Nearly halfway through the 2023 NFL regular season, and last year’s Super Bowl participants have settled in as the clear top two of the Week 8 power rankings.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (6-1) | Last week: 2 (+1)
Patrick Mahomes went off with three second quarter touchdowns at home versus the Chargers, and he virtually sealed the game with his fourth touchdown of the day in the fourth quarter to help Kansas City extend its winning streak to six games. Linebacker Nick Bolton (wrist, expected to miss two months) is a massive loss for the strong Chiefs defense, especially with the Dolphins and Eagles up next after the Broncos this week.
2. Philadelphia Eagles (6-1) | Last week: 4 (+2)
Not only did the Eagles win somewhat convincingly against the Dolphins on Sunday night, feeling in complete control for most of the contest, but they then added one of the best defensive players in the league in All-Pro safety Kevin Byard via a trade from the Titans. After the Commanders offense had success in the first matchup of the season, look for the Philly defense to be determined for a shutdown game this Sunday.
3. Baltimore Ravens (5-2) | Last week: 9 (+6)
You could see Lamar Jackson and the Ravens starting to hit their stride more in London, and they completely broke out in the 38-6 win over the Lions in which Jackson totaled nearly 400 yards with four touchdowns and a perfect passer rating. I saw some clips on X showing that the mainstream media is just realizing Jackson can play like this and that Baltimore added major juice on offense this offseason. (He’s shown he can do this dating back to his time at Louisville.)
4. San Francisco 49ers (5-2) | Last week: 3 (-1)
The 49ers have lost two consecutive games—the first two in Brock Purdy’s regular season career—but I think Purdy will bounce back from the uncharacteristic late interceptions on Monday night. However, Week 8 will be a tough task facing a rested Bengals team that can snap out of their funk and light up the scoreboard at any moment paired with a defense that played really well their last time out.
5. Detroit Lions (5-2) | Last week: 1 (-4)
I was clearly a bit early putting the Lions in the top spot of the power rankings last week, but they were dominant entering the matchup at Baltimore. We might be able to chalk up the subpar performance as a bad day for Dan Campbell’s squad. Playing at home on Monday Night Football this week, I expect them to get back on track.
6. Buffalo Bills (4-3) | Last week: 5 (-1)
The Bills shouldn’t be panicking, as the Patriots are too well coached not to have finally played a great game like they did at home. However, the big concern for Buffalo is that they are a couple of games back for homefield in the AFC. Less than a week from the trade deadline, I’m looking for the Bills to be aggressive in attempting to shore up the injury-depleted roster.
7. Miami Dolphins (5-2) | Last week: 6 (-1)
As stated last week, the Dolphins were a bit lower in the power rankings because they were blown out to the only team with a winning record (Buffalo) they played. Ultimately, Lincoln Financial Field is a very difficult place to play, and they didn’t have quite enough firepower—Jaylen Waddle (back) was in and out of the game, the offensive line is dealing with injuries, and neither Xavien Howard nor Jalen Ramsey was available—for primetime.
8. Dallas Cowboys (4-2) | Last week: 7 (-1)
The Cowboys re-emerge from the bye week for a matchup with a Rams team they should be able to handle like they did last year. But stopping Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua is no easy task if Los Angeles holds up better in pass protection this time around (five sacks allowed last October).
9. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-2) | Last week: 8 (-1)
Quietly, the Jaguars have won three games in a row to be one of seven five-win teams in the league. Trevor Lawrence (knee) was not at 100% last Thursday night at New Orleans, but he made enough plays with his legs and hit Christian Kirk for a late 44-yard catch-and-run touchdown in the victory. Also, running back Travis Etienne Jr. scored twice for the third consecutive game.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2) | Last week: 10
It may not be pretty, but Kenny Pickett and the Steelers have shown a way to win tight games dating back to last season. Mike Tomlin moves to 13-4 off the bye. Hosting Jacksonville this Sunday will be a fun one and a good measuring stick for Pittsburgh, though they already own wins over the Ravens and Browns.
