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NFL Power Rankings: Week 8

Before you sharpen your pitchforks, a short note on how we’ve come to rank the teams as we have: all NFLTR writers have compiled their own NFL power rankings, which we’ve compiled and averaged in the list below.  We hope you enjoy the fruits of our labor, and feel free to agree, disagree, or roast us in the comments below.

Week 1 : Week 2 : Week 3 : Week 4 : Week 5 : Week 6 : Week 7

#1) Seattle Seahawks ( 1)

Seattle is 6-1 for the first time in franchise history. The Seahawks lead the league with 19 takeaways this season and have forced at least two turnovers in all seven games this season. Looking at their remaining schedule, there are really only two tough games left for them, which are against the Saints and the 49ers. They get the winless Buccaneers this weekend.

#2) Denver Broncos (1)

The Broncos had six three-and-outs on Sunday, which is remarkable when you consider that they had only 10 in all six of their previous games. The Colts blitz really had an impact on Peyton Manning throughout the game, who really had a hard time throwing the ball on Sunday. Manning completed some of the ugliest passes I’ve seen all season, so hopefully his arm strength improves with some rest. They get Washington in Week 8.

#3) New Orleans Saints 

The Saints had a good week to be on bye. They were resting while the league endured the worst week for significant injuries all season. I really think the Saints are a strong contender this season and it will help to ease into their remaining schedule by taking on the Thad Lewis-led Bills at home in Week 8.

#4) Kansas City Chiefs ( 1)

Alex Smith is 27-6-1 as a starter over the last three years and the Chiefs are the only undefeated team at 7-0. Kansas City is the first team to allow 17 or fewer points in seven straight games since 2006 Ravens. To be honest, they’ve had a soft schedule thus far, which continues again in Week 8 when they take on the Browns. We’ll see how they look against the Broncos in a few weeks.

#5) Indianapolis Colts ( 1)

Robert Mathis now has 43 forced fumbles in his career, which is the most in NFL since 2003. Colts now have wins over the 49ers, Seahawks and Broncos, which is as impressive of resume as they come. However, they have losses to the Chargers and Dolphins, and nearly lost to the Raiders to start the season. IND has a bye in Week 8, but will have a winnable stretch ahead of them in Week 9 when they take on the Texans.

#6) San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers have won four straight games, as they handled Titans with relative ease. San Francisco is a much better team when Colin Kaepernick is using his legs to get first downs and keeping the defense honest. Their improving and getting healthy as they schedule has gotten much easier in recent weeks. Up next, the Jaguars in Week 8. Should be a blowout.

#7) Green Bay Packers 

I really think Mike McCarthy doesn’t get enough credit for being one of the best coaches in the league. The Packers start a number of guys with less than 20 snaps of experience on both sides of the ball and they still were able to take care of the Browns fairly easily. Of course CLE doesn’t present the greatest challenge and Aaron Rodgers makes up for a lot, but McCarthy deserves some credit as well. The Packers travel to Minnesota to play the Josh Freeman-led Vikings.

#8) Cincinnati Bengals ( 4)

The Bengals are a gritty team that has really earned their five wins this season. They gave up a lot of passing yards on Sunday and losing Leon Hall for the season isn’t going to help their secondary moving forward, but there’s no question they’re the best team in the AFC North. Cincinnati’s streak of 20 games without allowing 300 passing yards ended in large part to Calvin Johnson, which is totally understandable. Week 8’s game against the Jets should be a very solid game.

#9) New England Patriots (5)

The Patriots have now had a turnover in 34 consecutive games. Tom Brady has now had zero touchdown passes in two of last three games. This is after he was able to throw touchdown passes in 52 straight games. Even more concerning is the fact that Brady was 4-for-20 on passes over 10 yards, which appears to be an indication that it’s not just his receivers fault. Some of this has to be on him. The Pats are a game up on Jets and get the Dolphins in Week 8.

#10) Dallas Cowboys

Tony Romo has now thrown a touchdown pass in 20 straight games, which ties his own franchise record for the longest streak. The main takeaway from this game are the fact that the Cowboys are now 3-0 in the division and their defense played a very good game, despite being short handed. Dallas has a harder test in Week 8 as they travel to Detroit.

