Green Bay Packers (6-0) - Previously: #1 - The Packers' win over the Chargers looks so much worse now after Oakland demolished San Diego, but Green Bay was dealing with some injuries. The team caught fire following the bye last year, so the same thing could happen again in 2015. Besides, in a quarterback-prominent era, Aaron Rodgers has the advantage because he's the top signal-caller in the NFL, and he happens to be surrounded by a terrific supporting cast.
Cincinnati Bengals (6-0) - Previously: #3 - I've moved the Bengals up to No. 2. I wanted to do it last week. I just think that in an era in which offensive line play is so important, owning the best blocking unit in the league is pretty important. In addition to that, Andy Dalton has so many weapons that they could carry him in the playoffs and finally achieve success there.
New England Patriots (6-0) - Previously: #2 - First of all, I'd like to give a shoutout to the gambling gods for allowing the Jets to achieve a back-door cover. They were the right side all along, so it would've been a crime if they hadn't covered.
Second, I can't say I'm as impressed with the Patriots like everyone else is. Their wins came against a team that didn't know how to line up and was also missing Le'Veon Bell; the Bills, who have been exposed as a fraud; the Jaguars; the Brandon Weeden-led Cowboys; the Colts, who couldn't even beat the Saints; and the Jets, who aren't as good as people make them out to be either. They're quarterbacked by Ryan Fitzpatrick, for crying out loud.
I'm concerned with the Patriots' offensive line, which can't seem to protect Tom Brady, who has perennially struggled when getting hit often. The run defense stinks as well.
Arizona Cardinals (5-2) - Previously: #4 - I had such an awful betting week that one of the positives was that I didn't have any units on the Cardinals. A missed extra point was bound to ruin a cover for someone at some point.
Carolina Panthers (6-0) - Previously: #5 - I feel kind of stupid writing this, given that I picked the Eagles to cover - albeit for no units - but it's kind of crazy that the oddsmakers aren't respecting the Panthers at all. Carolina was favored a field goal, which meant that the sportsbooks considered them even with Philadelphia, since three points are customarily given to the host. And it's not like the house was adjusting for the public; most casual gamblers were on the Panthers. Despite being in a terrible spot, Carolina won by 11. This team is pretty damn good, though I guess its record indicates that.
Denver Broncos (6-0) - Previously: #7 - I found this on Facebook:
Pretty much sums up the Broncos - as does the fact that they're home underdogs against the Packers this upcoming Sunday night. Kind of crazy, since seven weeks ago, Denver would've been -3.
Seattle Seahawks (3-4) - Previously: #8 - The Seahawks are better than their record says they are, but I don't think they're good enough to be a top-10 team in most years. The problem is that save for a couple of squads, every team in the NFL is very underwhelming this year. It feels like the team that's going to prevail in the Super Bowl this season is going to be one of the worst teams to ever win it all.
The Seahawks may have won this week, but it's hard to say that they did so impressively. They still couldn't pass protect at all for Russell Wilson, and I don't see how they can improve that until next offseason.
Atlanta Falcons (6-1) - Previously: #9 - Holy crap, how shady was that Falcons non-cover? With so much money pouring in on Atlanta, I should've known some crazy things would happen. A random bad block negated a field goal at the end of the first half, while the usually reliable Matt Bryant whiffed on a routine kick at the end of the game. Both would've covered the spread, much like this:
HOW THE HELL IS THAT NOT A TOUCHDOWN!? Wow! It's right there. The ball was over the goal line. Six points. Falcons cover.
Hey Roger Goodell, a heads up: If you want to fix games, don't make it so obvious!
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) - Previously: #6 - Losing to a team playing before a London trip is never a good sign, since the Chiefs were the only one of the six to win in this situation this year. The Steelers will obviously be a Super Bowl contender when Ben Roethlisberger returns, but I feel compelled to drop them because of the loss, as well as Kelvin Beachum's injury.
Minnesota Vikings (4-2) - Previously: #10 - The Vikings - not the "Vikinga" as I wrote last week - are pretty damn good. They're also the only team I've been able to read this season. They've covered every game since Week 1, they own a great defense, and Teddy Bridgewater's outlook is brighter now that he has Stefon Diggs stepping up. I love this team, especially since they've kept me from being completely bankrupt this year.
NFL Power Rankings: Week 8 - Bottom 10
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5) - Previously: #32 - The Jaguars are #Forever32, so there's no way in hell they're moving out of this spot. They're not #Usually32 or #Sometimes32 or #Forever32UnlessTheyPlayEJManuel, they're #Forever32, and a victory over CFL quarterback E.J. Manuel doesn't change that.
Oh, and I'm not joking about the CFL thing. The Saskatchewan Roughriders have already offered Manuel a contract and have shown him a preview of his new jersey:
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4) - Previously: #31 - A great game for the Buccaneers. They looked great and still managed to lose, preserving their positioning in the 2016 NFL Draft. Bad teams - ahem, Jaguars, Chiefs - should learn a lesson from this and figure out how to lose properly.
