The 2020 NFL Week 8 power rankings include a new No. 1, but is it the lone remaining undefeated team in Pittsburgh?
1. Kansas City Chiefs (6-1) | Last week: 2 (+1)
It’s extremely close, but the Chiefs get back to the top spot in this week’s NFL power rankings after their dominant victory versus the Broncos in the snow. The offense didn’t need to do a ton of heavy lifting, with a defensive score and a kickoff return touchdown adding 14 points—look for a similar effort in all three phases this Sunday against the winless Jets. Rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been great, and he’s second in the NFL in rushing, but don’t be surprised if Le’Veon Bell has a stellar afternoon against his former team.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-0) | Last week: 3 (+1)
I was going to move the Steelers to No. 1 as the only remaining unbeaten team in the league, but they remain behind the Chiefs at No. 2 for now. Pittsburgh built an early lead and held on against the Titans in a battle of undefeated teams, and the pass rush did plenty of damage to disrupt things when they jumped ahead in the game. The Steelers are a superb all-around team with talented players on both sides of the ball and one of the NFL’s best coaching staffs led by Mike Tomlin.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-2) | Last week: 6 (+3)
Devin White did not think the Raiders should have passed on him in last year’s draft, and he played like it on Sunday, recording 11 tackles, three sacks, and a forced fumble en route to earning NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors in a Buccaneers victory. The defense is elite, and Tom Brady continues to silence the doubters and play like the best quarterback in football—and he’ll be adding All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown to the mix after this week. For Week 8, Tampa Bay will have to do without Chris Godwin (broken finger).
4. Seattle Seahawks (5-1) | Last week: 1 (-3)
Russell Wilson was almost flawless through the Seahawks’ first five games of the season, but he made three rare mistakes with interceptions in the Sunday night overtime loss at Arizona. Unfortunately it came in a loss, but the hustle play by D.K. Metcalf was the highlight of the week around the NFL—this was yet another bad marker for basically every team that apparently didn’t have a first-round grade on the Ole Miss product, who has remarkable athleticism, translatable football talent, and gives maximum effort. Seattle must bounce back quickly when they face the Niners this week, and expect more from Metcalf offensively after the Cardinals held him to 23 yards.
5. Tennessee Titans (5-1) | Last week: 4 (-1)
The gamebreaking ability of A.J. Brown helped the Titans erase a large deficit and get back in the game versus the Steelers, and it looks like Brown is already the second-best receiver in the league behind Julio Jones (in my humble opinion). Adding a big piece on defense (perhaps reigning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore, who has been rumored as a trade candidate?) could give Tennessee a major boost against the toughest opponents in the AFC like Pittsburgh and Kansas City, and I won’t be surprised if a move like that happens after Diontae Johnson did damage to the secondary last week.
6. Baltimore Ravens (5-1) | Last week: 5 (-1)
The bye week gave the Ravens an extra week to prepare for a stingy Steelers defense that gave Lamar Jackson more trouble than anyone during the regular season last year. The AFC North rivals will face off again later this season, but this week as critical as Baltimore looks to avoid falling two games back to start November.
7. Buffalo Bills (5-2) | Last week: 7
The Bills were unable to find the end zone, but Josh Allen efficiently moved the ball and set up a whopping eight field goal attempts in Buffalo’s 18-10 victory over the Jets. The defense started off relatively slow, which was a concern, but Sean McDermott’s group completely shut down New York in the second half of the Week 8 win. It’s a long season, but the Bills can deliver a potential death knell to the Patriots this weekend.
8. Green Bay Packers (5-1) | Last week: 8
Despite no Aaron Jones (calf), the Packers offense bounce back with a strong showing against the Texans in a game that was never really in question. Jamaal Williams (114 total yards, one touchdown) did a nice job of filling in for Jones, and Davante Adams had a career day with 13 receptions for 196 yards and two of Aaron Rodgers’ four touchdowns. Green Bay next faces a Minnesota team they torched for 43 points in Week 1.
9. Los Angeles Rams (5-2) | Last week: 11 (+2)
Sean McVay and Jared Goff kept the Bears defense off balanced on Monday night, moving Goff outside the pocket and utilizing some quick throws to keep the offense in favorable positions. Defensively, the pass rush led to no touchdowns allowed by Los Angeles aside from a scoop-and-score by Chicago. However, star cornerback Jalen Ramsey was beaten deep a few times, but a couple of potential touchdowns were not connected on—it’s something to keep an eye on not just this season but moving forward for a guy with a huge contract.
10. Las Vegas Raiders (3-3) | Last week: 9 (-1)
The Raiders are a tough team to rank, but I’ll keep them in the top ten of the power rankings ahead of Week 8. While the Bucs pulled away late, the 25-point loss for Vegas was closer than the score indicates. The concerning standout was the lack of a pass rush for the Raiders, but Tom Brady deserves credit for getting the ball out and obviously knowing where to go with it on each snap. If Jon Gruden’s offense can get more production from Henry Ruggs, they’ll become more consistently dynamic as a group including the underrated Nelson Agholor.
