Ranking the 10 Best NFL Games of the 2021 Season

| January 24, 2022 1:01 pm PST

The 2021 NFL season was one of the wildest in recent memory. It seems like we had a crazy game and/or big upset every week.

Most of these games featured a big comeback or thrilling finish. They had fans and anyone placing wagers at the top NFL betting sites sitting on the edge of their seats.

Here are the top 10 NFL games from the 2021 season.

10. Indianapolis Colts vs. Baltimore Ravens (Week 5)

The Baltimore Ravens played in countless thrilling games this season. This won’t be the only time you see them on this list.

In Week 5, Baltimore was a (-7.0) point home favorite against the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts came in 1-3, but they came out firing on Monday night football.

Carson Wentz hit Jonathan Taylor for a 75-yard touchdown on their first drive. There wasn’t much more action in the first half as each team kicked a field goal at the end of the half. Baltimore wasn’t doing much, but it was still a one-possession game.

In the third quarter, Indianapolis took control of the game with a pair of touchdowns. Then, Lamar Jackson began his comeback.

A Ravens touchdown and Colts field goal made it 25-9 with 12 minutes remaining. Check out the ensuing four drives.

  • Ravens: 5-yard touchdowns pass (two-point conversion)
  • Colts: 38-yard field goal blocked
  • Ravens: 4-yard touchdown pass (two-point conversion)
  • Colts: 47-yard field goal missed

Colts kicker Rodrigo Blankenship had a hip injury that affected his kicking.

The Ravens walked down the field in overtime, winning on a five-yard touchdown pass to Hollywood Brown. Baltimore won 31-25 with Jackson passing for a career-high 442 yards.

9. Los Angeles Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs (Week 3)

These teams were no stranger to exciting games in 2021. I promise we’ll see them again.

The Kansas City Chiefs entered this game as a (-7.0) point favorite, but they looked vulnerable after barely escaping a 0-2 start. Their offense had as bad of a start as you can imagine.

  • Interception
  • Fumble
  • Fumble
  • Punt

The Los Angeles Chargers cashed in on the fumbles, scoring a pair of touchdowns to take a 14-0 lead. Then, Kansas City’s offense came to life. They closed the first half with a field goal before back-to-back touchdown passes gave them their first lead.

In the fourth quarter, it was a battle between Justin Herbert and Patrick Mahomes.

Herbert gave the Chargers the lead with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams. Mahomes responded with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman. A Chargers field goal tied the game with 2:17 remaining.

On the next drive, Mahomes threw his second interception of the game.

Los Angeles quickly moved into field goal range. Most teams would run the clock and kick a last-second field goal. The Chargers knew who they were playing.

They stayed aggressive, scoring the game-winning touchdown with 32 seconds left. That gave them a 30-24 victory.

8. San Francisco 49ers vs. Los Angeles Rams (Week 18)

The first Week 18 in NFL history didn’t disappoint. The San Francisco 49ers basically needed a win to make the playoffs, while a victory for the Los Angeles Rams could clinch the NFC West.

Los Angeles came in as a (-3.0) point favorite, and it was looking like a blowout early. A pair of touchdowns by Tyler Higbee gave the Rams a 17-0 lead. A late first-half field goal jump-started the comeback for the 49ers.

Check out the drives in the third quarter for each team.

  • 49ers: 16-yard touchdown run
  • Rams: Punt
  • 49ers: 24-yard touchdown pass
  • Rams: Interception

A big fourth quarter led to a 17-17 game in the fourth quarter. By now, everyone knew the New Orleans Saints would win, meaning the 49ers had to win to make the playoffs.

Their chances weren’t looking good after a Rams touchdown with 2:29 remaining. However, Jimmy Garoppolo made it look easy. He went 88 yards in five plays, throwing the game-tying touchdown to Jauan Jennings.

San Francisco kicked a field goal on their first overtime drive. They sealed the game with an interception. They won 27-24 and made the playoffs as a wild card.

The 49ers are one of the wild card teams that could make a Super Bowl run.

7. Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings (Week 11)

Doesn’t it seem like the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings always play exciting games? Green Bay has long been the class of the NFC North, but Minnesota always gives them a run.

Green Bay was a slight (-1.0) favorite for this matchup, but they didn’t have a great start.

The Packers kicked a field goal on their first drive, but Minnesota took command. They scored 16 straight points to take a 16-3 lead. Aaron Rodgers threw a 25-yard touchdown late in the first half to make it a one-possession game.

Following a Justin Jefferson touchdown, Green Bay began their comeback.

