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NFL Power Rankings Week 8: Who's the NFL's Best Team?

Carl D. CarlucciCorrespondent IJune 24, 2016

NFL Power Rankings Week 8: Who's the NFL's Best Team?

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    In the NFL, judgments can never be made too hastily.

    Each week brings new surprises, controversies and information to be considered when deciding who should rightfully sit atop the NFL power rankings.

    For example, what can one make of the Saints dreadful home loss against the 2-5 Cleveland Browns?

    Surely the Saints need to be dropped in the rankings, but the power ranker would be remiss if the Saints took an egregious tumble down the rankings; after all, the Browns have proved themselves to be, at the very least, a competitive football team with a win against the defending Super Bowl champs and a strong showing against the 5-2 Baltimore Ravens.

    Slotting in each team grows increasingly difficult each week as more and more data becomes available.

    It's a difficult job, but somebody has to do it. That's why you came here to Bleacher Report. So sit back, relax, and enjoy these Week 8 power rankings, replete with statistics, analysis and entertainment.

No. 32: Buffalo Bills (0-6)

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    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Last Week: 34-37 Loss at Baltimore

    This Week: at Kansas City

    Offensive Rankings: 20.2 points per game (19th); 293.5 yards per game (28th)

    Defensive Rankings: 33 points per game (32nd); 379.3 yards per game (28th)

    Net Points: -77

    Opponents' Record: 25-14 (.641)

    Turnover Ratio: -4

    On top of being one of the most talentless teams in the NFL, the Buffalo Bills have also played one of the toughest schedules in the league.

    That didn't stop them from almost pulling out a monumental upset in Baltimore against the 5-2 Ravens. In fact, some might argue that the Ravens were robbed on a controversial forced fumble in overtime.

    Despite totaling over 500 yards of offense against a staunch Ravens defense, the Bills still lost on Sunday and remain win-less, as their defense surrendered over 30 points in a game for the fifth time this season.

    The play of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick provides Buffalo fans with a glimmer of hope that they won't go win-less this season. Fitzpatrick, who took over for Trent Edwards in Week 3, has thrown 11 touchdowns to just four interceptions in four starts, giving him the second highest quarterback rating (102.0) in the league behind only Peyton Manning.

    However, Buffalo fans may have to wait an extra week to get that first win, as next week the Bills travel to Kansas City to take on a strong Chiefs team. 

No. 31: Carolina Panthers (1-5)

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    Last Week: 23-20 Win vs. San Francisco

    This Week: at St. Louis

    Offensive Rankings: 12.5 ppg (32nd); 259.8 ypg (31st)

    Defensive Rankings: 21.7 ppg (19th); 311 ypg (8th)

    Net Points: -55

    Opponents' Record: 20-20 (.500)

    Turnover Ratio: -6

    The Panthers suffer from a stunning lack of offense, as DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart have been shutdown by defenses keying on the run. The problem is, Matt Moore and Jimmy Clausen both have quarterback ratings in the 50's and have combined to throw just five touchdowns to 10 interceptions with a completion percentage that's a hair over 50 percent.

    On Sunday, the Panthers notched a tally in the win column for the first time all season, winning at home against a 1-6 49ers team.

    Matt Moore reclaimed the starting job because of Jimmy Clausen's ineptitude and responded with a solid performance. Moore completed 28 of 41 passes for 308 yards and two touchdowns, both to rookie wideout David Gettis.

    How much of that success was courtesy of the 49ers continuing struggles is arguable.The Panthers have a tough but winnable game against the St. Louis Rams in Week 8 that should tell us just how much credit Matt Moore deserves for this victory.

No. 30: San Francisco 49ers (1-6)

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    Last Week: 20-23 Loss at Carolina

    This Week: vs. Denver

    Offensive Rankings: 16.1 ppg (31st); 312.6 ypg (21st)

    Defensive Rankings: 23.1 ppg (24th); 321.9 ypg (13th)

    Net Points: -49

    Opponents' Record: 25-21 (.543)

    Turnover Ratio: -6

    That forlorn look on Mike Singletary's face is the look of a man who knows he probably will not keep his job much longer.

    Owner Jed York's proclamation two weeks ago regarding the then 0-5 49ers still winning their division sets Singletary up as the fall guy when they inevitably fail to win the weak NFC West.

