We are halfway through the 2021 NFL season. It’s he perfect time to cash in on some mid-season tier lists (I am a sellout; leave me alone). The tier list below is my ranking, based on how I feel about the teams so far and projecting their performance going forward. Let’s get started.
S tier: Rams, Bills, Buccaneers, Cowboys
It really pains me to put the Cowboys this high because for one, I think Mike McCarthy is bad head coach who gets bailed out by the talent of his players, and two, it’s the Cowboys. With that out of the way, these are the teams that have the best shot at the Super Bowl. The Bills will reresent the AFC and one of the Rams, Bucs or Cowboys will represent the NFC. These teams are loaded with talent and don’t have any glaring flaws on their respective rosters. If they stay healthy, these teams all have a good chance at winning it all. Now, I know three of these teams lost on Sunday (some worse than others), but that doesn’t change the fact that these squads are loaded and in the best positions to make Super Bowl runs.
A tier: Cardinals, Chargers, Packers, Ravens, Titans, Raiders, Bengals, Saints
These are the teams I think make the NFL Playoffs but either lose or choke it away in the regular season (I’m looking at you, Raiders).
I was debating moving the Tennessee Titans down a tier because it looks like Derrick Henry is out for a while, but then they went on to beat the Rams, so I debated moving them up to the S tier. Alas, I have the Titans here because the defense is playing at an unsuitably good rate, and once teams lock in on Ryan Tannehill, the Titans will lose games without Henry.
Packers fans are probably enraged at the sight of them not in S tier. To that I say... shut up, your team is a walking joke. You’re worse then you were last year but somehow expect your team to go farther? You’ve been bounced in the conference championship game in back to back years and the rest of the NFC got better while you got worse, yet somehow just because this is Aaron Rodgers’ last ride that makes you Super Bowl bound? NO! Your management is a joke, and good luck with Jordan Love.
All the teams in A tier should make the postseason; I just think for one reason or another they will fall short. I think the Cardinals have a decent chance to actually top the NFC but I just feel in a playoff game I’d take any of the teams in the S tier over them. Same goes with the Chargers and Ravens. The Chargers will look great one week then look really suspect the next. In terms of the Titans, Raiders, Bengals, and Saints, they are good teams better than the ones in B tier.
B Tier: Browns, Vikings, 49ers, Colts, Steelers, Chiefs, Patriots
B Tier is the above average tier. A few of these teams will make the playoffs, and some will be in the playoff hunt until the very end, but they’re just not good enough or have serious flaws.
In terms of the Browns and Chiefs, they’re definitely good enough, but they have some real issues to work out. It’s time Cleveland took a good long look to see whether Baker Mayfield is the answer at quarterback. This team has real talent. I know Baker’s the best quarterback they have had in a while, but you can’t let that blind reason to reality. Mayfield isn’t going to win football games; he’s just not going to put them in a position to lose games. Now that Odell Beckham Jr. is gone, you get a good look at the best version of Baker. This is when a decision should be made—while he’s at his so-called best. The Browns and Chiefs will make it to the playoffs, but they will fall horribly short; it will be a slap in the face for both teams.
The rest of the B tier are teams that are better than what’s below them but don’t have what it takes to make it all the way. The Patriots with Mac Jones are still a few years out, even though they look really solid right now and have a chance to get the lead in the AFC East. The Steelers have massive issues. The Colts, 49ers, and Vikings are all just struggling and and are better than what their record shows.
C tier: Seahawks, Falcons, Eagles, Broncos, Panthers, Bears
Wow... you guys really blew it, huh? I mean, for the Broncos and Panthers to start off 3-0 only to end up frauds is just laughable. For the Bears, it’s just funny because Matt Nagy is the head coach. The Falcons need to blow it up fully and Philadelphia, you’re about what I expected you to be. The Eagles have three first round picks in this upcoming draft; don’t mess this up.
That brings me to Seattle... oh boy. There is not a single team in the NFL that gets carried more by one player than the Seahawks. Russell Wilson goes down and they look like a D3 college team. The Seahawks have interest in bringing in Odell Beckham Jr. OH WOW, CAN ODELL PLAY DEFENSE? CAN ODELL BLOCK FOR WILSON? CAN ODELL RUSH THE PASHER? This team is a one man show, with Pete Carroll acting like he’s not getting outcoached every game and that the game hasn’t passed him by. Adding more weapons for Wilson isn’t fixing anything. In conclusion, I hate the Seahawks.
D tier: Jaguars, Jets, Texans, Washington, Giants
I am fully aware the Jaguars beat the Bills, the Jets beat the Bengals, and the Giants beat the Raiders BUT...they still suck. The Jets were bailed out a by a nonsensical helmet to helmet call. The Giants have Daniel Jones. The Jaguars have Urban Meyer. None of these teams are anywhere close to where they need to be. When it comes to Washington, they’re here because they’re just a massive disappointment and that so called “elite” front four has been so underwhelming.
Four of the five teams here are rebuilding, so being bad isn’t bad because it means a top draft pick, but we can all agree none of these teams have shown much in terms of future potential, and that’s the bigger problem than being bad. When Mike White looks better than Zach Wilson, you deserve to be bad.
F Tier: Dolphins and Lions
The two worst teams in the NFL. To think, I had the Dolphins making the playoffs when the season started. Anyways, the Lions might be the best winless team I've ever seen. Dan Campbell keeps his team competitive even with Jared Goff as his quarterback, and he keeps his players playing hard. Even though I’m getting serious Joe Judge vibes from Campbell, I got to respect the passion he’s coaching with and the accountability for his team and their bad performances.
On the flip side of that, we have the Dolphins. They are the biggest disappointment of the year. Tua Tagovailoa is not the problem. He hasn’t been great, but he’s nowhere near the biggest issue. The defense went from elite to bottom five by most metrics. The offensive line is taking inspiration from the 2019 Bengals. To cap it off, they don’t even have their own first round pick, which is looking like a top five one. It’s time to take a serious look at firing Brian Flores. Before you say anything, not even Deshaun Watson could save them at this point.