Culver City Observer -

By Bill Seals - Fred Altieri
Sports Reporters - PFWA Members 

2021 NFL Power Rankings – Week 03

Rams, Chargers Move in Opposite Directions

 

September 23, 2021

Ty Nowell - L.A. Chargers

Charger wide receiver Mike Williams dives low for touchdown vs Cowboys

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0): Tight end Rob Gronkowski has four touchdown receptions in his first two games and a total of 90 in 133 career games. Charger great Antonio Gates holds the record at 116 touchdown receptions in 236 games. Gronk could catch Gates in the next few years. Next: -1 at Los Angeles Rams - Sun, Sep. 26 – O/U 55.5 (ATS: 1-1 – O/U: 2-0)

2. Los Angeles Rams (2-0): The Rams are off to a good start at 2-0 but will face an early season challenge Sunday afternoon against the Bucs at SoFi Stadium. If both teams end up with a tie for the best record at the end of this season, the tiebreaker will be the winner of this game. Next: +1 vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Sun, Sep. 26 – O/U 55.5 (ATS: 1-1 – O/U: 2-0)

3. San Francisco 49ers (2-0): The 49ers have an interesting Sunday Night matchup match-up next week with the Packers at home. The 49ers have not really been tested yet and the Packers may provide a gauge as to where the team is at. Next: -3.5 vs Green Bay Packers – Sun, Sep. 26 – O/U 49.5 (ATS: 1-1 – O/U: 1-1)

4. Arizona Cardinals (2-0): Quarterback Kyler Murray threw for 400 yards and three touchdowns and had a rushing touchdown in their win over the Vikings. He is an early favorite for MVP. Next: -7 at Jacksonville Jaguars - Sun, Sep. 26 – O/U 52.5 (ATS: 1-1 – O/U: 1-1)

5. Las Vegas Raiders (2-0): The Raiders are off to a terrific start with two impressive wins over the Ravens at home and the Steelers on the road. The Raiders are currently the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Can you imagine the Raiders with homefield advantage in Vegas for the playoffs? Next: -4 vs Miami Dolphins - Sun, Sep. 26 – O/U 45.5 (ATS: 2-0 – O/U: 1-1)

6. Carolina Panthers (2-0): A Pac-12 duo is riding high in Charlotte these days. Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey is the most versatile running back in the NFL, with 170 yards rushing and 154 yards in pass receptions. USC Quarterback Sam Darnold is averaging 292 passing yards per game and completing 68.5% of his passes. Next: -8 at Houston Texans - Thu, Sep. 23 – O/U 43 (ATS: 2-0 – O/U: 0-2)

7. Kansas City Chiefs (1-1): The Chiefs are last in rushing defense, having given up 404 yards rushing in two games. They are also last in yards per carry allowed at six yards per carry. Any team that plays the Chiefs must at least test them in that area, with the idea of keeping their potent offense off the field. Next: -6.5 vs Los Angeles Chargers - Sun, Sep. 26 – O/U 55.5 (ATS: 0-2 – O/U: 2-0)

8. Seattle Seahawks (1-1): The Seahawks led the Titans by fourteen points early in the fourth quarter but were unable to hold on to their lead and lost in overtime, 33-30. The loss dropped the Seahawks into last place in the highly competitive NFC West. Next: -2 at Minnesota Vikings – Sun, Sep. 26 – O/U 55.5 (ATS: 1-1 – O/U: 1-1)

9. Cleveland Browns (1-1): Former UCLA star Demetric Felton caught two passes for fifty-one yards, including a shifty 33-yard catch-and-run from quarterback Baker Mayfield to help lead the Browns to a 31-21 win over the Texans. Next: -7 vs Chicago Bears - Sun, Sep. 26 – O/U 46.5 (ATS: 1-1 – O/U: 2-0)

10. New Orleans Saints (1-1): The high-powered Saints offense was held to 128 yards in total offense in their blowout loss to the Panthers. Running back Alvin Kamara rushed for five yards and quarterback Jameis Winston threw two interceptions in the game. Next: +3 at New England Patriots – Sun, Sep. 26 – O/U 41.5 (ATS: 1-1 – O/U: 0-2)

11. Baltimore Ravens (1-1): Lamar Jackson is third in the NFL in rushing yardage with 193 yards. He also plays quarterback and has thrown for 474 yards and completed 66.1% of his passes. The Ravens can make the playoffs if they can keep Jackson healthy. Next: -8 at Detroit Lions – Sun, Sep. 26 – O/U 49.5 (ATS: 1-1 – O/U: 2-0)

