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NFL Week 8 Power Rankings: Big day for big cats

Lions, Panthers soar up the rankings after impressive wins.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Philadelphia Eagles James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

We finally got a bit of stability in the NFL. In Week 7, the good teams actually won. There is a log jam at three-win mark, though, as the playoff picture finally starts taking shape this season. Here is where everyone stands heading into Week 8 of the NFL season:

1. Los Angeles Rams (7-0; won 39-10 vs SF) (- No change from last week)

This team is really good and they beat up everyone they play against. What more can I add at this point?

2. New England Patriots (5-2; won 38-31 vs CHI) (-)

New England won a sloppy, wild, game against the Bears this week. The defense is still a problem, but the offense (and special teams) are still doing enough to make up for them.

3. Kansas City Chiefs (6-1; won 45-10 vs CIN) (-)

RIP Bengals, the latest victims of the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City didn’t miss a beat after dropping their first game of the season against the Patriots last week. They laid a beating on the Bengals and showed they’re still one of the teams to beat in the NFL.

4. New Orleans Saints (5-1; won 24-23 vs BAL) (-)

New Orleans won an instant classic in Baltimore this week. The offense took a long time, but they finally cracked the tough Ravens defense in the fourth quarter when they scored 17 points to sneak away with a gritty road win.

5. Los Angeles Chargers (5-2; won 20-19 vs TEN) (-)

Los Angeles barely had the ball in this game but still managed to outscore the Titans. Philip Rivers is still having a MVP caliber season and the defense is getting better every week.

6. Minnesota Vikings (4-2-1; won 37-17 vs NYJ) (+1)

The Vikings dominated the Jets in the Meadowlands. Minnesota’s offense is starting to get hot, and the defense didn’t allow Sam Darnold to ever really get comfortable. It’s not the most impressive of victories but it puts the Vikings on top in the NFC North.

7. Baltimore Ravens (4-3; lost 24-23 vs NO) (-1)

The Baltimore Ravens lost a heartbreaker at home to the New Orleans Saints. The defense was great and the offense did just enough. Justin Tucker missed his first career extra point to cost them the game, but hanging with one of the best teams in the NFL is a statement to how great they truly are.

8. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2-1; BYE) (-)

Steelers had a week off and the AFC North went 0-3. Pittsburgh is right back atop the division. They truly did win the bye week.

9. Green Bay Packers (3-2-1; BYE) (-)

Green Bay got a week off and they might need it as a showdown with the red-hot Los Angeles Rams looms.

10. Washington (4-2; won 20-17 vs DAL) (+4)

This team won two consecutive games, so are they good now? They take over first place in the NFC East after winning and old-fashioned bruiser against their arch-rival Dallas Cowboys. Adrian Peterson is having a renaissance in the nation’s capital, and Washington looks set to be a huge part of the playoff race.

11. Cincinnati Bengals (4-3; lost 45-10 vs KC) (-1)

The Bengals were just the latest victim of the Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs. This team does have a few things to figure out, though. The defense still hasn’t found its footing. Andy Dalton and the flying Bengals offense failed to take advantage of a poor Chiefs defense. They still have playoff aspirations, but they need to quell these concerns.

12. Carolina Panthers (4-2; won 21-17 vs PHI) (+7)

Carolina still isn’t a very good team but with Cam Newton under center they can beat anyone. The Panthers came back from a 17-0 fourth quarter deficit to win and all the credit goes to their superstar quarterback. On defense, Luke Kuechly is playing at an All-Pro level and was huge in this comeback victory. The team has issues, but they have enough stars to carry them.

13. Chicago Bears (3-3; lost 38-31 vs NE) (-)

Mitchell Trubisky is a problem. The quarterback was absolutely awful passing (he’s actually an incredible runner) and cost his team the game. Chicago’s defense was okay, but special teams errors gave up 14 points. This team is flailing right now, but they do have the talent and coaching to get it together.

14. Seattle Seahawks (3-3; BYE) (+3)

A hot Seattle team got a rest this week. The extra week might be huge for them as they have a potential wild card tiebreaker against the Lions up next.

15. Detroit Lions (3-3; won 32-21 vs MIA) (+6)

The bizzaro-Lions that run the ball well and don’t sleep through the first three quarters of every game have won three of the last four. Matthew Stafford has been playing at an All-Pro level the past few games. Kerryon Johnson is a rookie of the year contender. This team is ... good?

16. Miami Dolphins (4-3; lost 32-21 vs DET) (-5)

Brock Osweiler came back down to earth and Miami was a dud against the Lions on Sunday. Frank Gore was contained and none of the receivers could put together any dazzling runs after the catch. The rush defense is a problem, but you’d have to imagine that the entire team will get a boost when Ryan Tannehill returns.

