By Bill Seals - Fred Altieri
Sports Reporters - PFWA Members 

2021 NFL Power Rankings – Week 05

Chargers Surge into Second, Rams Drop to Fifth


October 7, 2021

Mike Nowak, LA Chargers

Chargers strong safety Derwin James (33) - 4th quarter interception helps defeat Raiders

1. Arizona Cardinals (4-0): Quarterback Kyler Murray is officially the early MVP favorite after another impressive performance, this time at SoFi Stadium against the Rams. The Cardinals lead the NFL in scoring with an average of thirty-five points per game. Next: +5.5 vs San Francisco 49ers - Sun, Oct. 10 – O/U 50 (ATS: 3-1 – O/U: 2-2)

2. Los Angeles Chargers (3-1): The Chargers win over the Raiders gives them an early leg up on the rest of the AFC West division. The Chargers are 2-0 within the division and are the only team in the AFC West with a win within the division. Next: -1.5 vs Cleveland Browns - Sun, Oct. 10 – O/U 47 (ATS: 3-1 – O/U: 0-4)

3. Buffalo Bills (3-1): The Bills registered their second shutout in three games in their 40-0 shellacking of the Texans. The Bills lead the NFL in takeaways with eleven in four games. The Bills have the look of a team that is headed for another AFC Championship game. Next: +3 at Kansas City Chiefs - Sun, Oct. 10 – O/U 56.5 (ATS: 3-1 – O/U: 1-3)

4. Dallas Cowboys (3-1): Running back Ezekiel Elliott had his first 100-yard rushing game of the season in the victory over the Panthers. Elliott rushed for 143 yards and one touchdown in the win. In a strange move on Tuesday, the Cowboys decided to release 2019 Pro Bowl linebacker Jaylon Smith. Next: -7 vs New York Giants - Sun, Oct. 10 – O/U 52 (ATS: 4-0 – O/U: 3-1)

5. Los Angeles Rams (3-1): Quarterback Matthew Stafford finally had an off game and the defense decided to join him in the blowout loss to the Cardinals at SoFi Stadium. The Rams trailed by 24 points at home in the fourth quarter to their division rival. Next: -2.5 at Seattle Seahawks - Thu, Oct 7 – O/U 54.5 (ATS: 2-2 – O/U: 4-0)

6. Green Bay Packers (3-1): Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is beginning to enjoy the season, which is bad news for the rest of the NFC. When he is not romanticizing about football, he has been very effective. During the current three game winning streak, Rodgers has thrown for eight touchdowns and rushed for one touchdown, with zero interceptions. Next: -3 at Cincinnati Bengals - Sun, Oct. 10 – O/U 50.5 (ATS: 3-1 – O/U: 2-2)

7. Las Vegas Raiders (3-1): The Raiders got beat up in their loss to the Chargers. Quarterback Derek Carr was sacked four times, hit seven times and under constant pressure. The Chargers ran for 168 yards and several Raider players were injured in the game. Next: -5.5 vs Chicago Bears - Sun, Oct. 10 – O/U 44.5 (ATS: 2-2 – O/U: 2-2)

8. Cleveland Browns (3-1): The Browns are 3-1 but have not defeated a team with a winning record to this point. They will get their chance this weekend on the road at SoFi Stadium when they take on the Chargers. Next: +1.5 at Los Angeles Chargers – Sun, Oct. 10 – O/U 47 (ATS: 3-1 – O/U: 2-2)

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1): The Bucs came from behind to defeat the Patriots on the road. The Bucs have won two games by two points, had a blowout win over a bad Falcon team and the other game was a double-digit loss to the Rams. They do not look unbeatable. Next: -10 vs Miami Dolphins - Sun, Oct. 10 – O/U 48 (ATS: 1-3 – O/U: 3-1)

10. Carolina Panthers (3-1): The Panthers came into Dallas with a league leading fourteen sacks and left with tied for the league lead with fourteen sacks. The Panthers were unable to sack Dak Prescott or stop running back Ezekiel Elliott in the 36-28 loss to the Cowboys. Next: -3.5 vs Philadelphia Eagles - Sun, Oct. 10 – O/U 45 (ATS: 3-1 – O/U: 1-3)

