PFT’s final 2021 NFL power rankings

Green Bay Packers v Detroit Lions
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1. Packers (13-4, last week No. 1): Will this year finally be the year that they get back to the Super Bowl?

2. Buccaneers (13-4, No. 3): The defense needs to step up, or they’ll be stepping off.

3. Titans (12-5, No. 4): Derrick Henry is healthy and, more importantly, fresh.

4. Chiefs (12-5, No. 5): Don’t sleep on the Steelers in the wild-card round.

5. Rams (12-5, No. 2): Matthew Stafford was supposed to be the savior. He’s quite possibly the Achilles heel.

6. Bengals (10-7, No. 6): These Bengals are too young to care about a postseason futility drought that is far older than they are.

7. Cardinals (11-6, No. 7): 8-1 on the road and finishing the year with five straight losses at home, they should be happy that they will be playing the Rams in L.A.

8. Bills (11-6, No. 8): It feels like they’re still struggling to play a complete game.

9. Cowboys (12-5, No. 9): Good news? They avoided Arizona in the wild-card round. Bad news? They got the 49ers instead.

10. Patriots (10-7, No. 10): Can they slow down Josh Allen with the season on the line?

11. 49ers (10-7, No. 12): Jimmy G is just good enough to get them to the Super Bowl again and just bad enough to keep them from winning it, again.

12. Raiders (10-7, No. 15): The team that once gave us the Holy Roller capped the regular-season by giving us the ultimate “holy shit” moment.

13. Eagles (9-8, No. 14): The Eagles have the formula to upset the Bucs. Can they execute it?

14. Steelers (9-7-1, No. 18): It could be 2005 all over again.

15. Chargers (9-8, No. 14): Brandon Staley needs to balance his objective decision making with some subjectivity.

16. Colts (9-8, No. 11): If you can’t beat the previously 2-14 Jaguars a week after they gave up 50 points, you shouldn’t be in the NFL playoffs. Or in the CFL playoffs.

17. Dolphins (9-8, No. 16): This ranking is not based on the stunning decision to fire Brian Flores. If it were, the Dolphins would be in the low 30s.

18. Ravens (8-9, No. 17): Tyler Huntley gives the Ravens an intriguing Plan B, in the event that they can’t get Lamar Jackson signed to an acceptable extension.

19. Saints (9-8, No. 19): The fact that they finished above .500 should get Sean Payton coach of the year votes.

20. Browns (8-9, No. 20): The Browns is the Browns all over again.

21. Vikings (8-9, No. 21): “Just good enough” is finally no longer good enough for the Vikings.

22. Seahawks (7-10, No. 24): Can they persuade Russell Wilson to stay?

23. Falcons (7-10, No. 22): The future is much brighter than it was a year ago.

24. Broncos (7-10, No. 23): They’re a quarterback away from contending. Can they find the right one?

25. Washington (7-10, No. 26): Ron Rivera is the best thing the franchise has going for it. And the franchise should be very concerned that he’ll eventually realize he can do better.

26. Bears (6-11, No. 25): The decision to fire the coach and the G.M. made the fan base happy. Then came the George McCaskey press conference.

27. Panthers (5-12, No. 27): It still feels like things are far from settled in Carolina.

28. Texans (4-13, No. 28): Whether David Culley is or isn’t staying, it would be nice for someone to let the guy know.

29. Jets (4-13, No. 29): If Joe Douglas isn’t already on the hot seat, when will he be?

30. Lions (3-13-1, No. 31): They’re far closer to contending than anyone realizes.

31. Giants (4-13, No. 30): They’re much farther from contending than ownership realizes, primarily because of ownership’s involvement.

32. Jaguars (3-14, No. 32): Maybe the fans should dress in clown suits every week.

86 responses to “PFT’s final 2021 NFL power rankings

  1. The LAmbs have mortgaged the future so hard and have almost no chance to get to the NFCCG with Stafford at QB. Also, the niners fans packed that billion $ stadium, lol.

    Joke of a franchise, should have stayed in StL

  2. Bring on the Bucs vs. Patriots super bowl. The nonstop complaining about it will be almost as great as the game itself.

