After eight weeks of NFL action, we are officially at the midpoint of the NFL season. Where does your favourite NFL team stack up at the season’s halfway point? Find out on the latest edition of The Intermission’s NFL Power Rankings!
(Getty Images/Christian Peterson)
1. Green Bay Packers (7-1)
In a game where Green Bay’s top two receivers and defensive coordinator weren’t on the field against the only remaining undefeated team in the NFL, what Green Bay did was special. The Packers battled for four quarters and came out victorious (even if it was a bit lucky) against Arizona in a 24-21 win. This team is a deep, battle-tested and well-coached squad. They have the DNA of a championship contender, but can they get over that hump they’ve struggled to reach for the past decade?
2. Arizona Cardinals (7-1)
A tough pill for Arizona to swallow in a tough loss versus a shorthanded Green Bay squad. While it’s easy to pin this loss on A.J. Green and his brain-fart on the final play of the game that led to the game-sealing interception, there’s other areas where Arizona heavily underperformed. Kyler Murray also excited the game in a walking-boot and is a game-time decision in a primetime matchup versus the 49ers on Sunday.
3. Dallas Cowboys (6-1)
This Dallas team is different. This team isn’t filled with top-heavy stars surrounded by scrubs like how it’s usually been over the past few seasons; this is a well-balanced team that’s good on both sides of the ball. Even with quarterback Dak Prescott out against Minnesota, the Cowboys showed they have enough depth to make up for his absence and come out victorious in a 20-16 win to give them their sixth straight win. Dem Boys will look to keep the train rolling with a matchup versus the struggling Broncos.
4. Buffalo Bills (5-2)
After a bye week to reflect on their heartbreaking loss to the Titans in Week 6, the Bills came out strong against a Dolphins squad that’s become a punching bag for the Bills in recent memory. The defence was strong the entire day, limiting Miami to only 256 total yards, and the offence started off slow but caught their rhythm to score 23 points in their final four possessions. The Bills soft schedule continues in a Week 9 matchup versus the hapless Jaguars.
5. Los Angeles Rams (7-1)
The Rams are all in. They finalized a blockbuster trade to send three-time All-Pro edge rusher Von Miller to a defence that already leads the NFL in sacks. While Miller’s play has faltered a bit in recent seasons, adding him to a defence that features Aaron Donald is just not fair. It’s Lomardi or bust time in Los Angeles.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2)
What is it with Tom Brady and the Saints? Brady has run through every other team in the NFC except for New Orleans. In four games against the Saints since he joined the Bucs, he recorded seven interceptions (compared to 13 interceptions in his other 24 games with the Bucs), including a game-sealing pick-six while down three points with minutes left to seal the loss against New Orleans. The regular-season Saints join Eli Manning and Nick Foles as Tom Brady’s greatest weaknesses. Imagine if one of those quarterbacks came to play for New Orleans. We would have the ultimate Tom Brady kryptonite.
7. Baltimore Ravens (5-2)
The Ravens enter their bye week as a team that’s succeeded despite being ravaged by injuries. The impressive play of Lamar Jackson is definitely a reason why, but this team showed their flaws in last week’s 41-17 loss to the Bengals. When Jackson is neutralized, the Ravens are effectively neutralized. The defence hasn’t been great (injuries don’t help) but if the Ravens want to take that next step forward, they need other people to be able to step up if Jackson can’t do it.
8. Las Vegas Raiders (5-2)
Las Vegas has been a roller coaster this season. The team has persevered through the loss of their head coach Jon Gruden, but the team suffered another loss after the release of Henry Ruggs III. However, the Raiders sit atop the AFC West and they should make the playoffs. Key word here: should. The Broncos traded away the heart and soul of their team, the Chargers have looked vulnerable as of late and the Chiefs have been slumping this season. Adding another receiver to make up for the loss of Ruggs should be the focal point for this Raiders team coming out of their bye week.
