And then there was one.
Entering Week 8 of the 2013 NFL regular season, only the Kansas City Chiefs have an undefeated record. 31 other teams have suffered at least one loss, and with a handful of key injuries sustained during Week 7, it'll only get more difficult.
The question is, how do the standings look entering Week 8?
|New York Giants||1||6||0||.143|
|Green Bay Packers||4||2||0||.667|
|New Orleans Saints||5||1||0||.833|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||0||6||0||.000|
|San Francisco 49ers||5||2||0||.714|
|St. Louis Rams||3||4||0||.429|
|New England Patriots||5||2||0||.714|
|New York Jets||4||3||0||.571|
|Kansas City Chiefs||7||0||0||1.000|
|San Diego Chargers||4||3||0||.571|
Yellow highlight = postseason team.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 7: 24-6 loss vs. San Diego Chargers
Week 8: Bye Week
Nothing has changed at the bottom of the NFL, as the Jacksonville Jaguars lost yet another game and fell to 0-7. It was the fourth time in 2013 that Jacksonville scored less than 10 points and continued its horrendous play.
There shouldn't even be a question about whether or not Jacksonville is the worst team in the NFL.
Chad Henne was 23-of-36 for 318 yards, no touchdowns and an interception, and Mike Brown had five catches for 120 yards. Cecil Shorts III added 80 yards on eight receptions, and Justin Blackmon posted six grabs for 58 yards.
Unfortunately, Jacksonville continued to display questionable play-calling and ran it just 17 times for 78 yards.
Defensively, Sen'Derrick Marks was the only Jaguars players to register a sack. Furthermore, Jacksonville failed to force a single turnover against a team that the masses accused of being prepared for a monumental collapse.
Jacksonville now has a long-awaited bye during Week 8.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 7: 31-23 loss at Atlanta Falcons
Week 8: vs. Carolina Panthers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are beginning to rival the Jaguars as the worst team in the NFL. The Bucs have been competitive, losing four of six games by eight points or less, but going 0-6 is what you call a horrendous start to the season.
Now, the Bucs will move forward without their best player: running back Doug Martin.
Doug Martin has 75% of the Buccaneers rushing yards this season, 2nd-highest in the NFL behind Adrian Peterson (83%).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 21, 2013
Martin had rushed for 456 yards through six games, which placed ninth in the league.
The Buccaneers move forward with the No. 29 passing offense in the league and no rushing attack to support it. Tampa Bay's second-leading rusher is rookie Mike James, who has 17 carries for 57 yards.
It won't get any easier in Week 8, as the Bucs face the high-octane Carolina Panthers.
30. Minnesota Vikings
Week 7: 23-7 loss at New York Giants
Week 8: vs. Green Bay Packers
Well, it's official: The Minnesota Vikings have hit rock bottom.
The Vikings may have the most dominant running back of our generation, but the absence of a reliable quarterback has become a crippling blow. On Monday Night Football during Week 7, the Vikings fell 23-7 to the New York Giants in what was one of the ugliest games in recent memory.
How ugly? Josh Freeman set a new standard.
Josh Freeman: 16 overthrown incompletions; most by any QB in a game in the 8 years for which we have data on overthrows— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 22, 2013
Whether it's Freeman or Matt Cassel under center, Minnesota is in trouble.
During Week 7, the Vikings failed to score a single offensive touchdown. Freeman was 20-of-53 for 190 yards, no touchdowns and one interception, and the Vikings ran for 30 yards on 14 carries.
The defense played well, but the Vikings were also the first team in 2013 that failed to force Eli Manning to throw an interception. Things aren't looking good in Minnesota.
29. New York Giants
Week 7: 23-7 win over the Vikings
Week 8: at Philadelphia Eagles
The New York Giants have finally won a football game, reaching 1-6 on the season with a 23-7 win over the Vikings. It wasn't pretty, and it didn't do the Giants many favors in the power rankings, but a win is a win.
1-6 now has New York three games off of the division lead with nine outings remaining.
Eli Manning went 23-of-39 for 200 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. It marked the first game all season in which Eli didn't throw a pick, and it came on the night that Peyton Hillis picked up 81 yards of total offense and a score.
Rueben Randle added a receiving touchdown, and New York finally got a pass rush going.
Justin Tuck recorded the only sack of the day, but the Giants did apply consistent pressure to the quarterback. As a result, Antrel Rolle managed an interception, and New York held the Vikings to 30 yards on 14 carries.