    For all the "We Want Carr" chants coming out of San Francisco, the denizens of that fair city might want to point the fingers at their running game. After drafting two offensive lineman in the first round, the 49ers were supposed to pound the ball with Frank Gore and let Alex Smith manage the game. However, San Francisco has been held to 92.3 yards per game on the ground, ranking them 28th in the league.

    Frank Gore has shown some life the past two weeks against the weak run defenses of Oakland and Carolina. Hopefully he can keep that momentum going this week when the 49ers travel to London to take on the Denver Broncos, who allowed the Raiders to run for 328 yards against them on Sunday.

No. 29: Dallas Cowboys (1-5)

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    Last Week: 35-41 Loss vs. New York Giants

    This Week: vs. Jacksonville

    Offensive Rankings: 22.8 ppg (t-14th); 375.7 ypg (5th)

    Defensive Rankings: 25.3 ppg (27th; 317.3 ypg (10th)

    Net Points: -15

    Opponents' Record: 24-17 (.585)

    Turnover Ratio: -2

    This is what it looks like to have a season that began with such promise end in tatters before the halfway point.

    The Cowboys have to be the most disappointing team this season. And while they are probably more talented than many teams that will be ranked in front of them, the Cowboys fall to this spot because of the aspirations they had at the start of the year.

    Thoughts of a home Super Bowl game danced in Jerry Jones' head, but now he is subject to nothing but nightmares brought on by the thought of Jon Kitna now leading his collection of underachievers.

    The schedule has been tough for the Cowboys, but that's still no excuse.

    Next week they'll try and get something going at home against a Jaguars team that they are clearly more talented than. However, that fact hasn't stopped these Cowboys from losing to inferior opponents yet.  

No. 28: Detroit Lions (1-5)

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    Last Week: Bye

    This Week: vs. Washington

    Offensive Rankings: 24.3 ppg (10th); 337.7 ypg (16th)

    Defensive Rankings: 23.3 ppg (25th); 363.8 ypg (26th)

    Net Points: +6

    Opponents' Record: 22-19 (.537)

    Turnover Ratio:+1

    This Lions team has been playing extremely tough this season, but it doesn't change the fact that their sole victory in a weak NFC is a blowout at home against the young St. Louis Rams.

    But the Lions bye week came at the right time, as starting quarterback Matt Stafford will return this week from an injury suffered in Week 1, just in time to reclaim his starting job from an injured Shaun Hill.

    The Lions will have to get their 31st ranked rushing game going to take some pressure off of Stafford when they take on the Washington Redskins at Ford Field.

No. 27: Denver Broncos (2-5)

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    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    Last Week: 14-59 Loss vs. Oakland

    This Week: at San Francisco

    Offensive Rankings: 19.7 ppg (21st); 358.6 ypg (10th)

    Defensive Rankings: 28.4 ppg (30th); 361.9 ypg (25th)

    Net Points: -61

    Opponents' Record: 29-16 (.644)

    Turnover Ratio: -2

    How does any team allow this to happen?

    Better yet, how does a team that took the 5-1 New York Jets down to the wire and defeated a 5-2 Tennessee Titans team on the road lose 59-14 at home?

    NFL results, on a week-to-week basis, are crazy.

    Josh McDaniels better get his team to play better, especially on defense. The Broncos were gashed for 328 yards on the ground, including this 57-yard Darren McFadden touchdown run. That had to be one of the most pathetic defensive performances in a long time.

    The defense better fix things quick because Frank Gore is meeting them in London, and he has run for 251 yards the last two weeks. 

No. 26: Jacksonville Jaguars (3-4)

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    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Last Week: 20-42 Loss at Kansas City

    This Week: at Dallas

    Offensive Rankings: 18.6 ppg (22nd); 301 ypg (25th)

    Defensive Rankings: 29.9 ppg (31st); 382.1 (30th)

    Net Points: -79

    Opponents' Record: 21-25 (.457)

    Turnover Ratio: -10

    The fact that the Jaguars have won three games is a testament to their easy schedule. Everything about this team says they should be worse than their record indicates. Save for a miracle victory against the Colts, the Jaguars crumble whenever they play remotely competitive opponents.

    In their four losses, the Jaguars have lost by 25, 25, 27 and 22 points.

    They don't play particularly good defense against the pass or the run, and they couldn't throw the ball even with a healthy David Garrard (173.3 yards per game through the air).

