The craziness continues, as everyone but Green Bay and San Francisco has now lost at least two games. I titled the tiers differently this time to avoid confusion. I’ll have some upcoming posts where I project the playoffs, but my power rankings are not merely based on record and likelihood of making the playoffs, they are more a reflection of where I think the teams are grouped. Honestly, the whole purpose of the tiers is to come up with a new way of saying “suck for Luck” without actually saying it each week. Everything else is just gravy.
THE TEAMS THAT CAN BEAT GREEN BAY TIER
Green Bay Packers (7-0): Beware the Chargers. Norv will have the boys motivated after blowing a game like that. (at San Diego)
THE TEAMS THAT HAVE WON FOUR SUPER BOWLS PLAYED IN FOUR SUPER BOWLS TIER
San Francisco 49ers (6-1): This team can possibly clinch by Thanksgiving, and now can set the sights on a bye. (at Washington)
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2): Impressive performance by a defense without Harrison and Farrior, greatly aided by the offense owning the ball for two-thirds of the game. (vs. Baltimore)
New England Patriots (5-2): This team needs to gamble to create turnovers, because they can’t just let teams hold the ball to keep the offense on the sideline. (vs. NY Giants)
Buffalo Bills (5-2): Nobody circles the wagons like the Toronto Bills. (vs. NY Jets)
THE EVIL TIER
Detroit Lions (6-2): Goodell vs. Evil this week as Suh visits New York on the bye. I think the outcome will be the same as last week. (bye)
Baltimore Ravens (5-2): This team has now played an ugly game against Arizona after a loss to Jacksonville. At least they got it going in the second half to come from behind after a brutal start. All can be corrected with a road sweep of the Steelers (at Pittsburgh)
Houston Texans (5-3): The Texans are picking it up through the easy part of their schedule, and if they are still in first when Andre Johnson returns should be alright. (vs. Cleveland)
New Orleans Saints (5-3): How inconsistent is that? Saints have the potential to be a good team, but high variance is bad when you are better than the opponent. (vs. Tampa Bay)
THE NFC EAST WILL GET THE #4 SEED TIER
Atlanta Falcons (4-3): Matty Ice was probably an accurate nickname this last week with the ankle. (at Indianapolis)
New York Jets (4-3): Rex Ryan would have won a Super Bowl by now if he was coaching the Bills. (at Buffalo)
Philadelphia Eagles (3-4): Okay, so that’s what the Eagles are capable of. The defense has played better for two straight games. (vs. Chicago)
Chicago Bears (4-3): Matt Forte accounted for 50% of the Bears’ productivity during the bye. (at Philadelphia)
New York Giants (5-2): Another unimpressive performance “playing to the level of the competition”. There’s no more of those on the schedule other than the remnants of the Redskins. (at New England)
Dallas Cowboys (3-4): We’ll see if that was just a bad game against a good team or a sign that this team will decline defensively. Sean Lee’s injury could be really bad news. (vs. Seattle)
Cincinnati Bengals (5-2): The Bengals were outgained by 158 yards in the 34-12 win at Seattle. That’s the most a team that won by 20+ has been outgained since 1992 (Giants vs. Packers, 27-7). (at Tennessee)
THE AFC WEST WILL GET THE #4 SEED TIER
San Diego Chargers (4-3): Worst . . . Power Rankings . . . Ever. (vs. Green Bay)
Kansas City Chiefs (4-3): If the Chiefs go 13-3, you won’t be able to resist giving Todd Haley money as you drive past him. (vs. Miami)
Oakland Raiders (4-3): Carson Palmer wants to bring T.J. Houshmandzadeh in? If you are trying to travel back in time, I’m not sure 2005 would be my first choice. (vs. Denver)
Tennessee Titans (4-3): Munchak says Johnson is still the starter, but he split carries evenly last week, and let’s see how he splits the carries this week. Actions louder than words and all. (vs. Cincinnati)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-3): Josh Freeman and Bill Snyder compared notes this week on how to win close games and get blown out in others. (at New Orleans)
ROOKIE QB’S ARE A BETTER ALTERNATIVE THAN BECK & GROSSMAN TIER
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6): Chris Johnson thinks Blaine Gabbert’s yards per attempt is laughable. (bye)
Minnesota Vikings (2-6): Percy Harvin did it all: catches, runs out of the tailback position, and assaults. (bye)
Carolina Panthers (2-6): After Olindo Mare’s miss, the Panthers are now 1-5 in games decided by a touchdown or less. (bye)
Washington Redskins (3-4): John Beck and Rex Grossman at least offer a different kind of suck, so that it doesn’t get repetitive. The offensive injuries on the line and at the skill positions are mounting, and this team is trending down again. (vs. San Francisco)
THE REASON SAN FRANCISCO WILL CLINCH BEFORE THANKSGIVING TIER
St. Louis Rams (1-6): Bob Costas called A.J. Feeley “efficiency personified” during that monologue thing he does on Sunday Night. I laughed. (at Arizona)
Cleveland Browns (3-4): Colt McCoy and the Browns’ offense is inefficiency personified. (at Houston)
Seattle Seahawks (2-5): The Seahawks did get screwed by the refs not making that call at the end of half for delay of game, but you can’t put that in doubt by running with no timeouts there. Part of benefit of going for it near goal line is leaving opponent pinned, which was out of play there. (at Dallas)
Denver Broncos (2-5): People are wrong to judge a quarterback after five starts, and need to take into account the surrounding players. You can interpret that comment as being about Orton or Tebow as you feel so inclined. (at Oakland)
Arizona Cardinals (1-6): Ouch, babe. Even when things go great for the Cardinals they can’t capitalize. (vs. St. Louis)
SMELL LIKE MILDEW FOR ANDREW TIER
Miami Dolphins (0-7): I’m shocked that other quarterbacks can come from behind against the Dolphins. (at Kansas City)
Indianapolis Colts (0-8): The Colts are an embarrassment. More thoughts on Caldwell and avoiding the shutout coming soon. (vs. Atlanta)
[photo via Getty]
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