New York will meet the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 8.
28. Houston Texans
Week 7: 17-16 loss at Kansas City Chiefs
Week 8: Bye
The Houston Texans started the season at 2-0 with one-possession wins over the San Diego Chargers and Tennessee Titans. Since then, Houston has fallen apart, losing five consecutive games en route to a 2-5 record.
During Week 7, Houston fell 17-16 at the Kansas City Chiefs.
The upside for Houston is that Case Keenum played at a very high level, going 15-of-25 for 271 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. DeAndre Hopkins had three receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown, and Andre Johnson tallied 89 yards on four catches.
Oddly enough, Keenum isn't going to be the team's starter when Houston returns to the field.
Texans coach Gary Kubiak says Matt Schaub is the team's starting QB but he will evaluate things during Houston's bye week.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 21, 2013
More significantly, Brian Cushing is out for the season with a severe leg injury.
It keeps getting worse for Houston.
27. Oakland Raiders
Week 7: Bye
Week 8: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Oakland Raiders were on a bye during Week 8 of the 2013 regular season. The Raiders are currently 2-4 with a franchise quarterback, Terrelle Pryor, and a top-10 rushing offense.
The Raiders will meet the Pittsburgh Steelers during Week 8.
26. Arizona Cardinals
Week 7: 34-22 loss vs. Seattle Seahawks
Week 8: vs. Atlanta Falcons
The depth of the NFC West has been placed on full display during the 2013 NFL regular season, as all four teams are 3-4 or better. One of those teams is the Arizona Cardinals, which dropped to 3-4 with a 34-22 loss to the Seattle Seahawks during Week 7.
Up next is a Week 8 home game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Against Seattle, Carson Palmer was 30-of-45 for 258 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Rashard Mendenhall found the back of the end zone as a runner, but the Cardinals tallied just 30 yards on 18 carries.
Without a reliable run game, the Cardinals offense will be limited in terms of upside.
John Abraham led the defense with two sacks, and the Cardinals did come up with two fumble recoveries. Matt Shaughnessy added a sack and a fumble recovery, and Arizona continued to flash its potential.
Turnovers and an absence of offensive balance continue to hold this team back from truly reaching its highest of heights.
25. St. Louis Rams
Week 7: 30-15 loss at Carolina Panthers
Week 8: vs. Seattle Seahawks
The St. Louis Rams were a .500 football team entering Week 7 and left as a squad with nothing short of disarray. Not only did the Rams lose 30-15 to the Carolina Panthers, but St. Louis lost its field general.
Sam Bradford is expected to miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL.
Rams QB Sam Bradford tore his ACL. He's out for year...— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 21, 2013
There go the postseason dreams.
St. Louis is 29th in rushing offense, which suggests that it lacks the ground game necessary to overcome this injury from an offensive perspective. It's unclear whether or not the Rams will recover, but all signs point toward a turn for the worst.
With the 30th-ranked scoring defense, we shouldn't be too surprised to see St. Louis hit a steep decline. This will be yet another season without a postseason appearance for Jeff Fisher.
24. Washington Redskins
Week 7: 45-41 win vs. Chicago Bears
Week 8: at Denver Broncos
The Washington Redskins earned a long-awaited victory during Week 7, capitalizing on a series of Chicago Bears injuries to win 45-41. The under-the-radar players stepped up in this game, and the Redskins pulled to within 1.5 games of the NFC East lead.
Up next is a road game against the Denver Broncos.
Alfred Morris ran the ball 19 times for 95 yards, and Roy Helu carried it 11 times for 41 yards and three touchdowns. Robert Griffin III was 18-of-29 for 298 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, also rushing for 84 yards.
Washington needed every bit of that offensive production.
Brian Orakpo offered the shining moment for the Redskins defense, returning an interception for a 29-yard touchdown. Chris Baker and Barry Cofield both had sacks, but this win was all about the Redskins offense.
It'll need to be even more brilliant during Week 8.
23. Cleveland Browns
Week 7: 31-13 loss at Green Bay Packers
Week 8: at Kansas City Chiefs
The Cleveland Browns have become the most streaky team of the 2013 regular season. The Browns now have two separate two-game losing streaks and one three-game winning streak en route to a 3-4 overall record.
In Week 7, Cleveland lost 31-13 to the Green Bay Packers.
