Week 8 NFL Power Rankings: The Cream is Rising to the Top

We’re reaching the halfway point of the NFL season and we’re beginning to see which teams have staying power to make deep postseason runs.

The score next to each team reflects their average rank from one to 32 across 26 offensive and defensive statistical measures.

The Teams to Beat

1. Kansas City Chiefs – 6.73

Losing and looking bad doing it to the Las Vegas Raiders knocked the Chiefs from the top spot in the rankings but convincing victories over the Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos has the rest of the NFL eating their dust again.

There’s nothing surprising about what Kansas City’s offense can do to an opponent but most fans overlook what the Chiefs defense is capable of.

Their defense is sixth in the league in points per play allowed, second in passer rating allowed and seventh in creating negative pass plays (sacks and interceptions). The Achilles heel for Kansas City’s defense is still rushing yards per attempt allowed. The Chiefs defense ranks 28th.

It’s still up to other teams to take advantage in the Chiefs game. Being able to run on Kansas City also means Pat Mahomes stays on the sidelines. We’ll keep a close eye on whether anyone remaining on their schedule can expose this weakness for all the league to see.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 7.81

In Week 6, the Buccaneers had their way with the Green Bay Packers then followed up with a thrashing of the Las Vegas Raiders last week.

Tampa Bay has a tough defense and an offense that takes advantage of the turnovers and field position their defense hands them.

The Buccaneers travel to New York to face the Giants next week then play a challenging four game schedule heading into their Week 13 bye. We’ll see how Tampa Bay emerges from that stretch.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers – 8.65

The narrative around the league about the Steelers was, sure they’re undefeated but they haven’t played anybody. Since then, they’ve swatted a Cleveland Browns team that was buzzing around the top of the AFC North, then traveled to Tennessee and showed the Titans how a Super Bowl contender takes care of business..

The next challenge for Pittsburgh, a Week 8 date in Baltimore to take on their division rivals. The Steelers have lost three of their last four against the Ravens. We’ll see if Pittsburgh is still sporting an unbeaten record when the clock hits zero in this game.

4. Los Angeles Rams – 8.88

The Rams offense isn’t the greatest show on turf like they were in their first season under head coach Sean McVay but they don’t need to be. Los Angeles’ defense makes sure their offense has time to do what’s needed without having to climb out of a two-score hole.

The entire NFC West have records over the .500 mark so the Rams road to the playoffs has some speed bumps but no division rival is going to enjoy facing them either.

5. Baltimore Ravens – 10.62

The Ravens are still at the top of the league on offense, averaging one point per 11.5 yards and on defense, allowing one point per 19.6 yards of opponent’s offense but there are a couple of weaknesses they have on offense that they have to address.

Baltimore is 25th in the league in net passing yards per attempt and quarterback Lamar Jackson is fourteenth in the NFL with a 99.2 passer rating. Those are numbers to keep an eye on moving forward.

6. Indianapolis Colts – 10.73

The Colts are coming off their bye week after coming back from a 21-0 deficit against Cincinnati to beat the Bengals 31-27.

The Colts defensive numbers have taken a small hit over their previous two games. Philip Rivers has also started showing a decline in skills. We’ll see if the bye has helped to revitalize him as Indianapolis prepares to face the rising Detroit Lions this Sunday.

7. Arizona Cardinals – 11.23

Just as everyone thought that the Cardinals were ready to slip back to the bottom of the NFC West, they won two straight against the bottom-feeding Jets and Cowboys, then fought their way to an overtime victory over the division leading Seattle Seahawks last week.

Arizona gets a Week 8 bye before hosting the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills.

8. San Francisco 49ers – 11.88

Doubts were beginning to emerge about San Francisco after a two-game tailspin against the Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins. Those doubts have been silenced after the 49ers pulled out of their dive with convincing victories over the Rams and New England Patriots.

San Francisco gets a chance to strengthen their position in the NFC West this week when they travel to Seattle to take on the division leading Seahawks.

9. Miami Dolphins – 12.31

Miami rode Ryan Fitzpatrick’s right arm to a 3-3 record before their Week 7 bye. Starting in Week 8 against the Rams, rookie Tua Tagovailoa will get his chance to start for the Dolphins.

There has been a lot of criticism aimed at head coach Brian Flores for making this move while his team is winning and having fun doing it but he doesn’t deserve that criticism.

