Power Rankings Week 8 2020

Who are the NFL's biggest winners and losers as we head into week 8?

Pickwatch

27 Oct, 2020

 

Rank

Change

Team

Record

1

 

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6-1

In English soccer there is a classic trope about the world's greatest player, Lionel Messi of Barcelona - the question of 'could he do it on a cold Tuesday night in Stoke?'. The implication is that even the best players and teams can do it when the conditions favor them.

If that is the sports fan's biggest question about great teams, then the Chiefs barely missing a beat on a snowy Sunday in Denver was strong evidence that they are still the best team in Football. Even better, they get to play the Jets this week in a top vs bottom struggle.

2

 

 

1

6-0

Is everything perfect? No. There are concerns about every team below the Chiefs, but the Steelers remain the only unbeaten team in the league and overcame one of their bigger challenges on Sunday by beating Tennessee. How they handle their trip to Baltimore this week will likely define their season. That defense means a playoff trip is all but certain.

3

 

 

 

1

5-1

First off, don't panic - the Seahawks are not bad after an OT loss to Arizona (that they almost won) and they certainly remain one of the best teams in the league. Russell Wilson leads the league in touchdowns, but their defense is a problem and now worryingly ranks last in the league in passing yards allowed. Ultimately, this is a massively unbalanced team that will be at very least entertaining to watch all season.

4

 

 

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5-1

3 weeks in a row the Ravens haven't moved. This week it's more because they didn't play, but the Ravens certainly don't look worse compared to the teams around them. Like the Steelers, they have a combination of ok offense (albeit deeply unbalanced) and strong defense that prompts you to wonder whether they're sustainable in the long run.

5

 

 

1

5-1

That's more like it from Green Bay, who destroyed Houston and flattered the Texans by allowing a couple of late scores. Apart from that, it was a good rebound game after their disappointment against the Bucs in week 6. Questions will hang around, but I think the quick return to form marks that loss as an outlier and the packers still a prime contender for home field advantage in the playoffs.

6

 

 

1

  5-1

The Titans are quietly one of the best teams in football, but their propensity for a narrow win finally came unstuck on Sunday. Trailing all game, they came back and had a chance to win/tie and lost on a missed Stephen Gostkowski kick. I like the play of keeping one of the league's most accurate kickers, because as we've seen many times over, there aren't a ton of options out there, but equally, at some point Mike Vrabel will know that if every game is going to be a close one, he needs a reliable Kicker as a priority.

7

 

 

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5-2

I think we're starting to see it now. Not a big fan of the AB signing when they're in the middle of a good run like this, but it's all coming together now and the Bucs look like on their day, they could be a real contender. Perhaps most importantly, their defense is the class of the NFC (and in fact the entire league in many areas) and will be very much looking forward to one of the league's worst offenses next Monday night as they travel to play the Giants.

8

 

 

1

5-2

So the Rams are great, but it's also the case that the Bears, as I alluded to last week, make me very nervous. More on that later. Hey, I ragged on the Rams in my podcast appearance with Elliot Harrison last week for only beating the NFC East teams, but they can now add the Bears to that list which is perhaps 10% more meaningful. The Rams are the gatekeeper to the 'unreliable' section of the NFL...

9

 

 

3

 

4-2

Sometimes you stand still and others drop. In this case, the Bears, Pats and Raiders all looked flaky enough to say that the Colts' passable offense and strong defense that annihilates passing offenses are worthy of substantially more credit. I worry that their lack of a running game is going to hinder them because every contender around them can run the ball, so this week's game against the resurgent Lions is a low-key very important one for evaluating both teams.

10

 

 

4

  

5-2

The Cards have proved two big things - they can pass and they can run when it suits their gameplan. They have had games with 260 rushing yards, and games like Sunday night with 360 passing yards. That's a potent combination that makes them one of the more dangerous opponents in an NFC West that has 4 competitive teams in the top 11 of this ranking. Kyler Murray looks like he's growing in confidence every day and with momentum gathering, they'll enjoy the bye week shake-up.

11

 

 

1

4-3

I still have reservations about the 49ers but Sunday was a perfect gameplan and understanding of their opponents. They've given up more than 225 yards passing just once all season, which will be sorely tested this week against Seattle, and their injury worries stand out as a potential issue, particularly the loss of any RB to so much as look at Levi's Stadium. They'll play the Seahawks short-handed at their most critical offensive position this week and need a change in emphasis offensively to get a win.