30. Houston Texans (2-5) - Previously: #27 - The Texans, on the other hand, don't know how to lose properly. A halftime score of 42-0? How is that even possible? The Dolphins are not 42 points better than the Dolphins, so that just speaks to a lack of effort on Houston's part. As Nathan T. pointed out to me, since I was marooned at a wedding, Miami had five touchdowns before Houston picked up five yards. If the Texans keep this up, they may become #Forever31.
Oh, and it's not like the Texans can make a quarterback change...
Ryan Mallett: Ryan Mallett don't get a Slurpee for himself. Someone else get a Slurpee for Ryan Mallett, so who gonna give Ryan Mallett a Slurpee?
Derek Anderson: Stttopp beeeinngngg a diiickck duuddee annnadd hahavveve a ddrrinkk.
Ryan Mallett: Who gonna give Ryan Mallett a magic flask? You gonna give Ryan Mallett a magic flask?
Derek Anderson: Nnoott annyynmmooree I'mm noott hic! Byy thh wayy doonn't youu havvee a fliigghht to cattchch fooror yooourur gammme?
Ryan Mallett: Ryan Mallett gonna catch a flight once someone gives Ryan Mallett a plane ticket. Who gonna give Ryan Mallett a plane ticket?
29. San Francisco 49ers (2-5) - Previously: #25 - It turns out that exiling a top-three NFL coach in favor of a guy who looks like he owns a pizza shop and puts boogers and splooge in his food wasn't a good idea. But hey, at least he compliments Jed York on his newest haircuts.
Also, it's sounding like Colin Kaepernick won't be back, barring some sort of inexplicable resurgence. His next destination? Philadelphia, at least according to my dad. He's actually thrilled about this. "So much better than Sam Bradford!" he exclaims. Erm, OK.
28. Chicago Bears (2-4) - Previously: #29 -
Here's the Cutler meme of the week. Cutler and his teammates did some bonding during their week off:
And yes, Josh McCown came back for the week to help assist. Not that there's anything wrong with any of this.
27. Detroit Lions (1-6) - Previously: #28 - The Lions move up despite the loss because they actually played quite well against a far superior team. They had the lead at halftime, which was pretty impressive. The Lions, much like the Buccaneers, did a great job of blowing a second-half lead in order to make sure that they secure a top draft pick.
26. Kansas City Chiefs (1-5) - Previously: #30 - Andy Reid has been criticized heavily recently, so he did something about that this week:
A brilliant move, as Reid will now be absolved of all blame from the media. Or get mistaken for Romeo Crennel.
25. Baltimore Ravens (1-6) - Previously: #26 - I already covered the Cardinals-Ravens game, so let's take a look at some memorable tweets from Jim Irsay during the Colts game:
EASY WIN FOR THE COLTS COMING UP TEH SAINTS SUX AND THIS IS RAVANGE FOR THE SUPERBOWL!!!
7-0 SAINTS IS A FLUKE HERE COMES ANDREW LUCK HES GOING TO MAKE SAINTS FANS WISH THEY WERE DROWNING IN HURRICANE KATARINA AGAIN!!!
14-0 SAINTS WTF IS GOING ON HERE WHY ARE THE REFS SCREWING US!!!!
20-0 saints at left there kicker missed an xp because hes a pu$$ayy
27-0 saints im not ginna lie to yyou i been kinds drinking ever since it was 14-0
LOOK AT THST DUDE ON TV HES OLD AND LOOKS LIKE A GIANT TURD HAHAHAHH AHA AHA HAH AHA
"@AdamSchefter that's you, Jim. The camera panned to you." WTGG YOU TALKNG ABOUT SCHEFATER?
hahaha scheafter sounds liek a pu$$ay eatter to me hey @AdamSchefter do yaoy liek to eat pu%Fay???
"@AdamSchefter Umm... yeah, why not?" why not what aree yoru talkering abdout gofe daman immd soof dfurrnk.
WCOLLT SSO TOOCYCHD WON HE ERE WEE GOO FOFOR OFFSIDIDESS KICICKCK OH MANN WEE FIFN DRIRECOVER MYYF LIKEFES INN SHAMMBBLEES
24. Tennessee Titans (1-5) - Previously: #24 - As you may know, I was at my sister's wedding on Sunday, so I couldn't watch the games until afterward. Before I could, this guy at the wedding told me, "Zach Mettenberger had a great game!" I figured that was the reason the Titans covered - not shady officiating. I'm now beginning to think that this person is part of the conspiracy.
23. Cleveland Browns (2-5) - Previously: #21 - Nothing I write can top this:
NFL Power Rankings: The Rest: 11. New York Jets (4-2). Previously: #11
12. Miami Dolphins (3-3). Previously: #17
13. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4). Previously: #13
14. New York Giants (4-3). Previously: #14
15. St. Louis Rams (3-3). Previously: #18
16. Oakland Raiders (3-3). Previously: #20
17. New Orleans Saints (3-4). Previously: #23
18. Dallas Cowboys (2-4). Previously: #19
19. Buffalo Bills (3-4). Previously: #15
20. Indianapolis Colts (3-4). Previously: #12
21. San Diego Chargers (2-5). Previously: #16
22. Washington Redskins (3-4). Previously: #22
Something new this year - I'm keeping track of precise run defense, pass defense and pass protection rankings in Excel. The benefit to this is that it'll be broken down by week. Here are the download links: