Week 1 of the 2021-22 NFL season is officially in the books, and with its completion, we get our first look at how the league’s 32 teams stack up against each other.
Did some teams win this week that might only win two or three more games all year? Did some teams lose this week that will end up winning their division? Did some teams pull off unlikely upsets that would never hold up in a late-season rematch? The answer to all three of these questions is yes, absolutely.
Power ranking the NFL’s 32 teams after just one week of action can be a fool’s gambit, but between this week’s performance, sprinkled in with last year’s results and this year’s expected pedigree, we can still get a rough idea of how teams stack up against each other. This list will likely change drastically over the next few weeks as the league’s standings begin to take form.
Which team that participated in last year’s Super Bowl tops this list? Where do the New Orleans Saints, Arizona Cardinals, and Seattle Seahawks rank after easily handling playoff participants from last year? Where do new-look teams like Matthew Stafford’s Los Angeles Rams, Mac Jones’s New England Patriots, and Sam Darnold’s Carolina Panthers slot in?
Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
- Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)
- Sure, the Chiefs needed a sizeable second half comeback to beat the Browns at home, but if anything, it just proves Kansas City can still turn on the burners at any point. While they fell short in Super Bowl 55, the Chiefs are still the team to beat as far as I’m concerned.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0)
- While Thursday Nights season-opening win over the Cowboys may not have come easily, the defending Super Bowl champions still possess one of the best offenses in the league. And that Tom Brady guy at quarterback (379 yards, 4 touchdowns) isn’t half bad either.
- New Orleans Saints (1-0)
- While one week is a small sample size, it appears the Saints will be just fine in the post-Drew Brees era. If you told me the Saints were going to beat the Packers in Week 1, I would’ve believed it, but New Orleans’ 38-3 blowout win over a previously dominant Green Bay squad certainly surprised me. Jameis Winston tossed five touchdown passes on just 14 completions in the upset.
- Seattle Seahawks (1-0)
- It was business as usual for the Seahawks, who have been a regular season powerhouse with the Pete Carroll-Russell Wilson tandem, in Seattle’s 28-16 win over the Colts.
- Cleveland Browns (0-1)
- The Browns had the toughest matchup in the league for Week 1, playing in Kansas City. While allowing Mahomes and the Chiefs to complete a 12-point comeback isn’t a good sign for the defense, Cleveland still went toe-to-toe with the league’s best, earning the best Power Ranking of an 0-1 team.
- Arizona Cardinals (1-0)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)
- Pittsburgh outdueled Josh Allen and the Bills, shutting down their offense and even turning defense in to points with a blocked punt returned for a touchdown. After last season’s collapse toward the end of the year, the Steelers are showing early signs of resurgence this year.
- Buffalo Bills (0-1)
- Josh Allen and the Bills, my preseason pick to win Super Bowl 56, staggered coming out of the gates in Week 1 against the Steelers. They still rank highly after last year’s AFC Championship Game appearance, and the fact that got beaten by a solid Steelers team and not just an average team.
- Los Angeles Rams (1-0)
- The Matthew Stafford era in Los Angeles was kicked off with a bang, as the former Lions quarterback tossed three touchdown passes in the Rams 34-14 win over the Bears on Sunday Night Football.
- Baltimore Ravens (0-1)
- Lamar Jackson put up a good game through the air and on the ground, but fumbled away Baltimore’s chances in overtime against the Raiders. Assuming Las Vegas is a decent team, it’s not a terrible loss, and considering the Ravens record during the Lamar Jackson era, Baltimore should still be considered among the league’s top teams.
- Dallas Cowboys (0-1)
- Dak is back, as the Cowboys quarterback threw for 403 yards and three touchdowns against the Buccaneers, and very well would have came out with the victory if not for a couple missed field goals and depending on who you ask, a missed offensive pass interference call on the Buccaneers game-winning drive.
- San Francisco 49ers (1-0)
- The 49ers offense was absolutely churning in Detroit, as San Francisco put up 41 points, getting production from all over. The only problem? The 49ers defense allowed 23 points in the second half and 33 in total.
- Green Bay Packers (0-1)
- This is an example of building a Power Ranking based on a team’s performance from last year and normal expectations from a superstar quarterback. Based solely on Green Bay’s 38-3 rout at the hands of the Saints, they have no business being this high, but I have to give the Packers the benefit of the doubt after posting a 26-6 record over the past two seasons.
