NFL Week 8 Power Rankings
04 November 2020
After Week 8 of the NFL season, our NFL power rankings have a larger sample size behind them. With several matchups between potential playoff games in Week 8, we got an idea as to which teams are true contenders and which might be pretenders. Here is a look at the 32 teams in the NFL, ranked from worst to first.
32. New York Jets (Last Week: 32)
The Jets were 20-point underdogs against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 8. They still couldn’t cover the spread, as the Chiefs demolished them from start to finish. NFL betting markets have the Jets at under 3/1 odds to finish the season without a win. Given how bad they’ve been this season, it isn’t at all implausible that the Jets will make it to 0-16 when the year is done.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last Week: 31)
Jacksonville had a bye week in Week 8, saving them from another defeat. After a Week 1 win over the Colts, the Jaguars have lost six straight games. They have a chance for a victory against a division opponent in Week 9 when they host the Houston Texans. With both teams struggling to get stops on defense, that could be an exciting game despite the poor performance from both squads this season.
30. New York Giants (Last Week: 30)
It was a closer game than expected, but the New York Giants couldn’t get the job done at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Despite a gift turnover from the Bucs in the first quarter, one that set up a touchdown, the Giants’ offense fell short in the second half. The offense has been the Giants’ problem all season long, and doesn’t appear to be improving whatsoever.
29. Dallas Cowboys (Last Week: 28)
The Cowboys set a new low for themselves in Week 8 with their loss on Sunday Night Football to the Philadelphia Eagles. Ben DiNucci had 180 passing yards, which is not enough to make up for the subpar defense that Dallas employs. Without Dak Prescott, the Cowboys are a hopeless team for the remainder of the 2020 season, even in an NFC East that should be winnable by any of the four participants.
28. Detroit Lions (Last Week: 26)
Detroit was blown out by the Indianapolis Colts in Week 8. Their 41-21 loss to the Colts put the Lions back below .500 for the season at 3-4. Looking that bad at home with a chance to get back to having a winning record has to be demoralizing for the Lions. And given the history of the team, it isn’t likely that they will respond to such adversity positively.
27. Atlanta Falcons (Last Week: 29)
Week 8 in the NFL started with a surprise, as the Atlanta Falcons got a road win over the Carolina Panthers. The win was the Falcons’ first win in an outdoor game this season, and it came against a division rival they lost to earlier in the season. Atlanta moved the ball down the field at will in this game, and played some uncharacteristically good defense, which they will hope to continue.
26. Washington Football Team (Last Week: 25)
The Washington Football Team did not have a game in Week 8, as it was their bye week. Now, their pass rush has a chance to tee off on the weak offense of the New York Giants. Given the state of the Cowboys and Giants, Washington is currently the second favorite to win the NFC East. Whether they can close the gap between themselves and the first-place Eagles remains to be seen.
25. Cincinnati Bengals (Last Week: 27)
One of the best wins from the last week in the NFL came from the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals rode a 17-7 first half to a 31-20 victory over the Tennessee Titans. Joe Burrow wasn’t great in this game, but the Tennessee defense struggled to slow down the Bengals early on. The Bengals still have a long way to go to become a competitive team, but they have made some strides in recent weeks that have been commendable.
24. Carolina Panthers (Last Week: 21)
Carolina was very disappointing last week, dropping a home game on Thursday against the Atlanta Falcons. Teddy Bridgewater was underwhelming throughout the game, even before he missed some time due to a hit to the helmet. The rain didn’t help him, but Bridgewater has to be better against a team like the Falcons that has a porous defense.
23. Houston Texans (Last Week: 20)
The Texans got a week off in Week 8, going to their bye. Houston has a chance to get back on the right track following their bye, as they take on the Jacksonville Jaguars. For Houston, the rest of this season is about building momentum and determining which players should be kept around for the next coaching administration. A game against the Jaguars is a great place to start with that goal in mind.
22. Minnesota Vikings (Last Week: 24)
Even though the Minnesota Vikings were blown out by the Green Bay Packers early in the season, they came back and beat them in Week 8. Dalvin Cook scored four touchdowns for the Vikings in the victory. And even with the Packers having a chance to come back and win late, the Vikings did just enough to get a final stop and come away with the victory. Minnesota is in last place for now, but are playing better football in recent weeks.
