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Ranking 2021 NFL divisions from first to last: NFC West loaded with playoff contenders, AFC South not so much

 
May 26, 2021 at 11:44 am ET7 min read
 
 

Who doesn't love power rankings? Everyone loves power rankings. Right?

Fun fact: Did you know that Pete Prisco invented Power Rankings? Yup. Verified fact ... Well, at least he will speak, if prompted, in such a convincing way about being the first human to ever construct an NFL power ranking that you will come away believing him. And for Pete that is quite a feat, because most conversations with him leave you shaking your head and wondering what the **** he is yammering about. 

But I digress. It's power ranking time. With a twist. 

I'm not going to rank all 32 teams. Refuse to do it. Won't do it. Haven't done one in at least a half-decade, and perhaps longer. I am contractually obligated (sort of) to produce one mock draft a year and no one is demanding I do power rankings and so I continue to abstain.

I will, however, do divisional power rankings. That's more my speed. You can systematically tick off entire legions of fans at once, finding a way within a few paragraphs alone to get, say, Saints and Falcons fans to bond over their hatred of you and your crappy football opinions. It's proven to be a great way to bring people together -- even the Hatfields and McCoys! -- and in trying times likes these for our country, well, who wouldn't want to bond over their discontent with one hack's opinion of the division in which their favorite team plays?

What can I say? I'm a giver. 

So here is my latest far-too-early attempt to bring together division rivals in my own unique away. From best to worst, your 2021 NFL Divisional Power Rankings! Hope I make you proud, Pete!

1. NFC West

I could make the case for all four of these teams reaching the postseason, if I wanted. Personally, I still have major reservations about the Cardinals' ability to compete at a high enough level defensively and I am waiting for that offense to truly evolve as well. Kyler Murray can only run around and make so many players. With the Rams making a major upgrade at quarterback, I am more bullish on them than I have been in years. The Seahawks are in the dance every year as long as Russ is there (and he still is!), and the 49ers are a trendy pick for a bounce-back season for good reason. The games between these teams will be wild. I really believe three of these teams have the chops to win the NFC West despite the challenges playing in it presents. Ultimately, injuries and travel could be what separates them. There is no truly weak link. Power division; power ratings.

2. AFC North

I am a Browns believer. Love the upgrades to the defense and the offense can beat you in a multitude of ways. If OBJ comes back and is a game-breaker, great. If not, they can still win the division. Myles Garrett will be Defensive MVP. For all the talk about how tough Baltimore's schedule is, I still see the Ravenswinning around 11 games and I think they make some gains in the passing attack. The Steelersare in decline but Mike Tomlin has never had a losing season and they could still mess around and win 8 or 9 games. The Bengals were far more competitive with Joe Burrow under center -- and if they can keep him upright they will be pretty interesting to watch. I still seem them picking in the top 10 of the draft, but have the ability to knock off a quality team or two along the way. They have two teams who could make a legit Super Bowl case. That carries the day for the AFC North.

3. AFC West

The Chiefs are quite likely the best team in football with that rebuilt offensive line and with a generational QB just entering his prime. That alone is going to carry some weight in this exercise. I am buying the Chargers as a playoff team given Justin Herbert's remarkable rookie campaign and the moves they have made on the offensive line. Denver's defense is going to be a problem for other teams and Teddy Bridgewater will provide a baseline of professional quarterbacking long missing there. I see them as a potential wild card if Teddy protects the football as he has most of his career. The Raiders will be bad again because of that defense but at least can do some fun things on offense sometimes. And they play really well against the Chiefs, which has to count for something. (Notice a trend here with which conference is superior?)