11. New Orleans Saints (4-2) | Last week: 13 (+2)
Drew Brees had one of his best games of the season despite no Michael Thomas in the lineup again for the Saints, and I totally agree with the trade rumors (despite Sean Payton’s strong denial). New Orleans is fine offensively without Thomas, who has a massive price tag and might not be as big of a part in the gameplan if and when Taysom Hill takes over at quarterback next year or beyond; I would trade him. We’ll see how Brees and the Saints fare at Soldier Field—likely without Thomas again, it seems—this Sunday afternoon.
12. Arizona Cardinals (5-2) | Last week: 15 (+3)
A major takeaway from the Cardinals’ overtime win over the Seahawks was the play of Patrick Peterson in mostly shadow coverage against D.K. Metcalf. Russell Wilson didn’t really even test Peterson, who has done an outstanding job of guarding the monstrous receiver. I have to admit, I am surprised that Kliff Kingsbury is doing so well in the NFL after a sub-.500 record in college—it appears having a solid NFL roster built instead of having to recruit high school kids has been much preferred for Kingsbury.
13. Indianapolis Colts (4-2) | Last week: 14 (+1)
As the Colts emerge from their bye week, superstar linebacker Darius Leonard is likely to return for one of the league’s top defenses. The upcoming schedule for Indy is extremely challenging, so a win this Sunday against Detroit would be very valuable ahead of the gauntlet they’ll face.
14. San Francisco 49ers (4-3) | Last week: 16 (+2)
The Niners completely dominated in Foxboro on Sunday afternoon, and they could easily be a few spots higher and arguably into the top ten of the Week 8 power rankings. They have more injuries to deal with in Deebo Samuel (hamstring) and Jeff Wilson Jr. (ankle after three touchdowns versus New England), but Kyle Shanahan’s offense is now clicking behind a steady-handed Jimmy Garoppolo and strong offensive line play. With Richard Sherman still out indefinitely, let’s see how the defense holds up against Russell Wilson and company this week.
15. Chicago Bears (5-2) | Last week: 10 (-5)
Nick Foles got a lot of criticism pointed his way for the performance by the Bears offense against the Rams, but he had virtually no chance behind that offensive line for most of the night. The red zone interception was bad, but after being relentlessly pressured and not getting much going, it’s natural to try and press things. I believe Chicago needs to give Foles more control and run more up-tempo stuff, but Matt Nagy doesn’t seem willing to do that.
16. Cleveland Browns (5-2) | Last week: 17 (+1)
After entering the league lighting it up and being squarely among the best receivers for his three seasons, Odell Beckham Jr. has had a lot of bad luck over the past few years. While some argue Baker Mayfield (coming off a five-touchdown performance with Beckham out for most of it) might be better without Beckham—which may or may not be the case—not having OBJ in the lineup might allow defenses to focus more on stopping the run. The Browns will probably be in a battle this weekend versus the Raiders.
17. New England Patriots (2-4) | Last week: 12 (-5)
I did not think the Patriots would drop down to the bottom half of the power rankings this season (or really ever with Bill Belichick), but they’ve lose three consecutive games and simply have not been playing well. It starts with Cam Newton, who is going through a tough stretch despite a very good start to his tenure with New England. The good news is that Newton is accepting full responsibility for his play, and he realizes he must play better if he wants to remain the starter this season and into the future. I wouldn’t bet against Belichick getting this thing turned around, and a Stephon Gilmore trade actually happening does not feel likely to me.
18. Miami Dolphins (3-3) | Last week: 19 (+1)
Tua Tagovailoa appears to have an even keeled mindset, but the pressure is on the No. 5 overall pick taking over for a 3-3 Dolphins team with the two other first-round rookie quarterbacks lighting it up early in their respective careers. It won’t be an easy first start for Tua going up against the Rams, but a trial by fire should be something that helps him grow.
19. Philadelphia Eagles (2-4-1) | Last week: 21 (+2)
The Eagles offense had been moving the ball and scoring points late in games, and they finally finished it with a double-digit comeback win last Thursday night. That said, it’s not ideal that it took a comeback effort by Carson Wentz and the offense against a one-win Giants team—though a win is a win, and the Eagles are in the driver’s seat in the NFC East. Washington is in the mix (and even the Giants still), but Philadelphia can get to a good spot with a Sunday night win over Dallas to get to 3-4-1.
20. Carolina Panthers (3-4) | Last week: 18 (-2)
Christian McCaffrey is nearing a return, and there’s a lot of hype surrounding his potential ability to play tomorrow night after his 21-day practice window was opened yesterday. The Panthers were expected to be among the worst teams in the league this season, so it is very impressive for them to be 3-4 and in the NFC playoff picture despite not having McCaffrey for the past five games—and you know the All-Pro running back really wants to get back on the field. On a short week, McCaffrey’s return could be a needed jolt of energy.
