- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0)
The Bucs are still the most complete team in the NFL, and they showed it Thursday. Brady was making everything look easy and came in clutch when it really mattered against the Dallas Cowboys in the end of the game. The running game would be the only downside that I can identify.
- Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) +1
Patrick Mahomes saved the Chiefs from a near loss against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, and even though this team has some clear defensive holes, it is apparent that they are working hard to fix the issues that killed them in the Super Bowl.
- Dallas Cowboys (0-1) +5
Dak is back, and he is performing better than I have ever seen him. The offensive line is back to protecting him well, and their run defense is starting to dominate rather than being a punch line. Dallas is a clear Super Bowl contender in my mind, and I think we are in for some fun Cowboys games down the road.
- Los Angeles Rams (1-0) +5
Los Angeles looks like a very complete team, and Matthew Stafford looked electric in his Los Angeles debut. Stafford’s new offense coupled with a very impressive defense should propel Los Angeles into an amazing season.
- Cleveland Browns (0-1) +1
The Browns were dangerously close to knocking off the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday, and they look ready to dominate with a strong running game and defense. Baker needs to elevate his game if he wants to lead his team to greater heights, but a great majority of this team is ready to take the league by storm.
- Arizona Cardinals (1-0) +5
The Arizona Cardinals looked dominant on offense and defense with Chandler Jones sacking Ryan Tannehill five times and Kyler Murray throwing four touchdowns. The Cardinals have one of the strongest all around teams and I believe they are going to start completely blowing out teams.
- Baltimore Ravens (0-1) -3
The Ravens have a very injured team, but luckily they have one of the greatest quarterbacks of 2021 behind the helm, and he has been able to make a lot out of a little. I’d still look for the Ravens to stay in this AFC North race.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) +2
The Steelers’ Steel Curtain defense is the best defense in the league right now, and the offense is suitable enough to keep them alive in the AFC North. I do worry about Najee Harris being able to carry the running game, and I worry about JuJu Smith-Schuster’s and Chase Claypool’s longevity in the receiver position, but other than that this team is very strong.
- Las Vegas Raiders (1-0) +7
The Raiders had a very pleasantly surprising win over the Baltimore Ravens, and it makes me believe that Derek Carr will finally be able to elevate his surrounding talent so that they perform at an elite level. Even the defense was better than expected, especially with Maxx Crosby leading the front seven to slow down the Raven’s offense.
- Buffalo Bills (0-1) -8
The Bills struggled against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Even though they weren’t good at moving the football, I do believe Josh Allen has plenty of room to improve, especially against easier defenses, and that the defense’s ceiling is very high.
- Seattle Seahawks (1-0) +1
My fear is that this season will turn into every past Seahawks season with Russell Wilson carrying the load and dragging an unwilling offensive line and defense behind him. Luckily this team looks a little more complete than it has in the past, and that might help this team take longer to collapse.
- Los Angeles Chargers (1-0) +3
Justin Herbert performed well in his week one debut, and if he gets a little more help from the rest of his offense then this team might be able to do some serious damage. Unfortunately, the Chargers share their division with the Chiefs and the Raiders so it will be harder for the Chargers to succeed.
- New Orleans Saints (1-0) +7
The New Orleans Saints were thought to have a quarterback issue, and then the formerly interception challenged, Jameis Winston, threw five touchdowns and no interceptions against the Packers defense. I would look for the Saints to fall back to Earth, but this was certainly an impressive showing.
- Green Bay Packers (0-1) -9
The Packers looked much worse than expected on Sunday, and Aaron Rodgers was unfortunately a major cause of this. But, like the Bills, it is important to not get caught up in week one bias. We will see this offense revamped in the next couple of weeks.
- Tennessee Titans (0-1) -8
The Titans offense looked significantly weakened from its 2020 form, and I worry that the loss of Arthur Smith is going to hurt the Titans really badly. The Titans could bounce back, but I am not confident that they will.
- San Francisco 49ers (1-0) +3
Kyle Shanahan has done an amazing job of pulling a team back together from the injuries and poor play that affected them in 2020. I would look for the 49ers to do even better against more skilled opponents, and for Trey Lance to be put in a very comfortable role once it comes time for him to enter the starting lineup.
- Miami Dolphins (1-0) -4
The Dolphins looked like an extremely boring team against the Patriots in week one, and until they get some more talent to put around Tua, I think it is going to stay that way. The Dolphins may not be a fun watch, but they can still be a decent team that will squeeze into the playoffs as the final seeded team.
