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2021 NFL power rankings heading into Week 5

We use point differential against the spread to see where the value lies in our Week 5 NFL power rankings.

Bills tight end Dawson Knox leaps into the stands to celebrate his second touchdown catch as Buffalo beat Houston 40-0. Jamie Germano / USA TODAY NETWORK

The NFL has wrapped up four weeks and while it’s no longer the formal quarter point — thanks to the addition of a 17th game for every team — we are still in a good position to start drawing some conclusions.

The one black and white fact is that the Cardinals are the last remaining undefeated team. The Rams, Broncos, Panthers, and Raiders all lost this week to fall to 3-1. Meanwhile, Arizona embarrassed the Rams and is looking more and more like the team to beat in the NFC.

Now that Week 4 is a wrap, we’re back with our point spread differential power rankings. We took the pre-game point spread at DraftKings Sportsbook and added in the point differential from the game. For example, the Texans closed as 17.5-point underdogs against the Bills and lost the game by 40 points. For the Texans spread differential, we added -40 to +17.5. For the Bills spread differential, we added 40 to -17.5. We’ve combined them over the course of four weeks to give us a total positive or negative figure for performance against the spread.

Point differential is a helpful tool for figuring out the best and worst teams. However, point spread can offer a little more context to how good or bad teams might be. There are upsets to be had, but the Saints win is an example of a team that shows just how off people might have been in perceptions. This list is going to change plenty — with several teams on the bottom ending in the top ten and vice versa — but it’s a good starting point as we try to figure out where we were right and where we were wrong this offseason.

NFL Power Rankings ahead of Week 5

2021 NFL power rankings, Week 5

Rk Team Record Spread differential Point differential LW
Rk Team Record Spread differential Point differential LW
1 Buffalo Bills 3-1 +56.0 +90 2
2 Arizona Cardinals 4-0 +48.0 +55 6
3 Dallas Cowboys 3-1 +33.5 +29 14
4 Carolina Panthers 3-1 +26.5 +31 4
5 Los Angeles Chargers 3-1 +23.5 +21 12
6 New Orleans Saints 2-2 +21.0 +25 1
7 Cincinnati Bengals 3-1 +17.0 +17 8
8 Cleveland Browns 3-1 +16.5 +33 13
9 Denver Broncos 3-1 +16.5 +34 3
10 Las Vegas Raiders 3-1 +10.0 +4 9
11 Minnesota Vikings 1-3 +8.5 +2 11
12 Baltimore Ravens 3-1 +7.5 +13 17
13 Philadelphia Eagles 1-3 +4.5 -12 5
14 Los Angeles Rams 3-1 +1.5 +16 7
15 Indianapolis Colts 1-3 -0.5 -14 20
16 New York Giants 1-3 -1.5 -12 21
17 New England Patriots 1-3 -4.5 +1 19
18 Seattle Seahawks 2-2 -6.0 +3 23
19 Detroit Lions 0-4 -6.5 -38 15
20 Houston Texans 1-3 -6.5 -49 10
21 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-1 -12.5 +17 18
22 San Francisco 49ers 2-2 -12.5 +5 16
23 Kansas City Chiefs 2-2 -13.0 +9 24
24 Chicago Bears 2-2 -16.5 -27 26
25 Washington Football Team 2-2 -21.0 -21 27
26 New York Jets 1-3 -21.5 -47 31
27 Pittsburgh Steelers 1-3 -22.0 -26 25
28 Jacksonville Jaguars 0-4 -23.5 -41 30
29 Tennessee Titans 2-2 -23.5 -16 22
30 Green Bay Packers 3-1 -24.0 -5 29
31 Atlanta Falcons 1-3 -36.5 -50 32
32 Miami Dolphins 1-3 -38.5 -47 28