NFL Week 8 Power Rankings
We’ve now officially hit midseason, which means the trade deadline has passed, but you wouldn't know if I didn't tell you. It was one of the most boring deadlines in recent memory, with only two trades on the day of, and just a few more in the days leading up to it. I don't think it really shook anything up, though the Titans acquiring Desmond King could be big with the way that their defense has been struggling.
In terms of the games that were played, it felt like every game was close. Almost half were one-score games, and a few were decided by 11 or less. The Saints and Broncos had walk off wins, while the Ravens, Packers, and Patriots came up just short. It was a good week for the underdogs, as the Vikings upset the Packers and the Bengals stole one from the Titans. I would have loved to see the Giants beat the Buccaneers, but you can't have it all, right?
Also, at the bottom of this page is also my picks for the playoffs and awards. If you're curious about how they've changed as the season has gone along, check my preseason rankings for the originals!
32. New York Jets (LW: 32) =
Blah blah blah, the Jets lost another game. I am honestly running out of bad things to say about this team. I mean, what hasn’t been said? The team sucks mostly everywhere, Adam Gase can’t call plays (anyone who’s ever played Madden can tell you to not call bubble screens if you have no speed), and they’re ruining Sam Darnold’s career. I still think, though, that they should try to trade down from the top pick, get some future picks or a couple of solid players, and see what Darnold can do for one season under a good coach. Just a thought.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 30) -1
I’m moving the Jaguars down because I got multiple people last week telling me that they weren’t better than the Giants. I disagree, but here you go. The space between 29 and 30 doesn’t really matter that much, since they’re both pretty awful and neither team has much hope of anything this season. The Jaguars have a promising offense, but the quarterback situation is Blake Bortles all over again. The biggest problem is the decimated defense, which they have to focus on rebuilding in the offseason.
30. Dallas Cowboys (LW: 26) -4
Another brutal Cowboys loss, and Dallas drops down even further. I feel a little bad for the Cowboys. They wouldn’t be good with Dak, but they probably would be winning this division. He was on a historic pace when he went down, and we’ve seen how special he must be with Andy Dalton and Ben DiNucci failing to get anything going. The Cowboys have managed two touchdowns in 13 quarters since Dak went down, and none in the last eight. That is failure.
29. New York Giants (LW: 31) +2
Despite a loss, the Giants moved up in my rankings because they looked like the better team on Monday night for most of the game. Sure, Daniel Jones keeps making the mistake of forcing passes and throwing picks, but he also has shown an ability to make plays under pressure and get out of a broken pocket. The defense couldn’t do enough, but they had some nice stops against an offense that many touted as a dream team before the season, and that’s a great thing for this team.
28. Washington Football Team (LW: 28) =
I don’t think many people expected the Washington Football Team to be the second-highest ranked NFC East team in any power rankings before the season. And as bad as we knew this division would be, I know that nobody expected three of the four teams to be ranked at 28 or below. None of these teams deserve a playoff spot, but any of the four of them could easily grab a home playoff game. Of course, it doesn’t matter who gets that game, since they’ll be slapped silly against a legitimate contender, possibly even by a 13 win team.
27. Detroit Lions (LW: 25) -2
The Lions started off solid, holding a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, only to go into the half down 20-7. There were some bright spots in this game, but it was another poor defensive showing from a head coach that used to be one of the best defensive coordinators in the league. Matt Patricia is not as bad as Adam Gase, but if the Lions stick with him much longer, he could get the same reputation around the league. Matt Stafford doesn’t have much left in him. I hope he gets a legitimate shot in the next few seasons.
26. Atlanta Falcons (LW: 29) +3
Atlanta managed to win against Carolina, but it might not have been the best thing for a team that was close to the top pick in the draft. Calvin Ridley going down midway through the game hurts, but it’s not the end of the world since the season is all but lost at this point. And the offense hasn’t really been the problem most of this season as much as the defense has been unable to keep many games within reach. This team might need to go full rebuild in the offseason.
25. Los Angeles Chargers (LW: 20) -5
Despite another great game from rookie Justin Herbert, the Chargers managed to blow yet another massive lead. They allowed 21 points in the final frame that allowed Denver to get back in the game after being down big, and that’s been a theme this season for Los Angeles. They’re a very good team, but they can’t hold onto the leads that they get. None of the blame should be falling on Herbert, but he has had some struggles with throwing interceptions this season. Hopefully he won’t be forced in too many high-pressure situations next year, because that could be dangerous.
24. Minnesota Vikings (LW: 27) +3
The Vikings pulled out an amazing win on the legs of Dalvin Cook, but nearly blew it at the end. This game probably should have been over without having to stop the Packers on the final drive, but the defense, which has not had a good 2020, managed to keep Aaron Rodgers from making another miracle. It’s safe to say that Dalvin Cook is fully healthy again, and Minnesota finally is trusting him to lead the offense.