  3. Last year the Steelers killed the Browns 38-7 at Heinz Field in the regular season then lost to them in the first round.

    This year, KC killed the Steelers in the regular season at home and now host them again in the first round.

    Can it be de ja vu all over again?

    Actually, no.

  4. Denver: aren’t they more than just a QB away from contending…. Like a COACH??? But you’re right, they need a QB STAT…since they obviously can’t draft one I wonder which one they will try to buy to become relevant again, you know, like last time!!!

  5. Green Bay will win it all this year just so Aaron Rodgers can get on that podium and say ‘stick it’ to everyone!!

  6. As a Giants’ fan, I still feel that we are ranked too high. The Jags have a quarterback and at least one star pass rusher. What do the Giants have to build around?

  7. I liked the Bills vs Pats one. Bills struggling to play a complete game, but really that has been true of the Pats these also few weeks too. So next weekend will depend on who plays for the most of the 60 minutes. Because other than that they are pretty close.

  8. The Panthers at 27 is very generous. They got crushed by the Giants 25 – 3 in New York (worst football game I have ever attended), barely beat the Jets and Texans early in the season (before the Panthers crumbled and the Jets and Texans started playing a tad better) and would definitely lose to a team like the Lions who play hard every week. The Panthers are on the fast track to being one of the worst 3 teams in the league next season.

  9. 50 year Giant fan here. This is the worst football team I’ve ever seen in my life. The Jags should be 31, about 5-6 College teams should be 32-37, then the Giants.

  10. “Don’t sleep on the Steelers on the wild card game? “They do a good enough job of putting us to sleep with their offensive ineptitude. Steeler games rival golf for couch naps

  11. Patriots have lost 3 of their last 4 with Mac Jones being abysmal in those 3 losses. It’s going to be more of the same come Saturday.

  12. As a Broncos fan, I couldn’t agree more. Now that Aaron Rodgers grass is finally being watered by Green Bay, we may have to pin our hopes on Russ. That will be the difference between contending in January and February of 2023 or remaining irrelevant. Also, the 49ers are a dangerous bunch in the NFC and in the AFC, I see the Titans taking the next step and representing the AFC on February 13. Titans 24-23 over the Pack in SB LVI.

  13. #8- Bills struggle to play a complete game
    #10- Can Patriots slow down Josh Allen

    The Bills had 9 sacks on defense last weekend and the offense covered a 14.5 point spread over a division opponent. They had punter issues on special teams, but also blocked a punt. Their punter (by the way) hadn’t done anything more than practice for the previous two weeks. If the Patriots did what the Bills did last weekend, you would not be saying these things. You’d be pouring grace on Mac Jones and talking about how Belichick is a master of all 3 phases of the game.

  14. I’m not a Packers fan but man Aaron Rodgers is incredible. The talent on that team is average and the coaching is suspect, but he has made them the Super Bowl favorite. I’m starting to think he is the best QB of all time.

  15. The Bills will be scary if they can put together a complete game. I hate to say it but I think they need to move on from Daboll. His calls sometimes are very head-scratching. In the K-Gun days Jim Kelly called a lot of his own plays….perhaps Josh should as well.

  16. Tom Brady says:
    January 11, 2022 at 12:22 pm
    Looking forward to beating the Bills for another ring

    #WideRight

    4 3 Rate This
    ______________________

    Let’s play the game first. After the Bills win, Patriot fans will have to concede that you can’t move forward looking in the rear view mirror.

  17. It is a complete joke to put Washington at 25 given all their injuries and Covid. This exceptionally talented, well coached team won the NFC East last year and will win it again next year. Odds on favorite to win the Super Bowl next year, just you watch.

  18. Love your hate for Joe Douglas. Look at the roster and coach he inherited lol. I would love for them to be better but it’s gonna take some time

  19. Maybe I’m biased but the Lions are def better than the Texans, Jets, and the Panthers.

  20. I would give up my Giants-Pats II ring to see Pats Bucs. Ok. I won’t go that far but you get my point.

  21. @godkingskovald

    Mac Jones is a rookie on a young team, expectations should be very low for him. This game will be all about Josh Allen and the Bills. They have a more experienced QB, more experienced receiving corps and a very good defence. The Bills window to represent the AFC in the SB is now. No excuses.