12

 

 

 

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5-2

I mean it wasn't pretty. Somehow the Bills just... never got going. It was actually strange to watch Buffalo move the ball well against the Jets, give up next to no yards, and still just somehow fail to find the end zone on offense. I think like so many teams, they perhaps got caught up in the gulf in class between them and their opponents. It's hard to gauge a team's strength after a win against the Jets anyway, so let's see how they do in a bigger rivalry matchup vs New England this week.

13

 

 

2

3-3

This may be harsh. The Raiders looked quite competent against the Bucs, given their upheaval all week long and the entire O-line being unable to practice in advance of the game. That said, it ended in a relatively foreseeable loss (we called this one our lock of the week) and cemented Las Vegas's place in the middle of the pack. There's something here though, it's not 'same old Raiders' by any stretch. 

14

 

 

2

5-2

This week they'll face the Raiders and that will tell us more about two teams who both have moments of brilliance, while seemingly always trying to shake memories of years past. I like Baker Mayfield, I don't think he's as bad as made out and if the Browns reel him in a tiny bit, they should cut down some of his mistakes. Don't overlook them as a playoff contender - in a strange division, the Browns are quietly close to the lead in the AFC North and have daylight behind them in the wild card race as things stand.

 

15

 

 

 

7

5-2

Oh dear, my Bears. My beautiful Bears. As I said last week, I have huge reservations about this team, even at 5 wins. The offense just doesn't exist and the defense is overrated. It's nowhere near the caliber of the Bucs, Steelers or Ravens, who can win games on their own. To make matters worse, the schedule isn't kind and I suspect they will be at best 6-6 by the time they face Houston in week 14. Oh and up next...

16

 

 

1

4-2

...are the Saints. What to make of New Orleans? we called the win-but-no-cover against Carolina and honestly, for long periods the game looked like one the Panthers could easily win. I have some major reservations about this team as I've documented at length, not least that without Alvin Kamara's other-worldly talent, they would be nowhere near 4 wins. That said, they keep winning and have a kind 4 game stretch from week 11 onwards against Atlanta x2, Denver and Philadelphia. That likely guarantees this team to a minimum of 8-8, the question is whether they would even be able to do anything with a playoff spot if they get there...

17

 

 

 

2

3-3

Ok one I was very invested in this game because I called it on Upset Watch and Elliot Harrison bet me an inconvenient Taco shipment that the Falcons would win. I triumphed and will bask in his North Texas hoodie. BASK. But apart from that, the Lions were pretty much as expected - lots of passing, no run game, some questionable defense. It should be noted though, that they are improving. They rank in the top 10 vs the run over the last 4 weeks, vs their 26th season-long average. (You can do this yourself by setting the week range on our team stats pages!)

18

 

 

 

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3-3

Standing still while kind of moving forward. I've had a week to ruminate on the Tua move and I think it's 60/40 towards the right move. This is a 3-3 team but despite Ryan Fitzpatrick's ok play, anyone who has watched any extended play by Miami will know that they have missed a lot of opportunities, even in victory. Can Tua turn them into a different team? Yes, for better or worse, and ultimately, being .500 makes it worth twisting.

19

 

 

 

9

 

2-4 

This is the Patriots now, a middle-of-the-pack team. I feel for Bill Belichick because he's going to take a lot of heat from people who think Brady was the only reason his teams won. That's not true, but it does highlight how lacking the current roster is around Cam Newton. Put simply, when Newton isn't playing his brand of run first offense successfully, the Pats have no answer and rank 29th in points scored. The early optimism around their defense is fading and right now, so are the Pats in 2020. The playoffs are a long, long shot.

20

 

 

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3-4

I want to move this team up, I just need them to win! The Panthers are to me one of the underrated dark horses of this season and despite their losing record, are not far from the playoffs in theory. They ran the Saints close and had a chance to win on Sunday, so don't be fooled by the end result. Teddy Bridgewater in particular has carried this team on his back at times and looks a very sound investment for Carolina's future. I'm very interested to see what happens when Christian McCaffrey returns...

21

 

 

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 2-4

So Justin Herbert is the real deal. What I like? He challenges defenses in every way, there isn't a throw or run that he can't make, which means that ultimately the only thing holding him back at this stage is acclimatizing to the NFL. To say his future bodes well is an understatement. That said, the Chargers beat... the Jags. And they made hard work of it for three quarters. I'd like to see Herbert stop the Rex Grossman-esque HEAVES downfield at times, but that said, screw it, have fun in a losing year. Sign Robby Anderson and Tyreek Hill and just play fantasy ball.