11. Cincinnati Bengals (3-3) | Last week: 11
The early bye week will hopefully have Joe Burrow (calf) at 100% health after battling through the first six games of the year. There are different players on each side, but San Fran and Cincy played in a great 26-23 overtime win for the Niners in 2021.
12. Seattle Seahawks (4-2) | Last week: 12
DK Metcalf (ribs/hip) missed the first game of his career last week, but the Seahawks were able to take care of business against the Cardinals to improve to 4-2. Seattle could use Metcalf to help keep the balance that worked last week on offense when they take on the Browns defense this week.
13. New York Jets (3-3) | Last week: 15 (+2)
The Jets return to action a bit under the radar at 3-3 with an elite defense and an offense that’s shown very positive signs the past three games. Robert Saleh typically gets his guys to come out fired up, and they should bring the energy for the New York showdown with the Giants.
14. Minnesota Vikings (3-4) | Last week: 23 (+9)
Kirk Cousins was outstanding in the Monday night upset win over the 49ers, and the Vikings make a nine-spot jump in this week’s power rankings after the critical victory. The signs continued in Week 7: The aggressive Minnesota defense is getting better and more comfortable by the week. First-round rookie receiver Jordan Addison caught two touchdowns (six this season) and is helping pick up the slack while Justin Jefferson is out.
15. Cleveland Browns (4-2) | Last week: 17 (+2)
Overall, it was not the type of defensive performance we have come to expect from Cleveland this season, but they made enough plays—including two sacks, two forced fumbles, and a blocked field goal by Myles Garrett—in the 39-38 win over the Colts. I like how the Browns offense has looked when veteran PJ Walker has been in there, but we’ll see if Deshaun Watson can stay on the field.
16. Los Angeles Chargers (2-4) | Last week: 13 (-3)
There’s still a lot of time left in the season, but head coach Brandon Staley is on the hot seat after LA was lit up by Mahomes, and the Chargers are pretty desperate for a win this Sunday night at home against the Bears. The pass rush must find a way to get home against undrafted rookie quarterback Tyson Bagent. As a positive for the Chargers, I love the way receiver Joshua Palmer is playing in helping make up for the huge loss of Mike Williams.
17. Los Angeles Rams (3-4) | Last week: 14 (-3)
The Rams were unable to challenge a questionable spot on a quarterback sneak that iced the game for the Steelers, and they’ve alternated wins and losses the past four games. It was Puka Nacua that had the big game in Week 7 while Cooper Kupp had just two receptions, and they’ll both likely need to be heavily involved to win at Dallas.
18. Atlanta Falcons (4-3) | Last week: 26 (+8)
While Bijan Robinson was dealing with a bad headache and didn’t play much, the Falcons overcame a few lost fumbles to win at Tampa Bay and improve to 4-3 atop the NFC South. Quarterback Desmond Ridder has been doing damage with his legs this season (three touchdowns), and Atlanta hopes the passing game improves with experience.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-3) | Last week: 16 (-3)
The division figures to be tight all year, but that was a tough loss for the Bucs to not be able to win at home within the division coming off the bye week. Now Tampa heads to Buffalo on a short week. Josh Allen did major damage on the ground in an epic overtime win by Tom Brady’s Bucs two seasons ago, so that’s something to watch on TNF.
20. Indianapolis Colts (3-4) | Last week: 20
The Colts are the only team in the league to score 20 points in every game this season, which I think says a lot about the job Shane Steichen is doing on the offensive side of the ball even without potential future star quarterback Anthony Richardson. As Jim Irsay publicly disclosed (apparently against NFL rules), there were a couple of blown calls that helped Cleveland in Week 7, potentially costing the Colts a win. Jonathan Taylor found the end zone for the first time this year in the loss to the Browns, and an improved ground game this season should help keep Indy in most games.
21. Houston Texans (3-3) | Last week: 21
DeMeco Ryans and his staff had an extra week to prepare for Bryce Young and the Panthers in a matchup of the top two picks in the draft. No. 2 pick C.J. Stroud will look to build on the excellent start to his career through six games, and the upcoming schedule should be a stretch where Houston remains competitive in every game.
