Culver City Observer -

By Bill Seals - Fred Altieri
Sports Reporters - PFWA Members 

2021 NFL Power Rankings – Week 7

Rams Up, Chargers Down

 

October 21, 2021

John Munson - UPI

Ram safties Taylor Rapp (24) and Terrell Burgess (26) celebrate Rapp's second interception vs New York Giants

1. Arizona Cardinals (6-0): The Cardinals are 6-0 after an impressive 37-14 victory over the Browns in Cleveland. This is the best start by a Cardinal football team since 1974. The Cardinals are not sitting still, as they acquired tight end Zach Ertz in a trade with the Eagles. The three-time pro bowl tight end has 579 receptions in his NFL career and will be an excellent addition to an already loaded offense. Next: -17 vs Houston Texans - Sun, Oct. 24 – O/U 47.5 (ATS: 5-1 – O/U: 3-3)

2. Los Angeles Rams (5-1): Wide receiver Copper Kupp is having a terrific season. Kupp is tied for the league lead in receptions with 46 through six games, leads the NFL in touchdown receptions with seven and is second in receiving yards with 653 yards. The former Easter Washington University star is having as good a season as his alma mater, who are 7-0 and the No. 2 ranked team in FCS football. Next: -15 vs Detroit Lions - Sun, Oct 24 – O/U 50.5 (ATS: 4-2 – O/U: 4-1-1)

3. Dallas (5-1): The Cowboys needed overtime, but they managed to overcome the Patriots and win their fifth consecutive game. They have a dynamic offense which is ranked No. 1 in the NFL, but they are ranked 30th in pass defense. Next: Bye – Following week: N/A at Minnesota Vikings - Sun, Oct. 31 – O/U N/A (ATS: 6-0 – O/U: 5-1)

4. Green Bay Packers (5-1): The Green Bay Packers have a five-game winning streak. They clinched the Sunday win over the Bears in Chicago on an Aaron Rodgers six-yard touchdown run, after which Rodgers shouted to the crowd, "I still own you! I still own you!" Next: -9.5 vs Washington Football Team - Sun, Oct. 24 – O/U 49 (ATS: 5-1 – O/U: 2-4)

5. Baltimore Ravens (5-1): Lamar Jackson is a special quarterback and although his running will catch up to him someday, he is one of the most difficult players to prepare for in the NFL. He is today's version of Gale Sayers, and he is becoming a better passer. Next: -6 vs Cincinnati Bengals – Sun, Oct. 24 – O/U 47 (ATS: 3-3 – O/U: 3-3)

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-1): Wide receiver Antonio Brown continues to show that he can still play at a high level, after catching nine passes for 93 yards and a touchdown in the Bucs win over the Eagles. Leonard Fournette, who was also signed as a free agent by the Bucs, added 81 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Next: -13 vs Chicago Bears - Sun, Oct. 24 – O/U 47 (ATS: 2-4 – O/U: 4-2)

7. Buffalo Bills (4-2): Quarterback Josh Allen, has converted an NFL-best twenty-four quarterback sneaks for first downs since 2018, but it is the one he did not convert that he will remember the most. His failure to convert on 4th and short at the Titans three-yard line with 22 seconds remaining cost the Bills a chance to win in a 34-31 loss to the Titans. The Bills also could have converted a field goal to force overtime. Next: Bye – Following week: N/A vs Miami Dolphins - Sun, Oct. 31 – O/U N/A (ATS: 4-2 – O/U: 3-3)

8. Los Angeles Chargers (4-2): The 4-1 Chargers traveled to Baltimore to take on the Ravens and left as the 4-2 Chargers, getting trampled by the Ravens, 34-6. Despite the outcome, the Chargers are still in a good position for the playoffs, but the run defense needs to improve. The Ravens rushed for 187 yards against the Chargers. Next: Bye – Following week: N/A vs New England Patriots - Sun, Oct. 31 – O/U N/A (ATS: 4-2 – O/U: 1-5)

9. Tennessee Titans (4-2): Running back Derrick Henry ran for 143 yards and two touchdowns as he led the Titans to a thrilling 34-31 win over the Bills at home. Henry is on a pace to run for 2,088 yards and 27 touchdowns. Next: +5.5 vs Kansas City Chiefs - Sun, Oct. 24 – O/U 56.5 (ATS: 4-2 – O/U: 4-2)

10. Las Vegas Raiders (4-2): The Raiders played their first game with new head coach Rich Bisaccia and looked very impressive in a 34-24 victory over the Broncos in Denver. Quarterback Derek Carr threw for 341 yards and two touchdowns, and Maxx Crosby had three sacks to lead the Raiders to victory. The Raiders are tied for first place in the AFC West with the Chargers. Next: -3 vs Philadelphia Eagles - Sun, Oct. 24 – O/U 49 (ATS: 3-3 – O/U: 3-3)