4. NFC South

Tompa Bay, baby! Or is it Chompa Bay? Or Gronk's Creek? Whatever you want to call the Bucs, they have the Lombardi and the GOAT who is thirsty for his first repeat since 2004. They brought the entire band back together (backup singers, the dude who plays the triangle, two guys to man the cowbell -- everybody). But the rest of this division is in QB purgatory, at best, which is never where you want to be. The Saints are banking on Jameis Winston and just went all in from a cash-and-cap standpoint to try to win one more with Drew Brees. That generally comes with ramifications the following year. The Falcons' refusal to do a full-blown rebuild will haunt them in the standings for years to come and they still don't have a defense. I'm not buying Sam Darnold as the solution to the Panthers' QB issue, and that roster still has a long way to go on defense as well. I see one playoff team here -- but it is the reigning champs, which gets the division a little bump

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20 hours ago, hjerry said:

I can't believe I actually read what he said about us. I instantly regretted it

 

Yeah.

 

He needed to elaborate on why he thinks the Falcons will fail because they didn't choose to draft a QB.

 

His take is lazy and one of the reasons of what's wrong with sports journalism nowadays.

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31 minutes ago, HASHBROWN3 said:

Ranking 2021 NFL divisions from first to last: NFC West loaded with playoff contenders, AFC South not so much

 
May 26, 2021 at 11:44 am ET7 min read
 
 

Who doesn't love power rankings? Everyone loves power rankings. Right?

Fun fact: Did you know that Pete Prisco invented Power Rankings? Yup. Verified fact ... Well, at least he will speak, if prompted, in such a convincing way about being the first human to ever construct an NFL power ranking that you will come away believing him. And for Pete that is quite a feat, because most conversations with him leave you shaking your head and wondering what the **** he is yammering about. 

But I digress. It's power ranking time. With a twist. 

I'm not going to rank all 32 teams. Refuse to do it. Won't do it. Haven't done one in at least a half-decade, and perhaps longer. I am contractually obligated (sort of) to produce one mock draft a year and no one is demanding I do power rankings and so I continue to abstain.

I will, however, do divisional power rankings. That's more my speed. You can systematically tick off entire legions of fans at once, finding a way within a few paragraphs alone to get, say, Saints and Falcons fans to bond over their hatred of you and your crappy football opinions. It's proven to be a great way to bring people together -- even the Hatfields and McCoys! -- and in trying times likes these for our country, well, who wouldn't want to bond over their discontent with one hack's opinion of the division in which their favorite team plays?

What can I say? I'm a giver. 

So here is my latest far-too-early attempt to bring together division rivals in my own unique away. From best to worst, your 2021 NFL Divisional Power Rankings! Hope I make you proud, Pete!

1. NFC West

I could make the case for all four of these teams reaching the postseason, if I wanted. Personally, I still have major reservations about the Cardinals' ability to compete at a high enough level defensively and I am waiting for that offense to truly evolve as well. Kyler Murray can only run around and make so many players. With the Rams making a major upgrade at quarterback, I am more bullish on them than I have been in years. The Seahawks are in the dance every year as long as Russ is there (and he still is!), and the 49ers are a trendy pick for a bounce-back season for good reason. The games between these teams will be wild. I really believe three of these teams have the chops to win the NFC West despite the challenges playing in it presents. Ultimately, injuries and travel could be what separates them. There is no truly weak link. Power division; power ratings.

2. AFC North

I am a Browns believer. Love the upgrades to the defense and the offense can beat you in a multitude of ways. If OBJ comes back and is a game-breaker, great. If not, they can still win the division. Myles Garrett will be Defensive MVP. For all the talk about how tough Baltimore's schedule is, I still see the Ravenswinning around 11 games and I think they make some gains in the passing attack. The Steelersare in decline but Mike Tomlin has never had a losing season and they could still mess around and win 8 or 9 games. The Bengals were far more competitive with Joe Burrow under center -- and if they can keep him upright they will be pretty interesting to watch. I still seem them picking in the top 10 of the draft, but have the ability to knock off a quality team or two along the way. They have two teams who could make a legit Super Bowl case. That carries the day for the AFC North.