12. Denver Broncos (2-0): The Broncos are one of two teams in the AFC that are still undefeated, with the Raiders being the other. The Broncos have beaten the Giants and Jags on the road and get the Jets at home this weekend. Their three opponents are a combined 0-6 for the season and among the worst teams in the NFL. Next: -10.5 vs New York Jets - Sun, Sep. 26 – O/U 41 (ATS: 2-0 – O/U: 0-2)

13. Green Bay Packers (1-1): Apparently, Aaron Rodgers just needed a warm-up game to get in sync. After a disastrous opening game against the Saints, Rodgers completed 22 of 27 passes for 255 yards and four touchdowns. Next: +3.5 at San Francisco 49ers - Sun, Sep. 26 – O/U 49.5 (ATS: 1-1 – O/U: 1-1)

14. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1): The Steelers lost to the Raiders for the sixth time in eight meetings, falling 26-17 at home. The Steelers are still struggling the run ball in 2021, averaging fifty-seven yards per game after two games, last in the NFL. Next: -3.5 vs Cincinnati Bengals – Sun, Sep. 26 – O/U 44 (ATS: 1-1 – O/U: 0-2)

15. Dallas Cowboys (1-1): Watching the Cowboys on Sunday, it appears that the best running back on the team is Tony Pollard and the best receiver is CeeDee Lamb. Pollard had thirteen carries for 109 yards and one touchdown, while Lamb had eight receptions for 81 yards. Next: +4 vs Philadelphia Eagles - Mon, Sep. 27 – O/U 51.5 (ATS: 2-0 – O/U: 1-1)

16. Buffalo Bills (1-1): The Bills made it clear on Sunday in Miami that they are the best team in the AFC East, crushing the Dolphins, 35-0. The Bills may have the easiest path of any team to a division title. Next: -8 vs Washington Football Team - Sun, Sep. 26 – O/U 45.5 (ATS: 1-1 – O/U: 0-2)

17. Los Angeles Chargers (1-1): The Chargers lost the battle on the line of scrimmage with the Cowboys on Sunday. The Cowboys rushed for 198 yards on the Chargers, averaging 6.4 yards per carry. The defensive line kept constant pressure on quarterback Justin Herbert, with two sacks and nine quarterback hits. Next: +6.5 at Kansas City Chiefs - Sun, Sep. 26 – O/U 55.5 (ATS: 1-1 – O/U: 0-2)

18. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1): The Eagles have placed pro bowl defensive end Brandon Graham on injured reserves for the season with a torn Achilles. The Eagles also lost pro bowl guard Brandon Brooks to a pectoral injury. He will miss at least three weeks. This is really bad news for an Eagle team that is not loaded with talent. Next: +4 at Dallas Cowboys – Mon, Sep. 27 – O/U 51.5 (ATS: 1-1 – O/U: 0-2)

19. Chicago Bears (1-1): It appears that rookie quarterback Justin Fields will start this Sunday against the Browns. Starting quarterback Andy Dalton has a knee injury and is doubtful for the game. Fields has an opportunity to take the job and never give it back. Next: +7 at Cleveland Browns - Sun, Sep. 26 – O/U 46.5 (ATS: 1-1 – O/U: 1-1)

20. Cincinnati Bengals (1-1): Quarterback Joe Burrow threw three straight interceptions and the Bengals committed four consecutive turnovers in the loss to the Bears. One of the interceptions was returned 53 yards for a touchdown by linebacker Roquan Smith. Next: +3.5 at Pittsburgh Steelers - Sun, Sep. 26 – O/U 44 (ATS: 1-1 – O/U: 1-1)

21. Tennessee Titans (1-1): The Titans were trailing by fourteen points early in the fourth quarter to the Seahawks when they found their offense, also known as Derrick Henry. The star running back rushed for 182 yards, including two 4th quarter touchdowns to lead the comeback. Next: -5 vs Indianapolis Colts - Sun, Sep. 26 – O/U 48 (ATS: 1-1 – O/U: 1-1)

22. Minnesota Vikings (0-2): For the second week in a row, the Vikings lost on a last-second field goal attempt, this time when kicker Greg Joseph missed a 37-yard field goal wide right in the final seconds. For quarterback Kirk Cousins, it was his fifth loss by three points or less in the past two seasons. Next: +2 vs Seattle Seahawks – Sun, Sep. 26 – O/U 55.5 (ATS: 1-1 – O/U: 2-0)

