The Panthers were the big movers in this week's power ranking following their convincing win over the Cardinals
After nearly a month of hearing about what’s wrong with the NFL, the league apparently decided to do something about all that criticism and turn in one of the most entertaining weeks of the season. While the primetime matchups may not have been as awesome, there were still plenty of upsets, thrilling comebacks and big-time plays to make Week 8 one to remember.
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 9 NFL Power Rankings
1. New England Patriots
Last week: 1
There’s little doubt who the best team in the league is right now thanks to Tom Brady’s amazing start to the season and you can bet Bill Belichick and the entire team enjoyed every point at Buffalo on Sunday.
Last week: 3
Dak Prescott once again showed why he should be the choice over Tony Romo, surviving a sub-par game by picking up several key plays down the stretch to get a huge victory in the division. Don’t discount the role the Cowboys’ defense is playing in leading them to the top of the standings either.
3. Denver Broncos
Last week: 6
That was a great defensive performance considering the absence of coordinator Wade Phillips for most of the game and it was encouraging to see Trevor Siemian step up with an ineffective ground game.
4. Seattle Seahawks
Last week: 5
It was just about a lock that the Seahawks would lose on the road in New Orleans after getting beat up like they did the week before at Arizona. Seattle still made it close and had a chance to win at the end however so not all is lost for Pete Carroll’s team, which still look like the division favorites.
5. Minnesota Vikings
Last week: 2
That’s two dreadful offensive performances in a row by the Vikings and you have to wonder if we’re starting to see signs of the old Sam Bradford given how he looked against the Bears. They can get right back on track against the Lions next week but that home-field advantage in the playoffs looks a little tougher right now than it did two weeks ago.
6. Atlanta Falcons
Last week: 8
Games like the one against the Packers are efforts that the Falcons typically find ways to lose. Instead it was another impressive victory for Dan Quinn’s team and one that could — gasp — play a role in playoff seeding down the road.
7. Kansas City Chiefs
Last week: 9
The Chiefs showed why you have to have two options at quarterback in this league when Alex Smith went down and Nick Foles came in and didn’t skip a beat with the offense. Even as diminished as the Colts are, putting on that kind of performance in Indianapolis is impressive and certainly helps them keep pace in maybe the toughest division in football.
8. Oakland Raiders
Last week: 10
No, the defense still isn’t great and the team setting an NFL record for penalties in a game seems remarkably appropriate for this franchise. Even with those negatives, this might just be the most fun team to watch in all of the NFL thanks to Derek Carr and that offense though.
9. Philadelphia Eagles
Last week: 4
Eagles fans know the team allowed that game against the Cowboys to slip away from them in the second half but the far more concerning development has been the regression from Carson Wentz. Is that a byproduct of the league figuring out the rookie or something more pressing? We’ll find out quickly given what is coming up on the schedule.
10. Green Bay Packers
Last week: 7
The offenses, despite the lack of a true run threat, seemed to get back on track but it wasn’t enough to overcome a questionable defensive effort. It’s clear that, when healthy, this team has enough talent to win the NFC but they haven’t really put it together in any game this year.
11. Washington Redskins
Last week: 12
Jay Gruden had to be kidding when he was talking about not knowing you could tie in the NFL after doing so against the Bengals in London on Sunday. He’ll need to focus on his current team entering the bye however as the upcoming stretch is really make or break with some of the NFC’s toughest on the slate in November.
12. Buffalo Bills
Last week: 13
That result against the Patriots was a surprise to nobody but the biggest question surrounding the Bills is where do they go from here? A trip to Seattle looms large and it goes without saying that if the defense doesn’t progress, the next four after that will help sink any playoff hopes for another year.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers
Last week: 14
The Steelers used their bye to get healthier and even if Big Ben doesn’t come back until after the Cowboys game, this is still a team you probably don’t want to play down the stretch.
14. New York Giants
Last week: 16
There’s a little more pressure to keep pace in the division given how well Dallas is playing, which means that hosting Philadelphia after a bye week is just about a must-win for the Giants.
