NFL Power Rankings Week 8: Ranking the 16 NFC Teams

Jeff ShullAnalyst IOctober 26, 2010

NFL Power Rankings Week 8: Ranking the 16 NFC Teams

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The NFC is such a hard conference to figure out so far. You do the list and then you realize this team beat that team, but this other team beat that team who beat this, that and the other team.

    Confusing, no?

    From top to bottom, it is a crapshoot and no team as emerged as the perennial favorite to finish No. 1—nor is there a clear favorite in any one division, save for maybe Seattle in the NFC West.

    Tampa Bay seems to have shut me up for now with a comeback win over the Rams, and the Giants made their case for No. 1 with a win at Dallas on Monday Night Football.

    Anyways, enjoy the third addition of the NFC Power Rankings, as clustered as they may be.

    Each team that won contains videos with highlights from their win, and teams that lost have pump-up videos to get you amped about winning next week!

1. New York Giants (5-2)

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    With a win at Dallas, the Giants are tied with the Falcons as having the best record in the NFC. They are undefeated in the conference, with their only losses coming to the Colts and Titans.

    Eli and company still had some turnover problems against Dallas, but looked solid offensively and the defense kept the Cowboys out of the end zone enough to keep them in the game, despite three very early turnovers.

    The Giants defense seems to have a knack for injuring QBs, as they broke Tony Romo's collarbone and he became the fifth QB to be injured by Big Blue.

2. Atlanta Falcons (5-2)

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    After a poor showing in Philadelphia, the Falcons got back on track with a win over Cincinnati 39-32.

    Roddy White and Michael Turner went crazy as the Falcons showcased a top offense and look like a very dangerous team moving forward.

    White had over 200 yards and two touchdowns and leads the NFL in receiving yards. Matt Ryan is quietly having a solid season with 1,714 yards, 12 touchdowns and five interceptions.

3. Washinton Redskins (4-3)

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    Right away things get dicey with seven teams in the NFC having four wins.

    The Redskins have been playing incredibly solid defense and DeAngelo Hall had a career day with four interceptions on Jay Cutler in a 17-14 win over Chicago.

    As long as their defense keeps playing like they have, they will be in every game. I said that before and I'll keep saying it because good defense always keeps their team in the game.

    Donovan McNabb has struggled lately and has six touchdowns to seven interceptions so far. The lack of a consistent running game has had some effects on the former All-Pro.

4. Philadelphia Eagles (4-3)

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    The Eagles got beat by the Tennessee Titans this weekend, but they shouldn't feel bad considering the Titans are just about unbeatable against NFC teams. They have already beaten three of the NFC East teams so far this season and are 13-0 in their last 13 against the NFC.

    One thing they should be worried about is the fact that Kenny Britt had 225 yards and three touchdowns on his own, exposing the Philadelphia secondary for the average players that they are.

    Kerry Collins is not a bad QB, but he isn't great either. The Eagles should have had much more success slowing him down considering they all but shut down Chris Johnson.

    Michael Vick has been named the starter for their game following the bye, so obviously the leash on Kevin Kolb was pretty short.

5. Green Bay Packers (4-3)

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    The Packers finally beat Brett Favre in another uniform and played very well offensively for the first time since losing TE Jermichael Finley.

    Their defense played very well, intercepting Favre three times and returning one for a touchdown. The defense definitely not only kept them in the game, but allowed them to take the lead in the second half.

    One thing that should be noted is Brandon Jackson finally played well in the running game. If they can get that going week in and week out, they will be an even more dangerous offense.

6. New Orleans Saints (4-3)

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    The Saints had one of their worst losses under their current regime.

    At home against the 1-5 Cleveland Browns, interceptions and special teams creativity were their demise in a 30-17 loss at the Super Dome.

    Not only did Drew Brees throw two pick sixes to the same player, but the Browns made two incredibly gutsy calls on special teams.

    On a punt return, Josh Cribbs hurled a lateral to Eric Wright across the field and Wright took it inside the 15-yard line.

    On another play, the Browns set up a fake punt and punter Reggie Hodges took the ball and ran 68 yards inside the 10-yard line. It was the longest run by a punter in 40 years, and the Saints didn't even come close to him for about 40 of the 68 yards.

