Is there a more controversial thing than power rankings?
The power rankings have no formula. Many outlets use different criteria to make them.
There is no exact science to formulate your NFL power rankings. Let’s give you some of the criteria needed to make one.
And then, proceed to our own 2021 NFL season!
This is a numerical scale. The best team grades at 10, and the worst team gets a 1. It is a simple way of calculating one’s ability. For example:
The Buccaneers come off a Super Bowl season and manage to keep all their starters. We know what they’re capable of, and rate them as a 9 to start the season. The Jacksonville Jaguars won one game in 2020, thus we give them a 1.
Under this grading system, the Buccaneers have an 8-point advantage over the Jaguars. Tampa Bay also happens to play at home, which is usually worth three points in most sportsbooks.
This pedestrian system tells us that Tampa should be favored by 8 points on a neutral field. When added to the fact they’re at home, it becomes 11 points.
It’s obvious that this is a basic form to rank, but it gets better. They also assign values to defense, offense, coaching, and other areas of the game. Among those, they include advanced statistics.
These three are our first tasks of evaluation. For example, our rating for Tampa is an 8 for defense, 9 for offense, and 7 for coaching.
Their roster is one of the best in the league. However, their playcalling was suspect, and needed QB Tom Brady to rescue them. Their secondary wasn’t good but came up clutch in the postseason.
As for Jacksonville, it was one of the worst teams, period. They have a rookie QB and rookie HC. Both had great college careers, but the NFL is different, and they are unproven in the majors.
We’ll give a 3 for defense, 6 on offense, and 6 for coaching.
Our power rankings for the Bucs add up to 24 (8+9+7=25). The numbers for the Jags sum 15 (3+6+6=15). We can get the advantage one has over the other by subtracting the team with the lower rating from the team with the higher one.
In this case, it’s 9. Add the three-point home advantage. Tampa Bay is favored by 12 points according to the power rankings. Then, compare it to the sportsbooks to find advantages.
The formula above is used in power rankings.
However, we advise some fine-tuning to go in-depth with every team’s evaluation. You can assign letter grades to each area of a team and turn them into a numeric value, for example.
Using the NFL advanced statistics is another factor. The power rankings have to be modified and adjusted on a weekly basis, judging the performances of each franchise.
This can be a lot of work to do, but it could give you an edge, especially with opening NFL betting odds.
Here are our own NFL Power Rankings for the 2021 season. We featured the NFL team from the best to the worst in our rankings.
Kansas City Chiefs – The big weakness they had entering the offseason was their offensive line. KC made sure they solved this issue. Patrick Mahomes will be protected while he throws dimes. The Chiefs may not be the champions but are the team to beat.
Their Super Bowl odds are at +500.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” exemplifies the Buccaneers. After a Super Bowl win, they brought their 22 starters back. They also brought RB Gio Bernard to add more depth for Tom Brady to play at ease.
Their Super Bowl odds lie at +650.
Buffalo Bills – One of the best passing offenses in the league, Buffalo can go toe-to-toe with anyone. Their wideout corp consists of Stefon Diggs, Emmanuel Sanders, Cole Beasley, and Gabriel Davis. Electric and dynamic.
Their defense has the talent to make an impact, and they added two more edge rushers in the draft. With a top-tier HC in Sean McDermott, you have it all.
Their Super Bowl odds come at +1200.
San Francisco 49ers – The number four on this list are the San Francisco 49ers. They ended 2020 with a 6-10 record, but the injuries they had were the reason for it. Healthy, they’re as good as any football team.
Brilliant defensive talent, an innovative offensive HC, and a stacked O-Line that open gaps for running backs and protect the QB. Either it’s Jimmy Garoppolo or Trey Lance, the Niners are one of the best rosters in the NFL.
Their Super Bowl odds are at +1400.
Los Angeles Rams – The Rams are a loaded team with playmakers all around. They addressed their major weakness this offseason by bringing in QB Matthew Stafford—a significant upgrade over Jared Goff. Joining him, they have good receivers on one side.
On the other, the best DE in football, Aaron Donald, and the best CB in the league, Jalen Ramsey. The Rams are as good as it gets.