  • Packers: 10-yard touchdown pass
  • Vikings: Fumble
  • Packers: 18-yard touchdown pass

Green Bay led for the first time, but it didn’t last long. Jefferson’s second touchdown gave Minnesota a seven-point lead with a little over two minutes remaining.

On the first play of the next drive, Rodgers threw a 75-yard touchdown to Marquez Valdes Scantling.

Kirk Cousins had 2:08 remaining to put the Vikings in field goal range. He did that with back-to-back big plays. Greg Joseph kicked a 29-yard field goal as time expired to give the Vikings a 34-31 victory.

Rodgers and Cousins each cleared 340 yards, combining for seven touchdowns.

6. Kansas City Chiefs vs. Los Angeles Chargers (Week 15)

Well, it didn’t take long to see these two teams again. Following their thrilling Week 3 matchup, they played an even better one in Week 15 on Thursday night.

It was a big game as the winner would be in the driver’s seat to win the AFC West. The Kansas City Chiefs were a (-3.0) point road favorite.

Kansas City took advantage of a pair of miscues to take a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. The Los Angeles Chargers responded with a pair of touchdowns to take a 14-10 lead. It could’ve been bigger if they kicked a field goal at the one-yard line.

In the third quarter, the Chiefs made it a one-point game with a field goal. The beginning of the fourth quarter saw a wild sequence. Check out this stretch.

  • Chargers: Fumble (1-yard line)
  • Chiefs: 6-yard pass
  • Chiefs: 1-yard run
  • Chiefs: Interception
  • Chargers: 2-yard touchdown run

Each team scored a touchdown on their ensuing drive. Patrick Mahomes tied the game with 1:16 remaining with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Travis Kelce.

In overtime, Kelce’s 34-yard touchdown gave the Chiefs a 34-28 victory. Kelce finished the game with 10 receptions, 191 yards, and two touchdowns.

This victory is a big reason why the odds have the Chiefs in the most likely Super Bowl matchups.

5. Buffalo Bills vs. Tennessee Titans (Week 6)

The Buffalo Bills came into Week 6 on the heels of a big victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. The Tennessee Titans were looking to show they belonged among the AFC elites.

Buffalo was a (-6.0) point road favorite for the Monday night matchup.

It was a bit of a slow start as the Bills led 6-0 early in the second quarter. That’s when the action picked up, with Derrick Henry leading the way.

Each team scored 17 points in the second quarter, giving the Bills a 20-17 lead at halftime. The Bills and Titans traded the lead, with Buffalo taking a 31-24 lead into the fourth quarter.

Tennessee kicked a field goal on their opening drive of the quarter. A defensive stop gave the Titans the ball back with eight minutes remaining. They capped off a five-minute drive with a 13-yard touchdown run by Henry.

Facing a three-point deficit, it didn’t take long for Buffalo to work into field goal range. However, they were thinking about a touchdown.

With 22 seconds remaining, the Bills passed on a field goal and went for it on fourth-and-goal. Tennessee stuffed Josh Allen, claiming a 34-31 victory. This Monday night matchup reminded me of the best Monday night games of all time.

Henry was the star of the night, finishing with 143 yards and three touchdowns.

4. Dallas Cowboys vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Week 1)

The kickoff to the 2021 season featured the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the return of Dak Prescott for the Dallas Cowboys.

Tampa Bay was an (-8.5) point favorite, but it was anyone’s game in the first half. The Buccaneers struck first with a five-yard touchdown pass to Chris Godwin. Dallas immediately answered with a 22-yard touchdown to CeeDee Lamb.

A wild second quarter saw a combined 23 points. The Buccaneers capped off the first half with a 47-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown.

The Buccaneers held a five-point lead at halftime, but the scoring continued in the third quarter. Brady and Prescott each had a touchdown pass, with the Cowboys also adding a field goal.

In the fourth quarter, Tampa Bay had a chance to make a two-possession game, but Godwin fumbled inside the five-yard line. Dallas kicked a field goal on the ensuing drive to take a one-point lead with 1:29 remaining.

Brady hit a pair of 20+ yard passes, including one to Godwin, to put the Buccaneers in field goal range. Ryan Succop kicked the game-winning 36-yard field goal to give Tampa Bay a 31-29 win.

Prescott and Brady each passed for 375+ yards, combining for seven touchdowns.

3. Cleveland Browns vs. Los Angeles Chargers (Week 5)

There’s no way the highest-scoring game of the season couldn’t find a spot on this list.

The Los Angeles Chargers and Cleveland Browns looked like early AFC contenders going into Week 5. Los Angeles was a (-2.5) point favorite for this matchup.

