Photo courtesy Bleacher Report
1. New England Patriots (7-1) —
In just four games this season, 39-year-old Tom Brady has thrown 12 touchdowns and zero interceptions. If the defense continues to improve, the Patriots will once again be tough to stop come playoff time.
2. Dallas Cowboys (6-1) +1
Just when some “experts” were ready to turn away from Dak Prescott, he delivered a game-winning drive in overtime against the Eagles. The Cowboys take on the winless Browns this week before traveling to Pittsburgh the following Sunday.
3. Denver Broncos (6-2) +2
Playing in a division that has three teams with only two losses, the Broncos know every game matters. This past week they came away victorious against San Diego to keep pace in the division. First place will be on the line in Week 9, as they travel to Oakland to take on the Raiders.
4. Atlanta Falcons (5-3) +4
The Falcons have two of the best wins in all of football, against the Packers and Broncos. However, this week they look for revenge against a Buccaneers team that defeated them in the season opener.
5. Kansas City Chiefs (5-2) +6
Andy Reid has Kansas City rolling to a three-game win streak after the bye week. And with the next three games against teams with losing records, this could be the time for the chiefs to build a division lead.
6. Oakland Raiders (6-2) +3
On Sunday it appeared that the raiders would be a part of the second tie of the day until a moment of magic from Seth Roberts won the game in overtime. Derek Carr is a legit MVP candidate.
7. Minnesota Vikings (5-2) -5
After starting 5-0, all it took was a trip back to Philadelphia for Sam Bradford to remember that he is Sam Bradford. However, Minnesota still leads the division but the offense needs to resolve the recent issues.
8. Seattle Seahawks (4-2-1) -4
New Orleans is never an easy place to get a road win but Seattle only needed two feet inbounds from Jermaine kearse on the last play of the game and they would have beat the saints Sunday. The loss didn’t hurt Seattle much due to the rest of the division being below average.
9. Green Bay Packers (4-3) -3
Looking up at the Vikings in the current NFC North standings is never a fun thing for the Packers and their fans. Things might change however, as they get ready to face the ailing Colts and the walking target that is Andrew Luck. With the Monday night loss the Vikings suffered, the Packers are closer at regaining the top spot.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (4-3) -3
No one saw the rebirth of the NFC East as the toughest division of the conference coming. However, with the outstanding play of Dak Prescott with Dallas, and the consistency of the Redskins and the Giants doing their usual soul searching through the season, the Eagles look to take advantage of Odell Beckham’s constant temper tantrums and give NY their first loss since Oct 9.
11. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) -1
Pittsburgh is currently in a losing streak, losing to the Dolphins and New England before their bye. The Steelers hope that their leader and quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger can start against the Ravens this Sunday, in hopes of bringing them back from their current funk.
12. Washington Redskins (4-3-1) +4
With the mediocre but steady play of Kirk Cousins, Washington is still in the mix of things, even in the last place of this monster division which we like to call the NFC East. With a weekend off, the Skins look to regroup and come back ready to add more W’s under their win column next Sunday against the Vikings.
13. Buffalo Bills (4-4) —
A four game winning streak has been shattered by a two game losing streak. The Bills just looked overmatched and overpowered all day against the revenge-seeking Patriots. After their bye week the schedule gets significantly easier. A wildcard spot is still a real possibility.
14. Houston Texans (5-3) +4
Brock Osweiler’s skeptics have all been proven right. Osweiler has looked awful through eight games. Not even an atrocious Lions secondary that was missing Darius Slay could make him look good. On the bright side Jadaveon Clowney is stepping up and that defense is good enough to keep them in games.
15. Arizona Cardinals (3-4-1) -3
Something has to be said for ending a game 30-20 when it was at one point 24-0. I can’t tell if Carson Palmer’s age is showing or if he just went back to being Carson Palmer. Either way this team should be in the market for a quarterback.
16. New York Giants (4-3) +3
The Giants took the week off and ended up passing the Eagles for second in the division. Giants went into the bye week on a two-game win streak, but they come back to an angry Eagles team.