23. Houston Texans (1-1): Quarterback Tyrod Taylor is among the walking wounded, again. Taylor pulled a hamstring in the loss to the Browns and is expected to miss up to four weeks with the injury. Rookie quarterback Davis Mills, a third-round pick from Stanford, will get the start. Next: +8 vs Carolina Panthers – Thu, Sep. 23 – O/U 43 (ATS: 2-0 – O/U: 2-0)

24. Miami Dolphins (1-1): The Dolphins were shutout at home and a lost their starting quarterback to a rib injury. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is day-to-day with the injury. The injury may help the Dolphins push harder for a trade for quarterback Deshaun Watson of the Texans. Next: +4 at Las Vegas Raiders - Sun, Sep 26 – O/U 45.5 (ATS: 1-1 – O/U: 0-2)

25. New England Patriots (1-1): The Patriots got four sacks and four interceptions from their defense in their easy win over the hapless Jets. The Jets were held without a touchdown and the Pats did just enough on offense for their first win. Next: -3 vs New Orleans Saints – Sun, Sep. 26 – O/U 41.5 (ATS: 1-1 – O/U: 0-2)

26. Washington Football Team (1-1): The Washington Football Team appears to have found their starting quarterback. Taylor Heinicke threw for 336 yards and two touchdowns and kicker Dustin Hopkins made a 43-yard field goal with no time on the clock for the victory. Next: +8 at Buffalo Bills – Sun, Sep. 26 – O/U 45.5 (ATS: 0-2 – O/U: 1-1)

27. Indianapolis Colts (0-2): Quarterback Carson Wentz was knocked out of the game by the Rams in the loss on Sunday. Wentz, who gained experience as a human pinball with the Eagles, was sacked three times and hit 11 times. If he cannot go, former Washington Huskie quarterback Jacob Eason will get the start. Next: +5 at Tennessee Titans – Sun, Sep. 26 – O/U 48 (ATS: 1-1 – O/U: 1-1)

28. Detroit Lions (0-2): The Lions led at halftime against the Packers, 17-14. The second half did not go as well, as the Lions lost 35-17. Quarterback Jared Goff led the Lions in rushing yardage, which is never a good sign for an offense. Goff ended up with 46 yards rushing on four carries and two touchdown passes as well. Next: +8 vs Baltimore Ravens – Sun, Sep. 26 – O/U 49.5 (ATS: 1-1 – O/U: 2-0)

29. New York Jets (0-2): The late Bob Biletnikoff, brother of Raiders Hall-of-Famer Fred, was a quarterback out of Miami and a late-round pick of the New York Jets in the 1967 AFL Draft. He also was a first-round pick of the New York Yankees and went on to a short career with the Yanks in the minors. Rookie QB Zach Wilson, after throwing four interceptions this past weekend, probably wishes he had a baseball career to fall back on. Next: +10.5 at Denver Broncos - Sun, Sep. 26 – O/U 42 (ATS: 0-2 – O/U: 0-2)

30. New York Giants (0-2): Quarterback Daniel Jones leads the Giants in rushing yardage after the first two games with 122 yards rushing. He has also passed for 516 yards in two games. He needs help! Next: -3 vs Atlanta Falcons – Sun, Sep. 26 - O/U 48 (ATS: 1-1 – O/U: 1-1)

Xavier Daniels - L.A. Rams

Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp leaps high for touchdown at Indianapolis

31. Atlanta Falcons (0-2): The Falcons will be featured in this week's Crummy Game of the Week when they play the Giants in New Jersey. It is good to know that either the Giants or the Falcons should come out of this game with a win. A tie would not be a shocking outcome, either. Next: +3 at New York Giants – Sun, Sep. 19 – O/U 48 (ATS: 0-2 – O/U: 1-1)

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2): The Jags lost their 17th consecutive regular season game after getting blown out by the Broncos, 37-21. The all-time record is 29 set by the Chicago Cardinals in 1945. Head coach Urban Meyer says he is not interested in the USC job, but let's see how he feels about that when the Jags start closing in on that Cardinal record. Next: +7 vs Arizona Cardinals - Sun, Sep. 26 – O/U 52.5 (ATS: 0-2 – O/U: 1-1)

 

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