Week 8 NFL power rankings

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Week 7 of the NFL season is officially in the books, and we are still seeing no shortage of surprises at this point in the season. Now we move ahead to the Week 8 edition of the XN Sports NFL Power Rankings.

Every week, XN Sports will rank every NFL team. Here is the Week 8 edition based on the Week 7 results and how teams are trending at this juncture of the season.

Week 8 NFL Power Rankings
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Week 8 NFL power rankings

32. Oakland Raiders (LW: 31)

The lone winless team left in the NFL through seven weeks, the Raiders have actually been playing better over the last two. Derek Carr shows promise week in and week out, but it remains a mystery when that first coveted win will actually come.

What to know: Carson Palmer faced pressure on less than 20 percent of his drop-backs, thanks in part due to the ineffectiveness from Raiders first-round pick Khalil Mack. Mack led the team with six defensive stops, but failed to generate any pressure (Pro Football Focus).

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 32)

Finally, the Jags notched win No. 1, and perhaps found a starting running back in the process. The former Michigan quarterback-turned-running back Denard Robinson rushed for 127 yards as the Jags took down the surging Browns.

What to know: The win marked the Jaguars’ first of the year and the first for the fall. The Jags had lost 18 in a row in September and October (ESPN Stats & Info).

(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

30. Tennessee Titans (LW: 30) 

Quarterback play continues to hurt the Titans, who should get Jake Locker back for Week 8. Eventually, the team has to see what Zach Mettenberger can do because I don’t think the team can rely on Locker for the long haul.

What to know: Did you ever expect Titans fans to be petitioning for Jake Locker to return under center? Charlie Whitehurst earned a -1.3 grade, completing 3-of-9 passes for 66 yards on passes 10 yards or more, throwing one touchdown and an interception on such throws (Pro Football Focus).

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

29. New York Jets (LW: 29) 

The Jets fell to their rivals on Thursday night, but followed it up with a trade for another weapon in Percy Harvin a day later. Now Geno Smith gets a new weapon opposite Eric Decker, giving him another playmaker to try to salvage his job.

What to know: The Jets became the first team in NFL history to lose a game with 40 minutes time of possession, 200 rushing yards, and no giveaways (Elias Sports).

(Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LW: 28)

A week of no football is probably better than a week of football for the Buccaneers. This team could be in store for another round of shakeups in the offseason, especially given its offensive coordinator situation and the lack of confidence in both quarterbacks.

What to know: At 1-5 in a very weak NFC South, the Bucs could be poised to make a move. Reports surfaced this weekend the team could shop Vincent Jackson. Jackson led the Bucs in receiving the past two seasons, and is their top receiver again this year.

(Photo by Cliff McBride/Getty Images)

27. Minnesota Vikings (LW: 25)

The Vikings’ season is beginning to slip away from them, but it’s promising to see the rookie quarterback make strides week to week.

What to know: Teddy Bridgewater‘s second-quarter touchdown pass to Cordarrelle Patterson was the Vikings’ first touchdown pass since Week 2. It was also Patterson‘s first touchdown since Week 1 (ESPN Stats & Info).

(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

26. St. Louis Rams (LW: 27)

You have to give it to St. Louis, who upended the champions after getting shellacked by the 49ers on the Monday night prior. Special teams sparked the Rams, who executed the fakes to a tee.

What to know: “The Rams completed 19-of-22 passing against the Seahawks, which is good for an 86.4 percent completion percentage, the highest in a single game ever allowed by the Seahawks.” (ESPN Stats & Info).

(AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

25. Washington Redskins (LW: 26) 

Not RGIII. Not Kirk Cousins, but Colt McCoy! McCoy sparked Washington to a victory over Tennessee, and for one more week we should see McCoy start under center until Griffin can return. Then it’s time to really start evaluating.

What to know: “McCoy is the first player whose first pass of the season traveled 70-plus yards since wide receiver Mohamed Sanu did it against Washington in 2012. It was the longest completion of his NFL career, and the longest since he threw a 70-yard touchdown pass for the Longhorns against Central Florida in 2009.”  (ESPN Stats & Info).