Fitzpatrick has been having a great 2020 but he might be the streakiest quarterback in the NFL. His switch has always flipped to off with from one game to the next in his career. Also, Fitzpatrick is 38 years old, he is not the quarterback of the future for the Dolphins or any other team. Miami needs to start seeing what they have in the fifth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Tagovailoa’s first test will come against Aaron Donald and the Rams in Week 8.

10. Green Bay Packers – 12.42

The Packers tumbled in the rankings after their Week 6 Tampa Bay debacle.  Don’t sleep on this team though. Aaron Rodgers still has their offense playing high-powered ball.

The Challengers

11. Tennessee Titans – 12.65

Tennessee’s offense can compete with anyone in the league. The challenge for the Titans is, how does Mike Vrabel tighten-up their defense.

12. Seattle Seahawks – 13.23

The Seahawks faced their first test within the NFC West on Monday night and lost to an Arizona team that refused to be intimidated and give up. Seattle will try and rebound in Week 8 against the 49ers.

13. New Orleans Saints – 15.12

New Orleans survived a back-and-forth game last week against the Carolina Panthers despite having receivers Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders sidelined. Offense isn’t the Saints problem though. Like Carolina, they also struggle to stop opponents.

14. (Tied) Buffalo Bills – 16.14

Buffalo was able to make six field goals hold up last week because they were playing the weakest team in the league. Quarterback Josh Allen still needs to get back on track though to keep the Bills at the top of the AFC East.

14. (Tied) Chicago Bears – 16.12

The Bears had their offense swallowed whole by the Rams defense last week on Monday Night Football. Chicago’s offensive line can’t currently pass block or run block. If they can convince opposing defenses to count one-1,000, two-1,000, 3-1,000, then Nick Foles might finally have time to make run a play.

16. Los Angeles Chargers – 16.77

The Chargers have found a quarterback to replace Philip Rivers. This is Justin Hebert’s team now.

17. Carolina Panthers – 16.96

Carolina still has to prove that their defense can stop somebody before they can contend in the NFC South.

18. Cleveland Browns – 17.31

The Browns had reached as high as tenth in the Football from A to Z Power Rankings before they blew up in Week 6 against Pittsburgh. Cleveland gets to defend their current ranking when they host the Raiders in Week 8.

19. Las Vegas Raiders – 18.04

The Raiders had to be feeling pretty good about themselves after crushing Kansas City in Week 5. After their Week 6 bye though, they came out and laid an egg against the Buccaneers.

20. Detroit Lions – 19.69

After two straight wins, Detroit was feeling so good about themselves that they traded for Everson Griffen to shore up their defense. The Lions face a test against Indianapolis in Week 8.

The Bottom Feeders

21. Washington Football Team – 19.77

Seeing head coach Ron Rivera ring the bell to signify that he’s finished his treatment for skin cancer should be a feel good moment for all NFL fans. Crushing Dallas last Sunday to put the Football Team within sight of first place in the division is just a bonus for Washington.

22. Atlanta Falcons – 19.88

Last week, Atlanta found a way to lose a game that looked like they had locked up. That proves that you can fire the head coach but fixing the losing culture is the real challenge.

23. New England Patriots – 20.35

A few weeks ago it felt odd to see New England this far down in the Football from A to Z’s Power Rankings. After three straight losses though, it’s getting easier to understand why they were here to begin with.

24. Philadelphia Eagles – 21.08

Philadelphia does not give up. Just when you think they’re beaten they storm back and make their opponents fight to win the game. However, that does not mean the Eagles are very good. Still, 2-4-1 currently has them at the top of the NFC Least.

25. Minnesota Vikings – 21.27

For a few weeks, the Vikings looked to be playing better than their record. Now it looks like their record is the perfect reflection of their team.

26. Houston Texans – 21.81

Deshaun Watson misses having DeAndre Hopkins ability to make miracles happen downfield.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars – 21.92

Doug Marrone has lead Jacksonville to five seasons of mediocrity. Will this be his final one.

28. Cincinnati Bengals – 22.08

Cincinnati is good enough to give most opponents a tough game but need another offseason to get good enough to win those games.

29. Denver Broncos – 22.12

Drew Lock completed 60 percent of his passes for 254 yards in a blowout loss to Kansas City last week. That’s why neither of those statistics matter when trying to predict the outcome of a game.

30. New York Giants – 22.35

Their loss to Philadelphia last week keeps the Giants out of contention in the NFC Least.

31. Dallas Cowboys – 23.42

Turns out, it really was Zak Prescott that was keeping this clown show afloat.

32. New York Jets – 26.31

The Jets put a scare into Buffalo for one half last week. That’s all they seem to be capable of right now.

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