Week 8 NFL Power Rankings – Pittsburgh With The Lead, Kansas City Not Far Behind

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How much can change in a week? A lot – and not much at all. The NFL’s most recent slate of games revealed some teams are top tier, while other once thought-of major contenders are destined for early playoff exits, and some are just pretenders gussied up by our shared memories of their older runs of dominance (San Francisco). So now let’s overreact and overcorrect our current NFL power rankings.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers: Big Ben is back, baby. Barring some late game brilliance and a last minute Ravens drive, the Steelers D manhandled Lamar Jackson all day. On “Pardon The Interruption” earlier this week, Michael Wilbon proclaimed, “I’m good taking the Steelers if I have to bet on who wins the AFC right now. I’m good taking the Steelers.” T.J. Watt is clearly outperforming his brother, boasting 6.5 sacks through 7 seven games. And the Steelers are now poised to go 10-0 with remarkable ease because their next three games are against Dallas, Cincinnati and Jacksonville, who altogether have a combined win total of six, one fewer than the 7-0 Steelers. 

2. Kansas City Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes did everything he was supposed to do against the godawful New York Jets, including but not limited to carving up the Jets secondary for 5 TDs and 416 yards. The Jets didn’t even score in the second half. According to ESPN, the Chiefs never had a winning percentage lower than 89.7. They sit high and mighty and second in the league in points scored. They face an underrated Carolina team next.

3. Seattle Seahawks: Oh how absolutely good it feels to dethrone and thrash the defending NFC champion, and despicably revoltingly loathsome San Francisco 49ers. Russel Wilson’s MVP campaign does not qualify for the blissful monotony of a forgone conclusion – but it feels like it, doesn’t it? Forgive my anecdotal evidence, but my own myopic Twitter feeds seems to feature every single Seattle sports fan and writer tweeting some sort of, or variation on the notion that Russel Wilson is on track for some new greatest QB season ever statistic or metric, every day. And the Seattle pass rush actually provided some pluck, had a pulse, showed up to stymy the 49ers passing attack, at least during the first of half. Though favored to win by just shy of 55% the Hawks face their biggest road test of the season this upcoming game against Buffalo.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The sign of a truly great NFL team is when and if the hypothetically astonishing squad can find a way to win on their worst game of the season. It’s unremarkable but also a guaranteed surprise, great teams, like this year’s most improved in the NFC, Tampa Bay team, walk into trap games, and most, if not all those snared, hardly escape or are stunned by how good the other side performs for just the one game when the heavyweight shows up to play. That is exactly what happened when Tom Brady found a way for his side to claw back and take down the New York Giants. Take this with a grain of salt, seriously, but aside from two dreadfully poor throws that became picks for the Bucs D, I might go so far as to say Daniel Jones was the better QB, the guy with the better overall performance, on a field that hosted the man, the myth, the legend, greatest of all time, Tom Brady. The Bucs should have sorted out their at times, strangely porous and yet stalwart defense during this slightly shortened week. They are undefeated at home this year. In Tampa they will have a chance to avenge their Week 1 loss to the Saints, where, as fans, will we see the most prolific QB marquee matchup in the history of the league and TD passes, Brady and Brees. One trails the other for most all time. And maybe we should expect that to change this weekend, maybe not. Either way? It’s worth the watch.

5. Buffalo Bills: Thanks to a Cam Newton fumble in the final seconds of a last minute drive as the wayward QB stumbled through the Bills Red-Zone only to get pummeled by an influx of Buffalo studded shirts, the Bills escaped this pivotal division matchup unscathed, and are now in great position to maintain their substantial lead, and ultimately win the AFC East division. Josh Allen has silenced all doubters this year. He still resembles John Elway. And ESPN has him projected to rack up over 4,400 yards before the regular season ends. The Bills face the Seahawks this Sunday though. We may know quite a lot more about how good they actually are after this game. If the Seattle wins, the Bills will have losses against the Chiefs, Titans, and Seahawks, which for lazy stratification purposes, would place Buffalo on a second tier. We’ll see what happens Sunday though.

**Bonus Rankings 6-15

6. Packers
7. Titans
8. Cardinals
9. Saints
10. Rams
11. Colts
12. Raiders
13. Dolphins
14. Browns
15. 49ers

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About Author

Jackson Pappin is a freelance writer. A 2018 WSU Edward R. Murrow College of Communication alumni, he writes fiction, journalism, columns, essays and poetry. His work has been published in Anastamos, The Oregonian, The Spokesman Review, The Seattle P.I. Reader Blogs, The Daily Evergreen, The Central Circuit, LandEscapes and at the Spectra Art Gallery. His writing is available at https://jacksonpappin.blogspot.com

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