NFL Week 8 Power Rankings

By Geoff Ratliff

Week 7 provided some unexpected tests for some of the league’s elite, and some eye-opening performances from some teams that started the season a little slowly but have put themselves back in playoff contention.

  1. Green Bay Packers (7-0) – Even after a slow start against a Minnesota team that seemed to be temporarily galvanized by the QB switch, the Packers managed to remain unbeaten. The offense is humming a long but there have to be some concerns on the defensive side of the ball.
  2. New England Patriots (5-1) – Not sure how this week’s Patriots at Steelers match up didn’t make prime time, but this will easily be the game of the week! A big chance for the Pats to create some distance between one of their main competitors for AFC home field advantage.
  3. New Orleans Saints (5-2) – We all expected the New Orleans offense to get back on track versus the Colts, but Brees was putting up Tecmo Bowl numbers! 62-7 against any NFL team is impressive, regardless of the opponent.
  4. San Francisco 49ers (5-1) – I think the true measure of Harbaugh’s effectiveness at the NFL level will be in keeping this team focused for the last two-thirds of the season as they continue to separate themselves from their NFC West rivals even when they don’t play.
  5. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2) – Those Baltimore and Tennessee losses seem like last season all over again. Great test this week against a Patriots team that they will likely have to go through in the playoffs.
  6. Detroit Lions (5-2) – Remember that potential funk I warned against after last week’s loss? A road game against the Tebow-led Broncos in his first home start of the season is no gimme.
  7. Baltimore Ravens (5-2) – Few carries for Rice and a fumble? Just strange. Jacksonville’s defense has kept them in games all year, but it’s now year four of the Flacco era. Time for him to take the next step if this team is to be taken seriously.
  8. New York Giants (4-2) – The G-Men are in the driver’s seat in the NFC East and should be able to ease back into the stretch run with a second straight bye week, er, I mean a home game against the Dolphins.
  9. Buffalo Bills (4-2) – The Redskins are reeling after a strong start but that doesn’t mean the Bills can take them lightly, especially as tight as it looks like the race for those AFC Wild Card spots will be.
  10. New York Jets (4-3) – Gutsy comeback against a really good Chargers team, especially with Plaxico Burress delivering in exactly the type of situations they brought him in for: Red Zone efficiency. Let’s see if the bye week affects this team’s momentum at all.
  11. San Diego Chargers (4-2) – It’s not so much that they lost the game, but they can’t be feeling good about letting a struggling Jets’ offense to come back on them like that.
  12. Atlanta Falcons (4-3) – Huge character-building road victory for the Falcons. Not sure if this says more about them being legit or about the Lions not quite being ready yet, but I’d prefer not to rain on Atlanta’s parade.
  13. Chicago Bears (4-3) – I’m still not a believer in Jay Cutler, but with Matt Forte literally playing for his contract life and the D in expected Bears’ form, this team will be in the Wild Card hunt all year.
  14. Houston Texans (4-3) – I guess I was wrong. The road is getting easier for the Texans. After a dominant performance in Nashville followed by a trip to the lifeless Colts before a bye, the Texans are the masters of their own fate in the AFC South.
  15. Cincinnati Bengals (4-2) – Seattle is generally strong at home and will be smarting after a tough road loss to the Browns in which their D actually showed up. This will be a great road test for an inexperienced Bengals offense.
  16. Dallas Cowboys (3-3) – Not reading too much into that home thrashing of the Rams, but the performance from DeMarco Murray was encouraging. If the Cowboys can establish the run, it takes a lot of pressure off of Romo and allows the defense to stay fresh. Sunday night game against Philly will tell us more.
  17. Oakland Raiders (4-3) – I had a strange feeling that the Raiders might lose this game amidst the quarterbacking transition and the injury to Janikowski, but that was much uglier than expected. They better hope the injury to McFadden doesn’t linger beyond the bye week.
  18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-3) – This team’s week to week inconsistency is maddening, but not altogether unexpected from the league’s youngest group and youngest coach.
  19. Philadelphia Eagles (2-4) – Andy Reid teams are traditionally very good after bye weeks, and the Eagles are going to need to continue that trend with a make or break, prime time home game against the hated Cowboys.
  20. Kansas City Chiefs (3-3) – Bam! And just like that, the Chiefs have a Monday Night home game against the Chargers with a chance to take sole possession of first place the AFC West. Haley has quickly gone from the Hot Seat to Coach of the Year candidate.
  21. Cleveland Browns (3-3) – Hardesty looked more than capable in the workhorse role, making the game easier to manage for McCoy. Not sure how many 6 point performances they can expect to win though.
  22. Washington Redskins (3-3) – This team is headed in the wrong direction fast, and a trip to Buffalo is not an ideal fix, especially with injuries to key skilled position players piling up.
  23. Tennessee Titans (3-3) – This team has got to get Chris Johnson on track fast, before their season goes up in flames. The injury to Kenny Britt has absolutely taken all the bite out of the offense.
  24. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5) – Remember what I said last week about being excited about the defense? That was a terrific, if not ugly, home win against a Super Bowl contender.
  25. Carolina Panthers (2-5) – Newton is getting better and better every week. He has a great shot at his first consecutive wins in the NFL at home against the Vikings this week.
  26. Seattle Seahawks (2-4) – While not quite as impressive as a win over the Giants, back to back road wins in the Eastern Time zone would be an impressive feat for this team and give them faint hopes in the NFC West.
  27. Denver Broncos (2-4) – I hate to sound like a hater because I really do hope that Tebow succeeds at the NFL level, but are we really just gonna act like the first 57 minutes of the game didn’t happen? I’m just not convinced he can keep this up once teams start game planning for him week to week.
  28. Minnesota Vikings (1-6) – Ponder certainly played well enough to consider the McNabb era in Minnesota over, and they gave the defending champs all they could handle.
  29. Arizona Cardinals (1-6) – Glad I didn’t exactly commit to an upset of the week pick their. This is certainly not the way they envisioned the Kolb era starting, and the injury to Beanie Wells is unfortunate for a guy who was finally starting to justify his pre-draft hype.
  30. St. Louis Rams (0-6) – 34-7 is never good, but with their starting QB out, on the road, against a finally healthy and hungry Cowboys team; can’t fault them too much here.
  31. Miami Dolphins (0-6) – After blowing a 15 point lead in the final three minutes against the Broncos, I was ready to place the Dolphins in the cellar, that is until the Colts one upped them on the embarrassment meter.
  32. Indianapolis Colts (0-7) – You give up 62 points, you earn this spot.

Follow Geoff on Twitter @snglemarriedguy

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