Week 8 Power Rankings
1) LA Rams
There is no doubt that this team is the best team in football right now. Todd Gurley had an “off week” last week and still had 2 TDs. Until I see this team break a sweat I am not gonna be scared. Point of Worry: Rams Defense has been giving up a lot of big plays and points when they don’t play CJ Beathard. The rest of the season they play legit offenses (Packers, Chiefs, Saints, Bears, Lions, Eagles).
2) Kansas City Chiefs
If I were to bet on one team to score a TD on any drive I’d pick the Chiefs. This team has the best collection of talent on offense in the league (I know who is number 1 in these rankings). They can score in less than 2 min every drive. Tyreek Hill Hill is now officially the best WR in football; I can’t think of anyone defenses are more afraid of. Point of Worry: The secondary is awful; Eric Berry alone won’t fix it. Every team that plays them knows to just throw it Orlando Scandrick’s way and they can get 8-25 yards each play, if not Pass Interference. This team can win in a shootout, but they will lose if Orlando Scandrick is the best they can do at CB2.
3) New England Patriots
Horrible injury to Sony Michel sets this team back a bit, but James White has done enough to earn the Patriots’ respect. Much like the previous two teams, this team's offensive talent is elite, and their offensive schemes are ridiculously creative. Josh Gordon has shown he can actually play football, who knew? Dont’a Hightower seems to have regained a gear. Point of Worry: The defense is still not scaring anyone. This team has shown they can give up yards at any point. Luckily this is Bill Belichick, so even if they are in the red zone, a TD is not certain.
4) New Orleans Saints
It is time. The sports world must give this underrated personality his just due after years of excellence. His name is Sean Payton. I’m sorry just to vent, I appreciate all the Drew Brees hype right now, congrats buddy you deserve it, but let’s talk about the genius that is Sean Payton. This team went from Drew Brees making scripted passes to get to 5000 yards to get to 8-8 to being a power running game with all the weapons Drew Brees could ask for. It’s hard to scheme against the Saints because they can play any type of football. I am excited to see what Sean Payton can do with Taysom Hill for the rest of the season Point of Optimism: Their schedule is very favorable moving forward, playing no elite teams other than the Rams, and maybe the Panthers twice.
5) LA Chargers
I love this football team, they are elite. STILL WITHOUT JOEY BOSA. This team has 3 speedy guys who are all at least 6ft 3, in the Williams and Keenan Allen. Their offense is electric even without Melvin Gordon, who is playing like a top 4 back. Philip Rivers found an extra gear in the back end of his career. This team can make some real noise, and they may be one of the most complete teams in the NFL. Point of Worry: The Chargers play a good mix of nasty defenses (Ravens, Broncos, Bengals) and explosive offenses (Steelers, Chiefs).
6) Carolina Panthers
It bothers me a little bit that the panthers were down 17-0 in Philly with Cam Newton bringing them back to win, and all anyone can talk about is how the Eagles are in their Super Bowl Hangover. Talk about how good the Panthers are because they are sensational. Their offense has maybe one of the most intriguing collection of weapons in the sport. Funchess is a great 50/50 ball catcher, Curtis Samuel looks like a nice gadget player, is McCaffery a receiver a running back, I don’t know. Not to mention DJ Moore and Greg Olsen. I think that this team could be the surprise Super Bowl contender. Point of Optimism: Their schedule is super favorable to their strengths and also they get to play the Saints twice and are only one game behind the Saints in the NFC South standings.
7) Minnesota Vikings
I’m not sure if I trust this team the most in the NFC North, but they certainly have the best record. The problem being that I don’t think this team matches up well with any team in their division all that well, and that offensive line isn’t going to make it any easier. This team has potential, but a Mike Hughes injury seems a lot more significant than it probably should have been. Point of Optimism: This team has the best collection of weapons in the North and with Dalvin Cook (hopefully) back, this team still has a multifaceted offense that should scare opposing defenses.
