NFL Power Rankings: Updated Outlook for All 32 Teams Heading into Week 8
After a wild end to another chapter of the 2013 NFL regular season, the focus has once again shifted to the power rankings and where each team stands heading into Week 8.
Football fans were treated to blowouts, upsets and enough fun for an entire season last week, and this is how the NFL landscape looks now.
All stats and information via NFL.com.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs are the only unbeaten team left in the NFL (7-0), and a matchup against the Cleveland Browns should be enough to keep this week’s top team in the No. 1 slot. As long as the defense continues to play lights out (ranked third against the pass), this should be an easy win for the Chiefs.
2. Seattle Seahawks
Despite facing a tough loss earlier in the year to the Indianapolis Colts, the Seattle Seahawks have moved to 6-1 and are a serious threat to make a run at the Super Bowl. With wide receiver Percy Harvin returning to practice, per Terry Blount ESPN.com, the team will only continue to get better. That’s a scary thought.
3. Denver Broncos
Suffering a loss against the Colts this week was tough for quarterback Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos to handle, but the raw emotion from that matchup made it an anomaly. NFL fans should expect the Broncos to return to elite form against the Washington Redskins in Denver.
4. New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints are just as dangerous as they have ever been on offense, and the defensive unit led by coordinator Rob Ryan is drastically better than it was in 2012. Add in a bye week to recover from a heartbreaking loss to the New England Patriots, and the Buffalo Bills are in serious trouble this week traveling to New Orleans.
5. Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts have come up huge against the toughest competition they played this season, and a monumental win over Manning and the Broncos was the icing on the cake. While losing wide receiver Reggie Wayne for the season with a knee injury is a serious blow, the team is on bye this week and has the chance to adjust the game plans moving forward.
6. San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco faced a slow start to the season (lost two of the first three games), but the 49ers have won each of their last four. The team is playing the lackluster Jacksonville Jaguars this week, and that should result in a big win for San Fran.
7. Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals aren’t the best team on paper, but with a rushing attack starting to find a rhythm and one of the best defensive units in the league, there is no doubt that the franchise has the inside lane to winning the AFC North.
8. New England Patriots
Despite having one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history under center, the New England Patriots don’t have the same explosiveness they once did. The hope is that the return of tight end Rob Gronkowski will continue to open the offense up to bigger plays Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.
9. Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers are another team like the 49ers that started the season slow. Green Bay was fortunate enough to get an early bye and has won each of the last three games since. With a favorable matchup against the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday night, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will make that four victories in a row.
10. Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions are one of the toughest teams in the league to decipher (4-3 through the first seven weeks), and a marquee matchup with the Dallas Cowboys one week before the Lions’ bye will be a good test of the team’s maturity and chemistry.
11. San Diego Chargers
The San Diego Chargers are much better than most expected, and the franchise is lucky enough to have a bye at the perfect time. With a tough remaining schedule and several players dealing with nagging injuries, San Diego has the chance to get healthy and refocused for the second half of the season.
12. Dallas Cowboys
As bad as the NFC East teams have been this season, the Dallas Cowboys look to be the best amongst them. If Dallas can beat Detroit this week, the organization will prove it is the cream of the lackluster crop.
13. New York Jets
The New York Jets have one of the most talented defensive units in the league, and that alone will keep them in contention. If the Jets could get a consistent rushing attack going behind rookie quarterback Geno Smith, there is no doubt that New York could sneak into the postseason.
14. Carolina Panthers
After the strongest defensive performance of the year, the Carolina Panthers look to build on that success by beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday night. With a chance to get the offense going against an underperforming Bucs defense, Cam Newton and the Panthers offense should have an explosive day.
15. Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins started the season with three straight wins but have lost each of the last three and now face the Patriots Sunday. While Miami has a very talented team, it won’t be able to pull off a victory against the division rivals this time.
16. Chicago Bears
The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time for the Chicago Bears, as the team has lost three of its last four matchups. With quarterback Jay Cutler sidelined with a groin injury and a matchup with the Packers on the horizon, Chicago is in serious trouble.
17. Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens are playing like a shell of the team that won the Super Bowl last season, and the bye week is a blessing. This time off will give the coaching staff a chance to reassess the situation and develop a new game plan for the second half of the season. If Baltimore plays the way it did to start the year, though, the Ravens will miss the playoffs.
18. Tennessee Titans
Of all the teams on bye in Week 8, no franchise needed it more than the Tennessee Titans. With three straight losses and the team lacking any real direction, this is Tennessee's chance to right the ship before it’s too late.
19. Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals are one of the hardest teams to decipher this season. Arizona has a great defense, but a mediocre offensive unit has resulted in several marquee losses. With a big game against the Falcons, this is make or break for the Cardinals.
20. Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns have announced that they will be starting Jason Campbell Sunday over former starting quarterback Brandon Weeden, per Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com. Whether Campbell plays better or not, the fact that the QB situation has come to this is an ominous sign.
21. Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills have been hampered by injuries across the roster this season, but the New Orleans Saints will not be looking to take it easy after a tough loss and a bye week. Not only are the Buffalo Bills starting to struggle on both sides of the ball, but the team also lacks the depth to replace the injured stars.
22. Philadelphia Eagles
It is unclear exactly what kind of team new head coach Chip Kelly is going to run this season, but consistency must be a focus. While there have been times when the offense has pumped on all cylinders, scoring just three points against a mediocre Cowboys defense won’t cut it.
23. St. Louis Rams
As if a heartbreaking loss to Carolina and the news that quarterback Sam Bradford would be out for the season with a knee injury, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, weren't enough, the St. Louis Rams will take on the red-hot Seattle Seahawks. Things just went from bad to worse.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers look to be getting back to what made them viable contenders over the years—stellar defense and a reliable rushing attack—and that game plan should continue to come together against the lowly Oakland Raiders.
25. Washington Redskins
The bad news for the Washington Redskins is that the defense still can’t stop anyone. The good news is that Robert Griffin III is regaining his old form. It remains to be seen if his knee will hold up to the rigors and if the Redskins can contend in the NFC East.
26. Oakland Raiders
While there is no questioning how bright the future is for dual-threat quarterback Terrelle Pryor, the Oakland Raiders don’t have the players to make his job easier. With a better offensive line and more skilled weapons, Pryor could be great. Not right now, though.
27. Atlanta Falcons
Remember when the Atlanta Falcons were Super Bowl contenders? Not anymore.
28. Houston Texans
See Atlanta Falcons.
29. New York Giants
The New York Giants won their first game of the season in Week 7, but with serious flaws on defense, a lackluster running game and Eli Manning playing the most inconsistent football of his career, all that glitters is not gold.
30. Minnesota Vikings
With the news that Josh Freeman has a concussion, per the team’s official Twitter, all hope that the Minnesota Vikings would beat the Green Bay Packers has vanished into thin air. Adrian Peterson needs to get out while he can.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars still don’t have a victory this season, but the team is not dead last this week. For Jaguars fans, that’s a big achievement.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were already one of the worst teams in the league before Week 7, but the shoulder injury to Doug Martin, per Pat Yasinskas ESPN.com, has cemented the franchise’s spot at the bottom of this week’s power rankings.
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