2020 Week 8 Power Rankings

In Week 8 of the 2020 Power Rankings we get to take a look at how the matchup of two undefeated teams changes the rankings. The 5-0 Steelers took on the 5-0 Titans with each team knowing that history dictates the winner WILL be in the Super Bowl.  When undefeated teams play each other in Week 7 or later the winner goes to the Super Bowl, it’s just a fact. Is there anyone out there that can stop them?

The Kansas City Chiefs stay dominant even with Patrick Mahomes having a mere mortal outing. Tom Brady is playing like it’s 2007 and last year’s NFC champions may have their swagger back.  The NFC West is the best division in football with all four teams having a winning record. Then there’s the NFC East with all four teams having a losing record but is still competitive in a weird way. How does all this shake-up this week’s Power Rankings? Lets get stuck in.

32. New York Jets - 0-7

Previously 32

Despite running out to a 10-0 start against the Buffalo Bills the Jets completely lost it in the second half. They came out after the halftime break and only managed another four yards from 16 offensive plays. Sam Darnold had a nightmare return from injury giving the ball away twice and getting sacked six times. Now looking to trade away Quinnen Willimas the Jets seem set on rebuilding again next year and calling it quits on this season. The number one pick is looming and the time to move on from Sam Darnold is getting closer and closer.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars - 1-6

Previously 29

Jacksonville have themselves a stud at running back after losing Leonard Fournette. James Robinson is a revelation for the Jaguars and he further proved that despite the loss to the Los Angeles Charges. Another 119 rushing yards and he is the only Jaguar who the fans can be pleased with. Gardner Minshew was missing throws all day and just like Sam Darnold, his time may be coming to an end. Six straight losses heading into the bye is not what anyone wants, but at least the fans have a week off from the disappointment.

30. Dallas Cowboys - 2-5

2020 Week 8 NFL power rankings

Previously 26

Who could have possibly thought that after eight weeks of the season the Dallas Cowboys would be the lowest team from the NFC East in this list. There is nothing positive in Dallas and absolutely no fight at all. In all my years of watching the NFL there has always been one constant, protect the QB and if someone hurts him the team go after them. In this game Andy Dalton took a massive (illegal) hit from Jon Bostic and not one Dallas Cowboy had a pop at Bostic. 

The team spirit is gone and the fight is gone, when that happens the season is done and I fear it’s only going to get worse for the Cowboys after a blowout loss to the Washington Football Team.

29. New York Giants - 1-6

Previously 30

Is there a play that sums up the New York Giants more than watching Daniel Jones tumble to the turf unaided and apparently tackled by a blade of grass. He just had to stay on his feet and he would have scored, that was all Daniel. In fairness to New York it just sums up the entire NFC East. Still, Jones had arguably his best game of the season and still stumbled into defeat. He threw for two touchdowns for the first time since Week 1 and led his team with 92 rushing yards. But, he couldn’t see it through and a strip sack by Brandom Graham ended any hope of a last minute game winning drive. 

Knowing how to win is invaluable in the NFL and it’s an ability the Giants don’t have. Luckily for them the division they are in is terrible and they are still in the hunt.

28. Minnesota Vikings - 1-5

Previously 27

I’m not entirely sure what is going on in Minnesota but I think the phrase “Tank For Trevor” is getting banded around. Kirk Cousins is not the answer and it is looking more and more like the time to move on. After another abysmal display in the loss to the previously winless Atlanta Falcons, the Vikings hierarchy may need to send a few more scouts to any future Clemson games. 

The Vikings appear to be in full tank mode as they let pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue go after trading for him themselves less than two months ago. The Minneapolis Miracle seems to be long forgotten about and this season will be forgotten about in a hurry if things continue.

