Week 8 NFL Power Rankings: NFC Continues to Dominate with Five of Top Six Spots

Torey ZiskaCorrespondent IIOctober 22, 2012

ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 21:  Outside linebacker Clay Matthews #52 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates his sack of quarterback Sam Bradford #8 of the St. Louis Rams with defensive end Jerel Worthy #99 of the Green Bay Packers in the third quarter at Edward Jones Dome on October 21, 2012 in St Louis, Missouri. The Packers defeated the Rams 30-20.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images


 Of the 13 games on the slate this past week in the NFL, 10 of them were decided by a touchdown or less. In other words, trying to bet on the spread anymore is dang near impossible.

The injury bug did not strike as much this week, but when it did, it struck hard.

The Packers will lose future hall of fame cornerback Charles Woodson for at least six weeks due to a broken collarbone.

The Jaguars, who admittedly weren’t going anywhere to begin with, could be without Maurice Jones-Drew the rest of the season. And no team in the league relies more heavily on an individual player than the Jags do on MJD.

Additionally, Jay Cutler was slammed to the ground by Ndamukong Suh and, though he remained in the game, seemed to be in obvious pain. The Bears can ill-afford to lose Cutler for the second straight season.

This week’s rankings look quite similar to last week, as 16 teams did not move up or down. The only team to move more than two slots in either direction was the Ravens, dropping from third to seventh.  

Read on for the rest of the rankings heading into Week 8!

Teams’ previous ranking in ( ).

1.       Atlanta Falcons (1): Atlanta remains undefeated by virtue of having a bye week. Odd fact about the Falcons schedule: They have not played two consecutive games at home or two consecutive games on the road and will not for the rest of the season.


2.       Houston Texans (2): Houston rebounded from their first loss of the season in style with a blowout of the Ravens. Most importantly for the Texans, they are still relatively healthy as they head into their bye week.


3.       New York Giants (4): Ho-hum, just another 4th quarter comeback for Eli Manning and the Giants.


4.       San Francisco 49ers (6): The 49ers grab sole possession of first place in the NFC West and can really begin to distance themselves with a win next week against the struggling Cardinals.


5.       Chicago Bears (5): The Bears offense sputtered a little bit, but their defense was dominant again as they keep pace with the Vikings in the NFC North.


6.       Green Bay Packers (7): No Greg Jennings? Virtually no running game? No problem for the Packers, as Aaron Rodgers has thrown for nine touchdowns and no picks in the last two games.


7.       Baltimore Ravens (3): An ugly loss for the Ravens, as Joe Flacco looked terrible. They have a bye this week and must re-group as they have three of their next four games on the road.


8.       New England Patriots (8): The Patriots are just not the dominant team they once were. That being said, how many teams do you think would like to face them in the playoffs?


9.       Minnesota Vikings (10): The Vikings continue to surprise people. However, five of their last six games have been against Chicago, Green Bay, and Houston. Despite being 5-2, don’t be surprised if they finish 8-8, or worse.


10.   Pittsburgh Steelers (11): The defense really stepped up in the second half to lead the Steelers to a big road win and get them one game closer to the division leading Ravens.


11.   Seattle Seahawks (9): Seattle played the 49ers well, but came up just a little short. The Seahawks currently sit at 4-3, but all three losses have come by a touchdown or less.


12.   Arizona Cardinals (12): The Cardinals stay at 12, but they will likely drop significantly and quickly.  Over the next few weeks, they are due to face San Francisco, Green Bay and Atlanta.


13.   Denver Broncos (13): The Broncos had a bye in Week 7 and will play on Sunday Night Football this week.  Peyton Manning will face off against Drew Brees, in what should be a high scoring affair.


14.   Philadelphia Eagles (14): The Eagles are coming off a bye as well and they face a very tough schedule in the coming weeks. A team that I thought would be representing the NFC in the Super Bowl could be in danger of missing the playoffs altogether.