Brandon Weeden was 17-of-42 for 149 yards, one touchdown and one interception, continuing to raise questions about whether or not he can ever become the team's franchise quarterback. Jordan Cameron had yet another big performance, but the Browns ran for 83 yards on 23 attempts.
That won't win many games, especially not against a team of Green Bay's caliber.
Defensively, the Browns failed to force a single turnover and registered just one total sack. To make matters worse, Cleveland committed 12 penalties for 106 yards.
Who would've thought the Browns would miss Brian Hoyer so badly?
22. Philadelphia Eagles
Week 7: 17-3 loss vs. Dallas Cowboys
Week 8: vs. New York Giants
The Philadelphia Eagles' explosive offense was silenced during Week 7 of the 2013 regular season. With the lead in the NFC East on the line, Philly fell 17-3 to the Dallas Cowboys and dropped to 3-4 on the season.
When's the last time you can remember a Chip Kelly offense scoring three points?
Nick Foles started the game, going 11-of-29 for 80 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions before leaving with a head injury. Rookie Matt Barkley came in for the Eagles, going 11-of-20 for 129 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions.
It goes without saying that the Eagles' passing attack is in shambles.
The most concerning aspect of the Eagles' loss was the fact that the rushing attack managed 84 yards on 23 carries. Ranked No. 1 in the NFL in rushing yards per game, the Eagles were shut down by a defense that was without some of its top stars.
Still, the Eagles are just one game off of the division lead.
21. Tennessee Titans
Week 7: 31-17 loss vs. San Francisco 49ers
Week 8: Bye
The stat sheet may show that the Tennessee Titans lost 31-17 to the San Francisco 49ers, but they were flat-out dominated. The Niners led 24-0 at the end of the third quarter, and all of the points scored from thereon out were close to meaningless.
That marks three consecutive losses for the Titans.
Jake Locker was 25-of-41 for 326 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in his first game back from injury. Chris Johnson had 110 yards of total offense and a receiving touchdown, but only 39 of those yards came on the ground.
Fantasy football owners may be pleased, but the Titans need a running game, and CJ2K hasn't provided that in 2013.
Defensively, the Titans managed two sacks but failed to force a single turnover against the 49ers. In the end, that was enough to determine this game, as Tennessee failed to capitalize on opportunities.
In Week 8, Tennessee will go on a bye.
20. Atlanta Falcons
Week 7: 31-23 win vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 8: at Arizona Cardinals
The Atlanta Falcons entered Week 7 with four losses that all came by seven points or less. Fresh off of a bye week, the Falcons overcame past woes by defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-23.
It's about time.
Matt Ryan was 20-of-26 for 273 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in Atlanta's first game without Julio Jones. Harry Douglas caught seven passes for 149 yards and a touchdown, and Jacquizz Rodgers had eight catches for 46 yards and two scores.
Just like that, Atlanta looks like a postseason team.
The defense took costly gambles, but all in all, it was a strong performance by the Falcons. Four players came up with sacks, and Doug Martin was held to 47 yards on 11 carries before going down with an injury.
A Week 8 meeting with the Arizona Cardinals provides the Falcons with the opportunity to move within one game of .500.
19. Miami Dolphins
Week 7: 23-21 loss vs. Buffalo Bills
Week 8: at New England Patriots
Since opening the season at 3-0, the Miami Dolphins have experienced nothing short of a pure collapse. The Dolphins have lost three consecutive games, including two that have been decided by three points or less.
Unfortunately, the quality of a loss doesn't change the result.
Ryan Tannehill continues to be erratic, going 19-of-37 for 194 yards, three touchdowns, two interceptions and a fumble during Week 7. Tannehill now has seven interceptions and seven fumbles through six games played.
Until he can take care of the ball, these close losses will pile up.
Chris Clemons registered an interception, and four separate players came up with sacks against Buffalo. Mike Wallace finally stepped up with five receptions for 76 yards, but when it was all said and done, Miami was unable to make the key fourth-quarter plays.
Miami has upside, but the value of its upside is running thin.
18. Baltimore Ravens
Week 7: 19-16 loss at Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 8: Bye
The Baltimore Ravens have been extremely underwhelming during the 2013 NFL regular season. Despite my best attempts to use its status as the reigning Super Bowl champion in its defense, Baltimore is not a postseason-caliber football team.
Not when its franchise player is reminding the NFL community that he's a mediocre regular-season quarterback.