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

24. Atlanta Falcons (LW: 20)

The Falcons were one of the NFL’s best surprises earlier this season, but now the terrible defense has caught up to them, and when the offense can’t light up the scoreboard this teams looks like it should be picking in the top 10 again.

What to know: Winless on the road this year, the Falcons are not in unique company. As a division, the NFC South is 2-12-1 away from their home fields (ESPN Stats & Info).

(AP Photo/Gail Burton)

23. New Orleans Saints (LW: 18)

That was a devastating loss by the Saints, who needed that win to get to .500. Thankfully, the NFC South is horrible, meaning this team still has a chance. But coughing up fourth-quarter leads is not the way they’ll turn things around.

What to know: “New Orleans has lost seven road games in a row for the first time since 1998-99, when they lost 14 straight.”(ESPN Stats & Info).

(Photo by Greg Shamus/Getty Images)

22. Houston Texans (LW: 21)

It was a strong first quarter by the Texans, but this team cannot win games with J.J. Watt alone. Ryan Fitzpatrick has a limited skill-set, and he thrives when his team has a lead. Watt did about all he could, but he needs Jadeveon Clowney to be his Robin and maybe some help from the secondary.

What to know: Despite the Monday night loss, J.J. Watt notched his third game with both a sack and a fumble recovery. In contrast, no other player has more than one such game (ESPN Stats & Info).

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

21. New York Giants (LW: 19)

Losers of two in a row, it’s already time to start throwing the towel in on the G-Men. With Philly and Dallas off to such hot starts, the Giants just don’t have what it takes this year.

What to know: The Giants have now been outscored by a total of 34 points in the first quarter this season, the second-worst point differential in the NFL (ESPN Stats & Info).

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

20. Cleveland Browns (LW: 16)

Speaking of premature, perhaps Brian Hoyer and the Browns were simply fooling us all. Hoyer was exposed by none other than the Jaguars, and the upstart Browns came up empty against a previously winless team. They don’t have what it takes to hang with Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati just yet.

What to know: Time for Johnny Manziel? “Brian Hoyer completed just 16-of-41 passes on Sunday vs. the Jaguars for a completion percentage of 39 percent, the lowest of any qualifying quarterback this season. In fact, Hoyer has two of the four worst performances in that regard this season.” (ESPN Stats & Info).

(AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

19. Kansas City Chiefs (LW: 24)

I think we were premature to consider the Chiefs a non-factor this season. Maybe they’re not a playoff team, but they’re certainly capable of going toe-to-toe with any team on any given Sunday. In the AFC West, they could play a role in deciding whether it’s the Broncos or Chargers who take first place.

What to know: Jamaal Charles passed Priest Holmes as the Chiefs’ career rushing leader. Holmes previously held the mark with 6,070 yards (ESPN Stats & Info).

(AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

18. Chicago Bears (LW: 15)

It’s hard to figure out who’s to blame for the Bears’ disappointing season. Jay Cutlerhas been either very good or very bad, and there’s no middle ground. But the defense has been equally as inconsistent, and there’s no help from the special teams unit. Perhaps Marc Trestman could be on the hot seat.

What to know: “Cutler completed 3-of-11 passes for 52 yards and an interception on throws 15 or more yards downfield Sunday. Cutler entered the game with the league’s fourth-worst completion percentage on deep passes (32.4 percent), and his five interceptions on such throws are tied for second-most in the NFL.” (ESPN Stats & Info).

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

17. Buffalo Bills (LW: 23) 

Who would have thought Kyle Orton starting in place of EJ Manuel was actually the best decision this team could make? Orton found Sammy Watkins for a game-winning touchdown pass, and the Bills sit just one game behind New England in the standings.

What to know: Watkins had nine receptions (in 14 targets) for 122 yards and two touchdowns, setting personal bests in all three categories (Pro Football Focus).

