Throughout each NFL season, it is always fun to see how everyone power ranks each of the 32 NFL teams after the conclusion of each week. But what about the divisions? Here are the 2021 NFC division power rankings ahead of Week 4.
2021 NFL Division Power Rankings for the NFC
Los Angeles Rams 3-0
Seattle Seahawks 1-2
There are still two unbeaten teams in the NFC West and only one other division can make that same claim. In fact, heading into the Week 4 action, there are only five unbeaten teams in the NFL. After a really impressive win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3, the Rams are one of the remaining perfect teams. Sean McVay’s club might be the best in football right now and Matthew Stafford is probably the front runner in the MVP race. Their defense ranks tied for eighth in the league in points per game (20.0). Their offense ranks third in points per game (31.7). It is still really early in the season but it is possible that the road to the Super Bowl goes through Los Angeles.
True, the Cardinals didn’t exactly blow out the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars this past week, but if Jamal Agnew does not return a missed 68-yard field attempt for a touchdown, that game most likely looks a lot different. And their defense forced four turnovers (two fumbles and two interceptions by Trevor Lawrence). Plus, they still have Kyler Murray and a talented receiving corps, including DeAndre Hopkins, and their offense is tied for first in points per game (34.3).
If they had bled the clock a little more before they scored (they left 37 seconds on the clock) and not given the Green Bay Packers offense (and more importantly Aaron Rodgers) enough time to get down the field for a game-winning field goal on Sunday night, the 49ers might also still be undefeated. They are only average defensively and at running the ball and Jimmy Garoppolo has struggled to throw the ball down the field. But the 49ers have won a lot more games than they have lost with Jimmy G under center. And they drafted Trey Lance this year so the 49ers have that in their back pocket if needed. They aren’t better than the Rams or Cardinals right now, but only the NFC South might have a better third-place team right now.
Pete Carroll’s squad is by far the best of the last-place teams in the NFC. But they need to improve on defense and Russell Wilson, while he has protected the football, needs to play a complete game, not just the first half. But as the Seahawks offense adjusts to having a new offensive coordinator, they should look better as the season goes on. And the defense will most likely improve too.
Atlanta Falcons 1-2
The Panthers are 3-0, but two of their wins came against the New York Jets and Houston Texans. However, they did beat the Saints 26-7, a team that has won their other two games fairly easily. Christian McCaffrey is out with a hamstring injury, but it is not as bad as initially thought and Chuba Hubbard is talented in his own right. And now that Sam Darnold is away from the dumpster fire that is the Jets, he has improved in basically every way a quarterback can. Also, their defense is allowing the second-fewest points per game (10.0) so far this season. Time will tell if they can hold off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints, but for now, they are in first place by themselves.
Tom Brady has played at an MVP level through three games in his second season with the Buccaneers. His 362.3 yards per game is second only to Derek Carr and his 10 touchdown passes are the most of any quarterback through Week 3. The Bucs offense is averaging 34.3 yards per game, good for a tie at the top of the league with the Arizona Cardinals. But their defense needs to improve. They are allowing 29.3 points per game (27th in the league). That is mainly due to their pass defense not performing well (they are great against the run) and maybe the addition of Richard Sherman will help.
In their first season since Drew Brees retired the Saints have started the season 2-1. Jameis Winston provides a deep threat that Brees didn’t, but he is also turnover prone and he hasn’t attempted more than 22 passes or thrown for more than 148 yards in a game this season. The Saints look like a good football team so far, but what will happen when they need Winston to go win them a close game? But for now, their defense is allowing the third-fewest points per game (14.0) in the league and their offense is ranked 14th in points per game (24.3). It is doubtful the Saints make a deep playoff run with Winston under center, but they are a strong third-place team.
The Falcons might technically be only one game behind the Bucs and Saints, but there are only around six to eight teams in the NFL that are worse than Atlanta this season. Matt Ryan is struggling and he is taking too many hits. Their offense is scoring only 16.0 points per game (28th) and their defense ranks 30th in points per game (31.3). That is not a recipe for success.
Chicago Bears 1-2
Detroit Lions 0-3
It is too early to determine just how far the Green Bay Packers can go in the playoffs, but it is doubtful they fail to win this division. They have the best quarterback in the division, in Aaron Rodgers, who is one of the best league, period. And Rodgers gets to throw to Davante Adams who is on the shortlist of the best receivers in the NFL. He also has Aaron Jones in the backfield. They should easily win the division, but how far of a run they can make in the playoffs remains to be seen.
The Bears quarterback situation is a mess, and the play-calling for Justin Field’s first last start last week was an embarrassment. He was sacked nine times and threw for 68 yards but lost 67 due to the sacks. And the defense has only been average, allowing 25.7 points per game. The Bears are going nowhere fast.
Kirk Cousins has looked really good this season as he has thrown eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. But the Vikings have only one win thus far and their defense is middle of the road. As good as Cousins has been so far, it is difficult to see him going blow for blow with Rodgers and the Vikings keeping pace with the Packers.
The Lions are horrible and will not compete for anything except maybe the top pick in next year’s draft.
Dallas Cowboys 2-1
New York Giants 0-3
It was a difficult choice to decide if the North or East would be the last-place team. But ultimately the Packers have the better quarterback (though Dak Prescott has been incredibly impressive this season) and the Vikings are probably a better overall team than any of the teams in the East not named the Cowboys.
The Cowboys are not yet at the level to compete with the likes of the Rams, Bucs, or Cardinals, but they are not that far behind. They will easily win the division because Prescott is back and playing at a really high level, they have now figured out how to use both Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard and Dan Quinn has much improved the Cowboys defense from last year.
There was some hope for the Washington Football Team coming into the season, but the defense has been lackluster compared to expectations and Ryan Fitzpatrick went down with an injury. The Eagles won’t put up a fight in the division and the Giants, like the Lions, are already wondering about next year’s draft.
That was the 2021 NFL division power rankings for the NFC. Click here for the AFC.