NFL Power Rankings: Week Eight

Another week, another nightmare unfolding before our very eyes. As the trade deadline loomed, key players dropped like flies to injuries, and no amount of midseason patchwork will fix a team losing their most important player for the rest of the year. Still, as things shake out, the league is finally readable, and it’s seems fair to say that we know who’s good and who’s in need of work. That being said, the gap at the top is closer than ever. Here are your NFL Power Rankings for Week Eight.

(1) Los Angeles Rams 2

We can talk about how we all expected the Rams to win this one in a big way, but going up 38-0 before benching their starters in the fourth quarter is a kind of dominance you can never expect in an NFL game. They’re Superbowl contenders, if anyone out there still doubted that fact. The trade for Von Miller is just further proof of that fact.

(2) Buffalo Bills

The Bills started this game out slow, but ultimately won by two scores, putting themselves right back into the forefront of the AFC title race after a tough loss before their bye week. Whilst their offense got itself together, their defense made a mockery of the Dolphins offense, allowing only 11 points, less than their shocking average of only 16.3 points allowed per game.

(3) Green Bay Packers 1

It’s official: Aaron Rodgers with no receivers can still get it done, albeit in strange and unforeseen ways. Somehow, Randall Cobb reeled in three impressive grabs for a terrifying 15 yards, but two touchdowns? Rasul Douglas made a great play to win the game and when they get their receivers back, Green Bay will look exactly like they did before this game; Almost unstoppable.

(4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3

In arguably the best game of the week, Tampa Bay remembered that the Saints still have their number, apparently. Their early heroics (a fourth-down stuff on the opening drive and the counterpunch touchdown), set a pace that they found themselves unable to keep up with. Brady put up his usual consistent numbers, but made several uncharacteristic costly mistakes, and this loss might be important down the line.

(5) Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys managed to squeak out a narrow win against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football. After Dak Prescott was something of a surprise inactive, Cooper Rush did what was needed of him as he let a talented offense work around him. An ideal game from the backup, who can now return to the bench knowing that he’s just upped his price tag. Credit Amari Cooper and a talented defense for this victory, with plenty of recognition for Micah Parsons.

(6) Arizona Cardinals

Well, this was a bit of spit in the eye for the Cardinals. Somehow their defense couldn’t keep the Packers’ offense in check despite them being forced into a limited gameplan due to Covid protocols and, whilst the Arizona offense did move the ball well, their turnovers were costly. Murray’s MVP stock took a big hit on Thursday Night Football.

(7) Tennessee Titans 1

The Titans may have won this game, but there’s a whole lot of questions still left to be answered. The offense sputtered at times, and the secondary is a liability, getting torched almost every week. The biggest concern is also the most obvious; Derrick Henry. We have no idea what this team looks like without him in the backfield, and his 6-10 week timeline for return looks to potentially derail Tennessee’s entire season.

(8) Los Angeles Chargers 1

The Chargers have seen two humbling weeks since their electric shootout win against the Browns, and they haven’t been the same team since. Justin Herbert has been shaky, and his weapons haven’t been as sharp as usual. Did everyone jump on the ship too soon, or is this just a blip? We’ll see, as they play the Eagles next week.

(9) Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens tackle the Vikings after their bye week, looking to bounce back from an upsetting loss; One that’s been on their minds for two weeks now.

(10) New Orleans Saints 2

Give New Orleans plenty of respect. It’s hard to go up against a team as good as this Buccaneers group and win, but doing it after losing your starting quarterback early makes this all the more impressive. Trevor Siemean did well, and a near-perfect performance from the defense kept one of the NFL’s best offenses quiet. What do they do about Winston?

(11) Indianapolis Colts

A hot start from Indianapolis bode well, as the Titans don’t typically play well from behind, but they were unable to maintain the pace. Carson Wentz was some of the best and worst of this team on the day, and he lost it for them in the end with several late-game mistakes, including a nonsensical safety-preventing pick six. Surely, he wants a few of these back.

(12) Cleveland Browns 2

Blame injuries all you want, the Browns should still have been good enough to win against the Steelers. The Browns were beaten in the trenches consistently, and their entire offense suffered for it, though they didn’t help themselves either. Falling short through the air and on the ground, they may need to do some soul-searching before taking the field against the Bengals next week.

(13) Las Vegas Raiders

Vegas finally gets to catch their breath on the bye week after an electric start to the season, and they take on the Giants next.

(14) Kansas City Chiefs

They may be back in the win column, but we can’t keep talking about K.C. like they’re some class above the rest of the NFL any more. This fall from them was unprecedented, sure, but they’re an NFL football team and this isn’t an exact science. An embarrassingly poor performance from the Chiefs lone bright spot shows just how much things have changed. This narrow victory over the Giants doesn’t give anyone hope for their future.

(15) Pittsburgh Steelers 1

Dodgy play calling and poor execution were the Steelers’ real opponents on Sunday, not the Browns, but they still squeaked out a win. The brightest spot for the black and gold was their cohesive and effective offensive line play, which can be awarded with most of the credit for this huge divisional win on the road.

(16) Cincinnati Bengals 1

What happened? Despite their effective play-calling on both sides of the ball, they were simply out-played and out-coached; Something none of us expected from a team taking on the New York Jets. The defense was incredible in the first half, forcing a bevy of turnovers, but facing a suddenly-ferocious Jets offense in the second half proved to be too much.