21. Detroit Lions (3-3) | Last week: 24 (+3)
I said a couple of weeks ago the Lions needed to win their next two winnable games versus the Jags and Falcons, and Matt Patricia’s squad took care of business—with a little bit of luck we’ll get to under the Falcons’ ranking—to get to 3-3 with an upcoming schedule of vs. Indy, at Minnesota, vs. Washington, at Carolina, and vs. Houston through Thanksgiving. Matthew Stafford and Kenny Golladay have basically been impossible to stop in jump-ball/contested-catch situations, so look for Detroit to go to their top receiver more moving forward.
22. Los Angeles Chargers (2-4) | Last week: 25 (+3)
The Jaguars were not among the most challenging opponents, but rookie quarterback Justin Herbert’s amazing start to his career doesn’t look like it’ll slow anytime soon—Herbert almost looks like a ten-year veteran quarterback with the poise he shows under pressure while spreading the ball all around the field to the open man while also throwing guys open. I’m anxious to see if Herbert will keep it going against Vic Fangio’s defense this Sunday.
23. Denver Broncos (2-4) | Last week: 20 (-3)
The early-season snow game wasn’t much fun for Drew Lock and the Broncos, and it was one of those games you want to quickly forget about and move on to the next one. Denver won both games against Los Angeles last season, and now running back Melvin Gordon will get his first chance to face his former team after he apparently felt disrespected by them last year.
24. Atlanta Falcons (1-6) | Last week: 23 (-1)
The Falcons again found a new way to lose a game, as they likely would have beat the Lions if Todd Gurley’s momentum didn’t barely carry the ball past the goal line for a go-ahead touchdown that gave Detroit a chance to re-take the lead with a touchdown late. Gurley has gone down in the past, so it wasn’t a mental lapse—but the Lions did a good job of trying to force him into the end zone. 2-5 would have been much better than 1-6, and Atlanta’s margin for error as they look to make an improbable run to the postseason is at about zero now.
25. Washington Football Team (2-5) | Last week: 30 (+5)
I didn’t want to move Washington up too much based off one game against a team that’s been pretty bad, but they make a five-spot leap after handling the Cowboys with ease last week. And the biggest win of the week for Washington might have been Ron Rivera ending his cancer treatment. The Football Team now has its bye week, but they’ll return to action and look to make up for their one-point loss to the Giants in a rematch on November 8.
26. Minnesota Vikings (1-5) | Last week: 27 (+1)
Dalvin Cook (groin) is expected to be healthy off the bye, but the Vikings have an uphill climb to get back into the postseason mix, admitting as much by trading Yannick Ngakoue to the Ravens just months after acquiring him from the Jaguars—and star pass rusher Danielle Hunter is done for the year with a neck injury. Kirk Cousins must step up against the Packers this Sunday.
27. Dallas Cowboys (2-5) | Last week: 22 (-5)
The Cowboys might be the worst team in the league, and I won’t be surprised if they don’t win another game and are in contention for the No. 1 pick with the way they’ve looked on defense all season and on offense with Dak Prescott out of the lineup. Dallas is moving on from a few veterans, which I think everyone agrees is the right move; the bottom line is that something had to be done, because whatever was going on clearly has not been working.
28. Cincinnati Bengals (1-5-1) | Last week: 28
Numbers are totally inflated in today’s NFL, with record scoring paces (which I personally am not a fan of); but it doesn’t take away from the impressiveness of Joe Burrow, who is coming off his first 400-yard outing and has thrown for over 300 yards in five of his first seven career starts. The re-emergence of A.J. Green as a reliable playmaker on the outside has been good to see for a deep Cincinnati receiving corps.
29. Houston Texans (1-6) | Last week: 26 (-3)
As stated earlier, the Packers-Texans game just didn’t feel very competitive. Houston now has the bye week to regroup and perhaps make a big push to be more competitive over their final nine games, but they might also be sellers at the trade deadline.
30. New York Giants (1-6) | Last week: 29 (-1)
The results have not been there in terms of wins, but I believe Joe Judge is getting his players to buy in, as the Giants have been playing hard and close as of late. Really, they probably would be 2-5 and tied for first place in the division if Evan Engram was able to come up with the deep ball from Daniel Jones late last Thursday night—and there would be a different feel to them right now.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6) | Last week: 31
I was surprised to hear the Jaguars are considering benching Gardner Minshew this early in the season, but, if true, it could cement that the team will be selecting a quarterback early in this year’s draft—and it’s another confusing direction for a franchise that has a regime that looks like a lame duck.
32. New York Jets (0-7) | Last week: 32
The offense could not muster much of anything after a decent start last week, but it was good to see Sam Darnold back on the field after missing time due to a right shoulder issue. Darnold has over half the season to show he should remain the franchise guy in New York, but the worst news of the week for many Jets fans was Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence indicating that he may stay in school for another year despite saying the opposite before the season.