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.
#1) Seattle Seahawks
There are not many positive takeaways from this game other than the Seahawks managed to come away with a victory. Seattle almost looks like an average team on the road and arguably the best team in the league at home. Outside of the Golden Tate touchdown, Seattle gained just 55 yards on 39 total plays. Good news for them is that they have a winnable stretch against TB, ATL and MIN in the next three weeks.
#2) Denver Broncos
It was almost shocking to see the Broncos down 21-7 in the first half, but scoring 31 points in fourth quarter is usually a good way of turning things around. It’s worth noting that Peyton’s Manning has thrown at least one interception in four straight games. Manning set an NFL record for the most passing yards through eight games. Few teams have as tough of stretch as Denver has in the next four weeks. They have three road games against SD, NE and KC and one home game against KC.
#3) New Orleans Saints
The Saints have now won 12 straight home games with Sean Payton as head coach dating back to 2011. Drew Brees managed to spread the ball around in Week 8, which led to five touchdown passes. Even a limited Jimmy Graham is unstoppable as he managed to score twice. They travel to New York to play the Jets, which could be an interesting matchup if the Jets defensive line can apply some pressure to Brees.
#4) Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs won their eighth game of the season, which means that third-round picks they sent the 49ers for Alex Smith turns into a second-round selection. Kansas City is the first team to allow 17 or fewer points through their first eight games since 1977 Falcons. Meanwhile, MVP candidate Jamaal Charles is the first player with 100 yards from scrimmage in each of his first eight games of season since Edgerrin James in 2005. Things are good for the Chiefs but two games against the Broncos in the next four weeks will ultimately determine who wins the AFC West.
#5) Indianapolis Colts
Indy was on bye in Week 8 as they adjust to life without Reggie Wayne. It’s time for Trent Richardson to step up and shoulder some of the load. Andrew Luck will still be able to move the ball with guys like DHB and T.Y. Hilton, but a more balanced approach should mitigate the loss of Wayne. The Colts have a solid defense as well, so I’m sure they’ll be fine moving forward.
#6) Green Bay Packers ( 1)
The never-panic Packers continued to roll in Week 8. It’s just remarkable to see how good this team is at drafting and developing young talent. The Vikings had three first-round selections on the field Sunday and yet the Packers undrafted free agents managed to do more as a group. Green Bay is now 21-5 in divisional games over the last five seasons. Their ability to convert on third and fourth down was extremely impressive, although Minnesota’s defense is pretty terrible to say the least. The Packers are home to take on the Bears and Josh McCown in Week 9.
#7) San Francisco 49ers (1)
With the Chiefs winning their eighth game of the season, the 49ers will now receive a second-round pick for Alex Smith instead of a third-rounder. The 49ers have managed to score over 30 points in five straight games for the first time since 1997. When San Francisco is running down hill, there’s almost no stopping them. I can’t wait to see what they look like when Mario Manningham and Michael Crabtree get worked back into the mix.
#8) Cincinnati Bengals
This was just a great performance from the Andy Dalton and the rest of the Bengals offense. Cincinnati managed to run more plays (33) than the Jets had yards (23) in the first half. Dalton finished with 5 touchdown passes with four of them going to Marvin Jones. The Bengals have a chance to put some distance between them and the rest of the AFC North in the next three weeks as they get the reeling Dolphins, Ravens and Browns during that stretch.
#9) New England Patriots
The Patriots defense has forced a turnover for the 35th straight game, which is currently the best streak in the NFL. New England pulled out a tough win over Miami after getting down 17-3 at half time. With Miami losing four straight, the Bills starting a third-string quarterback, and the Jets playing inconsistent football, the Patriots should be able win enough games down the stretch to put some distance between them and the rest of the teams in the AFC East and possibly earn a playoff bye. They get the Steelers in Week 9.
#10) Detroit Lions ( 1)
Detroit out gained Dallas 632-268. Make that, Calvin Johnson out gained the Cowboys 329 totals yard to 268 yards. Johnson fell seven yards short of the NFL single-game record and put together one of the greatest single game performances in NFL history. There are 16 team that haven’t had a quarterback throw for 329 yards in a game this season. Not sure what else you can say other than Calvin is in a league of his own. They get a bye this week and then prepare to take on the Bears in Week 10.
#11) Dallas Cowboys (1)
Dallas had a +4 turnover ratio, didn’t allow a single sack of Tony Romo the entire game, and were up six points with a minute to go, and they somehow managed to lose. Had Romo thrown a pick to setup that game-winning drive, I can’t even imagine what would have transpired in the media on Monday. Either way, this is as though of a loss as a team can take, but the best remedy for a loss like this is playing the Vikings the next week. The Cowboys can take their frustrations out of a terrible Vikings defense and go back to building a lead in the NFC East.
