a force to be reckoned with in the NFC. While the NFC West is loaded, the LA Rams should turn heads in 2021.
9. Tennessee Titans
The Titans are the reigning AFC South champion. They have made the playoffs in consecutive seasons — oh, and they’ve added Julio Jones to an offense that already had Ryan Tannehill, AJ Brown, and Derrick Henry, who just ran for over 2,000 yards. In 2021, no team is going to be looking forward to playing the Titans.
10. Seattle Seahawks
As the reigning champions of the NFC West, the Seahawks come into the season as a borderline top ten team. What separates the Hawks from some of these other teams when decided the 10 spot — Super Bowl Champion Russell Willson. Anytime he is under center, the Seahawks can win a game.
11. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers boasted one of the league’s best defenses in 2020 en route to an AFC North division win. While Ben Roethlisberger is one year older, this is still a team to look out for in the AFC.
12. Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals are one of the most exciting rosters in 2021 as they have added JJ Watt, AJ Green and will get top pass rusher Chandler Jones back from injury to a roster that was one game away from making the playoffs in 2020. This is the year for the Cardinals to make the jump into a playoff team, which may be hard to do in the NFL’s best division.
13. New England Patriots
It’s not Tom Brady’s team anymore; it’s Mac Jones’. While the Patriots’ defense has always been solid, the offense has not looked good since Brady has left. The Patriots addressed that issue in the off-season, throwing money at weapons all over the offense. Don’t miss the new look Patriots in 2021.
14. Washington Football Team
The reigning NFC East Champion returns a bolstered roster that includes gunslinging veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Another year in the system of Ron Rivera and some maturity on the defense should leave the Football Team better than they were in 2020.
15. Dallas Cowboys
Fellow NFC East team Dallas is flying under the radar this offseason. Still, with a healthy offensive line plus Dak Prescott back from injury, Dallas is one of the best offenses in the NFL (including Ezekiel Elliot. Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup.) The defense is still the clear weakness of this team, but the Cowboys could have enough to win the league’s weakest division.
16. Los Angeles Chargers
LA might have had the best offseason in the AFC. Justin Herbert is coming off of an impressive campaign in which he won Rookie of the Year, and the Chargers have added to his offensive line - while also making some key acquisitions to the defense, the team's weakness in 2020. That plus some opt-outs and injuries back leave stew Chargers with one of the most talented and intriguing rosters in 2021.
17. Miami Dolphins
18. Indianapolis Colts
19. New Orleans Saints
20. Minnesota Vikings
21. Denver Broncos
22. Chicago Bears
The Bears' current ranking coming into this season is No. 22, but they could fly up this list. The Bears did a good job boosting the offensive line over the offseason. However, they are battling injuries. The Bears defense has never been a question mark, but at the end of the day, this Bears team will depend on quarterback play, whether that be veteran Andy Dalton or the talented Justin Fields.
23. Atlanta Falcons
24. Las Vegas Raiders
25. New York Giants
26. Carolina Panthers
27. Philadelphia Eagles
28. Jacksonville Jaguars
29. Cincinnati Bengals
30. New York Jets
31. Detroit Lions
32. Houston Texans