NFL Power Rankings: Week 8 Standings and Review After Sunday's Games

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistOctober 21, 2019

New Orleans Saints running back Latavius Murray (28) celebrates a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears in Chicago, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

While some teams have taken a step back with backup quarterbacks, the New Orleans Saints continue to look like a Super Bowl contender with Teddy Bridgewater under center. 

In Week 7, Sean Payton's team became the first side to rack up over 30 points on the Chicago Bears defense. New Orleans also possesses a five-game winning streak that is likely to be extended in a handful of upcoming favorable matchups. 

If that wasn't enough to rank the Saints near the top of the NFL, they should get Drew Brees back in Week 8 or after the Week 9 bye. 

Due to the quality of their victories, an argument could be made to put the Saints at the top of league's power rankings above undefeated sides New England and San Francisco. 

                 

NFL Power Rankings

1. New England (6-0) 

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2. San Francisco (6-0)

3. New Orleans (6-1) 

4. Green Bay (6-1) 

5. Buffalo (5-1) 

6. Baltimore (5-2) 

7. Minnesota (5-2) 

8. Kansas City (5-2) 

9. Indianapolis (4-2) 

10. Seattle (5-2) 

11. Carolina (4-2) 

12. Los Angeles Rams (4-3) 

13. Houston (4-3) 

14. Dallas (4-3) 

15. Oakland (3-3) 

16. Arizona (3-3-1)

17. Chicago (3-3)

18. Jacksonville (3-4) 

19. Detroit (2-3-1) 

20. Philadelphia (3-4) 

21. Los Angeles Chargers (2-5) 

22. Tennessee (3-4) 

23. Cleveland (2-4) 

24. Tampa Bay (2-4)

25. Pittsburgh (2-4) 

26. New York Jets (1-4) 

27. Denver (2-5) 

28. New York Giants (2-5) 

29. Washington (1-6) 

30. Atlanta (1-6) 

31. Miami (0-6) 

32. Cincinnati (0-7)

                   

New Orleans is 5-0 with Bridgewater under center. 

In that span, the Saints pulled off road victories over Seattle and Chicago, as well as a home triumph over Dallas that could factor into NFC playoff tiebreakers. 

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 20: Teddy Bridgewater #5 of the New Orleans Saints throws a pass against the New Orleans Saints during the first half at Soldier Field on October 20, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

If San Francisco remains undefeated into December, the Saints could earn a head-to-head win over it as well as from a December 8 meeting at the Superdome. 

New Orleans may not lose before that contest, as it faces Arizona, Tampa Bay, Carolina and Atlanta twice in the next six weeks. 

Brees may return for the Week 8 clash with the Cardinals, though, per ESPN.com's Mike Triplett

"We'll see how it goes. I'd love to [play]. It's a goal," the 40-year-old said. 

However, Payton was unwilling to discuss his starting quarterback's recovery timetable after beating the Bears. 

"I'll fill you guys in day by day. We're not targeting ... We're gonna see how he's doing. And we'll give you the news when we feel like we're ready to," he said.

Whenever Brees returns, he will enter an offense capable of producing 400 total yards without him and Alvin Kamara.

Since Bridgewater exceeded expectations, the Saints do not have to rush the veteran back. In the last three games, the backup has thrown for 835 yards and seven touchdowns. 

Green Bay appears to be the third contender for the NFC's No. 1 seed after Aaron Rodgers torched Oakland's defense for 429 passing yards and five scores. 

The 35-year-old hit five different players for scoring plays, proving he can thrive without top target Davante Adams. 

The Packers are in control of the NFC North with wins over each divisional foe, but they will have to prove themselves outside of Lambeau Field in four of the next five games. 

Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press

Sunday night's meeting with Kansas City lost some luster with Patrick Mahomes' injury, but it also provides the Chiefs with a chance to shine with Matt Moore running the offense. 

After the trip to Arrowhead Stadium, the Packers visit the Los Angeles Chargers, San Francisco and New York Giants, with a home clash versus Carolina and a bye week sprinkled in. 

The Chiefs face Green Bay, Minnesota and Tennessee without their main signal-caller. ESPN.com's Adam Schefter reported Mahomes "could return in three weeks, if not sooner" from the discolated kneecap he suffered Thursday night.

That is the best-case scenario for the Chiefs, with Baltimore on its heels in the hunt for the AFC's No. 2 seed behind New England. 

John Harbaugh's Ravens made a statement Sunday by winning in Seattle, and they could make another in two weeks at Gillette Stadium. 

Lamar Jackson totaled 259 yards in the 30-16 win, which drew praise from his new teammate, Marcus Peters, per BaltimoreRavens.com's Clifton Brown

"Unbelievable," Peters said. "The guy's a playmaker and a tremendous leader. Lamar got some speed, man. That stop-and-start stuff he does is unbelievable. It's only going to get better. We have yet to see the best of Lamar Jackson. I don't know how you stop him." 

Containing Jackson could be the toughest task to date for the New England defense since it faces the New York Jets and Cleveland before the Week 10 showdown. 

                     

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.

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