11. Baltimore Ravens (3-1): Kicker Justin Tucker did not need to kick a 66-yard field goal in Denver this weekend, but he did kick three field goals in the Ravens victory. Tucker was seen making 72-yard field goal before the game started in the thin air of Denver. Next: -7 vs Indianapolis Colts – Mon, Oct. 11 – O/U 46 (ATS: 2-2 – O/U: 2-2)

12. Kansas City Chiefs (2-2): Quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw for five touchdowns in a road win at Philadelphia. He is literally carrying the team on his back as the team struggles on the defensive side of the ball. Next: -3 vs Buffalo Bills - Sun, Oct. 10 – O/U 56.5 (ATS: 1-3 – O/U: 3-1)

13. Seattle Seahawks (2-2): The Seahawks are 2-2 in the tough NFC West, thanks to quarterback Russell Wilson, who threw for two touchdowns and added a 16-yard touchdown run to his day's work. Next: +2.5 vs Los Angeles Rams – Thu, Oct. 7 – O/U 54.5 (ATS: 2-2 – O/U: 1-3)

14. Cincinnati Bengals (3-1): The Bengals have had a rather easy schedule on the way to their 3-1 start. We think the Bengals are in the same suspicion category that the Broncos are in. Their record looks good, but they have not played anyone with a current winning record. That will change this weekend. Next: +3 vs Green Bay Packers - Sun, Oct. 10 – O/U 50.5 (ATS: 2-2 – O/U: 1-3)

15. Denver Broncos (3-1): The Broncos played a decent NFL team, and it did not go well. The defense gave up 316 passing yards to quarterback Lamar Jackson in a 23-7 loss to the Ravens. It was the second 300 yard passing game of his career. Next: +1 at Pittsburgh Steelers - Sun, Oct. 10 – O/U 39.5 (ATS: 3-1 – O/U: 0-4)

16. San Francisco 49ers (2-2): The schedule will not get any easier for the 49ers, who now have a two-game losing streak after losses to the Packers and Seahawks. This weekend they get to travel to Arizona for a meeting with Kyler Murray and the undefeated Cardinals. Next: +5.5 at Arizona Cardinals – Sun, Oct. 10 – O/U 50 (ATS: 1-3 – O/U: 2-2)

17. Tennessee Titans (2-2): The Titans are 2-2 but are fortunate to be playing in the worst division in football. After a disappointing loss to the previously winless Jets, they are still in first place in the AFC South. Next: -4 at Jacksonville Jaguars - Sun, Oct. 10 – O/U 48.5 (ATS: 2-2 – O/U: 2-2)

18. New Orleans Saints (2-2): The Saints loss to the Giants is not a good sign for the team. After the game, head coach Sean Payton stated that, "It's frustrating, it's disappointing and all of those emotions. That's why it feels so good to win and that's why it feels this way when you lose. We can't get this game back." The Saints may not be able to get this season back with a few more games losses like that. Next: -1.5 at Washington Football Team – Sun, Oct. 10 – O/U 44.5 (ATS: 2-1 – O/U: 0-3)

19. Minnesota Vikings (1-3): The Vikings might be the best 1-3 team in football, but they are also in the same division with the Packers and Aaron Rodgers. The Vikings have three losses by seven points or less and a tough future schedule after this weekend. Next: -8 vs Detroit Lions – Sun, Oct. 10 – O/U 49 (ATS: 2-2 – O/U: 2-2)

20. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3): The Browns, Bengals, and Ravens are all 3-1 and tied for first place in the AFC North. The Steelers are 1-3 and in last place in the AFC North. This could be a long season for Steeler fans. Next: -1 vs Denver Broncos – Sun, Oct. 10 – O/U 39.5 (ATS: 1-3 – O/U: 0-4)

21. Philadelphia Eagles (1-3): The Eagles have allowed eighty-three points in the past two games against the Cowboys and the Chiefs. That includes eight touchdown passes. They need to fix that issue if they want to keep up in the NFC East. Next: +3.5 at Carolina Panthers – Sun, Oct. 10 – O/U 45 (ATS: 1-3 – O/U: 2-2)