Joe Flacco was 24-of-34 for 216 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 7. It was yet another lackluster performance by Flacco, who hasn't reached a completion percentage of 60.0 since 2010.
If nothing else, Baltimore has proven that its offense won't win it many games.
Terrell Suggs continues to lead a strong pass rush, and rookie Matt Elam recovered a fumble for the defense. Without a reliable offensive attack, however, the Ravens will continue to be exposed as a one-dimensional team.
For all of the talk about the departure of players such as Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, the biggest void has been left by Anquan Boldin.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 7: 19-16 win vs. Baltimore Ravens
Week 8: at Oakland Raiders
The Pittsburgh Steelers have responded to an 0-4 start by winning two consecutive games to reach 2-4. With wins over the New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens, two postseason-caliber squads, the Steelers have returned to postseason contention.
In Week 7, Pittsburgh defeated the Ravens 19-16 to reach 2-4.
Ben Roethlisberger was 17-of-23 for 160 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions against Baltimore's physical defense. Le'Veon Bell ran the ball 19 times for 93 yards, Heath Miller caught a touchdown pass, and Antonio Brown tallied six receptions for 50 yards.
Shaun Suisham booted four field goals, including the game-winning kick as time expired in the fourth quarter.
Lawrence Timmons registered 17 tackles for the Steelers, and LaMarr Woodley picked up his fifth sack of the season. Pittsburgh failed to force a turnover, but with Bell providing support as a rusher, the Steelers controlled time of possession and picked up a huge win.
Pittsburgh is now 2-4 with a Week 8 meeting against the Oakland Raiders looming.
16. Buffalo Bills
Week 7: 23-21 win at Miami Dolphins
Week 8: at New Orleans Saints
The Buffalo Bills picked up a landscape-altering victory during Week 7, defeating the Miami Dolphins 23-21. The win helped push the Bills back into postseason contention in a crowded AFC, and it came against a division rival.
So far, Thad Lewis isn't looking like such a bad replacement quarterback.
Lewis, 25, has 418 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception on a completion percentage of 62.5 through two weeks in EJ Manuel's place. Against Miami, the Bills offense was led by a balanced running game that reached 90 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries.
In the end, it was all about defense.
Rookie defensive back Nickell Robey returned an interception for a 19-yard touchdown less than two minutes into the game. Kyle Williams recovered a fumble, and Aaron Williams added an interception on a day in which Mario Williams added two more sacks to reach 10.0 for the season.
There's still work to do, but Buffalo has been very strong in 2013.
15. Chicago Bears
Week 7: 45-41 loss at Washington Redskins
Week 8: Bye
Stop me if you've heard this before, but the Chicago Bears have flashed signs of being a Super Bowl contender. If you're still with me, then tell me if you've heard this: Chicago has lost its starting quarterback and a defensive star to injuries.
This time around, it's Jay Cutler and Lance Briggs who have gone down.
Bears' next four weeks, without Cutler and Briggs: Bye, at Packers, vs. Lions, vs. Ravens.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) October 21, 2013
Chicago's bye week couldn't have come at a more ideal time.
During Week 7, the Bears fell 45-41 to the Washington Redskins as both Briggs and Cutler went down with injuries. Matt Forte ran for 91 yards and three touchdowns, Alshon Jeffery caught four passes for 105 yards, and Josh McCown went 14-of-20 for 204 yards and a score.
Brandon Marshall added six receptions for 75 yards, but it just wasn't enough.
Defensively, Charles Tillman tallied an interception, and Tim Jennings was disruptive. Unfortunately, the loss of Briggs signaled the end of the Bears' quality defensive play.
At least Devin Hester is back to returning punts for touchdowns.
14. Carolina Panthers
Week 7: 30-15 win vs. St. Louis Rams
Week 8: at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Since drafting Cam Newton, the Carolina Panthers have been terrible during the first 12 games of the regular season. During the final five weeks, however, the Panthers have been one of the most dominant units.
In 2013, it seems as if the Panthers have finally discovered how to win early in the season.
After starting the season at 1-3, Carolina has since won two straight with victories over the Minnesota Vikings and St. Louis Rams. In Week 7, Newton was methodical, going 15-of-17 for 204 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions.
Mike Tolbert ran for yet another touchdown, Steve Smith dismantled Janoris Jenkins on the field, and the Panthers moved to 3-3 with a 30-15 win over St. Louis.
