It was not a good week to be a quarterback in the NFL.
The San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys both lost their signal callers in Week 7, not to mention Brett Favre of the Vikings suffered a fractured ankle and his status for this week is uncertain.
In other NFL news, the Panthers got their first win of the season, Aaron Rodgers got some revenge on his predecessor and the Raiders put up a month's worth of points in one game. As the NFL approaches its midway point, we’re starting to see some teams emerge as contenders while others fall back as pretenders.
Without further ado, here are the Week 8 power rankings.
Teams’ previous ranking in ( ).
1. Pittsburgh Steelers (1): Whether the Steelers were the beneficiaries of a questionable call at the end of the game or not, the fact is they won and continue to be legitimate Super Bowl contender.
2. New York Jets (2): Darrelle Revis says he is 100 percent healthy, and it couldn’t come at a better time as the Jets face the aerial attack of the Packers this week.
3. New York Giants (6): Despite just a six-point win against Dallas, the Giants dominated that football game and appear to be the new favorite in the NFC.
4. Indianapolis Colts (4): A re-match this week against the Houston Texans will be a shootout. Expect the Colts to avenge their Week 1 loss.
5. New England Patriots (5): Coming off a bye, the Pats face a desperate Vikings team that may be forced to start a back-up quarterback.
6. Baltimore Ravens (3): The defense was shredded by Ryan Fitzpatrick of the Bills, but the offense bailed them out. The return of Ed Reed paid immediate dividends and will continue to improve the defense.
7. Atlanta Falcons (8): The Falcons moved to 5-2 with a win against the Bengals, but the defense continues to struggle. They’ve got to get it going before the playoffs.
8. Tennessee Titans (13): The Titans took it to the Eagles, behind back-up quarterback Kerry Collins, no less. Kenny Britt had his best game as a pro, hauling in three touchdown receptions.
9. Washington Redskins (11): Another win against a quality opponent for the Redskins. DeAngelo Hall had the defensive performance of a lifetime, picking off four Jay Cutler passes and returning one for a score.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (7): An embarrassing loss to the Titans as they head into their bye. Coach Andy Reid said Michael Vick would resume his role as the starting quarterback when the Eagles face the Colts.
11. Kansas City Chiefs (14): After just six games, the Chiefs have matched their 2009 win total with four. They appear to be the favorites in the AFC West and head coach Todd Haley should be named Coach of the Year right now; why bother waiting?
12. Houston Texans (12): The Texans are coming off a bye and play a big game against the Colts. It’s not a must-win, but can you imagine the confidence Houston will have if they beat the Colts for a second time this season?
13. Green Bay Packers (16): It looked as if Green Bay was going to yet another game by three points, but their defense played just well enough on the final drive to get them a much needed win. They face their toughest test of the season this week as they go on the road against the Jets.
14. Chicago Bears (9): That’s the Jay Cutler we all know and love. Despite his four interceptions, Chicago still had a chance to win. They proven they are a playoff contender but could use more consistency in the running game.
15. New Orleans Saints (10): Has an NFL team ever lost two games in a season in which they gave up 30 or more points, but didn’t allow a single offensive touchdown? I’m betting no, and even if it has I’m betting the teams that pulled it off were solid teams. The teams that did it to the Saints? The Cardinals and Browns. This team is hurting and needs Reggie Bush back ASAP.
16. Miami Dolphins (15): The Dolphins are 0-3 at home, but undefeated on the road, go figure. They play on the road this week against an underachieving Bengals team, so if there was ever a safe bet (which there isn’t), this is it.
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (20): Ok, so perhaps Todd Haley doesn’t have Coach of the Year wrapped up quite yet. Raheem Morris of the Bucs has his team at 4-2. We’ll see if Tampa can start beating some good teams when they face the Falcons on November 7.
18. Seattle Seahawks (21): Pete Carroll is another head coach garnering some attention for Coach of the Year as he has the Seahawks in first place in the NFC West. With the weak schedule, don’t be surprised if Seattle gets double-digit wins and makes a playoff appearance.
19. Minnesota Vikings (18): Tough loss on the road against the Packers, but the only questions people want an answer to is if Brett Favre will keep his consecutive games streak alive this week as he is dealing with a fractured ankle.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (17): Jacksonville has been outscored 72-23 in their past two games, but face Dallas this week, who will be starting back-up quarterback Jon Kitna.
21. Oakland Raiders (27): Oakland scored eight touchdowns in three quarters against the Broncos last week. They had eight total touchdowns in their previous four games against Denver. Believe it or not, the playoffs are not out of the question for them.
22. Arizona Cardinals (19): Three is the magic number for the Cardinals, and no I don’t mean to clinch a playoff spot. They are 3-3 so far this season, thanks to three defensive TDs against the Saints and three missed field goals by the Raiders. If not for those anomalies, they would be at 1-5. Regardless, they are going nowhere fast, and one has to wonder how much longer Larry Fitzgerald can deal with it.
23. St. Louis Rams (23): A one-point loss to Tampa hurts, but at 3-4, they are still in the thick of things in the NFC West.
24. Cleveland Browns (30): The Browns have played well in nearly every game this year. They have very little to show for it in the win column, but it appears this team is at least on track to being relevant in the near future.
25. Cincinnati Bengals (22): A nice comeback effort came up just a little short against the Falcons. The Bengals are in must-win mode if they have any hopes of making the playoffs.
26. San Diego Chargers (24): We’ll never know for sure, but that five-yard false start penalty before their game-tying field goal try may just be the difference between being 2-5 and 3-4.
27. Denver Broncos (26): Josh McDaniel’s tenure started out so promising last year as Denver was 6-0. Unfortunately for him they are 4-13 since and he may be out of a job sooner than people think.
28. Dallas Cowboys (28): Another disappointing loss in which they had their chances. Losing Tony Romo for 6-8 weeks puts the nail in the coffin for this team.
29. Detroit Lions (29): Well on the bright side this team is only one game behind the Vikings in the loss column.
30. Carolina Panthers (31): The Panthers finally got their first win of the season, after re-inserting Matt Moore into the starting role. It was an exciting finish for Panthers fans, but unfortunately the excitement stops there.
31. San Francisco 49ers (25): A heart-breaking loss to Carolina probably ended San Fran’s playoff hopes, which at 1-5 were already pretty dark. At 1-6, their playoff hopes pretty much depend on them going 9-0 to end the season, and considering they are starting back-up Troy Smith this week, it doesn’t look promising.
32. Buffalo Bills (32): The Bills played excellent, on offense at least, and nearly grabbed their first win of the season. They face another tough test this week as they go on the road to face the Chiefs.