Week 18 NFL Power Rankings: Breaking New Ground

Sep 19, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Minnesota Vikings center Garrett Bradbury (56) and center Mason Cole (52) prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports

Folks, we’ve officially hit unprecedented territory. It is the first Week 18 power rankings in NFL history. It comes with its own ridiculous storylines too, including a playoff scenario where if the Chargers and Raiders game finishes in a tie, they both can make the playoffs. It’s been a wild ride, but we have hit the finish line. Thanks for tuning in to this series all season long, but without further ado, here is the final power rankings list of the 2021 NFL season.

1. Green Bay Packers

Last Week: 37-10 win vs MIN

Trending: +1

This Week: 1/9 @ DET

It was a rout in Green Bay on Sunday night, with the Packers owning every facet of their game against the Vikings. With the win, they have secured that the road to the Super Bowl will once again run through Lambeau Field. 

2. Los Angeles Rams

Last Week: 20-19 win vs BAL

Trending: +2

This Week: 1/9 vs SF

This game got off to a rough start, especially for QB Matthew Stafford, but he made up for it by the end. Stafford and Odell Beckham Jr. connected for a last-minute touchdown to win the game, and they are now another win away from an NFC West title. 

3. Kansas City Chiefs

Last Week: 31-34 loss @ CIN

Trending: -2

This Week: 1/8 @ DEN

It took a couple weird defensive plays and some questionable calls, but Kansas City has lost a game for the first time since October. Still, this is a dangerous Chiefs team as we head into the playoffs. 

4. Buffalo Bills 

Last Week: 29-15 win vs ATL

Trending: +1

This Week: 1/9 vs NYJ

Buffalo got off to a weird start, with the Falcons scoring on a safety off a punt return. Josh Allen also had one of his worst games passing the ball, with three interceptions on the day. The running game dominated the day though, with Allen and Devin Singletary combining for nearly 200 yards on the ground as well as four TDs. The Bills can clinch a second consecutive AFC East title with a win next week versus the Jets. 

5. New England Patriots

Last Week: 50-10 win vs JAX

Trending: +3

This Week: 1/9 @ MIA

There’s not much else to say other than New England got back on track this week. It’s a very familiar tale for Jacksonville opponents in the 2021-22 NFL season. Mac Jones was back to slinging passes all over the field while the defense dominated the Jags offense. New England closes the season with a historically tough matchup in Miami. 

6. Tennessee Titans

Last Week: 34-3 win vs MIA

Trending: +3

This Week: 1/9 @ HOU

The Dolphins have been the NFL’s hottest team over the past couple months, but the Tennessee Titans hosted them and completely demolished them. This Titans team still has the top seed in the AFC despite not having Derrick Henry, so Mike Vrabel has to be at the top of the list for Coach of the Year.

7. Cincinnati Bengals

Last Week: 34-31 win vs KC

Trending: +3

This Week: 1/9 @ CLE

In the second consecutive massive win for the Bengals, both Ja’Marr Chase and Joe Burrow had equally massive showings. The duo connected for 266 yards and three touchdowns, and it gave Chase the highest rookie receiving total in NFL history. The win clinched the AFC North for Cincy, and with a win in Cleveland, they can go into the playoffs as one of the hottest teams in the league.

8. Indianapolis Colts

Last Week: 20-23 loss vs LV

Trending: -4

This Week: 1/9 @ JAX

Indy made sure that their Week 18 game against the Jaguars means something by losing to the Raiders this week. Overall, this was not a good game for the Colts. They had their chances throughout, but they just didn’t take advantage. Their mission is simple though: win and you’re in. 

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Last Week: 28-24 win @ NYJ

Trending: -1

This Week: 1/9 vs CAR

Unfortunately, most of what we will remember from this game was not the in-game action. Instead, it was the off-the-field antics between Antonio Brown and the Bucs coaching staff. That said, this game was the Jets’ for the taking, and they just blew it. Because of that, Tampa moves down the list. 

