The real meat of the Week 8 NFL schedule starts soon, with 11 games on tap throughout the afternoon and into Sunday night.
Before things kick off around 1 p.m. ET, take a look at the latest power rankings and drop a line about where you think these teams will be ranked when the dust settles on Monday morning.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs were absolutely abysmal against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football and it should cost head coach Greg Schiano his job. Fans are adamant about it and that should be the least the front office could do at this juncture.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jags look utterly hopeless in 2013 and will continue their losing against the San Francisco 49ers. 2014 cannot come soon enough for any actual fans remaining of this downtrodden organization.
30. Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings are once again rolling with Christian Ponder after the Josh Freeman experiment failed miserably. Regardless of who is under center against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday or for the rest of this season, there is little hope of finding success. Hopefully Minnesota can unearth a legit signal-caller in the 2014 draft.
29. New York Giants
The Giants somehow aren’t out of the playoff picture in the NFC East, but a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday should put them down for good. This 1-6 team started too poorly to realistically turn it around.
28. Houston Texans
Houston has been hit with a rash of injuries, including a devastating season-ending torn LCL suffered by superstar linebacker Brian Cushing. If the Texans don’t use the Week 8 bye to heal and get their quarterback situation ironed out, they have no chance of remaining remotely competitive in 2013.
27. Cleveland Browns
The Browns have to find a suitable, long-term option under center. Jason Campbell will get the start in Week 8, but it’s hard to see him being anything more than a stopgap until the club either trades for or drafts a legit signal-caller.
26. Oakland Raiders
Oakland must prove that it utilized a Week 7 bye to get healthy and figure out the offensive line woes. This team has a decent defense and promising quarterback, it just needs to keep the “D” off the field and keep Terrelle Pryor protected.
25. Washington Redskins
The ‘Skins won a shootout against the Bears last week and better be fully reloaded and ready to go in time for another one against the high-powered Broncos. Unfortunately, Washington’s terribly poor defense—especially its secondary—will insure that the team is playing from behind and has no shot at winning.
24. Arizona Cardinals
The Cards are an intriguing team that can play mediocre opponents tough but get absolutely trampled whenever a legit contender stands in the way. That makes a Week 8 showdown with the Atlanta Falcons very intriguing.
23. Atlanta Falcons
The Dirty Birds aren’t completely out of the playoff picture in the NFC South yet but have to get past the Cards to keep their slim hopes alive. Don’t be surprised to see a back-and-forth battle with both sides fighting hard to generate a win out in the desert.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers rebounded from their rough start to win two straight games. Unfortunately they have a tough trip to the Black Hole coming up and it’s going to be very difficult for this team to return to Pittsburgh with yet another win under its belt.
21. Buffalo Bills
The Bills haven’t collapsed under Thad Lewis and that bodes extremely well for their chances, as starter EJ Manuel should be able to take the team to even greater heights. As long as the young pieces on offense continue to develop and the defense can get stops when it matters most, things could work out in Buffalo.
20. Philadelphia Eagles
Michael Vick should return as the starting quarterback in Philly and has a chance to reclaim that job on a more permanent basis with a good outing against the Giants. Head coach Chip Kelly’s squad direly needs a victory to stay alive in the hunt for the wide-open NFC East.
19. St. Louis Rams
The Rams are going to attempt to rally around Kellen Clemens, but it’s going to turn out very badly. Unless rookie rusher Zac Stacy proves capable of putting the entire offense and expectations of a fanbase on his shoulders, St. Louis is going to plummet starting with a Week 8 blowout loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
18. Miami Dolphins
The ‘Phins slipped to .500, dropping a game right after the bye to AFC East rival Buffalo. It wasn’t exactly how the team had planned it, but there is a chance for Miami to rebound in a must-win game against the division-leading New England Patriots on Sunday afternoon.
17. Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens cannot afford any more setbacks like the one suffered against Pittsburgh last week. This team has a bye week in Week 8 and must use it to come up with a game plan to get back into the playoffs.
