Here are the week 8 NFL Power Rankings. Again, there is no scientific formula or panel of expert consultants, just my opinion based on what we’ve seen so far this season. Last week’s rankings are in parenthesis.
Week 7 provided some stability in the top of the rankings, unlike week 6 in which none of the top 10 teams picked up a win. The biggest shake-ups in this week’s rankings occurred between the 12th and 20th spots or so.
The power has once again shifted to the AFC, at least as it pertains to the top of the rankings, mostly due to the fact that with week 7 action in the books, there are only 4 teams in the AFC above .500. That means that three of the four division leaders look to be firmly in control of their respective races at this point, and even the Broncos have the bye week to regroup and a soft looking schedule on the horizon, while the Chargers continue to stumble and now head to London for a week 8 match up with the Saints.
In the NFC, on the other hand, with 9 teams currently boasting records above .500, it’s looking increasingly likely that someone could finish with 10 or even 11 wins and not get into the playoffs. There are certainly a lot of teams that are already kicking themselves over games, and opportunities, that they feel they let get away.
NFL Power Rankings – Week 8
1. Tennessee Titans (1) – 6-0 – Those who think the Titans have had an easy time of things so far will want to stay tuned to this Titans team. Next up for the Titans are the Colts, Packers, Bears, Jags and Jets, so show and prove time is here, it seems. Next Week: vs. IND
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (2) – 5-1 – The Steelers seem to have dealt admirably with an early stumble and appear to be in full stride right now. They have a tough schedule on the horizon, but look to have some room for error in the AFC North. Next Week: vs. NYG
3. Buffalo Bills (3) – 5-1 – Three straight games in their division could have the Bills sitting pretty before Thanksgiving. The rest of the schedule looks pretty favorable too; they look like they need to focus on staying healthy and intense. Next Week: @ MIA
4. Arizona Cardinals (4) – 4-2 – They may not be the best team in the NFC, but it’s tough to argue that anyone is more likely to be in the playoffs already. The Cards look like they’ll get Anquan Boldin back this week too. Next Week: @ CAR
5. New York Giants (8) – 5-1 – The Giants seemed to rebound nicely this week after melting down against the Browns in week 6. The tide in the NFC East though seems to change by the minute. Next Week: @ PIT
6. Washington Redskins (7) – 5-2 – They rarely make it look easy, or pretty for that matter, but the Redskins seem to be in every game and find a way to win most of them. Dan Snyder may have finally struck gold in rookie head coach Jim Zorn. Next Week: @ DET
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9) – 5-2 – Jon Gruden appears to have found his QB in Jeff Garcia again, and at just the right time too. The schedule sets up nicely for the Bucs from here out, including a date with the Cowboys at seemingly the most opportune time. Next Week: @ DAL
8. Chicago Bears (19) – 4-3 – You could look at the fact that the Bears have held 4th quarter leads in every game that they’ve played as a positive or a negative. Either they’re just a few plays from being undefeated, or they’re a team who can’t finish games. However you see it, to the Bears it’s the reason that they’re in a battle for a division that they could be in firm control of right now. Next Week: BYE
9. Carolina Panthers (12) – 5-2 – Whether or not the NFC East is still the best division in football is debatable at this point, but no division may be more competitive from top to bottom than the NFC South. That’s going to be bad news for someone, but the Panthers look to be in good shape right now. Next Week: VS. AZ
10. Green Bay Packers (17) – 4-3 – There seems to be no middle ground with this team, they either come out looking like a well-oiled machine or an old hooptie. This week, they look to have it back together, and they’ll have a bye week to prepare for the Titans. Next Week: BYE
11. New England Patriots (11) – 4-2 – Just when you were ready to write this team off, they put on a show like they did on Monday night. As the only non-division leader above .500 in the AFC, New England appears to be dealing well with the hand they were dealt this season. Next Week: vs. ST.L
12. Denver Broncos (6) – 4-3 – The bye is coming at the perfect time for these Broncos; actually week 7 might have been the perfect time as the Broncos appeared to start their off week early. They’ll have 4 winnable games coming out of the bye, and could be riding high going into December. Next Week: BYE
13. Dallas Cowboys (5) – 4-3 – It’s getting harder and harder to make excuses for these underachieving Cowboys. The strangest part of the Cowboys struggles seems to be that their highly paid coaching staff is continually being out game planned on both sides of the ball. Next Week: vs. TB
14. San Diego Chargers (10) – 3-4 – The Chargers haven’t done themselves any favors this season, but don’t read too much into Sunday’s loss. Teams haven’t done well traveling cross-country this season, nor have they done well against teams coming off their byes; the Chargers went across the country to face a Bills team coming off bye, and the Chargers have a trip to London this week. It would have been a tough game for any team under those circumstances. Did I mention that the Chargers haven’t done themselves any favors this season? Next Week: vs. MIA (in London)