Captain Munnerlyn registered a pick-six and also recovered a fumble to lead the Panthers defense. Colin Cole, Greg Hardy, Charles Johnson and Mike Mitchell all came up with sacks, and the Panthers continued to dominate on defense.
Carolina is a legitimate postseason team.
13. New York jets
Week 7: 30-27 win vs. New England Patriots
Week 8: at Cincinnati Bengals
The New York Jets have been one of the most pleasant surprises of the 2013 regular season. Behind a high level of play by rookie quarterback Geno Smith and a continuously improving run game, New York pulled out its biggest win of the season at 30-27 over the New England Patriots.
New York now enters a Week 8 meeting with the Cincinnati Bengals at 4-3.
Smith was 17-of-33 for 233 yards, one touchdown, one interception, 33 rushing yards and a running score against the Patriots. Chris Ivory carried the ball 34 times for 104 yards, and the Jets tallied 177 yards and a score on 52 team carries.
Jeremy Kerley added eight receptions for 97 yards and one touchdown, all leading to a monumental victory.
Defensively, the Jets smothered Tom Brady and came up with four team sacks. Quinton Coples, Damon Harrison, Calvin Pace and Muhammad Wilkerson all came up with those plays, as New York continued to receive strong production from its young and rising defensive line.
The Jets are now just one game back in the AFC East.
12. San Diego Chargers
Week 7: 24-6 win at Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 8: Bye
The San Diego Chargers were labeled by many as a team that was set for an untimely collapse during Week 4. Instead, the Chargers turned it around and most recently went on the road and manhandled the Jacksonville Jaguars en route to a 24-6 win.
San Diego enters its bye week with a record of 4-3.
Philip Rivers continued his MVP-if-Peyton-Manning-wasn't-playing caliber season, going 22-of-26 for 285 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Ryan Mathews added 110 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown while Danny Woodhead had 76 yards of total offense and a score.
Eddie Royal found the end zone for the sixth time this season, and the Chargers' nameless offense continued to shine.
Defensively, Marcus Gilchrist tallied his first interception of the season, and five separate players had sacks. Thomas Keiser led the charge with two, and San Diego held the Jaguars to 78 rushing yards.
It hasn't been perfect, but at 4-3, the Chargers are in good position to contend for the playoffs.
11. Detroit Lions
Week 7: 27-24 loss vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Week 8: vs. Dallas Cowboys
The Detroit Lions may have lost, but it was yet another impressive performance by this rising team. Key coaching mistakes and a 1-of-3 red-zone conversion rate led to a heartbreaking loss, but Detroit clearly has the personnel to succeed.
Fortunately for Detroit, the NFC has been so poor that 4-3 has it comfortably in the postseason hunt.
Matthew Stafford was 28-of-51 for 357 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions against one of the league's best defenses. Calvin Johnson caught nine passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns, and Reggie Bush added 94 yards of total offense, but red-zone inefficiency was Detroit's ultimate undoing.
Defensively, the Lions weren't as good as the numbers may seem.
Detroit absolutely dominated the Bengals' rushing attack, but it also failed to force a single turnover. With just one team sack and three quarterback hits, the Lions allowed Andy Dalton to torch them throughout the day.
Now, the Lions will face the inspired 4-3 Dallas Cowboys in a huge Week 8 game.
10. Dallas Cowboys
Week 7: 17-3 win at Philadelphia Eagles
Week 8: at Detroit Lions
The Dallas Cowboys entered a Week 7 road game against the Philadelphia Eagles without the likes of DeMarco Murray and DeMarcus Ware. The Cowboys emerged from Week 7 with a 17-3 win against an offense that combined for 67 points in its previous two games.
Say what you will about the Cowboys' reputation, but this year's team is a force to be reckoned with.
Tony Romo was 28-of-47 for 317 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, finding Dez Bryant eight times for 110 yards. Terrance Williams added six catches for 71 yards and a score, and Phillip Tanner ran it in for a one-yard touchdown.
It wasn't pretty, but Dallas played with toughness and displayed something we'd never seen from this era of Cowboys teams: mental toughness.
Defensively, the Cowboys came up with three interceptions and held the NFL's No. 1 rushing attack to 84 yards on 23 carries. George Selvie had 1.5 sacks in Ware's absence, Jason Hatcher added one from up the gut, and Jarius Wynn came up with 0.5 as the nameless continue to become stars in Dallas.
The Cowboys will stay on the road with a Week 8 road game against the Detroit Lions.