#11) Detroit Lions (3)

The Lions converted 13 of 19 third downs, had 357 yards passing, committed no turnovers and even ran 23 more plays than the Bengals and still somehow lost the game. Clearly, there are positive take aways from this game, but on some level there has to be some disappointment for not coming out of this game with a win. Detroit gets the Cowboys this weekend.

#12) San Diego Chargers ( 3)

Philip Rivers has completed more than 80 percent of his passes in three of his last five games and has only been under 66 percent one time this season. The addition of Mike McCoy couldn’t have made more immediate dividends than it has for the Chargers this season. They are on bye in Week 8 and then travel to Washington, which should be a pretty good game if you like aerial displays.

#13) Chicago Bears (1)

The Bears allowed at least 30 points for the third time this season, which they only did once last year. Chicago’s 41 points scored in the loss is the most they’ve ever scored in a loss in team history. With that being said, backup QB Josh McCown looked very good in relief of Jay Cutler and they still have their offensive weapons in place. This team can still win games, but need something out of their defense. Allowing 45 points to any team just isn’t acceptable, even in today’s NFL. The Bears are on bye in Week 8 and then have a big division game against the Packers.

#14) New York Jets ( 7)

I might be in the minority here, but I really think Rex Ryan is a good coach. He has a Jets team that no one expected anything from this season not only competitive, but they just beat the Patriots to get over .500 at 4-3. If they could somehow get their turnover issues under control, this team could compete with some pretty good teams in the second half of the season. We’ll know a lot more about this team after they take on the 5-2 Bengals and then the 5-1 Saints in back-to-back weeks.

#15) Carolina Panthers ( 4)

The Panthers appear to have really turned things around in the past few weeks. Granted their wins are against the Giants, Vikings and Rams, but their defense is for real and Cam Newton has looked much better in their last two games. Carolina is clearly a much better offense when they allow Cam to make plays with their feet. Newton has completed over 75 percent of his passes in their last two games. As a team, they are plus 56 in point differential after six games. They get the Buccaneers next weekend.

#16) Atlanta Falcons ( 2)

Atlanta’s win prevented them from having the dubious distinction of being the first team to lose to the Buccaneers this year. Harry Douglas and Jacquizz Rodgers both put together great games and figure to be a big part of their offense in the coming weeks. If they can get Roddy White and Steven Jackson closer to 100 percent, there’s chance they could get back into contention for a playoff spot. That’s admittedly fairly optimistic on my part.

#17) Baltimore Ravens ( 3)

What is going on in Baltimore? Yes, they were forced to make a number of big changes during the offseason due to cap issues, but their quality offensive players like Joe Flacco and Ray Rice look to be a far cry from their previous forms. The Ravens are under .500 after seven games and teams are really challenging them in the trenches and winning. Hopefully the bye week will help them get refocused to play the Browns. Another loss to Cleveland and it’s basically over for them.

#18) Miami Dolphins ( 5)

For as good as the Dolphins looked to start the season, they been equally as bad the past three weeks. A third straight loss leaves them back at square one. They just completed a trade for Bryant McKinnie to help their ailing offensive line, but this trade has disaster written all over it. We’re talking about a guy who was so bad the Ravens felt obligated to make a trade for a guy who could depart after the season and sent McKinnie to the bench. I can’t see this ending well for Miami. They travel to New England in Week 8.

#19) Philadelphia Eagles ( 3)

It appears as though Nick Foles isn’t as good against other teams as he is against the Buccaneers. Foles completed 38 percent of his passes for only 80 yards and miserable average of 2.8 yards per pass. On top of that, he was 0-for-8 on throws over 15 yards. Rookie Matt Barkley looked pretty confident as he contributed 3 interceptions to the team’s offense. Michael Vick is their best option when healthy and it appears as though he’ll be ready to play against the Giants next Sunday.

#20) Tennessee Titans  (3)

It was surprising to see Jake Locker return so soon from what was a fairly serious hip injury, but it’s not easy to come back and take on the 49ers. Tennessee was losing 24-0 at the start of the fourth quarter, so it’s a little deceiving to see a final score of 31-17. Locker managed to put together a 300 yard passing game that included two touchdowns and an interception. While they’re now back at .500, no team has a better two-game stretch ahead of them than the Titans. They get Kellen Clemens and the winless Jaguars in the next two weeks.