(AP Photo/Gary Wiepert, File)

16. Miami Dolphins (LW: 22)

After nearly upending Green Bay Week 6, the Dolphins got the job done against Chicago at Soldier Field. Ryan Tannehill and Lamar Miller played well, and this defense continues to force opposing offenses’ hands. We can’t throw the towel in on Miami just yet.

What to know: Remember, the Wild Cat? That was the Dolphins who brought it into the NFL; now they’re onto the read-option. “The Dolphins rushed 17 times for 84 yards off the option play. Ryan Tannehill kept the ball three times for 49 yards on such plays, and now the Dolphins have rushed for a league-high 387 yards this season using the zone read.” (ESPN Stats & Info).

(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

15. Carolina Panthers (LW: 14)

The Panthers remain on top of the horrid NFC South, which is something to put some stock in, right? Cam Newton followed up his best performance of the year with a very mediocre one, and this schizoid defense did not fare well against Rodgers and Co.

What to know: Carolina surrendered three first-quarter touchdowns to the Packers Sunday. They allowed two touchdowns in the first quarter entering the contest (ESPN Stats & Info).

(Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)

14. Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 17)

It was essentially a must-win for Pittsburgh, and it felt like once we started to give up on the team in the first quarter they righted the ship. The Steelers dominated from the second quarter on, and like the 49ers, defensive reinforcements in the form of Ryan Shazier, Ike Taylor and Jarvis Jones are coming.

What to know: Le’Veon Bell became the first player in Steelers history to start the season with seven straight games of 100 yards of total offense (STATS LLC).

(Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

13. San Francisco 49ers (LW: 11)

The defense was able to overcome the absence of NaVorro Bowman and Aldon Smith, but could not withstand an injury to Patrick Willis. Manning had his way with the 49ers, while the offense could not find a rhythm against the Broncos’ D. There’s cause for concern, but 4-3 with reinforcements coming, there’s also optimism.

What to know: The 42 points surrendered through three quarters Sunday night was the most in that span of time in four seasons while the 49ers have been coached by Jim Harbaugh (ESPN Stats & Info).

(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

12. Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 6)

The Bengals need another bye week to figure out some things. Since the team’s 3-0 start, Cincinnati has lost two and tied with Carolina. Andy Dalton is struggling without A.J. Green, and this defense is not nearly as formidable.

What to know: The Bengals had 27 total yards in the first half, the fewest by any team in a half since Week 3 of last season (18 – Giants, Rams). The Bengals did not earn a first down until the :59 mark of the second quarter, which came via a Colts penalty (ESPN Stats & Info).

(AP Photo/AJ Mast)

11. Baltimore Ravens (LW: 13)

The surging Ravens have ascended to the top of the AFC North standings after silencing Atlanta’s potent offense. Gary Kubiak‘s offense is beginning to look as sharp as we anticipated in the summer, and it’s encouraging to see Torrey Smith get involved.

What to know: Journeyman running back Justin Forsett has been extremely effective since the Ray Rice suspension and ineffectiveness of Bernard Pierce. Forsett earned 51 of his 95 yards after contact (Pro Football Focus).

(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

10. Detroit Lions (LW: 12)

The Lions looked down, but they certainly were not out. Detroit overcame a two-touchdown hole to top the Saints and remain on top of the NFC North. Still, this team severely misses what Calvin Johnson brings to the table. Then the Lions can be even more dangerous.

What to know: The Lions overcame a 14-point deficit to win, which marked the 10th time this season a team rallied from a 14-plus-point hole to win. That’s the second-most through seven games since 1970 (NFL Media).

 (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

9. New England Patriots (LW: 10)

Quietly, New England has won three in a row, and Tom Brady is playing at an extremely high level. Darrelle Revis is also rounding into form. The win over the Jets wasn’t very impressive, and gives reason to believe the rash of injuries could be having an effect.

What to know: We know Brett Favre lost his passing touchdown record to Manning, but another record was broken Thursday, too. Tom Brady surpassed Favre for the most consecutive wins by a quarterback in divisional home games with 19 (Elias Sports).