    The Saints have struggled offensively so far this season, but Reggie Bush vowed he would practice this week and maybe his inclusion in the offense will spark something.

7. Seattle Seahawks (4-2)

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    The Seahawks have flown under the radar and quietly started hot out of the gates with a 4-2 record. They have impressive wins over the Chargers and Bears.

    Unfortunately for the Seahawks, those wins are looking less and less impressive. They travel to Oakland and then come back home for a game against the Giants. With those two tests, we will find out a lot about this team.

    They have one of the NFL's easiest schedules, and it is not out of the question that they could win 10-11 games.

8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    I was told in last week's rankings that "when the Bucs beat the Rams, you'd better have the Bucs at No. 8." I can eat crow for breakfast, lunch and dinner baby.

    I'll admit I was wrong about how bad the Bucs are in terms of the rest of the NFC, but I still don't think they are a playoff team. If they beat either of the two better teams in their division, then I'll shut up, but I don't see it happening.

9. St. Louis Rams

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    The Rams had a tough loss to the Bucs where they had a lead slip away late, but their defense has been playing very well lately and they have a chance to contend with the Seahawks for their division.

    With the way Sam Bradford has been playing thus far, when he gets all of his weapons back next season, the Rams are going to be a very dangerous team.

10. Chicago Bears (4-3)

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    The Bears look absolutely terrible on offense. After starting the season 3-0, they are 1-3 in their last four games with their only win coming against the previously winless Carolina Panthers.

    Jay Cutler tossed four interceptions to the same player against the Redskins, and Lovie Smith choked by not challenging a play that would have been a touchdown and given them a 21-10 lead.

    The Bears are a mess and I see through their 4-3 record.

11. Minnesota Vikings (2-4)

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    The Vikings lost a thriller to the Packers this weekend, but they may have lost Brett Favre for at least one game.

    Favre could barely walk after the game and on Monday it was revealed that he has two fractures on the same ankle he had surgery on before the season started in order for him to play.

    They are a few plays from being 6-0, according to Bill Belichick, but how long are we going to say that? At a certain point don't you just realize that they aren't going to make those plays?

12. Arizona Cardinals (3-3)

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    The Cardinals are starting a rookie at QB and apparently have chalked up this season as a rebuilding year. Despite that fact, they are 3-3 and have an impressive home win over the defending Super Bowl champions.

    They had a chance to prove they were for real this weekend in Seattle, but they turned the ball over way too many times and were dominated from start to finish.

13. Dallas Cowboys (1-5)

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    The Cowboys lost to the Giants last night despite holding a 20-7 second quarter lead, and that can be attributed to horrible defense as well as Tony Romo being knocked out with a broken collarbone.

    Jon Kitna will replace Romo for at least six to eight weeks, so they will have to rely on their defense to win games, which doesn't look good based on last night's performance.

    If they don't get the running game going, Jon Kitna is going to struggle.

14. Detroit Lions (1-5)

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    The Lions were on a bye week, which allowed them to get starting second-year QB Matthew Stafford back to 100 percent for their game this weekend.

    Shaun Hill played very well in Stafford's absence, but was injured in the game against the Giants two weeks ago.

    Stafford has the opportunity to continue to develop, but if they don't cut out the turnovers and penalties, they will continue to lose. They lead the league in penalties thus far.

15. Carolina Panthers (1-5)

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    The Panthers gave the ball back to Matt Moore and he and David Gettis hooked up for two TDs and finally got in the win column in the 2010 season.

    Moore played much better after being pulled due to playing terribly in the first two weeks of the season, and the defense came up with a big play at the end of the game.

    With Alex Smith out for the game, David Carr made a bad decision and was intercepted by Richard Marshal, which set up John Kasay's winning field goal with 39 seconds left.

    The Panthers can build off this win and could gain some momentum, but they better hope DeAngelo Williams' injury is not that serious.

16. San Francisco 49ers (1-6)

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    With a loss at Carolina on Sunday, the 49ers cemented their spot as the worst team in the NFC.

    Alex Smith was injured and 49er fans got what they asked for when they were chanting David Carr's name against Philadelphia two weeks ago.

    Carr threw a crucial interception, setting up Carolina's game-winning field goal.

    You never know what you had till it's gone.