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NFL Power Rankings Week 8: Chiefs short stint at top, Philly takes first, Niners spiraling

Another week and another surprising set of games as the Chiefs lost to the Broncos, the Panthers get their first win and the Titans look like they have a new QB1.

Update:
Another week and another surprising set of games as the Chiefs lost to the Broncos, the Panthers get their first win and the Titans look like they have a new QB1.
PATRICK SMITHAFP

Week 8 once again proved that no one is safe at the top of our Power Rankings. The Kansas City Chiefs were downed in Denver, the previously winless Carolina Panthers are winless no more, and a rookie QB had a debut to remember in Nashville.

Here is our latest edition of Power Rankings after Week 8, mind you these were published before the trade deadline.

1. Philadelphia Eagles 7-1, last week 2

In a league that is loaded with inconsistencies, the Philadelphia Eagles are our rock. They are the most steady, unwavering team in the NFL. That doesn’t mean that every game is going to be a breeze. Just look at the first half against the Commanders. They weren’t just out played by Sam Howell and Washington, they were dominated for the opening two quarters. Somehow, they only went into half down by a TD thanks to the incredible AJ Brown, and coming out of the break you knew Jalen Hurts and the offense was going to turn it on. He threw three of his four TDs in the second half and are now the only team with one loss in the league.

2. Kansas City Chiefs 6-2, last week 1

After six straight wins it was bound to happen sooner or later. The Chiefs didn’t get into the end zone once against the Broncos, and while that is interesting and surprising, it’s not reason to all of the sudden start doubting Mahomes and the Chiefs. The Broncos used to stink. They don’t anymore. Divisional games are tough, even more so on the road. Streaks have to come to an end at some point, and on Sunday, KC’s 16 game win streak over the Broncos was snapped. Could we make an excuse that Mahomes was battling the flu? Maybe. But it’s ime for KC to turn the page because they have Miami in Germany next week, a BYE and then Philly at home.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars 6-2, last week 4

After the Chiefs fell to the Broncos in Denver, the Jacksonville Jaguars are officially the hottest team in the league. Let’s not forget that they began this five game winning streak in London for two straight weeks. On Sunday, they went into Pittsburgh and beat them at their own game. It was a rainy, cold day that set up for a defensive battle which is just what the Steelers were hoping for, but Trevor Lawrence threw for nearly 300 yards and Travis Etienne showed why he should be considered one of the best dual threat running backs in the league.

4. Baltimore Ravens 6-2, last week 5

On paper, the Ravens were in for a cup cake victory over the Cardinals in Arizona, but how many times do we see a top team get a big win over another good team, and then lay a dud in their next game? The Ravens didn’t fall into the trap on their road trip out West, and little by little this team is making a believer out of me. Having said that, their next three games are against the Seahawks, Browns and Bengals. Let’s talk around Thanksgiving and see if I’m still a believer.

5. Detroit Lions (6-2), last week 6

Dan Campbell was looking for a response from his team, and he got in on Monday night. It was far from a perfect game, as the Lions went just 1-5 in the red zone, fumbling once inside the five and conceding a pick six to let the Raiders stay in the game. Despite the mistakes, The Lions never really had much to worry about against a Las Vegas side that was held to 157 yards. That was the biggest stat of the night for DET, who gave up 500 yards and 38 points to the Ravens in Week 7. And lets not forget about the rookie Jahmyr Gibbs who single handily out gained the Raiders on Monday night.

6. Miami Dolphins 6-2, last week 7

When the Dolphins play a team they know they are better than, they look fearless. They look flawless. They look unstoppable. The problem comes when they play good teams. Miami started the game against the Pats with a punt and an interception on their first two possessions. Against the Eagles or Bills we saw the offense falter, and they were unable to bounce back. Against the Pats, they rebounded by scoring 17 points on their next three drives. It also didn’t hurt that Jalen Ramsey made his Miami debut with a red zone INT. The Dolphins will get another chance to prove themselves against KC in Germany next week.

7. San Francisco 49ers 5-3, last week 3

For the first time in the Brock Purdy era, the Niners lost a game at Levi Stadium. Not for the first time in the Brock Purdy era, the boat is starting to rock in the Bay. San Fran lost their third straight game, and Purdy threw two crucial INTs late in the game to bring his tally to 5 in the last three games. That’s not the real concern according to Fred Warner, who says his QB will be fine. The defense that was crowned as the best in the league, by people like yours truly, gave up almost 400 yards to Kirk Cousins in Week 7 and allowed Burrow to go 28/32 and toss three TDs.

