Power Rankings: Week 8

If you're standing still in the NFL, you're going backward. Or so it is for the Falcons, who lost top spot without taking the field. So who's the new team ...

| 5 years ago

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?



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

  • That Man

    Nathan-Why are you so low on the Giants? They have the most impressive win of the year in that beatdown of the Niners. What do you see on tape that tells you differently?

    • Nathan Jahnke

      There have been too many games this year where they started out slow, and then had to come back from behind. While they’ve been able to consistently come back and end up with the victory, I don’t think they will be able to keep that up. I also don’t trust their secondary, and I think come playoff time that will also come back to bite them if they don’t pull things together by then. The pass rush isn’t living up to their potential(even though recently it hasn’t been necessary), but that has also disappointed me.

    • http://twitter.com/PFF_NateJahnke Nathan Jahnke

      1) I’ve expected the Giants to start off playing better against worse teams like the Buccaneers, Browns and Redskins. Elite teams should be able to dominate these teams, and not need late game heroics. While the late game heroics have certainly been impressive, I could see there come a time where they need a late game heroic and things don’t work out.

      2) I don’t like their secondary. Corey Webster has consistently played poorly while Antrel Rolle outside of one good game has continued to have trouble in the pass game(although he has played well in the run game). I could see the secondary having trouble against a team that has better in the pass game than what they’ve faced.

      3) The pass rush hasn’t lived up to their potential in my opinion.

      • Josh

        Um, they led the Browns by 10 at half, by 17 midway through the 3rd, and by 21 midway through the 4th, and won by 14. To say they needed “late game heroics” in that game is asinine.

        Oh, and the Redskins 3 losses were by a combined 17 points and have one of the top offenses in football. They’re not great but they’re not bottom feeders.

  • Johndrama

    Khalid is the only 1 who has a clue

    • Khaled Elsayed

      Where’s the like button?

    • Richard

      I wouldn’t say he’s the “only 1 who has a clue,” but Khaled’s rankings usually mirror my own.

  • Dempseylicious23

    So is Neil the only one who doesn’t evaluate teams based on where they are at right now instead favouring evaluating teams based on where they will be at the end of the season?

    Having NE at #1 after they almost dropped a game at home against the woeful New York Jets is absolutely insane (a game in which they only won by 3 and 6 of their 29 points came from a kick return TD). In fact, having two AFC teams at the top of the list when the NFC is CLEARLY dominating the AFC so far this year shows either highly non-subjective bias/ranking criteria, or complete ineptitude as an analyst period.

    So can someone clarify here? Do all the analysts base their evaluations on end of season predictions? Why not call this segment, “End of Regular Season Rankings” instead of “Power Rankings”? It would be less confusing for people who are used to the concept of traditional power rankings, that rank teams based on who is playing better than whom for a given week.

    • Richard

      Not a huge fan of your tone, but I have to agree.

      I am a New England fan, but I don’t think my team losing the Cardinals, the Seahawks, and Ravens, plus us BARELY beating the New York Jets, should lead to anyone thinking we’re the #1 team in the NFL this year.

      The only two games we dominated in were against the Titans and Bills – who are both bottom-10 teams. Our other victories have been by 10 points or less.

      Let me put it this way – when a Pats homer like me watches his team in disgust as they make Mark Sanchez look like a competent quarterback and barely score points against the Revis-less Jets, there’s NO way I can agree with any top-3 ranking for my team – not until they start playing as good as they are on paper.

      • Khaled Elsayed

        I’d agree. I look at these rankings as ‘who is the best team in the NFL right now, regardless of record’. Obviously have to factor in injuries – but I am more down on NE after the way they played in beating NYJ, than in losing to a couple of teams.

      • Dempseylicious23

        My tone was somewhat reflective of the fact that Neil had the same top two teams last week. I would believe him more if he had placed Denver at #1. At least their schedule is soft enough the rest of the season that they could very well go without dropping a game the rest of the season.

        The only trap games on that schedule now are at Cincinnati week 9, at home against the Chargers week 11, and potentially at the Ravens in week 15, depending on how much their defense has improved at that point.

        I can realistically say that based on how they are playing right now, the New England Patriots could drop week 12 at the Jets, week 14 at home against Houston, week 15 at home against the SF 49’ers and maybe one of the Miami games; New England has currently matched their longest winning streak against the Dolphins since 2004 at 4 and haven’t won more than 4 straight against Miami since 1989, and with the way they are playing right now it seems they are due to snap that streak again this season.

        There are too many good teams in the NFL to include either NE or Denver in the top 2. What makes a 4-3 team and a 3-3 team so much better than the 6-1 Houston Texans?

  • Bears Fan

    Not only does this Neil guy have the NE at #1, he put the cowboys ahead of the Bears … So now his opinion means nothing to me.

  • Bubs Solo

    In the Cards defense any team in the league that has to start their 2nd string QB… 3rd and 4th string tackles… and 3rd and 4th running backs is going to be worse off then if they had their starters. Way to pat yourselves on the back guys…job well done.

    • DerDings

      I’d go so far to say: their problems start with the O-line, but they end there as well. Kolb has played pretty well for the lack of protection, the WRs are great, Housler is a fine young TE, the RBs are victims to the line, the defense is great all around (sure, there are some holes in it, but even in the games they lost, they held the it close with man 3-and-outs in the second halves. And let’s not forget the 60-yard-kicker and the punt returner.
      They just had a streak of bad luck I believe. The loss against the Rams was closer than the box score suggested, we lost to the Bills because we had to put Skelton in and Kolb could have made the difference against the Vikings.

      We should all hope the Cards make the playoffs, just because all of their games are pretty intense…

  • KevinWI

    Interesting that the comments for the 9rs can be applied to the Vikings…yet the Vikings not only beat the 9rs…they beat them handily…..yet 9rs are 4th and Vikes are 11th in the poll. Vikings have beaten two winning teams, yet Bears have not beaten 1. I realize that teams can only play against teams they are scheduled to play against…I just look at Cutlers stats vs. Ponders….hmmm…..not much different.
    ARod is playing well, I’ll give him that.

    • Dempseylicious23

      The Cardinals are a VERY suspect winning team and Minnesota has dropped two games to a 3-3 team and a 3-4 team. The Bears have only dropped one game to a divisional rival and a winning team that is top 5 in the power rankings on any site and on the rise.

      • KevinWI

        MN beat that TOP 4 team 9rs. your logic holds no water. Vikes have beaten every winning team they faced. Not saying Vikes are a top 5 team…saying the Bears are not that good….neither are the niners, Patriots

        • Dempseylicious23

          My logic holds oceans of water. The Chicago Bears have an absolutely stifling defense (boasting the least ppg against at 13.0, an entire 1.3 below the next best 49ers at 14.3). They also haven’t won at Green Bay since 2007 so to drop them significantly because of that one loss is not logical. Combined records of the teams each has beaten? 13-18 against the Bears, a 42% win rate and 15-20 against the Vikings, for a staggeringly different 43% win rate (that’s sarcasm if you couldn’t tell). To claim that beating every single winning team you have faced is some great accomplishment, then what does that make losing to a .500 team and a losing team?

  • Daniel C

    As Cardinal fan I was probably the only one that wasn’t furious when Neil had them ranked so low when they 4-0. But there seems be to be some favoritism in his picks