Three weeks in to the 2021-22 NFL Season, there’s still a lot of uncertainty and surprises to go around, as well as a new team with a claim to the league’s top Power Ranking.
The Kansas City Chiefs opened the season at #1, but have now lost back-to-back games in an unusual twist for a team that’s usually dominant in September. The defending Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers just suffered their first loss of the season to the Los Angeles Rams, and unlike the Chiefs, they couldn’t keep their loss to one score. The Seattle Seahawks, expected to be an NFC West powerhouse once again, have faltered to 1-2 themselves.
The NFL pecking order never stays consistent from year-to-year, and through three weeks, we’re starting to see which teams might be rising to the top of the NFL totem pole. Matthew Stafford is 3-0 to start his career with the Rams, who sit tied atop the NFC West with the 3-0 Arizona Cardinals. The Las Vegas Raiders, Carolina Panthers, and Denver Broncos all continue to turn heads with 3-0 starts of their own.
Despite each holding a loss, the Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns, and New Orleans Saints appear to be carrying over strong seasons last year in to 2021.
Who tops the Post-Week 3 Power Rankings? Where do the Buccaneers, Chiefs, and Seahawks rank after being upset in Week 3? Which teams are on the rise, and which ones are trending in the wrong direction? Read on for my full Power Rankings, and if I got anything wrong, feel free to debate me on Twitter @SakSports.
Previous Predictions and Power Rankings
- Post-Week 1 Power Rankings, Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
- Week 1 Picks, Week 2 Picks, Week 3 Picks
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: Playoffs and Super Bowl
- AFC East, AFC North, AFC South, AFC West
- NFC East, NFC North, NFC South, NFC West
Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
- Los Angeles Rams (3-0) [Last Week: 3]
- Matthew Stafford and the Rams now have a signature win: a 34-24 victory over Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At one point building a 34-17 lead, the most impressive thing the Los Angeles did was handle the Buccaneers with relative ease. There’s few cases for any other team to be here: through three weeks, the Rams are the best team in the NFL this season.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1) [Last Week: 1]
- The defending champs may have been stunned by Stafford and the Rams, but there’s little reason for panic at this time. Los Angeles is super talented both offensively and defensively, and at this time, is simply the better team. Tampa Bay is tied for the NFL lead with 103 points scored so far, but somehow has just a +15 point differential (with other teams as high as +50 on less points scored.)
- Baltimore Ravens (2-1) [Last Week: 4]
- Baltimore needed a miraculous 66-yard field goal from Justin Tucker to down the Detroit Lions, but with other elite teams falling, the Ravens move even higher up the Power Rankings. Baltimore’s Week 1 overtime loss to the Las Vegas Raiders can easily be overlooked (as Baltimore easily could have won), and the fact the Raiders might not be too shabby. Outdueling the Kansas City Chiefs is what really proves the Ravens are still a force to be reckoned with.
- Kansas City Chiefs (1-2) [Last Week: 2]
- The dynasty isn’t over just yet, but the usually elite Chiefs have been a step slow to start the season. Whether its the brand new offensive line, less passion in the regular season after back-to-back Super Bowl trips, or defenses are catching up to Patrick Mahomes (or he’s just human and wasn’t going to go a whole career without throwing a September interception,) the Chiefs have been beatable this year, and could easily be 0-3 if not for a big comeback against the Cleveland Browns.
- Buffalo Bills (2-1) [Last Week: 7]
- After a disappointing Week 1 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Josh Allen and the Bills have dominated the Miami Dolphins and Washington Football Team in back-to-back weeks. Buffalo is tied for an NFL-best +50 point differential.
- Arizona Cardinals (3-0) [Last Week: 6]
- I was quick to put the Cardinals at #6 in my Post-Week 1 Power Rankings, and that’s where they’ve sat ever since. Arizona dominated a good Tennessee Titans team in Week 1, but after barely surviving the Minnesota Vikings and not defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars with much vigor, #6 still seems about right (though the ceiling is still high in Arizona.)
- Cleveland Browns (2-1) [Last Week: 8]
- Baker Mayfield and the Browns had a late lead against the Chiefs, beat the Houston Texans in Week 2, and absolutely shut down the Chicago Bears this past week. Cleveland shouldn’t ever be left out of the conversation for AFC Super Bowl contenders.