8) Baltimore Ravens
This team was a Justin Tucker PAT miss from probably beating the Saints. What I saw last week was a team that stuffed Mark Ingram into being ineffective and kept Kamara honest. I haven’t seen the Saints O-line beaten all season until this week. The Ravens can win any week against any team. The only problem is that they have no legitimate playmaker at their skill positions. I wouldn’t trust Alex collins and Michael Crabtree with my season. Point of Worry: The Ravens play the Steelers, Panthers, Chiefs, Chargers, Bengals, Browns, and Falcons, all losable games in my eyes. Only gimme is Oakland at home.
9) Pittsburgh Steelers
Let’s call this team baby Chiefs. Good team with the same strengths and weaknesses as the Chiefs, just the strengths are not at strong and the weaknesses are worse. The best corner on the Steelers is between Artie Burns and Joe Haden (YIKES) and, Le’Veon still doesn’t look like he is ready to return, (double yikes). This team can score, but unlike the Chiefs I am not always certain they will outscore their opponent. Point of Worry: They have to play some of the best teams in the NFL (Panthers, Ravens, Bengals, Browns, Chargers, Jags, Patriots, Saints). I don't think it is crazy to predict a sub .500 record for that slew of games.
10) Green Bay Packers
Oh boy is Aaron Rodgers just amazing. I don’t think I will ever see a team jump up this many spots in the rankings just by other teams disappointing me so terribly. My opinion hasn’t changed, this is a 6-10 football team at best, but Aaron Rodgers makes them a contender. After the BYE the Packers can now get Rodgers’ leg healthy, Randall Cobb healthy, Jaire Alexander healthy, and figure out how to effectively use Aaron Jones. I guess if there is something to say about their defense, Kenny Clark is HUGE, and they need Jaire back. Point of Optimism: The Packers schedule moving forward is very favorable playing only two teams with winning records, one of them being the Dolphins and the other being Minnesota for a true tiebreaker game.
11) Houston Texans
The team that is in the lead for the AFC South, your Houston Texans. I fully expect them to win this garbage pile of a division which is why they are this high. I have no faith in them being a threat to anyone in the playoffs because that offensive line should expose them every game. Point of Optimism: That two headed monster at pass rusher may be the best we’ve ever seen, and they play in the AFC South.
12) Chicago Bears
I may have been too high on the Bears… This year. I stand by that this is still one of the best rosters in all of football with a very creative offense. I’m not ready to count them or any team out of the NFC North, they are all good teams. I think this defense is still elite, just the secondary is pretty thin outside their starters. Point of Optimism: Bears still have two games each against the Lions and Vikings and another with the Packers, with only the Giants, 49ers and Rams rounding out the other games. The Bears, more than maybe any other team, control their own destiny.
13) Philadelphia Eagles
Calm down Eagles fans everything is going to be fine. You have easily the best QB, and defense in your division. Just because you haven’t been electric is more a testament of how much this team misses Legarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi. It needs a power run option. Am I really worried that Washington is gonna win the Division? I don’t know is Alex Smith elite? Point of Worry: They play the Saints and Rams, but do play Washington twice.
14) Cincinnati Bengals
Oh Andy Dalton, I missed you being bad, it was only a matter of time. The only hope is that Cincinnati starts to realize that they go through Joe Mixon and then look for Aj Green and Tyler Boyd and not the other way around. This team can make noise, but I am not sure they are a TRUE playoff team, but will be fighting tooth and nail for a spot. Point of Worry: They only play the Ravens and Steelers once, but have to play good defenses on the way and the Browns twice, Broncos and not to mention the Saints.
15) Detroit Lions
The Lions have found their identity after 10 years of the Stafford Era. The have a very good offense and they have finally found a power running game that teams are still catching up to. The Lions are in the hunt and are going to remain in it for the rest of the season. The offensive line has opened up holes for Kerryon Johnson, which has allowed Stafford better looks (going 5 straight games with a passer rating > 100). For the first time in a while the Lions have, dare I say, potential. Point of Worry: The Lions still have to play the Bears twice, Rams, and Panthers all while having an atrocious run defense. Maybe Snacks Harrison will fix that.