27. Washington Football Team - 2-5

Previously 31

What a big divisional win for the Washington Football Team. I know the Dallas Cowboys are terrible right now, but this is still a huge win for Washington. Antonio Gibson looked great coming out the backfield and finished this one with 128 yards and a touchdown. Kyle Allen was able to get his number one receiver Terry McLaurin going as well. He finished with 90 yards and a score from seven catches. In this division, if Washington can keep getting strong offensive performances they could be the team to win the division and get a home playoff game.

26. Cincinnati Bengals - 1-5-1

Previously 28

Cincinnati should be the proud owners of two wins and only four losses. In the final minutes against the Browns the Bengals had the lead and looked like they were getting an unexpected victory. A poor display from the defense allowed Browns receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones to make a great catch in the end zone and break Bengals hearts. Joe Burrow continues to look great and they certainly have their franchise QB, but there are many pieces missing including the head coach perhaps. Zac Taylor only has three wins in 23 games as a head coach and his coat could be on a shaky peg.

25. Atlanta Falcons - 1-6

Previously 24

Is there any other team in sports that are so unbelievably good at losing? This loss to the Detroit Lions may be the worst yet. Only Atlanta could score a touchdown that would cause them to lose the game. If Todd Gurley had stopped short the game was over. Zeros would be on the clock and Atlanta would move on to two wins. But it wasn’t to be and the Falcons “falconed” it again. 

They allowed Detroit to march the ball down the field and then gave Matthew Stafford loads of time to find T.J. Hockenson in the end zone for the game winning score. Atlanta are done for the year and is it time to trade away Matty Ice and Julio Jones and let the rebuild begin?

24. Denver Broncos - 2-4

Previously 21

Denver managed to do something that not many teams can do. The defense held Patrick Mahomes to 200 yards and one solitary touchdown but somehow they still managed to give up 43 points. The KC defense dominated Drew Lock and didn’t give him a minutes peace throughout the whole game. If Denver ever wants to challenge then they need to find a way to be competitive in their own division and right now they are being left behind by the Chiefs, Raiders and quite possibly the Chargers.

23. Houston Texans - 1-6

Previously 22

Don’t let the scoreline flatter you in this one, the Houston Texans were outplayed and outclassed. The defense had no answer for the Packers and their star receiver Davante Adams while their offense simply couldn’t keep up. Deshaun Watson did all he could with 309 yards and two scores but it wasn’t enough as his defense couldn’t muster a stop. Green Bay were allowed to do whatever they wanted and raced out to a 21-0 lead at the half. Players are annoyed, fans are annoyed and the only person who isn’t is Bill O’Brien who can sit at home knowing he wasn’t the only problem.

22. Philadelphia Eagles - 2-4-1

Previously 25

Down by 11 with under four minutes to go and things were looking like going from bad to worse for the Eagles. Up stepped Carson Wentz as he found Greg Ward for a three yard touchdown pass. The subsequent two point attempt failed and the Eagles still found themselves down by five. Philadelphia needed their defense to step up and they duly obliged. They forced the Giants to punt and gave Carson Wentz just under two minutes to make something happen. Wentz went on a drive that culminated with an 18 yard pass to Boston Scott and handed the Eagles a one point lead. 

Next to step up was Brandon Graham on defense, as he strip sacked Daniel Jones and put this game to bed. Real grit and determination (and a few Giants mistakes) got the Eagles over the line in this one and propelled them to the top of the hotly contested NFC East.

21. Miami Dolphins - 3-3

Previously 20

Ryan Fitzpatrick was possibly in the form of his life and then he wakes up and is dropped for the young rook. It’s Tua time in Miami and he has had a week to work on how to avoid Aaron Donald and the rest of the Rams defense. Miami finds themselves in second place in their division and knocking on the door of the playoff picture. Does Tua provide the spark that gets them into the playoffs or will they regret not riding the hot hand of Fitzpatrick until the wheels fell off? Whatever happens it’s bound to be interesting.

