Sunday's contest between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Los Angeles Rams is set to feature the top two teams in the NFL, according to Sports Illustrated's power rankings entering week three.
The teams flip-flopped from their debut spots a week ago, as the Rams won a close game over the No. 20 Indianapolis Colts by just three points on Sunday, while the Buccaneers handily defeated the No. 26 Atlanta Falcons. Previously, the Buccaneers narrowly defeated the now-No. 16 Dallas Cowboys and the Rams bested the No. 25 Chicago Bears by 20 points.
As if Tampa Bay and Dallas' week one showdown wasn't exciting enough to earn the bragging rights, this game could go down as one of the most enticing and fun battles of the 2021 season. Surely, at least to date.
You can find the logic behind Tampa Bay's and Los Angeles' rankings below, from SI's Conor Orr.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2–0)
Last week: Win vs. Atlanta, 48–25
Next week: at Los Angeles Rams
I am not one of those people who believes the Super Bowl champs are automatically bequeathed the top spot and get to stay there until they lose. I actually voted for the Chiefs at No. 1 in our preseason poll. But the Bucs have begun their title defense by very clearly looking the part. The 2021 version of the team has earned this status.
2. Los Angeles Rams (2–0)
Last week: Win at Indianapolis, 27–24
Next week: vs. Tampa Bay
The Rams were preseason darlings in many corners of the internet (including the MMQB staff predictions), and the early returns have shown that, yes, Matthew Stafford and Sean McVay seem to get along quite nicely. Last week Conor Orr put the Rams No. 1 in this very space. We’ll know much more about this Rams team after this three-game stretch against the Bucs, Cardinals and Seahawks. But for now I see a contender that I expect to get better as the season goes along.
Stay tuned to AllBucs for further coverage of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and other NFL news and analysis. Follow along on social media at @SIBuccaneers on Twitter and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sports Illustrated on Facebook.