21. Philadelphia Eagles (Last Week: 22)
The Eagles are at the top of the NFC East by default almost. They defeated the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football last week. But Carson Wentz has shown the propensity to turn the ball over way too often. Even if the Eagles manage to win their division and make the playoffs, they are not expected to make much noise once they get there.
20. Denver Broncos (Last Week: 23)
Things could not have looked worse for the Denver Broncos when they trailed by three scores against the Los Angeles Chargers. But the Broncos pulled off a miracle comeback in the second half. Drew Lock was near-perfect in the fourth quarter, and the Broncos scored with no time left on the clock to steal a victory from their division rivals. Given the doubt surrounding Lock as of late, this was a very impressive response from the young quarterback.
19. Chicago Bears (Last Week: 18)
On one hand, the Chicago Bears should be commended for taking the New Orleans Saints to overtime. The Saints are one of the best teams in the NFC, and taking them down to the wire is no easy task. But the Bears also need to be concerned with their offense, which is lacking any sort of explosive nature. The decision to bench Mitchell Trubisky for Nick Foles has not paid off with points for Chicago at all.
18. Los Angeles Chargers (Last Week 17)
The Chargers really should have won their Week 8 game against the Broncos. They shouldn’t be docked too badly for giving up a miracle comeback. One of their final few drives resulting in a touchdown instead of a field goal would have been enough to ice the game. The Chargers are still heading in the right direction with Justin Herbert at quarterback, even if they couldn’t hold a lead in Week 8.
17. Las Vegas Raiders (Last Week: 19)
Terrible weather was not enough to stop the Las Vegas Raiders from getting a nice win in Week 8. With 40 mile per hour winds blowing in Cleveland, the Raiders still managed to beat the Browns. In their 16-6 win, the weather was clearly a factor, but the Raiders should still be commended. They managed to slow down the Browns’ potent rushing attack and held an explosive offense to just six points.
16. San Francisco 49ers (Last Week: 9)
For the second time this season, the San Francisco 49ers are dealing with catastrophic injury concerns. Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle are both likely to miss the remainder of the season after suffering injuries in their loss to the Seattle Seahawks. That means that the Niners are stuck with CJ Beathard or Nick Mullens at quarterback again. And with that news, the Niners are likely to sink to the bottom of the NFC West once and for all.
15. Miami Dolphins (Last Week: 16)
The Dolphins were lucky to get a fumble return and a punt return for a touchdown against the Los Angeles Rams. But the Dolphins were dominant defensively in their victory over Sean McVay’s team. If there was one negative to come from the contest, it was Tua Tagovailoa failing to muster 100 passing yards in his first career start. Tua will have many more opportunities to fill up the stat sheet, though.
14. New England Patriots (Last Week: 12)
Despite all of their issues, the New England Patriots had a chance to beat the Buffalo Bills at the end of their Week 8 matchup. And while the Patriots lost the game on a late turnover by Cam Newton, the Patriots did an admirable job of hanging around against the top team in their division. The Patriots are not the team they used to be, but they are still not to be taken lightly with Bill Belichick at the helm.
13. Cleveland Browns (Last Week: 13)
Cleveland lost an ugly 16-6 game against the Las Vegas Raiders this past week. But the Browns do get something of a pass due to all of the wind that they had to put up with in that game. A pass-heavy offense is always going to be at a disadvantage in those types of elements. The Browns now get a chance to recuperate in Week 9 as they enter their bye week.
12. Indianapolis Colts (Last Week: 14)
Philip Rivers took advantage of a weak Detroit Lions defense in Week 8. The Colts put up 41 points against the Detroit Lions, with Rivers throwing three touchdown passes in the game. More importantly, Rivers didn’t throw any interceptions. When he limits his turnovers, the Colts are a scary team. Fortunately for their competition in the AFC South, Rivers doesn’t limit his turnovers often enough.
11. Los Angeles Rams (Last Week: 11)
The Rams’ loss to the Dolphins certainly didn’t look good. But it should be kept in mind that they gave up a punt return and a fumble return for a touchdown. Had those uncommon plays not hurt them early in the game, the Rams may have been in a position to win in Miami. Either way, the Rams are still incredibly difficult to deal with thanks to a defense that can get after the quarterback with the best of them.
