With the 2021 NFL playoffs steamrolling into the divisional round, it’s time to take a fun-filled look at each of the teams still standing in the chase for this year’s Vince Lombardi award. Whether you like one of the top favorites or one of the long shot underdogs, you’re going to find out just where every team stands heading into the upcoming weekend. With that being said, let’s get right to it so you can continue betting against their NFL odds.
NFL Betting – Divisional Round 2021 Playoffs Power Rankings
No. 8 – Cleveland
I feel bad that I have Cleveland in my eighth spot in the playoff power rankings, but I just couldn’t bump the Browns up another spot or two. Baker Mayfield and company looked completely dominant in their stunning 48-37 smackdown of Pittsburgh in the wild card round last weekend, but I just can’t see Cleveland upsetting Kansas City in the divisional round.
Yes, Cleveland has a powerful rushing attack that finished the regular season third in yards per game (148.4) and yes, the Browns finished an encouraging ninth against the run. However, the AFC North runners up also finished 24th in passing and 14th in scoring (25.5 ppg) while finishing 22nd against the pass and 21st in points allowed (26.2 ppg). Mayfield and the Browns have had an excellent season in reaching the payoffs for the first time since 2002 while winning their first playoff game since 1994, but I’ve got to believe Cleveland’s run ends this coming weekend.
No. 7 – Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay got past Washington 31-23 in their wild card opener last weekend, but I’m not real high on Tom Brady and company as they get set to face NFC South rival New Orleans for the third time this season. The Buccaneers finished the regular season ranked an impressive seventh in total offense, second in passing and third in scoring (30.8 ppg) while also finishing an equally impressive sixth in total defense and eighth in points allowed (22.2 ppg). However, Tampa Bay has won five straight against teams with losing records and I don’t think that’s anyway to prepare for what they’re going to face when they visit New Orleans on Sunday. The Bucs have had a nice run to the playoffs, but the buck stops here – pardon the pun!
No. 6 – LA Rams
The Rams get my sixth spot in the playoff power rankings after smacking Seattle and Russell Wilson around last weekend en route to a convincing 30-20 road win over the Seahawks. While LA finished 11th in total offense and a mediocre 23rd in scoring (23.3 ppg), the Rams have a powerful defense that finished the regular season ranked first overall, first against the pass, third against the run and first in points allowed (18.5 ppg). Los Angeles has the best defensive player in the game today in superstar nose tackle Aaron Donald and the best cornerback in the game today in Jalen Ramsey. After watching the Rams beat the Seahawks for the second time this season, I think Green Bay had better be on high alert to avoid their own upset in the divisional round on Saturday.
No. 5 – Buffalo
A lot of folks might be surprised that Buffalo is only ranked fifth in these playoff power rankings, but there’s a reason for that. Yes, Josh Allen and company finished the regular season ranked second in total offense and second in scoring (31.3 ppg), but the Bills also finished in the middle third across the board defensively, including 16th in points allowed (23.4 ppg). More importantly, I believe Buffalo would have failed to get past Indianapolis 27-24 in its wild card opener had Colts head coach Frank Reich not taken four points off the board for his team in the loss. If the Bills lose at home to Baltimore on Saturday, I, for one, will not be surprised.
No. 4 – Baltimore
The Ravens get my fourth spot for a few reasons. First, Baltimore has a potent offense that finished first in rushing (191.9 ypg) and seventh in scoring (29.3 ppg). Next, The Ravens have a rock-solid defense that finished seventh overall, sixth against the pass, eighth against the run and second in points allowed (18.9 ppg). Last, but not least, the Ravens have the game’s most dangerous player in reigning league MVP Lamar Jackson. After recording the first playoff win of his career last weekend by getting past Tennessee, I believe Jackson could and will burn Buffalo’s mediocre defense this weekend while leading the Ravens to the AFC Championship game.
No. 3 – Green Bay
I’ve got Green Bay third in my playoff power rankings. The Packers finished the regular season ranked fifth in total offense, ninth in passing, eighth in rushing and a phenomenal first in scoring (31.8 ppg). While Green Bay also finished a solid ninth in total defense and seventh against the pass, I do have concerns about a unit that also finished 13th against the run and an identical 13th in points allowed (23.1 ppg). The Packers will make their playoff debut at home against Arron Donald and the Rams, but it could turn out to be a stunning one-and-done postseason run if LA plays anywhere like it did against Seattle last weekend.
No. 2 – New Orleans
Don’t be surprised that I have the Saints as my No. 2 team in the playoff power rankings ahead of Green Bay. The Saints were my preseason pick to reach Super Bowl 55 out of the NFC and I believe that’s exactly what’s going to happen. New Orleans finished a stellar fifth in scoring (30.1 ppg) while finishing an identical fifth in points allowed (21.1 ppg). The Saints also ranked a stellar fourth in total defense, fifth against the pass and fourth against the run. New Orleans get past Tampa Bay this coming weekend to reach the NFC Championship at the very least!
No. 1 – Kansas City
The Chiefs will take to the field at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday with an offense that finished the regular season ranked first overall, first in passing and sixth in scoring (29.6 ppg). While Kansas City finished a modest 16th in total defense and uninspiring 21st against the run, the Chiefs somehow managed to finish an encouraging 10th in points allowed (22.6 ppg). In order to dispatch Kansas City, I fully believe some opponent is going to have to find a way to keep the Chiefs from putting 28 points on the board while topping that figure themselves.