Week 7 in the NFL saw some reciprocity: The Eagles impressed again, the Chiefs lost again, the Browns and 49ers were still embarrassing again. However, the season has still yet to produce a clear leader, with many showing their flaws.
The Power Rankings finally found some movement at the top, however the bottom four still stays intact. Teams are starting to lose more hope as midseason is approaching, while there still are divisions where the leader is unclear. With the majority of teams having less than ten games remaining, here are the Week 8 Power Rankings.
- New England Patriots (5-2) (Last Week: 4) The Patriots are this week’s number one team. Now tied with the best record in the AFC, the defending champions comfortably won their Super Bowl rematch against the Falcons 23-7 on Sunday night. Although not talked about, Tom Brady is still putting up statistics at the top of the league, and with him under center the Patriots are always a serious contender. The Patriots will remain at home next week, where both of their losses have occurred, hosting the rising Chargers, with both teams coming off three game win streaks.
- Philadelphia Eagles (6-1) (Last Week: 2) In part to Carson Wentz’s continued excellence at quarterback leading to 34-24 victory against Washington, the Philadelphia Eagles have the NFL’s best record. Their first time at 6-1 since the 2004 season, where they ended up as the Super Bowl runners up, this season’s Eagles still will need to play against more dominant teams to secure the top spot in the power rankings. They will see increased challenge in coming weeks against the Broncos and Cowboys, but first will be able to keep rolling against the 0-7 49ers this coming Sunday.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2) (Last Week: 3) Thanks to kicker Chris Boswell, the Steelers ran away a tie game in the second quarter with five consecutive field goals leading to a 29-14 home victory against the divisional Bengals. Now 3-0 in the division, Pittsburgh doesn’t just look to repeat as AFC North champions, but their eyes are on the top spot in the conference, tied along the Patriots, who they host in Week 15, and the Chiefs, who they gave their first loss to last week. In a season that has been topsy-turvy, they look to continue their winning way when they visit the struggling Lions on Sunday in their first primetime game of the season.
- Kansas City Chiefs (5-2) (Last Week: 1) The Chiefs reign at the top of the rankings has now come to an end, thanks to consecutive losses marked with last week’s crushing 31-30 last-second loss in Oakland. They have failed to take charge and advantage of others’ struggles, especially in the AFC West, and now share the top conference record with the Patriots and Steelers. Their rebound game will be in front of everyone on Monday night, when the divisional Broncos visit, with both teams looking two erase multiple-game losing streaks.
- Seattle Seahawks (4-2) (Last Week: 7) The Seahawks have yet to utterly impress this season, even with a three game win streak thanks to a 24-7 NFC victory in New York. Three of their wins this season have been to teams with a combined 3-18 record, thus Seattle has been given the luck of an easy schedule amidst a non-perfect season. Next week, their run should continue when 3-3 Houston comes to visit.
- Atlanta Falcons (3-3) (Last Week: 5) The Falcons continued their disappointing month with a 23-7 Super Bowl rematch defeat in New England. Now on a three-game losing streak, the Super Bowl runners-up have begun to worry their hopes for a NFC championship repeat. The last time the Falcons went 0-4 in a month was November of 2015, and that feat may return if they cannot capitalize next week in a visit to the Jets.
- Los Angeles Rams (5-2) (Last Week: 11) The Los Angeles Rams are making a name for themselves this season, with a 33-0 division victory against the Cardinals, now 5-2 for the first time since the franchise was in St. Louis in 2003. 18 starting quarterbacks and six head coaches later, the Rams are trying to prove they may be a serious contender, regardless of an easier schedule than some. However, a division-leading record speaks for itself, and they will take that into their Week 8 bye, before their undefeated road record will be challenged against the Giants the week later.
- New Orleans Saints (4-2) (Last Week: 9) The Saints did not have their prettiest game when they visited the Aaron Rodger-less Packers on Sunday, but a 26-17 victory took their win streak to four, following a 0-2 start to the season. They can very well increase that streak, when the Bears and divisional Buccaneers, combining for a 5-8 record this season, visit New Orleans in consecutive Sundays in Weeks 8 and 9.
- Carolina Panthers (4-3) (Last Week: 6) Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers were embarrassed in Chicago this past Sunday 17-3, giving rookie Mitchell Trubisky his second consecutive victory. In order to get back to where they were with a 2015 Super Bowl runner-up finish, Carolina will need to brush up on the skill that is still there, and their opportunity awaits with consecutive divisional games against the Buccaneers and Falcons.