17. Dallas Cowboys (3-4; lost 20-17 vs WAS) (-1)

Dallas got outplayed by their mirror image within the NFC East. The team came back down to earth after a huge victory against the Jaguars last season. Dak Prescott has regressed again. The play calling is still ridiculously conservative. Ezekiel Elliott was shut down, running for just over 30 yards. The Cowboys roller coaster continues.

18. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4; lost 21-17 vs CAR) (-6)

The Eagles dominated 75 percent of this game, then it all fell apart at the end. Quarterback Carson Wentz was incredible in the first three quarters then fell apart in the end. The defense had no answer for the Panthers’ hurry-up offense and the Eagles blew a 17-0 fourth quarter lead to drop below .500.

19. Houston Texans (4-3; won 20-7 vs JAX) (+5)

The Texans have won four straight games and I have no idea how. Deshaun Watson doesn’t have two functioning lungs at the moment. The offensive line is terrible. Their secondary is awful. Somehow, some way, they are on a four-game win streak and holding the top spot in the AFC South.

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-4; lost 20-7 vs HOU) (-5)

Blake Bortles finally got benched. Cody Kessler entered this game as the Jags trailed 20-0 and he couldn’t do enough to drag them back into it. The defense was a little better this week but are still a shell of the force they were last season. The AFC South is still in play for them, but this could be a lost season for a team with Super Bowl aspirations.

21. Tennessee Titans (3-4; lost 20-19 vs LAC) (-3)

The Titans knew that they couldn’t out-gun the Los Angeles Chargers, so they shortened the game by running the ball a lot—similar to what the Lions did against the Patriots. Their secondary gave up a two deep touchdowns, though, and they lost on a failed two-point conversion at the end of regulation. The decision to go for two was great, playing to win always beats playing to tie, but a terrible back end zone slant play failed and cost them the game.

22. Atlanta Falcons (3-4; won 23-20 vs NYG) (-)

The Falcons took care of business against a bad team for the second time in a row. They got off to another slow start but their defense was able to keep the Giants skill position players in check for a majority of the night. It’s a long shot, but three wins puts them in the thick of the NFC wildcard race

23. Denver Broncos (3-4; won 45-10 vs ARI) (+3)

Denver laid a beating on the Arizona Cardinals. They went ahead early and never looked back. Von Miller and Bradley Chubb looked like the pass-rushing duo we’d dream they’d become. The defense snuffed out everything and embarrassed rookie Josh Rosen.

24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-3; won 26-23 vs CLE) (-1)

Tampa Bay dominated the majority of this game. The defense let the Browns back into the game, though, and almost wasted a great performance from Jameis Winston (for 60 minutes; He was a mess in overtime). Bad coaching and key mistakes almost cost them down the stretch but nobody can out-Browns the Browns.

Kicker Chandler Catanzaro may have saved his job with the game-winning field goal from 59 yards. He missed a potential 40-yard winner at the end of regulation.

25. New York Jets (3-4; lost 37-17 vs MIN) (-)

Sam Darnold had no help in this game. While he wasn’t perfect himself, the rest of the team failed him. A banged up group of receivers couldn’t get open. The offensive line got steam-rolled by the Vikings pass rush. A loss here was expected, but the Jets looked really bad coming off of a big win over the Colts last week.

26. Cleveland Browns (2-4-1; lost 26-23 vs TB) (-6)

Cleveland just can’t let a game end in regulation. The Browns put together a late rally to tie this game but couldn’t outlast the Bucs in overtime. These late losses keep piling up and one has to think that Hue Jackson may be on the hot seat.

27. Indianapolis Colts (2-5; won 37-5 vs BUF) (+2)

Marlon Mack, who is quietly one of the league’s better running backs, went off on Sunday. He had 126 yards and a touchdown on 19 rushing attempts. He also scored through the air. The Colts running back gave the offense the kickstart it needed. The defense closed down the Bills offense and the Colts are back in the AFC South race.

28. New York Giants (1-6; lost 23-20 vs ATL) (+3)

The offense was missing in action again in the first half but they actually arrived in the second. Eli Manning was not very good overall but it was probably his best game of the season. Sterling Shepard had a big day with nearly 150 yards. They lost, but they’re at the point of the season where that doesn’t matter for them anymore.

29. Buffalo Bills (2-5; lost 37-5 vs IND) (-1)

How did this team beat the Vikings?

30. San Francisco 49ers (1-6; lost 39-10 vs LAR) (-)

C.J. Beathard and the 49ers didn’t really stand a chance against the Rams.

31. Oakland Raiders (1-5; BYE) (+1)

We can’t make fun of them this week because they didn’t play. Getting a first-round pick for Amari Cooper might be the first good move they have made in the Gruden era, though.

32. Arizona Cardinals (1-6; lost 45-10 vs DEN) (-3)

The Cardinals are a bad football team. They stood no chance in this game. From top to bottom this entire organization is in a bad place.

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