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2021 NFL power rankings heading into Week 2

We use point differential against the spread to see where the value lies in our Week 2 NFL power rankings.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (2) launches an early first quarter pass. Bob Self/Florida Times-Union via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The NFL is officially through Week 1. It opened with the Buccaneers holding off the Cowboys 31-29 and ended with an absolutely crazy finish to Ravens-Raiders in Las Vegas. The Raiders were down at the one foot line in overtime and just needed to punch it in, only to get moved back five yards on a false start and then lose the ball on an interception. They then proceeded to force a Lamar Jackson fumble and Derek Carr found Zay Jones wide open for the game-winning touchdown. It was one of the best finishes in recent member.

The first week isn’t a time for overreactions, but clearly they will happen. The Packers getting waxed by the Saints is going to have people thinking. Arizona going into Nashville and winning big was a bit of a revelation. And while the Texans might not be good, it would appear the Jaguars might be worse!

Whatever the case, now that Week 1 is a wrap, it’s time for some power rankings. We could just subjectively rank out the teams based on a feeling, but we’re trying something a little different. Below we’ve ranked the teams based on spread differential. We took the pre-game point spread at DraftKings Sportsbook and added in the point differential from the game. For example, the Saints closed as 3.5-point underdogs against the Packers and won the game by 35 points. For the Saints spread differential, we added 35 to +3.5. For the Packers spread differential, we added 35 to -3.5.

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 2

2021 NFL power rankings, Week 2

Rk Team Record Spread differential Point differential
Rk Team Record Spread differential Point differential
1 New Orleans Saints 1-0 +38.5 +35
2 Philadelphia Eagles 1-0 +29.0 +26
3 Arizona Cardinals 1-0 +27.5 +25
4 Houston Texans 1-0 +19.0 +16
5 Pittsburgh Steelers 1-0 +13.0 +7
6 Los Angeles Rams 1-0 +12.0 +20
7 Denver Broncos 1-0 +11.5 +14
8 Seattle Seahawks 1-0 +9.5 +12
9 Dallas Cowboys 0-1 +7.0 -2
10 Las Vegas Raiders 0-1 +6.5 +6
11 Los Angeles Chargers 1-0 +6.0 +4
12 Cincinnati Bengals 1-0 +6.0 +3
13 Miami Dolphins 1-0 +4.5 +1
14 Carolina Panthers 1-0 +1.5 +5
15 Detroit Lions 0-1 +1.0 -8
16 Cleveland Browns 0-1 +1.0 -4
17 San Francisco 49ers 1-0 -1.0 +8
18 Kansas City Chiefs 1-0 -1.0 +4
19 New York Jets 0-1 -1.5 -5
20 New England Patriots 0-1 -4.5 -1
21 Washington 0-1 -6.0 -4
22 Minnesota Vikings 0-1 -6.0 -3
23 Baltimore Ravens 1-0 -6.5 -6
24 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1-0 -7.0 +2
25 Indianapolis Colts 0-1 -9.5 -12
26 New York Giants 0-1 -11.5 -14
27 Chicago Bears 0-1 -12.0 -20
28 Buffalo Bills 0-1 -13.0 -7
29 Jacksonville Jaguars 0-1 -19.0 -16
30 Tennessee Titans 0-1 -27.5 -25
31 Atlanta Falcons 0-1 -29.0 -26
32 Green Bay Packers 0-1 -38.5 -35