There wasn’t much action in the first quarter, but things picked up in the second. Baker Mayfield and Justin Herbert each threw a touchdown a minute apart. A Browns touchdown and Chargers field goal gave Cleveland a 20-13 lead at halftime.

Each team scored a rushing touchdown in the third quarter. A two-point conversion for the Chargers made it a six-point game.

That set the stage for a wild fourth quarter. Each team punted on their first drive but check out what happened from there.

  • Chargers: 42-yard touchdown pass
  • Browns: 71-yard touchdown pass (two-point conversion)
  • Chargers: 4-yard touchdown run
  • Browns: 8-yard touchdown run
  • Chargers: 19-yard touchdown run (missed extra point)

That missed extra point was significant because it would’ve tied the game with a little over three minutes remaining.

Los Angeles did get the ball back, scoring the game-winning touchdown with 1:31 remaining. The Chargers won 47-42, with Herbert throwing for 398 yards and four touchdowns.

2. Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens (Week 2)

Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens came into Week 2 looking for their first victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in the Patrick Mahomes era.

The Chiefs opened as a (-4.0) point favorite, kicking things off with a bang. Tyrann Mathieu’s 34-yard pick-six gave the Chiefs a 7-0 lead less than a minute into the game.

Each team scored a touchdown on their next drive, but the defenses forced a few stops. A rushing touchdown for each team and a Justin Tucker field goal made it 21-17 at the half with the Chiefs on top.

Early in the third quarter, the offenses were on full display.

  • Chiefs: 40-yard touchdown pass
  • Ravens: 42-yard touchdown pass
  • Chiefs: 46-yard touchdown pass

Going back to the first half, that was six straight scoring drives.

It wasn’t looking great for the Ravens as they entered the fourth quarter facing an 11-point deficit. Then, Jackson went to work. He rushed for a two-yard touchdown before leading the Ravens on an eight-minute touchdown run.

He capped it off by somersaulting into the end zone for the go-ahead score.

The Chiefs quickly moved into field goal range, but a fumble ended their chances. Baltimore won 36-35.

1. Los Angeles Chargers vs. Las Vegas Raiders (Week 18)

Could it have been any other game? The Week 18 battle between the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders is one people will remember for a long time.

The winner would make the playoffs, but a tie meant both teams would make the playoffs. The Chargers were a (-3.0) point road favorite.

In the first half, it was a back-and-forth affair. The Raiders scored the first 10 points, but the Chargers responded with a pair of touchdowns from Austin Ekeler. A Josh Jacobs touchdown gave the Raiders a 17-14 lead at halftime.

Las Vegas found themselves in a great spot, leading 29-14 in the fourth quarter.

Los Angeles scored a touchdown on fourth-and-21 and a two-point conversion to make it a seven-point game. The Chargers got the ball back on their 17-yard line with 2:06 remaining.

The Chargers faced three fourth downs on the drive. They converted all of them to keep the drive going. Justin Herbert threw the game-tying 12-yard touchdown pass as time expired to send it to overtime.

In overtime, each team kicked a field goal. It looked like the Raiders might settle for a tie, but a timeout by the Chargers gave them a chance to gain more yards.

A 10-yard run by Josh Jacobs set up a game-winning field goal for the Raiders. The 35-32 victory sent them to the playoffs.

Other Great NFL Games in 2021

  • Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions (Week 13)
  • Green Bay Packers vs. Baltimore Ravens (Week 15)

The Detroit Lions came into Week 13 looking for their first win of the season. They led 20-6 at halftime but faced a four-point deficit with 1:50 remaining. Jared Goff led them down the field, throwing a game-winning 11-yard touchdown as time expired.

In Week 15, the Baltimore Ravens took on the Green Bay Packers without Lamar Jackson. It was a close battle, but the Packers held a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter.

Tyler Huntley’s rushing touchdowns moved the Ravens within a point. They opted against the extra point, going for two to take the lead. Baltimore failed, giving the Packers a 31-30 victory.

The 2021 NFL season brought us many thrilling games. There were many great games that didn’t make this list. Hopefully, we’ll see some more in the playoffs.

Want more NFL content? Take a look at this breakdown of the 10 greatest defenses in NFL history.

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A great NFL defense can lead a team to the Super Bowl. An elite defense can do the heavy lifting as long as the offense is somewhat respectable. Over time, the NFL has shifted towards a more offense-centric league. That’s why many great defenses come...

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Nicholas Sterling
Nicholas Sterling

Nicholas has been a Sports Writer with GamblingSites.com since May 2021. He has a rich sports background, writing about NASCAR, NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, Golf, etc. Nick is always ready for a new challenge.

He enjoys rooting on D.C. sports teams, including the Commanders, Wizards, and Capitals.

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