8. Dallas Cowboys 5-2, last week 9

Remember that movie The Replacements? Remember when Shane Falcao talks about his biggest fear being quick sand, and that sensation of sinking without being able to do anything about it on the field? The Cowboys are better at putting their opponents in quick sand situations than anyone else in the league. Their rapid fire strikes from all angles have an ability to drown a team in the snap of the fingers. A pick-six, then a safety, and then a run back to inside the LA 15 which led to a Dak TD to Ceedee Lamb stretched the Cowboys lead from 10-3 to 26-3 in less than three minutes. They may not be the best team in the league, but when they start rolling, it’s like a tornado of destruction and there isn’t much opposing teams can do about it.

9. Cincinnati Bengals 4-3, last week 12

There they are! There are the Bengals that everyone was expecting to see much earlier in the season. It turns out, all they needed was a week off to get a bit of rest and recover from the bumps and bruises suffered over the first month and a half of the season. No one benefited more from the week off than Joe Burrow who lit the Niners defense up at Levi Stadium, completing a personal record 19 straight passes.

10. Seattle Seahawks 5-2, last week 11

Those throw backs might have been sexy, but the Seahawks are not a sexy team. They have proved they know how to win in shootouts like they did against the Lions and ugly games like the one against the Browns. They came out swinging, taking a 17 point lead in the first quarter, but Geno Smith and the offense disappeared for the next 43 minutes which allowed the Browns to score 20 unanswered points. The defense, which has allowed 14 points over their last four games, came up with the play of the day, picking of PJ Walker with 2:00 to go. That spurred the go ahead TD Jaxon Smith-Njigba with 38 seconds to go.

11. Buffalo Bills 5-3, last week 8

For a brief moment, it looked like the Bills were back to being the team we saw that blew out the Dolphins, and looked like THE contender in the AFC. That lasted for only a few moments, as it so often does with the Bills. If you just watched the game without seeing the score you would have thought the Bills won in a blowout, but Buffalo let the Bucs come back in the game and almost win it on a Hail Mary.

12. Cleveland Browns 4-3, last week 10

It’s hard to give a team props after a loss, but the Browns had every reason to hang their heads and throw in the towel in Seattle after going down 14-0 after 10 minutes. On the road, far from home after an exhausting win over the Colts the week before, Kevin Stefanski’s squad rebounded to take the lead and were a first down from winning their fourth game in the last five. Up 20-17, PJ Walker threw a pick right before the Two Minute Warning and Seattle sunk the Deshaun Watson-less Browns.

13. New York Jets 4-3, last week 19

There really is no explanation I can give you on how the Jets are above .500 after Week 8. Robert Saleh’s defense has not just been heroic, it has been legendary, but that doesn’t do enough to justify the Jets record. Whether it’s a game winning punt return, or missed 35 yard Graham Gano FG, it seems like something supernatural is pushing the Jets to victories this season. The way things are going for the Jets, you wouldn’t be surprised if they got some of that divine intervention carried over into the Aaron Rodgers recovery process.

14. New Orleans Saints 4-4, last week 21

It’s about time the Saints started scoring in the red zone. New Orleans took some of the pressure off of Derek Carr and started using their other options in the red zone and suddenly scoring touchdowns looked easy. Alvin Kamara had two red zone TDs, and Tayson Hill had another two red zone TDs. Despite their troubles, the Saints have plenty of weapons around Carr and their defense has already proven they can hold very good teams to very few points, although they did give up 27 to Indy, but watch out for the Saints. They might run away with the NFC South if they can sort their red zone issues out.

15. Los Angeles Chargers 3-4, last week 18

It’s no surprise that as soon as Austin Ekler started to look like the same Austin Ekler that lead the league in TDs over the last couple of seasons, the Chargers start to look like a team that can compete in the AFC. Unfortunately, it took eight weeks to see Ekler at his best, and in that time Herbert has suffered a finger injury on his non throwing hand, and Mike Williams tore his ACL. If we are being optimistic, they aren’t that far off pace from the top teams in the AFC. The Chiefs are 6-2, just like the Dolphins, Raiders and Jags.

