Power Rankings: Week 8
A short week gave us an opportunity to catch our breath a little as things, for the most part, went the way we expected them to go.
What has that done to our Power Rankings? Well, for teams on byes it’s given us more time to think about how they’ve truly performed. With that in mind, could the Falcons hold on to their top spot? Would the charging Packers and Texans overtake them? And just who would prop up the table?
Let’s take a look shall we?
Rank Khaled Neil Sam Ben Nathan 1 NYG NE HST ATL HST 2 GB DEN ATL NYG SF 3 SF GB NYG SF ATL 4 HST NYG SF GB DEN 5 NE HST CHI HST GB 6 ATL ATL GB NE CHI 7 CHI SF NE CHI NYG 8 DEN SEA SEA DEN NE 9 PIT DAL DEN BLT MIN 10 SEA CHI BLT SEA MIA 11 BLT BLT MIN PIT SEA 12 MIN MIN MIA PHI PHI 13 MIA MIA PHI MIN DAL 14 WAS WAS WAS DAL BLT 15 DAL PIT DAL NO WAS 16 NO NO PIT WAS PIT 17 PHI SL NO ARZ NO 18 SD TB ARZ SD TB 19 NYJ PHI SL CIN BUF 20 ARZ SD DET MIA IND 21 CIN CIN CIN SL SL 22 DET OAK SD NYJ NYJ 23 SL NYJ NYJ TEN SD 24 IND BUF TB BUF DET 25 TB CLV IND TB ARZ 26 TEN ARZ TEN DET CIN 27 BUF IND BUF IND TEN 28 OAK DET CAR CAR CLV 29 CLV TEN OAK CLV KC 30 CAR KC CLV KC CAR 31 JAX CAR JAX OAK OAK 32 KC JAX KC JAX JAX
1. Houston Texans (3rd)
A resounding win over a Ravens side suffering/recovering from injury was enough for two of our analysts to push Houston to the top of their rankings. With two (myself included) ranking them fifth, that Packers game hasn’t been forgotten just yet.
2. New York Giants (2nd)
A chance for redemption awaits the Giants as they travel to Dallas for a big NFC East game. Coming off a big-time win over the Redskins, it’s easy to see why our team isn’t sleeping on the reigning Super Bowl champions.
3. Atlanta Falcons (1st)
It seems a bye week has given our team chance to accept just how fortunate the Falcons were in their last three games. They may be undefeated, but there’s not an awful lot of confidence that it will stay that way much longer when the schedule toughens up.
4. San Francisco 49ers (4th)
A hard-fought win over a resolute Seahawks team provided the perfect showcase for just how far this offensive line has come. The concern is the play of Alex Smith, which has dropped off the last two weeks. That’s the glaring weakness in this team.
5. Green Bay Packers (6th)
It wasn’t so much that Aaron Rodgers was playing badly in the first five games of the season, more that he had failed to find his 2011 form. Now he has, the league is on notice.
6. New England Patriots (5th)
The Patriots managed to look a lot more convincing in their three defeats than they did laboring to a win over the Jets. That’s a concern, even if the form of Tom Brady shouldn’t be.
7. Denver Broncos (7th)
Their record has teams sleeping on them, but after overcoming the hardest part of their schedule the Broncos are a team that could make a big impression in the AFC. That’s what our team believes.
8. Chicago Bears (8th)
You can only beat what’s in front of you, but at the same time the Bears’ five victories haven’t come against one team with a winning record. Unlike the Broncos, their schedule will toughen up and we’ll get a better glimpse as to what they’re capable of.
9. Seattle Seahawks (10th)
It was a worry how the defensive line got mauled by the 49ers, but given how they’d performed in the first six weeks of the season, it’s not enough to completely lose faith. A dangerous team.
10. Baltimore Ravens (9th)
They looked good before the season, but big-time injuries and Joe ‘Flakey’ Flacco returning means they look a ways off the top teams in the AFC. Still, Terrell Suggs is a medical marvel. That’s something to be chirpy about.
