Think Week 7 was unpredictable enough?
We all had the Browns dominating the Saints and the Bills taking the Ravens to overtime, right?
Oh, and Cowboys? Rest in peace.
In the Toilet
32. San Francisco 49ers (1-6, Last Week: 27)
Week 8: vs. DEN (London)
This team is truly awful in just about every way.
Mike Singletary makes the desperation move in tabbing Troy Smith to start this week in London in place of the injured Alex Smith and the benched David Carr.
31. Dallas Cowboys (1-5, Last Week: 25)
Week 8: at JAX
Dallas’ 2010 season essentially ended with the breaking of Tony Romo’s collarbone, but things were looking dire regardless.
Jon Kitna may prove to be a serviceable replacement, but they’ve dug themselves in too deep a hole already.
30. Buffalo Bills (0-6, Last Week: 32)
Week 8: at KC
Ryan Fitzpatrick has put up some big time numbers since replacing Trent Edwards in Week 3, but, unfortunately, it hasn’t yet resulted in any wins.
Could that change this week against a young Chiefs team?
29. Carolina Panthers (1-5, Last Week: 31)
Week 8: at STL
Not much has gone right for the Panthers in 2010, but it looks as though reinstalling Matt Moore as the starting quarterback was a good move.
Jimmy Clausen wasn’t getting it done, and with Steve Smith now healthy, can they gain a little momentum?
28. Detroit Lions (1-5, Last Week: 28)
Week 8: vs. WAS
Matthew Stafford returns this week for the Lions coming off of their bye.
They’re better than their 1-5 record would lead you to believe, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them finish with six-plus wins this season.
27. Cleveland Browns (2-5, Last Week: 29)
Week 8: BYE
Colt McCoy, while he didn’t put up big numbers in the win over the Saints, didn’t make any mistakes either, which was the key.
The Browns have done some good things so far this year, and Eric Mangini looks like he’s on his way to saving his job.
More Bad Than Good
26. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-4, Last Week: 26)
Week 8: vs. DAL
They do have three wins on the season, but their four losses have all come in blowout fashion.
When is Maurice Jones-Drew going to get it going on the ground?
25. Arizona Cardinals (3-3, Last Week: 20)
Week 8: vs. TB
The Cardinals’ QB situation is a mess, and is clearly something that should have been paid more attention during the offseason.
I know he’s just a rookie, but is Max Hall really the long-term answer?
24. Denver Broncos (2-5, Last Week: 21)
Week 8: at SF (London)
Since when did the Oakland Raiders become the ’07 Patriots?
23. Cincinnati Bengals (2-4, Last Week: 23)
Week 8: vs. MIA
Cincy battled back well against the Falcons, but weren’t able to hold on and close out the victory.
Which Carson Palmer will we see against the Dolphins?
Will You Ever Get It Together?
22. San Diego Chargers (2-5, Last Week: 24)
Week 8: vs. TEN
The Chargers were a long Kris Brown field goal away from taking the Patriots to overtime, but their hopes clanged off the right upright as time expired.
Is this finally the year in which they can’t rebound from their tough start?
21. Minnesota Vikings (2-4, Last Week: 14)
Week 8: at NE
How do you think Brett Favre is feeling about his comeback right about now?
He’s battling an ankle injury. He’s battling an elbow injury. He’s battling age. He hasn’t performed particularly well. Oh, and the NFL investigated him last week.
Middle of the Road
20. Oakland Raiders (3-4, Last Week: 30)
Week 8: vs. SEA
Did anybody see that one coming?
I still can’t even begin to conceive how this team racked up 59 points in Denver.
19. St. Louis Rams (3-4, Last Week: 17)
Week 8: vs. CAR
The Rams blew a golden opportunity to get above .500 last week, when they blew a 17-3 lead against the Bucs, only to wind up losing late in the fourth quarter.
To be a good team, those are games you absolutely have to close out.
18. Miami Dolphins (3-3, Last Week: 13)
Week 8: at CIN
The Dolphins were absolutely robbed at home against the Steelers Sunday, as the referees made what is still a truly mind-boggling call on a Ben Roethlisberger fumble in the end zone late in the game.
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-2, Last Week: 19)
Week 8: at ARZ
I know a win is a win, but the Bucs’ four wins this season have come against the Browns, Bengals, Panthers, and Rams.
Expectations are certainly tempered.