- Las Vegas Raiders (3-0) [Last Week: 9]
- The Raiders opened the season with back-to-back upsets over the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers. This week, Las Vegas barely survived the Miami Dolphins, needing overtime to pull out a victory for the second time this season. I’m still hesitant about this Raiders team, but they’ve been a Top 10 squad so far.
- Los Angeles Chargers (2-1) [Last Week: 16]
- The Chargers tend to give the Chiefs a good fight, and they were able to overcome Kansas City 30-24 with four touchdown passes from Justin Hebert. On both a personal and team level, year two is looking up for Herbert and the Chargers.
- New Orleans Saints (2-1) [Last Week: 13]
- If you don’t know what to expect when this Saints team takes the field, you’re not the only one. But after combining to beat the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots 56-16, it seems more likely their Week 2 loss to the Panthers was more of an outlier than their Week 1 or 3 results.
- Tennessee Titans (2-1) [Last Week: 10]
- While the Titans were manhandled by the Cardinals in Week, wins against the Seattle Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts have re-instilled confidence in this Tennessee team. They could very well be a Top 10 team once again, but the field is just crowded in the season’s early going.
- Green Bay Packers (2-1) [Last Week: 14]
- Like Tennessee, the Packers also followed an embarrassing Week 1 loss with back-to-back wins. Green Bay doesn’t look dominant just yet, but Aaron Rodgers is still Aaron Rodgers, and that alone will win the Packers a lot of football games.
- Dallas Cowboys (2-1) [Last Week: 12]
- #13 feels a tad low for a Cowboys team that nearly beat the Buccaneers and then won their next two games. Realistically, the gap between #8 and #13 is pretty thin, and the order could change quickly week-to-week. Dallas is coming off a 41-21 blowout of the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football.
- San Francisco 49ers (2-1) [Last Week: 15]
- San Francisco was down 17-0 a minute before halftime against the Packers, but the final score (30-28) was surprisingly close. There’s a lot of fight in this 49ers team, who will look to keep up in a talented NFC West.
- Seattle Seahawks (1-2) [Last Week: 5]
- An overtime loss to the Titans may have been excusable, but after losing by two scores to the Minnesota Vikings, there may be doubt brewing in Seattle. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks can squash these talks by getting back to winning, but this week, Seattle tumbles 10 spots.
- Carolina Panthers (3-0) [Last Week: 17]
- It’s not the Panthers fault their schedule has been weak, but the prospect of Carolina as a playoff-contender is slowly growing on me. The defense is solid, and Sam Darnold was able to get it done (albeit against a Texans team on their 3rd-string quarterback) even after Christian McCaffrey left the game early. If the Panthers can keep winning without him for the next few weeks, Carolina might be in for a special season.
- Denver Broncos (3-0) [Last Week: 22]
- Like the Panthers, the Broncos competition has been weak: the Giants, Jaguars, and Jets sit at a combined 0-9. But Denver’s stock is still rising, with a stout defense that just shut out the Jets 24-0, and solid play with surprisingly good deep passing from quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2) [Last Week: 11]
- The Steelers opened the season strong with an upset of the Bills, but have since lost to the Raiders and Bengals, with neither loss coming in a one-score game. Pittsburgh is starting to look more like the team that stumbled to the finish last season than the one that started 11-0.
- Miami Dolphins (1-2) [Last Week: 20]
- The Dolphins are 1-2, but with a win over the Patriots and most recently, dueling the Raiders well in to overtime on their backup quarterback, I think it’s still realistic to project a solid season in Miami.
- New England Patriots (1-2) [Last Week: 21]
- Besides a 25-6 win over the Jets where Zach Wilson threw four interceptions, the Patriots haven’t been great so far. Their Week 1 loss to Miami was narrow, but this week, Jameis Winston ad the Saints trounced New England 28-13 at home.
- Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) [Last Week: 28]
- While a Week 2 loss to the Bears felt more “Bengals” to me than their Week 1 victory over the Vikings, Cincinnati shocked me with a 24-10 over the Steelers in Week 3. The Bengals stock is officially on the rise, with the team up seven spots this week.
