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2021 NFL power rankings heading into Week 4

We use point differential against the spread to see where the value lies in our Week 4 NFL power rankings.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) celebrates after making a touchdown pass to tight end Dalton Schultz (not pictured) against the Philadelphia Eagles during the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL wrapped up Week 3 with the Dallas Cowboys putting together an impressive divisional performance against the Philadelphia Eagles. I still have no idea why Mike McCarthy wasn’t more aggressive in using timeouts at the end of the second quarter, but I suppose that’s a McCarthy thing we’ll never understand.

For now, we’re down to five undefeated teams across the league. The Raiders and Broncos sit atop the AFC West while the Rams and Cardinals are atop the NFC West. And then there’s the Panthers sitting at 3-0 atop the AFC South. It remains to be seen if Carolina will keep this up the whole season, but they appear to be the biggest threat to the Bucs. The Saints will be consistently competitive, but they are not a division title contender at this point.

With Week 3 a wrap, it’s time for our weekly point spread power rankings. We’ve moved from subjective assessments to using spread differential. We took the pre-game point spread at DraftKings Sportsbook and added in the point differential from the game. For example, the Lions closed as 7.5-point underdogs against the Ravens and lost the game by two points. For the Lions spread differential, we added -2 to +7.5. For the Packers spread differential, we added 2 to -7.5.

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. Through three weeks, things are still moving a lot, but some teams are settling in up top and toward the bottom.

The Texans and Vikings are the most intriguing up top thanks to a big win each that bumped their performance against the spread. On the other end, the Packers have some work to do to make up for their thumping at the hands of the Saints.

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 4

2021 NFL power rankings, Week 4

Rk Team Record Spread differential Point differential LW
Rk Team Record Spread differential Point differential LW
1 New Orleans Saints 2-1 +34.0 +31 7
2 Buffalo Bills 2-1 +33.5 +50 6
3 Denver Broncos 3-0 +31.5 +50 8
4 Carolina Panthers 3-0 +30.5 +39 2
5 Dallas Cowboys 2-1 +29.5 +21 9
6 Arizona Cardinals 3-0 +27.0 +38 3
7 Los Angeles Rams 3-0 +22.5 +33 11
8 Cincinnati Bengals 2-1 +21.0 +14 13
9 Las Vegas Raiders 3-0 +21.0 +18 5
10 Houston Texans 1-2 +16.0 -9 4
11 Minnesota Vikings 1-2 +14.5 +9 18
12 Los Angeles Chargers 2-1 +12.5 +7 17
13 Cleveland Browns 2-1 +10.5 +26 21
14 Philadelphia Eagles 1-2 +9.5 0 1
15 Detroit Lions 0-3 +0.5 -28 10
16 San Francisco 49ers 2-1 -3.0 +12 15
17 Baltimore Ravens 2-1 -7.5 -3 20
18 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2-1 -7.5 +15 14
19 New England Patriots 1-2 -9.5 +3 12
20 Indianapolis Colts 0-3 -12.5 -24 24
21 New York Giants 0-3 -14.5 -18 25
22 Tennessee Titans 2-1 -14.5 -13 28
23 Seattle Seahawks 1-2 -15.5 -4 16
24 Kansas City Chiefs 1-2 -18.0 -3 22
25 Pittsburgh Steelers 1-2 -18.5 -16 19
26 Chicago Bears 1-2 -23.5 -37 26
27 Washington Football Team 1-2 -23.5 -25 23
28 Miami Dolphins 1-2 -26.5 -37 30
29 Green Bay Packers 2-1 -27.5 -15 32
30 Jacksonville Jaguars 0-3 -27.5 -38 29
31 New York Jets 0-3 -30.5 -50 27
32 Atlanta Falcons 1-2 -34.0 -46 31