22. Las Vegas Raiders (3-4) | Last week: 18 (-4)
In the two games without Jimmy Garoppolo in the lineup, the Raiders have shown how valuable he is at quarterback for them. Last week, Vegas started well on offense and moved the ball by feeding Davante Adams, but they couldn’t keep that going and eventually started forcing it to him too much when it was too late. Hopefully Jimmy G is ready to go Monday night at Detroit.
23. New Orleans Saints (3-4) | Last week: 22 (-1)
Derek Carr admitted that he needs to “chill out” a bit after how extremely and visibly frustrated he was in last Thursday night’s loss to the Jaguars. At least he cares a lot, and second-year receiver Chris Olave—a target of his frustration when he didn’t run a deep route hard, leading to Carr throwing the ball away out of bounds—is someone I think needs to step up and match the hype for New Orleans.
24. New England Patriots (2-5) | Last week: 27 (+3)
I was happy to hear that Bill Belichick received a lucrative long-term extension with the Patriots during the offseason. While things can change quickly even after owners make commitments, I think Robert Kraft will stick with the legendary head coach despite how difficult the past two years have been on offense. The win over the Bills was the 300th regular season victory for Belichick, and if Mac Jones can get enough help to play the way he did on Sunday, I wouldn’t count New England out from making a run.
25. Green Bay Packers (2-4) | Last week: 19 (-6)
The growing pains remain there for the first year of Jordan Love under center for the Packers, with Green Bay being held to 20 points or fewer in each of their past four games (1-3 record, with the win including all 18 points being scored in a fourth-quarter comeback against the Saints). The November schedule looks very tough for the Packers, and they almost feel in a must-win type of situation when hosting the Vikings this week.
26. Washington Commanders (3-4) | Last week: 25 (-1)
As star defensive lineman Jonathan Allen indicated with his postgame comments, the Commanders feel like more of the same this season despite the Year 1 hopes under new team ownership. After a 14-7 loss to the Giants during which Washington gave the New York pass rush life, the Commanders now must face the 6-1 Eagles in Philly.
27. New York Giants (2-5) | Last week: 28 (+1)
The Giants have played two consecutive solid games, and they are inches away from a two-game winning streak. I don’t think it’s by chance that the improvement has coincided with Saquon Barkley’s return to the lineup, and hopefully New York is able to get star left tackle Andrew Thomas and potentially quarterback Daniel Jones (as well as Tyrod Taylor has played) back for the Jets.
28. Tennessee Titans (2-4) | Last week: 24 (-4)
The Titans were off last week but drop four spots in the power rankings with the Patriots and Giants rising after victories—but this drop is primarily due to the trade of star safety Kevin Byard to the Eagles, indicating the direction Tennessee is headed. Mike Vrabel figures to keep the group gritty, but losing a player like Byard is tough.
29. Denver Broncos (2-5) | Last week: 30 (+1)
The Broncos have played hard and shown serious improvement on defense the past two games, but trying to limit the Chiefs offense for the second time in two weeks is a tall task. We’ll see if Denver can defend homefield for the second straight week.
30. Chicago Bears (2-5) | Last week: 31 (+1)
The Bears won their first home game in over a year, and I like what I saw from improbable starting quarterback—undrafted Division II player Tyson Bagent—in the win, taking what the defense gave him with the Chicago offense playing through running back D’Onta Foreman (three touchdowns) against the Raiders. I think sitting and watching from another perspective could be good for Justin Fields (thumb), and this is an immense opportunity for Bagent to play on Sunday Night Football at the Chargers.
31. Arizona Cardinals (1-6) | Last week: 29 (-2)
The Cardinals continue to play well in the first half of games, but they’re running out of steam each week. Perhaps the expected return of quarterback Kyler Murray the next two weeks will give Arizona’s undermanned roster a jolt.
32. Carolina Panthers (0-6) | Last week: 32
Carolina is a team to watch ahead of the Halloween trade deadline, but they just want to get a win coming off the bye. The change in offensive play-caller to offensive coordinator Thomas Brown is a storyline to watch for the Panthers.