  22. harrytootsie says:
    January 11, 2022 at 11:54 am

    How are the iggles 13 when they never beat a team with a winning record all season !

    How are Giants not rated at least #50 on this list?

  23. Herbert us too good not to be in the playoffs. Sadly his coach made some really bad decisions and cost them a chance.

  24. Those of you who are picking the Bills over the Patriots clearly don’t gamble. If you did, you would have learned your lesson by now. I’ll just leave it at that.

  25. 2005 Steelers won what, 11 games, and had a top flight defense. They were a perennial contender that slipped to 7-5 and then went on a run.

    This team is quite average.

  26. Super Bowl:

    Titans Vs Bucs or Bengals vs Bucs

    Chiefs won’t make it to AFCC this year and Packers will fall flat in playoffs like most other times before!

  27. judman315 says:
    January 11, 2022 at 12:34 pm
    #8- Bills struggle to play a complete game
    #10- Can Patriots slow down Josh Allen

    The Bills had 9 sacks on defense last weekend and the offense covered a 14.5 point spread over a division opponent. They had punter issues on special teams, but also blocked a punt. Their punter (by the way) hadn’t done anything more than practice for the previous two weeks. If the Patriots did what the Bills did last weekend, you would not be saying these things. You’d be pouring grace on Mac Jones and talking about how Belichick is a master of all 3 phases of the game.

    Settle down, they played the 4-13 Jets.
    A team which went 2-8 in their final 10 games with those wins coming against the Texans and Jaguars, the only two other teams with a worse record in the league that they faced.

  28. How anyone thinks New England belongs on the field with the Bills is about to learn otherwise.

    Its the one lock for this weekend.

  29. patsfan4lifedynasty says:
    January 11, 2022 at 12:08 pm
    Joe Burrow > Josh Allen
    ————
    Although factual IMO too, though barely, I have to point out it helps that:
    Chase > Diggs
    Higgins > Sanders
    Boyd > Beasley
    Mixon > Singletary

  30. I don’t care what happens to the Raiders at this point. Just glad to be in the playoffs finally!!!

  31. I predicted there would be a HUGE shakeup in the Power Rankings once the Steelers schooled the Ravens and the Jags took care of business against the Colts. Now this … The Steeler Revenge Tour starts this Sunday. After putting a dagger in the seasons of the Browns and Ravens and already beating the top 2 AFC seeds (the Titans and Bills …. I have the Bills Power Ranked higher than the Chiefs) the Steelers will extract vengeance on the Chiefs, Patriots, and Bengals before trouncing the Packers in a Super Bowl rematch! GO STEELERS!

  32. Washington gets no respect… just because the owner, the front office, the stadium and the team sucks….. wow. That hurts.
    But hey, we’re still the only show in town!

  33. citizenstrange says:
    January 11, 2022 at 2:14 pm
    I predicted there would be a HUGE shakeup in the Power Rankings once the Steelers schooled the Ravens
    ————————–
    I’d hardly call a three point OT victory a “schooling”

  34. The only thing on this list I will argue is the Giants not being #32. I don’t understand how they won any games this year. The most pathetic, clueless, directionless team in the league. And that much worse for the proud legacy and history the team has.

    Look at how those last several teams ended the season. All of them with guts and effort, except for the Giants. They wouldn’t beat anyone right now. It’s ridiculous.

  35. I don’t understand why teams don’t double Davante Adams on every play. The other receivers are mediocre. Make GB run up and down the field to beat you.

    I feel like the Bucs are too banged up to repeat.

    Titans beat up on bad teams this season, overrated.

    As long as the Chiefs have both Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, they can beat you.

    Watch out for the Bengals. You’ll need to score 35 points to beat them. They have a QB1, RB1, and most importantly TWO WR1’s! Sneaky SB pick.

    Rams have Cooper Kupp and Aaron Donald but then the rest of the team stinks.

    Cards don’t have the talent, sorry.