#21) Buffalo Bills ( 1)

So that Mario Williams contract doesn’t look as bad anymore. Clearly, the Dolphins horrible offensive line made things pretty easy for a talented pass rusher, but he already has 10 sacks on the season and has a real shot of totaling over 20 by the end of the season. Thad Lewis has done enough to keep them competitive in the AFC East. It gets a lot harder in the next two weeks when they travel to New Orleans and return home to play currently undefeated Chiefs in Week 9.

#22) Washington Redskins ( 6)

Washington is significantly better team when RGIII is able to take off an run. They finished Sunday’s game with over 200 yards as a team, which included nearly a 100 yards from Alfred Morris and a breakout game from Roy Helu. Their defense still remains a huge concern as they’re averaging over 30 points allowed per game.

#23) Pittsburgh Steelers ( 3)

Steelers snapped streak of 11 straight games without 100 rushing yards, which was the longest such streak in team history. Pittsburgh defense played a better game as well, so they are at least showing some signs of what we have come to expect from the Steelers. Another balanced outing should be enough for them to secure their third straight win against the Raiders next weekend.

#24) Houston Texans ( 1)

Texans defense has allowed the fewest yards per game this season, but is somehow No. 25 in the league in points allowed. Houston is also -11 in turnover ratio, which has them tied for last place in the AFC. The point is that a lot has been made about their quarterback issues, but their defense is deserving of some criticism as well. Losing Brian Cushing to another season-ending knee injury isn’t going to help get this turned around.

#25) Arizona Cardinals  (5)

There was a lot of talk about how Carson Palmer would excel in Bruce Arians’ offensive system, but the most notable stat to sum up Palmer’s season is the fact that he has five straight games with multiple interceptions. The Cardinals offensive line isn’t doing much to help him given that he’s been under duress on nearly 25 percent of his dropbacks. Arizona does have a decent stretch of games ahead of them as they get ATL, HOU and JAX in the next three weeks, but they will need to limit the turnovers to do so.

#26) Oakland Raiders  ( 1)

What a great week to be on bye as it seems as though nearly every NFL that played in Week 7 came away with at least one serious injury. Oakland will get a rebounding Steelers team who has wins over the Jets and Ravens in the past two weeks. The Raiders should be able to move the ball on the ground against a poor run-defense, but they’ll need something out of their passing game to get their third win of the season.

#27) Cleveland Browns ( 3)

Cleveland went up against a team that was starting a number of second and third-string players and liked awful. Jordan Cameron was one of the only players who stood out during this game other than Travis Benjamin, who is probably my favorite player on the Browns teams. At one point, it looked like the Browns actually had a fighting chance in the AFC North, but it’s more than apparent that they aren’t going anywhere with Brandon Weeden.

#28) St. Louis Rams ( 5)

It looks like the Rams will be jockeying for a top-five pick now that Sam Bradford is done for the season. By no means am I implying that Bradford was going to lead them to the playoffs, but the simple fact that Kellen Clemens will be their starter for the foreseeable future is more than enough to write them off. St. Louis will bring in a list of quarterbacks that includes: David CarrJohn SkeltonBrady Quinn,  Tyler Thigpen and Matt Leinart for workouts on Tuesday just in case you thought things may not be that bad.

#29) New York Giants  ( 1)

Eli Manning managed to not throw an interception during Monday’s nights win over the miserable Vikings for the first time this season. Peyton Hillis actually had an impact in this game, but he was clearly out of shape and looked pretty bad at times, despite the fact that he totaled over 80 combined yards and had one touchdown. The Giants travel to PHI in Week 8 and will take on Michael Vick.

#30) Minnesota Vikings  (1)

Despite playing for a new team, Josh Freeman managed to extend his streak of games with an interception to seven. Freeman’s debut amounted to 20-53 (38%), 190 yards, 1 INT and a passer rating 40.6. He had 16 overthrown incompletions, which is the most by any QB in a game in the past eight years, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

#31) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers are now 0-6 and will most likely be without RB Doug Martin for at least a good portion of the season. They managed to lose to the Falcons despite possessing the ball for 15 minutes more the Falcons and out gaining them in total yards. TB will be up against an improving Panthers team in Week 8.

#32) Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville is 2-21 since Shad Khan took over as the owner and they haven’t scored a touchdown at home since Week 16 of last season. I have nothing positive to say about this team other than they are guaranteed a good draft pick next year. They get a solid 49ers team next weekend.

 

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