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

8. Seattle Seahawks (LW: 3)

The defending champs have now dropped two in a row and are doing so in inconceivable fashion. The trade of Percy Harvin apparently disturbed the team’s psyche, which led to a non-existent running game and horrific special teams play against the lowly Rams. There’s something not right in the Pacific Northwest.

What to know: Russell Wilson became the first NFL player in history to throw for 300 yards and rush for 100 yards in a single game (Elias Sports).

(AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

7. Indianapolis Colts (LW: 10)

Winners of five straight games, the Colts are making a case to be considered the No. 1 or 2 team in the AFC right now. While MVP candidate Andrew Luck is making a case to be an elite signal-caller, the defense was the most impressive part of their win over Cincinnati, posting a shutout and proving they’ve turned a corner.

What to know: Luck has passed for at least 300 yards in five straight games, tying Manning (2009) for the longest such streak in franchise history (LA Times).

(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

6. Green Bay Packers (LW: 8)

The Packers are playing lights out, largely because of their quarterback. Aaron Rodgers is red-hot, playing mistake-free football, and they’re beginning to find their stride. Four wins in a row is nothing to look over.

What to know: Aaron Rodgers has thrown at least three touchdowns with no interceptions in four straight games, joining Tom Brady back in 2007 as the only quarterbacks to accomplish that feat (ESPN Stats & Info).

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

5. Philadelphia Eagles (LW: 5)

Philadelphia was idle, but good news is they’re getting healthier along the offensive line. Bad news is they’ve fallen behind Dallas in the divisional standings.

What to know: The Eagles’ revamped offensive line is coming off of its best performance of the season against the Giants.LeSean McCoy had his first 100-yard rushing performance of the season, and the Eagles churned out a season-high 203 yards on the ground and allowed just one sack. Guard Evan Mathis has been cleared to return to practice, while center Jason Kelce could return in two weeks vs. Houston.

(Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)

4. Dallas Cowboys (LW: 7)

A rare leapfrog in the power rankings, but the Cowboys are deserving of it. The Cowboys have jumped all the way up to the No. 4 spot over the past two weeks by knocking off the defending champs and taking care of the Giants. DeMarco Murray is now the MVP frontrunner, and the Cowboys are joining a unique class in the NFC.

What to know: Murray’s seventh straight 100-yard rushing game has resulted in 913 yards, the fifth-highest total by a back in seven games since the 1970 merger. Murray is the second Cowboys player to accomplish such a feat, joining Emmitt Smith back in 1993 and 1994 (ESPN Stats & Info).

(AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

3. San Diego Chargers (LW: 2)

San Diego’s win streak finally came to an end against division rival Kansas City, but I won’t hold it against them too much. The issue is we thought that this Chargers team was different from the one in recent years, as this year they were beating teams they’re supposed to. They were supposed to beat Kansas City at home.

What to know: San Diego has ascended to the top of the AFC by making a habit out of winning the time of possession battle. The Chargers had the ball on offense for just 21 minutes Sunday, their second-lowest time of possession in a game in the last 10 seasons (ESPN Stats & Info).

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

2. Arizona Cardinals (LW: 4)

No it’s not the Seahawks or 49ers leading the NFC West, it’s the Cardinals, who by the way are competing for the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Carson Palmer‘s return has sparked the offense, and this patchwork defense is thriving with takeaways.

What to know: Andre Ellington had career-highs in touches (30) and rushes (24), tied a career high in receptions (6) and his 160 total yards were two shy of a career high. Ellington is one of three running backs to have at least 75 total yards in every game this season, joining DeMarco Murray and Le’Veon Bell (ESPN Stats & Info).

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

1. Denver Broncos (LW: 1)

Denver has truly rounded into mid-season form. The offense is unstoppable, evident by its domination against a depleted San Francisco defense. But even more impressive was the defensive effort. Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware are still among the league’s top pass-rushers, and together can take this defense to new heights.

What to know: In 38 games as a member of the Broncos, Peyton Manning is already in second place in terms of passing yards in franchise history (ESPN Stats & Info).

(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Related links:
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