It was by most accounts a disappointing and less-than-thrilling weekend.
Week 8 looks to offer more excitement and ultimately just the opposite of Week 7—lopsided early affairs and great late games.
Here are my Week 8 NFL Power Rankings and an early outlook on the 2011 playoff picture.
Previous Ranking: 30
Résumé: Lost 24-38 vs. New England, Lost 13-23 vs. Houston, Lost 16-17 at Cleveland, Lost 16-26 at San Diego, Lost 6-24 at N.Y. Jets, Lost 15-18 (OT) vs. Denver
Next Three Games: at NYG (4-2), at KC (3-3), vs. WSH (3-3)
No. 31 Indianapolis Colts (0-7): As bad as things are in Miami, the circumstances in Indy might be more embarrassing. That loss in New Orleans was tough to watch—for the few that actually monitored the game after the first quarter.
Previous Ranking: 31
Résumé: Lost 7-34 at Houston, Lost 19-27 vs. Cleveland, Lost 20-23 vs. Pittsburgh, Lost 17-24 at Tampa Bay, Lost 24-28 vs. Kansas City, Lost 17-27 at Cincinnati, Lost 7-62 at New Orleans
Next Three Games: at TEN (3-3), vs. ATL (4-3), vs. JAC (2-5)
No. 30 St. Louis Rams (0-6): The Rams have their franchise quarterback of the future. They just need to surround him with more weapons and adequate protection.
Previous Ranking: 32
Résumé: Lost 13-31 vs. Philadelphia, Lost 16-28 at N.Y. Giants, Lost 7-37 vs. Baltimore, Lost 10-17 vs. Washington, Lost 3-24 at Green Bay, Lost 7-34 at Dallas
Next Three Games: vs. NO (5-2), at ARI (1-5), at CLE (3-3)
No. 29 Arizona Cardinals (1-5): Right now the Kevin Kolb deal looks to have been a slightly smarter investment than the Zimbabwean currency. OK, that’s a stretch since an egg costs about $30 billion Zimbabwean dollars, but he has been a disappointment. In his defense, San Francisco (5-1) has been playing outstanding and Kolb is running for his life like Indiana Jones from the big ball. The Cardinals also rank 26th in total defense and 28th against the pass and points allowed.
Previous Ranking: 27
Résumé: Won 28-21 vs. Carolina, Lost 21-22 at Washington, Lost 10-13 at Seattle, Lost 27-31 vs. N.Y. Giants, Lost 10-34 at Minnesota, Lost 20-32 vs. Pittsburgh
Next Three Games: at BAL (4-2), vs. STL (0-6), at PHI (2-4)
No. 28 Denver Broncos (2-4): Tim Tebow is not only all the talk in Denver, but the entire national spotlight seems to be shining on him and his sudden come-from-behind win in Miami. Supporters, misanthropists and the few folks not taking sides can all see eye-to-eye on what thing: everyone remains intrigued by his performance every week.
Previous Ranking: 27
Résumé: Lost 20-23 vs. Oakland, Won 24-22 vs. Cincinnati, Lost 14-17 at Tennessee, Lost 23-49 at Green Bay, Lost 24-29 vs. San Diego, Won 18-15 (OT) at Miami
Next Three Games: vs. DET (5-2), at OAK (4-3), at KC (3-3)
No. 27 Seattle Seahawks (2-4): Pete Carroll has made some brilliant decisions, but Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst fall in a different category. Seattle wins too many games to be in the Luck lottery and too few to be in playoff contention. Matt Barkeley sweepstakes, anyone?
Previous Ranking: 26
Résumé: Lost 17-33 at San Francisco, Lost 0-24 at Pittsburgh, W 13-10 vs. Arizona, Lost 28-30 vs. Atlanta, Won 36-25 at N.Y. Giants, Lost 3-6 at Cleveland
Next Three Games: vs. CIN (4-2), at DAL (3-3), vs. BAL (4-2)
No. 26 Minnesota Vikings (1-6): Christian Ponder showed some promise in a hard-fought loss to the defending champions. He doesn’t have excellent mechanics, but he’s a very intelligent quarterback with terrific decision-making. A season under the system and added weapons and upgraded protection could lead to big things for the young signal-caller.
