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2021 NFL Power Rankings: Week 10

We are at the halfway point in the 2021 NFL season, and a very deep league gets a lot of shuffling in the Week 10 power rankings.


1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2) | Last week: 1

The hope for the Buccaneers after the bye week is that they would be a lot healthier, but we’ll see if that includes Antonio Brown (ankle/heel) and Rob Gronkowski (back) as was the expectation. Brown is still in a walking boot as of Monday, and the Bucs added veteran tight end Darren Fells to an already deep group at the position, so we’ll see.


2. Arizona Cardinals (8-1) | Last week: 4 (+2)

James Conner totaled 173 yards and three touchdowns with Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, and A.J. Green (and then Chase Edmonds, who left early with a high-ankle sprain) all out in the Cardinals’ win over the 49ers, and Conner’s physical presence has been critical in making Arizona a more physical team this season.


3. Tennessee Titans (7-2) | Last week: 7 (+4)

Derrick Henry is one of the best players in the league, but the Titans are showing that they are a complete football team that’s become a serious championship contender under Mike Vrabel. As stated before, the Tennessee defense is just a scrappy type of group that’s found a way to get after the quarterback under first-year defensive coordinator Shane Bowen.


4. Green Bay Packers (7-2) | Last week: 3 (-1)

The big story for the Packers came off the field with the Aaron Rodgers COVID situation. On the field, Jordan Love really struggled with ball placement, and it looked like he didn’t have much chemistry within the offense, particularly with Davante Adams. Love did appear to get more comfortable at the end of the game while leading Green Bay’s only touchdown drive. The Packers defense looked excellent against the Chiefs, and they are another group that’s played very tough and hard this year.


5. Buffalo Bills (5-3) | Last week: 2 (-3)

A ton of pressure was put on Josh Allen against the Jaguars, and he was forced to run around too much­—it looked and felt like my old intramural flag football team when we struggled with pass protection. One concern with the Bills is that they haven’t really beaten any top teams this season—but they did go toe-to-toe with the Titans on the road and felt in control for much of that game. Buffalo should be fine.


6. Baltimore Ravens (6-2) | Last week: 10 (+4)

Lamar Jackson and the Ravens pulled off their third double-digit comeback of the season, and I think the concerns about not being able to play from behind might be over. While it’s still not always pretty as a passer, Jackson has improved there in situations where his team is down. People might just want to make things black-and-white, but keep in mind that there is room for growth for players; and Jackson has clearly gotten much more comfortable and confident that he can bring his team back from big deficits.


7. Los Angeles Rams (7-2) | Last week: 5 (-2)

Like the Bills but on an even more concerning level given Matthew Stafford’s history facing teams with a winning record, the Rams have beat up on inferior opponents for much of this season. Yes, they have a win over the Bucs, but that was a strange game and I feel it was very poorly officiated for Tampa Bay. Anyway, even with star players all over the field, Los Angeles can’t just show up and roll through teams every week.


8. Dallas Cowboys (6-2) | Last week: 6 (-2)

It’s pretty clear the Cowboys went into last week’s game against the Broncos overconfident, probably riding high from the win over the Vikings with backup quarterback Cooper Rush a couple of weeks ago. Jerry Jones says it’s the flattest he’s ever seen a team. We can probably chalk it up as a one-game thing, and Dallas will look to bounce back versus Atlanta in Week 10.


9. Los Angeles Chargers (5-3) | Last week: 12 (+3)

After a couple of shaky outings, it was good to see Justin Herbert back on track and sharp against the Eagles, tossing for 356 yards and two touchdowns (while adding another on the ground) and completing 84.2% of his passes. That said, a lot of quarterbacks have been doing similar things to Philly this season, and now he must keep it going this Sunday versus the Vikings.


10. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3) | Last week: 13 (+3)

Again, don’t count out a Mike Tomlin team. Their latest win was a close one over the Bears to close out Week 9, but the Steelers are now at 5-3 and in the thick of both the AFC North and AFC wild card races. Tomlin reached 150 career wins with the victory, and the Super Bowl-winning head coach is still just 49 years old.


