NFL Power Rankings Week 8: Review and Reaction to 2017 League Standings

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistOctober 24, 2017

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23:  Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles walks off the field after the 34-24 win over the Washington Redskins on October 23, 2017  at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

NFL spectators saw Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz's growth on display against the Washington Redskins in a Monday Night Football matchup. How did the second-year quarterback's performance, which propelled his team to victory, affect the Week 8 power rankings?

The Atlanta Falcons suffered an ugly 23-7 loss to the New England Patriots in a Super Bowl LI rematch. How far did the defending NFC champions fall in the rankings?

If not the Falcons, which NFC South team deserves to hold the top spot in the division and a place within the top five in the standings?

Based on the past seven weeks, we'll make sense of the NFL hierarchy. Where does each team list among all 32 clubs?


Week 8 Power Rankings

1. Philadelphia Eagles (6-1)

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2. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2)

3. Kansas City Chiefs (5-2)

4. New England Patriots (5-2)

5. New Orleans Saints (4-2)

6. Carolina Panthers (4-3)

7. Seattle Seahawks (4-2)

8. Houston Texans (3-3)

9. Los Angeles Rams (5-2)

10. Atlanta Falcons (3-3)

11. Washington Redskins (3-3)

12. Oakland Raiders (3-4)

13. Dallas Cowboys (3-3)

14. Minnesota Vikings (5-2)

15. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-3)

16. Detroit Lions (3-3)

17. Miami Dolphins (4-2)

18. Cincinnati Bengals (2-4)

19. Buffalo Bills (4-2)

20. Los Angeles Chargers (3-4)

21. Denver Broncos (3-3)

22. Tennessee Titans (4-3)

23. Green Bay Packers (4-3)

24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4)

25. Arizona Cardinals (3-4)

26. New York Jets (3-4)

27. Chicago Bears (3-4)

28. New York Giants (1-6)

29. Baltimore Ravens (3-4)

30. Indianapolis Colts (2-5)

31. San Francisco 49ers (0-7)

32. Cleveland Browns (0-7)


Philadelphia Eagles Take the No. 1 Spot After Monday Night Win

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23:  Quarterback Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates a touchdown by Zach Ertz #86 with Trey Burton #88 and Alshon Jeffery #17 during the second quarter of the game against the Washington Redskins at Lincoln Fi
Elsa/Getty Images

The two Pennsylvania football teams have a paper-thin split at the top two spots. In a one-off game between the Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers, it's hard to favor either squad outright.

Nonetheless, when looking at 2017 season resumes, the Eagles have a more impressive track record compared to the Steelers. Philadelphia has three victories against teams with a .500 record or better, which include a season series sweep over the Redskins. Pittsburgh has beaten two teams with at least a .500 record.

Furthermore, the Eagles have an MVP candidate under center in Wentz. He leads all quarterbacks with 17 touchdown passes. Despite a questionable secondary, the front seven applies enough pressure to offset the holes in the pass defense. On Monday, rookie defensive end Derek Barnett flashed his pass-rushing skill with two sacks.

The Eagles have been the most consistent through seven weeks. This team hasn't suffered a fluky loss to a lesser squad and completely crushed its two previous opponents with double-digit win margins.


New Orleans Saints Crack Top 5 

GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 22:  Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints throws a pass in the first quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on October 22, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After starting 0-2, the New Orleans Saints have won four consecutive games. Head coach Sean Payton's group has also shown toughness as winners in three straight road contests. 

Furthermore, the defense has finally come to quarterback Drew Brees' aid with 10 takeaways. Cameron Jordan and Alex Okafor's pocket pressure minimizes lapses in pass coverage with a young secondary.

As usual, the Saints field one of the best passing attacks in the league. The backfield tandem of running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara provide a complementary offensive component to Brees' accurate arm in the pocket. Overall, the offense ranks No. 4 in yards and points scored.

Looking ahead, the Saints will be favorites at home against the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. New Orleans may have a midseason 6-2 record as leaders in the NFC South.


Atlanta Falcons Fall to No. 10 

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 22:  Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons looks on during the fourth quarter of a game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on October 22, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

After starting 3-0, the Falcons have quickly fallen with three consecutive losses. 

Last year's No. 1 scoring offense has averaged 13.7 points in the previous three games, which includes blowing a 17-0 lead to the Miami Dolphins in Week 6. The Falcons scored seven points in the Sunday Night Football contest against the Patriots. 

According to ESPN.com reporter Vaughn McClure, head coach Dan Quinn doesn't plan on completely changing the scheme, but it's clear the design needs some tweaks going forward. Quarterback Matt Ryan may want to spend extra time with the coaching staff to re-energize the offense.

Atlanta will play two more games on the road with the division rival Carolina Panthers coming up after the New York Jets. Fans shouldn't worry about a Super Bowl hangover as much as poor continuity between the players and offensive coaches.


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