New Orleans has won four in a row and surged to first place in the NFC South
After one of the best weeks of the year in terms of entertainment value, the past week in the NFL was a bit of a snoozer outside of some of the prime-time games. While that may not have made for a hectic Sunday, it did help clarify who’s in a good spot for a Super Bowl run and who needs some work to get there.
Doing as much as one can to sort through all that and factoring in everything from overall roster strength, to quarterback play, to the coaching staff, here is the latest edition of NFL power rankings and where every team stacks up from 1 to 32.
Week 8 NFL Power Rankings
1. Philadelphia Eagles
Last week: 2
Tough sight to see to see franchise mainstay left tackle Jason Peters carted off on Monday night but even with that crucial injury, there’s little doubt that this is the best team in the league after seven weeks — and far and away the top team in the NFC.
2. Kansas City Chiefs
Last week: 1
While the Chiefs have gone from the only undefeated team to losers of two in a row (albeit both in the final minutes), now is no time to panic as this is still the best team in the AFC by a solid margin.
3. New England Patriots
Last week: 3
The fog may have obscured the Falcons’ view of the Patriots on Sunday night but it sure didn’t cover up the fact that this is a team that’s getting better by the week and still has one of the toughest offenses in the league to defend.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers
Last week: 4
Nobody is benefiting from their division being bad more than the Steelers are this year. If they can get past Detroit on the road next week, suddenly that No. 1 seed in the AFC might be in play in addition to a bye.
5. Los Angeles Rams
Last week: 8
Don’t look now, but that win across the pond pushes the Rams to 5-2 and suddenly has LA right in the thick of the running for a playoff bye as this young team continues to improve.
6. Minnesota Vikings
Last week: 12
Another solid showing on both sides of the ball against Baltimore suddenly has the team right in the thick of things in the NFC and looking like the team to beat in the North division. We’ll see how quarterback health plays a role for the Vikings going forward.
7. New Orleans Saints
Last week: 13
Don’t look now but the hottest team in the league is the Saints, surging to four straight wins and suddenly looking like the best team in the division.
8. Seattle Seahawks
Last week: 6
It wasn’t pretty against the Giants but flying across the country rarely brings an A game for the West Coast squad. Still, this is a team that has only one good win and needs to keep opening up the offensive playbook if the Seahawks have designs on the division.
9. Dallas Cowboys
Last week: 11
Not sure we learned all that much from the romp over the 49ers other than the fact that a safety is the emergency kicker on the roster.
10. Detroit Lions
Last week: 7
The bye week was a good chance to regroup but if they don’t get things going the next two weeks, the Lions will fall further behind the Vikings in the division race despite that tie-breaker from earlier in the year.
11. Buffalo Bills
Last week: 20
Buffalo let the Bucs back in the game during the second half of their win on Sunday but they remain perfect at home and are one of the surprises of the league at 4-2. Given how lackluster the rest of the AFC is, maybe that playoff streak will end when nobody saw it coming.
12. Washington Redskins
Last week: 9
The NFC East may be a lost cause after dropping both games to the Eagles but the next few weeks offer the chance to get right back into the postseason mix with a bunch of notable tests coming up.
13. Houston Texans
Last week: 10
They hit the bye week very much looking like the favorite in the AFC South but Deshaun Watson faces his biggest challenge yet going on the road to Seattle next Sunday.
14. Oakland Raiders
Last week: 24
For a few seconds on Thursday night, it looked like the Raiders’ season was very much over because they would have been so far behind the sticks with a five-game losing streak. Instead they’re 3-4 and in striking distance of the playoffs if they play like they did in that second half against the Chiefs.
15. Carolina Panthers
Last week: 5
It does not get much more pathetic on the NFL level than the offensive effort the Panthers had in Chicago. To lose by two scores to a team that completed just four passes (and only attempted seven with 68 rushing yards!) is beyond awful.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars
Last week: 23
Beating up on the Colts isn’t the test to really prove the Jaguars are turning the corner but taking care of business is a good step in that direction. No matter what though, it’s clear the defense is for real.
17. Miami Dolphins
Last week: 17
A 4-2 record is 4-2 but it really seems like the Dolphins are getting it done with some smoke and mirrors. Still, thanks to that gift to beat the Jets, this team is in the hunt for the division.
18. Denver Broncos
Last week: 15
Colin Kaepernick can win his collusion case against the NFL by submitting the Broncos’ depth chart of Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch along with a few clips of that game against the Chargers, which snapped an NFL-record streak of 394 games avoiding a shutout.
19. Tennessee Titans
Last week: 21
There are more questions about the Titans than answers after needing overtime to beat the lowly Browns, especially with Marcus Mariota still not looking fully healthy and the offense likely missing Delanie Walker for a while.
20. Atlanta Falcons
Last week: 14
The Super Bowl rematch on Sunday only served to reinforce that this team has quite the Super Bowl hangover and faces some serious questions about what happened to the offense that used to be the best in the league.
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last week: 19
The Bucs made things much more interesting in the second half at Buffalo but they’re still winless on the road and one of the biggest mismatches between record and team talent in the league.
22. Los Angeles Chargers
Last week: 28
Four straight losses have given way to three straight wins, including the very first home win since the Chargers moved to Los Angeles. This doesn’t seem like a team that can keep things going and make a run at the division but these Chargers seem like they’ll be a pesky out every week.
23. Green Bay Packers
Last week: 29
The debut of Brett Hundley was probably better than expected given how improved the Saints are. Still, it’s clear that this is the Aaron Jones show on offense as the new QB gets the timing down with his receivers.
24. Chicago Bears
Last week: 26
Few things are as inexplicable as that game against the Panthers if you looked at the Bears’ offensive numbers, but fans will certainly take the W as a sign of progress.
25. Baltimore Ravens
Last week: 18
Joe Flacco has just four touchdown passes and thrown six interceptions in losses this season. That’s going the wrong way toward being elite.
26. Arizona Cardinals
Last week: 16
Yet another flop after a win and now the loss of Carson Palmer (and to the Rams in London) means any hope of making at least some noise in the NFC West is over. Time to start scouting for the draft.
27. New York Jets
Last week: 27
Poor Josh McCown is going to kick himself over and over for throwing that interception that gifted the Dolphins a win. The front office might be thanking him however as the team built to tank is doing nothing of the sort and really playing hard each game.
28. Cincinnati Bengals
Last week: 22
We’re only a few more losses away from management starting to ask about playing AJ McCarron to distract them from the upcoming coaching search.
29. New York Giants
Last week: 30
The Giants played Seattle pretty close for three quarters before the floodgates opened. At least it’s becoming clear that rookie tight end Evan Engram is comfortable taking over as the No. 1 receiver for Eli Manning.
30. Indianapolis Colts
Last week: 25
What is the point of Andrew Luck coming back to play on this team, in what is very much a lost season? Get him healthy and maybe find yourself with a draft pick like Saquon Barkley and look ahead to 2018 and beyond.
31. San Francisco 49ers
Last week: 31
After a bunch of close games, the 49ers were finally blown out. At least they are going to get a solid, long look at C.J. Beathard under center.
32. Cleveland Browns
Last week: 32
Perhaps it was encouraging to see the team keep it close against the Titans and force overtime but that was an awful offensive performance that was made even worse with the season-ending injury to mainstay left tackle Joe Thomas.
— Written by Bryan Fischer, an award-winning college football columnist and member of the Athlon Contributor Network. You can follow him from coast-to-coast on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @BryanDFischer.