    The only thing the Jaguars have going for them is Maurice Jones-Drew, aka Pocket Hercules.

    A road trip to Dallas should result in another blowout if you're just comparing the team's rosters, but then again, this is the Cowboys we're talking about.

No. 25: Cleveland Browns (2-5)

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    Last Week: 30-17 Win at New Orleans

    This Week: Bye

    Offensive Rankings: 16.9 ppg (28th); 292 ypg (29th)

    Defensive Rankings: 20.3 ppg (15th); 355.4 ypg (23rd)

    Net Points: -24

    Opponents' Record: 29-16 (.644)

    Turnover Ratio: 0

    Drew Brees named his recently born son Bowen. Clearly inspired to pay tribute to Browns journeyman linebacker David Bowens, who returned two interceptions for touchdowns.

    Another play of note was Reggie Hodges 68-yard run on a fake punt.

    The Browns, much like the Lions, have played tough this season, and enter their bye week having earned a well-deserved rest.

    Chances are the Browns, with their futile offense, won't garner many more wins this season. But they should give several contenders a good fight.

No. 24: Arizona Cardinals (3-3)

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    Last Week: 10-22 Loss at Seattle

    This Week: vs. Tampa Bay

    Offensive Rankings: 16.3 ppg (29th); 237.8 ypg (32nd)

    Defensive Rankings: 26.7 ppg (28th); 368.7 ypg (27th)

    Net Points: -62

    Opponents' Record: 21-20 (.512)

    Turnover Ratio: -7

    Kurt Warner! Wherefore art thou Kurt Warner? Oh, there you are.

    Even if you are not a fan of Dancing with the Stars, it would be hard to argue that watching Kurt Warner do the jive isn't more entertaining than watching a Cardinals football game.

    The Cardinals have not shown the ability to do anything well this year. They can't run or pass, and they can't stop their opponents offense in any way.

    They scored 30 points in a win against the Saints while totaling just 194 yards on offense, defeated the Sam Bradford-lead Rams in his first game ever, and managed to pull out a win at home against the Raiders.

    Much like the Jaguars, when the Cardinals lose, they lose big (34, 31 and 12 point deficits in their losses).

No. 23: St. Louis Rams (3-4)

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    Last Week: 17-18 Loss at Tampa Bay

    This Week: vs. Carolina

    Offensive Rankings: 17.1 ppg (27th); 310.7 ypg (22nd)

    Defensive Rankings: 18.7 ppg (8th); 330 ypg (15th)

    Net Points: -11

    Opponents' Record: 21-24 (.467)

    Turnover Ratio: -1

    Yet another team in the mold of the Lions and Browns. The talent isn't quite in place yet, but they are well-coached and play tough.

    This week's loss will be tough to swallow, as the Rams led for most of the game until Josh Freeman found Cadillac Williams in the end zone with just 10 seconds left to give the Buccaneers the one point victory.

    The Rams, and their stingy defense will hope to make the upset in Tampa Bay a distant memory next week at home against the Panthers and their weak offense.

No. 22: Cincinnati Bengals (2-4)

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    Last Week: 32-39 Loss at Atlanta

    This Week: vs. Miami

    Offensive Rankings: 22 ppg (15th); 371 ypg (7th)

    Defensive Rankings: 23.5 ppg (26th); 340 ypg (20th)

    Net Points: -9

    Opponents' Record: 22-17 (.564)

    Turnover Ratio: +3

    Last season the Bengals had the sixth ranked scoring defense and surrendered the fourth fewest yards in the league.

    This season the Bengals are getting torn apart on defense.

    On Sunday, the Bengals secondary, which is supposed to be their strength, got shredded by Matt Ryan and Roddy White.

    Then Bengals have had a particularly tough schedule, but they need to get things going this weekend at home against Miami if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive. A victory against a Dolphins team that they are competing for a playoff seed with would be a great start.

No. 21: Minnesota Vikings (2-4)

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    Last Week: 24-28 Loss at Green Bay

    This Week: at New England

    Offensive Rankings: 18.5 ppg (25th); 318.5 (20th)

    Defensive Rankings: 19.3 (11th); 308.3 (6th)

    Net Points: -5

    Opponents' Record: 18-19 (.486)

    Turnover Ratio: -6

    In the interest of not being contradictory, this slide will be all about the Vikings as a team.