Previous Ranking: 25
Résumé: Lost 17-24 at San Diego, Lost 20-24 vs. Tampa Bay, Lost 23-26 (OT) vs. Detroit, Lost 17-22 at Kansas City, Won 34-10 vs. Arizona, Lost 10-39 at Chicago, Lost 27-33 vs. Green Bay
Next Three Games: at CAR (2-5), Bye, at GB (7-0), vs. OAK (4-3)
No. 25 Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5): It may be a passing league these days, but the Jags proved defense can still win games too, as they limited the Ravens to just 7 head-scratching points on Monday Night Football. The offense ranks 31st in scoring (12 PPG) and dead last in the league in passing (128.4 YPG) and total offense (252.4 YPG), but the defense is inside the Top 10 against the run, passing, in points allowed and total defense. This week won’t be easy though on the road on a short week.
Previous Ranking: 29
Résumé: Won 16-14 vs. Tennessee, Lost 3-32 at N.Y. Jets, Lost 10-16 at Carolina, Lost 10-23 vs. New Orleans, Lost 20-30 vs. Cincinnati, Lost 13-17 at Pittsburgh, Won 12-7 vs. Baltimore
Next Three Games: at HOU (4-3), Bye, at IND (0-7), at CLE (3-3)
Previous Ranking: 23
Résumé: Lost 17-27 vs. Cincinnati, W 27-19 at Indianapolis, Won 17-16 vs. Miami, Lost 13-31 vs. Tennessee, Lost 17-24 at Oakland, Won 6-3 vs. Seattle
Next Three Games: at SF (5-1), at HOU (4-3), vs. STL (0-6)
No. 23 Washington Redskins (3-3): The inevitable downhill slide has begun in Washington. The Redskins are plagued with injuries and instability under center.
Previous Ranking: 21
Résumé: Won 28-14 vs. N.Y. Giants, Won 22-21 vs. Arizona, Lost 16-18 at Dallas, Won 17-10 at St. Louis, Lost 13-20 vs. Philadelphia, Lost 20-33 at Carolina
Next Three Games: at BUF (4-2), vs. SF (5-1), at MIA (0-6)
No. 22 Carolina Panthers (2-5): The Panthers are a year or two away from being a serious contender in the NFC. Cam Newton and the Panthers fight with all their might every week and they’re gradually learning how to win.
Previous Ranking: 22
Résumé: Lost 21-28 at Arizona, Lost 23-30 vs. Green Bay, Won 16-10 vs. Jacksonville, Lost 29-34 at Chicago, Lost 27-30 vs. New Orleans, Lost 17-31 at Atlanta, Won 33-20 vs. Washington
Next Three Games: vs. MIN (1-6), Bye, vs. TEN (3-3), at DET (5-2)
No. 21 Philadelphia Eagles (2-4): With Washington stuck in reverse and New York and Dallas riding a roller coaster, believe it or not the Dream Team could actually control its own destiny. The Eagles need to press on the gas and win on Sunday night. If they do that, panic mode could shift to the other regions in the division.
Previous Ranking: 19
Résumé: Won 31-13 at St. Louis, Lost 31-35 at Atlanta, Lost 16-29 vs. N.Y. Giants, Lost 23-24 vs. San Francisco, Lost 24-31 at Buffalo, Won 20-13 at Washington
Next Three Games: vs. DAL (3-3), vs. CHI (4-3), vs. ARI (1-5)
No. 20 Kansas City Chiefs (3-3): Kansas City might have been playing a game of hustle with the entire NFL. Losing by 79 points combined to the Bills and Lions in the first two games and then after almost beating sluggish San Diego, the Chiefs have won three straight. Now if they win on Monday Night Football, they’ll emerge to the top of the AFC West.
Previous Ranking: 24
Résumé: Lost 7-41 vs. Buffalo, Lost 3-48 at Detroit, Lost 17-20 at San Diego, Won 22-17 vs. Minnesota, Won 28-24 at Indianapolis, Won 28-0 at Oakland
Next Three Games: vs. SD (4-2), vs. MIA (0-6), vs. DEN (2-4)
No. 19 Tennessee Titans (3-3): The Titans’ true colors appear to have been revealed in the 34-point dismantling defeat against the Texans for AFC South supremacy. Chris Johnson has been a superstar in his NFL career, but he should be arrested for stealing money this year.
Previous Ranking: 14
Résumé: Lost 14-16 at Jacksonville, Won 26-13 vs. Baltimore, Won 17-14 vs. Denver, Won 31-13 at Cleveland, Lost 17-38 at Pittsburgh, Lost 7-41 vs. Houston
Next Three Games: vs. IND (0-7), vs. CIN (4-2), at CAR (2-5)
No. 18 Buffalo Bills (4-2): The five spot decline has to deal with other team’s success, as the Bills were of course on a bye this past week. Buffalo is right in the mix for postseason play and staying under-the-radar should play out the Bills’ advantage. The defense needs to step up soon.
Previous Ranking: 13
Résumé: Won 41-7 at Kansas City, Won 38-35 vs. Oakland, Won 34-31 vs. New England, Lost 20-23 at Cincinnati, Won 31-24 vs. Philadelphia, Lost 24-27 at N.Y. Giants
Next Three Games: vs. WSH (3-3), vs. NYJ (4-3), at DAL (3-3)
No. 17 Cincinnati Bengals (4-2): The 2011 Bengals might have a congruence to the 2010 Chiefs. Cincy benefits from a picnic schedule. That’s not to take anything away from what this team has accomplished. By all means, the Bengals have exceeded expectations by leaps and bounds and Andy Dalton is not getting enough national attention. With that said, Cincinnati only has one win over a winning team.
Previous Ranking: 20
Résumé: Won 27-17 at Cleveland, Lost 22-24 at Denver, Lost 8-13 vs. San Francisco, Won 23-20 vs. Buffalo, Won 30-20 at Jacksonville, Won 27-17 vs. Indianapolis
Next Four Games: Bye, at SEA (2-3), at TEN (3-2), vs. PIT (4-2), at BAL (4-1)
No. 16 N.Y. Giants (4-2): Now is crunch time for the G-Men. They’re on top of the NFC East and face a daunting schedule ahead—especially when you take into account Big Blue has a big problem of fading down-the-stretch.
Previous Ranking: 12
Résumé: Lost 14-28 at Washington, Won 28-16 vs. St. Louis, Won 29-16 at Philadelphia, Won 31-27 at Arizona, Lost 25-36 vs. Seattle, Won 27-24 vs. Buffalo
Next Three Games: vs. MIA (0-6), at NE (5-1), at SF (5-1)
No. 15 Dallas Cowboys (3-3): The Cowboys finally finished a game with a score that was separated by more than four points, as they knocked out the Sam Bradford-less Rams 34-7. DeMarco Murray burst for a franchise-record 253 rushing yards. While I still don’t know much about fantasy football, I took the advice from our Fantasy Football Expert Ryan Lester and had Murray in my Week 7 lineup. I was a happy camper.
Previous Ranking: 18
Résumé: Lost 24-27 at N.Y. Jets, Won 27-24 at San Francisco, Won 18-16 vs. Washington, Lost 30-34 vs. Detroit, Lost 16-20 at New England, Won 34-7 vs. St. Louis
Next Four Games: at PHI (2-4), vs. SEA (2-4), vs. BUF (4-2)
No. 14 N.Y. Jets (4-3): The Jets got their swagger back on Sunday, according to NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi, as they bolted back from a 21-10 deficit to zap the Chargers in virtually a must-win game at home. The ground and pound approach paid dividends and the air attack got going as well. As the seasons change, the weather will give this team an edge, especially on defense.
Previous Ranking: 17
Résumé: Won 27-24 vs. Dallas, Won 32-3 vs. Jacksonville, Lost 24-34 at Oakland, Lost 17-34 at Baltimore, Lost 21-30 at New England, Won 24-6 vs. Miami, Won 27-21 vs. San Diego
Next Three Games: Bye, at BUF (4-2), vs. NE (5-1), at DEN (2-4)
No. 13 Oakland Raiders (4-3): Raider Nation went from having high hopes for postseason play to feeling as if their hearts were ripped out after Kansas City clobbered Oakland 28-0 in the Black Hole. Carson Palmer and Kyle Boller combined for six interceptions. Everyone in Silver and Black should be waiving a sigh of relief that a much-needed bye week is on the docket.
Previous Ranking: 9
Résumé: Won 23-20 at Denver, Lost 35-38 at Buffalo, Won 34-24 vs. N.Y. Jets, Lost 19-31 vs. New England, Won 25-20 at Houston, Won 24-17 vs. Cleveland, Lost 0-28 vs. Kansas City
Next Three Games: Bye, vs. DEN (2-4), at SD (4-2), at MIN (1-6)
No. 12 Atlanta Falcons (4-3): Now a handshake distance from the lead in the division, Atlanta is sitting pretty in the thick of things in the NFC. The Falcons focused on getting back to basics and reverting back to their roots with Julio Jones once again out of the starting lineup, placing a rock-solid emphasis on terrific offensive balance.