9. New England Patriots
Week 7: 30-27 OT loss at New York Jets
Week 8: vs. Miami Dolphins
During Week 6, the New England Patriots received a major break when the New Orleans Saints squandered away a fourth-quarter lead. During Week 7, the Patriots were the victims of a penalty call that had never been enforced, thus losing on an overtime field goal.
Well, at least Rob Gronkowski is back.
Gronk torched the Jets for 114 yards on eight receptions in his first game of the 2013 regular season. Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden both ran for touchdowns, but it was another poor performance by Tom Brady.
The future Hall of Famer was 22-of-46 for 228 yards, no touchdowns and one interception.
Cornerback Logan Ryan did all he could to help, coming up with an interception that he returned for a 79-yard touchdown. Both Chandler Jones and Chris Jones, who was the player called for the controversial penalty, added two sacks apiece.
Allowing 177 rushing yards is disappointing, but when the opposition runs it 52 times, it's hard to do any better than 3.4 yards per carry.
8. Green Bay Packers
Week 7: 31-13 win vs. Cleveland Browns
Week 8: at Minnesota Vikings
The Green Bay Packers opened the season at 1-2 after suffering one-possession road losses to the Cincinnati Bengals and San Francisco 49ers. Since then, the Packers have won three consecutive games over the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions, respectively.
Injury-depleted or not, the Packers are a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
Against Cleveland, Aaron Rodgers was 25-of-36 for 260 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Jarrett Boykin broke out with eight catches for 103 yards and a score, and Eddie Lacy picked up 108 yards of total offense and a rushing touchdown.
With or without his star receivers, Rodgers is still dominant.
Davon House came up with a key interception for Green Bay, and three separate players had sacks. The Packers' run defense held Cleveland to 3.6 yards per carry, further establishing their borderline elite play in that area.
The Packers are now No. 1 in the NFC North.
7. Cincinnati Bengals
Week 7: 27-24 win at Detroit Lions
Week 8: vs. New York Jets
The 2013 Cincinnati Bengals are unlike any team Marvin Lewis has coached, and the evidence for that is simple: The Bengals are actually defeating quality opponents. They haven't been statistically spectacular, but the one thing the Bengals have proven is that they can grind out victories.
During Week 7, Cincinnati won a 27-24 road game against the Detroit Lions.
Andy Dalton continues to silence the critics, going 24-of-34 for 372 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. A.J. Green, Marvin Jones and Tyler Eifert all caught scores, and the Bengals overcame a terrible performance on the ground to win a nail-biter.
Mike Nugent continues to be Captain Clutch, draining a game-winning field goal as time expired.
Defensively, Vontaze Burfict continues to emerge as a leader, tallying 13 tackles to bring his total to 74 through seven games. The Bengals didn't force a turnover, but Cincinnati played a very strong game en route to a road win over a postseason-caliber team.
Unfortunately, Coley Harvey of ESPN reports that star cornerback Leon Hall has suffered a torn left Achilles tendon and will miss the remainder of the season.
6. San Francisco 49ers
Week 7: 31-17 win at Tennessee Titans
Week 8: at Jacksonville Jaguars
The San Francisco 49ers have responded to a 1-2 start by winning four consecutive games in convincing fashion. During Week 7, the Niners went on the road and dismantled the Tennessee Titans en route to a 31-17 victory.
Up next, the 49ers will travel to play the Jaguars.
Colin Kaepernick was 13-of-21 for 199 yards, no touchdowns, no interceptions, 68 yards rushing and a score on the ground. It was the fifth time in seven games that Kaepernick failed to top 200 yards passing, but it was one of his most efficient performances of the season.
Frank Gore added two rushing touchdowns to continue his torrid start to the 2013 season.
Defensively, Tramaine Brock came up with an interception, and the run defense held the Titans to 70 yards on the ground. Justin Smith tallied two sacks, Ahmad Brooks added one, and the Niners got back to what works.
Just like that, San Fran is elite again.
5. New Orleans Saints
Week 7: Bye
Week 8: vs. Buffalo Bills
The New Orleans Saints were on bye during Week 7. During Week 8, the Saints will take their 6-1 record to the Superdome as they host the Buffalo Bills.
New Orleans is currently No. 2 in passing offense and No. 9 in pass defense.
