After a second week in a row that featured a tie, it just goes to show how unpredictable the 2016 NFL season has been through eight weeks.
But let's not focus on teams that can't win games in overtime. Instead, let's praise the ones that actually did win on Sunday.
It was business as usual for the New England Patriots, who are the scariest team in the NFL at the halfway point of the season. Since Tom Brady's return from suspension, no team has been even close to competing with them, and no quarterback has been more impressive than Brady since Week 5. The NFL's official Twitter account had to tip its hat to the 39-year-old signal-caller:
Have a day, Tom Brady! #Patriots https://t.co/eRu3a5azqM2016-10-30 20:41:31
The Patriots, who sit pretty at 7-1 and No. 1 in my power rankings after Sunday's slate of games, are the team to beat. But there are some teams that are starting to look like legitimate contenders halfway through the season.
Let's take a look at the other 31 teams in the NFL and see where they ended up.
|NFL Power Rankings After Sunday of Week 8|
|1||New England Patriots||7-1|
|7||Kansas City Chiefs||5-2|
|9||Green Bay Packers||4-3|
|20||New York Giants||4-3|
|23||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||3-4|
|24||New Orleans Saints||3-4|
|25||Los Angeles Rams||3-4|
|27||New York Jets||3-5|
|28||San Diego Chargers||3-5|
|31||San Francisco 49ers||1-6|
|David McCracken's Rankings|
Team on the Rise
No. 5: Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders, despite a team record in penalties and two missed field goals from Sebastian Janikowski, miraculously beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road 30-24, improving to 5-0 on the road this season.
Not only is Oakland undefeated on the road, but they also own a 6-2 record, which marks the best start for the franchise since 2001.
OAKLAND RAIDERS @RAIDERS
“Enjoy the wins. 5-0 on the road, baby.” Check out @coachdelrio's postgame locker room victory speech: https://t.co/I14X5ALZwV2016-10-30 21:24:27
For quarterback Derek Carr, it was the best game of his young career. Not only did he lead his team to an overtime win, but he threw for a franchise-record 513 yards and four touchdowns.
Along with Brady, Carr is a midseason MVP candidate and deserves to be recognized for his accomplishments with a young Raiders team that is improving as the weeks go on. Bleacher Report's Chris Simms shared his thoughts on the MVP race:
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Team on the Fall
No. 28: San Diego Chargers
Let's make one thing clear: I do not think the Chargers are that bad of a football team. But they just don't know how to win this season.
It's not unreasonable to argue that this team could easily be .500 or have a winning record, competing in the AFC West. But sitting at 3-5 isn't doing San Diego any favors. With the injuries this team has overcome in 2016, it's a miracle the Chargers are even this good through eight games. NFL Network's Rich Eisen noted the depth of the AFC West:
Rich Eisen @richeisen
By the way, the AFC West has two 6-2 teams, a 5-2 team and a 3-5 team that could feasibly be 8-0. That is all.2016-10-30 23:41:00
Eisen is correct with his San Diego take. Maybe not undefeated, but the Chargers could certainly be in the playoff picture if things had turned their way earlier this year. Philip Rivers is still a great quarterback, Melvin Gordon is beginning to look like an every-down running back and if the Chargers still had Keenan Allen, Jason Verrett and Danny Woodhead, who knows how good this team could've been?
But as it stands after eight weeks, the Chargers are low on this week's power rankings until further notice.