Week 7 in the NFL was good for the big hitters in the NFC, while there was a further shakeup with the best teams in the AFC.
The Cardinals, Rams and Buccaneers all played in the late afternoon and recorded wins over outclassed opponents to keep them on top. The Packers stayed warm through the early morning window Sunday. The AFC had the Bills and Chargers out, but among the teams that did play, much changed in the battle for that conference’s supremacy.
Here’s how Sporting News sees the league’s 32 teams comparing themselves to each other in the latest edition of the power rankings entering Week 8:
MORE: What Big Losses From Chiefs, Ravens Mean To AFC Playoffs Image
NFL Power Ratings
1. Arizona Cardinals 7-0 (previous rank: 1)
The Cardinals flew past the Texans, giving DeAndre Hopkins and JJ Watt a lot of support against their former team. Kyler Murray and the running game did their part as the passing run and coverage were cleaned up to help seal the start of the team’s statement.
2. Los Angeles Rams 6-1 (2)
The Rams don’t get many style points for surviving Jared Goff and the brave but winless Lions. But they did what they had to do, as usual, on offense and defense, even if perhaps they stopped stepping on the gas.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6-1 (3)
The Buccaneers dismantled another limited opponent at home, this time the Bears, and Tom Brady re-launched the offense methodically. They’re doing what they can to get behind the only two teams that have been consistently better and remain a strong repeat threat in the Super Bowl.
4. Green Bay Packers 5-1 (5)
Aaron Rodgers has been a man on a mission since Week 1. He continues to kill lesser opponents with his classic precision. The running game and defense have also helped him a lot.
5. Dallas Cowboys 5-1 (6)
The Cowboys have health on their side this season, most notably with Dak Prescott recovering well from ankle and shoulder injuries and working out a minor calf injury. They hope to be even healthier after goodbye. Their versatile offense is hard to stop and their starting defense won’t change as this team continues to forge an identity as a Super Bowl contender.
6. Tennessee Titans 5-2 (12)
The Titans have taken early control of the weaker AFC by employing their familiar running game formula setting up the big-play passing game, with supplemental support from the defense. After a slow start, Mike Vrabel has them locked in again, sealed for back-to-back massive wins over the Bills and Chiefs, each in a different way.
7. Buffalo Bills 4-2 (4)
The Bills tapped their toes in Tennessee before halftime, with a bit of disappointment after their huge victory in Kansas City. They should be considered AFC co-favorites, but things got a lot tougher in Week 7, which means they have a lot of work to do to nail the top spot.
8. Cincinnati Bengals 5-2 (10)
The Bengals are the biggest surprise promotion of the season and are the new favorites in the tough AFC North. The other teams are fighting problems that they are not. Joe Burrow to Ja’Marr Chase is the new best combination in the game, but what about Trey Hendrickson and the revamped defense?
9. Las Vegas Raiders 5-2 (11)
The new leaders of the AFC West continue to look determined, organized and focused on maximizing their strengths and minimizing their weaknesses without Jon Gruden. It almost seems as if it was a bad influence who was holding them back.
10. Baltimore Ravens 5-2 (7)
The Ravens defense appeared to settle things against the Chargers at home in Week 6, only to have coverage issues again against the Bengals in Week 7. Lamar Jackson can only do so much, especially when the generally dominant running game that It’s not Jackson is not helping the defense.
WEEK 8 FANTASY RANKINGS:
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11. Los Angeles Chargers 4-2 (8)
The Chargers shot out after a disappointing overall performance in Baltimore. They can do a lot of damage with Justin Herbert leading their passing game and solid passing defense, but they need to clean up their worst running defense in the league to maintain their playoff chances.
12. Cleveland Browns 4-3 (13)
The Browns impressed with their valiant defensive win over the Broncos Thursday night, driven by supersub running back D’Ernest Johnson and led by QB Case Keenum. They hope to be much healthier after the mini-goodbye before facing the Steelers on Halloween.
13. Kansas City Chiefs 3-4 (9)
The Chiefs are quickly unraveling as an offensive-minded team that can’t win when the offense is slipping or suffering as it is now under Patrick Mahomes. Andy Reid will need to do some incredible training to turn this around and point KC to a third straight trip to the Super Bowl.
MORE: Mahomes takes the blame for Chiefs’ offensive struggles against Titans
14. Pittsburgh Steelers 3-3 (14)
The Steelers retired in playoff position after turning their offense to focus on rookie running back Najee Harris, allowing him to play better complementary football for the defense. They will hope that the break will bring out a better Ben Roethlisberger for the second half.
15. New Orleans Saints 3-2 (15)
The Saints hope to continue moving toward a playoff spot without Drew Brees with a similar focus to last season: defense, a good running game and some big passing plays. They also hope to avoid falling into a post-goodbye trap in Seattle.