#12) Carolina Panthers ( 3)
The Panthers are over .500 for first time since end of the 2008 season when they gave QB Jake Delhomme a big contract. Bad decision in hindsight. Carolina looks like a dangerous team all of sudden as they can do some things on offense and their defense can keep them in almost any game. It would still be great to see them get some quality wins over better teams, but that’s admittedly being a little picky. They have a chance to really take it to a reeling Falcons teams in Week 9 and get one step closer to securing a playoff spot.
#13) Chicago Bears
Chicago was on bye in Week 8, which is probably a good things as it allows them to rest up for a big divisional matchup against the Packers. It’s just too bad that both of these teams aren’t at full strength, although it’s probably worse for Chicago being without Jay Cutler, Lance Briggs and Henry Melton. Josh McCown is actually an underrated quarterback, so I’m sure he’ll have an opportunity to make some plays throughout the game. Matt Forte figures to be a crucial element to Bears offense against an improved Packers defense.
#14) San Diego Chargers (2)
San Diego is coming off of a bye in Week 8, but they had the opportunity to watch their next opponent combust against the Broncos last weekend. Phillip Rives and the Chargers offense has been playing at a much more efficient level this season, which bodes well for them against an underwhelming Washington defense. The Chargers will need to either generate a couple of turnovers against the Redskins or get enough stops to help their offense win the time of possession battle. This alone would give them a decent shot at walking out of the nation’s capital with a win.
#15) Baltimore Ravens ( 2)
Baltimore is one of a number of teams that was on bye in Week 8. Their disappointing season has them sitting with a 3-4 record and 2.5 games out of first place in the AFC North. The Ravens have plenty issues on both sides of the ball, but it’s not inconceivable that they could get back in the race for the division. They still have two games against the Bengals on their schedule, so a clean sweep would be enough to put them in striking distance. They’ll first need to beat the Browns this weekend before they can even worry about the Bengals.
#16) Arizona Cardinals ( 9)
Arizona is back at .500 following a solid win over the Falcons in Week 8. Andre Ellington appears to have solidified himself as one of the steals in the draft. There’s talk that Rashard Mendenhall could see a limited number of snaps moving forward if Ellington is able to improve his pass-blocking in the coming weeks. The Cardinals are on bye this weekend, but get the Texans in Week 10.
#17) New York Jets ( 3)
I don’t know how to explain the Jets. For as good as they look against teams like the Patriots, they’ve gotten blown out by the Titans and Bengals. Granted, the Bengals are very strong team, but it’s just surprising to see them get crushed like that after such a solid win in Week 7. It doesn’t get any easier this weekend as they take on the 6-1 New Orleans Saints.
#18) Buffalo Bills ( 3)
Buffalo played hard, but clearly didn’t have the fire power to keep with one of the best offenses in the league. After getting out to a 10-7 lead, the Saints scored 21 unanswered points and basically put the game away. It would be great to see what this team can do with a healthy E.J. Manuel and C.J. Spiller, but we’ll need another few weeks before those two are back at 100 percent. The Bills host the undefeated Chiefs in Week 9.
#19) Miami Dolphins ( 1)
Miami was 17-3 at half time and Ryan Tannehill has thrown a touchdown pass in every game this season. That’s where the good news ends. Somehow, they allowed the Patriots to storm back in the second-half and score 24 unanswered points. Despite signing Mike Wallace to a massive contract, the Dolphins have a tough time competing passes beyond 10 yards. They also lost WR Brandon Gibson for the season after he scored a touchdown in his third straight game. It doesn’t get any easier in Week 9 as they are up against a very tough Bengals team.
#20) Tennessee Titans
Tennessee will be coming off of their bye when they take on the Kellen Clemens led Rams in Week 9. The Titans got out to a real strong start this season and have managed to stay in every game outside of the 49ers loss in Week 8, so there is still a chance that they could rattle off a few wins in the coming weeks and emerge as a possible playoff team seasons end. That’s admittedly a little optimistic, but still possible.
#21) Washington Redskins ( 1)
Counting last year’s playoff game, RGIII has fumbled 22 times in 23 career games. During Sunday’s game, RGIII was under duress 42 percent of dropbacks and failed to complete a pass beyond 15 yards. Somehow, they held 21-7 lead over Denver in the second quarter, but went on to combust in fourth quarter. Five turnovers probably contributed to the Broncos winning this game, but their defense really needs to show some improvement if they hope to contend for a full four quarters against a quality opponent.
