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10-28-2004, 07:29 AM
Week 8 NFL Power Rankings
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So, you think the Patriots-Steelers matchup is the game of the week? Who cares if the Patriots extend their winning streak to 22 games. The Nov. 2 presidential election rides on the outcome of the Packers-Redskins game.

If the Redskins win, George Bush will be re-elected president. If the Packers win, it'll be John Kerry. Now that's a big game. In every election since 1936, the incumbent has been re-elected if the Redskins won their last home game before the election. You can bet Kerry will be wearing a Packers jersey and a cheesehead hat Sunday.

ON THE RISE: Both the Jaguars (14th to 8th) and Chiefs (17th to 11th) leaped six spots after big wins, while the Dolphins showed signs of life in beating the Rams moving up five places from 31st to 26th.

FALLING FAST: How quickly things change in today's NFL. Two surprise teams of 2003 have fallen on hard times, with the Cowboys dropping seven places (15th to 22nd) after being crushed in Green Bay. The injury-riddled Panthers fell six spots to 31st, after starting the season in 2nd.

NOTE: Rankings are updated by Tuesday midday every week.

Rk Team Last Week Rising/Falling High/Low Comment
1. Patriots (6-0) 1st SAME 1st/1st Great defense and an effective running game with Corey Dillon were the keys as the Patriots passed their biggest test to date, beating the Jets. The Patriots are the most poised team and behave like their coach.
2. Eagles (6-0) 2nd SAME 2nd/3rd The Eagles have a defense that terrorizes QBs, QB Donovan McNabb is a winner and nobody can cover WR Terrell Owens. But it all will crumble if RB Brian Westbrook gets hurt.
3. Vikings (5-1) 5th

(+2) 3rd/13th Last year, the Vikings proved they could win without QB Daunte Culpepper. Earlier this year, they won without their top two RBs. Last week, they won without WR Randy Moss. The defense keeps getting better.
4. Colts (4-2) 3rd

(-1) 3rd/5th If the defense can hold opponents to 20 points, this team wins. However, every team above the Colts would put up at least 20 on this defense.
5. Broncos (5-2) 6th

(+1) 5th/14th The running game is too much for most teams, and the defense had a bit of a glitch but still is above average. QB Jake Plummer has improved under coach Mike Shanahan but must prove he can win the big one.
6. Jets (5-1) 4th

(-2) 4th/18th The Jets have the talent but lack the killer instinct. It seems as though the Jets are happy just being successful and are not ready to challenge for a championship.
7. Steelers (5-1) 8th

(+1) 7th/24th If somebody doesn't shake QB Ben Roethlisberger's confidence soon, the Steelers will be an elite team. Pittsburgh has had a week off to prepare for its showdown with the Patriots in Week 8.
8. Jaguars (5-2) 14th

(+6) 8th/22nd The '04 Jaguars are the second coming of the '03 Panthers. The team isn't pretty, but its record is. QB Byron Leftwich is a force, Fred Taylor finally clipped the 100-yard plateau last week and the defense is as solid as ever.
9. Ravens (4-2) 10th

(+1) 7th/12th The Ravens, minus Jamal Lewis, ran effectively against a good Bills defense and somehow won despite QB Kyle Boller. If the defense scores a TD, the Ravens can beat anybody.
10. Falcons (5-2) 7th

(-3) 5th/20th This is a Jekyll-and-Hyde team. With QB Michael Vick, anything is possible. If the defense doesn't shore up (NFL record eight rushing TDs allowed to K.C.), this team will freefall.
11. Chiefs (2-4) 17th

(+6) 5th/22nd The Chiefs' 2-4 record doesn't warrant a ranking this high, but nobody wants to play this red-hot team now. The defense is improving every week, and the offense almost is unstoppable.
12. Seahawks (3-3) 9th

(-3) 3rd/12th The Seahawks gave up 13 points total in its 3-0 start but since have yielded 88 in evening out the record. This team has the talent to win the Super Bowl but is headed in the wrong direction.
13. Giants (4-2) 11th

(-2) 10th/27th The Giants are not good enough to just show up and win. This offensive line is bad, but QB Kurt Warner's quick decision-making compensates. Giants coaches should cut RB Ron Dayne and run Tiki Barber in every situation.
14. Texans (3-3) 13th