15.   Dallas Cowboys (17): Tony Romo and the Cowboys won a must win game in Week 7, which will set up another huge game in Week 8 when they face the Giants. A win puts them within a game of first, while a loss might just end their hopes of winning the division.


16.   New York Jets (16): The Jets made a valiant comeback effort against New England, but came up just short. Fortunately for the Jets, they are only a game behind the Patriots for first place.


17.   St. Louis Rams (15): The Rams did about as much as you could expect against Green Bay. In fact, you could argue that holding the Packers to 30 points was a win for the Rams defense.


18.   Washington Redskins (18): RGIII played another very good game but once again came up just a little bit short in the end. The Redskins have been in every game this year and have yet to lose by more than a touchdown.


19.   Cincinnati Bengals (19): The Cincinnati Bengals have relied on big plays all year and simply did not get any against the Steelers on Sunday night. The Bengals are loaded with potential, but they must find a playmaker to put opposite of A.J. Green.


20.   San Diego Chargers (20): The Chargers lost three of four prior to their bye. More importantly, they are being investigated by the NFL for using forbidden sticky substances. The Norv Turner watch just got a little hotter.


21.   New Orleans Saints (23): Even at 0-4, I said the Saints were still a threat to reach the playoffs. They still have a lot of work ahead of them, but a win in Week 8 will put them at 3-4 and back into the mix.


22.   Miami Dolphins (22): At 3-3 and coming off a bye, the Dolphins face some very winnable games over the next month. With that said, Ryan Tannehill is still a rookie surrounded by mediocre talent at best and will most likely not win all of those winnable games.


23.   Detroit Lions (21): As bad as the Lions played, they had their chances on Monday night against the Bears. Two great drives ended on lost fumbles, including one inside the one yard line. The Lions playoff hopes are dwindling, while their division hopes are all but gone.


24.   Indianapolis Colts (26): At 3-3, the Colts have three straight winnable games coming up. If they win them all to get to 6-3, they could make things interesting in the AFC South.


25.   Tennessee Titans (27): The Titans were winners of one of the most entertaining games on Sunday, beating the Bills 35-34 on a late touchdown pass. Chris Johnson had an enormous breakout game. The question now, is whether or not he can be consistent on a week to week basis.


26.   Buffalo Bills (24): The Buffalo Bills awful defense was bad again on Sunday, giving up 35 points. The Bills mercifully have a bye in Week 8 and will need to figure something out on defense, as they will face the Texans and Patriots in the two weeks that follow.


27.   Tampa Bay Buccaneers (25): Tampa Bay got out to an early 14-0 lead on the Saints, but could not hold it. They had two chances to score a touchdown on the final drive, but Vincent Jackson was unable to tap dance around the end zone line and Mike Williams was ruled ineligible after being pushed out of bounds. Nonetheless, the Bucs have showed significantly more fight this season than last.


28.   Oakland Raiders (29): Somehow, at 2-4, the Raiders sit just a game out of first place. They have a couple of favorable matchups coming up that could get them back to .500 and relevant in the AFC West.


29.   Carolina Panthers (28): The Carolina Panthers were thought to be ready to take that next step and make a run at the playoffs this year.  Needless to say, they're not. They currently sit at 1-5 and are more or less out of contention.


30.   Cleveland Browns (30): The Browns simply lack playmakers at the wide receiver and tight end positions. Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson appear to be very good players that just need to get some help around them.


31.   Jacksonville Jaguars (31): The Jags have a hard enough time winning with Blaine Gabbert and Maurice Jones-Drew. I can’t imagine things will be any better if they are forced to go with Chad Henne and Rashad Jennings for any extended period of time.


32.   Kansas City Chiefs (32): The Chiefs are dead last in the rankings and yet sit just two games out of first. They will be coming off a bye in Week 8 and their next two games come against divisional foes. If they somehow find a way to win,even they will be in contention in the AFC West.