2021 NFL Power Rankings: Which Teams Should You Bet On to Make Super Bowl Run?
The 2021 NFL season will soon be upon us. The busy offseason brought a ton of change, and there could still be some All-Pro talents traded before training camp. The cap crunch caused by COVID-19 had teams scrambling unlike ever before.
We're going to get an early jump on the NFL power rankings now. It's a great time to get huge value on favorites and contenders. There's always some turnover amongst the playoff teams so examining darkhorses is key as well.
We'll hit you with the down and dirty on the best odds, and teams you should throw some money on for a big return. All odds are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
The Kansas City Chiefs (+500), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+650), Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Rams (+1300) qualify as the favorites. It's easy to see why. These are the most star-studded rosters in the NFL and have both the coaches and QBs who move the needle.
The Rams are the most surprising inclusion of the bunch because Matthew Stafford has never been on the grand stage. I'm skeptical he's that much of an upgrade over Jared Goff, and think his overall impact is overrated. Still, the Rams should be competitive thanks to a well-designed scheme on both sides of the ball and the lack of NFC competition matters.
I'll fade the Bills at this price. I think Josh Allen is set for a regression as well after throwing over 20 interceptable passes in 2020 and getting lucky more weren't hauled in by defenders. He's an exciting talent but still raw mentally and with his accuracy.
The Baltimore Ravens, Green Bay Packers, and San Francisco 49ers (+1400) narrowly edge the Cleveland Browns (+1600) in the next tier. These contenders have great rosters but one large question mark keeping them from being a favorite. History says one of these teams has a great chance at emerging as a Super Bowl participant as a favorite fades.
The Ravens and 49ers must get better passing seasons from their signal-callers to make the Super Bowl. Lamar Jackson is a phenomenal talent but this is a huge year for him as a passer. The offense must push his limits and force his development as a reliable dropback presence.
San Francisco has the roster to be good, but a trade for Julio Jones would sure make me feel better about them. Jimmy Garoppolo is injury prone and mediocre, and Trey Lance likely isn't ready to step up. I'm fading them.
That leaves the Packers and Browns. The Packers won't win the Super Bowl after failing to surround Aaron Rodgers with more talent once again, and he may not even be back in 2021 now. I wouldn't bet on them at any price.
The Browns are right with the Ravens as a highly interesting team, though. Baker Mayfield has questions remaining but the structure of the team makes so much sense. Their young defense must step up, but they're a great value overall for their price.
Most of the league fits into this category.
The Colts could use a Julio trade and must see what Carson Wentz is before their dreams come true. I don't believe enough in the embattled QB or the cornerback room to bet on the Colts. But they could prove me wrong if Wentz goes back to his 2017 level.
Miami also has quarterback questions with Tua Tagovailoa but I don't think this team fails because of him. Their bizarre choices for co-offensive coordinators are a bigger concern, and why Brian Flores hasn't gotten that right in three years is a massive issue. Tagovailoa must overcome this to succeed but he has the playmakers to win now.
Dallas is the most intriguing NFC team left. Dak Prescott is great and has a deep offensive surrounding cast to create a top-five overall unit. They're going to score a ton. They'll also give up a lot of points, but the modern-day version of the Warren Moon Oilers has a fighting chance in a mediocre conference.
Playing for 2022
Teams like the Broncos, Seahawks, Chargers, Titans, Bears and Washington aren't true contenders as-is and they also don't have a great pathway to the Super Bowl despite being good teams. I wouldn't bet on any of them, but they also don't belong in the "playing for next year" crowd. You can absolutely take a flier on Denver, Seattle, Los Angeles, or Chicago and have some upside to realize the longshot.
This pile is for the bad teams or those with a fatal flaw. Most have a questionable QB situation or bad defense. These teams can be competitive but are hopefully trending upwards.
Otherwise, teams like the New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles will be searching for a new passer in 2022. Enjoy the ride if your team is in this large bucket. Your team is hopefully building for the long-term.
That means losing close games in 2021 and developing talent along the way.
My best plays are the Chiefs, Buccaneers, Ravens, Rams, and Cowboys. The returns are so big in the offseason that we can put some money on each and still be a winner if one of them hits. Seeing any other team emerge as a Super Bowl winner wouldn't be shocking but I'm hedging against the field.
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