This season just keeps getting more interesting as it goes on. The Ravens suddenly look human as the Steelers regained control of the AFC North. The Jets showed some heart getting a big win, the Packers stayed dominant, and the Saints offense looks downright scary. Detroit suffered its second straight loss as did the Chargers. Here’s the NFL Power Rankings heading into Week 8:
1. Green Bay Packers – No explanation needed here, the Pack looks unstoppable and will be a lock for a playoff bye and home game.
2. New England Patriots – The Pats have rebounded from their only loss to Buffalo and are sitting at 5-1. Big test coming up at Pittsburgh on Sunday with playoff implications.
3. New Orleans Saints – 62 points in an NFL game is insane. They keep at this high level, defensive lapses down the stretch may not matter all that much.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers – The defending AFC champs look like just that, and have proven early season woes were nothing to worry about. They sit atop the AFC North after three straight wins at 5-2.
5. San Francisco 49ers – Braylon Edwards’ return will offset the loss of Josh Morgan. The Niners can only get better, which is scary because they’re 5-1 now.
6. Baltimore Ravens – Maybe not as strong as everyone thought with losses to Tennesse and a scrappy Jacksonville team, who are teams division rival Pittsburgh defeated. Offense needs a lot of work outside of Ray Rice.
7. Detroit Lions – After a big start, including two huge comebacks, I have to wonder where Detroit is really at after two straight losses to tough teams. They need a big win against a top team to re-affirm what they’re made of.
8. Buffalo Bills – I’d be panicking if I were a Bills fan, a loss this weekend makes the hot start obsolete. However, the Bills should get back on track and beat the Redskins to improve to 5-2.
9. San Diego Chargers – Lost to two tough teams in a row, although they gift wrapped another game for the Jets, who seem to get lucky every time their season is on the brink of disaster. SD should be 5-1 and needs to avoid stumbling because the division is theirs to lose.
10. New York Giants – The Giants are in first place in the NFC East at 4-2, and in a division with so many questions some consistency out of this squad could win them the crown.
11. Chicago Bears – Huge win in London over Tampa for Cutler and the Bears. They looked more like the team that went to the NFC title game last season on Sunday.
12. Houston Texans – Arian Foster is back with a vengeance, and he will need to keep up this torrid pace to give this inconsistent group a real shot at the post-season and avoid another letdown.
13. Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals are the team that nobody seems to be talking about, but rest assured their defense is the real deal and Andy Dalton has acclimated himself nicely to the NFL.
14. New York Jets – Still not sold on these guys. It took a momentous collapse and a pass off Vincent Jackson’s hands for this team to win Sunday. Still not a statement game where they dominated all facets. Much needed win for them, however.
15. Atlanta Falcons – The Falcons pulled out a must win against a quality Detroit team. I don’t think all the questions are answered yet, but hopefully for this team Sunday’s win gets them back on track, as they were mentioned as Super Bowl contenders before the season.
16. Dallas Cowboys – Dallas is more talented than almost all the middle of the pack teams, they just need to put together a much-needed big win against a team that isn’t St. Louis before they can be considered a big threat.
17. Philadelphia Eagles – I put the Eagles here for potential and upside alone. I said two weeks ago they would get back to .500 and make a run at the division, and that’s more that can be said for most of the lower tier teams.
18. Oakland Raiders – The Raiders drop simply for the question mark at quarterback. This season will turn into a disaster if Carson Palmer doesn’t pan out, and the 28-0 loss to Kansas City was not a step in the right direction.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The rollercoaster continues in Tampa. Lose 48-3 to San Fran, beat the Saints, then lose to Chicago. They will end up 8-8 if this pattern continues, consistency is needed very badly for this squad.
20. Tennessee Titans – Chris Johnson needs to come alive and spark this offense after two straight losses. The Titans season will be made or broken in the next couple of weeks.
21. Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs have shown some true grit after a rough start, and will make a run in the AFC West if Oakland’s quarterback situation doesn’t get resolved, as we saw in their domination of the Raiders Sunday.
22. Washington Redskins – After a strong start, the Skins are faltering with a quarterback controversy between two mediocre guys and their top stud at RB is lost for the year.
23. Cleveland Browns – The Browns are a quiet 3-3, and their defense seems to be meshing nicely. If Colt McCoy remembers he’s an NFL quarterback, the Browns won’t be as bad as people think.
24. Carolina Panthers – Killa Cam Newton racked up his second career win Sunday, and the Panthers can only gain more confidence as the season moves ahead. Don’t be surprised if they end up at .500.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars – The Jags defense is very, very good. A huge win for this club against Baltimore, let’s see if they can build off it. Blaine Gabbert needs to mature a little faster for them to be consistently competitive, the defense won’t play like they did Monday night every week.
26. Denver Broncos – Nice win for Tim Tebow after the hype all last week, albeit against the Dolphins. It showed me this kid will do whatever it takes to win, and Denver can’t go wrong with that type of guy at this juncture.
27. Seattle Seahawks – Who knows. They lost 6-3 Sunday.
28. Minnesota Vikings – Christian Ponder made it interesting against the Packers and made Skip Bayless eat his ridiculous words. This is a good sign for Minnesota.
29. Arizona Cardinals – I had big hopes for these guys, but Kevin Kolb and his wave cap aren’t getting the job done. Poor Larry Fitz, how does he stay so positive?
30. St. Louis Rams – Steven Jackson = Larry Fitz.
31. Miami Dolphins – Brandon Marshall = Larry Fitz.
32. Indianapolis Colts – *shaking head in silence*.