23. New England Patriots (LW: 16) -7
I didn’t want to drop the Patriots this far, since it was their best game since beating the Raiders in week 3, but their record speaks for itself. Sitting at 2-5 and in a stunning third place in the division, it was a hard sell to keep them ranked as high as I have all season. Hopefully they’ll get a bounce back game on Monday when they take on the Jets, but they stayed pretty silent at the trade deadline outside of trading for a receiver who probably won’t even start when they really needed to make a splash.
22. Houston Texans (LW: 21) =
While there were talks between the Texans and the Packers about a trade for Will Fuller, nothing ended up panning out before the deadline passed. But all things considered, that’s probably a good thing for the team. While this season has not gone the way Houston planned, the team is not ready to call it quits. Will Fuller has been a solid receiver for Deshaun Watson and he should continue to be over the next few seasons while the Texans build back up.
21. Philadelphia Eagles (LW: 21) =
Good god I hate the NFC East. For most of the game, the Eagles looked like they didn’t care whether or not they won the game. In the end, they did, but this team is so far from the Super Bowl winners just a few years ago. Carson Wentz has been having his moments this season, but he’s inconsistent to the point that I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t keep the starting job for the rest of the season.
20. Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 24) +4
The Bengals pulled off one of the most surprising upsets of the season by taking down the Titans and giving them their second loss in a row. The offensive line, which has been the worst in the league, actually held up against an underwhelming Tennessee pass rush and didn’t allow a sack for the first time all season. And even without Joe Mixon, the run game was working well for Cincinnati. This is a promising win.
19. Carolina Panthers (LW: 19) =
Although the Panthers lost, it wasn’t the worst game for them. I think I’ve said it every week, but the fact that the offense is still finding ways to stay in games despite not having their best weapon is commendable. CMC will be back to give this offense a big boost hopefully next week, and with both the Saints and Buccaneers struggling, it’s not completely out of the cards for them to make a playoff push. Will it happen? Probably not. But they’re in a good situation for next year.
18. Denver Broncos (LW: 23) +5
I didn’t really want to move the Broncos up this much, but the cards all just kinda fell in the wrong way and I was forced to bump them up to 18. Either way, it was a nice win. Drew Lock hit KJ Hamler for the go-ahead touchdown as time expired, and it was an overall good offensive showing that saw three touchdowns on their last three drives. Even though the defense let Los Angeles out to a big lead, they were able to hold them when it really mattered and gave the team the chance to win.
17. Chicago Bears (LW: 17) =
The Bears probably deserved to win this game, but mental mistakes really cost them a win that would have been big after a Green Bay loss. Twice Chicago had penalties that turned a manageable 4th and short into a punt situation, and receiver Javon Wims made one of the stupidest mistakes of the season, though that drive ended in an interception. There are a lot of problems this team needs to fix before contending again.
16. Cleveland Browns (LW: 15) -1
Cleveland might have gotten screwed out of a touchdown, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that they played like garbage. It was in a week where a win would have immensely helped them too, as the Ravens lost to the Steelers. Without OBJ, the Browns did not look as good on offense as they have looked with him. Fortunately, they’ll be getting Nick Chubb back soon, which will bring back the two headed monster at running back.
15. Los Angeles Rams (LW: 10) -5
It seems like the Rams might not be as good as we thought they were. LA is 4-0 against the NFC East, while they’re only 1-3 against every other team. This week especially was brutal for the Rams, who outgained the Dolphins in every way, but couldn’t convert. They held Tua Tagovailoa to 93 passing yards, while Jared Goff threw for 355. The Rams totalled 131 total rush yards, but the Dolphins only managed 55. Those are winning numbers, and they were blown out. Again.
14. Miami Dolphins (LW: 18) +4
The Dolphins might legitimately be AFC East contenders right now. They’ve blown out two teams that we consider to be elite, and are sitting at 4-3 after a great defensive showing. I did not think that the Dolphins would be up this high after eight weeks, but boy were we all wrong. Tua still doesn’t look all that great, but he did just enough to win. This week is likely going to be a loss, as they’re facing the red-hot Cardinals, but I think it will be fun to watch Tua and Kyler Murray go head to head once again.
13. Las Vegas Raiders (LW: 14) +1
This wasn’t the prettiest week for the Raiders, but a win is a win, especially in the AFC West. Las Vegas needs to figure out how to incorporate Henry Ruggs into the game plan more, though, because he’s only really had one big game. I think he’s a top-tier receiver, but they’re not giving him the ball as much as they should be. The Raiders, like the Bears, have a good record but aren’t consistent enough to really be legit.
12. San Francisco 49ers (LW: 11) -1
I want to drop the 49ers lower, but I figured that I would give them one more week to prove themselves. I don’t think we can blame this season on a Super Bowl hangover or that last year was a fluke, which is a good thing for this team. The biggest problem, of course, is that their entire damn team is injured, which usually makes winning games hard. If they can’t pull something together this week, I may drop them far down the list.