16. Minnesota Vikings 3-3 (16)
The Vikings have steered their ship in the right direction with the strength of their own familiar formula: a run-heavy offense that sets up a dangerous passing game on the field, backed by good pressure defense and coverage for Mike Zimmer. They will seek to be more consistent and win games that are not closed after the break. The Cowboys are a good immediate litmus test.
17. New England Patriots 3-4 (23)
The Patriots are in favor of hitting opponents with limited offenses and weak running defenses. That takes a lot of pressure off Mac Jones and allows him to relax and do whatever it takes to win games. It just has to happen more often against better teams other than the Jets.
18. Indianapolis Colts 3-4 (25)
The Colts were getting lame early in the season with a brutal schedule, but things have smoothed out nicely for them and they are back in the AFC wild card feud with Frank Reich. Catching the Titans will be very difficult, even with a bit of just two, but Carson Wentz, to get the offense back on track, has Indianapolis back in the playoff mix.
19. Atlanta Falcons 3-3 (24)
The Falcons have struggled to get back to .500 with wins over the Giants, Jets and Dolphins. While that comes with limited praise given his defense is still a mess, the offense just looks so much better for Arthur Smith as everything is fitting for Matt Ryan.
20. Chicago Bears 3-4 (19)
The Bears could be showing everyone why they were reluctant to bring Justin Fields into action over Andy Dalton, because they have no chance of making the playoffs with the worst rookie quarterback play in the league. That offensive ineptitude is frustrating the defense at every level. It looks like Matt Nagy is just training the rope.
21. Seattle Seahawks 2-4 (17)
The Seahawks are in danger of becoming a losing team in the Russell Wilson era for the first time because they don’t have Wilson to overcome their defensive woes. A loss to the Saints would make it a tough uphill battle only to go 9-8.
22. San Francisco 49ers 2-4 (18)
The 49ers can’t understand how they want to operate on offense because they are being so particular with their staff and thus have lost the creative mojo of Kyle Shanahan. The defense, with a weaker seven on their back, doesn’t seem to be able to handle anything either.
23. Carolina Panthers 3-4 (20)
The Panthers have gone into free fall when the real Sam Darnold has arrived in full force and Christian McCaffrey is not there to rescue him. Matt Rhule may go to PJ Walker, but there must be some regret for not selecting a potential franchise quarterback in the first round last April.
MORE: Why did the Panthers bench Darnold?
24. Denver Broncos 3-4 (21)
The Broncos received a strong wake-up call last month after taking advantage of a weak early schedule to go 3-0. The writing is on the wall for Vic Fangio and his coaching staff, as John Elway has to be disappointed in his talented team again.
25. Philadelphia Eagles 2-5 (22)
The Eagles feel they should be a much better team, given the play that Jalen Hurts shines as a quarterback. But his lack of effectiveness in the traditional running game and desperately inconsistent defense have turned into bigger problems.
26. Washington Soccer Team 2-5 (26)
WFT is there with the Eagles as an underperforming team, especially with disappointing charged defense. The offense is doing its best while in impromptu mode with Taylor Heinicke given all the injuries.
MORE: Heinicke’s early dive on the goal line costs WFT easy TD
27. New York Giants 2-5 (28)
The Giants moved into the win column for the second time by beating Carolina, weeks after a loss in New Orleans. That’s still not enough to knock them out of the main group for last place in the NFC East, far behind the runaway Cowboys.
28. New York Jets 1-5 (27)
The Jets had been hoping to play the post-break portion of their 2021 season in full development and improvement mode for Zach Wilson, but the knee injury he suffered early against the Patriots could derail that, just as other parts of his offense were charging. life for Robert. Saleh and Mike LaFleur.
WEEK 7 QB QUALIFICATIONS: Jones-Wilson 2 a one-sided affair
29. Jacksonville Jaguars 1-5 (31)
The Jaguars got a much-needed and well-deserved bye week after recording their first thrilling victory in London against the Dolphins. They’ll be looking for a better Trevor Lawrence after his first break, with another winnable game on the Seahawks in Week 8.
30. Miami Dolphins 1-6 (29)
Tua Tagovailoa cannot be blamed for this team’s ridiculously bad fall since their 10-6 finish last season. Miami has matched its 2020 loss total thanks to an atrocious defense, which has taken away many of the flashes the offense has shown. A trade for Deshaun Watson can’t fix what’s broken for Brian Flores.
31. Houston Texans 1-6 (30)
The Texans are playing off a recovery roster right now, save for a few proud and capable veterans. They were lucky to get that one win in Week 1, but they’re no better than the Jaguars anymore.
32. Detroit Lions 0-7 (32)
The Lions jumped to Los Angeles and they didn’t look like lambs against the Rams, but they just didn’t have enough talent to end another unexpected opportunity. Eventually Dan Campbell will get a win, but at this rate it might not be until 2022 (in case it lasts that long).
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.