    They are not as bad as their record would indicate, and despite all the publicity surrounding the quarterback, it is that position that is the weakest link on this team.

    So if Brett Favre doesn't play, the team might not be dead in the water with Tarvaris Jackson under center.

    The Vikings have a good rushing attack (136.2 yards per game) and a stingy defense. If they can avoid turnovers from the quarterback position, regardless of who is playing, they would probably score more points.

    Given the non-issue that the quarterback's injury is, the biggest concern for the Vikings is the lack of a pass rush. After leading the NFL with 48 sacks in 2009, the Vikings have averaged just one sack a game in 2010. The fountain has run dry, especially for All-Pro defensive end Jared Allen (one sack). They need to get to the opposing quarterback.

    Also, you might really want to open that second link posted here.

No. 20: San Diego Chargers (2-5)

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    Last Week: 20-23 Loss vs. New England

    This Week: vs. Tennessee

    Offensive Rankings: 25.3 ppg (7th); 422.7 ypg (1st)

    Defensive Rankings: 21.3 (16th); 244.3 (1st)

    Net Points: +28

    Opponents' Record: 25-19 (.568)

    Turnover Ratio: -7

    Despite more bone-headed mistakes, the Chargers were in position to tie the game against the Patriots late in the fourth quarter.

    Then Kris Brown missed this 50-yard field goal.

    The Chargers gain more yards than every other team, and hold their opponents to the fewest yards of any team. But they are 2-5 because of poor special teams play and a negative seven turnover ratio that is mostly the product of seven fumbles, including this embarrassing one from rookie wideout Richard Goodman on his first catch ever.

    The Chargers are not out of the AFC West race yet, and they get Vincent Jackson back this week for a crucial showdown at home against the 5-2 Tennessee Titans.

No. 19: Oakland Raiders (3-4)

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    Last Week: 59-14 Win at Denver

    This Week: vs. Seattle

    Offensive Rankings: 25.6 ppg (5th); 340.4 ypg (14th)

    Defensive Rankings: 23.6 ppg (26th); 331.1 ypg (16th)

    Net Points: +14

    Opponents' Record: 20-26 (.435)

    Turnover Ratio: +1

    That's what you call a big road win.

    The Raiders, and Darren McFadden, are both making good on the potential they've shown to run the ball successfully.

    However, the Raiders have still not shown any consistency, something that any competitive team must have.

    It seems like the talent is in place for the Raiders to start consistently giving teams a tough fight, but they still do things like lose to the Cardinals.

    The schedule does not get any easier from here on out. But with two games remaining against Kansas City, the Raiders can still make some noise in the AFC West.

No. 18: Miami Dolphins (3-3)

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    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Last Week: 22-23 Loss vs. Pittsburgh

    This Week: at Cincinnati

    Offensive Rankings: 18.5 ppg (24th); 342 ypg (13th)

    Defensive Rankings: 22.5 (21st); 317.3 (11th)

    Net Points: -24

    Opponents' Record: 21-16 (.568)

    Turnover Ratio: -2

    Chances are Gene Steratore will not be welcome in Miami anytime soon.

    The Dolphins have won two difficult road games against Minnesota and Green Bay. However, they have also lost all three of their home games, something playoff teams do not do.

    While the Dolphins are not a bad team, it is definitely arguable that they're a player or two away on each side of the ball from being true contenders.

    The Dolphins continue a brutal stretch of their schedule with another tough road game in Cincinnati that they will have to win to make up for the inexcusable home losses.

No. 17: Chicago Bears (4-3)

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    Last Week: 14-17 Loss vs. Washington

    This Week: Bye

    Offensive Rankings: 18 ppg (26th); 290.4 ypg (30th)

    Defensive Rankings: 16.3 ppg (2nd); 305.3 (5th)

    Net Points: +12

    Opponents' Record: 20-25 (.444)

    Turnover Ratio: -1

    The backs of the Chicago Bears' defenders must be starting to hurt.

    The Bears offense is atrocious, and things probably won't get much better as the season goes on. The offensive line has allowed Jay Cutler to be sacked 31 times, which is over four times a game. They also can't open up running lanes for Matt Forte and Chester Taylor (88.6 yards rushing per game).

    Three of the Bears four wins have come against one win teams (Lions, Cowboys and Panthers). Their only win of merit came at home against Green Bay.