16. Chicago Bears (4-3, Last Week: 16)
Week 8: BYE
The Bears have seemed a bit like pretenders since the beginning, and Jay Cutler’s interception extravaganza against the Redskins did very little to quell that notion.
Really, Jay? You’d throw at DeAngelo Hall every time?
15. Washington Redskins (4-3, Last Week: 18)
Week 8: at DET
The Redskins were certainly the benefactors of Jay Cutler’s generosity Sunday, and it seems like they’re engaged in a hard-fought battle on a weekly basis these days.
I’d be surprised to see anything different when they take on an improved Lions team this week.
14. Seattle Seahawks (4-2, Last Week: 22)
Week 8: at OAK
The Seahawks are in control of the NFC West in the early going, and, despite some flaws, I’m not sure anybody in that division is good enough to stay with them.
However, they’re clearly much, much better than the team we saw in 2009.
The Browns? Really?
13. New Orleans Saints (4-3, Last Week: 6)
Week 8: vs. PIT
The Saints took all the momentum they gained by blowing out Tampa and essentially threw it in the garbage by losing in embarrassing fashion to the Cleveland Browns.
What’s up with you, Drew Brees?
Still Doomed By the Injury Bug
12. Green Bay Packers (4-3, Last Week: 12)
Week 8: at NYJ
It wasn’t pretty, but the Packers earned a win they absolutely had to have against Brett Favre and the Vikings Sunday night.
However, with no semblance of a legitimate running game, I still wonder how far they’ll be able to go.
Dangerous, but Flawed
11. Kansas City Chiefs (4-2, Last Week: 15)
Week 8: vs. BUF
With the lowly Bills coming into Arrowhead Sunday, the Chiefs have a great chance to get out to an incredibly improbable 5-2 start.
With the struggles of the Broncos, Chargers, and Raiders, that may be an insurmountable lead.
10. Houston Texans (4-2, Last Week: 11)
Week 8: at IND
If Houston manages to stroll into Indy on Monday night and take down the mighty Colts for the second time this season, they’ll have officially arrived.
Will the shaky secondary be able to hold their own against a depleted group of Colts pass-catchers?
9. Philadelphia Eagles (4-3, Last Week: 8)
Week 8: BYE
Michael Vick will be your starting quarterback coming off of the bye next week, and, if he’s still the same player we saw before the rib injury, the Eagles are certainly extremely dangerous.
8. Tennessee Titans (5-2, Last Week: 10)
Week 8: at SD
I’m pretty sure I could play quarterback for the Titans and they’d still be winning games.
While they made tons of noise through the air last week (Kenny Britt??), this team will win with its ground game and its playmaking defense.
7. Atlanta Falcons (5-2, Last Week: 9)
Week 8: BYE
If Michael Turner can be consistent, Atlanta has one of the more dynamic and underrated offenses in the league.
He scored two of his three touchdowns this season last Sunday in the win over the Bengals, and he definitely looked like the guy that led the NFL in rushing in 2008.
6. Baltimore Ravens (5-2, Last Week: 3)
Week 8: BYE
It wasn’t easy, but give the Ravens credit for fighting back and eventually taking down the Bills last week.
They likely should’ve never been in that situation to begin with, but it was just one of those days.
By the way, where’s Ray Rice?
5. Indianapolis Colts (4-2, Last Week: 5)
Week 8: vs. HOU
It will only cost them one game in the standings, but the Colts cannot afford to let the Texans beat them at home Monday night.
Something tells me Peyton Manning will be up to the task.
4. New York Giants (5-2, Last Week: 7)
Week 8: BYE
The Giants have roared back after a relatively slow start, and, lately, look like the clear-cut best team in the NFC.
Hakeem Nicks is quickly becoming one of the league’s best receivers.
3. New England Patriots (5-1, Last Week: 4)
Week 8: vs. MIN
The Pats just keep on winning regardless of who they bring in.
Who could’ve predicted that Danny Woodhead and Deion Branch would be playing meaningful roles this season for any team?
2. New York Jets (5-1, Last Week: 2)
Week 8: vs. GB
New York is clearly one of the most well-balanced teams in football, and we can assume the offense will only become more dangerous as Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes grow accustomed to one another.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2, Last Week: 1)
Week 8: at NO
As mentioned previously, the Steelers were gift-wrapped a victory down in Miami.
Sunday’s Halloween night showdown in New Orleans could prove to be a real statement game.
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