10. New Orleans Saints (Last Week: 15)
It took an overtime period, but the New Orleans Saints managed to beat the Chicago Bears on the road. The Saints are not typically a great road team, but did just enough to keep pace with the Buccaneers in the NFC South by beating one of the league’s toughest defenses. The Saints now have a chance to take over first place in their division with a win over the Bucs this week.
9. Green Bay Packers (Last Week: 8)
Green Bay has to be disappointed in themselves for losing to the Minnesota Vikings at home. The Vikings crushed the Packers with Dalvin Cook to the tune of four total touchdowns. And while Aaron Rodgers led a late comeback that fell just short, the concerns with the Packers defense have not gone away whatsoever. If the Packers are going to compete for a title, they need to tighten things up on that side of the ball.
8. Buffalo Bills (Last Week: 10)
They needed a late fumble from Cam Newton to secure the game, but the Buffalo Bills managed to do just enough to beat their rivals in the New England Patriots. To beat a team they have had such a poor history against is a big step forward for the Bills. But the schedule does not get any easier for Buffalo. Their Week 9 opponent, the Seattle Seahawks, are a huge test for the Bills defense.
7. Tennessee Titans (Last Week: 5)
After a tough game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Tennessee Titans suffered a letdown in their Week 8 loss to the Bengals. The Titans have really struggled on defense in recent weeks, making them a tough team to figure out. Despite all of their offensive firepower, the Titans will need more stops on defense if they are going to remain a legitimate contender to get to the Super Bowl from the AFC.
6. Arizona Cardinals (Last Week: 6)
Arizona had the week off in Week 8. And their hopes to win the NFC West were bolstered while they were at home. With the Niners suffering key injuries and the Rams losing to the Dolphins, the Cardinals trail only the Seahawks for first place. This week, the Cardinals take on rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins in a game between two electrifying young quarterbacks.
5. Baltimore Ravens (Last Week: 3)
Baltimore lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers at home in Week 8. This was, thanks in large part, to the erratic play of Lamar Jackson. Jackson threw two interceptions in his own territory, one of which was returned for a touchdown. He also fumbled the football deep in enemy territory, stopping a potential scoring drive. Jackson has failed both of his major tests this year, and will need to be better if the Ravens are going to be true contenders.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last Week: 7)
One could argue that the Buccaneers should have beat the New York Giants more convincingly. But the Bucs continue to stack victories and remain on top of the NFC South. The Buccaneers are solid on both sides of the ball, and their defense is quickly becoming one of the top units in the NFL. As this team continues to build a rapport with one another, this team could continue to improve, which is a scary thought for the rest of the league.
3. Seattle Seahawks (Last Week: 4)
Things could not have gone better for the Seahawks in Week 8. They beat the San Francisco 49ers, who suffered some key injuries in the game. Add to that the Rams losing and the Cardinals being unable to make up any ground on their bye, and the Seahawks are riding high in the NFC West. If they can get through the Bills in a tricky road game in Week 9, they may ascend to favorite status in the NFC.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (Last Week: 1)
The Chiefs beat up on the lowly Jets in Week 8, covering the spread as a 20-point favorite. Patrick Mahomes threw five touchdown passes in the game, getting back on track for the Chiefs. Kansas City is the favorite to win the Super Bowl at this point, with NFL betting picks backing the defending champions in big numbers.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last Week: 2)
The top spot in this week’s power rankings goes to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The lone undefeated team left in the NFL, the Steelers have won on the road against the Titans and Ravens in back to back weeks. Ben Roethlisberger is playing extremely well, and the Steelers’ defense is answering the call against some potent offenses in recent weeks. Pittsburgh is currently in the pole position for the AFC’s first round bye.
NFL Betting FAQ
This year’s Steelers team could definitely win the Super Bowl. They have a potent offense and are good at getting after opposing quarterbacks. That combination would make them a tough out in the AFC playoffs. But teams like the Chiefs and Ravens and Titans could easily take the Steelers out in the postseason.
In these power rankings, injuries are weighed heavily into ranking teams from first to 32nd. If teams suffer season-ending injuries, that has to be factored into how they are ranked. But teams that have injury issues can still climb up the rankings by winning games on the field, as is the case with any set of power ratings.
Right now, Russell Wilson is the clear winner of the league’s MVP award. That could change as the season progresses, but Wilson’s ability to make plays deep down the field has been unmatched this year. If the Seahawks make a run in the playoffs, Wilson’s brilliant play will be the reason why.