22. Chicago Bears (2-2): Running back David Montgomery rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns in the win over the Lions. That was the good news. The bad news is that he suffered a knee sprain late in the game that will keep him out for the next four weeks. Next: +5.5 at Las Vegas Raiders - Sun, Oct. 10 – O/U 44.5 (ATS: 2-2 – O/U: 1-3)

23. Houston Texans (1-3): How bad is the Texan offense? They got an early interception from Josh Allen on Sunday, which left them with a first down at the Bills 13-yard line. Four plays later the red-zone drive stalled at the Bills 6-yard line. Next: +9 vs New England Patriots – Sun, Oct. 10 – O/U 39.5 (ATS: 2-2 – O/U: 2-2)

24. Miami Dolphins (1-3): The Dolphins are 31st in offensive yardage per game and 31st in points per game. The NFL trade deadline for the 2021 NFL season has been set as November 2, 2021. It will not be a surprise if Deshaun Watson is traded to the Dolphins by that date. Next: +10 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Sun, Oct. 10 – O/U 48 (ATS: 2-2 – O/U: 2-2)

25. New England Patriots (1-3): The Patriots have their quarterback of the future in Mac Jones. Now they need to provide him with a supporting cast. The addition of tight end Hunter Henry and tight end Jonnu Smith helped, but they could use some explosive talent at wide receiver. Next: -9 at Houston Texans – Sun, Oct. 10 – O/U 39.5 (ATS: 2-2 – O/U: 0-4)

26. Washington Football Team (2-2): Wide receiver Terry McLaurin caught six passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns in the win on Sunday over the Falcons. McLaurin is considered one of the best route runners in the NFL. Next: +1.5 vs New Orleans Saints – Sun, Oct. 10 – O/U 44.5 (ATS: 1-3 – O/U: 32-1)

27. Atlanta Falcons (1-3): Running back Cordarrelle Patterson had three touchdown receptions in the loss to the Washington Football Team. Patterson has been a discovery this season for the Falcons on offense and discovery for fantasy football owners with his unexpectedly terrific performances. Next: -3 vs New York Jets – Sun, Oct. 10 – O/U 46 (ATS: 1-3 – O/U: 2-2)

28. Indianapolis Colts (1-3): Quarterback Carson Wentz had his best game as a Colt to lead the team to an easy 27-17 win over the Dolphins. Wentz completed 24 of 32 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns and running back Johnathan Taylor added 103 rushing yards and one touchdown. Next: +7 at Baltimore Ravens – Mon, Oct. 11 – O/U 46 (ATS: 2-2 – O/U: 2-2)

29. New York Giants (1-3): The Giants victory over the Saints was much needed and gives the team and the fans hope. Quarterback Daniel Jones is still leading the Giants in rushing yardage after four games. The team needs running back Saquon Barkley and the offensive line to provide help on the ground. Next: +10 at Dallas Cowboys – Sun, Oct. 10 - O/U 52 (ATS: 2-2 – O/U: 2-2)

30. New York Jets (1-3): Rookie quarterback Zach Wilson finally gave the Jets fans something to cheer about, completing 21 of 34 passes for 297 yards with touchdown passes to Corey Davis and Jamison Crowder in the upset win over the Titans at home. Next: +3 at Atlanta Falcons - Sun, Oct. 10 – O/U 46 (ATS: 1-3 – O/U: 1-3)

Kelly Smiley, LA Rams

Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey - Two pass deflections, five tackles including tackle for loss vs Cardinals

31. Detroit Lions (0-4): The Lions have trailed by double digits in the third quarter of each game they have played this season. That is not a good sign for the future. Quarterback Jared Goff has had some good moments in Detroit, but he needs to have a good game for four quarters to really help. Next: +8 at Minnesota Vikings – Sun, Oct. 10 – O/U 49 (ATS: 2-2 – O/U: 2-2)

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-4): Head coach Urban Meyer cannot win on or off the field these days. Meyer apologized to the team after a video was released showing Meyer sitting with his back to the bar in an Ohio State pullover while a young woman danced close to his lap. It is being reported that Meyer has lost the confidence of the team and the organization. This is not going to end well for Meyer. Next: +4 vs Tennessee Titans - Sun, Oct. 10 – O/U 48.5 (ATS: 1-3 – O/U: 1-3)


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