(17) San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers have to feel encouraged by Jimmy Garoppolo’s performance this week, coming off rumours of a potential benching for the rookie Trey Lance. When their defense failed to contain the streaking Justin Fields, their offense balanced out and put up a host of big plays to move the ball in chunks. Deebo Samuel was everywhere, and has proven to be a high-level starter.

(18) New England Patriots 1

We see you, New England. For five-straight weeks, New England has been impressive, in both victory and defeat. It’s not Mac Jones (who does still deserve some credit), who is still largely handicapped, but the consistent scheming to create open men on short throws, and it’s incredibly effective. This defense deserves more credit than anyone and, of all their free agent pickups, Matt Judon might have been the best.

(19) Seattle Seahawks 1

Geno Smith is quickly proving himself to be the cream of the 2013 QB class crop, which wasn’t exactly difficult. He completed his first 14 passes, making the Jaguars defense look like mannequins, on his way to a dominant blowout win. Seattle’s defense did their part too, making Trevor Lawrence look positively forgettable.

(20) Minnesota Vikings 2

If the Vikings can’t beat the Cowboys’ backup QB, what can they do? The offense had one good drive resulting in an Adam Thielen touchdown, but managed only three field goals the rest of the night. Kirk Cousins may not be the problem with this offense, but he’s definitely not the solution either. The biggest question of the week for Minnesota: Are any of their fans still alive after this heart-stopping up and down start to the season?

(21) Carolina Panthers

Losing a fumble on the first play of the day seemed to bade unwell for Carolina, but they managed to put together a decent day after the initial disaster. This secondary is getting healthier, and when it’s back at full strength it might just be one the best in the NFL. Gilmore’s interception in his first game as a Panther was textbook. Their wide receiver core may not be awful, but if they can’t catch then this offense will consistently stall out. Drops are a huge problem, time and time again.

(22) Philadelphia Eagles 3

Philadelphia didn’t even have to lift a finger to salt this game away. On a day where their starting QB only attempted 14 passes, they scored 41 straight points in a rout, and Detroit were left looking as bad as they possibly could look. This Eagles run game was the highlight of the day, but their suffocating and opportunistic defense deserves recognition.

(23) Washington Football Team 1

The WFT are atrocious, and this game was evidence of that fact. Consistent misfires and mistakes across the offense, combined with their swiss-cheese offensive line performance dealt them a tough hand. Two of their field goals getting blocked is just another note on the long list of problems they don’t seem to be able to address this season.

(24) New York Giants 2

The Giants were arguably the better team on Monday Night Football, and if they’d had any receivers at all, or their Pro Bowl running back, this probably goes down in the win column for them. Alas, that wasn’t the case, and Joe Judge’s terrible game management and a bad offensive line performance ultimately ended what could have been another massive upset.

(25) Miami Dolphins 2

There were good things going for Miami in Buffalo, but they’ll all be overshadowed by the loss. They were given an unfortunate drubbing by the Bills, as a close game quickly slipped away from them in the second half, and they found themselves running into a wall. A positive, however, is that their defense finally looked like it was expected to look all season. It might be too little too late for a team that averaged 5.5 points per game against their division’s top contender.

(26) Denver Broncos 1

Denver is back in the win column after a four-game skid, but it was as ugly of a win as they could have asked for. There were some positives, however. This pass-rush looks good, even without Von Miller, and Teddy Bridgewater remains quietly efficient in their wins this year. They almost gave the game away late with a lost fumble as they tried to run the clock out, but ultimately this win was more about Washington’s inability to finish drives than Denver’s ability to stop them.

(27) Atlanta Falcons 3

Unfortunately for the Falcons, their red zone defense looks like all they had over the Panthers on Sunday. In a narrowly-fought defensive battle, a late lapse in focus allowed a single drive by the Panthers into their end zone, which was the final nail in the coffin. Calvin Ridley shouldn’t return from his mental health break until he’s better, but his absence was definitely felt.

(28) New York Jets 2

There’s already intrigue in New York about starting Mike White for the rest of the season, and if that doesn’t tell you all you need to hear about the Jets as an organization, I don’t know what to say. Saleh did go deep into his bag of tricks on offense, with creative play-calling and consistent risk-taking throughout the game, but as always it was his well-thought out defense that made all the difference. Jets stock is soaring this week.

(29) Chicago Bears 1

It’s almost funny that Justin Fields’ best game as a pro so far took place with head coach Matt Nagy at home, and it’s just another indicator of his coaching incompetence. It may be early, but of all the hot-seat coaches, Nagy may have the shortest leash. If their defense had been able to contain Deebo Samuel, they might have even won this game.

(30) Houston Texans 2

The Texans get to leapfrog the Jaguars and Lions this week strictly because the Jacksonville and Detroit were dominated by far worse teams, not because Houston was in any way successful. Tyrod Taylor can’t come back soon enough.

(31) Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars were dissected, cut up, partitioned, separated, torn apart and shredded by Seattle on Sunday. Care to hear more? I didn’t think so. What is Urban Meyer doing? Good question.

(32) Detroit Lions 3

Perhaps, after a great performance in last week’s loss to the Rams, we gave the Lions too much credit. After a promising start on both sides of the ball, they got walloped by the Eagles in a rout, down 41-0 before a garbage-time score ended the shutout. There were no bright spots, and the Lions are 0-8, good for worst in the NFL.

Iestyn Harris
One of the owners at The Sports Wave, I live in Canada and follow the NFL and NBA closely. Check out my articles regularly here.

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