11. Minnesota Vikings (11th)
They beat a Cardinals team that has started to play like we expected them to. An important win, but with Christian Ponder far from convincing, not an emphatic one.
12. Dallas Cowboys (16th)
Not all of our team is as convinced as Neil, but that was a big win against the Panthers. There’s a lot of work to do if they’re going to be ready for the visit of the Giants.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers (15th)
As high as ninth in my rankings and down as far as 16th in two, I find myself asking one question — Does nobody have any faith in Ben Roethlisberger and that veteran defense to come good when needed?
14. Miami Dolphins (14th)
They went into their bye week feeling pretty good about the progress they’ve been exhibiting. A franchise that looked to be a laughing stock heading into the season is rebuilding quickly.
15. Washington Redskins (12th) and Philadelphia Eagles (13th)
An All-NFC East tie for the 15th spot. The Redskins drop three spots despite pushing the Giants close in New York, where RG3 excelled once again. The Eagles drop three as our team have seemed to realize that they’re too mistake prone, too beat up at certain spots, and too much at the mercy of good Michael Vick turning up.
17. New Orleans Saints (20th)
Playoffs? Crazier things have happened. Right now Drew Brees is finding his rhythm and that should concern plenty of teams, regardless of how porous that Saints defense is.
18. San Diego Chargers (18th) and St Louis Rams (19th)
Stick’em or no stick’em, the Chargers passing attack isn’t what it used to be. Unless Philip Rivers can reconnect with that guy he was in 2010, the Norv Turner regime may finally be coming to an end.
20. Arizona Cardinals (17th)
They raced themselves to a 4-0 record but teams have quickly adjusted to a Cardinals team that is woeful on offense. It all starts with an offensive line that is so much worse than anything else out there it beggars belief.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (21st)
They just don’t beat good football teams. That’s been a trend with Cincinnati for a while now, and they’ll remain locked behind the powerhouses of the AFC North, Baltimore and Pittsburgh, until they can fix this.
22. New York Jets (25th)
They jump up three spots despite defeat after a spirited effort against the Patriots. They can look to the future with higher hopes. After that shellacking by the 49ers they’ve got better week on week.
23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (22nd)
They could be moved down solely for those uniforms, which are so bad they make your eyes tear up. But that’s not the reason for their 23rd spot. Instead, it’s because they’ve showed a continuing inability to win close games. That stops becoming admirable, and starts becoming frustrating, quick.
24. Detroit Lions (23rd)
You watch the Lions and keep thinking that eventually Matthew Stafford is going to find his mojo. He’s not, and that means he needs as much help as possible. Instead, his team are fumbling balls on the goal line.
25. Buffalo Bills (24th)
They’re getting some big performances from some players, but the collective is really letting them down. They’ve proved such a disappointment this year.
26. Indianapolis Colts (26th)
They didn’t blow the Browns away, but a win’s a win. Andrew Luck looks like a player being asked to do too much right now, but time is most definitely on his side.
27. Tennessee Titans (27th)
They owed a debt of gratitude to Ryan Fitzpatrick, as they picked up a win but were far from convincing in the process. Chris Johnson won’t get big holes to run through like that in every game.
28. Cleveland Browns (28th) and Oakland Raiders (29th)
The Browns seem to specialize in close fought losses, but they remain losses nonetheless. They’re tied with a Raiders team who won’t have felt much pride in an ugly win over the Jaguars.
30. Carolina Panthers (30th)
The General Manager is gone but is he to blame for the shift in offensive strategy that has seen them fail to take advantage of their best playmakers? The pressure is really on this failing unit.
31. Kansas City Chiefs (31st)
No team has proved how important the quarterback spot is as much as the Chiefs. They have only themselves to blame after spending big on Matt Cassel in the first place.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (32nd)
The long rebuild goes on. Injuries hurt the offense, but they threw away that game against the Raiders. All part of the process.
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled