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NFL Power Rankings, Week 8: Bucs hit top three; Cardinals soar into top ten

(Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

With a new week of football comes a new week of Power Rankings. Come see where your favourite team ranks this week (unless you’re a fan of any team in the NFC East).

1. Kansas City Chiefs (6-1)

Previous Rank: 2

It’s already well known that the Chiefs can blow you out. With arguably the best quarterback in the league and weapons everywhere offensively, this is a scary team. But the Chiefs even showed they can blow you out without Patty Mahomes. With a quiet day for Mahomes, who mustered only one touchdown and 200 yards through the air, the Chiefs still hung 40 points on the Broncos. Daniel Sorensen had a pick-six, Byron Pringle had a 102-yard kickoff return, and the new duo of Clyde-Edwards Helaire and Le’Veon Bell combined for 85 rushing yards and a touchdown. This team showed that they don’t live and die by Mahomes’ arm. While weather conditions back to back weeks kept Mahomes quiet, he will likely bounce back against his Week 8 opponent: the New York Jets.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-0)

Previous Rank: 1

After a dominant first-half performance against the red-hot Titans, the Steelers fell into a second-half funk. A wide right 45-yard field-goal attempt ensured a 27-24 win for the Steelers, but who knows how the game would’ve turned out if it went to overtime. Ben Roethlisberger had an up-and-down game that had three interceptions, including an interception late in the fourth quarter that he threw into triple coverage, but the Steelers still showed their depth offensively. Diontae Johnson had two first-half touchdowns, and Juju Smith-Schuster finished with nine catches for 85 yards. Even with a shaky second half, the Steelers are 6-0 for the first time since 1978.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-2)

Previous Rank: 7

The Bucs defence is scary, but we already knew that. What we never expected was Tom Brady to be turning back the clock this season. The G.O.A.T. looked like he was 10 years younger, throwing for 369 yards and four touchdowns in a blowout of the Las Vegas Raiders. Even Rob Gronkowski is knocking off the rust, looking somewhat like his former self who tore apart the league with Brady back in their New England Days. The defence made life miserable for Derek Carr, who was completely stopped by Devin White and co. as the Bucs pulled away with the game. With impressive victories in back-to-back weeks against two formidable football teams, we may be looking at one of the best teams in the NFL.

4. Baltimore Ravens (5-1)

Previous Rank: 6

After an MVP season for Lamar Jackson, expectations were high for the young quarterback. Over the team’s last four games, Lamar has boasted a 56.6% completion rate which ranks 31st in the league during that span. Nevertheless, the Ravens still find ways to put up points, and the defence is looking even better with the addition of Pro Bowl defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. This bolsters a defence that already entered their Week 7 bye first in points allowed per game (17.3) and tied for second in sacks (22). With matchups against the Steelers (Week 8 and 12), Phillip Rivers and Ryan Tannehill over the next 5 weeks, this defence should be ready for the challenge.

5. Green Bay Packers (5-1)

Previous Rank: 5

You got to feel bad for the Texans. They had to face the wrath of a pissed off Aaron Rodgers after a humiliating loss to the Bucs in their last game. Rodgers wasted no time, throwing for three touchdowns in the first half. Davante Adams was the prime recipient of the wrath of Rodgers, finishing the game with 13 catches for 196 yards and two touchdowns. A great performance by the Packers, who put a disappointing loss against the Bucs last week behind them.

6. Tennessee Titans (5-1)

Previous Rank: 3

You got to give the Titans some credit. The team didn’t roll over to die after falling behind by 20 to the Steelers in the third quarter. They kept on chipping away and eventually put themselves into a position to hit a game-tying field goal. Unfortunately for the Titans, Gostkowski missed the game-tying field goal, and the Titans comeback came up short. Even with the missed field goal, the majority of the blame goes towards the defence. The defence couldn’t stop Pittsburgh on third downs, with the Steelers converting on 13 of 18 third downs. This gave the Steelers a massive advantage in time-of-possession and pinned Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry to the sidelines.

7. Seattle Seahawks (5-1)

Previous Rank: 4

Over the season, Seattle has relied on their offence, specifically Russell Wilson, to help bail them out. This did get them five straight wins, but Sunday night was a reminder Seattle needs to be less one-dimensional and more well-rounded to become contenders. The offence went cold in overtime, and the defence couldn’t stop Kyler Murray, as he sliced through the defence like a knife cutting through butter. The defensive unit ranks dead last in both total yards allowed and pass defence while placing 23rd in points per game allowed.

8. Buffalo Bills (5-2)

Previous Rank: 8

What a weird game. In an 18-10 win for the Bills, the only offence came from Tyler Bass’ foot as he knocked down six of his eight field goals. The Bills offence has drastically cooled down after they ran through opponents to open the season, scoring four touchdowns over their last three matches. While the offence cooled, the defence heated up. The Bills allowed just 4 yards in the second half and was led by Jerry Hughes, who dominated this game in the backfield and even came down with the game-sealing interception in the final minutes. Even with an offence that has cooled down, the AFC East is a weak division this season and it’s the Bills division to win; as long as they don’t find a way to screw it up.

9. Arizona Cardinals (5-2)

Previous Rank: 12

What. A. Game. An incredible comeback win for Kyler Murray and the Cardinals, who ran over the Seahawks defence for 519 yards. While the defence did give up 572 total yards, they did force the arguably unanimous vote for MVP so far this season to throw three interceptions, including an Isiah Simmons pick in overtime that set up the game-winning field goal. The defence performed when it needed to, helping to force Seattle into two punts to help wipe the 34-24 deficit with less than seven minutes to play in the fourth quarter.

10. Los Angeles Rams (5-2)

Previous Rank: 10

The Rams defence is elite. It’s been carrying this team to wins throughout the season, as Goff and the offence haven’t been living up to expectations. The Bears couldn’t get anything going on Monday night, as they were limited to 279 yards. Leonard Floyd had two of the Rams four sacks, and Jalen Ramsey came down with the game-sealing interception in the fourth quarter. The real MVP was honestly Johnny Hekker, as he had five punts with each one downed inside the 10-yard line.

11. New Orleans Saints (4-2)

Previous Rank: 11

Playing without his two top receivers, Drew Brees led the way for the Saints in a good offensive performance in a 27-24 win over the Panthers. The future Hall of Famer threw for three touchdowns and 287 yards, connecting with eight different receivers in the win. Reserve wideout Marquez Callaway made the most of his opportunity, securing eight catches for 75 yards. Alvin Kamara has also been great for the Saints, as he has five straight games with more than 100 yards from scrimmage. When Michael Thomas and Emmanual Sanders return, this offence will look even more dangerous.

12. San Francisco 49ers (4-3)

Previous Rank: 17

After a rough 2-3 start to the season for the 49ers, most people left them for dead with a tough stretch of opponents ahead in the schedule. But the 49ers have started to turn it around, securing back-to-back wins including a 33-6 beatdown of the Patriots in Jimmy Garoppolo’s return to Foxborough. The undrafted Jeffrey Wilson came out of nowhere to drop three touchdowns on the Patriots heads, while the defence suffocated Cam Newton in the Patriots, picking him off three times. In a tough NFC West division, the 49ers will try to stay in the race with upcoming games against the Seahawks, the Packers, the Saints, and the Rams over the next four weeks.

13. Cleveland Browns (5-2)

Previous Rank: 16

A big performance by Baker Mayfield helped secure the Browns a victory against the Bengals in a 37-24 shootout win. After starting the game cold with an interception on his first throw, he then went on to complete 22 of his 23 final attempts, posting a perfect passer rating in the final three quarters. His only incompletion was a clock-killing spike. While Baker has performed very well against teams under .500, going 4-0 and completing 70.2% of his passes for 11 touchdowns and two interceptions, he’s only 1-2 with a 55.3% completion rate with four touchdowns and five interceptions against teams above .500.

14. Indianapolis Colts (4-2)

Previous Rank: 14

The Phillip Rivers experiment is an interesting one in the land of Indianapolis. When looking at veteran quarterbacks who’ve gone to new teams, he hasn’t made the impact Tom Brady has made in Tampa, but he’s not the liability Cam Newton’s turned into in New England. He’s pretty much the same Phillip Rivers. However, this Colts team will likely end up with the same fate the Chargers have endured with Rivers over the years: a year of high points, low points, and ultimately unfulfilled promises.

