2021 NFL power rankings, Week 9: Cardinals fall for first time

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EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – OCTOBER 31: Mike White #5 of the New York Jets hands the ball to Michael Carter #32 during the third quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at MetLife Stadium on October 31, 2021 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)


Atlanta Falcons 3-4

Last week: L, 19-13 vs CAR
Last rank: 26th

After a miserable start, Arthur Smith’s Falcons had an opportunity to get above the .500 mark if they could knock off the slumping Panthers. Matt Ryan hit on 20-of-27 passes and a score but only threw for 146 yards. He was sacked three times and threw a pair of interceptions.

Meanwhile, defensive coordinator Dean Pees’ unit allowed 203 yards rushing. The Falcons are 0-2 vs. NFC South rivals this season and 1-7 within the division since 2020.


New York Giants 2-5

Last week: MNF at KC
Last rank: 28th

It’s been a rough year for Joe Judge’s club but the team is coming off a convincing 25-3 victory over the Panthers. The Giants’ defense has been a disappointment to date and has not picked up where it left off a year ago when the team won six of its final 11 contests.

Running back Saquon Barkley won’t be around for this Monday night clash. On the other hand, third-year pro Daniel Jones has been much better when it comes to taking care of the ball.


New York Jets 2-5

Last week: W, 34-31 vs CIN
Last rank: 31st

Off a 41-point loss at Foxborough, the Green and White was back at home to take on the rejuvenated Bengals. Quarterback Mike White made his first NFL start in place of injured Zach Wilson. And while he would picked off twice on the afternoon, he hit on 37 of his 45 throws for a whopping 405 yards and three scores.

The Jets’ defense limited Cincinnati to 41 yards rushing while sacking Bengals’ second-year quarterback Joe Burrow three times.


Washington Football Team 2-6

Last week: L, 17-10 at DEN
Last rank: 23rd

Ron Rivera’s club had dropped three straight games entering this clash with the Broncos. While Washington won the total yardage battle (342-273), the club also made far too many mistakes.

Quarterback Taylor Heinicke threw for 270 yards and one touchdown. But he was sacked five times, fumbled twice (zero turnovers) and tossed two interceptions. Rivera’s squad allowed a season-low 17 points but still fell short for the sixth time in eight games.

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