Like the Niners, the Super Bowl odds list them at +1400.
Baltimore Ravens – It is complicated with Baltimore. Their rushing offense is the best in the league. By a landslide. They also had the worst passing attack of them all. They took care of it bringing new WRs to the team. The defense also improved, and it was already a big unit.
2020 served to erase the “Lamar Jackson can’t win playoff games” stigma. But, going through Buffalo or Kansas City is tough. If someone can dare to do so, it’s the Ravens.
Their Super Bowl odds are +1400.
Green Bay Packers – The Packers kept QB Aaron Rodgers for one more year. This means the core that saw them go to two straight NFC Championship games is still there. It is now or never for the Packers to get over the hump.
Their Super Bowl odds are at +1200 now that Rodgers will stay.
Cleveland Browns – Cleveland had an 11-5 season last year and got a playoff victory over fierce rivals in Pittsburgh. Their concern was secondary, and they took care of it. Bringing Troy Hill and John Johnson as DBs will help. They also reinforced their pass rush with DE Jadeveon Clowney. The Browns are a team to watch.
The Browns’ odds to win the Super Bowl are at +1600.
Tennessee Titans – You have an All-Pro RB, a Pro-Bowl QB, and a Pro-Bowl WR. You add an all-time great WR in Julio Jones to join forces with Derrick Henry, Ryan Tannehill, and AJ Brown, and it’s a packed offense.
However, their biggest issue comes at the other side of the ball. The Titans brought OLB Bud Dupree to improve the pass rush, and also CB Janoris Jenkins.
They can exploit playing in the weak AFC South to get good seeding.
Super Bowl odds list the Titans at +2500.
New England Patriots – After spending $250m on over 15 different players, the Pats are back on track. They also have key players back after opting out last season. We know what Belichick is capable of, especially with a two-TE offense.
He has two of the best in the league with Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith. Whether it’s Cam Newton or Mac Jones under center, the Patriots will be a competitive team.
The Super Bowl odds are a distant +3700.
Los Angeles Chargers – A potential dark horse in the AFC, the Chargers have one of the best rosters in the NFL—on paper. After botching last year, they brought a new HC, Brandon Staley. The offense improved after giving top protection to big-time QB, Justin Herbert.
The odds for them to win the Lombardi are +3300.
Arizona Cardinals – The Cardinals were a big-time roster last year and got even better by bringing veterans like DE JJ Watt and WR AJ Green. Another subpar season won’t do for Arizona, it’s time for HC Kliff Kingsbury to earn his millions.
The Cardinals’ odds to win it all are +4800.
Seattle Seahawks – While the other three teams in the NFC West stepped up, the Seahawks are stuck. Having said that, when your QB is Russell Wilson, you don’t know what a losing season looks like.
They didn’t address their O-Line needs because of cap and draft issues. Wilson will have to pull some rabbits out of the hat again. Still, the Seahawks are a team that can beat you any given Sunday.
Their Super Bowl odds can be found at +2000.
Indianapolis Colts – No team is as boom-or-bust quite like the Colts this year. If it’s boom, we can see them getting to the Big Sunday.
If it’s a bust, another year is thrown down the toilet. It all falls in their QB Carson Wentz. It’s a big gamble, especially because of his durability. However, he’ll have amazing protection and a top-tier roster to play with.
The Colts are +3100 to win the Super Bowl.
Dallas Cowboys – If QB Dak Prescott comes back in full force, the Cowboys should cruise in their division. They should also aim for a decent playoff run considering how good their offense is.
Questions arise on the defensive side, who was burned to the ground last year. The new DC Dan Quinn lost his head coach position because of bad defensive performances. If they can maintain a decent level on defense, the Cowboys should ball.
Super Bowl odds list the Cowboys at +2800 to win.
Pittsburgh Steelers – Mike Tomlin doesn’t know what a losing season is as HC of the Steelers. They have the best defensive unit in the league. They drafted a fast-paced, clever RB in Najee Harris, and have a good wideout corp. If QB Ben Roethlisberger can hold his own, the Steelers may fight for a playoff berth.
The Super Bowl odds for the black and gold are at +4400.