10. Arizona Cardinals

Last Week: 25-22 win @ DAL

Trending: +3

This Week: 1/9 vs SEA

Kyler Murray owns Jerry’s World. It was yet another positive outcome for the Cardinals QB at this stadium, and dating back to his pre-NFL days, this has been a trend. It may have taken a few plays going his way this time, but with the win, Arizona stays alive in the NFC West race. 

11. Dallas Cowboys

Last Week: 22-25 loss vs ARI

Trending: -3

This Week: 1/8 @ PHI

For the first time in five weeks, the Dallas Cowboys defense was unable to force multiple turnovers, and it cost the team. Dak Prescott had a very average game by his standards as well, only making things harder for Dallas. All that said, and they still could have found a way to win this game. 

12. San Francisco 49ers

Last Week: 23-7 win vs HOU

Trending: –

This Week: 1/9 @ LAR

With Jimmy Garoppolo ruled out with injury, this was Trey Lance’s chance to shine. The 49ers got the win, but Lance didn’t exactly shine. There’s a very real chance that San Francisco needs to win against the Rams in order to make the playoffs, and it’s equally real that Trey Lance may need to lead them there. 

13. Philadelphia Eagles

Last Week: 20-16 win @ WSH

Trending: +1

This Week: 1/8 vs DAL

What a day for Jalen Hurts. Leading a road win against a division rival, clinching a playoff berth, and dodging a railing as it and about a dozen fans fell right in front of him. The stars are starting to align in Philly.

14. Los Angeles Chargers

Last Week: 34-13 win vs DEN

Trending: +1

This Week: 1/9 @ LV

The Chargers did what they needed to against a reeling Denver Broncos team. Justin Herbert played well, and the defense shut down absolutely everything that Denver had going. Now, they’ve got a chance to clinch a spot in the playoffs by beating the Raiders.

15. Las Vegas Raiders

Last Week: 23-20 win @ IND

Trending: +2

This Week: 1/9 vs LAC

Has there ever been a more appropriate time for the Paul Rudd “Look at us” meme? This Raiders team seemed dead in the water weeks ago, and now after a huge win over the Colts, they have a “win and you’re in” chance against the Chargers. 

16. Pittsburgh Steelers

Last Week: 26-14 win vs CLE

Trending: +4

This Week: 1/9 @ BAL

This was likely Ben Roethlisberger’s last start at Heinz Field, and the Steelers sent him off with a big win to keep Pittsburgh’s playoff hopes alive. They need to get one last win and get a little help from the Jaguars to make it in.

17. Baltimore Ravens

Last Week: 19-20 loss @ LAR

Trending: -1

This Week: 1/9 vs PIT

Things have gotten difficult for the Ravens going into Week 18. The Lamar Jackson injury reared its ugly head, and Tyler Huntley made a few, well, not so great plays en route to a loss to the Rams. 

18. Miami Dolphins

Last Week: 3-34 loss @ TEN

Trending: -5

This Week: 1/9 vs NE

Well, so much for that seven-game winning streak. All the work that Miami had done over the past two months went to waste with one blowout loss at the hands of the Tennessee Titans. The Dolphins are now out of playoff contention, but they can also play spoiler this week when they host the Patriots. Another Miami Miracle maybe?

19. New Orleans Saints

Last Week: 18-10 win vs CAR

Trending: +2

This Week: 1/9 @ ATL

Taysom Hill returned to the QB room after the pummeling Ian Book took on Monday night last week. With their actual backup QB and a revamped defense led the way for a Saints win. Now, they need one more win and a Niners loss to make another playoff appearance.

20. Chicago Bears

Last Week: 29-3 win vs NYG

Trending: +4

This Week: 1/9 @ MIN

Despite being eliminated from the playoffs, the Chicago Bears came out with some fire this week. Their defense completely shut down any and all offensive efforts by the New York Giants, limiting Mike Glennon to 24 passing yards. 