- Chicago Bears (0-1) +2
Andy Dalton looked better than people thought he would look in week one, and at the very least he will be able to create a passable offense while the Khalil Mack defense aims to stop opposing offenses. I am sure Bears fans cannot wait for Justin Fields to get the starting job, but for now Andy Dalton should do fine with the players he has been given.
- Washington Football Team (0-1) -1
Washington is in a tricky spot after losing their starting quarterback to injury, but the rest of the team proved that they will not fall apart even with Taylor Heinicke as the starter. Of course, we have a very small sample size of Heinicke, but if he can be a staple until Fitzpatrick returns, then Washington still might have a chance for a Wild Card spot.
- Indianapolis Colts (0-1) -3
Indianapolis’ defense did not reach the same heights of 2020 against the Seahawks, letting Russell Wilson throw four touchdowns and not being able to stop Chris Carson on the ground. On the offensive side, Carson Wentz looks slightly better, but not back to his MVP form. The Colts will likely be stuck in mediocrity for the rest of the season.
- Cincinnati Bengals (1-0) +2
I need to see the Bengals play a real defense to make a fair judgement on their offense, but I do believe that it has improved from last year and Joe Burrow is going to be even more successful than he was in his rookie season. This ranking could go up in the next few weeks if all breaks right for Cincinnati.
- Denver Broncos (1-0) +3
Denver’s defense looked a step closer to the days of old, and the re-addition of Von Miller certainly helped. The Broncos just need to prove themselves against a better offense than the Giants, and Teddy Bridgewater needs to stay consistent for future weeks.
- New England Patriots (0-1) -1
Mac Jones did not have a bad rookie debut, but we still are nowhere close to the Patriots of old. For once, the AFC East will be an uphill battle for Bellichick’s Patriots, although if the Bills do not live up to their 2020 expectations, then the Patriots could have a good chance of clinching the division.
- Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) +2
It’s important to note that the Eagles played a team that has the worst defenses in the league, and one of the worst offenses in the league. If the Eagles play well against the 49ers this week then I will start taking them seriously, but the Falcons simply made it too easy for Jalen Hurts in week one.
- Houston Texans (1-0) +4
The Texans did dominate against the Jaguars, but this team is so poor on paper that I need another week of good play to tell me that the Texans are truly playing at a high level. Tyrod Taylor usually is not as good as he was last Sunday, so Texans fans should really be waiting for the other shoe to drop.
- Minnesota Vikings (0-1) -2
The Vikings are a team with a bad defense, a bad quarterback, an oft-injured running back, and a poor offensive line. I would not trust the Vikings to win in almost any situation that required Kirk Cousins to make a big play, and in the end the Vikings have nothing outside of Justin Jefferson to hang their hat on.
- Detroit Lions (0-1) +5
The Lions did not look as horrible as I expected, although their defense was certainly horrible for most of Sunday’s game against San Francisco. If Goff can prove his detractors wrong and lead this team to some convincing wins, then perhaps there is something that Detroit can build around for future seasons.
- Carolina Panthers (1-0) -1
Even though the Panthers won Sunday’s game, they really should be able to put more than 19 points on the board against one of the worst teams in the NFL. Sam Darnold looked moderate to average, but he still had some abysmal throws. In the end it’s apparent that he would not have been able to move this offense had there been a better defense on the field.
- New York Giants (0-1) -15
Daniel Jones was not able to move this offense at all against the Broncos, and I am starting to worry that this is an issue that Joe Judge will no longer be able to solve. I also think that Saquon Barkley may be beyond the repair, and that will be a catastrophic loss for a desperate New York offense.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)
Trevor Lawrence looked like the worst rookie quarterback of week one, and it is going to be a long time before the Jaguars are ready to truly commit to their first overall pick and trust him to win games. Jacksonville will be a longer project than Jaguars fans were expecting.
- New York Jets (0-1)
Even though Mac Jones nearly led his team to a win, I still think Zach Wilson had the best game of any rookie quarterback. Wilson was putting throws right in his receiver’s hands, and time and time again they got dropped. His offensive line did not help him at all, and I fear Wilson’s career is in danger of being destroyed much like Sam Darnold was.
- Atlanta Falcons (0-1) -4
No team has worse talent at every position than the Atlanta Falcons. Their defense is a nonexistent unit in each and every facet of their game, and Matt Ryan has no options to throw to and no offensive line or running game to back him up. The Falcons are a four win team at best, and are easily the worst team in football.