9. New Orleans Saints (5-2)
You have to give the Saints credit, they fought hard to shut down the Bucs despite losing their starting quarterback to register a dramatic win sealed by a pick-six. While losing Jameis Winston is a crushing setback for this team, they still have impact players on both sides of the ball and are a well-coached unit. Don’t count them out yet.
10. Tennessee Titans (6-2)
The Titans would be higher on this list if it weren’t for one reason: losing their NFL leading rusher Derek Henry for 6-10 weeks with an ankle injury. Henry is the heart and soul of this team. Without Henry, it’s tough to gage how deadly this offence can be. While the Titans still are in a good position to win the division, it’s tough to say if they can be a Super Bowl contender without their bellcow.
11. Cincinnati Bengals (5-3)
Mike flippin White. Who could’ve guessed that he would shred apart a Bengals defence that’s been giving opposing quarterbacks a tough time so far this season. White carved apart Cincy for 400-plus yards and 32 first-downs. The offence isn’t innocent though, squandering opportunities all game. A disappointing loss for a team that had just dismantled Baltimore the week before.
12. Los Angeles Chargers (4-3)
We’ve seen the ceiling for this Chargers offence this season, and it’s pretty high. What’s concerning is how low the floor can be for them though. Justin Herbert had plenty of chances to take control of the game against New England, but he just couldn’t do it. Herbert could only accumulate 143 yards before the garbage time touchdown.
13. Kansas City Chiefs (4-4)
What the hell is going on in Kansas City. The defence is getting carved apart like swiss cheese, but the offence has been even more surprising. The amount of turnovers and times they’ve been ineffective in the red-zone isn’t an anomaly anymore; it’s a serious problem. Something seems off with this offence this season, and Kansas City will have to get it together quickly in a competitive AFC West division. It doesn’t help that they have the toughest schedule in the league though for the rest of the season. Buckle up Kansas City, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
14. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3)
Even though Big Ben hasn’t been his usual self this season, the defence is still elite. The front seven managed to suffocate a potent Browns ground-attack to come out with a 15-10 victory against Cleveland. With favourable matchups versus the Lions and Bears upcoming, the Steelers could find themselves atop the AFC North after two weeks. Funny how this team always seems to find its footing.
15. New England Patriots (4-4)
The Patriots ain’t dead yet. My worst nightmares are coming true. The evil empire still has some juice left in the tank after a 27-24 victory versus the Chargers. It was a typical Patriots game: well-coached, mistake-free and making critical plays. I hate this team. Tom Brady will probably come back when he’s 64-years old to play quarterback after Mac Jones retires and Bill Belicheck will still be the coach while using a walker and suffering from mild dementia to win another Super Bowl. If that ever happens, someone please put me out of my misery.
16. Cleveland Browns (4-4)
The Browns will always be the Browns? Seems like it after a disappointing 15-10 loss versus the Steelers. The ground-game was neutralized and Cleveland’s other playmakers couldn’t step up to perform. The question of is Baker Mayfield the man who should be behind the reigns of quarterback arises once again. Can Mayfield step up to perform when his team really needs him? So far, not really.
17. San Francisco 49ers (3-4)
Deebo Samual has been the focal point of San Francisco this season. Through seven games, he passed Jerry Rice’s record for most receiving yards (819) and is the only receiver with three 150-yard plus games this season. Especially with the absence of George Kittle and the sophomore slump of Brandon Aiyuk, it’s hard to say where this squad would be without the exceptional play of Samual.
18. Minnesota Vikings (3-4)
What the hell, Minnesota. You had a chance to pull off a big statement win against a Dallas squad playing without Dak Prescott and yet, you faltered. You got shredded by backup Cooper Rush in the final minutes, and the offence fell asleep when all the lights shined on you. I had high hopes for you guys this season with all the talent you possess, but it doesn’t mean anything if you can’t utilize your talent properly. Get out of my sight.
19. Seattle Seahawks (3-5)
Geno Smith looks like Joe Montana in his prime to start off Sunday’s blowout versus the Jaguars. He tossed 14 straight completions and two touchdowns to start the game. But don’t get it twisted; this team needs Russell Wilson back immediately if they hope to re-enter the NFC playoff picture. He’s made good progress and could potentially return for Week 10 after their bye week.