16. Minnesota Vikings 4-4, last week 17

Watching Kirk Cousins skip to the sidelines after suffering a lower leg injury was gutting. Hearing that the Minnesota QB tore his achilles is devastating. The Vikings were on the mend after an 0-3 start to the season, and they were doing it without Justin Jefferson. Once their star WR came back this team was going to put up a serious fight for a playoff spot, but with Cousins sidelined it’s time for the Vikings to go shopping in the trade market. Colt McCoy and Ryan Tannehill are the names that are floating to the top of the surface.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers 4-3, last week 14

The Steelers problems presented themselves well before Kenny Pickett was sidelined with a rib injury in the first half of their loss to the Jaguars. Pittsburgh went three and out on their first four possessions of the game, which was pretty much par for the course for their offense this year. The defense came up with three turnovers, but allowed the Jags to gain almost 400 yards on a rainy cold day at Acrisure Stadium. The Steelers are almost in the exact same position as the Jets. They have no offense. A fantastic defense and a 4-3 record. For some reason it just seems like the Jets have more staying power than the Steelers.

18. Houston Texans 3-4, last week 13

Games like the Texans had against the Panthers are going to happen when you have a rookie QB leading a young team. It’s easy to expect great things from CJ Stroud on a week to week basis after an incredible start to his career, but there will be some turbulent moments in Houston. Even with Stroud passing for just 140 yards, the Texans had the lead going into the final six minutes of the game, thanks to a defense that held Carolina to 1-4 in the red zone, but the defense couldn’t hold the Panthers on the final drive of the game, as Bryce Young led a drive from inside his own 10 to set up the game winning FG and land the first blow on what should be a fantastic rivalry with CJ Stroud.

19. Atlanta Falcons 4-4, last week 16

It’s not an easy thing having Taylor Heinicke as your QB2. Just ask Carson Wentz, and Ryan Fitzpatrick. The former Old Dominion QB has a certain swag about him playing as the emergency QB. He showed signs of that in the attempted comeback against the Titans after the Falcons went down 14-3 at half thanks to a stagnant start to the game and another Desmond Ridder fumble. He’s turned the ball over 7 times in the last 2.5 games, and was sideline after going through concussion protocol, but it remains to be seen if he keeps his job as QB1.

20. Los Angeles Rams 3-5, last week 15

The Rams got sucked into a cyclone of destruction in Dallas as the Cowboys hung 26 points on them in the first 17 minutes of the game. The Rams have lost two straight, and three of their last four, and to add insult to injury, Matthew Stafford suffered an injury to his throwing hand which knocked him out of the game right before halftime. We saw things go south in a hurry for this team last year, and they are on the brink of having it happening again.

21. Denver Broncos 3-5, last week 25

Will the Broncos win over the Chiefs let Sean Payton and Russell Wilson off the hook after a dreadful first month and a half of the season? Probably not, but it’s a hell of a start. The Bronco’s hadn’t beaten the Chiefs 16 tries but their defense, yes the one that gave up 70 to the Dolphins, held Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs out of the end zone all game. There is potential in this group. The question is, is this a team yet? Is this a team that can rally and string a few wins together make themselves viable playoff contenders?

22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-4, last week 20

Nothing has been going to plan for the Bucs, who went into their Week 5 BYE at 3-1, but since then they have lost their last three, and are scoring less than 13 points a game. The Bucs final TD drive was a great personification for how the offense is operating. They were down by two TDs with 10 minutes left in the game. The good news is they went 92 yards, scoring a TD to cut the lead to 6 after a successful two point conversion. The bad news is, it took them almost seven and a half minutes to get in the end zone. Even when they need to show a sense of urgency, the Bucs don’t have that next gear.

23. Tennessee Titans 3-4, last week 27

World, meet Will Levis. Will Levis, meet the world. He was the most talked about QB in the draft not named Bryce Young, CJ Stroud or Anthony Richardson. The man with the mayo in his coffee made his debut in the Music City and had a day to remember. The rookie QB stepped in for an injured Ryan Tannehill and added a dimension to the Titans offense that hasn’t been seen this season. He threw for four TDs, as Deandre Hopkins finally got a chance to shine and Henry got 101 yards on 22 carries. If you have been following these Power Rankings, you know that every time Henry gets 20+ carries, the Titans win. With Levis able to stretch the defense out, Henry won’t have to go up against teams that stack the box on every play.

24. Las Vegas Raiders (3-5), last week 22

That was a disgusting display from one of the worst offenses in the league. The Raiders had one decent drive that was led by last year’s league leader in rushing yards, but then just stopped feeding him the ball. There was no reason to stop giving him the ball, Garoppolo was even less than average, which is far from good. He passed for 121 yards on 10/21 passing. At 15.8 points per game, LV is the third worst scoring team in the league. If that continues McDanield may not make it to the end of the season.