16) Washington Football Team
Washington beat the Cowboys and the Panthers back to back, despite both being games they should have lost. However they won both by less than a touchdown. I am not convinced that an Alex Smith led team can win this division moving forward, or really contend for a playoff seat. The defense is up and coming but they haven’t came yet. I think this team will be really good next year. Point of Optimism: Moving forward they only play 1 team with winning record, that being the Texans
17) Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins have won more games than they have lost, that is about the nicest thing I can say about this team. They lost their best receiver in Albert Wilson and possibly their second best in Kenny Stills. Kenyan Drake came back but a lot of his production came on a 70 yard run against the Lions’ run defense. Point of Worry: They are a bad team with key injuries, who are just not overachieving enough to warrant sacrificing draft position, while their best player is turning 37.
18) Dallas Cowboys
The Boys lost a questionably called game to Washington, and look like an interesting team moving forward. In a division that is up for grabs they made an ill-advised investment in an athletic drop machine named Amari Cooper. The Cowboys’ D is legit and their D Line is scary. David Irving is a massive human being, and Byron Jones is looking like the most under the radar star CB in the whole league. Point of Optimism: This team’s schedule is favorable, pretty much only playing division foes, while their only other challenge will be the Saints.
19) Seattle Seahawks
Russell Wilson is a legit star, and Chris Carson looks like a legit RB in this league. I think this team could spoil any team’s week with a surprise win. Doug Baldwin looks at least back to his former self, and the pass rush on the Seahawks has been a modest surprise. Point of Worry: They play really good offenses throughout the rest of the season (Lions, Packers, Panthers, Rams, and even the 49ers).
20) Jacksonville Jaguars
This may be a little bit of an over-reaction, but the Jags have a real problem and I can’t have them with the playoff contenders while Blake Bortles is still the best QB on the roster. This defense is elite, it is special, you all know how good this defense is. I love this team and my only hope now is that they trade for Tyrod or Teddy, cut Blake Bortles and give one of them number 5. Point of Optimism: If they get a new QB in time, they will be playing the Colts twice, Bills and Titans, they can still win.
21) Denver Broncos
The Broncos’ defense has found a rekindling of a fire once lost. I like this team to spoil many other teams’ playoff hopes for the rest of the year. I also fully expect this to be Demaryius Thomas’ last year as a Bronco with the emergence of Cortland Sutton. That’s about it on a team that plays hard but not great. Point of Worry: The Broncos play the Steelers, Chiefs, Chargers, and Texans, all clearly better than the Broncos.
22) Cleveland Browns
The Browns are an interesting case because they have the talent on their team to really contend. If they were in the AFC South they would be ahead of the Texans. Myles Garrett is a beast, Nick Chubb looks good running behind an amazing offensive line, David Njoku looks like the athlete we knew he could be, and Baker looks alright. The problem is the offense is kind of basic, and Hue Jackson taking back play calling isn’t gonna make things better, not to mention they play is one of the most grueling divisions in football. Still they are super talented. Point of Optimism: Hue Jackson will be fired and they can take a stab at Lincoln Riley and use their still impressive stable of mid round draft picks next year.
23) Atlanta Falcons
A low scoring win against Eli and the Giants isn’t gonna impress me, if anything it sours me on the whole thing. Sark is a failure, their offense is basic and takes little risks. I understand that Devonta Freeman is out, but Tevin Coleman looks honestly better than Freeman really has in his career; he could stand to break tackles rather than just fly by them. I think the team could be a playoff contender if their offense was creative enough to score points, but it is not. Point of Optimism: They are going to have a decently high draft pick and not have to pay Vic Beasley.
24) Tennessee Titans
The 2 point conversion is emblematic of the Titans’ season, the can hang in with good teams, but they just fall short of contending. The Titans are nothing special on both sides, and the only reason they are this high is because I think they have the right coach in Mike Vrabel. I like his aggressive attitude, and think he can be a star coach in this league. Otherwise, I’m just waiting for next year. Point of Worry: I don’t know if it is real, but does anyone really trust Mariota to win you football games?
