It never ceases to surprise me how much change in just two weeks of the NFL. Weeks 7 and 8 showed us just how competitive this league can be, with “good” teams falling and “bad” teams rising. Time to revaulate what we originally thought of some teams. You’ll see a whole lot of movement in this week’s Power Rankings.
2. Denver Broncos 7-1 (↓1)- The great Denver Broncos were finally toppled by Peyton’s former team in a game that was as good as advertised. They surely have some defensive issues to sort out and once they do, they’ll be even better than they were at 6-0.
6. San Francisco 49ers 6-2 (↑1)– San Francisco continues to roll against teams with losing records. We’ll finally see them against tougher competition (Carolina, New Orleans) after their Week 9 bye.
7. Cincinnati Bengals 6-2 (↑1)– After a ruthless pounding of New York, Cincy is now 3-0 against the AFC East. Miami awaits as the last chance to break that streak, but expect this impressive Bengals team to complete the sweep.
8. New England Patriots 6-2 (↓4)– Just as New England was ready to join KC and Denver as one of the top teams, they drop one to division rival New York. In both their losses (other to Cincy), stopping the run has been a huge problem.
10. Detroit Lions 5-3 (0)– Calvin Johnson showed us the arguably greatest four-quarter receiving performance the NFL has ever seen. Though only by one, the win over Dallas has Detroit feeling good heading into the bye. They are in a great position to compete for a playoff spot.
11. San Diego Chargers 4-3 (↑1)- A win over Jacksonville and a bye in Week 8 doesn’t tell us any more about San Diego than we already knew. They are on the cusp of success but their inconsistency is what is holding them back.
12. Dallas Cowboys 4-4 (↑1)– I won’t hold the loss to Detroit against the Cowboys too much. While they gave up a great chance to extend their division lead, they still look like they should win the NFC East.
13. Arizona Cardinals 4-4 (↑6)– It’s a shame Arizona is in such a tough division because they play better than most four-loss teams. They have a real shot to surprise us in the coming weeks.
15. New York Jets 4-4 (↑7)– It’s time I finally give New York some credit. They beat New England for their fourth win, which is more than I thought they’d have at this point. They aren’t great, but they can play.
18. St. Louis Rams 3-5 (0)– Not unlike Arizona, St. Louis is one of the best three-win teams out there and have faced some brutal competition. With their close game with Seattle, the Rams showed us they will fight in each and every game.
19. Tennessee Titans 3-4 (↑1)– Tennessee showed us they are not ready to compete with the big boys after three straight losses to the NFL’s elite. Still, they could get away with a wildcard spot in the AFC if they string together some key wins.
20. Buffalo Bills 3-5 (↑3)- At 3-5, Buffalo is on the brink of success or failure. Their next three games will be the deciding weeks for their season. Losing EJ Manuel for that time is not encouraging.
22. Cleveland Browns 3-5 (↓6)– Just like Miami, Cleveland has dropped multiple games in a row. The QB change to Jason Campbell was a necessary one but I’m not sure if he can turn this season back around.
24. Oakland Raiders 3-4 (↑3)– Oakland picked up yet another win and it looks like Terrelle Pryor is their best option at QB for the foreseeable future.
25. Atlanta Falcons 2-5 (0)– The win over Tampa put the Falcons in a position to make a comeback this season but they failed to capitalize with a loss the next week. With New Orleans running away with the division, Atlanta is running out of time.
27. Washington Redskins 2-5 (↓1)– Though allowing 45 points looks bad, Washington’s defense looked stronger than they have in previous weeks, against Peyton Manning no less. In a weak NFC East, the season will live or die with the success of the D.
28. New York Giants 0-6 (↑2)– Two straight wins going into the bye week is something to cheer about for Giants fans, but against better teams than Minnesota and Philly, a 4:1 FG-TD ratio isn’t going to cut it (8 FGs to 2 TDs in last two games).
29. Pittsburgh Steelers 2-5 (0)- After looking good and allowing less than 90 rushing yards in two straight weeks, the Pittsburgh D couldn’t handle Terrelle Pryor and Darren McFadden, allowing nearly 200 yards to the Oakland rush.
30. Minnesota Vikings 1-6 (↓2)– Minnesota hoped Josh Freeman was the temporary answer to their struggles. His debut fell flat and the ball was handed back to Ponder after an injury. Neither QB could produce a win.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars 0-8 (0)- With an offense that simply fails to produce points (worst in NFL) and a defense that refuses to stop anybody (worst in NFL), Jacksonville is playing like one of the worst teams in history.
Biggest jump: Carolina Panthers (↑10)
Biggest fall: Miami Dolphins (↓7)