25. Washington Commanders 3-5, last week 26

The Commanders might have lost to the Eagles on Sunday afternoon, but it would be hard to place any blame on Sam Howell who passed for 397 yards and 4 TDs against a sturdy Eagles defense. Last week, we wondered if Howell was going to be the guy going forward after the Commanders dropped their fourth in five games. They might have lost their fifth in six on Sunday but Howell strengthened his case to remain the started in the nation’s capital.

26. Green Bay Packers 2-5, last week 23

That’s four straight losses and five over the last six games for the Packers. Jordan Love is regressing as the season goes on and Green Bay can’t seem to avoid putrid starts that leave them having to fight back just to make games somewhat interesting in the second half. Over the last five games, they have been outscored 73-9 in the first half. Those numbers would be tough for a great offensive team like the Dolphins to make up for, let alone a Packers team that haven’t scored over 20 points in the last month and a half .

27. Indianapolis Colts 3-5, last week 24

There have been a total of 199 points scored in the Colts’ last three games. Ladies and gentleman, this is what we call the Garner Minshew effect. Love him or hate him, you have to give it to him. He knows how to make games interesting. Unfortunately for the Colts that hasn’t translated into wins. They have lost their last three games since seeing Anthony Richardson suffer a season ending injury. But if the Indy fans just start to bet the over on Colts games, that might ease some of their pains.

28. New England Patriots 2-6, last week 29

Let’s not be fooled by the Pats Week 7 win over the Bills last week, this is still a terrible team, that can’t move the ball. They gained 218 total yards and went 1-9 on third down against the Dolphins. To make matters worse, Kendrick Bourne has a torn ACL which will only complicate life for Mac Jones and the Foxborough faithful. Speaking of Jones, how has Bill Belichick put up their former first round draft pick under center?

29. New York Giants 2-6, last week 28

Not a whole lot to say about the Giants who were without Daniel Jones in the battle of New York New York. Tyrod Taylor went down with injury as well as third string QB Tommy DeVito threw for -1 yards on seven pass attempts. Their QB3 did run into the end zone to give the Giants a 10-7 third quarter lead, but this game was a perfect depiction of why the Giants are 2-6 and the Jets are 4-3. The Jets might have a terrible offense, but they don’t miss 35 yard field goals like Graham Gano did. The Jets make plays to win games, while the Giants make plays to lose games.

30. Chicago Bears 2-6, last week 30

The honeymoon is over between the Bears and their second string, undrafted rookie QB Tyson Bagent. After a fantastic debut win over the Raiders last week, there were murmurs around Soldier Field calling for an immediate change under center. After the spanking he and the Bears suffered in Sofi, that speculation is likely to be silenced. Opinions seem to change like the winds in Chicago, because they have spent three decades looking for a viable starting quarterback. Fields should be back in practice this week and he will be eager to make fans forget about Bagentmania.

31. Carolina Panthers 1-6, last week 32

I don’t know this to be true, but I am willing to bet, that if you told Bryce Young he and the Panthers were going to win just one game this year, he would have picked the game against the Texans. It’s been a rough year for the No. 1 overall pick, and to add to the frustration, the No. 2 pick, C.J. Stroud has been having a debut season for the ages, and is without question the favorite for ROY. Young got the best of Stroud, passing for 95 more yards, throwing one more TD and leading the Panthers down the field to set up the game winning field goal to win the first of many match ups to come between the 1st and 2nd over picks.

32. Arizona Cardinals 1-7, last week 31

At some point we have to stop applauding the Cardinals for keeping games tight and call it how we see it. I hate to say it, because I like Josh Dobbs, and I like Hollywood Brown, but this looks more like a college team than an NFL team the moment. Reports out of Arizona claim their franchise QB could be back as early as Week 9, but If I’m Kyler Murray I’d be a little skiddish to come back to a team that has won just one of their first eight.

The honeymoon is over between the Bears and their second string, undrafted rookie QB Tyson Bagent. After a fantastic debut win over the Raiders last week, there were murmurs around Soldier Field calling for an immediate change under center. After the spanking he and the Bears suffered in Sofi, that speculation is likely to be silenced. Opinions seem to change like the winds in Chicago, because they have spent three decades looking for a viable starting quarterback. Fields should be back in practice this week and he will be eager to make fans forget about Bagentmania.