J.J. McDermott, NFL Columnist at Fantasy Football Maniaxs
We are now officially past the halfway point of the 2008 football season. There have been plenty of surprises thus far in the National Football League. The Titans are still unbeaten at 8-0 while the Lions are still stuck at the dreaded 0-8. The battle for the AFC East and NFC North are just heating up as we now move onto our Week 10 Power Rankings.
32. Lions 0-8
And then there was one. The Lions are the very last NFL team to be without a single win in 2008. They have fought hard as a team, but the remaining schedule for the Lions is not too kind. Seven of the next eight games for the Lions are against teams with records above a .500 winning percentage.
31. Bengals 1-8
After being released by the Bears during the offseason, who would have thought that Cedric Benson would have another starting gig in the NFL? Raise of hands...that is what I thought.
Benson surprised fans and critics alike by rushing for 104 yards and a touchdown in the Bengals first win of the season against the Jaguars. Do not get too excited Bengals fans, after their bye week, the Bengals still must face the Eagles, Steelers, and Ravens over the span of three weeks.
30. Chiefs 1-7
Who said this young Chiefs team had to rollover and play dead this season? The Tyler Thigpen touchdown catch was one of the most exciting plays thus far this season. The Chiefs almost pulled off an upset over the Buccaneers, but a fourth-quarter meltdown added another "L" to the loss column. Now, can the Chiefs set their sights on putting together a possible upset against a dwindling Chargers team in Week 10?
29. Raiders 2-6
In Oakland, the Black Hole was silenced in the Raiders' embarrassing shutout loss against Matt Ryan’s Falcons. After another hideous loss, what must Al Davis be thinking? Oh wait, the Raiders released DeAngelo Hall on Wednesday and now set their sights on releasing another large cash gamble from this offseason, Javon Walker, before the season’s end.
28. 49ers 2-6
Let’s take a bet. How many of you think interim coach Mike Singletary will either: A. Drop his pants during another halftime speech to his team. B. Send more players to the showers after throwing a fit on field and continue making personnel changes. C. Will not be the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers in 2009. D. All the above.
27. Seahawks 2-6
The Seahawks are not flying high in 2008. In Mike Holmgren’s last season with the Seahawks, they have had the worst case of the injury bug a team could ever ask for. After juggling receivers to begin the season, the Seahawks are missing key pieces, including Matt Hasselbeck, Lofa Tatupu, and Patrick Kerney.
Can the Seahawks struggle to put up a fight against an up-and-down Dolphins team this week?
26. Rams 2-6
Jim Haslett should remain coach of the Rams in 2009. Haslett has lit a fire under his troops, and they have fought hard for him since taking over the team. Speaking of fighting hard, the Rams will have to against an up and coming 5-3 Jets team in Week 10.
25. Texans 3-5
Matt Schaub, the savior in Houston, right? When we all thought the Texans would finally turn their season around, Schaub suffered his second injury in two years after tearing his MCL in Week Nine’s game against the Vikings. There is good news for Texans fans: Even without Schaub in the lineup; the Texans are blessed with high quality backup quarterback in Sage Rosenfelds for the next four weeks.
24. Browns 3-5
Derek Anderson sought revenge against his old team in Week Nine but came up short. Anderson’s poor play in last week’s loss has the Browns turning to former Golden Domer, Brady Quinn come Week 10. Can Quinn work his magic against the Broncos, Bills, and Texans over the next few weeks?
23. Jaguars 3-5
Weeks Eight and Nine for the Jaguars were supposed to be the time for the team to turn their poor season around. Unfortunately for the Jaguars, that plan backfired horribly. After two straight losses verse two teams below .500, the Jaguars now head to Detroit to face a winless Lions team in Week 10. Will the Jaguars blow it and give the Lions their first win of the season?
22. Chargers 3-5
After becoming one of the season’s biggest disappoints, the Chargers fired defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell and have placed Ron Rivera in charge of their defensive unit. Can the Chargers take their first step towards .500 against an unpredictable 1-7 Chiefs team in Week 10?
21. Broncos 4-4
What happened to Mike Shanahan’s infamous running game out in Denver? Only one Broncos running back has eclipsed 100 yards this season, Michael Pittman. Unfortunately for the struggling Broncos, Pittman and Andre Hall have both been placed on the injured reserve, ending their seasons. The Broncos are left with last year’s pleasant surprise, Selvin Young, and the unproven rookie, Ryan Torain.
20. Dolphins 4-4
Who would have thought that after last season’s 1-15 record, the Dolphins would be at .500 by midseason 2008? The Dolphins will have the opportunity to stay above .500 with matchups against the Seahawks and Raiders over the next two weeks.
19. Saints 4-4
After Week Eight’s showdown against the Chargers in London, in which the Saints did what they had to do to win, they were blessed with a Week Nine bye week. Now at .500, can Drew Brees rally his team against the young and talented Falcons in Week 10?
18. Vikings 4-4
With the emergence of Gus Frerotte and the passing game, the Vikings seem to be treading water in the NFC North while being able to get back to .500 on the season. Gus Frerotte and the Vikings will have to be on top of their game with matchups against the Packers and Buccaneers over the course of the next two weeks.