20. Detroit Lions - 3-3

Previously 23

Matthew Stafford’s 75 yard drive could be the spark that the Detroit Lions need. Stafford and Hockenson have struck up a partnership that has maybe come a year later than they wanted, but nevertheless it’s their now. Three games with three scores for Hockenson and he had the game winning score in this one. If Detroit can kick on next week against the Colts they could make a push at the Packers and challenge for the division. A dramatic win against Atlanta and the tide could be turning in Detroit.

19. New England Patriots - 2-4

Previously 12

Worst start to the season in the Bill Belichick era and the worst home loss of the Bill Belichick era. Is the dynasty over? Cam Newton is a shell of the man he was to start the season and it appears COVID has had an impact on him. Newton managed just 98 yards and three interceptions before being benched for Jarrett Stidham early in the fourth quarter. Belichick could not stop the 49ers running game and they allowed Jeff Wilson to run all over them to the tune of three touchdowns. 

It’s not the Patriot way and it’s not what we as NFL fans are used to, but something is up in New England.

18. Carolina Panthers - 3-4

Previously 19

Mike Davis has filled in admirably for the injured Christian McCaffrey but the Panthers need him back. In a close game with divisional rivals McCaffrey is the type of player that could have provided that spark that got them a win. Instead, it came down to the leg of Joey Slye to attempt a 65 yard field goal to tie the game. It was up and it was dead centre and it was just a few feet short. The Panthers came within a foot of taking this game to overtime, a foot that the return of McCaffrey will be a bit easier to get.

17. Las Vegas Raiders - 3-3

Previously 17

Las Vegas came out of their bye week and ran right into the teeth of Devin White. The Raiders had no answer for him on the Tampa defense as he racked up nine solo tackles, a tackle for a loss and three sacks. The Raiders had a shot at taking White in the 2019 draft but passed on him, a decision they lived to regret on Sunday Night. Derek Carr felt the full weight of the Tampa defense and the Raiders defense felt the full weight of a Tom Brady playing at his best. Las Vegas needs to get back to winning ways if they have any hope of catching the Kansas City Chiefs and if they want to stay ahead of the rising Los Angeles Chargers.

16. Los Angeles Chargers - 2-4

Previously 18

Justin Herbert continues to shine and show that he has the ability to be a star in this league. Drew Lock was meant to be the new heir apparent to Patrick Mahomes dominance in the AFC West, but it’s Herbert who is taking on the challenge. A career high in passing yards (347) and rushing yards (66) led the Chargers on their way to a victory and his first as a starter. The future is bright with Herbert at the reigns and with a strong defensive line, maybe the Chargers can mount a run at the playoffs.

15. Chicago Bears - 5-2

Previously 15

All of the doubts that were out there about the Bears came true on Monday Night. The offense is mediocre to poor and the defense is very good. Getting out to 5-1 was mainly down to the defense but it’s not good enough to carry them all the way. Chicago needs the offense to kick into gear if they want to keep winning. Nick Foles needs his receivers to get open quickly as he doesn’t have the legs to extend plays. Matt Nagy needs to scheme players open for him or we may see another QB change in Illinois. Up next is another tough matchup against the New Orleans Saints.

14. San Francisco 49ers - 4-3

Previously 16

Jimmy Garoppolo and Kyle Shanahan must be the happiest people in football. Garoppolo getting the better of his former employers and Shanahan exacting some revenge for the Super Bowl LI defeat. Shanahan out coached Bill Belichick and he did it by staying true to his scheme. 81% of the 49ers offensive plays were run by design or play action. Even the great Bill Belichick couldn’t stop it and he lived to pay the price. San Francisco seems to be coming out of their Super Bowl slump and it’s about time if they want to stay competitive in the NFC.

13. Indianapolis Colts - 4-2

Previously 14

Philip Rivers has to find a way to prevent turning the ball over. In the games the Colts have lost he has thrown four interceptions compared to only two in their four wins. He has always been prone to a pick or two but the Colts brought him in now to win quickly. If Rivers continues to play how he has been in the past few years then the Colts can be written off now. But if he can keep the turnovers down and the Colts can utilise his strengths then they can certainly challenge the Titans and potentially make a run in the playoffs.

