NFL Power Rankings: Heading into Week 1

We have officially made it to the 2021 NFL Season!

Below you are going to find our collective Broadway power rankings for all 32 NFL teams, along with some analysis for certain teams that stand out amongst the pack.

As will happen every Tuesday until the offseason, nine of our contributors — Zach Lyons, Shaun Caulderon, Justin Melo, Jimmy Morris, Robert Greenlaw, Wes Wisley, Austin Nelson, Easton Freeze, Justin Graver, and TreJean Watkins — have submitted their power rankings. Below is the aggregate results of those rankings.

Here’s where we landed with our rankings as we head into the start of the regular season…

Highest Rank:1stLowest Rank:1st
Highest Rank:2ndLowest Rank:3rd
Highest Rank:2ndLowest Rank:4th
Highest Rank:3rdLowest Rank:6th

Zach: The Tennessee Titans have built one of the more complete rosters in the NFL. Jon Robinson came to play this year as he went out and acquired several defensive free agents and then future Hall of Fame wide receiver Julio Jones. This kind of spending and move-making signals that Robinson believes this team is in a Super Bowl window and is ready to take on any and all opponents. Not only has the starting roster on both sides of the ball improved since we last saw this team take the field in a playoff loss to Baltimore, but the depth has improved, too. This is the deepest and most talented roster Music City has ever seen.

Highest Rank:4thLowest Rank:7th
Highest Rank:4thLowest Rank:7th
Highest Rank:5thLowest Rank:7th

Greenlaw: The Browns are a bit of a media darling this year, and I’m not sure I’m buying the hype. Will they be good? Almost certainly, but I’m not buying them as a Super Bowl contender just yet. Finishing 11-5 in 2020, they’ll need Baker Mayfield to take the next step to improve their record. He proved to be a solid QB for most of the year, but in the Divisional Round against the Chiefs, he only threw for 204 yards with an INT and one touchdown on 37 attempts. Much has been made about Cleveland’s defensive reinforcements, but they’ll only go as far as Baker takes them in January.

Highest Rank:8thLowest Rank:14th
Highest Rank:9thLowest Rank:12th

Austin: First off, can we agree that this season of Hard Knocks is the worst ever? Alright, just making sure. Look, I’ll be tuned into every Cowboys game this season (mainly because the networks shove this team down our throats every single year, but I think the Cowboys have some hope for 2021). There should be belief the Cowboys’ high-scoring offense will be rolling again with a healthy Dak Prescott, and Ezekiel Elliott looks primed for a bounce-back season. It’s the defense that has been Dallas’ problem. Dan Quinn takes over as defensive coordinator and rookie linebacker Micah Parsons will be a stud. Dallas should have no problems winning the NFC East if they put it all together.

Highest Rank:9thLowest Rank:14th
Highest Rank:8thLowest Rank:15th
Highest Rank:9thLowest Rank:17th
Highest Rank:12thLowest Rank:18th

Easton: The loss of Drew Brees has many looking at New Orleans as a rebuilding situation, and I think that’s fair. But I wonder if the public sentiment has swung too far in the negative direction. Jameis is poised to have a really solid year, and I love the potential emergence of second-year receiver Marquez Callaway from Tennessee. The word on him from camp and preseason is all glowing, and I think his big-play ability will compliment Jameis’s big-play proclivity nicely. Oh, and Alvin Kamara hasn’t gone anywhere.

Highest Rank:8thLowest Rank:17th

Graver: I feel that we as a group are too low on the Steelers. This team started 11-0 last season after faltering mightily down the stretch, culminating in one of the worst playoff performances we’ve seen from a favored team in a long time. But this feels like another team where the collective public negativity has swung too far. Mike Tomlin has never posted a losing season in 14 years in Pittsburgh, and Ben Roethlisberger is back for (possibly) one last hurrah. Big Ben claims to be feeling healthier than last year, and if that’s the case, perhaps we won’t see the offensive limitations that plagued this team throughout 2020. If Najee Harris can provide a reliable ground game, the Steelers could be back in the playoffs yet again.