11. Indianapolis Colts (LW: 12) +1
Indy has finally won a game where their offense looked good. Philip Rivers is not having a particularly spectacular season, but his past two weeks have been significantly better than the start of the season. The defense is as strong as ever, which is the real reason that the Colts are in the spot they’re in now. With the way the Titans have played the past few weeks, I don’t think it’s impossible for the Colts to grab the top spot in the division.
10. Buffalo Bills (LW: 13) +3
The Bills are not out of the woods yet. They managed to beat the Patriots at home for the first time since 2011, but it was a very close game than nearly went the other way. Plus, they have quite a few difficult games left on their schedule, and with the way they’ve been playing, it could be a very tough second half for them. Josh Allen has gotten a bit better since the struggles have started, which is promising, but the defense is so full of holes that everyone is putting up points against them, even the Jets.
9. Tennessee Titans (LW: 8) -1
That makes two straight losses for the Titans who looked like the team to beat just a few weeks ago. The Steelers loss was not particularly surprising, but this one was. I can’t quite tell if they were just outplayed or if they came into the game arrogant and weren’t ready for a real challenge, because this game was not close. The defense looks like they’d rather be at home than on the field, especially the pass rush. Jadeveon Clowney has not played up to the $13 million he was paid, and that’s a big problem.
8. Green Bay Packers (LW: 7) -1
This was an ugly loss for the Packers, who I wanted to drop further than this, but the surrounding teams made that impossible. They looked pretty bad for most of the game, and while they did almost come back, it wasn’t enough to stop Dalvin Cook. Plus, like my dad always says, almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Green Bay also couldn’t get another receiver at the deadline, which is not news they wanted to hear. They can’t be Super Bowl contenders with this roster.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LW: 9) +2
I did not want to move the Buccaneers up after Monday night’s terrible performance, but I couldn’t keep the Packers or Titans in place after they lost to far inferior teams. Don’t get used to it, Brady. You looked bad out there, and you can blame your teammates all you want, but that game was truly on you. Tampa Bay was bailed out at the end by a bad no-call, but the defense, which has been elite all season, allowed Daniel Jones to convert 4th and long twice en route to a nearly game-tying score. If they look like that next week against the Saints, they can kiss the division goodbye.
6. New Orleans Saints (LW: 6) =
The Saints have scraped by their last three opponents, and they’ve seen two of the last three go into overtime. That’s not a very good sign, but look at the positives for New Orleans. The past three games have been hard, but they’ve been playing without a lot of their top receivers. And while the first half against the Chargers and Bears did not go great, the second half was far better in both games. I still think they’re the best team in the division, and I still think they will win the Super Bowl.
5. Baltimore Ravens (LW: 4) -1
Lamar Jackson is not a fraud. But he’s not the explosive player we saw last year, either. I don’t know what’s up with him, but with the amount that the Ravens rely on his skillset, it’s hard to win games when he’s not playing at his absolute best. I don’t want to throw him aside as a failed experiment, not yet at least, but I’m not sure how much longer he has to prove that 2019 wasn’t a fluke. I hope Baltimore can hold themselves together until the end of the season, because I want him to win that playoff game.
4. Arizona Cardinals (LW: 5) +1
To be completely honest, I think the Cardinals are the team to beat in the NFC. I know I literally just said the Saints will win the Super Bowl, but they’re going to have to go through Arizona to do it. Kyler Murray is elite, and they’ve fixed their Deandre Hopkins-centric game plan to make it more open to improvisation. Coming off of a bye, I’m excited to see what this team can do against an up-and-coming Dolphins defense.
3. Seattle Seahawks (LW: 3) =
Russell Wilson is still the best player in the league right now, but the defense is keeping this team from reaching their full potential. I can see a few more losses in their future that are just because Wilson can’t keep up with the pressure of having to outscore every team they face. At least he has some insane weapons with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, but Chris Carson can’t return soon enough to bring a bit more versatility to the team.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (LW: 2) =
The Chiefs blew out the Jets (shocker), but my favorite part of this game was the fact that they really ran a fake punt against the worst team in the league. Talk about adding insult to injury! I’m a bit surprised that this run game hasn’t exploded again after putting up 230+ yards against the Bills, although it’s not as if Pat Mahomes really needs the extra help. He’s once again playing at an MVP level, though I don’t think he’ll get it this year.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 1) =
Wow, I am surprised that the Steelers managed to make it to midseason without losing a game. They’ve had some tough matchups too, most notably the Ravens and Titans. As a reward, they only have to play three more games this season against legitimate opponents. I don’t think they’ll go 16-0, but I would not be surprised to see them be 14-2 or 15-1 at the end of the season. The amount of options that Big Ben has to throw to make the offense a big threat, but the sheer amount of talent the defense has is what might take them all the way to the Super Bowl.
Midseason Playoff Picks:
Midseason Award Picks:
MVP: Russell Wilson
OPOTY: Alvin Kamara
DPOTY: T.J. Watt
COTY: Brian Flores
O-ROTY: Justin Herbert
D-ROTY: Patrick Queen
CBPOTY: Alex Smith