11. New England Patriots (5-4) | Last week: 15 (+4)

Sticking with great coaches, Bill Belichick has the Patriots on a winning streak. They’ve won three in a row and four of the past six, with the two losses coming to the Bucs (in the narrow 19-17 defeat) and to the Cowboys (the crushing overtime loss). All three phases have come together nicely, which shouldn’t be surprising for a Belichick squad.


12. Cleveland Browns (5-4) | Last week: 16 (+4)

Unfortunately, Nick Chubb and Demetric Felton have landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, but hopefully they can get cleared by Sunday. Chubb is coming off 137 yards and two touchdowns on just 14 carries in Cleveland’s win over Cincinnati, and the star runner is averaging an absurd 6.0 yards per carry in 2021. They need Chubb, but the powerful-yet-explosive run game paired with a confident Baker Mayfield (sans Odell Beckham Jr.) and a defense that’s found its groove and shut down the Bengals should be a formula to keep the Browns in every game.


13. New Orleans Saints (5-3) | Last week: 8 (-5)

It took the offense three quarters to get going, which didn’t help the defense; but the Saints were still craved up by Matty Ice for 343 yards and two touchdowns. The New Orleans run defense is elite, but they might have some things to figure out against the pass.


14. Cincinnati Bengals (5-4) | Last week: 9 (-5)

The Bengals were riding high alone atop the AFC North a couple of weeks ago, but they’ve lost two straight and are quickly a bit off track. Joe Burrow stared down his receivers—particularly Ja’Marr Chase on the momentum-swinging pick-six by Denzel Ward early in the game—too often, which he was able to do with Chase (who won virtually every matchup) in college. However, the recent stretch for Cincinnati isn’t something to be too concerned about. It’s not a surprise coming from a team on the rise—bumps in the road will naturally come.


15. Las Vegas Raiders (5-3) | Last week: 11 (-4)

Derek Carr uncharacteristically tossed two interceptions including a costly pick-six in the Raiders’ loss to the Giants. On the positive side of things, the Vegas defense again played hard and well overall despite some struggles against the run; and the Raiders were able to get Darren Waller going a bit after the bye. Big matchup coming this Sunday night at home.


16. Kansas City Chiefs (5-4) | Last week: 14 (-2)

The Chiefs are going to Las Vegas for the Sunday nighter, and there is still major concern with the offense. It just hasn’t been working this season, and, again, it does not feel like there is a flip to be switched and get back on track there. The Kansas City defense held Green Bay to seven points, but it might have turned out differently if Aaron Rodgers was at quarterback.


17. Seattle Seahawks (3-5) | Last week: 19 (+2)

It should come as no surprise to anyone given his maniacal mindset, but Russell Wilson did about as much rehab as possible to get back on the field after missing just three games with a finger issue that was expected to keep him out for much longer. Chris Carson (neck) might also return for Seattle, and they are in a good spot coming off the bye. There was some thought to putting them a few spots higher than this in the power rankings.


18. Indianapolis Colts (4-5) | Last week: 20 (+2)

Last Thursday night, Jonathan Taylor showed that he’s a superstar talent for those that didn’t know by now. With a player like that and a defense led by Darius Leonard, the Colts should be in every game. They can get back to .500 with a win over the Jags this Sunday.


19. Denver Broncos (5-4) | Last week: 22 (+3)

Broncos receiver Tim Patrick said it was “disrespectful” for the Cowboys to try to convert on fourth down twice pretty deep in their own territory early last week, and I completely agree. The Broncos took it to heart and played with a ton of energy, destroying Dallas (it was not even close to the final score of 30-16 might indicate). So, Denver responded about as well as you could hope after the Von Miller trade.


20. Atlanta Falcons (4-4) | Last week: 24 (+4)

Matt Ryan is a former MVP that probably has a lot of good football yet, so his teams should not be slept on. The Falcons defense has played much better this season, and cornerback A.J. Terrell is someone I want to point out for stepping up in his second season.


21. Minnesota Vikings (3-5) | Last week: 17 (-4)

The Vikings gave up an early lead to the Ravens, and you can’t help but wonder if star defensive end Danielle Hunter would have been the difference in a close loss. Now for Minnesota, the big concern is this off-field situation concerning offensive centerpiece Dalvin Cook. Everyone should let the process play out, but it’s a bit strange that a big reporter is basically doing PR for Cook by tweeting out his side of the story as fact—it very well may be, but questionable actions by the media aren’t new.