3. AFC West

The Chiefs are quite likely the best team in football with that rebuilt offensive line and with a generational QB just entering his prime. That alone is going to carry some weight in this exercise. I am buying the Chargers as a playoff team given Justin Herbert's remarkable rookie campaign and the moves they have made on the offensive line. Denver's defense is going to be a problem for other teams and Teddy Bridgewater will provide a baseline of professional quarterbacking long missing there. I see them as a potential wild card if Teddy protects the football as he has most of his career. The Raiders will be bad again because of that defense but at least can do some fun things on offense sometimes. And they play really well against the Chiefs, which has to count for something. (Notice a trend here with which conference is superior?)

4. NFC South

Tompa Bay, baby! Or is it Chompa Bay? Or Gronk's Creek? Whatever you want to call the Bucs, they have the Lombardi and the GOAT who is thirsty for his first repeat since 2004. They brought the entire band back together (backup singers, the dude who plays the triangle, two guys to man the cowbell -- everybody). But the rest of this division is in QB purgatory, at best, which is never where you want to be. The Saints are banking on Jameis Winston and just went all in from a cash-and-cap standpoint to try to win one more with Drew Brees. That generally comes with ramifications the following year. The Falcons' refusal to do a full-blown rebuild will haunt them in the standings for years to come and they still don't have a defense. I'm not buying Sam Darnold as the solution to the Panthers' QB issue, and that roster still has a long way to go on defense as well. I see one playoff team here -- but it is the reigning champs, which gets the division a little bump

Makes me feel better. If Dude says something nice about Falcons it’s usually wrong and a disaster.

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3 minutes ago, SavedByGrace1221 said:

But I guarantee if they said that we would be on the rise and maybe make the playoffs you guys would be off for that. He'd be the best sports writer on the planet right. I just wish you guys would sit back and read what you say. As I've always said ...Rose colored glasses.

LaCanfora and Schultz are haters. 

No. There were many rose colored opinions about DQ. We hated that as much.

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11 hours ago, HASHBROWN3 said:

Ranking 2021 NFL divisions from first to last: NFC West loaded with playoff contenders, AFC South not so much

 
May 26, 2021 at 11:44 am ET7 min read
 
 

Who doesn't love power rankings? Everyone loves power rankings. Right?

Fun fact: Did you know that Pete Prisco invented Power Rankings? Yup. Verified fact ... Well, at least he will speak, if prompted, in such a convincing way about being the first human to ever construct an NFL power ranking that you will come away believing him. And for Pete that is quite a feat, because most conversations with him leave you shaking your head and wondering what the **** he is yammering about. 

But I digress. It's power ranking time. With a twist. 

I'm not going to rank all 32 teams. Refuse to do it. Won't do it. Haven't done one in at least a half-decade, and perhaps longer. I am contractually obligated (sort of) to produce one mock draft a year and no one is demanding I do power rankings and so I continue to abstain.

I will, however, do divisional power rankings. That's more my speed. You can systematically tick off entire legions of fans at once, finding a way within a few paragraphs alone to get, say, Saints and Falcons fans to bond over their hatred of you and your crappy football opinions. It's proven to be a great way to bring people together -- even the Hatfields and McCoys! -- and in trying times likes these for our country, well, who wouldn't want to bond over their discontent with one hack's opinion of the division in which their favorite team plays?

What can I say? I'm a giver. 

So here is my latest far-too-early attempt to bring together division rivals in my own unique away. From best to worst, your 2021 NFL Divisional Power Rankings! Hope I make you proud, Pete!

1. NFC West

I could make the case for all four of these teams reaching the postseason, if I wanted. Personally, I still have major reservations about the Cardinals' ability to compete at a high enough level defensively and I am waiting for that offense to truly evolve as well. Kyler Murray can only run around and make so many players. With the Rams making a major upgrade at quarterback, I am more bullish on them than I have been in years. The Seahawks are in the dance every year as long as Russ is there (and he still is!), and the 49ers are a trendy pick for a bounce-back season for good reason. The games between these teams will be wild. I really believe three of these teams have the chops to win the NFC West despite the challenges playing in it presents. Ultimately, injuries and travel could be what separates them. There is no truly weak link. Power division; power ratings.

