While the NFL Power Rankings prefer to look at the league through a positive lens, sometimes we have to go to Negative Town. That’s where we are this week, as we asked our NFL Nation writers to pick the weakest aspect of their team through eight weeks.
Of course, some teams have more problem areas to choose from than others, and some of those issues are a bit more detrimental to winning games. So while teams such as the Houston Texans , Detroit Lions and the residents of New York City had quite a few more ailments than the relatively minor problems of the NFC’s Fab Five (or six if you ask the New Orleans Saints ), every team has wrinkles to iron out. The entire game experience is covered this week, from not being able to rush the passer to not converting on third down to not being able to defend onside kicks ( Los Angeles Rams fans know that pain). So here’s what your team, and every other team, is bad at midway through the 2021 season.
How we rank our Power Rankings: Our power panel — a group of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities — evaluates how teams stack up throughout the season.
Previous rankings: 8 | 7 | 6 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | Preseason
ARI | ATL | BAL | BUF | CAR | CHI | CIN
CLE | DAL | DEN | DET | GB | HOU | IND
JAX | KC | LV | LAC | LAR | MIA | MIN
NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF
SEA | TB | TEN | WSH
1. Green Bay Packers (7-1)
Previous ranking: 4
Biggest Achilles’ heel: The red zone
The Packers were one of the best red zone teams last season on both sides of the ball. They led the NFL in red zone offense, scoring touchdowns on 80% of their trips inside the opponents’ 20. This season, they’re tied for 20th at 57.6%. On defense in 2020, they were eighth, allowing opponent touchdowns on 57.7% of their red zone possessions. This season, they’re 30th at 78.3%. They had the awful run of 15 straight touchdowns allowed on opponent red zone possessions. That finally ended in Week 7, when punchless Washington went 0-for-4. But the same issues recurred Thursday against the Cardinals, who went 3-for-4. The one stop, however, was Rasul Douglas ‘ game-clinching interception in the end zone in the final seconds. — Rob Demovsky
2. Arizona Cardinals (7-1)
Previous ranking: 1 Biggest Achilles’ heel: Run defenseAs the world saw Thursday night , when the Packers ran for 151 yards, if a team can eat the clock on the ground, the Cardinals become vulnerable. Their run defense has been suspect throughout the season, giving up an average of 120.1 yards per game but 4.88 yards per carry, […]