By Bill Seals - Fred Altieri
Sports Reporters - PFWA Members 

2021 NFL Power Rankings – Week 02

Rams, Chargers in Top 10

 

September 16, 2021

Brevin Townsell - LA Rams

Quarterback Matthew Stafford prepares for his Rams debut at SoFi Stadium

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0): The defending Super Bowl champions overcame four turnovers in a come-from-behind victory. The Bucs will remain a Super Bowl favorite if they can keep their 44-year-old quarterback healthy. Next: -12.5 vs Atlanta Falcons - Sun, Sep. 19 – O/U 52 (ATS: 0-1 – O/U: 1-0)

2. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0): How tough is the AFC West? After the first week of play, all four AFC teams are tied at 1-0. The Chiefs are always going to be tough to beat as long as they have quarterback Patrick Mahomes in the lineup. They use the running game to basically keep the defense honest. Next: -3.5 at Baltimore Ravens - Sun, Sep. 19 – O/U 55 (ATS: 0-1 – O/U: 1-0)

3. Los Angeles Rams (1-0): The Rams showed in their first game why they traded quarterback Jared Goff for quarterback Matthew Stafford. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Stafford became the first player with two touchdown passes of more than 50 yards in his debut for a new team since 1962. Next: -4 at Indianapolis Colts - Sun, Sep. 19 – O/U 47.5 (ATS: 1-0 – O/U: 1-0)


4. New Orleans Saints (1-0): The Saints had a surprisingly easy victory over the Packers in their opener. Jameis Winston only threw for 148 yards but that was good enough for five touchdown passes. The Saints defense held the vaunted Packer offense to just 3 points in the 38-3 trouncing of the Pack. Next: -3 at Carolina Panthers – Sun, Sep. 19 – O/U 44 (ATS: 1-0 – O/U: 0-1)

5. Seattle Seahawks (1-0): The Seahawks are No. 5 in this week's power rankings because they have Russel Wilson at quarterback. Wilson threw for 4 touchdowns in an easy road win over the Colts. He completed 18 of 23 passes for 254 yards and no interceptions. Next: -5.5 vs Tennessee Titans – Sun, Sep. 19 – O/U 54 (ATS: 1-0 – O/U: 0-1)


6. San Francisco 49ers (1-0): The 49ers are in a tie for first place with the entire division after all four NFC West teams won on Sunday. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel had nine receptions for 189 yards in the rout of the Lions. Next: -3.5 at Philadelphia Eagles – Sun, Sep. 19 – O/U 50 (ATS: 0-1 – O/U: 1-0)

7. Los Angeles Chargers (1-0): The Chargers used a ball control passing attack to win on the road at Landover, Maryland. A game plan that required that the ball out quickly on passing plays negated the vaunted WFT pass rush. The Chargers converted on an amazing 14 of 19 third down conversions. Next: -3 vs Dallas Cowboys - Sun, Sep. 19 – O/U 55 (ATS: 1-0 – O/U: 0-1)


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8. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0): The Steelers signed Linebacker T.J. Watt to a four-year, $112 million extension last week and he immediately paid dividends to Steeler management. Watt had two sacks and a forced fumble in the Steelers 23-16 victory over the Bills. Next: -5.5 vs Las Vegas Raiders – Sun, Sep. 19 – O/U 47.5 (ATS: 1-0 – O/U: 0-1)

9. Cleveland Browns (0-1): The Browns lost on opening day for the 17th consecutive season. They played well at Kansas City, led at halftime by 12 and had the lead until early in the 4th quarter. Browns punter Jamie Gillan dropped the snap, and the defending AFC champs took possession at the Cleveland 15, leading to the game winning score. Next: -12.5 vs Houston Texans - Sun, Sep. 19 – O/U 48 (ATS: 1-0 – O/U: 1-0)


10. Arizona Cardinals (1-0): Quarterback Kyler Murray and the Cardinals had a big day in Nashville in a blowout win over the Titans. Murray only rushed for five yards but threw for 289 yards in the victory. Next: -4 vs Minnesota Vikings - Sun, Sep. 19 – O/U 51 (ATS: 1-0 – O/U: 0-1)

11. Las Vegas Raiders (1-0): The true hero in the 33-27 Raider overtime win over the Ravens was Raider kicker Daniel Carlson, who nailed a 55-yard field goal with two seconds remaining in the game to tie the score at 27 apiece and force an overtime. Carlson's kick would have been good from 60 yards. Next: +5.5 at Pittsburgh Steelers - Sun, Sep. 19 – O/U 47.5 (ATS: 1-0 – O/U: 1-0)