- Buffalo Bills (4-2) (Last Week: 13) The Buffalo Bills came back to their winning ways, when they held off a 21-3 Buccaneers run and score ten points in three points to seal a 30-27 home victory. Next week, they’ll stay at home when the Raiders come to Buffalo, off of an upset victory against the Chiefs on Thursday night. Both teams are looking not just to score more points, but to have a defining victory as they both are eager for playoff opportunities.
- Denver Broncos (3-3) (Last Week: 8) The Broncos could not go undefeated against the Chargers this season, shutout 21-0 in the teams’ second game matchup of the season, this time in Los Angeles. They’ll have an extra day of break with a Week 8 Monday night primetime game in Kansas City, where a victory not only puts them a half-game behind the division but avoids their earliest three game losing streak since Week 5 of the 2011 season.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (4-3) (Last Week: 15) Jacksonville reciprocated in proving the superiority of their defense. The one drawback? Their impressive 27-0 victory was still against a 2-5 Indianapolis Colts, therefore not solidifying hope that they can maintain good play against playoff caliber teams, where they look to be for the first time in ten years. A Week 8 bye will be perfect for Jacksonville to fix their issues, before their next five games see all teams with losing records, starting with a Week 9 hosting of Cincinnati.
- Oakland Raiders (3-4) (Last Week: 22) The Raiders may have needed multiple opportunities, but they got a much needed 31-30 divisional win on Thursday night against the Chiefs to erase a four game losing streak. Winning their first game in nearly a month, it may have been just the needed momentum to excel with in the season, which they entered with eager Super Bowl hopes. Next week, they’ll visit the 4-2 Bills, a game that before looked simple, but with Buffalo surprising so far, it could end up being a very decisive game come January.
- Dallas Cowboys (3-3) (Last Week: 18) The Cowboys got their biggest win of the season on Sunday, a 40-10 win in San Francisco, now back at .500. While they have not been able to continue off of last season’s success, their hopes are still in reach, especially with an important Week 8 divisional game in Washington, where one team will fall under .500.
- Minnesota Vikings (4-2) (Last Week: 16) Minnesota again prevailed against a struggling team, this time 24-16 victory at home against the Baltimore Ravens. Now atop the NFC North, they’ll take their lead overseas against the AFC North, playing the 0-7 Browns in London, preceding their Week 9 bye.
- Washington Redskins (3-3) (Last Week: 12) The Redskins failed at an attempted primetime upset Monday night over the league leading Philadelphia Eagles, losing 34-24. Now back down to .500, the skillful Redskins have put themselves behind with a less-than-fabulous record, but they’ll have a chance to get their first divisional win of the season, when last year’s NFC East champion, the Dallas Cowboys, visit Sunday afternoon.
- Detroit Lions (3-3) (Last Week: 14) The Lions were one controversial call from being 3-0, but now at 3-3, they will need to take full advantage while they can when their division is wide open without the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers. Coming off a Week 7 bye, they host the Steelers on Sunday night, their first of consecutive primetime games. They will get a major test, and will need to find a way to victory in order to get back where they were to start the 2017 season.
- Green Bay Packers (4-3) (Last Week: 10) It was evident that without Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers are in for a scare. However, the one highlight of their week, consisting of a 26-17 loss to the Saints, was reports that Rodgers may be back after six weeks, meaning he’ll be able to play the last few games for a team with Super Bowl aspirations. Although without him will be an extreme struggle, they will likely need to stay on the winning side if Rodgers comes back, and following a Week 8 bye, they may get that wish with continuous games against the Lions, Bears, and Ravens, teams with a combined under .500 record.
- Houston Texans (3-3) (Last Week: 17) The Houston Texans’ Week 7 bye came after a dominant 33-17 win against the Browns. However, their reign at .500 is on the line in Seattle this weekend, where they will look to get a win to get back into a very open, yet close, AFC South.
- Miami Dolphins (4-2) (Last Week: 19) The Dolphins suffered a scare with Jay Cutler’s injury in the start of the second half last Sunday, yet quarterback Matt Moore helped manage them to a 31-28 comeback with 17 unanswered points against the Jets. Now 4-2, the Dolphins, if healthy, have the record to have a serious run to repeat with a playoff appearance for the first time since 2001. However, they’ll have a quick turnaround, likely without Cutler, when they visit the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night.
- Los Angeles Chargers (3-4) (Last Week: 28) The Chargers continued their run to erase memory of an 0-4 start, now on an impressive three game winning streak after shutting out divisional rival Denver 21-0. Winning back-to-back divisional games, they have put themselves in play to make a surprising run in the AFC West, closing in on the rest with only a half-game behind second place. However, next meet they may face their toughest challenge yet, visiting the defending champion New England Patriots at noon on Sunday.