Previous Ranking: 16
Résumé: Lost 12-30 at Chicago, Won 35-31 vs. Philadelphia, Lost 13-16 at Tampa Bay, Won 30-28 at Seattle, Lost 14-22 vs. Green Bay, Won 31-17 vs. Carolina, Won 23-16 at Detroit
Next Three Games: Bye, at IND (0-7), vs. NO (5-2), vs. TEN (3-3)
No. 11 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-3): The “youngry” Buccaneers needed to win in London. Josh Freeman is an outstanding young leader and star player, but unless he’s already been planning for the November schedule, the Bucs could be in some trouble. If there’s one team this team has in its DNA is resiliency, though.
Previous Ranking: 7
Résumé: Lost 20-27 vs. Detroit, Won 24-20 at Minnesota, Won 16-13 vs. Atalnta, Won 24-17 vs. Indianapolis, Lost 3-48 at San Francisco, Won 26-20 vs. New Orleans, Lost 18-24 vs. Chicago
Next Three Games: Bye, at NO (5-2), vs. HOU (4-3), at GB (7-0)
No. 10 Chicago Bears (4-3): The bye week comes in perfect timing for Da Bears. Chicago has had to face some of the NFC’s premier playoff-caliber teams (Atlanta, Detroit, Green Bay, New Orleans and Tampa Bay), which included Monday night madness in the Motor City and a trip across the pond. The next nine game don’t get much easier, however. Oh, and pay Matt Forte!
Previous Ranking: 15
Résumé: Won 30-12 vs. Atlanta, Lost 13-30 at New Orleans, Lost 17-27 vs. Green Bay, Won 34-29 vs. Carolina, Lost 13-24 at Detroit, Won 39-10 vs. Minnesota, Won 24-18 at Tampa Bay (London)
Next Three Games: Bye, at PHI (2-4), vs. DET (5-2), vs. SD (4-2)
No. 9 San Diego Chargers (4-2): I’ve been beating this dead horse, but nobody seems to be catching on in the media, so I’m still going to enlighten everyone. If you thought the Chargers’ well-documented trend of sluggish starts came to an end this year, take a gander at the big picture through the first six games. San Diego has outscored its opponents 141-136 and only two of those teams have a winning record—the Jets and Patriots, who both beat the Bolts (by 20 points combined). They’re still the best in the AFC West, nonetheless.
Previous Ranking: 6
Résumé: Won 24-17 vs. Minnesota, Lost 21-35 at New England, Won 20-17 vs. Kansas City, Won 26-16 vs. Miami, Won 29-24 at Denver, Lost 21-27 at N.Y. Jets
Next Three Games: at KC (3-3), vs. GB (7-0), vs. OAK (4-3)
No. 8 Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2): Don’t look now, but the Steel Curtain just stole the keys to the front door in the AFC North, courtesy of Jacksonville. It’s tight race, nevertheless. Moreover, Pittsburgh meets the two other winning teams in the division and other AFC heavyweight with New England in the next three weeks.
Previous Ranking: 11
Résumé: Lost 7-35 at Baltimore, Won 24-0 vs. Seattle, Won 23-20 at Indianapolis, Lost 10-17 at Houston, Won 38-17 vs. Tennessee, Won 17-13 vs. Jacksonville, Won 32-20 at Arizona
Next Three Games: vs. NE (5-1), vs. BAL (4-2), at CIN (4-2)
No. 7 Houston Texans (4-3): Houston made a statement in the Music City, where the jeers from Titans fans became music to the ears of the Texans. NFL.com Senior Analyst Pat Kirwan is convinced the Texans “have the heart to win this year and not crumble in the second half of the season like they have in the past.” With Andre Johnson out for the third straight week, Ben Tate and Arian Foster shared a massive load and combined for 219 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 40 carries.
Previous Ranking: 10
Résumé: Won 34-7 vs. Indianapolis, Won 23-13 at Miami, Lost 33-40 at New Orleans, Won 17-10 vs. Pittsburgh, Lost 20-25 vs. Oakland, Lost 14-29 at Baltimore, Won 41-7 at Tennessee
Next Three Games: vs. JAC (2-5), vs. CLE (3-3), at TB (4-3)
No. 6 Detroit Lions (5-2): Uh-oh, the Lions have lost two straight games and both were at home. I think it’s just a bump in the road, though. San Francisco and Atlanta are both playoff-caliber teams and losing Jahvid Best is like driving with two flat tires.