- Minnesota Vikings (1-2) [Last Week: 25]
- The Vikings have scored the 8th-most points in the NFL, and hold a +9 point differential despite a losing record. Minnesota played Arizona hard in Week 2, and upset the Seahawks 30-17 this past Sunday. Like the Bengals, the Vikings appear to be a team on the rise.
- Indianapolis Colts (0-3) [Last Week: 19]
- None of the Colts three losses have been embarrassing, but Indianapolis needs to get more points on the board to compete. 56 points scored through three weeks for Carson Wentz’s offense puts the Colts 24th in the league in scoring. Indianapolis fell to 0-3 with a 26-15 loss to the Titans in Week 3.
- Philadelphia Eagles (1-2) [Last Week: 18]
- Jalen Hurts and the Eagles couldn’t keep up in a 41-21 Monday Night Football loss to the Cowboys. Philadelphia is still better than I thought they would be heading in to the season, but not as good as I thought they were after a Week 1 win over the Falcons and one-score loss to the 49ers in Week 2.
- Washington Football Team (1-2) [Last Week: 23]
- If the Giants didn’t jump offside on Dustin Hopkin’s first game-winning field goal attempt in Week 2, Washington would be 0-3 right now. Washington was blown out by Buffalo 43-21 in Week 3, and has some regrouping to do in an attempt to repeat as NFC East winners.
- Chicago Bears (1-2) [Last Week: 24]
- The Bears had a historically bad offensive performance against the Browns in Week 3, and rookie Justin Fields was sacked nine times in the 26-6 loss. It’s unfair to put the blame on Fields, as this Chicago team has improvements to make in a multitude of areas.
- Detroit Lions (0-3) [Last Week: 27]
- Jared Goff and the Lions may not be winning games, but with one-score losses to the 49ers and Ravens on their resume, they sure are feisty. Detroit should finish the season with at least a handful of wins.
- Atlanta Falcons (1-2) [Last Week: 30]
- After starting #32 in my Post-Week 1 Power Rankings, the Falcons have made some strides, with a decent performance against the Buccaneers in Week 2 and a 17-14 road win over the Giants in Week 3.
- New York Giants (0-3) [Last Week: 26]
- Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3) [Last Week: 31]
- The Jaguars made it interesting against the Cardinals, mostly due to Jamal Agnew’s 109-yard missed field goal return for a touchdown, but ultimately fell to Arizona 31-19. Trevor Lawrence has thrown two touchdown passes and four interceptions in the last two weeks.
- Houston Texans (1-2) [Last Week: 29]
- With Tyrod Taylor down and Houston employing Davis Mills at quarterback for the time being, the Texans won’t be a very competitive team. The Texans lost 24-9 to the Panthers on Thursday Night Football in Week 3.
- New York Jets (0-3) [Last Week: 32]
- Zach Wilson and the Jets have looked worse each of the three games so far this season. With a 19-14 loss to the Panthers in Week 1, a 25-6 loss to the Patriots in Week 2, and a 26-0 shutout at the hands of the Broncos this week, New York is stuck in reverse.
- 2021-22 NFL Power Rankings: Post-Week 1, Post-Week 2
- 2021-22 NFL Picks: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: Playoffs and Super Bowl
- New York Giants Recaps: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3
- 7+ Landing Spots for Cam Newton After Being Cut by Patriots
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: NFC West
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: NFC South
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: NFC North
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: NFC East
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: AFC West
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: AFC South
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: AFC North
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: AFC East
- One-Year Prediction: Top Ten Super Bowl 56 Contenders
- Eli Manning is a Sure-Fire Hall of Famer
- 2021-22 NBA Predictions: Eastern Conference
- Evaluating Lonzo Ball’s Fit with the Chicago Bulls
- BREAKING: Carmelo Anthony Joins LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers on 1-Year Deal
- Grading the Lakers-Wizards Russell Westbrook Trade
- Five Trade Destinations for 76ers Guard Ben Simmons
- Top Five Active NBA Players Who Deserve A Ring
- 2021 NBA Finals Prediction: Phoenix Suns vs. Milwaukee Bucks
- 2020-21 NBA Standings, Playoffs, NBA Finals Predictions
- Top Ten Players Heading Into the 2020-21 NBA Season
- Grading the Russell Westbrook-John Wall Trade
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