Highest Rank:13thLowest Rank:17th
Highest Rank:14thLowest Rank:18th
Highest Rank:13thLowest Rank:19th
Highest Rank:15thLowest Rank:18th
Highest Rank:19thLowest Rank:22nd
Highest Rank:12thLowest Rank:22nd
Highest Rank:19thLowest Rank:22nd

Wes: This Cardinals’ team is full of questions that needs to be answered, starting with the coaching staff. Will Kliff Kingsbury’s offensive system be able to get the Cardinals over the hump? I don’t think it will. As Rex Ryan so eloquently put it, in the NFL, running so many plays so quickly works to tire out your own defense more effectively than the opponents’. I have to agree, this style of offense won’t work long term.

Kyler Murray is a good QB that can make plays with his feet, but even with DHop & other quality receivers, Murray hasn’t elevated the passing game as much as he should have up to this point. Murray has the tools, but within this offense, I don’t think he can lead them to the playoffs. The defensive front could be good if they remain healthy, but there are serious problems in the secondary at cornerback with Malcolm Butler retiring abruptly.

The Cardinals feel like a .500 team at best, and if they end up on the wrong side of .500, it could spell the end for Kingsbury’s Air Raid system.

Highest Rank:20thLowest Rank:23rd

TreJean: The Panthers start out at 22 in my initial power rankings. Offensively, there’s a lot to like. With a mix of young and veteran talent, this unit has a chance to surprise some people this year. Defensively….eh. Brian Burns and Jeremy Chinn have my attention. But the secondary has more work to do for this defense to be called a good overall unit, even after the selection of Jaycee Horn with the eighth overall pick. They’ll start the season with a rather easy contest against the Jets. That game won’t be considered a needle-mover, but it will help judge where the Panthers are in their quest to ascend the NFC South, especially with the “Sam Darnold revenge” aspect in play.

Highest Rank:21stLowest Rank:26th

Melo: I’m going to be honest with you. I don’t know what to expect from the Falcons this year. I’m a big fan of Arthur Smith, but there are concerns on this offense. How much does Matt Ryan have left? Are Russell Gage and Mike Davis truly capable of taking up the RB1 and WR2 roles? Is Kyle Pitts really going to hit the ground running like so many expect? The only question I don’t have here is about Calvin Ridley, who I can see the leading the league in receiving yards in 2021. Don’t even get me started on the defense and the question marks on that side of the ball. This Falcons team has a lot to prove over the next few weeks.

Highest Rank:24thLowest Rank:28th
Highest Rank:23rdLowest Rank:29th
Highest Rank:25thLowest Rank:28th

Easton: All the talk surrounding this team revolves around the quarterback situation. That will obviously impact how the team looks overall, but I’m not sure how much it’ll matter as long as they’re playing behind that abysmal offensive line. Overshadowed by the quarterback talk, this Chicago O-line will likely be one of the worst the team has fielded in recent memory. An immobile Dalton will get killed playing behind them. Justin Fields may have the athleticism to avoid the onslaught, but that’s a recipe for developing bad habits and stunting growth as a passer.

Highest Rank:25thLowest Rank:28th
Highest Rank:24thLowest Rank:29th
Highest Rank:26thLowest Rank:31st
Highest Rank:27thLowest Rank:31st
Highest Rank:29thLowest Rank:31st

Shaun: There are three guarantees in life: death, taxes, and the Detroit Lions being a mediocre-at-best football team. 2021 is likely going to be no different as the roster is extremely young and depleted of talent in all three phases. To put it into perspective for a Titans fan, Kalif Raymond is currently listed as one of Detroit’s starting wide receivers. Expect this to be another long year for the Lions, but if we’re lucky, at least we’ll have some hilarious quotes from their new head coach, Dan Campbell. That’s about all Lions fans have to look forward to in 2021 – that, and a potential high draft pick in 2022.

Highest Rank:32ndLowest Rank:32nd

Zach: Coached by a Presbyterian Turtle, the Houston Texans are not only one of the worst on-field teams in the NFL, they’re also one of the most poorly run franchises in all of sports. They have completely screwed up everything there is to screw up in the NFL: they’ve alienated their franchise QB, who just so happens to have a grand jury hanging over his head; they got rid of a franchise mainstay in J.J. Watt; and they have decided to put together the most inept, anonymous rosters to ever set foot on a 100-yard field. Seriously, their roster is essentially The Replacements without a badass sumo-wrestler-turned-offensive-lineman. If it wasn’t for the other inept AFC South teams, I would almost venture to bet this team could go 0-16, but alas, the Colts and Jaguars are in the same division as these hapless morons.

Who is too high? Who is too low? Drop a comment down below!

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