There’s a new top dog in the power rankings as we near the midpoint the NFL season. Tom Brady is in eff you mode, and the Patriots are deservingly the Super Bowl favorites.
After Minnesota’s disappointing loss in Philly and Seattle’s touchdown-less tie in Arizona, the idle Cowboys actually have a valid case as the best team in the NFC. I’m not ready to go that far, but Dallas and the rest of the NFC East teams have reestablished that division’s reputation.
Conversely, the AFC South is an absolute dumpster fire. The Texans lead the division but only earned the #19 spot in the power rankings, followed by the Colts at #22, Titans at #25 and Jaguars at #29.
The Dolphins were the biggest gainers this week after riding Jay Aijayi to an upset of Buffalo. They moved up seven spots from #28 to #21.
Now here are the complete week 8 power rankings.
Week 8’s Top 10 Teams
1.New England Patriots (6-1) (Last Week: #2)
Sure the Patriots win over the Steelers would have been more impressive if Ben Roethlisberger was starting for Pittsburgh rather than Landry Jones, but they took care of business 27-16 to pick up win number six of the season. With the Vikings faltering on Sunday, we no longer have to keep them them above New England in the power rankings out of respect for their unbeaten record. While I still like Minnesota a lot, it just didn’t feel quite right having a team with Sam Bradford as its quarterback in the #1 position. No such qualms about the Tom Brady-led Patriots. They’ll fly to Western New York to take on the Bills this week.
2. Minnesota Vikings (5-1) (#1)
After having no turnovers in their first five games, Minnesota coughed up the balls four times (three fumbles lost and one interception) in Sunday’s sloppy 21-10 loss to the Eagles. Philadelphia exposed that Sam Bradford still doesn’t deal well with pressure. Still, you don’t start 5-0 by accident and Minnesota should continue to be one of the best teams throughout the regular season. The playoffs could be a different story though. They next face the woeful Bears in Chicago on Monday Night Football.
3. Seattle Seahawks (4-1-1) (#3)
Seattle’s 6-6 tie against Arizona on Sunday night certainly wasn’t pretty, but it wasn’t actually a bad result for the NFC West-leading Seahawks. While Seattle only being able to muster 6 points wasn’t great, the takeaway of this weird game should be how stout both teams’ defenses are. As long as Steven Hauschka doesn’t spiral into a crippling depression after that game, they’ll be fine. Look for them to score more than six points in New Orleans on Sunday against the Saints, who give up a league-worst 32.5 points per game.
4.Dallas Cowboys (5-1) (#4)
The Cowboys remain in the #4 spot after their bye week. If Dak Prescott and co. can win their sixth straight game when they host Philadelphia on Sunday Night then they’ll have a legitimate claim to being the best team in NFC. It remains to be seen if their 11th ranked defense will continue to overachieve for the whole season though. As a Giants fan, I sure hope not.
The Broncos kept Brock Osweiler’s Houston Texans from reaching the endzone to snap their two-game skid. Looks like they made the right move letting Osweiler go, because so far this season rookie Trevor Siemian has been better than the former Broncos signal caller. On Monday night C.J. Anderson was finally able to give the Broncos offense a jolt to take some pressure off of Siemian. Their next outing is at home against the Chargers on Sunday.
6. Green Bay Packers (4-2) (#7)
Green Bay handled the Bears 26-10 on the latest monotonous edition of Thursday Night Football. It was a job well done but, let’s be honest, the Bears are one of the worst teams in the league. Aaron Rodgers has received a lot of criticism this season, but the weapons at his disposable are mostly subpar. Still, the smart money is on one of the best quarterbacks in the league getting on track at some point this season. They face the Falcons in Atlanta on Sunday in a game that could have serious wild card implications.
With Spencer Ware averaging 5.2 yards per carry, it looks like Jamaal Charles will be a luxury for this offense going forward rather than a focal point. The Chiefs weren’t great against the Saints, but Andy Reid’s men were able to avoid costly mistakes while their opponents couldn’t. It also didn’t hurt that Alex Smith had a perfect QB rating (158.3) against the blitz in the win. A road game against the Colts is next up for Kansas City.
Derek Carr is superior at this point to his fellow 2014 draftee Blake Bortles, and he proved it in Oakland’s 33-16 triumph in Jacksonville. While we knew the potent Raiders offense could put a lot of points on the board, it was their defensive improvement on Sunday that was most encouraging. They have an intriguing game in Tampa Bay this weekend.
Who knows what to make of the Eagles. Everybody thought they were going to be terrible before the season and then they won their first three out of the gate, including a demolition of Pittsburgh. Then everyone got excited about them and they proceeded to drop two in a row after their bye. Then as everybody was writing off their hot start as a fluke, the Eagles put a halt to Minnesota’s undefeated start to the season, with their defense suffocating the Vikings offense all afternoon. A big NFC East showdown in Dallas on Sunday Night awaits.
10. Atlanta Falcons (4-3) (#5)
Atlanta will be kicking themselves after they allowed San Diego to rally from 17 points back to beat them 33-30 in overtime on Sunday. After a hot start last year they faded into oblivion, and they’re in danger of that happening again. But Matt Ryan leads the league in passing while playing the best football of his career, and I think this high-powered offense will continue to put up a lot of points. As previously stated, they host Green Bay on Sunday.
11. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) (#9)
12. Arizona Cardinals (3-3-1) (#11)
13. Washington Redskins (4-3) (#12)
14. New York Giants (4-3) (#14)
15. Buffalo Bills (4-3) (#10)
16. Cincinnati Bengals (3-4) (#18)
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-3) (#20)
18. Detroit Lions (4-3) (#21)
19. Houston Texans (4-3) (#16)
20. San Diego Chargers (3-4) (#26)
21. Miami Dolphins (3-4) (#28)
22. Indianapolis Colts (3-4) (#27)
23. Baltimore Ravens (3-4) (#17)
24. Los Angeles Rams (3-4) (#22)
25. Tennessee Titans (3-4) (#19)
26. Carolina Panthers (1-5) (#24)
27. New Orleans Saints (2-4) (#23)
28. New York Jets (2-5) (#29)
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-4) (#25)
30. Chicago Bears (1-6) (#30)
31. San Francisco 49ers (1-6) (#31)
32. Cleveland Browns (0-7) (#32)