NFL Power Rankings: Week 8

Three teams expected to contend for a championship at the start of the season have suffered slow starts, Green Bay, New England and Pittsburgh. They have turned it around, however, and look poised to make runs over the final half of the season after win streaks of three games, two games and two games, respectively.

It took eight weeks, but the Patriots finally put together 60 minutes of solid football in their 45-7 win over the Rams at Wembly Stadium. Pittsburgh’s defense continues to live up to the Steeler tradition, as they shut down Washington’s explosive rushing offense. The Steelers have allowed the fewest total yards in the NFL through eight weeks, despite the numerous injuries they’ve endured on that side of the ball. Although the Packers looked ugly in their win against Jacksonville, they found a way to win a close game— something they were unable to do in their three losses.

At the top of the rankings, the Falcons remain undefeated after perhaps their best effort of the season. The final score of 30-17 does not do justice to the fact that Atlanta completely dominated an Eagles’ team desperate for a win in Philadelphia.

The remaining four teams in last week’s top five also won (with the exception of Houston who had a bye); therefore, maintaining the status quo in this week’s top five. Although San Francisco gained major style points in their decisive victory over Arizona Monday night, while Chicago and the New York Giants barely escaped with close wins— I cannot penalize the ability of these two teams to perform in the clutch. Executing when it matters most marks a team with the mental fortitude, experience and coaching that becomes so important come playoff time.

Photo courtesy of DGA Productions via Flickr

Team Rank Previous Rank Record Thoughts

Atlanta Falcons

1

1

7-0

The Falcons are 7-0 for the first time in franchise history and are the 31st team to be perfect through seven games in the super bowl era. Atlanta could conceivably be undefeated come their Week 15 matchup with the Giants although, as we know, anything can happen any given week.

Chicago Bears

2

2

6-1

I have a hard time understanding how an offense with Jay Cutler, Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall struggles to find consistency. But one thing is for certain: that defense is the real deal.

 

Houston Texans

3

3

6-1

The Texans have the luxury of playing in one of the worst divisions in football, which should allow them to lock up the AFC South early and rest their players for the postseason.

 

 

New York Giants

4

4

6-2

Tom Coughlin cannot be happy that his team almost blew a 23 point lead in a pivotal division game against the Cowboys. Like always though, luck was on the Giants’ side as they escaped by a finger’s length (literally).

 

 

San Francisco 49ers

5

5

6-2

When Alex Smith plays as well as he did Monday night (completing 18 of 19 passes) and the receiving corps makes as many plays as they did, then this team may be impossible to beat.

 

Green Bay Packers

6

6

5-3

Three wins in a row and the Packers have caught the attention of the league once again. Aaron Rodgers has quietly put his name in the MVP discussion.

New England Patriots

7

7

5-3

The Patriots were 5-3 last year before winning eight in a row to cement themselves as the AFC favorite. Could this year follow a similar script?

 

 

Denver Broncos

8

10

4-3

Denver finally realized that the first three quarters of a football game are not simply practice. The 60-minute effort they put forth on Sunday showed them as the team I thought they could be.

 

 

Baltimore Ravens

9

9

5-2

Two trap games loom against Cleveland and Oakland before the always-intense rivalry with Pittsburgh resumes in Week 11.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

10

12

4-3

Many overlook Pittsburgh when discussing potential contenders in the AFC. If the Steelers can run the ball better, then they could certainly represent the conference in the Super Bowl.

 

Minnesota Vikings

11

8

5-3

A defense that had given up only 79 points through the first five weeks of the season has now given up 88 over the past three weeks. The Vikings are 1-2 in that span.

 

Seattle Seahawks

12

11

4-4

A tough loss to the Lions is hard to swallow as the 49ers begin to create some distance in the NFC West.

 

Miami Dolphins

13

16

4-3

Miami continues to surprise, with a drubbing of the Jets in New York putting them into second place in the AFC East. Hopefully Ryan Tannehill’s injury will not keep him out, as he has been one of the most productive rookie QBs thus far this season.

 

Indianapolis Colts

14

21

4-3

Like Miami, the Colts are a pleasant surprise. For a team in rebuilding mode, they are in position to compete for a wild-card spot.

 

Dallas Cowboys

15

13

3-4

Somehow, Dallas had a chance to win against the Giants despite turning the ball over six times. This team needs a rushing attack badly.

 

Detroit Lions

16

23

3-4

After starting 1-3, the Lions are 2-1 over the past three games, including hard-fought wins against the Eagles and Seahawks. Perhaps Detroit has rediscovered their 2011 form.

 

Arizona Cardinals

17

14

4-4

And the free-fall continues for the Cardinals. The latest hit coming in an embarrassing loss to San Francisco on national TV. It doesn’t matter who your quarterback is, when you allow a league-leading 39 sacks, it is impossible to be successful.

 

Philadelphia Eagles

18

15

3-4

Andy Reid’s days as an Eagle seem numbered. Three straight losses and the rabid Philadelphia fan base is restless.

 

Washington Redskins

19

17

3-5

RG3 has taken a beating this year. If he continues to leave the pocket as much as he does, then he could be the next Michael Vick (in terms of injuries).

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

20

26

3-4

Tampa Bay has scored 28 points or more over their last three games. Could this team be a sleeper in the wild-card hunt? Possibly. They have certainly played better than their record indicates.

 

Cincinnati Bengals

21

24

3-4

Cincinnati moves up three spots only because of the poor play of many of the teams who were above them last week. Two difficult matchups against the Broncos and Giants could extend their losing streak to five games.

 

San Diego Chargers

22

18

3-4

On Sunday it looked as if the Chargers had quit on coach Norv Turner. All is not lost though. Since 2007, the Chargers are 32-12 after November 1st. Turner may have more time to right the ship.

 

St. Louis Rams

23

19

3-5

Games against perhaps the two best offenses in football (Green Bay and New England) shocked St. Louis’ system. This defense appears overrated.

 

Oakland Raiders

24

28

3-4

Although Denver looks ready to run away with the division, the AFC West is still wide open. Two wins in a row and Oakland has life.

 

New York Jets

25

20

3-5

The Jets continue to be the biggest soap opera running. They talk all week and then get beat. Losing 30-9 in an important divisional game at home will further impact the already negative team chemistry.

Tennessee Titans

26

25

3-5

Tennessee lost a heartbreaker in overtime, ending a two-game winning streak. Still, you can’t fault this teams persistence.

 

New Orleans Saints

29

22

2-5

The Saints’ have allowed less than 27 points only once all season. It is amazing how far this team has fallen from the past couple of seasons.

Cleveland Browns

28

30

2-6

Cleveland is 2-1 over their past three games after starting 0-5 on the season. They definitely have upset on their mind as the beaten-up Ravens visit the dog pound next week.

Buffalo Bills

27

27

3-4

Coming out of a bye week the last thing the Bills want is to face the Texans in Houston. Too bad.

 

Carolina Panthers

30

29

1-6

Carolina has losses of one point, two points, four points, five points and six points on the season. They just can’t catch a break.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

31

32

1-6

The Jags gave Green Bay an unexpected test on Sunday. Jacksonville’s offense continues to be a lesson in futility as it has scored a league worst 14.7 points per game.

 

Kansas City Chiefs

32

31

1-6

Unbelievably, Kansas City is the only team to have never held the lead at any point in a game this season. Now that takes skill.

Comments