    Bills biggest advantage is Josh Allen running. But they can’t rely on it too much, see Bucs game.

    Cowboys have a high ceiling on both sides of the ball. Haven’t been living up to it though.

    Don’t think the rest of the teams have a chance.

  36. When I watched Green Bay this year I noticed they are technically sound and run an excellent system. That said, I think the one team they dread facing is the 49’ers (please shoot me now). The 49’ers bring a potent ground attack and I believe the Packers have some vulnerability there. But in order for that strategy to succeed, they will have to keep Rodgers off the field.

  37. inozwetrust says:
    January 11, 2022 at 2:28 pm
    citizenstrange says:
    January 11, 2022 at 2:14 pm
    I predicted there would be a HUGE shakeup in the Power Rankings once the Steelers schooled the Ravens
    ————————–
    I’d hardly call a three point OT victory a “schooling”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    3 points in a rivalry game that ends the other team’s season is like 30 points in a regular game.

  38. I’ve gone back and forth if I think the teams at the bottom are in the right sequence. I must admit my Lions are probably right where they should be the resume of the season. But if you asked about the optimism and hope factor amongst teams at the bottom we are atypical cause We are a hard arrow up in green IMO. While the giants and panthers look like when a plane loses a wing and is plummeting to the ground and particularly the NYG owners don’t seem to realize the house is on fire they are just waving to the fans saying come again soon as the flames kick the second story windows.

  39. It is going to be a great playoffs since there is no really dominant team. Any team in it can get hot enough to win it!

  40. Packers always win regular championship, but always choke in the playoffs. They’ll do it again, watch.

  41. jameshodges says:
    January 11, 2022 at 1:41 pm
    Those of you who are picking the Bills over the Patriots clearly don’t gamble. If you did, you would have learned your lesson by now. I’ll just leave it at that.
    ————————-

    You go ahead a bet on the team with the struggling rookie QB who is going into a hostile playoff environment on a team that’s lost 3 of 4 going into postseason. Also with a defense that’s struggling to stop anyone from scoring.

    Go ahead, bet big!!

  42. I don’t understand why teams don’t double Davante Adams on every play. The other receivers are mediocre. Make GB run up and down the field to beat you.
    ==========

    Scheme is part of it. LaFleur is creative and does a great job of moving him around.

    Respect for Rodgers is the other thing, IMO. If its clear Adams is doubled, Rodgers will just feast with the other guys.

    Lazard is solid, and has been playing really well. Valdez-Scantling is a really solid deep threat. It will be interesting to see what they get from Cobb.

    LaFleur is grossly underrated. The scheme is unstoppable at times, especially when the running game is clicking.

  43. Rams, Cards over Cowboys? I don’t think so. Just watch the defense this weekend, and if you really think totally blown coverages and Stafford doing his usual routine suddenly make Jimmy G a legit playoff QB; I gotta question your knowledge-of anything. This whole “rivalry” narrative is only to spur interest in the game. Dallas is flat out a better team and should win. Players show up.

  44. Lots of hyped up Bills fans. Folks, Allen had three picks against the Falcons and his last game was against the lowly Jets. Not quite the playoff tune-up schedule one would hope. New England won’t be laying down for the Bills.
    The Bills have been up and down all year. Lost to the Jags, they put 11 men in the box and STILL couldn’t stop the NE run game the first meeting – did I say lost to the Jaguars with NO TDs?

  45. “14. Steelers (9-7-1, No. 18): It could be 2005 all over again.” What? Is Bill Leavy coming out of retirement to hand Big Ben another bogus Lombardi? “I kicked two calls in the fourth quarter
    and I impacted the game and as an official you never want to do that.” <–Bill Leavy's own words.

  46. “Aaron Rodgers is incredible. I’m starting to think he is the best QB of all time.” Not even top ten of all-time. Joe Montana, Tom Brady, and even Peyton Manning are laughing right now. Then, there’s Johnny Unitas, Bart Starr and Dan Marino.

  47. Tha Packers are ranked #1 right now and rightfully so but keeping in mind the 2007 Pats, don’t be surprised if some of the clay pigeons get knocked off the top and don’t make it to the Big Game.