    If Chicago's defense can keep up their strong play, it is entirely possible that they remain in the NFC North race. But given the horrible protection he is receiving, and his propensity to throw interceptions, it is also highly likely that Cutler will either throw too many games away or suffer a career ending injury before the end of the season. 

No. 16: Washington Redskins (4-3)

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Last Week: 17-14 Win at Chicago

    This Week: at Detroit

    Offensive Rankings: 18.6 ppg (23rd); 332.7 ypg (18th)

    Defensive Rankings: 19 ppg (10th); 406 ypg (31st)

    Net Points: -3

    Opponents' Record: 24-22 (.522)

    Turnover Ratio: +8

    The Redskins have played a lot of close games, as six of their seven games have been decided by less than a touchdown.

    They've beaten some decent teams and lost close games to some good teams.

    But DeAngelo Hall's assault on Jay Cutler notwithstanding, the Redskins pass defense is bad (31st in the league in pass yards allowed per game). Washington is the definition of a bend-but-don't-break defense, surrendering 406 yards a game while ranking 10th in scoring defense.

    Their offense also leaves something to be desired.

    With two games against the high octane Giants offense left on the schedule, that weak pass defense becomes a liability that must be fixed. 

No. 15: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-2)

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    Last Week: 18-17 Win vs. St. Louis

    This Week: at Arizona

    Offensive Rankings: 16.3 ppg (30th); 307.5 (23rd)

    Defensive Rankings: 21.3 (18th); 353.8 ypg (22nd)

    Net Points: -30

    Opponents' Record: 17-22 (.436)

    Turnover Ratio: +6

    Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris has a lot of confidence in his team.

    Unfortunately, he is wrong, Tampa Bay is not the best team in the NFC. In two home games against teams over .500 (the Steelers and Saints), the Buccaneers have lost by a combined 69-19.

    That is not indicative of Coach Morris having the best team in the NFC.

    Overall, the team's schedule is pretty easy. So in a down year for the NFC they might be able to compete for a Wild Card.

    But this team, like the Rams and Lions, is still a bit away from being serious contenders.

    One positive to be taken from this season is the continued development of second-year quarterback Josh Freeman, who doesn't get the hype of fellow 2009 first round quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Matthew Stafford.

No. 14: Seattle Seahawks (4-2)

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    Last Week: 22-10 Win vs. Arizona

    This Week: at Oakland

    Offensive Rankings: 20 ppg (20th); 294 ypg (27th)

    Defensive Rankings: 17.8 (5th); 338.8 ypg (19th)

    Net Points: +13

    Opponents' Record: 15-25 (.375)

    Turnover Ratio: +3

    Watch out! Marshawn Lynch has brought "Beast Mode" to Seattle, and with it has come some semblance of a running game. In the past two games, the Seahawks have run for 255 yards. That's including a 111 yard effort against the Bears fifth ranked rush defense.

    On defense, the Seahawks have shown the propensity to shutdown their opponents ground game, limiting them to 77.5 yards per game (2nd in the NFL).

    In a division where Matt Hasselbeck, Max Hall/Derek Anderson, rookie Sam Bradford and Alex Smith are the starting quarterbacks, the ability to do those two things might be enough to make the Seahawks the class of the NFC West.

    Then again, their opponents have not exactly been challenging.

No. 13: New Orleans Saints (4-3)

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    Last Week: 17-30 Loss vs. Cleveland

    This Week: vs. Pittsburgh

    Offensive Rankings: 21 ppg (18th); 371.9 ypg (7th)

    Defensive Rankings: 19.7 (13th); 288.4 (3rd)

    Net Points: +9

    Opponents' Record: 18-26 (.409)

    Turnover Ratio: -5

    Reggie Bush seems to be having a hard time while he nurses his injury.

    Meanwhile, his team is mimicking their star running back's frustration on the field and clearly missing the production from him and Pierre Thomas.

    Drew Brees seems to be forcing the ball to his receivers; his 10 interceptions are a testament to that.

    Furthermore, New Orleans' opportunistic defense, which intercepted 26 passes last season and returned five for touchdowns, has only picked off four passes with zero pick-sixes.

    The most frightening part for Saints fans is the shoddy play of their team against sub-par opponents. How the Saints play against the Steelers on Sunday Night Football will say a lot about this team and where they're at.