2. AFC North

I am a Browns believer. Love the upgrades to the defense and the offense can beat you in a multitude of ways. If OBJ comes back and is a game-breaker, great. If not, they can still win the division. Myles Garrett will be Defensive MVP. For all the talk about how tough Baltimore's schedule is, I still see the Ravenswinning around 11 games and I think they make some gains in the passing attack. The Steelersare in decline but Mike Tomlin has never had a losing season and they could still mess around and win 8 or 9 games. The Bengals were far more competitive with Joe Burrow under center -- and if they can keep him upright they will be pretty interesting to watch. I still seem them picking in the top 10 of the draft, but have the ability to knock off a quality team or two along the way. They have two teams who could make a legit Super Bowl case. That carries the day for the AFC North.

3. AFC West

The Chiefs are quite likely the best team in football with that rebuilt offensive line and with a generational QB just entering his prime. That alone is going to carry some weight in this exercise. I am buying the Chargers as a playoff team given Justin Herbert's remarkable rookie campaign and the moves they have made on the offensive line. Denver's defense is going to be a problem for other teams and Teddy Bridgewater will provide a baseline of professional quarterbacking long missing there. I see them as a potential wild card if Teddy protects the football as he has most of his career. The Raiders will be bad again because of that defense but at least can do some fun things on offense sometimes. And they play really well against the Chiefs, which has to count for something. (Notice a trend here with which conference is superior?)

4. NFC South

Tompa Bay, baby! Or is it Chompa Bay? Or Gronk's Creek? Whatever you want to call the Bucs, they have the Lombardi and the GOAT who is thirsty for his first repeat since 2004. They brought the entire band back together (backup singers, the dude who plays the triangle, two guys to man the cowbell -- everybody). But the rest of this division is in QB purgatory, at best, which is never where you want to be. The Saints are banking on Jameis Winston and just went all in from a cash-and-cap standpoint to try to win one more with Drew Brees. That generally comes with ramifications the following year. The Falcons' refusal to do a full-blown rebuild will haunt them in the standings for years to come and they still don't have a defense. I'm not buying Sam Darnold as the solution to the Panthers' QB issue, and that roster still has a long way to go on defense as well. I see one playoff team here -- but it is the reigning champs, which gets the division a little bump

LaCanfora= 🤡👞👞

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11 hours ago, SavedByGrace1221 said:

But I guarantee if they said that we would be on the rise and maybe make the playoffs you guys would be off for that. He'd be the best sports writer on the planet right. I just wish you guys would sit back and read what you say. As I've always said ...Rose colored glasses.

Well, you had the thread title correct if nothing else....

@hjerry got the rest right though.....

 

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13 hours ago, SavedByGrace1221 said:

But I guarantee if they said that we would be on the rise and maybe make the playoffs you guys would be off for that. He'd be the best sports writer on the planet right. I just wish you guys would sit back and read what you say. As I've always said ...Rose colored glasses.

   I love your user name.. But I don't agree with what you said here..  I do think we will make the playoffs this year at best,, and barely miss the play offs at the worst case.  This very New Falcon team is going to shock a lot of people and even some of you fans..  So get ready for a nice shock when this team rolls onto the field. 

    The new coaches had what I think is the best Draft in the History of this franchise ,, Big statement ,, But find one better? My main hobby as a Falcon Fan is the draft.. and I can't think of any draft we have had that to me is at least 50% better than any Draft we have ever had, And I think you will see this when the season starts.. AB did the very best thing he could have done.. He's a smart Man,, Owner ... and business man.. We will owe AB the thanks for turning this team around in one off season..  Thank you Arthur Blank.. !!  You da Man !!

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