- Tennessee Titans (4-3) (Last Week: 23) The Titans are this week’s lowest ranked team above .500. They survived a close call in Cleveland on Sunday, needing overtime to beat a now 0-7 team 12-9. Although tied atop their division, they have failed to show consistent excellence against low-tier competition, going .500 in their last four games against teams with a combined 9-17 record. However, in a division that has yet to showcase a clear-cut leader, they may have enough to win the AFC South, especially with their next two games being at home against the 3-4 Ravens and 2-5 Bengals, following their Week 8 bye.
- Chicago Bears (3-4) (Last Week: 25) Mitchell Trubisky won his second consecutive game on Sunday, giving the Bears a comfortable 17-3 win against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Although they were written off playoff contention before the season started, they are only a game and a half back of the NFC North, which has open doors due to a six-plus week injury to the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers. The Bears, however, will need to prove they can play against distinguished completion, visiting the hot New Orleans Saints next week.
- Arizona Cardinals (3-4) (Last Week: 20) The Cardinals had two deafening blows last week, one being a home shutout to the Los Angeles Rams 33-0, and the other being a likely-season ending injury to quarterback Carson Palmer. Following Week 7’s 38-33 victory against the Buccaneers, the Cardinals had a chance to show the offensive workload they have, but without their three-time pro bowl quarterback, it will be near impossible to get back into what once was probably unlikely playoff contention. They will have a bye to think their season through before visiting the 0-7 49ers in two weeks.
- New York Jets (3-4) (Last Week: 21) The Jets had many things going for them on Sunday; up 28-14 in Miami against a Jay Cutler-less Dolphins team, they were 12 minutes away from a division victory until 17 unanswered points ruined their efforts, losing 31-28. The Jets have gone .500 in their last four games, all decided by one possession. They’ll host the Falcons on Sunday, in a chance to give the Super Bowl runner ups their fourth consecutive loss.
- Baltimore Ravens (3-4) (Last Week: 26) The Ravens continued to scratch heads on Sunday, losing in Minnesota 24-16 on Sunday. Unable to gain ground in their recent games, going 1-4 in their last five matchups, they don’t have much time to figure out their problems with a Thursday night game against the 4-2 Dolphins.
- Cincinnati Bengals (2-4) (Last Week: 24) The Bengals’ Week 6 bye didn’t help them last week, losing 29-14 to divisional Pittsburgh. 2-4 for the second consecutive year, they’ll host the similarly disappointing Colts on Sunday, where one team will get their third win in a struggling 2017 season.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4) (Last Week: 27) The Buccaneers were a tiebreaker away from a playoff spot last season, but they have not been able to continue where they left off, losing their last three games by five or less points. Unable to continue their comeback in Buffalo, they received ten consecutive points in nearly two minutes, losing 30-27. With ESPN now giving them a 7% chance to win the NFC South, they’ll have two consecutive games against their rivals, starting with Sunday’s home matchup against the Carolina Panthers.
- New York Giants (1-6) (Last Week: 29) The Giants went back to disastrous ways last week, losing 24-7 at home to the Seattle Seahawks. 1-6 for the first time in four seasons, they’ll host the very exciting 5-2 Rams on Sunday, in an expected loss for two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning and the New York Giants.
- Indianapolis Colts (2-5) (Last Week: 30) The Colts were shutout on Sunday to the defensively minded Jaguars, 27-0. They have allowed at least 27 points in more than half of their games this season, and have won both of their game against current 0-7 teams by only a field goal. The Colts have struggled without quarterback Andrew Luck, yet to have his season debut due to an injury. However, they are luckily in a division without a unanimous leader, so there is still time to make magic happen, which could start next weekend against the 204 Bengals.
- San Francisco 49ers (0-7) (Last Week: 31) The 49ers were crushed at home to the Cowboys last week, losing 40-10. However, this is only the second game for the 0-7 49ers that didn’t have a difference of one possession, which is the only thing currently keeping them from the bottom. Sadly, this streak of unsuccessful games is expected to continue next week, visiting the league leading Philadelphia Eagles.
- Cleveland Browns (0-7) (Last Week: 32) The Browns now only have one less close game than the 49ers, but they again are this week’s worst team in the NFL. Losing 12-9 at home to the Titans, it is apparently unclear how to fix this franchise, last seeing a winning season in 2007. Now with uncertainty at quarterback, they have one game remaining before a certain win in a Week 9 bye, but before they have to travel to London where they play the 4-2 Vikings this week.
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