  48. codylaws says:
    January 11, 2022 at 3:43 pm
    Packers always win regular championship, but always choke in the playoffs. They’ll do it again, watch.

    Umm, ‘always choke in playoffs’, please explain 4 SB victories. Along with 9 pre-Super Bowl championships.

  49. gronkhof says:
    January 11, 2022 at 3:55 pm
    Lots of hyped up Bills fans. Folks, Allen had three picks against the Falcons and his last game was against the lowly Jets. Not quite the playoff tune-up schedule one would hope. New England won’t be laying down for the Bills.
    The Bills have been up and down all year. Lost to the Jags, they put 11 men in the box and STILL couldn’t stop the NE run game the first meeting – did I say lost to the Jaguars with NO TDs?
    ——–
    Hold on to that.😂

  50. billzondarise says:
    January 11, 2022 at 3:43 pm
    jameshodges says:
    January 11, 2022 at 1:41 pm
    Those of you who are picking the Bills over the Patriots clearly don’t gamble. If you did, you would have learned your lesson by now. I’ll just leave it at that.
    ————————-

    You go ahead a bet on the team with the struggling rookie QB who is going into a hostile playoff environment on a team that’s lost 3 of 4 going into postseason. Also with a defense that’s struggling to stop anyone from scoring.

    Go ahead, bet big!!

    —————————————
    Easy gentlemen. Both teams on the overall are pretty evenly matched. Each has different strengths and we will see which ones come to bear. This is shaping up to be a really good and exciting game. Both teams have had issues with not playing full 60 so that could be a factor if either has a flat quarter. A close hard fought game would be my prediction here. This is what makes it fun to follow football.

  51. It looks like its going to be 5 degrees at kickoff for Bills Pats game.

    Is that an advantage for the Bills or the Pats?

  52. I wish to thank all my devotees for the nice things they are saying about me. Yes, I am the best ever and as has been mentioned several times, unlike Brady, I do it surrounded by a sub par cast. If we win, it’s all because of me but if we lose, it’s my supporting cast who have let me and the fans down. PS. I am ‘immunized.’

  53. I’ll add Otto Graham to my list, too. The thing is, when you start to analyze Rodgers’ stats in the second half of these NFC championship matchups, a lot of his touchdowns and passing yards are accumulated during garbage time of blowout losses. Just look at those Falcons, Bucs and 49ers games.

  54. The Pats are toast. They have been done for a month. 10-7 and a playoff birth is good progress. The defense is playing terrible and MJones has hit the wall so hard he’s regressing at this point. They’re gonna get smoked Sat.

  55. Is it just me or Detroit seem better than 6 other teams? Can a 3 win team be ranked too low?

  56. citizenstrange says:
    January 11, 2022 at 3:12 pm
    inozwetrust says:
    January 11, 2022 at 2:28 pm
    citizenstrange says:
    January 11, 2022 at 2:14 pm
    I predicted there would be a HUGE shakeup in the Power Rankings once the Steelers schooled the Ravens
    ————————–
    I’d hardly call a three point OT victory a “schooling”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    3 points in a rivalry game that ends the other team’s season is like 30 points in a regular game.

    ——————-

    Vs a team down to it’s 2nd’s, 3rds and practice teamers! Really a epic “rivalry” victory!

  57. codylaws says:
    January 11, 2022 at 3:43 pm

    Packers always win regular championship, but always choke in the playoffs. They’ll do it again, watch.
    _________

    Well, Cody, you’d have to admit it’s a heck of a lot better than choking in the regular season.
    As it stands right now, the Packers have a 100% better chance of hoisting the Lombardi trophy over the Vikings. 😉

  58. “Derrick Henry is healthy and, more importantly, fresh.” I’m going to say that healthy is more important than fresh.

  59. 25. Washington (7-10, No. 26): Ron Rivera is the best thing the franchise has going for it. And the franchise should be very concerned that he’ll eventually realize he can do better.

    I strongly disagree about Rivera. He only has 3 winning seasons as a HC. He has a losing record in the playoffs. He is t a very good coach, he doesn’t deserve better, but the franchise certainly could do better.