21. Minnesota Vikings

Last Week: 10-37 loss @ GB

Trending: -3

This Week: 1/9 vs CHI

Kirk Cousins missed a meaningful game for the first time in his Vikings tenure, and Minnesota’s offense looked completely lost without him. Sean Mannion started in his place, and while he completed his first touchdown pass, it was largely an ugly game for the QB. 

22. Cleveland Browns

Last Week: 14-26 loss @ PIT

Trending: -3

This Week: 1/9 vs CIN

Not a great look for Baker Mayfield, or the Cleveland Browns in general. They were unable to produce any semblance of an offense for large parts of this game, and the lack of a presence in the running game was quite confusing. 

23. Seattle Seahawks

Last Week: 51-29 win vs DET

Trending: +5

This Week: 1/9 @ ARI

In what could end up being his last home game for the Seattle Seahawks, Russell Wilson balled out. He passed for four touchdowns, and three of them found star receiver DK Metcalf. Next, they can play spoiler in Arizona. 

24. Washington Football Team

Last Week: 16-20 loss vs PHI

Trending: +1

This Week: 1/9 @ NYG

Washington moves up in these power rankings by the sheer fact that they played some competitive football this week. Down here in the basement of the final power rankings, man, some of these performances got ugly. At any rate, it was a loss for Washington, but at least a respectable one. 

25. Denver Broncos

Last Week: 10-34 loss @ LAC

Trending: -2

This Week: 1/8 vs KC

Did we expect anything else out of this Broncos team? This is a team that has been clinging onto life by beating bad teams all year, and it is certainly fitting that their season will likely close  with blowouts dealt by two of the better teams in the league

26. New York Jets

Last Week: 24-28 loss vs TB

Trending: +3

This Week: 1/9 @ BUF

Speaking of competitive football, the Jets not only were competitive, but really should have beaten Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in this game. It almost seemed like the Antonio Brown incident woke the Bucs up because after that point, Tampa Bay played much sharper football. 

27. Houston Texans

Last Week: 7-23 loss @ SF

Trending: -5

This Week: 1/9 vs TEN

Houston has been a sneaky hot team as of late, but they couldn’t keep the mojo going against San Francisco this week. Davis Mills was not very good in this game, and it ended up costing them. 

28. Atlanta Falcons

Last Week: 15-29 loss @ BUF

Trending: -2

This Week: 1/9 vs NO

A tale as old as time, the Atlanta Falcons struggled to score touchdowns this week. Instead, they kicked a pair of field goals of less than 30 yards. Matt Ryan didn’t help out much either with under 200 yards passing.

29. Detroit Lions

Last Week: 29-51 loss @ SEA

Trending: -2

This Week: 1/9 vs GB

Tim Boyle got the start once again for the Lions, and that simply won’t do for successful Kardiak Kitties football. Boyle threw three interceptions, and the Lions were unable to stay competitive in Seattle.

30. Carolina Panthers

Last Week: 10-18 loss vs NO

Trending: –

This Week: 1/9 @ TB

Sam Darnold continues to play some uninspiring football for the Panthers, and Carolina’s offensive line did him very little favors. The Saints defense controlled this game throughout.

31. New York Giants

Last Week: 3-29 loss @ CHI

Trending: –

This Week: 1/9 vs WSH

Mike Glennon managed just 24 passing yards in this game. Garrett Bradbury had 21 receiving yards for the Vikings this week. That’s just about all you need to know from this game.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars

Last Week: 10-50 loss @ NE

Trending: –

This Week: 1/9 vs IND

Jacksonville began the 2021 season at No. 28 in the power rankings, and they will finish the season at the very bottom. It’s been quite a ride for the Jaguars, but every person on the planet should be hoping they can pull off a miracle against the Colts in Week 18. If they can do so, a tie between the Chargers and Raiders means both of those teams will make the playoffs.