15. Chicago Bears (5-2)

Previous Rank: 9

The Bears had a chance to prove doubters wrong that their good start wasn’t just lucky. Instead, the Bears went on to lay an egg in a 24-10 loss against the Rams and proved the doubters right. This team may have a very good defence, but the offence is deeply mediocre. Nick Foles didn’t contribute anything for the Bears, as he went on to make low-percentage throws under pressure and useless checkdowns the whole game. A game against the surging Saints is up next.

16. Las Vegas Raiders (3-3)

Previous Rank: 15

Vegas got blown out by Tom Brady and the Bucs Sunday in a 45-20 beatdown. Devin White was everywhere for the Bucs, securing nine tackles and three sacks on the night. It makes you wonder if the Raiders made a mistake skipping over White to draft Clelin Ferrell, who’s yet to register a sack or forced fumble. The inability of Vegas to create turnovers is hurting them, forcing a turnover on just under 6% of their defensive snaps.

17. Los Angeles Chargers (2-4)

Previous Rank: 20

Justin Herbert has set the world on fire since his debut. He had another stellar performance against the lowly Jaguars, setting career highs in passing yards (347) and rushing yards (66) in a 39-29 win. The 66 rushing yards also set a new franchise record for the Chargers. The Chargers started with an early lead and then fell behind in the third quarter before Herbert led his offence to score 20 points in the final 5:34 of the quarter. The defence quieted Minshew after that, and Herbert finally secured his first career win. With a win over the Broncos this week, the Chargers may become a legitimate playoff threat.

18. Carolina Panthers (3-4)

Previous Rank: 19

A tough loss for the Panthers, who have now suffered back-to-back losses. The Panthers were in field goal range to try to tie the game, but a Bridgewater sack moved a potential 57-yard game-tying field-goal kick into a 65-yard attempt. The kick was almost made, as Joey Slye’s kick was dead center but just missed the crossbar. Even in a loss, Matt Rhule’s team is still a well-coach team that even has playmakers that aren’t named Christian McCaffrey. Still, the lingering absence of their star running back is something the team would rather not have.

19. New England Patriots (2-4)

Previous Rank: 13

A big loss for the Patriots leaves it difficult to come up with any positives for this team. While the Cam Newton experiment has been a catastrophic mess so far, it came at such a low risk that it’s hard to be mad at the Patriots for even giving it a chance. Still, the offence looks lost, as Cam has only been able to produce two passing touchdowns and seven interceptions. While Belichick says Newton will remain the starter, it may speak more to a coach’s lack of a better option than a belief that Cam will turn it around.

20. Miami Dolphins (3-3)

Previous Rank: 18

It’s Tua time in Miami. We didn’t see it coming, nor did Ryan Fitzpatrick, but you can understand why Brian Flores made the switch. At 3-3, the Dolphins are somewhat in the hunt for a playoff spot. If Tua Tagovailoa can bring Miami the Herbert Lift, it’s a worthy dice to roll that lowers the Dolphins’ floor but also lifts their ceiling. While Tua will be tossed out against Aaron Donald and the Rams, it’ll be interesting to see what he can do in an NFL game.

21. Detroit Lions (3-3)

Previous Rank: 21

What a game for the Lions. After Todd Gurley was unable to stop his momentum to cross the goal line, it gave the Lions life. Matthew Stafford potentially saved the Lions season by marching down the field for a 75-yard touchdown drive that spanned 64 seconds to win the game. The Lions even completed the comeback without the aid of having timeouts. Stafford’s winning pass was completed to T.J. Hockenson, who now has three scores in his last three games and is starting to live up to the expectations that were made for him when he was a first-round pick a year ago. The Lions get the Colts at home in their next match.

22. Philadelphia Eagles (2-4-1)

Previous Rank: 26

The Giants made the mistake of letting Philadelphia stay alive on Thursday night. Carson Wentz destroyed the Giants over the final two drives, going 5-7 with 121 yards, two touchdowns, and a 153.3 passer rating. Given the Cowboys’ retreat into laughingstock status, the Eagles have a wide-open path to an NFC East title and a home playoff game...somehow. Still, in a division where no team has above three wins this season, the top of the division is for the taking for any of these teams.

23. Denver Broncos (2-4)

Previous Rank: 22

The Broncos held Patrick Mahomes to under 200 passing yards and one touchdown (even if it was bad weather conditions) but still managed to get blown out by the Chiefs in a 43-16 thumping. It spoke to how poorly Denver played in all other phases of the game. Drew Lock played bad, and it makes you wonder if Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway has misjudged his quarterback room once again.