Miami Dolphins – It’s now or never for QB Tua Tagovailoa to prove his worth. He has the weapons to excel, and a defense that will help him stay in games. He is the “make-or-break” piece of this roster.
Miami is listed at +3100 to win the Lombardi.
New Orleans Saints – Being without Drew Brees is a huge blow. They also lost their 2020 sack-leader in Trey Hendrickson, and Janoris Jenkins left a hole in the CB department.
Their uncertainty in the QB position can drown them. Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill need to earn the QB1 position ASAP to see what the Saints are made of.
NOLA odds to win on Big Sunday are at +3000.
Washington Football Team – Facing Washington will be a nightmare. Their defensive core is too strong. Everyone in the front seven can sack the will to live out of the opposing QB.
On offense, the wild man Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing bombs is an upgrade, although picks will also come. Washington could be a sleeper team in the NFC.
Their Super Bowl odds are on a +5000 payout.
Chicago Bears – The question is how many weeks will it take Justin Fields to become the starting QB. When that happens, Chicago’s stock rises. Their defense is elite, and the offense needs Fields to get to the next level.
A Super Bowl winning season for them lies at +5000 odds.
Denver Broncos – Denver has an error-prone QB in Drew Lock. The talent is elsewhere, but the lack of it under center is their downfall. Even if Teddy Bridgewater gets the edge, they have a marked limit.
Super Bowl odds for Denver are +5000.
Minnesota Vikings – They upgraded their roster for this season, but QB Kirk Cousins can’t be trusted to deliver on the big-time games. As long as Cousins is their QB, they have a middle ceiling.
Super Bowl odds for the Vikings are +4000.
Las Vegas Raiders – What do you do when you get explosive talent on offense? According to the Raiders, you dismantle the O-Line. New names like RB Kenyan Drake and WR John Brown should improve the offense, but QB Derek Carr will run for his life. Playing in the AFC West doesn’t do them any favors.
Las Vegas has a +7500 odds to win the Super Bowl.
Atlanta Falcons – Even after taking TE Kyle Pitts in the draft, Atlanta presents the same from the last few years. Good offense, dreadful defense. Rebuild mode is closer than a playoff run for them.
Their Super Bowl odds are a long shot at +6000.
New York Giants – The Giants have massive weaponry at the wideouts and a great RB in Saquon Barkley. The defense can play and Joe Judge proved to be a good HC. The problem lies in having a turnover machine under center. QB Daniel Jones needs to step up, or NYG’s hopes are null.
The Giants’ odds to win the Super Bowl are +7000.
Carolina Panthers – Matt Rhule did a great job in his debut season as HC. The defense should improve with new LBs Denzel Perryman and Haason Reddick.
Elite RB Christian McCaffrey is back and will boost the offense. They gambled on bringing Sam Darnold as QB1, we’ll see if he can save his career.
The Super Bowl odds for the Panthers are +9000.
Cincinnati Bengals – QB Joe Burrow will come back after an ACL injury. He has two big-time receivers in Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase as weapons. If his protection improves, Burrow can steal some games.
The odds to win a Lombardi for the Bengals are at +1200.
Philadelphia Eagles – Philly is entering a rebuilding era. Their main goal is to figure out whether Jalen Hurts is the right QB for the future.
The Eagles’ odds to win the Super Bowl come at +7500.
New York Jets – The Jets had arguably one of the best offseasons in the league and still rank at 29. That speaks about how far behind they were. They improved in every area, and have a new QB in Zach Wilson. Let’s see what new HC Robert Saleh can do with a young, promising squad.
The Jets are a longshot to win the Lombardi, listed at +12000.
Jacksonville Jaguars – One of the best college head coaches ever, Urban Meyer, will debut with one of the biggest prospects of all time, QB Trevor Lawrence. Their defense still has too many holes, but the future looks somewhat bright for the Jags.
The Jaguars are at +12000 to win it all.
Detroit Lions – At least Matt Patricia is gone. Still, Detroit is not a team to put many eyes on this year.
The odds to win the Super Bowl for the Lions are set on +18000.
Houston Texans – 0-17 sounds about right, doesn’t it?
Their Super Bowl odds are +25000.