20. Indianapolis Colts (3-5)
Indy fought hard against Tennessee, but Carson Wentz fought harder (to blow the game). Having only one interception going into the matchup, Wentz threw multiple interceptions (including one of the most brutal pick-sixes you will ever see) which raises concerns with Frank Reich if Wentz can be the man Indy needs him to be. While there’s still hope for a potential AFC South crown after Derrick Henry went down for potentially the rest of the season, Indy has still dug themselves into a pretty deep hole.
21. Carolina Panthers (4-4)
The return of Christian McCaffrey is much-needed for Carolina. If there’s one thing we’ve seen through his absence, it’s that this offence has the tenacity of a three-month old cocker spaniel without CMC. He’s on track to make a return for this week, but Carolina will have to hope that their star doesn’t suffer another setback once again.
22. Denver Broncos (4-4)
Denver is in a weird place. No one’s convinced this team is a contender. Denver probably thinks that too after trading the face of their franchise, Von Miller, to the Rams for a second and third-round pick. While you can understand why Denver made the deal (32-years old making a ton of money), it’s still tough for Denver fans to see the face of their franchise leave for some middling picks.
23. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4)
Philadelphia needs to find more ways like they did against Detroit to take pressure off of Jalen Hurts. The Eagles 44-6 victory over the hapless Lions proved right, as they managed to run the ball 39 times for 165 yards with Jordan Howard and Boston Scott each scoring twice. While the Cowboys are running away with the NFC East, the Eagles still have a chance to remain in the playoff picture with a win against the struggling Chargers on Sunday.
24. Atlanta Falcons (3-4)
With receiver Calvin Ridley sidelined for an unknown amount of time dealing with mental health issues, the Falcons will need people other than Kyle Pitts and Corderrelle Patterson to step up. Matt Ryan is suffering from his Peyton Manning year, as he had possibly his worst game as a pro against Carolina and has regressed heavily this season. But hey Atlanta fans, at least you guys have a good baseball team!
25. Chicago Bears (3-5)
Justin Fields couldn’t get the Bears a win against the 49ers on Sunday, but made significant strides in the 33-22 loss. The offence looked revitalized without Matt Nagy, who was out due to COVID-19 restrictions, from the game. Maybe that’s a sign of what should come to Chicago for the future.
26. New York Giants (2-6)
New York… you guys had every opportunity to win against a Kansas City team that struggled heavily. When it all came down to the final drive, Daniel Jones and the offence faltered heavily. While you can blame it on nearly all the top wideouts being out due to injury, the Giants drafted Danny Dimes because they believed that he could be the man who could step up to perform in those times where they need him. But he couldn’t do it, and maybe he never will.
27. New York Jets (2-5)
MIKE WHITE FOR MVP! Zach Wilson really might be the third best QB on this roster. If that doesn’t epitomize the New York Jets, then I don’t know what does.
28. Washington Football Team (2-6)
It makes me sad watching Taylor Heineike struggle this season. He’s someone you want to see succeed, but so far he just hasn’t been the answer Washington’s been looking for at the QB position. With Ryan Fitzpatrick set to return very soon from IR, don’t be surprised if FitzMagic takes over the reins of quarterback.
29. Miami Dolphins (1-7)
Ya, you guys suck. But at least you aren’t the three teams below. After Miami, we get into the true basement of the league.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6)
Poverty franchise. You can’t have literal garbage and a coach who spends more time at college bars than reviewing the playbook surrounding your young quarterback and expect him to perform well. Please surround Trevor with some talent before he loses all that’s left of his confidence.
31. Detroit Lions (0-8)
I wish this team would win. I don’t want to see head coach Dan Campbell cry anymore. It makes me sad. Please win.
32. Houston Texans (1-7)
You guys are absolute poverty. The worst team in the NFL. Completely outclassed talent wise in every single matchup. At least Tyrod Taylor is set to return this week. As a Bills fan, I hope he succeeds like how he was at the beginning of this season.