Not much changes at the top of our NFL Power Rankings in Week 8. In fact, we left the top five the same as they were last week, despite some temptation to bump Pittsburgh down a bit.
Things might be sorting themselves out in the NFC, too, where the Giants impressively won on the road at Dallas, and Atlanta found a way to get by Cincinnati. Those two are each 5-2, and while there are a ton of good teams sitting at 4-3, the Giants and Falcons appear to be the top dogs for now.
- 1. Jets (5-1) | Last Week: 1
The Jets were on a bye this week, and the NFL had one of the uglier weekends of action that you'll ever see. Correlation or causation? Probably the former, although Rex Ryan's explanation of why it's the latter would be awfully entertaining. --Josh Alper
- 2. Steelers (5-1) | Last Week: 2
The Steelers got by the Dolphins, though Miami fans want it noted that it was only because of the referee. Of course, those field goals the Dolphins had to settle for earlier in the game may have been a factor. Anyway, Pittsburgh now heads to New Orleans, where the struggling Saints are desperate to stay relevant.
- 3. Patriots (5-1) | Last Week: 3
It's starting to feel like you could send Tom Brady out with offensive skill players he met five minutes before kickoff, and he'd still put up more than 300 total yards and win the game. Does that say more about Brady or the general state of the league? The answer really doesn't matter to New England, as long as the Pats keep on winning. --JA
- 4. Ravens (5-2) | Last Week: 4
Don't read too much into the Ravens needing overtime to beat winless Buffalo. The reality is that no team blows out everyone it's supposed to, and it will do the Ravens good down the road to have found a way to win on a day where they clearly didn't have their "A" game.
- 5. Colts (4-2) | Last Week: 5
Off a bye, the Colts get back at it next Monday night against Houston, which is going for a season sweep of Indy. The Colts might be banged up, but they're still formidable -- and don't count them out in a big game like this, especially at home.
- 6. Titans (5-2) | Last Week: 8
An impressive win over Philadelphia kept the Titans' streak against NFC teams alive. It also gave them wins over two NFC East contenders -- the Eagles and Giants (they also beat the Cowboys, but that hardly looks like an accomplishment now). Tennessee's hope is that Vince Young will be available soon, which would be a good thing, because the Titans probably won't win long-term with Kerry Collins.
- 7. Giants (5-2) | Last Week: 9
They keep knocking out quarterbacks, which is the second-best strategy they've come up with this season. The best is playing in the NFC, because they really don't look to have many challengers for the title of top team in the conference at the moment. It's a long season, of course, but the NFC doesn't appear to be getting any better. --JA
- 8. Falcons (5-2) | Last Week: 8
After inexplicably blowing a 24-3 lead, Atlanta rallied and beat the game Bengals at home, thanks in part to Roddy White's big day. With New Orleans floundering and Tampa Bay still not having proven itself, the Falcons are a clear favorite in the NFC South.
- 9. Texans (4-2) | Last Week: 9
Monday's game at Indianapolis represents a tremendous opportunity for Houston. The Texans have a chance to win a big road game and show themselves off on national television. It also would allow them to keep pace in the AFC South and create a gap between themselves and the Colts.
- 10. Redskins (4-3) | Last Week: 14
DeAngelo Hall probably won't ever have another day like he did on Sunday, because he probably won't ever face another offense as hellbent on turning the ball over as the 2010 Chicago Bears. The Redskins didn't have much working beyond Jay Cutler-to-Hall on Sunday, but this year doesn't call for much to win games in the NFC. --JA
- 11. Saints (4-3) | Last Week: 6
Drew Brees would probably like to forget Sunday's debacle against Cleveland. He is now tied with Brett Favre for the league lead with 10 picks in seven games, and it doesn't get any easier Sunday night for the defending champions, as Pittsburgh comes calling.
- 12. Eagles (4-3) | Last Week: 7
Kevin Kolb's nickname isn't E-Z (at least not that we know of), but it should be after the way he played against the Titans this week. He made Andy Reid's life easy by offering no argument for keeping Michael Vick on the bench for another week. Now the Eagles just have to hope time off didn't hamper Vick. --JA
- 13. Buccaneers (4-2) | Last Week: 16
It's not fair to say the Bucs haven't really proven themselves, but they haven't. That could happen in the next two weeks, as Tampa plays road games at Arizona and Atlanta on consecutive Sundays. That will show us where this Buccaneer team stands in the NFC South, and in the NFC as a whole.