4. Seattle Seahawks
Week 7: 34-22 win at Arizona Cardinals
Week 8: at St. Louis Rams
The Seattle Seahawks moved to 6-1 during Week 7, securing a 34-22 road victory over the rival Arizona Cardinals. The Seahawks defense was ferocious, the passing game came to life, and the rushing attack continued to dominate.
With the New Orleans Saints on a bye, the Seahawks moved one step closer to home-field advantage in the NFC.
Russell Wilson was 18-of-29 for 235 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, overcoming his three fumbles by making marvelous throws. Marshawn Lynch ran the ball 21 times for 91 yards and a score, and the Seahawks offense came through in a major way.
The defense wasn't too bad, either.
Brandon Browner and Earl Thomas both had interceptions, and the Seahawks tallied seven sacks as a team. Eight separate players came up with those sacks, and 10 combined for 13 quarterback hits.
When Seattle is placing that much pressure on the quarterback, it's close to unbeatable.
3. Denver Broncos
Week 7: 39-33 loss at Indianapolis Colts
Week 8: vs. Washington Redskins
During Week 7, the Denver Broncos were made to look human by losing 39-33 to the Indianapolis Colts. It was the second time in as many weeks that the Broncos started slow, putting up low scoring totals during the first half.
Just don't fool yourself—in terms of raw ability, Denver is still the best team in the NFL. It just needs to win to earn the No. 1 spot.
Facing one of the most brutal pass rushes in the league, Peyton Manning was 29-of-49 for 386 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Knowshon Moreno added his NFL-best eighth rushing touchdown, and the usual cast of Broncos receivers shined.
The only question I have is, why was Ronnie Hillman running the football from inside the Colts' 10-yard line when Moreno leads the league in running scores?
It was an ugly performance on defense, but as Champ Bailey and Von Miller get in game shape, Denver will be a drastically improved football team. That's a scary thought considering the Broncos are averaging 42.6 points per game—the second best is Chicago at 30.4.
If the missing pieces are Bailey and Miller, it goes without saying that the team is headed for big things.
2. Indianapolis Colts
Week 7: 39-33 win vs. Denver Broncos
Week 8: Bye Week
After seven weeks, the Indianapolis Colts have defeated the Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks. The pass rush is playing at an elite level, the offense is flourishing, and the coaching staff is proven.
So why isn't Indianapolis No. 1? On top of owning two losses, the Colts lost more than they won during a 39-33 victory over Peyton Manning and the Broncos during Week 7.
Confirmed and crushing: tests showed Colts WR Reggie Wayne has a torn ACL. His season and streak of 189 straight games is over.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 21, 2013
Check out why Andrew Luck will miss Reggie Wayne the most when he's under pressure: pic.twitter.com/fZghqkkH2m— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 21, 2013
I'm a firm believer in evaluating what has happened instead of speculating about what could be. So far, what the Colts have done is beat the top three preseason Super Bowl favorites, and they've done so in relatively convincing fashion.
For that reason, we should view Indianapolis as a legitimate Super Bowl contender—barring more injuries.
Unfortunately, injuries are piling up with Wayne, Ahmad Bradshaw, Dwayne Allen and Vick Ballard all injured and out for the season, per RotoWorld.com. It's now on Trent Richardson to remember how to run the football and the combination of T.Y. Hilton and Darrius Heyward-Bey to be reliable receivers.
Indianapolis' bye week comes at a perfect time.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
Week 7: 17-16 win vs. Houston Texans
Week 8: vs. Cleveland Browns
Before people talk about the teams that the Kansas City Chiefs have won against, answer one question: How many other teams are undefeated? The answer to that question is "zero," and that's why the only sensible thing to do is place Kansas City at No. 1.
If any NFL team doesn't like it, that team can beat the Chiefs and change it.
Kansas City is playing even better on defense than its elite personnel suggests it should. Thus far, the Chiefs are No. 1 in scoring defense, sacks—Kansas City has 35.0 and the next-leading team has 25.0—and fumble recoveries, also placing No. 3 in interceptions and pass defense. The team is also No. 5 in total defense.
If you want balance, try the fact that 11 separate players have come up with a sack, and seven have interceptions.
Offensively, Kansas City is led by running back Jamaal Charles, who has 898 yards of total offense and eight touchdowns from scrimmage in 2013. Alex Smith hasn't been at his best, but he was 23-of-34 for 240 yards, an interception and a rushing touchdown against the Houston Texans in Week 7.
Kansas City is the last undefeated team standing, and it'd be an injustice to place it anywhere lower than No. 1 for that very reason.