No. 12: Houston Texans (4-2)

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    Last Week: Bye

    This Week: at Indianapolis

    Offensive Rankings: 25.5 ppg (6th); 379.7 ypg (4th)

    Defensive Rankings: 27.8 ppg (29th); 410.5 ypg (32nd)

    Net Points: -14

    Opponents' Record: 21-18 (.538)

    Turnover Ratio: -1

    The loss of DeMeco Ryans is going to hurt a Texans defense that was already allowing the most yards per game in the entire NFL.

    Brian Cushing will move to inside linebacker to serve as Ryans' replacement. But no matter what head coach Gary Kubiak does, Houston's linebacker corps will be dangerously thin without Ryans.

    Coming off their bye, the Texans must be ready for their trip to Indianapolis. When they met Peyton Manning and the Colts in Week 1, the Texans surrendered 419 yards passing.

    With Manning in the comfortable confines of Lucas Oil Stadium, look for him to have a similar outing next Monday.

No. 11: Philadelphia Eagles (4-3)

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    Last Week: 19-37 Loss at Tennessee

    This Week: Bye

    Offensive Rankings: 24.6 ppg (10th); 372.6 ypg (6th)

    Defensive Rankings: 22.4 ppg (20th); 316 ypg (9th)

    Net Points: +15

    Opponents' Record: 23-24 (.489)

    Turnover Ratio: +7

    As the Eagles head into their bye week, the focus is on the brewing quarterback controversy.

    This Eagles team has shown the ability to win with either Kevin Kolb or Michael Vick. Both players have led the team to big wins.

    But Kolb struggled in Week 7 on the road against a very strong Titans team. Perhaps opening up the door for Vick to retake the starting job once he is completely healthy in Week 9 after the bye isn't such a bad idea.

    If Kolb had put together another game like he did in Week 6 against the Falcons, then we might have a much bigger controversy on our hands.

    As it is, the Eagles remain one of the better teams in the NFC no matter who is under center.

No. 10: Green Bay Packers (4-3)

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    Last Week: 28-24 Win vs. Minnesota

    This Week: at New York Jets

    Offensive Rankings: 23.9 ppg (13th); 350 ypg (11th)

    Defensive Rankings: 19.4 ppg (12th); 338.4 ypg (18th)

    Net Points: +31

    Opponents' Record: 18-27 (.400)

    Turnover Ratio: -1

    The injury plagued Packers have tied the Chicago Bears atop the NFC North with their 28-24 victory over the Vikings at Lambeau Field on Sunday Night Football.

    That being said, the Packers have not exactly played the toughest competition. The second half of their schedule features some pretty tough match-ups, starting in Week 8 with a game in New York against the 5-1 Jets.

    The Packers, who let the Vikings run all over them on Sunday night (196 yards rushing), will need to do a better job defending the run against a Jets team that averages 159.2 yards per game on the ground (2nd in the NFL).

No. 9: Kansas City Chiefs (4-2)

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    Last Week: 42-20 Win vs. Jacksonville

    This Week: vs. Buffalo

    Offensive Rankings: 25 ppg (8th); 345 ypg (12th)

    Defensive Rankings: 18.7 (7th); 333.5 (17th)

    Net Points: +38

    Opponents' Record: 16-24 (.400)

    Turnover Ratio: +4

    The Chiefs are a good team. They run the ball well (first in NFL in rushing yards per game), they stop the opposing team's ground game (89.7 yards per game), win the turnover battle and protect their quarterback (just 13 sacks in 2010).

    However, they also have a ridiculously easy schedule. In their first six games, Kansas City has not defeated a team with a record over .500.

    The combined record of their remaining opponents is 27-40.

    The Chiefs may just nab a playoff spot by playing smart, fundamental football, and cruising on an easy schedule.

No. 8: Indianapolis Colts (4-2)

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    Last Week: Bye

    This Week: vs. Houston

    Offensive Rankings: 27.2 ppg (3rd); 409 ypg (2nd)

    Defensive Rankings: 20.8 ppg (15th); 344 ypg (21st)

    Net Points: +38

    Opponents' Record: 22-18 (.550)

    Turnover Ratio: +1

    Obviously, Peyton took the bye week to make a new commercial for ESPN.

    No worries though, Colts fans, he will be ready to shred Houston's flimsy pass defense to pieces in Indianapolis on Monday Night Football.