#22) Oakland Raiders ( 4)
The Raiders haven’t won a game coming off the bye since 2002, which is indicative of the struggles this team has had for over a decade. The good news of course is that they managed to end that streak with a pretty good win over the Steelers. Oakland played a very good half of football that left them with a 21-3 lead at half time, but they wouldn’t score again. Thankfully for them, that was all they needed. Their running game is a real strength this season as Darren McFadden contributed two touchdowns and Terrelle Pryor now holds the record for the longest run by a quarterback in NFL history. Week 9’s game against the Eagles will be a surprisingly interesting matchup to watch.
#23) Philadelphia Eagles ( 4)
The Eagles have lost franchise-record 10 straight home games. Interestingly enough, Philadelphia’s three wins have all come on the road. They scored 120 points in road games in comparison to just 56 total points at home. Clearly, their quarterback situation has played big role in the past two weeks. Vick figures to be out for at least 1-2 weeks, but reports from Monday night indicated that Nick Foles should be back in time to play against the Raiders this weekend. They’re still only a game out of first place in the east, so a couple of wins in the coming weeks could get them tied up and possibly ahead of the Cowboys.
#24) Houston Texans
It’s official. Case Keenum is the guy reasonable for saving Gary Kubiak’s job. That had to be a tough call to make by Kubiak, but Matt Schaub has been bad enough to warrant a change at quarterback, and the fact that he’s still dealing with an ankle injury only makes it easier to go with the hot hand. The problem for them is that they get a really tough Colts team this weekend, so they will need a very strong offensive performance to have any shot at winning this game.
#25) Pittsburgh Steelers ( 2)
Pittsburgh puts together back-to-back solid wins over the Jets and Ravens and then looks awful against the Raiders? 35 total rushing yards is just unacceptable for this team. They did however lose a few of their offensive lineman to injury and managed to fight back in the second-half, but this is clearly a disappointing effort from the Steelers. They travel to New England this weekend.
#26) Atlanta Falcons ( 10)
The Falcons are like the Steelers and Giants in the fact that they are aren’t getting a lot out of their second and third-year players. They have almost no depth to fall back on and you could argue that they need help at every position other than quarterback. This is a team that finished with the best record in the NFC last year and nearly made it to the Super Bowl. Things change quickly in the NFL and it appears as though the Falcons could be headed for a top-five pick next year.
#27) New York Giants ( 2)
Eli Manning became the Giants’ all-time leader in passing yards, breaking Phil Simms’ team record. They also managed to win their second straight game and are somehow just two games out of first place in the saddest division in the NFL. New York is on bye in Week 9, which should give Andre Brown enough time to return from IR in time to play against the Raiders in Week 10. An improved ground game could be enough for them to continue their winning streak and possibly get back in the race for division as crazy as that sounds.
#28) Cleveland Browns ( 1)
How about Jason Campbell? He played much better than I would have expected against arguable the best defense in the league. He showed some deep accuracy, which basically goes against everything we thought we knew about Campbell. Cleveland still lost their third straight game. They get a Ravens team in Week 9 who has a losing streak of their own intact.
#29) St. Louis Rams ( 1)
I can’t believe the Rams has a first and goal within the five yards and a chance to win the game with Kellen Clemens as their starting quarterback. It’s just shocking. The Rams defensive line really played exceptional and tallied seven sacks of Russel Wilson. Zac Stacey is definitely their best option at RB moving forward. I can’t help but wonder where the hell is Jared Cook? We heard so much about him being utilized much more than in Tennessee and yet he continues to disappear in situations where they need him. Lance Kendricks actually looks like a better player at times, as surprising as that is. They get the Titans in Week 9.
#30) Minnesota Vikings
Vikings defense came away from Sunday’s game with a single stop. Aaron Rodgers and company managed to convert on 12-15 third downs and both of their fourth down situations. For some reason Adrian Peterson has received 13 or fewer rushes in three straight games,which happens to be tied for the longest streak of his career. They will travel to Dallas to take on a team that’s looking rebound from a terrible loss. This could get ugly for Minnesota real soon.
#31) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers have started 0-7 for the sixth time in their franchises history. Last week they lost RB Doug Martin to a shoulder injury and WR Mike Williams is now done for the season with a hamstring injury. They travel to Seattle next week, which figures to be an entertaining game just for the fact that the Seahawks could score 70 points.
#32) Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville is 2-22 since Shad Khan took over as the owner. We’re just going to keep updating that streak as the Jaguars keep losing. Jacksonville is the fourth team in NFL history to lose their first eight games of season by 10 or more points. Thankfully for them they don’t have a game to lose this weekend because they have their bye, but they get the Titans in Week 10.