Sunday, September 19, 2021
A week is in the books for the 2021 NFL season. Let the overreactions begin!
Of course, it’s easy for fans and the media to overstate a team for a weeklong win while still making a team losing Week 1 feel pessimistic about their season. So with that in mind, we’re here to bring you back to reality and be moderate in the room as well.
But, before I get there, let me say hello to ESPN, Peyton and Eli Manning. Peyton and Eli’s broadcast of the Monday Night Football game between the Ravens and Raiders on ESPN2 was AMAZING! It was so good I never even put the game’s main stream on ESPN and ABC. The Manning Brothers brought in the x and o football ideas, mixed it up with comedic moments, real opinions and awesome guests like Russell Wilson, Travis Kelce and Charles Barkley. After only a week, it’s Monday night TV you can’t miss. Check out some highlights here. And that’s not an overreaction.
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Now let’s move on to this week’s power leaderboard.
10. Miami Dolphins (1-0)
The first round of the Battle of Alabama quarterbacks go to Tua Tagovailoa as they enter Foxboro and sneak past rookie Mac Jones and the New England Patriots. Call it just enough of the mix of clutch play, opportunistic defense, and taking advantage of the Patriots’ sloppy, penalty-filled performance. That defense caused two turnovers, including a Damien Harris fumble inside the Dolphins’ 10-yard line with less than four minutes to go to hold onto a 17-16 victory. This week, the Dolphins can prove if they are real, by hosting Buffalo where a win could really set Miami up with two division wins and leave the Bills 0-2.
9. Los Angeles Chargers (1-0)
It’s season 2 for quarterback Justin Herbert and at least for a week he hasn’t shown any signs of sophomore jinx. Herbert goes 31-47, 337 yards and a touchdown to rally the Chargers to a 20-16 win in Washington for new head coach Brandon Staley’s first victory. In a week where everyone in AFC West has been victorious, the Bolts have proven they belong as contenders for the AFC.
8. Seattle Seahawks (1-0)
Remember when Russell Wilson threw 4-5 touchdowns in the first 8 games of the 2020 season? Well Danger Russ is back! Wilson had four touchdowns to lead the Seahawks to an easy road victory in Indianapolis. How good is Tyler Lockett? He caught four of five targets for 100 yards and a pair of scores. Now, that’s effective people!
7. Arizona Cardinals (1-0)
Who saw this coming? Kyler Murray with four touchdown passes to do with his 289 passing yards. Chandler Jones with five sacks. The Cards not only earned a dominant 38-13 victory over the Tennessee Road, but they held Julio Jones and Derrick Henry in check. The question now is whether a week’s fluke or if the Cards are a real threat in the overcrowded NFC West, where everyone is now 1-0.
6. Los Angeles Rams (1-0)
The first game of the Matthew Stafford era (321 yards, 3 TDs) went well for the Rams. It looked like LA hadn’t even been challenged by the Bears on Sunday night, en route to a 34-14 victory. If the Rams can run the ball as efficiently as they did with Darrell Henderson in the lead with 70 yards and a touchdown, Stafford’s life will be so much easier than it was in Detroit.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)
Reports of the Steelers’ disappearance may have been a bit premature. With a strong defense that kept Josh Allen and the Bills in check for most of the game with 3 sacks and now Buffalo just 25% efficiency in the red zone, Pittsburgh did just enough offensively, recording around 250. total yards and got a blocked punt for a touchdown to seal the deal. It won’t be explosive, but it could just come back to the steel curtain, throw the ball and do just enough in the passing game to provide a plan for victory.
4. New Orleans Saints (1-0)
Take this Green Bay and the rest of the NFL. Jameis Winston started his Saints career with 5 touchdown passes and an extremely easy 38-3 rout for the Packers in Jacksonville. This is certainly how head coach Sean Payton would have liked to start the post-Drew Brees era. We know Winston has the talent and it showed, especially without Michael Thomas, who is still in the injured reserve, but for New Orleans to be a contender, Winston will have to be consistent. How bad was it for Green Bay? Aaron Rodgers went 15-28 for 133 yards and 2 interceptions.
3. San Francisco 49ers (1-0)
Jimmy Garoppolo threw a touchdown pass. Trey Lance threw a touchdown pass. The 49ers took a 24-point lead before hanging on to an 8-point victory over the Lions. In the end, it’s a win, but the injury bug is already hitting the 49ers again. Cornerback Jason Verrett is out for the season with an ACL tear and RB Raheem Mostert, who was previously scheduled to be out for up to 8 weeks with chipped cartilage on his knee, joined him on Tuesday after opting for knee surgery end of season.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)
Same story for the chefs. They lost 22-10 to the Browns. Ho hum. Patrick Mahomes rallies the troops and hangs on with a late interception from Baker Mayfield to win 33-29. These are the best in the AFC. As of September, Mahomes is now 11-0 with 35 TDs and 0 interceptions. Attractive. Pretty good. Their offensive line, with five new starters, is a work in progress and will improve as they play together. Barring a major injury, the Chiefs should be regular players at the top of our weekly power rankings.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0)
In the Fields goes the booty. But it wasn’t as easy as we thought as the Bucs needed a last minute drive from Tom Brady (379 passing yards, four touchdowns) and a last second field goal from Ryan Succop to collect. the 31-29 victory. Think about it, the Cowboys racked up 451 attacking yards, won the turnover battle 4-1, had the ball 12 minutes longer than Tampa Bay and the Bucs have consistently won. Plain and simple, TB12 and his team did it when needed. That’s why there are the defending champions and the odds on the favorites to repeat.
Games to watch this week:
Raiders at Steelers (Sunday 1 p.m.) – Winner leads AFC to 2-0
Patriots at Jets (Sunday 1 p.m.) – Loser is 0-2 in AFC East
Chiefs at Ravens (Sunday 8:20 p.m.) – Mahomes vs. Jackson. Enough said.
Lions at Packers (Monday 8:15 p.m.) – Loser goes 0-2 in NFC North. Can Aaron Rodgers bounce back?