    You just have to hope that the Colts defense holds up against the Texans own potent offense.

    As long as the Colts possess a record above .500 and Peyton Manning, they will most likely find their way into the top 10 of all power rankings.

No. 7: Atlanta Falcons (5-2)

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Last Week: 39-32 Win vs. Cincinnati

    This Week: Bye

    Offensive Rankings: 24.1 ppg (12th); 370.9 ypg (9th)

    Defensive Rankings: 19 ppg (9th); 356.1 ypg (24th)

    Net Points: +36

    Opponents' Record: 21-25 (.457)

    Turnover Ratio: +5

    The Falcons have lost to good teams and are beating teams they are supposed to beat. They have a well-rounded offense and an average defense.

    What is concerning about the Falcons is their propensity to let other team's passing games burn them. While their offense is good, it is not high-powered enough to win shootouts on a regular basis.

    Nonetheless, this bye week is well-deserved. They enter the bye tied for the best record in the NFC with the Giants.

No. 6: New York Giants (5-2)

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    Last Week: 41-35 Win at Dallas

    This Week: Bye

    Offensive Rankings: 25 ppg (9th); 388.7 ypg (3rd)

    Defensive Rankings: 21.9 (19th); 263.2 ypg (2nd)

    Net Points: +22

    Opponents' Record: 20-24 (.455)

    Turnover Ratio: -5

    Everybody assumed that Tom Coughlin was on the hot seat following the back-to-back Giants losses to the Colts and Titans by a combined 43 points.

    Four straight wins later and the Giants are right up there with the Atlanta Falcons in the discussion for best team in the NFC.

    The only flaw in the Giants is Eli Manning's tendency to throw interceptions. However, about half of his 11 interceptions have resulted from his receivers tipping the ball into the hands of the opposing defense.

    The Giants are a fearsome defense. They regularly injure quarterbacks, taking out Matt Moore in Week 1, Jay Cutler in Week 4, Shaun Hill in Week 6, and now Tony Romo in Week 7.

    On offense, the Giants have a trio of receivers (Hakeem Nicks, Steve Smith and Mario Manningham) with a combined 109 receptions, 1325 yards and 13 touchdowns. They couple that with a combination of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs on the ground; the two have run for 990 yards and 8 touchdowns with a 5.2 yard per carry average.

    The Giants are a lethal team, to say the least.

No. 5: Baltimore Ravens (5-2)

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    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Last Week: 37-34 Win vs. Buffalo

    This Week: Bye

    Offensive Rankings: 21.3 ppg (17th); 340.3 ypg (15th)

    Defensive Rankings: 18.4 ppg (6th); 312.7 ppg (8th)

    Net Points: +20

    Opponents' Record: 21-23 (.477)

    Turnover Ratio: -2

    Ed Reed could not have returned at a more opportune time. Reed forced three turnovers against the Bills, including two interceptions, to help the Ravens hold on for a wild victory against Buffalo.

    However, the Ravens are dropped to the bottom rung of the AFC's elite five because their performance against Buffalo is unacceptable from a team that stakes a claim as the best team in the NFL.

    The Bills totaled 506 yards of offense against this vaunted Ravens defense, and forced overtime. Even when the Patriots only won 38-30 against these same Bills, they allowed fewer than 400 yards of offense and handled their business in regulation.

    On top of that, both Ray Rice and Joe Flacco have been inconsistent to this point.

No. 4: New England Patriots (5-1)

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Last Week: 23-20 Win at San Diego

    This Week: vs. Minnesota

    Offensive Rankings: 29.5 ppg (1st); 325 ypg (19th)

    Defensive Rankings: 22.7 ppg (22nd); 379.7 ypg (29th)

    Net Points: +41

    Opponents' Record: 17-21 (.447)

    Turnover Ratio: +6

    New England really didn't have to do much to win their game against the Chargers on Sunday. For the first three quarters the Chargers routinely handed New England points. Then all the Patriots had to do was hold on to the 20-3 lead they took into the fourth quarter.

    Earlier Kris Brown's 50-yard missed field goal and Richard Goodman's fumble were linked on the Chargers' slide. Another bone-headed gaffe by the Chargers was Jacob Hester's fumble on a lateral pass from Philip Rivers.

    In spite of all the miscues, the Chargers nearly completed the comeback without their three best receivers.