- 14. Dolphins (3-3) | Last Week: 13
On the long list of ways to lose a football game, there's probably not a more painful one than the way the Dolphins lost on Sunday. You just can't get gifted two drives inside the opponents' 25 two minutes into the game and come away with only six points in the NFL. What? You thought I was talking about something else? --JA
- 15. Chiefs (4-2) | Last Week: 15
Good teams blow out bad teams at home, and after taking care of business against the Jaguars, Kansas City has earned the right to be called a "good team." The Chiefs are sticking to the winning formula of good defense plus a great running game, and it should continue to work for them. --R.J. White
- 16. Seahawks (4-2) | Last Week: 18
In the battle for first in the NFC West, Seattle's defense trumped all, holding the Cardinals to 10 points in an easy win. Seattle's trade of Deion Branch has unearthed a valuable passing-game weapon in Mike Williams, who hauled in double-digit catches for the second straight week. --RW
- 17. Bears (4-3) | Last Week: 12
Consecutive home losses to allegedly inferior teams must have Bears fans griping a bit. They blew a chance to pull away in the NFC North, and now must deal with the Packers nipping at their heels again. The bye comes at a good time, as it gives Chicago a chance to regroup.
- 18. Packers (4-3) | Last Week: 21
Aaron Rodgers improved to just 2-11 in games decided by four points or less with Sunday's win over Minnesota, but the fact he got it done against Favre means something. Now, coach Mike McCarthy has to figure out why Rodgers and his receivers were so out of sync Sunday night. That won't work against the Jets.
- 19. Cardinals (3-3) | Last Week: 17
Max Hall's day was looking pretty ugly even before he was knocked from the game with a concussion, as he completed just four passes in 16 attempts. He's still the starter, and he'll have better days, but Arizona opponents should expect a heavy dose of the running game moving forward. --RW
- 20. Raiders (3-4) | Last Week: 27
Darren McFadden looked much closer to 100 percent than 70 percent on Sunday, racking up four TDs in the Raiders' epic blowout of the Broncos. The onus will be on Tom Cable to remind this team throughout the week that its still just 3-4, as such a big victory may breed overconfidence in the players. --RW
- 21. Jaguars (3-4) | Last Week: 20
The Jaguars got thumped by Kansas City, as backup quarterback Todd Bouman just couldn't play well enough, and the Jags didn't show up at all on defense. They've been blown out a lot this year, so even a 3-4 record might be deceiving.
- 22. Vikings (2-4) | Last Week: 19
Brett Favre's ankle fractures are just the latest drama for a team that's made plenty of headlines but seems to be really good at coming up short on Sundays. If the Vikings can't beat the Patriots, it might be time to consider benching Favre, whether he wants to play or not.
- 23. Browns (2-5) | Last Week: 30
That win over New Orleans came out of nowhere, but it's another sign that the Browns are really tough, even if they're not that good. Eric Mangini pulled out all the stops in Sunday's win, and it has to give Colt McCoy some confidence, even though his numbers weren't impressive.
- 24. Bengals (2-4) | Last Week: 23
Cincinnati continues to disappoint, losing to Atlanta after rallying from 21 down to take a lead at the end of the third quarter. While the offense finally stepped up on Sunday, the defense eventually found a way to let the team down.
- 25. Rams (3-4) | Last Week: 24
This Rams team is for real. St. Louis was 10 seconds away from beating a very good Tampa Bay team on the road, and even at 3-4, the Rams are still very much in the NFC West hunt -- especially if Sam Bradford (no interceptions for second straight week) continues to play like a seasoned veteran. --RW
- 26. Chargers (2-5) | Last Week: 25
The 2-5 Chargers will be more than ready to turn the page on October after next week, and this is a team that does their best work in November and December. They look headed in the right direction already, as they dominated the Patriots in nearly every aspect of the game in Week 7, save for the most important part: the score. --RW
- 27. Broncos (2-5)) | Last Week: 22
What an embarrassment -- the Broncos allowed Oakland to score the most points in that franchise's long history. The game was over in the first few minutes, as the Raiders held a 24-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. One positive: Knowshon Moreno looked healthy and capable of making a big contribution to the offense. --RW
- 28. Panthers (1-5) | Last Week: 32
They may have needed a last-second field goal to beat lowly San Francisco, but a win is a win. The Panthers will take it at this point, because there simply aren't a lot of likely wins left on this schedule with this team.
- 29. Cowboys (1-5) | Last Week: 28
Look at it this way, Cowboys fans: it's not like the team was any good when Tony Romo was healthy. Now you can stop fretting every week and simply sit back and start thinking about who you'll take with one of the first three picks of the draft. Or just watch the Rangers and ignore this mess. --JA
- 30. Lions (1-5) | Last Week: 26
Off a bye, the Lions need to figure out their quarterback situation, and a healthy Matthew Stafford could make a huge difference. Washington hasn't overwhelmed anyone, so despite the difference in records, Sunday's contest is definitely a winnable game for Detroit.
- 31. 49ers (1-6) | Last Week: 29
Unable to build momentum after a Week 6 win, Mike Singletary must be squarely on the hot seat in San Francisco. An offense with David Carr would be a disaster, and as the 49ers head across the pond for a London-based game against the Broncos, disaster looms in the distance. --RW
- 32. Bills (0-6) | Last Week: 31
Ryan Fitzpatrick is rapidly nearing induction into the Hall of Fame reserved for players who win someone a fantasy season because they took Kevin Kolb in the draft and backed him up with Derek Anderson. He's putting up numbers and the Bills are playing hard, which would lead to a win in a more just world. --JA