When ranking NFL teams ahead of the 2021 season, it is possible to organize them into the teams without a snowball’s chance in hell, the middling teams that could go up or down, and the firm favorites. Whether a simple mental exercise to whet the appetite ahead of the season or a serious consideration ahead of some NFL betting, ranking the teams is something nearly every football fan does in the run up to the season’s start.
Yet perhaps there is a category missing from this mental exercise – what about the teams that do not reign supreme, but never face a game without a serious chance of winning?
Challenging the Big Boys: The NFL Teams Threatening the Champs in 2021
We are talking here about the teams that, although not endlessly decorated and in an unambiguously dominant position, do have every chance of beating the best teams in the NFL and who, one day, could be expected to join that august class of NFL favorites. Such teams are very often the most exciting to watch, simply because they are on the rise.
This is a phenomenon seen across the sporting world, as new contenders who have perhaps played second fiddle for too long (or, in rarer cases, who have suddenly rocketed out of obscurity) vie to make their mark, at long last, among the topflight.
In 2021 then, which teams fall into this fourth category? Neither the losers nor the middling teams, but also not quite the established rulers, these teams represent the ones to watch out for during the upcoming season and, incidentally, some of the best teams to bet on. This is because these are the teams that can be expected to retain some of the odds more appropriate for the middling teams but who have a much better chance of actually winning than those teams.
For the established aristocracy of the NFL, the odds do not quite have the best returns; with the teams we are focusing on, the odds are much better – and they still have an incredibly good chance of winning.
Here follows then a list of the teams finally having their moment in the sun and putting a real challenge to the champs of old.
The Dallas Cowboys are one of those teams with all the stuff of greatness being held back by the misfortune of a single player. People forget now, but before his injury about a year ago, Dak Prescott’s performance in the defense was the stuff of legends. With Cedrick Wilson and Simi Fehoko, Prescott led a trio that was arguably the best in the league. Still dependent on their star Prescott, the quarterback seems ready once again to propel the Cowboys up the rankings.
Los Angeles Rams
Bringing in a couple of pacey players in the form of Tutu Atwell and DeSean Jackson, Matthew Stafford will have plenty of opportunities to exploit his lightning vertical passes up the pitch. Being without second-year running back Cam Akers is surely a massive blow, but this doesn’t seem likely to hold back the LA Rams.
The Seattle Seahawks are undoubtedly one of the best teams in the league right now. Always a team that puts in an impressive showing, the Seahawks have lingered about this level of performance for a long time. Now, it looks like they could finally be on their way to the very top. True rising stars, the Seahawks boast D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett as reliable go-to guys. The Seahawks suffered some contract controversy with Jamal Adams, but that seems to be firmly behind them now as they make a dash for supremacy.
The biggest star among the Tennessee Titans (at least compared to his performance elsewhere) is undoubtedly Ryan Tannehill. Combined with Julio Jones, this makes for perhaps the league’s most threatening offense. What makes the Titans especially exciting to watch is that they have a real rising star in the form of Jeffrey Simmons, who is certainly a talent to watch.
The most notable element of the Baltimore Ravens recent run of success has undoubtedly been the impressive performance of Lamar Jackson and his ability to lead a successful offense as part of a setup tailored to his particular skills. And at the back, the Ravens have Patrick Queen, a rising star and a player who puts up a rock-solid defense.
Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns has, in the past, been plagued by speculation on how his height could be holding back his game. Those days seem firmly over now, with Mayfield having proven himself one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Sharing a backfield with Mayfield is the unstoppable duo of Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb. We could very well see the Browns win this thing.
So there then is a list of teams we believe could make a real go of things in the coming season. Time will tell if our predictions are a hit or a miss.