    New England's defense still isn't convincing enough for them to be considered the best team in the NFL. And on offense, Tom Brady has completed 46 of 76 passes (60.5 percent) for 451 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions and a meager 5.9 yards per attempt since the trade of Randy Moss. Meanwhile, Wes Welker has just 11 receptions for 78 yards (7.1 yards per catch) since the trade.

    And then there's the issue of Belichick's insistence on going for it on fourth down.

No. 3: Tennessee Titans (5-2)

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Last Week: 37-19 Win vs. Philadelphia

    This Week: at San Diego

    Offensive Rankings: 28.4 ppg (2nd); 302.1 ypg (24th)

    Defensive Rankings: 16.7 ppg (3rd); 328.1 ypg (14th)

    Net Points: +82

    Opponents' Record: 23-24 (.489)

    Turnover Ratio: +5

    Kenny Britt should get into bar fights more often.

    Tennessee has a very active defense, as they lead the league in sacks (25) and interceptions (12).

    The concern with Tennessee is on the offensive side of the ball where they only rank 24th in total offense, which does not bode well for their ability to sustain their 28.4 point per game scoring average.

    The offensive concern, which is keeping the Titans from being the best team in football, is that Kenny Britt is their only major weapon in the passing game, and Jeff Fisher is quickly wearing Chris Johnson down from overuse. He is on pace for 373 carries this season, a number that is alarming given his 5'11" 190 lb frame.

    Add to this the fact is that the Titans are a finished product, that they will not improve as the two teams in front of them will, and they just miss out claiming the title of best team in the NFL.

No. 2: New York Jets (5-1)

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    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    Last Week: Bye

    This Week: vs. Green Bay

    Offensive Rankings: 26.5 ppg (4th); 334.2 ypg (17th)

    Defensive Rankings: 16.8 ppg (4th); 319 ypg (12th)

    Net Points: +58

    Opponents' Record: 17-21 (.447)

    Turnover Ratio: +10

    The New York Jets used their bye to rest up leading up to their Week 8 matchup against the Green Bay Packers.

    Most important of all is the time Darrelle Revis has had to rehab his hamstring, which he now vows is 100 percent. If that's the case, and Revis can even begin to approach playing in a similar fashion to last season, the Jets defense becomes a whole lot scarier.

    So why aren't the Jets the top team in the NFL? Because Mark Sanchez, for how great he has been, is still a sophomore quarterback. What other team in the NFL is in the position of the Jets with a second year quarterback at the helm?

    The Buccaneers have a similar record, but they are not the contenders that the Jets are. Sanchez can still be a liability, he's yet to even throw for 300 yards in a single game! To be the top team your quarterback has to be a bit more reliable than that.

No. 1: Pittsburgh Steelers (5-1)

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    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Last Week: 23-22 Win at Miami

    This Week: at New Orleans

    Offensive Rankings: 22.8 ppg (15th); 300.7 (26th)

    Defensive Rankings: 13.7 ppg (1st); 299.3 ypg (4th)

    Net Points: +55

    Opponents' Record: 24-16 (.600)

    Turnover Ratio: +8

    Yes, the Steelers got lucky in Miami with the replay, but Gene Steratore's explanation at least makes a little bit of sense, and the Dolphins had plenty of opportunities to win that game before Steratore robbed them.

    The most impressive aspect of this Steelers team is that that 5-1 record comes against opponents with a combined winning percentage of .600.

    Now Pittsburgh is only going to get better. Their offense will continue to improve as Roethlisberger gets back into a rhythm, and their defense is the best in the NFL.

    However, all is not well in Steeler-land. Defensive end Aaron Smith is out for the season after tearing his triceps against the Dolphins.

    What does this mean?

    It means while the Steelers can lay claim to title of best team in the NFL right now, the title is always fluid. Any team in the top half of the rankings can lay claim to it if they get hot and things fall the right way.

    At least until after the Super Bowl.

Thoughts, Complaints? An Entreaty

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Fist and foremost, I hope you enjoyed this slide show. If you just breezed through this to see the rankings that's cool, but I must implore you to go back, or comeback at another time when you've got some free time, and give this a good look over, there is a lot of stuff packed in here.

    And most importantly, please feel free to comment on any aspect of the article, even if it's just to complain and mock my rankings.

    Thanks for reading! How good do you think Roger's stiff-arm is?

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