11. Cincinnati Bengals (4-2): The Bengals had a laugher over the inept Lions on the road. They led 27-0 in the fourth quarter before the Lions were able to score their usual garbage points at the end of the game. Running back Joe Mixon rushed for 94 yards and caught five passes for 59 yards and a touchdown in the rout. Next: +6 at Baltimore Ravens - Sun, Oct. 24 – O/U 47 (ATS: 3-3 – O/U: 1-5)

12. Kansas City Chiefs (3-3): The Chiefs have struggled on defense and are currently ranked 28th in the NFL in defensive yardage allowed per game. The real issue for the Chiefs has been turnovers. The Chiefs lead the NFL in turnovers with 14 through the first six games. Next: -5.5 at Tennessee Titans - Sun, Oct. 24 – O/U 56.5 (ATS: 2-4 – O/U: 4-2)

13. Cleveland Browns (3-3): The Browns are physically falling apart after getting blown out by the Cardinals, 37-14. Quarterback Baker Mayfield has a completely torn labrum his left shoulder. Running back Kareem Hunt will miss four to six weeks with a calf injury, running back Nick will miss another game with a calf injury and wide receiver Odell Beckham also has a shoulder injury. Next: -3.5 vs Denver Broncos – Thu, Oct. 21 – O/U 42.5 (ATS: 3-3 – O/U: 4-2)

14. Carolina Panthers (3-3): Head coach Matt Rhule wants to run the ball more. It would help if he could get his All-Pro running back, Christian McCaffrey, back on the field. McCaffrey's hamstring pull has kept him out of the past three games, which the Panthers have all lost. Next: -3 at New York Giants - Sun, Oct. 24 – O/U 43 (ATS: 3-3 – O/U: 2-4)

15. New Orleans Saints (3-2): The Saints are hard to figure out this season, as they have blown out the Packers, but they have also lost by 19 to the Panthers and lost to the New York Giants. The schedule gets tough after this weekend when the Bucs come to town. Next: +5 at Seattle – Mon, Oct. 25 – O/U 43.5 (ATS: 3-2 – O/U: 2-3)

16. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3): When the Steelers signed T.J. Watt to a whopping four-year $112 million extension, with $80 million guaranteed, the obvious question was, "is he worth it?" Watt has answered that question. With the score tied at 20-20 in overtime, Watt's strip-sack of Seattle quarterback Geno Smith gave the Steelers the ball at the Seattle 16 and set-up the game winning field goal. Next: Bye – Following week: N/A at Cleveland Browns – Sun, Oct. 31 – O/U N/A (ATS: 2-4 – O/U: 1-4-1)

17. Minnesota Vikings (3-3): Every game the Vikings play comes down to the last minute and this weekend's game against the Panthers was another close game. The Vikings beat the Panthers 34-28 on a 27-yard touchdown pass to K.J. Osborn on the first possession of overtime. Next: Bye – Following week: N/A vs Dallas Cowboys – Sun, Oct. 31 – O/U N/A (ATS: 3-3 – O/U: 3-3)

18. Denver Broncos (3-3): The Broncos have lost three in row after starting 3-0. As the schedule has gotten tougher, the Broncos have not looked so good. As Teddy Bridgewater has also shown, as the competition gets better, his performances have not. Against the Raiders this past weekend, Bridgewater threw three interceptions and lost a fumble in the loss to the Raiders. Next: +3.5 at Cleveland Browns - Thu, Oct. 21 – O/U 42.5 (ATS: 3-3 – O/U: 2-4)

19. Seattle Seahawks (2-4): The Seahawks have lost four of their last five games and need to start winning games to have a shot at a wild-card playoff berth. It is doubtful that they can catch the Cardinals or the Rams. Next: +5 vs New Orleans Saints – Mon, Oct. 25 – O/U 43.5 (ATS: 3-3 – O/U: 1-4-1)

20. San Francisco 49ers (2-3): Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk looked like an emerging star last season with the 49ers. After catching five passes per game, averaging eight targets per game and 62 yards per game receiving as a rookie in 2020, Aiyuk is barely used in the passing game in 2021. He has eight receptions for ninety total yards in receiving, an average of 18 yards per game. He is averaging three targets per game. Next: -3.5 vs Indianapolis Colts – Sun, Oct. 24 – O/U 44 (ATS: 1-4 – O/U: 2-3)

21. Chicago Bears (3-3): The Bears continue to ride their defense and hope their offense can do just enough to get a victory. They are tied for the league lead in sacks with twenty-one, but their offense is last in passing yards per game averaging just 117 .2 yards per game. That is over fifty yards per game behind the Saints, who average 169.4 yards per game and are ranked in 31st, only ahead of the Bears. Next: +13 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Sun, Oct. 24 – O/U 45 (ATS: 3-3 – O/U: 1-5)