12. Denver Broncos (1-0): The schedule maker did the Broncos a big favor with the early part of their 2021 schedule. After their opening win over the struggling Giants, they fly to Jacksonville to take on the hapless Jaguars. The next week they are at home versus the woeful Jets. Next: -6 at Jacksonville Jaguars - Sun, Sep. 19 – O/U 45 (ATS: 1-0 – O/U: 0-1)

13. Dallas Cowboys (0-1): Dak Prescott is back and better than ever. Prescott threw for 403 yards and three touchdowns in the Cowboy loss. Despite four turnovers from the Cowboy defense, the Bucs were still able to score 31 points and gain 431 yards in total offense. The Cowboy defense will be tested again this week. Next: +3 at Los Angeles Chargers - Sun, Sep. 19 – O/U 55 (ATS: 1-0 – O/U: 1-0)

14. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0): The Eagles are all alone in first place in the NFC East after soundly defeating the Falcons, 32-6 in Atlanta. Nick Sirianni, a Charger assistant coach from 2013 through 2017, won his first game as the Eagles head coach in impressive fashion. Next: +3.5 vs San Francisco 49ers – Sun, Sep. 19 – O/U 50 (ATS: 1-0 – O/U: 0-1)

15. Miami Dolphins (1-0): The Dolphins are all alone in first place in the AFC East after a 17-16 win over the Patriots. The Pats outgained the Dolphins offensively, 393 yards to 259 yards and controlled the clock. But a key late turnover by the Pats gave the Dolphins a shaky win on the road. Next: +3.5 vs Buffalo Bills - Sun, Sep 19 – O/U 47.5 (ATS: 1-0 – O/U: 0-1)

16. Carolina Panthers (1-0): Former Jets quarterback Sam Darnold led the Panthers to an opening day victory over his old team, 19-14. Darnold completed 24 of 25 passes for 279 yards and one touchdown and added a five-yard touchdown run in the Panthers victory. Next: +3 vs New Orleans Saints - Sun, Sep. 19 – O/U 44 (ATS: 1-0 – O/U: 0-1)

17. Baltimore Ravens (0-1): The Ravens lost on a fumble by quarterback Lamar Jackson in overtime. The Ravens played surprisingly well considering the rash of injuries to their team. Jackson led the Ravens in rushing yardage with 86 yards and he is going to join his teammates on the injured reserve if he does not get help running the ball. Next: +3/5 vs Kansas City Chiefs – Sun, Sep. 19 – O/U 55 (ATS: 0-1 – O/U: 1-0)

18. Buffalo Bills (0-1): The Bills gave up a key blocked punt in the fourth quarter that went for a touchdown in their loss to the Steelers. The Bills offense struggled against the Steelers defense, scoring just 16 points. Next: -3.5 at Miami Dolphins - Sun, Sep. 19 – O/U 47.5 (ATS: 0-1 – O/U: 0-1)

19. Houston Texans (1-0): For the second consecutive season, quarterback Tyrod Taylor won his opening day start. Taylor threw for 291 yards and two touchdowns in the win over the Jaguars. Taylor won his opening day start last season over the Bengals, before losing his job to injury and Justin Herbert. Next: +12.5 at Cleveland Browns – Sun, Sep. 19 – O/U 48 (ATS: 1-0 – O/U: 1-0)

20. Cincinnati Bengals (1-0): The Bengals rode the shoulders of their young stars in their last second victory over the Vikings. Quarterback Joe Burrow threw for 261 yards and two touchdowns, running back Joe Mixon rushed for 127 yards and one touchdown, and rookie wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase had five receptions for 101 yards and one touchdown. Next: +2.5 at Chicago Bears - Sun, Sep. 19 – O/U 45 (ATS: 1-0 – O/U: 1-0)

21. Chicago Bears (0-1): The Bears need to quit flirting with the idea of starting rookie quarterback Justin Fields and just start him. Despite their loss to the Rams on Sunday Night, the Bears are tied for first in the NFC North with the other three teams, as every team in the division loss on Sunday. They could have started Fields and it would not have cost anything. Next: -2.5 vs Cincinnati Bengals - Sun, Sep. 19 – O/U 45 (ATS: 0-1 – O/U: 1-0)