(-1) 13th/30th QB David Carr has arrived on schedule, and his teammates are pretty good, too. WR Andre Johnson could make the Pro Bowl before Carr. The defense finds ways to win.
15. Rams (4-3) 12th

(-3) 7th/22nd If Mike Martz would manage games intelligently, feed the ball to Steven Jackson and redefine Marshall Faulk's role, the Rams would be an elite team. The defense is coming unraveled, though.
16. Packers (3-4) 18th

(+2) 8th/23rd Coach Mike Sherman calls the plays, and they score 79 points the last two weeks. It is all up from here. Plus, NT Grady Jackson is back to clog up the run.
17. Chargers (4-3) 16th

(-1) 16th/32nd This team is becoming a problem for every opponent. RB LaDainian Tomlinson is playing well through an injury, and the addition of WR Keenan McCardell gives QB Drew Brees a reliable target.
18. Lions (4-2) 19th

(+1) 13th/28th Coach Steve Mariucci is getting results from this reconstruction project. QB Joey Harrington has grown up, WR Roy Williams is a superstar and the defense hustles on every play.
19. Browns (3-4) 23rd

(+4) 19th/26th It's hard to like this team, but it has been tough to beat since coach Butch Davis called QB Jeff Garcia "skittish." After Owens' comments about Garcia, the Browns took the Eagles to overtime. Perhaps the Browns should degrade Garcia before every game.
20. Bucs (2-5) 21st

(+1) 20th/29th QB Brian Griese is the best fit for this team, RB Michael Pittman stabilized the running game and WR Michael Clayton will get some consideration for rookie of the year. Don't forget: The defense still is pretty tough.
21. Redskins (2-4) 22nd

(+1) 14th/22nd RB Clinton Portis surely needed the bye week after 61 carries in back-to-back games. The defense is underrated and getting back elite OLB LaVar Arrington.
22. Cowboys (2-4) 15th

(-7) 8th/22nd Coach Bill Parcells knows this team needs trickery, no mistakes and some luck to win. Lately, the Cowboys aren't getting any of the above.

23. Titans (2-5) 20th

(-3) 4th/23rd This is a shell of the Titans we have come to know. Injuries and salary-cap troubles have destroyed this team.
24. Saints (3-4) 24th SAME 16th/28th The Saints' Week 7 rally saved Jim Haslett's job for now. The Saints have the talent but not the heart. Imagine what this team might do if Belichick were the coach.
25. Cardinals (2-4) 26th

(+1) 26th/32nd No NFL team can just show up and beat the Cardinals. The defense gives them a chance to win, Emmitt Smith has found the fountain of youth and coach Dennis Green was right about QB Josh McCown.
26. Dolphins (1-6) 31st

(+5) 17th/32nd The Dolphins need only a mediocre offensive performance to complement their great defense. This team certainly will win several more games.
27. Bengals (2-4) 29th

(+2) 13th/29th The Bengals are young and need time to develop. QB Carson Palmer shows glimpses of special talent. Still, this team never fixed an awful run defense or upgraded at cornerback.
28. Raiders (2-5) 27th

(-1) 17th/28th Turnovers and a soft defense have destroyed this season. QB Kerry Collins has not looked sharp but showed improvement in Week 7. A weak defense puts pressure on the offense to score 30 each week.
29. 49ers (1-5) 30th

(+1) 29th/32nd QB Tim Rattay can play at the NFL level and RB Kevan Barlow is a power, but the 49ers still need more weapons. The loss of OLB Julian Peterson hurts.
30. Bills (1-5) 28th

(-2) 23rd/30th What a waste of a good defense.
31. Panthers (1-5) 25th

(-6) 2nd/31st Injuries have decimated this solid team. QB Jake Delhomme is good, but needs a 1,000-yard runner and his favorite receiver to be effective. He has neither.
32. Bears (1-5) 32nd SAME 24th/32nd This team lacks an NFL-caliber QB, and RB Thomas Jones has flattened out after a fast start.

10-28-2004, 07:32 AM
Wow, a ranking of 11 for a 2-4 team? Amazing. I guess we're not the only ones who believe this team is much better than their record.