For many teams in the NFL, the season has reached it’s halfway point. Whether your team has played seven or eight games so far, the NFL regular season is just as close to ending as it to starting.

These Power Rankings start to double up as a look at who will perform in the playoffs. Teams like the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars have good records, but that doesn’t make them contenders. By my count, there are four true contenders, with about eight teams bubbling under them.

It’s impossible to start these Power Rankings with another other team than the New England Patriots at the top, until further notice. But are the similarly undefeated San Francisco 49ers not the second-best team in the league?

How far will the Bills slide after being exposed by the Eagles? Is there still hope for the Lions and Bears in a crowded NFC North? Will the NFC West send three teams to the playoffs?

Dive in to this week’s Power Rankings by Sak Sports Blog.

Power Rankings After Week 8

  1. New England Patriots (8-0) [Last Week: 1]
    • New England only beat the Browns by 14 at home. Sound the alarms. Not. Four straight weeks at the top of my power rankings.
  2. New Orleans Saints (7-1) [Last Week: 2]
    • The Saints blew out the Cardinals in Drew Brees return to the field, and despite one loss on the season, are every bit as good as the Patriots and 49ers.
  3. San Francisco 49ers (7-0) [Last Week: 3]
    • Any doubts about the 49ers were laid to rest when they beat down the Panthers, 51-13. I have the Saints as a slightly better team, but it’s splitting hairs. 49ers defense is better, Saints offense is better. Jimmy G has 9 touchdown passes and 7 interceptions on the season.
  4. Green Bay Packers (7-1) [Last Week: 4]
    • The entire top four holds, as it would be very hard to surpass the 7-1 Packers. They’ve faced tougher tests than all three teams ahead of them. They’re not perfect, but they’re very hard to beat.
  5. Minnesota Vikings (6-2) [Last Week: 5]
    • And now that’s five spots with no movement. The Vikings are at the top of the second tier of NFL teams: I only consider the top four elite right now. Minnesota edges out competitors like the Seahawks and Ravens by virtue of their +79 point differential: third in the NFL.
  6. Baltimore Ravens (5-2) {Last Week: 6]
    • The Ravens don’t fall during their bye week. I wouldn’t put them behind the Seahawks team that they handled with ease. This Baltimore team can play with anyone.
  7. Seattle Seahawks (6-2) [Last Week: 9]
    • The Seahawks took a tumble from the 3rd spot on the list to 9th. This week they reach a more appropriate middle ground. Seattle’s +12 point differential puts them more in line with some of the four or five win teams. Still, no one wants to face this team with their season on the line.
  8. Houston Texans (5-3) [Last Week: 8]
    • Just like the Ravens and Seahawks, the Texans are subject to hit-or-miss games. They handled the Raiders this week to keep their spot in the Top 10.
  9. Indianapolis Colts (5-2) [Last Week: 7]
    • Indy is an impressive 5-2 with wins over the likes of the Chiefs (with Mahommes) and the Texans. I mentioned point differentials for other teams, so it’s only fair to point out the Colts have only outscored the opposition by 7 points this season.
  10. Los Angeles Rams (5-3) [Last Week: 11]
    • I try to keep Power Rankings to be influenced by what we see on the field this season. But with a slew of above average teams to compare them to, I think I’m partly basing the Rams potential on what we’ve seen in recent years.
  11. Dallas Cowboys (4-3) [Last Week: 12]
    • Dallas rises a spot during their bye week. There’s still lots of issues for this team to address, but they’re still better than 2 out of 3 teams (66%) in the NFL.
  12. Kansas City Chiefs (5-3) [Last Week: 14]
    • The Chiefs had a great showing against the Packers last week with Matt Moore at the helm. They’re still a heck of a good football team, and probably would’ve won if they weren’t facing Aaron Rodgers.
  13. Detroit Lions (3-3-1) [Last Week: 15]
    • Detroit endured tough fourth-quarter losses to the Packers and Vikings that put a damper in their NFC North and playoff hopes. There’s a lot of season left to play, but the Lions are likely a 7 to 9 win team: good enough to beat many teams, but not good enough to beat great teams.
  14. Carolina Panthers (4-3) [Last Week: 13]
    • The Panthers four game win streak with Kyle Allen came to a screeching halt with a 51-13 loss to the 49ers. Still, Carolina showed more in those four wins than many teams have shown this season.