12. Cleveland Browns - 5-2

Previously 11

The ups and downs of the Baker Mayfield experience continue. One week he looks terrible, the next great and so on and so forth. Unfortunately for the Cincinnati Bengals it was time for a great Baker Mayfield performance. He started slowly but went on to complete 22 out of his final 23 pass attempts. He posted a perfect passer rating through the final three quarters and his only incompletion was a spike to stop the clock. The Browns have lost Odell Beckham for the season, as another player goes down with the dreaded ACL tear. 

Luckily for the Browns they have talent coming out of their ears and they will still be able to compete without their number one receiver. Cleveland needs more performances like this from Mayfield.

11. New Orleans Saints - 4-2

Previously 10

New Orleans suffered another blow in the lead up to this game as they were forced to play without both Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Drew Brees did his best Aaron Rodgers impression and completed passes to a variety of receivers and found a way to get it done without his top two weapons. Alvin Kamara is on an unbelievable streak just now and has been a safety blanket for Brees. Five straight games with more than 100 scrimmage yards and he has carried the Saints to victories when they have been missing Brees favourite receiver. New Orleans are only going to get stronger when Thomas and Sanders return and their return could be vital if they want to stop the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

10. Arizona Cardinals - 5-2

Previously 13

Arizona is well and truly in the hunt for the NFC West and it’s great to see. An incredible comeback led by Kyler Murray as they racked up 519 yards on the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle came out in the first half firing on all cylinders and Russell Wilson racked up 300 yards of offense. The Cardinals did however force Wilson into making three interceptions including the Isaiah Simmons pick that set the Cardinals up for a game winning field goal. By beating Seattle the Cardinals have put their name well and truly in the mix for the NFC West and maybe the NFC championship.

9. Buffalo Bills - 5-2

Previously 8

Buffalo raced out to 4-0 and then went on a two game slide, losing big to the Titans and the Chiefs. In the New York Jets and their stumbling offense (and defense) the Bills had a chance to pile up the points and get back on track. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be and the Bills had to rely on their kicker to put up 18 points. Buffalo’s offense has been the bright spark for them but they stalled against an extremely inferior team. The Bills defense did however finally live up to the expectations that have followed them since the start of the season. They managed to hold the Jets to just four yards in the second half as they choked the life out of New York’s offense. Buffalo just needs to find a way to get both sides of the ball playing at their best at the same time.

8. Los Angeles Rams - 5-2

Previously 9

Aaron Donald has been a dominant force in the Rams defense but it was the unit as a collective that dominated the Bears offense and held them to a field goal. Nick Foles was hurried all night and forced to make bad throws. Two of the throws ended up in the hands of Rams defenders including the game sealing pick from Jalen Ramsey. Holding the Bears offense to just 279 yards and stifling them in the end zone led the Rams on their way to their fifth win of the season.

Jared Goff and Sean McVay are back looking like the partnership that led them all the way to Super Bowl LIII. The NFC West is the best division in football and whoever comes out on top will be well prepared for the playoffs and possibly the Super Bowl.

7. Tennessee Titans - 5-1

Previously 4

Tennessee were 5-0, had a home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Derrick Henry was running all over everyone. Surely 6-0 was on the horizon? It wasn’t to be for the Titans as Stephen Gostkowski’s evil side reared it’s head again. Ryan Tannehill and Henry led the Titans back from a 20 point deficit and set up Gostkowski to be the hero with a game tying field goal. It was up and it looked good and then it broke Titans hearts as it leaked right and ended the undefeated streak. 

The loss came down to the Titans inability to stop the Steelers on third down and force them off the field. Pittsburgh was allowed to complete 13 out of 18 third downs and completely dominate the time of possession, which importantly kept the Titans best player sat on the bench. Tennessee needs Henry on the ball and they couldn’t make it happen until too late in this one, which ultimately cost them a 6-0 record.