- Tennessee Titans (0-1)
- Like the Packers, the Titans ranking is also partially based on previous pedigree. There’s cause for concern in Tennessee after a 38-13 loss to the Cardinals, but I’ll give it another week or two before I hit the panic button.
- Las Vegas Raiders (1-0)
- The Raiders have shown flashes of excellence in the season’s opening weeks before, and while I’m not ready to crown them as more than an average-to-good team, beating Baltimore in overtime was a quality victory.
- Miami Dolphins (1-0)
- Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins outdueled the Patriots in Foxborough with a narrow 17-16 victory. It was a good litmus of where Miami stands in comparison to the Patriots: right with them.
- Los Angeles Chargers (1-0)
- Los Angeles benefited from Ryan Fitzpatrick being knocked out of the game, but nevertheless, Justin Herbert and company earned their 20-16 victory over Washington’s strong defense.
- Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)
- I wasn’t super high on the Eagles coming in to this season, and even though the Falcons didn’t put up a great fight, Philadelphia looked like a pretty decent team in a 32-6 win over the Atlanta.
- New England Patriots (0-1)
- The Mac Jones era kicked off on Sunday with a pedestrian 16-point performance. New England did move the ball well, but it will take a bit more than that to keep up in the AFC East this season.
- Indianapolis Colts (0-1)
- There’s not too much shame in losing to Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, but there also wasn’t too much about the Colts 28-16 loss to the Seahawks that was inspiring. The Carson Wentz era could go either way.
- Washington Football Team (0-1)
- Coming off a 7-9 season and playoff berth, with one of the best defenses in the league last season, Washington should be higher. But with Ryan Fitzpatrick knocked out for the next few weeks, Washington’s season could be off to a shaky start.
- Denver Broncos (1-0)
- Teddy Bridgewater looked like the real deal for the Broncos at quarterback in their 27-13 victory over the Giants. I’m cautiously optimistic about Denver, but still need to see them in more action against better teams.
- Chicago Bears (0-1)
- The Bears fell to the Rams 34-14 on Sunday Night Football, failing on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. On the bright side, it might only take a couple more losses before we can see Justin Fields take over at quarterback.
- Detroit Lions (0-1)
- Detroit was completely outclassed by the 49ers in the first half, falling behind 31-10, but a furious comeback attempt made the final score 41-33. Doing so against a supposedly powerful defense could be a sign the Lions won’t be a pushover this season. Jared Goff had three passing touchdowns and 338 yards in his Lions debut.
- Carolina Panthers (1-0)
- Sam Darnold was decent, Christian McCaffrey was Christian McCaffrey, and the Panthers took home a 19-14 win over Zach Wilson and the Jets. Given how close the game was against the league’s second-worst team from last year, this is about as high as Carolina can rank at the moment.
- Cincinnati Bengals (1-0)
- After a slow start, Joe Burrow and the Bengals poured on 24 points in the final three quarters against the Vikings, and then kicked a game-winning field goal at the end of overtime (avoiding Burrow’s second tie in two seasons.) I’ll need to see Burrow and the Bengals in more action, but their season is off to a solid start.
- Minnesota Vikings (0-1)
- Minnesota scored 10 points in the fourth quarter to force overtime, but fell short against Burrow and the Bengals in the extended period. The Vikings weren’t especially bad in any area, but judging by last year’s pedigree, losing to the Bengals is a disappointment.
- Houston Texans (1-0)
- Tyrod Taylor is a good NFL quarterback, as he’s proved time and time again. Houston put up an impressive win 37-21 over Trevor Lawrence, Urban Meyer, and the Jacksonville Jaguars. I would love to rank the Texans a little higher, but going by how bad Houston and Jacksonville were last season, this could be a one-off performance.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)
- Trevor Lawrence tossed three touchdown passes in his NFL debut, but if the Jaguars are losing by 16 points to the Texans, it might be even uglier against the rest of the league.
- New York Giants (0-1)
- New York Jets (0-1)
- The Jets performance against the Panthers wasn’t abysmal, limiting Carolina’s offense to 19 points, but 14 points isnt going to cut it in today’s NFL. Zach Wilson’s NFL debut (20-of-37, 258 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 6 sacks taken) was a mixed bag.
- Atlanta Falcons (0-1)
- The Falcons had the fourth-worst record in the league last season, but at least kept a decent offense. In Week 1 this year, Atlanta was the second-lowest scoring team across the board, managing a measly six points at home against the Eagles.
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