16. Tennessee Titans
Jake Locker has a chance to reemerge as the promising signal-caller that was leading the Titans to greatness in 2013. The 25-year-old can use the Week 8 bye to get fully healthy and come back strong in Week 9 against the Rams.
15. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers are dominating opponents left and right and have won the past three games by an average margin of just over 19 points. With one of the league’s top defenses and an explosive offense led by Cam Newton, Carolina could be one of the top squads in the second half of the season.
14. San Diego Chargers
The Bolts are good enough to stay in the top half of the power rankings and will steal a win here and there—note the Indianapolis Colts game—but aren’t great enough to consistently win and become a contender in the stacked AFC West. San Diego will face the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs within a month after the Week 8 bye, so the team must prepare for the worst.
13. New York Jets
Gang Green may be getting a bit lucky, but Geno Smith has proven to be a legit game-winning quarterback that has led his team to four come-from-behind victories in eight starts. That is no fluke and he could easily help this squad capture the AFC East crown in 2013.
12. Chicago Bears
The Bears are a good team, but one that isn’t going to be able to overcome a rash of injury to key players. With a number of star defenders on the sideline and quarterback Jay Cutler out of the picture for a few weeks, Chicago is going to slip out of the competitive NFC North picture.
11. Detroit Lions
As long as Calvin Johnson is getting involved there should be no worries in the Motor City. Megatron is an absolute beast and will be able to help the Lions win a handful of games by himself.
10. Green Bay Packers
The Packers are another injury-riddled NFC North squad, but they still have many of their key players standing upright and ready to contribute—namely superstar signal-caller Aaron Rodgers. He is the key to success in Green Bay and should lead this team to yet another playoff appearance in 2013.
9. Dallas Cowboys
Tony Romo is having a solid year under center for America’s Team and could lead this group to the playoffs for the first time since 2009. Barring a late collapse, the ‘Boys are looking like favorites to win the NFC East and should be able to hold on against the subpar competition.
8. New England Patriots
The Pats may have lost in Week 7 and have the Jets and Dolphins breathing down their neck, but they will always find a way to win. Expect head coach Bill Belichick to throw the kitchen sink at Miami in Week 8 and come away with a blowout victory in a must-win divisional contest.
7. Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals' elite defense is riddled with injury, but their offense is clicking at the right time. As long as A.J. Green remains at the top of his game and Andy Dalton is getting him the ball consistently, this team is going to put points on the board on a regular basis.
6. New Orleans Saints
The Saints had time to assess their first and only loss of the season during a Week 7 bye, which makes it likely that they come back better than ever. This team is legit under head coach Sean Payton and should be right in the thick of things when it comes time to decide the NFC’s top seed.
5. San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers' utilization of the running game and tough defense proves that this team is built for the winter and ready to make another run to the Super Bowl. San Francisco is just going to continue bowling opponents over and bullying its way to victory until then.
4. Indianapolis Colts
The Colts finally proved that they are for real with a much-needed win over Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Andrew Luck has the arm, skill and mental toughness to hang with anyone in the league, while his team’s defense is much better than expected. That’s a winning recipe in the NFL.
3. Seattle Seahawks
A power-run game and one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the league in Russell Wilson aid the Seahawks' elite defense. Seattle just isn’t going to lose many games with this amazing roster and should be considered a Super Bowl favorite as of Week 8.
2. Denver Broncos
The Broncos suffered their first setback of the season last week but have a soft landing against the very beatable Redskins on Sunday. Expect the team to come out and prove a point by hanging a ton of points on Washington’s dismal secondary.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs deserve the top power-ranking spot, as they are the last team to remain undefeated in 2013. This group forces turnovers, protects the rock and bleeds the clock and that is the way to beat all comers in the modern NFL. Don’t be surprised if Kansas City remains unbeaten for quite a while, as long as it sticks to that game plan.
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