22. Carolina Panthers (4-5) | Last week: 18 (-4)

As someone that faced the Patriots defense in fantasy last week, watching Sam Darnold’s performance was… not fun. Darnold threw three interceptions including a pick-six, and he drew the ire of receiver Robby Anderson on the sideline. Darnold was injured and will now miss time with a fractured scapula, but even before the shoulder issue he has not looked good for most of this season, which must be a concern for Carolina. I do like P.J. Walker, who I think can do a solid job at quarterback.


23. Philadelphia Eagles (3-6) | Last week: 23

I really like how the Eagles have played on offense the past two weeks, using a strong (and healthy) offensive line to power a rushing attack led by the bruising Jordan Howard. Philly was far too pass happy early in the season. Also, Jalen Hurts is showing improvement as a passer, and he was on the money to DeVonta Smith on a few throws down the field in the loss to the Chargers last week.


24. San Francisco 49ers (3-5) | Last week: 21 (-3)

The Niners were in a spot to beat a decimated Cardinals team and maybe even get back in the NFC West mix with a victory, but San Francisco struggled again—not a good sign both now and moving forward. Defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans is under fire, but I think the players just need to play better. At least second-year receiver Brandon Aiyuk has gotten out of the doghouse and is now showing what makes him an exciting talent.


25. New York Giants (3-6) | Last week: 26 (+1)

Another thing as stated before: the Giants find a way to win games against teams you might not expect them to (i.e., they seem to sometimes play up to their competition level, which is a good sign for Joe Judge). Ideally, the Giants will be able to get Saquon Barkley (ankle) back when they return from the Week 10 bye.


26. Chicago Bears (3-6) | Last week: 25 (-1)

Justin Fields continues to show signs of progress, and he hasn’t done a ton with his legs most weeks, which is a positive so that he’s not reliant on that throughout his career. Chicago will use the bye to get healthier on defense, and hopefully the offense is able to get Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney (two touchdowns at Pittsburgh) more involved after they showed promising signs of doing so on Monday night.


27. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6) | Last week: 29 (+2)

Not many people saw the Jaguars upsetting the Bills, but it’s the NFL. The Jags’ Josh Allen, who is a very good player himself, recorded a sack, an interception, and a fumble recovery of the more well-known Josh Allen in the 9-6 victory. Hopefully Jacksonville gets to the point where wins are business as usual, but I’d say it’s a positive for Urban Meyer to see how happy his players get after wins.


28. Washington Football Team (2-6) | Last week: 27 (-1)

Washington gets tight end Logan Thomas (hamstring) back this week, but coming off the bye they need the defense to step up in a big way if they are going to make a run. First up, Tom Brady and the Bucs. Washington played Tampa Bay well last postseason, including Taylor Heinicke having his coming-out party.


29. Miami Dolphins (2-7) | Last week: 30 (+1)

This has been a trying season for Brian Flores, but at least his team was able to get a win over the Texans in a matchup of two teams at the bottom of the standings. Hopefully Tua Tagovailoa (finger) can give it a go tomorrow night versus the Ravens.


30. New York Jets (2-6) | Last week: 28 (-2)

Mike White will start again for the Jets this week after a forearm issue knocked him out early last Thursday night versus the Colts. Josh Johnson stepped in an also played well at quarterback for New York, and Zach Wilson might benefit from sitting on the sidelines a little bit. Defensively, it’s obviously concerning that Robert Saleh has been unable to get that side of the ball to play well—they have some pieces there, but it just has not worked out thus far.


31. Houston Texans (1-8) | Last week: 31

Tyrod Taylor was probably a little rusty in his first action in several weeks. The Houston defense made some plays in the loss to Miami, so they can build on that as they enter the bye.


32. Detroit Lions (0-8) | Last week: 32

Emerging from the bye, the Lions have nine games to avoid the first 0-17 season in NFL history. Look for the offense, which gets left tackle Taylor Decker back, to play through D’Andre Swift, Jamaal Williams (hopefully healthy off the bye), and T.J. Hockenson.

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