17. Detroit Lions (4-3) -3
The Lions were riding a three-game winning streak, but the Texans are undefeated at home. It’s a little surprising to see them drop this game with the way they’ve been playing lately. Matthew Stafford is having the best season of his career so far. Next stop, Minnesota.
18. Cincinnati Bengals (3-4-1) -1
What do you say about a tie? Feels like the game never ended. Nevertheless, if the Bengals are to make a serious run at a playoff berth, they needed that win. This is a group that seems like the offseason departures are hurting them, both on the field and the sidelines.
19. San Diego Chargers (3-5) -4
Asking for a sweep of the defending champs was just a bit too much. While the Denver offense continued to struggle, the defense hurt the Chargers with three turnovers, including a defensive score. San Diego’s defense will be in for more of a test Sunday when a Titans offense that’s beginning to click comes to town.
20. Tennessee Titans (4-4) +3
Anytime your quarterback only plays three quarters, it’s either a great day or a terrible one. In the Titans’ only prime time appearance this season, it was the former. Marcus Mariota finished with two touchdown passes and only four incompletions Thursday. He also sprung a key block on a DeMarco Murray score.
21. New Orleans Saints (3-4) +5
The Saints offense proved once again Sunday that they can run with anyone, as New Orleans put up 25 points on the Legion of Boom. The problem, as has been the case for a few years now, will be trying to pile up some wins away from the Superdome.
22. Los Angeles Rams (3-4) -2
The big question this week will be whether Jared Goff will finally make his debut. If Jeff Fisher is to be believed, the answer will be “no” all season long. With a team that clearly is going nowhere fast, the reasons to keep the rookie on the sideline are running out quickly.
- Miami Dolphins (3-4) -2
The Dolphins had an eventful bye week as Arian Foster announced his retirement. Foster’s absence likely won’t have much of an effect as he logged just 55 yards on 22 rushing attempts. Miami could work its way up the rankings with a favorable schedule over the next five weeks—Jets, Chargers, Rams, 49ers and Ravens.
- Baltimore Ravens (3-4) +1
A four-game losing streak heading into the bye week doesn’t seem to be coming to an end this week as the Steelers come to town. Despite a Week 10 matchup against the Browns, things look grim for any hope of a playoff run for the Ravens with a difficult schedule in the coming weeks.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4) -3
With just one win over a quality opponent coming Week 1 against the Falcons, the Buccaneers have taken a steep drop from 2015. A Week 9 matchup hosting the Falcons could show Tampa Bay’s true colors: a basement NFC South team.
- Indianapolis Colts (3-4) -2
It’s going to take more than Luck for the Colts to get things sorted out at this point. Somehow the Colts have managed to steal a few wins, but it’s unlikely opponents will be fooled again before Week 16.
- New York Jets (3-5) +1
With back-to-back wins over the Ravens and Browns, the Jets are headed in the right direction, right? Wrong. Escaping the Browns by three points does not make a quality win. A Week 9 matchup against the Dolphins should be a solid litmus test to see if the Jets can figure things out before taking a nosedive late in the season.
28. Carolina Panthers (2-5) -1
Cam Newton plans to talk to the commissioner about the hits he’s been taking, but maybe he should start by talking to his offensive line. The Carolina offense has been among the worst in the league thus far, and they won’t get a break in Week 9 when face a stiff Rams defense.
29. Chicago Bears (2-6) +1
The Bears snuck up on divisional rival Minnesota last week as running back Jordan Howard broke out of his slump at a tough opponent. With the defensive incompetence Chicago has displayed this year, consider last week a fluke. The Bears have a bye week.
32. Cleveland Browns (0-8) —
I grew up on a farm in Burley, Idaho, but I’ve always had an intense love of sports. I’m studying journalism in an attempt to turn my love into a career. I’m a huge Utah Jazz, Tennessee Titans, and San Jose Sharks fan. If it’s a sport, I’ll watch it.