  60. I’ll add Otto Graham to my list, too.
    ==========

    Thats 7, and it would sure be amusing from there..

  61. Rarely does a BB coached NE team get a case of the vapors going into the playoffs.
    If there’s anything to team pride, expect to see a much more engaged NE team, from the bell.
    at least, they better come out of their corner swinging.

    Not much success coming from behind…. get a jump on those hooved beasts and ride ’em cowboy!
    It promises to be a good old face punch kind of game.

  62. So, The 9ers have now beat the “lambs” 6 TIMES IN A ROW & after they beat them Sunday, they only move up 1 spot, yet the Rams lose to them & only drop 3 spots.
    Smells like “lamb poop” to me

  63. flajoe12 says:
    January 11, 2022 at 6:15 pm
    citizenstrange says:
    January 11, 2022 at 3:12 pm
    inozwetrust says:
    January 11, 2022 at 2:28 pm
    citizenstrange says:
    January 11, 2022 at 2:14 pm
    I predicted there would be a HUGE shakeup in the Power Rankings once the Steelers schooled the Ravens
    ————————–
    I’d hardly call a three point OT victory a “schooling”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    3 points in a rivalry game that ends the other team’s season is like 30 points in a regular game.

    ——————-

    Vs a team down to it’s 2nd’s, 3rds and practice teamers! Really a epic “rivalry” victory!
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Uh, the Ravens were favored to win the game. And Steelers RB Harris was out for most of the game.

  64. Missin’ Again Crosby says:
    January 11, 2022 at 7:35 pm

    I’ll add Otto Graham to my list, too.

    ==========

    Thats 7, and it would sure be amusing from there..

    _________________________________

    Enlighten all of us. What did Rodgers accomplish in his career that Drew Brees, John Elway and Brett Favre didn’t? Win a couple of MVP awards that he didn’t deserve, considering he then proceeded to fall apart in the postseason? Look at Brett Favre and John Elway. At least those quarterbacks played in more than one super bowl. And, Elway even repeated. I would give Brees the nod any day over Rodgers. Drew is more of a team player, too.

  65. The shots you take at Rodgers have to be taken at Marino, Brees, and Favre.

    You never saw Unitas, Graham, or Starr play a single down.

    Starr 3-peated, and won 5 in 7 years.. but played with what, 14 HOFrs? 15?

    Graham played in teh NFL a massive SIX seasons.

    As I said, you’re list was wildly amusing.

  66. That said, I think the one team they dread facing is the 49’ers (please shoot me now). The 49’ers bring a potent ground attack and I believe the Packers have some vulnerability there. But in order for that strategy to succeed, they will have to keep Rodgers off the field.
    —–
    I agree to an extent, but surprisingly we’ve beat the 49ers the last two times we’ve played and Lambeau in January just doesn’t seem conducive to a Jimmy G victory. I think Packers win if they sell out on the run.

  67. Garbanzo says:
    January 11, 2022 at 7:46 pm
    Rarely does a BB coached NE team get a case of the vapors going into the playoffs.
    If there’s anything to team pride, expect to see a much more engaged NE team, from the bell.
    at least, they better come out of their corner swinging.

    Not much success coming from behind…. get a jump on those hooved beasts and ride ’em cowboy!
    It promises to be a good old face punch kind of game.

    ——————————-

    He has worked a miracle with where he has this team now vs a year ago. But where this team is now might be a plateau for what he can get out of what he has so far and turn out to be their point to now build on for next year (which is a seriously good deal already all things considered). To win going forward will require the team, who has already shown plenty this year, show more than they have so far. Because now their competition goes up a level on them. Such is the postseason.

  68. flajoe12 says:
    January 11, 2022 at 6:15 pm
    ——————-

    Vs a team down to it’s 2nd’s, 3rds and practice teamers! Really a epic “rivalry” victory!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    What did you think was going to happen when you pushed through your precious 17 game season with a running back at quarterback?

  69. Packers are the most complete team in the league. They belong at #1 and this looks like the year Rodgers finally gets a second ring.

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