1. L.A. Rams
The Los Angeles Rams solidified their standing as the top-ranked team in the NFL with their wire-to-wire 34-24 win over the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers.
Everybody is on the Matthew Stafford bandwagon right now and justifiably so. The former Lions quarterback opens up head coach Sean McVay’s entire playbook.
Rex Ryan: "[The Rams are] the best football team in the league."@danorlovsky7: "Matt Stafford is the MVP of the NFL right now."
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) September 27, 2021
The addition of veteran wideout DeSean Jackson was felt on Sunday in a big way with his 81-yard touchdown catch. He’s now the only player in league history to have ten touchdown grabs of 70-plus yards.
2. Tampa Bay Bucs
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers haven’t looked like the team that hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in February, especially defensively. While they’ve stopped the run, their pass defense has been atrocious. Teams are game-planning to exploit their weakend pass defense. Brady has been Brady but something is missing with them right now.
"A hell of a week of practice. You could really feel the difference in intensity this week. It doesn't have a damn thing to do with Brady. It has to do with losing. I like the way we bounced back on the practice field."
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) October 2, 2021
They’re too talented not to figure it out, but Sunday’s loss to the Rams is big for home-field advantage come playoff time.
3. Buffalo Bills
Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills struggled in a Week 1 loss to the Steelers before putting together two complete performances. One at Miami (35-0) and then pounding the Washington Football Team 43-21. The Bills have gotten back to what made them a trendy Super Bowl pick. The addition of Emmanuel Sanders to complement Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley can’t be understated. Point blank, they’re very good in Orchard Park, New York.
Josh Allen has the most games with 4 Pass TD and 300 Pass Yards in Bills history 😮 pic.twitter.com/2sd5UmCMDy
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) September 26, 2021
4. Cleveland Browns
When you reminisce about the Cleveland Browns of yesteryear you think of physical play from running backs Ernest Byner and Kevin Mack pounding out yardage. Linebacker Clay Matthews Sr. and hard-hitting shutdown corners Frank Minnifield and Hanford Dixon defined those ’80s squads.
This version of the Browns have Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt coming downhill in the run game, with Myles Garrett and JaDeVeon Clowney terrorizing quarterbacks in the pass rush. The secondary is tough with Dez Ward and rookie Greg Newsome. Inconsistent quarterback Baker Mayfield is the only thing that can derail a long run in January
This @bakermayfield spin move was nasty! 🔥
— NFL UK (@NFLUK) September 26, 2021
5. Arizona Cardinals
Kyler Murray has been electric and Chandler Jones has been unblockable. With Kliff Kingsbury coming into the season on the hot seat, he’s started about as good as one could hope.
— NFL (@NFL) September 26, 2021
The offense has been explosive but needs to get DeAndre Hopkins going a bit more, although he doesn’t look healthy right now.
A huge matchup with the No. 1 team in our rankings looms this weekend. Let’s see how the defense holds up.
Las Vegas Raiders — They’re 3-0 and much better on defense than anyone could’ve expected. Wins over the Ravens, Steelers and Dolphins — three ten-win teams from last season — make them the first team in league history to open the season with three straight victories over teams with that many wins the previous season.
Green Bay Packers — The demise of the great Aaron Rodgers following his Week 1 struggles were greatly exaggerated. The loss of linebacker ZaDarius Smith was suppose to be a death blow to the defense, but former Michigan star Rashan Gary has looked the part for the Packers in his absence.
Kansas City Chiefs — Yes, they’re 1-2, but the way they’ve lost games is correctable. When you have Andy Reid leading the way and Patrick Mahomes directing traffic you always have a shot. The signing of the recently reinstated Josh Gordon could help this team in the passing game.
Los Angeles Chargers — Justin Herbert is the real deal. So is Rashawn Slater. Asante Samuel Jr. is the real deal. A healthy Derwin James is the real deal. A confident Mike Williams is a matchup nightmare through the air. This team doesn’t know how good it can be just yet.
New Orleans Saints — Life without Drew Brees is still in the early stages, but Jameis Winston has looked solid. Alvin Kamara seems to be the go-to guy on offense.
Coach Sean Payton is using backup QB Taysom Hill effectively again, which is the best thing for this offense, especially without Brees. The Saints’ defense can carry this team, and they’ve shown that in their two wins. Being back in ‘Nawlins last week for the first time since Hurricane Ida was a huge emotional boost for the Saints.