22. Washington Football Team (2-4): The Washington Football Team was supposed to be a Top Five defense before the season started but have struggled through the first six games. They are currently ranked last in the NFL in points allowed per game at 31 points per game. Next: +9.5 at Green Bay Packers – Sun, Oct. 24 – O/U 49 (ATS: 1-5 – O/U: 4-2)

23. Philadelphia Eagles (2-4): The Eagles have lost four of their last five games. The Eagles need to run the ball more, specifically with their running backs. Running back Miles Sanders has fifty-seven carries for 270 yards and quarterback Jalen Hurts has 53 carries for 300 yards in their RPO offense. With his explosive speed, Sanders needs more carries and more touches. Next: +3 at Las Vegas Raiders – Sun, Oct. 24 – O/U 49 (ATS: 3-3 – O/U: 2-4)

24. New England Patriots (2-4): The Patriots have played better than their record might indicate. The loss this weekend to the Cowboys in overtime was their third loss by six points or less this season, and in all three games they led late in the fourth quarter. Next: -7 vs New York Jets – Sun, Oct. 24 – O/U 42.5 (ATS: 2-4 – O/U: 2-4)

25. Atlanta Falcons (2-3): Wide receiver Calvin Ridley, who missed the game in London against the Jets, has returned and will be available this week, which should make fantasy owners happy. The Falcons have a good matchup this week for Ridley's return. Next: -2.5 at Miami Dolphins – Sun, Oct. 24 – O/U 47.5 (ATS: 2-3 – O/U: 3-2)

26. Indianapolis Colts (2-4): The Colts are suddenly playing better football and Carson Wentz seems to be back to his 2017 form. Wentz threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns in the easy win over the Texans. Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton returned to catch four passes for eighty yards. Next: +3.5 at San Francisco 49ers – Sun, Oct. 24 – O/U 44 (ATS: 4-2 – O/U: 3-3)

27. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5): The Jaguars finally won a game to end their record twenty game losing streak and for at least this week, Urban Meyer is a winner again. Franchise quarterback Trevor Lawrence was awarded the game ball by wide receiver Marvin Jones for his performance, which included completing 25 of 41 passes for 319 yards and one touchdown. Next: Bye – Following week: N/A at Seattle Seahawks - Sun, Oct. 31 – O/U N/A (ATS: 2-4 – O/U: 2-4)

28. Miami Dolphins (1-5): In a classic London matchup, the hapless Jaguars defeated the hapless Dolphins, 23-20, on a Matthew Wright 53-yard field goal with no time on the clock. The Jaguars ended a franchise record twenty game losing streak, while the Dolphins lost their fifth straight game. The loss put an end to the pre-season speculation about the Dolphins being a playoff team. Next: +2.5 vs Atlanta Falcons - Sun, Oct. 24 – O/U 47.5 (ATS: 2-4 – O/U: 3-3)

29. Houston Texans (1-5): The Texans had their losing streak extended to five games after being pounded by the Colts, 31-3. It will not get any better this week when they are mandated to travel to Arizona to take on the Cardinals. Next: +17 at Arizona Cardinals – Sun, Oct. 24 – O/U 47.5 (ATS: 3-3 – O/U: 3-3)

30. New York Giants (1-5): The Rams easily disposed of the Giants, 38-11, in a game that was not as close as the score might indicate. The Giants briefly held the lead after one quarter, 3-0, but the Rams came back with 38 unanswered points to blow the game open, including 28 points in the second quarter. Next: +3 vs Carolina Panthers – Sun, Oct. 24 - O/U 43 (ATS: 2-4 – O/U: 3-2-1)

Ty Nowel - LA Chargers

Charger safety Kyzir White - Two interceptions vs. Baltimore Ravens

31. New York Jets (1-4): The Jets did not lose this past week, thanks to a bye. The Jets are trying to break in a rookie quarterback in Zach Wilson, who has struggled. It is helpful for a rookie quarterback to have a good running game to take the pressure off, but the Jets cannot run the ball. They average 74 yards per game and 3.6 yards per carry. How was this ever going to work? Next: +7 at New England Patriots - Sun, Oct. 24 – O/U 42.5 (ATS: 1-4 – O/U: 2-3)

32. Detroit Lions (0-6): How bad are the Lions? They have not scored a touchdown in the first or second quarters since their opening drive in Week 2. Lion coach Dan Campbell has seen enough, stating that, "I feel like (Quarterback Jared Goff) needs to step up more than he has. And I think he needs to help us just like everybody else. I think he's going to need to put a little bit of weight on his shoulders here and it's time to step up, make some throws and do some things." Sean McVay can feel his pain. Next: +15 at Los Angeles Rams – Sun, Oct. 24 – O/U 50.5 (ATS: 3-3 – O/U: 2-4)

 

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