  15. Philadelphia Eagles (4-4) [Last Week: 16]
    • The Eagles even their record at 4-4, and may have the crown for the most inconsistent team in the NFL.
  16. Buffalo Bills (5-2) [Last Week: 10]
    • With just their second loss of the season, the Bills tumble out of the Top 10. Their game against Philadelphia proved what we already knew: if the defense falters and forces the Bills to put up more than 20 points, they’re doomed.
  17. Oakland Raiders (3-4) [Last Week: 18]
    • Oakland is a sneaky team that you might not even guess would have three wins. Their narrow 27-24 loss to the Texans was probably a resume-booster for the Raiders reputation.
  18. Chicago Bears (3-4) [Last Week: 17]
    • This Bears team has the talent, hence them being above the Chargers team that just beat them. Chicago had that game in a winnable position before Eddy Pinero’s game-winning field goal attempt missed. All things considered, their record could be worse than 3-4. But the Bears are running out of time to make things right.
  19. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4) [Last Week: 20]
    • Another “sneaky” team, Gardner Minshew and the Jaguars just keep racking up wins. Back-to-back wins came against the Bengals and Jets, so Jacksonville is just beating who they’re supposed to. But with an even record at their season’s halfway mark, the Jaguars can hardly complain.
  20. Los Angeles Chargers (3-5) [Last Week: 26]
    • The Chargers rise a few spots with their win over the Bears, although the outcome nearly could’ve gone the other way. I guess it makes up for their last-minute loss a couple weeks ago.
  21. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-4) [Last Week: 21]
    • The Steelers avoided an alarming loss to the Dolphins. Since the 0-3 start, they’re 3-1 in the last four weeks.
  22. Arizona Cardinals (3-4-1) [Last Week: 25]
    • What happens when a below average team gets blown out by the second-best team in the NFL? Nothing much. Arizona’s three-game win streak came to a halt against elite competition.
  23. Cleveland Browns (2-5) [Last Week: 19]
    • Someone actually said on Facebook that the Browns only losing by 14 points to the Patriots was proof that the Patriots aren’t that good. L-O-L. The Browns aren’t quite a laughing stock this season… more of a meme. There’s a difference.
  24. Tennessee Titans (4-4) [Last Week: 25]
    • I’ll admit it, I haven’t exactly watched much… or any, Titans football this year. Maybe they’re better than I think. Their four wins are against the Browns, Chargers, Falcons, and Buccaneers. Four wins is four wins, but Tennessee is yet to beat a team with a winning record.
  25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-5) [Last Week: 22]
    • The up and down Buccaneers stayed down, but played hard in a 27-23 loss to the Titans. Tampa Bay has only been outscored by 16 points this season.
  26. Denver Broncos (2-6) [Last Week: 24]
    • Now down Joe Flacco, the Broncos two-game win streak seems like forever ago. But the defense is still good, and almost willed them to a win over the Colts (they lost 15-13.)
  27. New York Giants (2-6) [Last Week: 28]
    • The New York teams are both bad, and will likely flip-flop in the rankings based on who has the less embarrassing loss. This week, the Giants jump ahead with a decent showing against the Lions, and Jones best passing performance of his young career.
  28. New York Jets (1-6) [Last Week: 27]
    • The Jets showed signs of life against the Jaguars, but it wasn’t enough to keep the game close. With lots of talent spread unequally throughout the field, I’m not sure where the Jets go next. But apparently they’re gearing up to blow up the roster, as they shipped Leonard Williams to their MetLife Stadium co-tenants.
  29. Atlanta Falcons (1-7) [Last Week: 30]
    • The Matt Schaub-led Falcons had a decent second half and only lost 27-20 to the Seahawks. Nice.
  30. Cincinnati Bengals (0-8) [Last Week: 31]
    • The Bengals are 0-7 in the United States of America, and now 0-1 in the United Kingdom after losing to the Rams 24-10.
  31. Washington Redskins (1-7) [Last Week: 29]
    • I didn’t watch the Redskins 19-9 loss to the Vikings so I don’t really have much to say here.
  32. Miami Dolphins (0-7) [Last Week: 32]
    • The Dolphins made a threat to come out of the #32 spot, as they started Monday Night Football with a 14-0 lead in the fourth quarter. Then they came back to Earth.

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Header photo credit: Mark LaGrange via KSLA.com

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