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NFL Week 8 Power Rankings: Lions on the rise, Patriots on last breath

In an exciting week of football, the Lions and Patriots went streaking in opposite directions.

Detroit Lions v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

If there is one thing we learned in Week 7 is that you truly do have to play until the final whistle. Two games were won on the final play of the game. Two other games were decided by go-ahead touchdowns in the final two minutes. Two other games were decided by three points after the losing team missed a late field goal.

It all came down to the wire in an exciting week for the NFL.

Last-minute finishes

The week started off on Thursday night, where the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants, both from the mess of an NFC East, played a mess of a game. A late drop by tight end Evan Engram blew a chance for the Giants to close out the game. Instead, it gave the Eagles one final chance. Carson Wentz, who played an awful game, came up huge on the final drive and found Boston Scott for a game-winning touchdown pass with under two minutes to play.

On Sunday, both the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns followed the Eagles, almost simultaneously scoring game-winning touchdowns. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was given one last opportunity to drive his team down and score after Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley accidentally slipped into the end zone, and a touchdown on the last play of the game earned them a 23-22 win. Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield overcame a rough start to the game, and a late touchdown throw to Donovan Peoples-Jones gave them a late 37-34 lead to avoid falling victim to a huge early season upset.

Two other Sunday games came down to the very end as well. The Tennessee Titans were a late missed field goal away from forcing overtime in the battle of unbeatens against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and fell 27-24. The Carolina Panthers took the New Orleans Saints the distance as well, but eventually lost by the same score after missing a field goal—albeit a 65 yarder—at the two-minute warning.

New England in trouble

The New England Patriots got blown out this week. The San Francisco 49ers put them to the sword for a 33-6 victory, dropping the team that once looked like they could be contenders to 2-4.

Quarterback Cam Newton had a rough outing, only completing nine of 15 pass attempts, and throwing three interceptions. He was eventually benched for Jarrett Stidham, who did not do much better, completing six of 10 attempts for 64 yards and an interception.

The Patriots are now losers of three straight, and may have a problem at quarterback. Newton has struggled after a great start to the season, and the lack of offensive talent around him has really begun to hurt them. The defense has not been the juggernaut they were expected to be either.

With the Buffalo Bills at 5-2, and the 3-3 Miami Dolphins looking like they are turning things around, the Patriots era of dominance in the AFC East is likely over. At least they wont’ finish last, though, since winning two games seems like a tall task for this New York Jets team.

Week 8

Rank Team Change
Rank Team Change
1 Pittsburgh ^2
2 Baltimore -1
3 Kansas City ^2
4 Tennessee -
5 Seattle -3
6 Tampa Bay -
7 Green Bay -
8 Cleveland -
9 LA Rams ^2
10 Buffalo -1
11 Las Vegas -1
12 Arizona -
13 New Orleans ^1
14 San Francisco ^3
15 Chicago -2
16 Miami -
17 Indianapolis ^3
18 Denver -
19 New England -4
20 Carolina ^1
21 Philadelphia -2
22 Detroit ^4
23 LA Chargers ^2
24 Minnesota -1
25 Houston -1
26 Atlanta ^1
27 Washington ^2
28 Dallas -6
29 Jacksonville -1
30 Cincinnati -
31 NY Giants -
32 NY Jets -