17. Colts 4-4
It may not have been the Tom Brady and Peyton Manning showdown fans have loved, but the Colts pulled out a well-needed win in Week Nine. With Bob Sanders and Joseph Addai back in the lineup, the Colts look to make up on lost time against the Steelers, Texans, and Chargers over the next three games.
16. Packers 4-4
There is no shame in the Packers losing to the undefeated Titans in overtime in Week Nine. Aaron Rodgers received what most would agree as a well-deserved contract extension on Friday. The fight for the NFC North begins in Week 10, as the 4-4 Packers face off against the 4-4 Vikings for the second place spot in the division.
15. Cowboys 5-4
From Super Bowl hopefuls after starting the year 3–0 to being last in the NFC East, the Cowboys' worst enemy in 2008 is themselves. There is some hope in Dallas, after their bye week, Tony Romo may be back in action after injuring his pinkie versus the Cardinals in Week Six.
14. Ravens 5-3
Joe Flacco showed poise beyond his years in the Ravens' back-and-forth win against the Browns in Week Nine. Flacco better keep his poise, as he faces a 3-5 Texans team in Week 10 followed by the Giants and Eagles in the following weeks.
13. Bills 5-3
The Bills are going into their Week 10 showdown with AFC rival Patriots after two consecutive losses. If the Bills win or lose, their schedule still is not horrible as they face the Browns and Chiefs, two teams that are below .500 on the season over the next three weeks.
12. Jets 5-3
The Jets played a hard fought game against their division rival Bills in Week Nine, earning themselves their fifth victory of the season. Their win and the Patriots' loss to the Colts placed the Jets in a three-way tie for the AFC East by midseason. Even more good news for the Jets, they face a 2-6 Rams team in Week 10, in hopes of taking another step towards the top of the AFC North.
11. Patriots 5-3
The Patriots lost a tight game to the desperate Colts on a mission to win at any cost in Week Nine. The loss placed the Patriots in a battle for the AFC East, as they take on the Bills in Week 10 for a chance at the top spot in their division.
10. Eagles 5-3
The Eagles are on a roll, as the have won three consecutive games to put them at 5-3. With a healthy Brian Westbrook, the Eagles will have their toughest test yet, as they face divisional rival and reigning world champion Giants in Week 10.
9. Bears 5-3
The Bears win in Week Nine came with a large price. The Bears' starting quarterback, Kyle Orton was injured and will be out for a couple of weeks with a high-ankle sprain. Amidst boos from home fans, Rex Grossman subbed in for the injured Orton and carried his team to a 27-23 victory over the winless Lions. Grossman will get the starting nod, as he faces the still undefeated Titans in Week 10.
8. Falcons 5-3
After countless disappointments over the past two years, involving Michael Vick and Bobby Petrino, the Falcons finally have something to smile about. The Falcons currently stand at 5-3 in a competitive NFC South division. Speaking of NFC South, the Falcons will face division rival Saints in Week 10.
7. Cardinals 5-3
After Week Nine’s dominating win over the Rams, the Cardinals improved to a three-game lead in the NFC West. Coach Whisenhunt looked like a genius for benching veteran Edgerrin James for red hot rookie Tim Hightower. The Cardinals look to extend their lead to four games as they face division rival 49ers in Week 10.
6. Buccaneers 6-3
The Buccaneers came close to losing to the 1-7 Chiefs in Week Nine but fought back in overtime to win and earn them a well needed bye week this week. Good news for the Buccaneers, their passing game finally came alive as Jeff Garcia threw for 339 yards and a touchdown in the win. Can the Buccaneers continue their confidence against a Vikings team hungry for any win possible come Week 11?
5. Redskins 6-3
The Redskins go into their Week 10 bye following a 23-6 loss to the Steelers on Monday Night Football. Facing the Steelers defense is no easy task, as they forced Jason Campbell’s first two interceptions of the year and piled up seven sacks on the day. The Redskins look to get back on track and defend their 1-0 record against their division rival Cowboys in Week 11.
4. Steelers 6-2
The Steelers' defense came up huge in their Week Nine win over the Redskins; totaling up seven sacks and two interceptions at the end of the day. The good news, Willie Parker was back in Week Nine after being out for the past few weeks with a knee injury. But with any good win, it came with a price. Ben Roethlisberger left Monday night’s game and may not start in Week 10's showdown with the Colts.
3. Panthers 6-2
After their well deserved bye week, the Panthers set their sights on a weak Raiders team in Week 10. Even more good news for Panthers fans: The Panthers face the winless Lions in Week 11 and could very possibly be 8-2 by Week 12.
2. Giants 7-1
Last season, the Giants were 1-2 against their division rival Cowboys with their first win against the Boys’ in the playoffs on the way to winning their Super Bowl. Now in 2008, the Tony Romo-less Cowboys took a beating from one of the league's best defenses.
The Giants better bring that confidence with them through the end of the season as their remaining games of the season are all against teams above .500 mark.
1. Titans 8-0
Now 8-0 at the halfway point of the season, the Titans are still the only undefeated team in the National Football League. Jeff Fisher’s brilliance has served the Titans well thus far. Their running game is tops in the NFL, and their defense has dominated while keeping them in games all season long. Can the 2008 Titans make it to 16-0?
This is the way the rankings look for right now; tune in next week once again to see how your team fares!