22. Minnesota Vikings (0-1): A costly fumble by Dalvin Cook set up the game-winning score, a 33-yard field goal by Evan McPherson as time expired at Cincinnati. The Vikings are just fortunate to be in the NFC North. Next: +4 at Arizona Cardinals – Sun, Sep. 19 – O/U 51 (ATS: 0-1 – O/U: 1-0)

23. Tennessee Titans (0-1): The Titans were embarrassed at home by the Cardinals, 38-13. Titan head coach Mike Vrabel on his team's performance: "It's unfortunate. It is disappointing. There is no other way to put it. It sucks when you lose." Especially when you are thought to be a playoff team. Next: +5.5 at Seattle Seahawks - Sun, Sep. 19 – O/U 54 (ATS: 0-1 – O/U: 0-1)

24. Green Bay Packers (2-3): The Pack joined the Titans in the Week One Hall of Shame for their weak performance against the Saints. In their 38-3 loss to the Saints, Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers passed for 133 yards and two interceptions, while star running back Aaron Jones ran for 9 yards on five carries. Next: -11 vs Detroit Lions - Mon, Sep. 20 – O/U 48.5

25. New England Patriots (0-1): The Patriots did not play that poorly, but a costly fumble at the Dolphin nine-yard line by running back Damien Harris with just over three minutes left in the game cost the Pats a chance at victory. Rookie Mac Jones completed 29 of 39 passes for 281 yards and one touchdown in his first NFL game. Next: -5.5 at New York Jets – Sun, Sep. 19 – O/U 42 (ATS: 0-1 – O/U: 0-1)

26. Washington Football Team (0-1): The Washington Football Team lost their starting quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, to a hip injury in the loss to the Chargers. Fitzpatrick has been placed on the injured reserve and will be out for six weeks. It could be a long season for the WFT. Next: -3 vs New York Giants – Thu, Sep. 16 – O/U 41 (ATS: 0-1 – O/U: 0-1)

27. Detroit Lions (0-1): Midway through the 3rd quarter, the Lions trailed to the 49ers, 38-10. For the third consecutive season, Lions quarterback Jared Goff threw a pick-6 interception against the 49ers in the loss. The final score of 41-33 was only helpful to a few bettors. Next: +11 at Green Bay Packers – Mon, Sep. 20 – O/U 48.5

28. New York Jets (0-1): The Jets, unlike the Bears, are starting their talented rookie quarterback on opening day. Quarterback Zach Wilson, the No. 2 overall pick from BYU, threw two touchdown passes in the loss, but playing is the only way he is going to get better, a message that the Bears need to get. Next: +5.5 vs New England Patriots - Sun, Sep. 19 – O/U 42 (ATS: 0-1 – O/U: 0-1)

29. Indianapolis Colts (0-1): The Colts lost their eighth straight opening day game in another disappointing start. The Colts struggled on defense and Wentz was sacked three times and hit 11 times in the loss. Next: +4 vs Los Angeles Rams – Sun, Sep. 19 – O/U 47.5 (ATS: 0-1 – O/U: 0-1)

30. New York Giants (0-1): Quarterback Daniel Jones led the Giants in rushing yardage on Sunday with 27 yards rushing and therein lies the Giants biggest issue. The Giants are unable to run the football. Saquon Barkley rushed for just 20 yards on 10 carries, as the No. 2 overall pick overall in the 2018 NFL draft struggled in his return from last year's ACL injury. Next: +3 at Washington Football Team – Thu, Sep. 16 - O/U 41 (ATS: 0-1 – O/U: 0-1)

31. Atlanta Falcons (0-1): The Falcons are hoping that the majority of sports fans in Georgia were focused on the Atlanta Braves this past Sunday. In losing to the Eagles 32-6 at home, the Falcons looked flat and uninspired. Quarterback Matt Ryan was held to 164 yards passing and sacked three times. Next: +12.5 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Sun, Sep. 19 – O/U 52 (ATS: 0-1 – O/U: 0-1)

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1): How bad are the Jaguars? They have now lost 16 consecutive regular season games after getting blown out by the Texans, 37-21. Rookie franchise quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw three interceptions and rookie franchise head coach Urban Meyer looked more like Clay Helton on the sidelines. Next: +6 vs Denver Broncos - Sun, Sep. 19 – O/U 45 (ATS: 0-1 – O/U: 1-0)

Mike Nowak - LA Chargers

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert prepares for season opener at FedEx Field

 

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