22

 

 

  

-1

1-5-1

Getting better. The Bengals are the first of the bad teams, the teams that are going to have losing seasons no matter what. The Bengals get some props for being able to get a lead, but lose some for not hanging on to them. Incredibly, they've given up just a single hundred yard rushing game in their last 4 outings, but unfortunately, they can't stop anyone beating them except the bottom-feeders. Love Joe Burrow's moxy, hope that getting hit a million times a game doesn't get him too jittery...

23

 

 

1

2-4

That was a regression from Drew Lock. The Broncos are pretty competitive on defense, but Lock seems a little skittish and intent on driving the ball downfield at all costs. When you're playing the Chiefs in a snowstorm, maybe that's not the right time, Drew. Apart from that, things have picked up a little of late and they won't be pushovers all season.

24

 

 

3

1-6

Um, ok so they're going up because everyone else is bad, not because they're good. In fact, every team from here on in is not just quite bad, but seriously, undeniably terrible. The standard of drop-off in this season's NFL is almost jarring, I can't remember looking at the 24th team in the league and just thinking they are not playing the same game as the top teams, mentally or skill-wise. Well, that's how it looks and the Texans are a prime example.

25

 

3

2-4-1

The Eagles rise by virtue of the losses of others. Nominally in first place in the NFC East, they didn't cover themselves in glory by almost losing to the Giants and their anaemic offense. That said, there is something to be said for the Eagles being the most likely winners of the division, which makes the 25th placed team in these rankings arguably one of the most likely to make the playoffs. From there, anything can happen...

26

 

 

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 1-5

A week off to regroup. If Dalvin Cook returns as expected, the Vikes have an outside chance at winning a couple more games this year, but without him? It looks a forlorn hope. Let's also remember that Cook has been injured a number of times over his career, so maybe it may not be the greatest idea to rush him back in what is already a season gone horribly, horribly wrong.

27

 

 

-3

   

1-6

The Falcons are a tough watch now. The problems appear at least as much mental as they are about talent. Sometimes, as on Sunday, good players make mistakes or just have bad luck, and it costs you. Unfortunately for the Falcons, this is happening week in, week out, and perhaps most worrisome for owner Arthur Blank will be that the nuclear offense has stopped firing and ranks 21st in points per game over the last 4 games. I mentioned last week that you feel the Falcons could win every game, but that aura is fading.

28

 

1

1-6

Right - rant time: Gardner Minshew is one of the very few bright spots on the Jags right now. Not only is his 13:5 TD:INT ratio pretty good, but he ranks top 10 in passing yards and has the same or better completion % as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes. So when Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that Gus Marrone was considering benching Minshew for serial failure Mike Glennon, I knew at that point that the world has gone mad. Minshew is not amazing. He won't be Mahomes, Brady or Rodgers, but he is doing a creditable job with a poor team around him. Anyway. That's my rant and hopefully the Jags manage to not lose next week against *checks notes* 'Bye Week'.

29

 

 

2

2-5

I mean they're rising and there is an outside chance they're actually going to have a shot at the division now that the Cowboys have officially dropped out. If they get a run game going, the team around Kyle Allen isn't awful, it's merely... ok. And that in itself is as close to a compliment that I would pay not only Washington, but any of the NFC East teams.

30

 

 

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1-6

Well done to Daniel Jones on managing to overshadow his first multi-TD game since week 1 by becoming a meme. I love watching his 80 yard run as he almost realizes that somehow, he's going to trip over his own feet and not score. What is perhaps most ridiculous is that Jones had just 12 more rushing yards on the day. Maybe, just maybe, the kid should run more?

31

 

7

 

2-5

I gave them the benefit of the doubt last week, but this season is not only over, the Cowboys are in disarray and a contender for the worst team in the league. Make no mistake, their defense is the worst in the league, their offense now does not exist and they have to face the Steelers this week in a game that should be called early. I mean like, 3hrs before kickoff. Even if Andy Dalton plays, we've seen enough to know, the jig is up, it's a race for no.2 in the draft now.

32

 





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0-7

And here they are. The league's worst team(tm). There was almost hope last week, but almost every reason to be positive was mainly because the Bills were AWFUL at converting. The Jets managed a pathetic 91 yards passing and 99 yards rushing on Sunday, Sam Darnold threw 2 picks and was sacked 6 times as they warmed up for a trip to... oh it's Kansas City. Where the 32nd ranked, 12.5 points per game Jets will take on the Super Bowl champs.

Adam Gase: Offensive genius.