6. Green Bay Packers - 5-1

Previously 6

How good is Davante Adams? 196 yards and two touchdowns from 13 receptions and Aaron Rodgers had his hook up with his favorite receiver back. Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams are a deadly duo and the rest of the NFL should be put on notice. Green Bay put last week’s blowout loss to the Buccaneers behind them and Aaron Rodgers is back looking like the MVP of the league. The Packers performed well without Davante Adams but now that he is back they look extremely dangerous and capable of dominating the NFC.

5. Baltimore Ravens - 5-1

Previously 5

A bye week in Baltimore and a chance to rest up and keep an eye on how their divisional rivals get on. For years the Ravens only really had the Pittsburgh Steelers to worry about, but the times they are a changin’. The Cleveland Browns now hold one of the most talented rosters perhaps ever and are getting the results to match (finally). Then, in Cincinnati they have the new young gunslinger who is posing a threat to most teams he plays. Maybe this is what has led the Ravens to acquire Yannick Ngakoue from the Minnesota Vikings. A great bit of business by the Ravens as they picked him up for a third rounder in 2021 and a conditional fifth rounder in 2022 despite the Vikings shipping a second rounder for him just two months ago. 

No matter how they pulled it off, the Ravens have acquired a linebacker with a knack for getting to the QB. If they want to win their division again it could be just what they need.

4. Seattle Seahawks - 5-1

Previously 1

An offense that has fired on all cylinders has bailed the Seahawks defense out for the first six weeks off the season. In Week 7, the offense stumbled and the defense couldn’t do enough to cover for them. Russell Wilson was left to cook but in this one he ended up getting burned. Three interceptions and a costly one in overtime that cost him his undefeated record. Seattle’s defense gave up 500 yards to the Cardinals offense and allowed Kyler Murray to overcome a 10 point deficit in the final five minutes of regulation. The offense is incredible but this defense needs some serious help if they want to keep up their winning ways.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 5-2

Previously 7

Tom Brady is playing like the 2007 version of himself as he deals out touchdown passes to everyone and anyone on the roster. So what do the Buccaneers go and do for him now. They bring in arguably the greatest receiver of the last 10 years in Antonio Brown. Yes he has his issues off the field but if Tampa can keep him off social media and keep him in check then they have another huge weapon for Brady. The Buccaneers are in win now mode and if all the pieces keep clicking then they could dominate everyone. A defense that is making mincemeat of everyone they play and an offense piling on the points has Tampa primed for a run at the Super Bowl.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers - 6-0

Previously 3

Then there was one. The only undefeated team left in the National Football League and the woes of 2019 are long gone. Despite almost blowing a 20 point lead and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory Pittsburgh held on just long enough and forced Tennessee to attempt a long field goal to tie the game. Just like Ben Roethlisberger, everyone was shocked that Gotskowski missed and the Steelers moved on to 6-0. An offense that each week uses a different weapon and leaves teams guessing about who is going to be their guy against them. Chase Claypool stepped up in the last few weeks and this week was Diontae Johnson’s turn as he hauled in two first half touchdowns. Pittsburgh are 6-0 for the first time since 1978 and look like they may be destined for the Super Bowl.

1. Kansas City Chiefs - 6-1

Previously 2

In Week 8 the Kansas City Chiefs defense came to play. Three sacks, four tackles for a loss, a forced fumble and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. A lights out performance from the defense allowed Patrick Mahomes to have an unusally quiet game and still end up with 43 points. Two weeks in a row that the Chiefs air attack has stalled but they now have one of the best duos in the back field. Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Le’Veon Bell will give KC the ability to not rely on Mahomes superhuman arm in every game and if the defense continues to play like this, Super Bowl number two is surely a formality.

MArk Ross

NFL Analyst