With just two weeks left in the regular season, the story of the 2020-21 NFL season continues to be written and updated. Those 11-0 Pittsburgh Steelers from a few weeks […]
With just two weeks left in the regular season, the story of the 2020-21 NFL season continues to be written and updated. Those 11-0 Pittsburgh Steelers from a few weeks ago? Now they’re 11-3 after falling to the Cincinnati Bengals. For the first time in over a decade, the New England Patriots will miss the playoffs, as the Buffalo Bills won their first AFC East title since 1995. And for teams like the Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals, Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns, and Indianapolis Colts, things are looking up with the playoffs approaching.
Check out my rankings of every team from #1 to #32.
Nine Straight Weeks at the Top: I may have had the Chiefs up here for nine weeks in a row, but the choice has never been easier. With wins over the Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and most recently the New Orleans Saints, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are building up quite the impressive resume.
Buffalo Bills (11-3) [Last Week: 2]
Buffalo remains the second best team in the NFL after steamrolling the Broncos 48-19 last Saturday. Add in losses by the Saints and Steelers, and the Bills are sitting pretty at #2 for the foreseeable future.
New Orleans Saints (10-4) [Last Week: 5]
The Saints lost to the Chiefs 32-29 despite Drew Brees’ return to the field. Still, New Orleans rises a spot, as going to toe-to-toe with Kansas City is an impressive feat.
Green Bay Packers (11-3) [Last Week: 3]
The Packers came out with a 24-16 win over the Panthers last Saturday, but it shouldn’t have been that close. Don’t get me wrong, Green Bay is an elite team, but I would like New Orleans way more in a playoff scenario.
Seattle Seahawks (10-4) [Last Week: 7]
Russell Wilson and the Seahawks beat Washington Football Team 20-15 last week, but their rise in the rankings is more about teams around them faltering.
Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3) [Last Week: 4]
After an 11-0 start, the Steelers have lost three straight games. Not only is their lead in the race for the AFC’s top seed gone, they might not even win the AFC North at this rate. Their latest loss was their most alarming, coming to a 2-10-1 Bengals squad using their backup quarterback. There’s major questions about Pittsburgh’s identity heading in to the postseason.
Tennessee Titans (10-4) [Last Week: 8]
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill had five total touchdowns (three passing, two rushing) in a 46-25 blowout win over the Lions.
Los Angeles Rams (9-5) [Last Week: 6]
I still have the Rams as a Top 10 team, but man, losing to the winless Jets in Week 15 sure isn’t a great look with the playoffs looming. Still, I’ll only drop Los Angeles a couple spots and write it off as largely a fluke.
Arizona Cardinals (8-6) [Last Week: 9]
Kyler Murray threw for 406 yards and three touchdowns as the Cardinals downed the Eagles 33-26 and improved to 8-6.
Indianapolis Colts (10-4) [Last Week: 11]
The Colts quietly notched their 10th win of the season, downing the Texans 27-20.
Baltimore Ravens (9-5) [Last Week: 12]
The Ravens are trending in he right direction as they attempt to secure a playoff spot in the season’s final two weeks. They easily beat the Jaguars 40-14 in Week 15.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-5) [Last Week: 10]
Tom Brady and the Buccaneers scored all 31 points in the second half of their matchup with the Falcons. It was an impressive comeback, but Atlanta isn’t the type of team Tampa Bay should be struggling with at this point in the season.
Miami Dolphins (9-5) [Last Week: 13]
I’d love to rank the Dolphins higher, but there’s a dozen competitive teams in the NFL ahead of them. Still, Miami can play with the best of them, and they beat the Patriots 22-12 last week to officially end New England’s postseason hopes.
Cleveland Browns (10-4) [Last Week: 14]
The 10-4 Browns are a little low in my rankings if you compare their record to the teams above them. Cleveland got it done for the 10th time in 14 games last Sunday night, beating the Giants 20-6. But again, there’s just thirteen teams in the NFL I would take in a head-to-head matchup with the Browns, it’s that simple.
Minnesota Vikings (6-8) [Last Week: 16]
Washington Football Team (6-8) [Last Week: 15]
Washington nearly upset Seattle, but ultimately lost 20-15 with Dwayne Haskins starting at quarterback and attempting 55 passes. Washington clings to a narrow lead in the NFC East, but now even the Cowboys and Eagles have a chance with two weeks left to play.
New York Giants (5-9) [Last Week: 18]
The Giants beat Seattle with Colt McCoy at quarterback, but couldn’t muster anything against Cleveland, squandering a chance to re-take the NFC East lead.
San Francisco 49ers (5-9) [Last Week: 17]
Denver Broncos (5-9) [Last Week: 21]
Los Angeles Chargers (5-9) [Last Week: 26]
The wins are finally coming for Los Angeles, and if they hadn’t lost so many one-score games to start the season, they’d be a fringe playoff team right now. Either way, the future should be bright with Justin Herbert at quarterback.
Philadelphia Eagles (4-9-1) [Last Week: 23]
The Eagles lost 33-26 to the Cardinals in Week 15, but once again looked more competitive with Jalen Hurts starting at quarterback. It’s too little too late for Philadelphia, but the Eagle may have found their quarterback of the future.
Chicago Bears (7-7) [Last Week: 24]
Speaking of too little too late, the Chicago Bears have finally remembered how to win football games. After blowing out the Texans in Week 14 to snap their six-game losing streak, the Bears beat the Vikings 33-27 last week. They still have a chance at the playoffs, but need to catch the 8-6 Arizona Cardinals.
New England Patriots (6-8) [Last Week: 19]
For the first time in over a decade, the Patriots will fail to qualify for the playoffs. It’s been a mixed year for Cam Newton, but it will be unfairly labeled a flat-out failure.
Las Vegas Raiders (7-7) [Last Week: 20]
The Raiders are fading at the wrong time, this week dropping a matchup with the Chargers in overtime to effectively remove Las Vegas from the playoff equation.
Carolina Panthers (4-10) [Last Week: 25]
Dallas Cowboys (5-9) [Last Week: 28]
The Cowboys offense has woken up, lighting up Cincinnati and San Francisco’s defenses. Dallas even has an outside chance at the NFC East crown if Washington and New York lose out.
Atlanta Falcons (4-10) [Last Week: 27]
Houston Texans (4-10) [Last Week: 29]
Detroit Lions (5-9) [Last Week: 22]
Cincinnati Bengals (3-10-1) [Last Week: 31]
The Bengals had the biggest upset of the week, taking down the 1-12 Steelers on Monday Night Football. Cincinnati hasn’t been consistent enough without Joe Burrow to rise much, but they still avoid the cellar.
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-13) [Last Week: 30]
New York Jets (1-13) [Last Week: 32]
The Jets finally earned their first win of the year, upsetting the Los Angeles Rams 23-20 and avoiding a winless season. Why are the Jets still ranked dead last then? Despite Jacksonville’s 40-14 loss to Baltimore this week, they’ve been the more competitive team over the course of the season. Of the Jets 13 losses, just three have come by one score (eight points or less.) The Jaguars have had six such losses, indicating thy’re closer to winning on a week-to-week basis.
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