15. Jacksonville Jaguars (20) – 3-3 – Sitting at 3-3 and looking up at the undefeated Titans has to be daunting. Being in a 4-way tie for the last wildcard spot despite that 3-3 record has to be encouraging. Having the Browns, Bengals and Lions in the next 3 weeks has to be sweet. Next Week: vs. CLE
16. Philadelphia Eagles (13) – 3-3 – Like Matt Damon in Rounders, Philly is just “hanging around……hanging around”, if they’re healthy at the end they’ll be tough to deal with. Next Week: vs. ATL
17. New York Jets (14) – 3-3 – Traveling from coast to coast can be tough on a team; still last week was a game that the Jets had to win. They’re still very much in the hunt, but they’ll travel to the west coast 2 more times this season and have already dropped 2 out west so far. Next Week: vs. KC
18. Atlanta Falcons (16) – 4-2 – The Falcons are definitely one of the great storylines of this young season, but they may be in a division where 8-8 lands you in 4th place. If they can get through Philly this week, we may have to reevaluate them. Next Week: @ PHI
19. Indianapolis Colts (11) – 3-3 – Of all of the teams that have to be tickled to death with the mediocrity of the AFC’s second tier so far, the Colts have to be most ecstatic. The Colts are dangerous anytime that they take the field and may be playing early possum, as running away with things has never served them well in the past anyway. Next Week: @ TEN
20. Baltimore Ravens (22) – 3-3 – We all knew the Ravens schedule was tough, but who knew it’d be this cruel? Modest expectations to start the season were offset by surprising wins against Cleveland and Cinci, and then close losses to Pittsburgh and Tennessee made this team genuinely tough to figure out (and tough to watch at times). After beating the Dolphins, the Ravens should probably win their next 3, and have everyone thinking playoffs etc. Dates after that with the entire NFC East, plus Pittsburgh and Jacksonville could knock this team and it’s fans right back down to Earth again. It should be an interesting ride regardless. Next Week: vs. OAK
21. St. Louis Rams (30) – 2-4 – If the last two weeks had been the first two weeks of the season, we might be looking at the Rams as one of the teams to beat in the NFC. I think it’s time the Rams offered Jim Haslett a contract immediately. Next Week: @ NE
22. Minnesota Vikings (22) – 3-3 – They might be better than a few of the teams that are ahead of them on this list, but aside from an impressive victory over the Panthers in week 2, this team hasn’t done much to be impressed with. Next Week: BYE
23. Cleveland Browns (23) – 2-4 – Cleveland’s defense looks to be much better than advertised. Unfortunately that explosive offense that they were expecting is nowhere to be found. The good news for Derek Anderson seems to be that the upcoming stretch of games for the Browns might be a tough time to break in a new QB. Next Week: @ JAX
24. Houston Texans (26) – 2-4 – You simply can’t overstate what this team has had to overcome given the start that they had to this season. Gary Kubiak and his charges deserve a lot of credit for playing through adversity that would have caused many to pack it in. Games against Cinci and Minnesota may give them a chance to keep their momentum rolling. Next Week: vs. CIN
25. Miami Dolphins (21) – 2-4 – The Dolphins are clearly headed in the right direction, but they still look to be a few steps behind the rest of their division. Next Week: vs. BUF
26. New Orleans Saints (18) – 3-4 – This team is clearly better than this ranking or their record indicates. Unfortunately for them, they keep finding ways to lose. Maybe a few weeks without Reggie Bush will get the Saints back to a more traditional offense and make them better off in the long run. They will have their work cut out for them either way. Next Week: vs. SD (in London)
27. Oakland Raiders (28) – 2-4 – After being blown out the week before, the Raiders managed to pull out an improbable one this week, on a 57 yard field goal no less. We’ll see how they hold up against the Ravens this week after a cross-country trip. Next Week: @ BAL
28. San Francisco 49ers (25) – 2-5 – It appears that Mike Martz was not the answer to the Niners offensive woes and on Monday, Mike Nolan took the fall for it. I can’t wait to see what Mike Singletary looks like prowling the sidelines as a head coach though. That glare could win the Niners a few calls at least, from intimidated officials. Next Week: vs. SEA
29. Kansas City Chiefs (29) – 1-5 – The good news for Herm Edwards might be that with so many teams likely looking for coaches this off-season, the Chiefs might have to elect to stand pat. The bad news for Herm Edwards might be that he’ll be the captain of this sinking ship for the foreseeable future. Next Week: @ NYJ
30. Seattle Seahawks (27) – 1-5 – You had to know that it was a bad sign when the Seahawks were anxiously awaiting the return of Seneca Wallace; you had to know it was really bad when they weren’t looking at him to fill their glaring need at wide receiver. Next Week: @ SF
31. Cincinnati Bengals (32) – 0-7 – They moved up in the rankings because Detroit might have lost their last winnable game last week to the Texans, even if the Bengals drop one to the Texans this week, they still have games against the Chiefs and Browns in the last 2 weeks. If neither wins a game, we’ll have to use common opponents to determine who’s worse. Next Week: @ HOU
32. Detroit Lions (31) – 0-6 – With the Redskins, Bears, Jags, Panthers, Bucs and Titans in their next 6 games, things could get a whole lot worse in Detroit before they get better. Next Week: vs. WAS
Check back tomorrow for the Fantasy Quarterback and Running Back Positional Power Rankings and our week 8 start rankings for those positions too.