15. Arizona Cardinals
Last week: 11
Flying across the country after getting knocked around in that game against Seattle practically begged for a loss at Carolina. Sure enough, that’s what happened and will put even more on an emphasis on winning at home next week before another tough road trip.
16. San Diego Chargers
Last week: 19
Is there a more entertaining team to watch than the Chargers? Hard to think of another 3-5 squad that can play well just about every game, no matter the opponent or location, even if it wasn’t enough against Denver. And let’s face it, with the schedule San Diego has coming up, making the playoffs can’t be ruled out.
17. New Orleans Saints
Last week: 21
Sean Payton came up with a great game plan to slow down Seattle and the team’s defense had an uncharacteristic performance in holding Russell Wilson and company to just 20 points. Getting back to .500 seems like a pretty good bet soon and you can’t completely rule this group out in the NFC South either.
18. Houston Texans
Last week: 17
There’s little question the Texans seem like a vastly different team at home, finding every little way to win despite mediocre performances. The offense remains suspect with Brock Osweiler under center though and something has to give.
19. Cincinnati Bengals
Last week: 18
We probably won’t penalize the Bengals too much for hopping across the pond to tie Washington given how some of those field goal attempts went at the end of the game. They’ll be able to rest up with the bye and it wouldn’t be surprising at all if Cincy went on a little run to get back into the AFC playoff mix.
20. Detroit Lions
Last week: 15
That three-game home stand certainly helped the team’s record but you wonder if that performance against the Texans was a byproduct of who they were playing or the fact that they have been shaky on the road. We’ll find out for sure in next week’s looming divisional matchup at Minnesota.
21. Carolina Panthers
Last week: 28
It’s a good thing the team had a week off to rest as Cam Newton was pounded once again to the point where the most newsworthy thing out of a win against the Cardinals was his potential meeting with the commissioner.
22. Indianapolis Colts
Last week: 20
If this team harbors any hopes of sneaking back into the playoff picture (remarkably still possible in the lackluster AFC South), the Colts can’t drop any games at home but that’s exactly what happened with Kansas City. Not even Andrew Luck can overcome that.
23. Miami Dolphins
Last week: 22
Will the bye week hamper momentum from those two big wins against Pittsburgh and Buffalo or will it be key to helping sustain a run of winnable games over the next month?
24. Tennessee Titans
Last week: 26
A strong effort against Jacksonville on both sides of the ball helped get this team to a surprising 4-4 at the halfway mark. And given the signs of improvement lately, a chance to be above .500 at the end of November looks promising.
25. Baltimore Ravens
Last week: 23
Two games in five days — in the division no less — might just be the key to the Ravens’ season. We’ll see if the bye week allowed the team to get more settled in offensively because Baltimore is going to need it.
26. Los Angeles Rams
Last week: 24
The Rams didn’t lose much ground in the NFC West during their bye and enter a stretch of very winnable games. The question is if the offense is up to the task and whether we’ll get our first look at Jared Goff this month or not.
27. New York Jets
Last week: 29
A win is a win, sure. But needing to rally to beat the Browns isn’t a great sign at this point in the season and it gets hard and harder to believe the team waited all that time this offseason to give a big contract to Ryan Fitzpatrick for this kind of play at quarterback.
28. Chicago Bears
Last week: 30
Who saw that Monday night effort coming? Maybe the Cubs’ Game 5 performance in the World Series rubbed off on the city’s football team as they welcomed back Jay Cutler with a surprising win.
29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last week: 25
It’s remarkable the Bucs were even able to force overtime against the Raiders given how their defense and quarterback Jameis Winston played and just as shocking that they couldn’t win it despite being gifted 200 yards in penalties. Now this beat-up team gets a short week to play one of the best teams in the league in a rough situation.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars
Last week: 27
Anybody who watched that Thursday night game understood changes needed to be made and it seems like firing the offensive coordinator is only going to delay the inevitable with Gus Bradley until the end of the season.
31. San Francisco 49ers
Last week: 31
A bye week means no losses for the 49ers and allows Chip Kelly to rarely live up to the motto and win the day.
32. Cleveland Browns
Last week: 32
At least the losses, bad as they all are, have become much more entertaining for Browns fans to watch.
— 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.