25) Indianapolis Colts
Is there any better guilty pleasure than garbage time Colts? I love it that they don’t take plays off no matter if they are losing or beating the snot out of the Bills. The emergence of Marlon Mack has been a decent surprise along with Nyheim Hines being one of the league’s better receiving backs. T.Y. looks healthy, which is also a plus. The Colts are a fun watch for any football fan. Is there anything better than prime Andrew Luck? Point of Optimism: The offensive line is very impressive. The Colts have a foundation to build on in this upcoming draft, could be a not-so-surprising division favorite next year.
26) Tampa Bay Bucs
The Bucs are overachieving this year, they should really be a 2-5 football team, but had Fitzmagic early. They barely beat out the Browns, but to me that win is a little sour and could have gone either way. The secondary is still atrocious, and they have a real problem on the D-Line too, JPP isn’t getting it done. I am also not sold on Ronald Jones to make that offense elite, he is just a hair too slow. Point of Worry: With this draft class, the Bucs may be forced to hold on to Jameis another year.
27) NY Jets
I don’t hate watching the Jets play football, I just don’t like it that much either. There is nothing special to watch other than Sam Darnold show progress. I am just not in love with their scheme on either side of the ball, and with Quincy Enunwa out, I am not in love with any of their weapons on offense. Someone needs to provide a spark-plug to this team before I fall asleep watching them play. Point of Optimism: As a roster they are better than the Dolphins and Bills.
28) Buffalo Bills
Derek Anderson or Nathan Peterman. That is now the question that Buffalo fans must toil with each week. It is really sad to watch a team whose best weapon is Kelvin Benjamin play football. I don’t know what else to say besides pleading the Bills to not fire Sean McDermott. Point of Optimism: It could not possibly get worse at QB, and this WR class is pretty deep.
29) New York Giants
THIS TEAM MAKES ME MAD!!!!!!!!! This team is wasting the talents of possibly the best RB and WR in the league, all because they want to make sure that Eli has the stats to go to the Hall of Fame (of which he does not belong). Odell has every right to be frustrated. Also this defense isn’t that bad either, Snacks (that 2019 5th rounder) and Dalvin Tomlinson are huge men stopping any teams run, and Landon Collins is legit. Eli cannot make any throw that requires effort. The Giants just got rid of the wrong Eli (Apple) and it makes me sick. Point of Pessimism: It looks like Justin Herbert might not declare.
30) San Francisco 49ers
I just feel bad for Kyle Shanahan. He and Sean McVay both started out in Tampa Bay around the same time. Both were rightly pegged as offensive masterminds. One goes to San Francisco and the other to Los Angeles. Sean McVay got jared Goff and Todd Gurley, while Kyle got to draft CJ Beathard. McVay and Shannahan both are now contemporaries in the same division and face each other twice a year. I feel no need to talk about this season of 49er football unless someone finds a way to cure ACL tears out of nowhere. Point of Worry: There is no such cure.
31) Oakland Raiders
Give it up for the people of Oakland. Now stomp on their heart because I just remembered the same people are fans of the Warriors. The Raiders are now in a rebuild that will probably last as long as the Raiders do in the Colosseum. They have no more building blocks besides Derek Carr who’s playing not well (not as bad as the media says but still not great). This is going to show that the Raiders have thrown in the towel, ensuring that the Jon Gruden Era is here to stay through a whole rebuild. Point of Optimism: 5 1st round picks in 2 years.
32) Arizona Cardinals
I am not one to panic normally, especially first year starting QBs, but I am worried about Josh Rosen. The interceptions he threw are not that concerning to me as one might think. He made those throws under duress because his O-line couldn’t block for him, even if you paid them millions of dollars to do so. Josh Rosen throws a beautiful ball and the touch and arm strength is evident when he steps back. I am worried that Josh Rosen clearly isn’t mobile enough in the pocket to protect himself from the pressure that his line is giving him. With his injury background, I have never been more terrified that a player who I like, will get hurt playing for the team that drafted him. Let’s hope he makes it through the year and they can draft Jonah Williams to protect him. Point of Optimism: A lot of contending teams have a need at CB, Patrick Peterson could demand a bidding war, if he ever makes up his mind about wanting to be traded.
image credit: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/nfl/carolina-panthers/article220227835.html