Previous Ranking: 5
Résumé: Won 27-20 at Tampa Bay, Won 48-3 vs. Kansas City, Won 26-23 (OT) at Minnesota, Won 34-30 at Dallas, Won 24-13 vs. Chicago, Lost 19-25 vs. San Francisco, Lost 16-23 vs. Atlanta
Next Three Games: at DEN (2-4), Bye, at CHI (4-3), vs. CAR (2-5)
No. 5 San Francisco 49ers (5-1): Jim Harbaugh and the fervent 49ers were off on a bye week, but sometimes it pays not to pay in this league. As if we needed further validation, the Rams, Cardinals and Seahawks all lost on Sunday.
Previous Ranking: 4
Résumé: Won 33-17 vs. Seattle, Lost 24-27 vs. Dallas, Won 13-8 vs. Cincinnati, Won 24-23 at Philadelphia, Won 48-3 vs. Tampa Bay, Won 25-19 at Detroit
Next Three Games: vs. CLE (3-3), at WSH (3-3), vs. NYG (4-2)
No. 4 New Orleans Saints (5-2): Maybe Sean Payton should think about coaching from the booth every week. 62-7…in the NFL? The Colts are still a part of the National Football League, right? Drew Brees threw for more touchdowns than he did interceptions. Kinda Robert Griffin III-esque, eh?
Previous Ranking: 8
Résumé: Lost 34-42 at Green Bay, Won 30-13 vs. Chicago, Won 40-33 vs. Houston, Won 23-10 at Jacksonville, Won 30-27 at Carolina, Lost 20-26 at Tampa Bay, Won 62-7 vs. Indianapolis
Next Three Games: at STL (0-6), vs. TB (4-3), at ATL (4-3)
No. 3 Baltimore Ravens (4-2): The Ravens need play with some more road rage. We were convinced the Week 2 loss to Tennessee was just a fluke after handing the Steelers a beatdown and a product of getting too confident. Maybe the same thing happened after knocking off the Jets and Texans by 32 points combined. Or maybe Jacksonville wanted it more and the Ravens are a bad road team that laid another egg. If the case is the latter, Baltimore better really try to win the top seed in the AFC.
Previous Ranking: 2
Résumé: Won 35-7 vs. Pittsburgh, Lost 13-26 at Tennessee, Won 37-7 at St. Louis, Won 34-17 vs. N.Y. Jets, Won 29-14 vs. Houston, Lost 7-12 at Jacksonville
Next Four Games: vs. ARI (1-5), at PIT (5-2), at SEA (2-4)
No. 2 New England Patriots (5-1): The Patriots haven’t been overly dominate through their first six games, but as the temperature turns cold, this team looks to only improve.
Previous Ranking: 3
Résumé: Won 38-24 at Miami, Won 35-21 vs. San Diego, Lost 31-34 at Buffalo, Won 31-19 at Oakland, Won 30-21 vs. N.Y. Jets, Won 20-16 vs. Dallas
Next Three Games: at PIT (5-2), vs. NYG (4-2), at NYJ (4-3)
No. 1 Green Bay Packers (7-0): Power rankings always attract disagreements, but there’s one thing everyone can agree on right now. Until proven otherwise, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are still hands down the class of the NFL.
Résumé: Won 42-34 vs. New Orleans, Won 30-23 at Carolina, Won 27-17 at Chicago, Won 49-23 vs. Denver, Won 22-14 at Atlanta, Won 24-3 vs. St. Louis
Next Four Games: at MIN (1-5), Bye, at SD (4-1), vs. MIN (1-5), vs. TB (4-2)
Stick A Fork In:
Must Win To Stay Alive:
Outside Looking In:
(4-2)(4-2) (5-2) (4-3)
Here’s NFL.com’s updated playoff picture if the season ended today.
Verse of This Piece: “Peace of mind means a healthy body, but jealousy will rot your bones.”—Proverbs 14:30
Agree or disagree with these rankings? Let us know below!
Also be sure to check out the NFL.com Power Poll, NFL.com Analyst Elliott Harrison’s breakdown, individual NFL.com Experts’ rankings, CBSSports.com’s rankings from Pete Prisco, Brian Billick’s take on FOXSports.com, Don Bank’s edition on SI.com and ESPN.com’s latest list. Want to get your power rankings mentioned? Send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.