24. Houston Texans (1-6)

Previous Rank: 24

It’s hard to be optimistic about this team, even if they do have a good quarterback named Deshaun Watson on their team. After another one-sided affair loss against the Packers on Sunday, it shows how far this team has fallen from being contenders. J.J. Watt, who is 31 with a long list of injuries, may not be on this team in the upcoming future. The only hope is that Watson can carry this squad out of the twilight zone.

25. Atlanta Falcons (1-6)

Previous Rank: 23

Are the Falcons cursed? They always just seem to find a way to blow games, and this was shown on Sunday against the Lions. With a minute left to go, Todd Gurley rushed in for a first down, but couldn’t stop his momentum as he accidentally went to score a touchdown. Matt Stafford proceeded to slice through the defence in less than a minute to score the game-winning touchdown, as the Falcons somehow found another way to blow a game. You wonder how Dan Quinn felt watching this game as he sat on his couch with a beer and a bowl of popcorn.

26. Minnesota Vikings (1-5)

Previous Rank: 27

With the Vikings dealing Yannick Ngakoue this week to the Ravens, it was a clear sign that management sees the 2020 Vikings as a team broken beyond repair. The team has been as bad as their record shows, and there’s not much to look forward to for this Vikings team this season. Ryan Spielman must be considering what he was thinking when he signed Kirk Cousins to a two-year extension back in March.

27. Cincinnati Bengals (1-5-1)

Previous Rank: 28

In a heartbreaking loss to the Browns, the Bengals' inability to close games continues to haunt them. After blowing the game to Baker Mayfield in the final minute, this became the Bengals’ third loss of the season where they entered the fourth quarter with a lead. Joe Burrow has shown that he’s the real deal, somehow still managing to produce great games while being sacked and pressured more than any other quarterback in the NFL. Still, things could be looking a lot worse The Bungles.

28. Washington Football Team (2-5)

Previous Rank: 31

Washington entered its Week 8 bye on a high note after destroying the Cowboys in a 25-3 win. While the Cowboys are injury-ravaged and dysfunctional, it brings some hope to Washington. Kyle Allen played a decent game which justified Ron Rivera’s decision to move away from former first-round pick Dwayne Haskins, while Antonio Gibson ran for 128 yards and a touchdown. The Washington defence is good, and if the offence can somewhat become average, they have a shot in a depleted NFC East division.

29. Dallas Cowboys (2-5)

Previous Rank: 25

The Cowboys getting blown out by a horrible Washington team (who doesn’t even have a team name) was the icing on the cake to a horrible season so far. Somehow, things got even worse for the Cowboys when Andy Dalton was knocked out of action by an illegal hit by Washington linebacker Jon Bostic. Mick McCarthy proceeded to call out his own team for not rallying around Dalton or getting after Bostic after Dalton was carted off the field. Somehow, the Cowboys are still in the mix in a horrible NFC East, but this team feels like it’s self-destructing already.

30. New York Giants (1-6)

Previous Rank: 29

Daniel Jones is probably hoping that he has a long and illustrious career because he probably doesn’t want to be remembered as the quarterback who’s would-be breakaway touchdown was ruined by tripping on turf. It wasn’t butt fumble bad, but it was still the type of lowlight that can come to define a player. Still, we wouldn’t even be talking about this if Evan Engram makes the third-down catch late in the fourth quarter. No quarterback can do it alone.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6)

Previous Rank: 30

After a season-opening win against the Colts, the Jaguars have now lost six straight games. Gardner Minshew isn’t the only problem on the team, but he certainly should shoulder some of the blame for this lacklustre season. At least James Robinson, an undrafted rookie, has been playing well for the Jaguars. He totalled 137 scrimmage yards and two scores in the game and has been one of the only positives for the Jaguars.

32. New York Jets (0-7)

Previous Rank: 32

The Jets suck so bad that Adam Gase even gave up play-calling duties. The Jets also only totalled 4 yards of offence on 16 plays in the second half. Sam Darnold will have to play significantly better if he wants to be apart of this team’s future as the No. 1 overall pick seemingly gets closer and closer for the Jets every week.


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