Tuesday, November 29

NFL Week 8 Power Rankings: Sinking Bucs, Packers can learn from Phillies and get right, make run in playoffs

If you are a fan of an NFL team, pay attention to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Why?

They are in the World Series after entering the postseason as the sixth seed in the National League, with the third-best record in their own division. Yet after disposing of the San Diego Padres four games to one, they are facing the Houston Astros in the World Series, which starts this week.

Some will say it’s not good to see a team like that play in the World Series, that it makes the regular season meaningless. Maybe so, but NFL teams should be paying attention.

It’s not what you do to get to the playoffs, but it’s just a matter of getting there. We saw that last season with the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams. They came into the playoffs as the fourth seeds and ended up in the Super Bowl.

That’s the message that every NFL team that seems to be floundering right now — see Tampa Bay and Green Bay — should be sending to their locker rooms. It’s not even November, so let’s get in, get things right, and then make a run.

Seven weeks into the season, we have five teams that look like good bets to be in the playoffs. The Philadelphia Eagles,  Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs — the top three teams in my Power Rankings this week — look like the elite of the league. The Tennessee Titans also have a good hold of the AFC South, with the other three teams hardly looking like challengers. The Minnesota Vikings are 5-1 and have a victory already over second-place Green Bay, which is 3-4, so they look solid for now. 

But for the rest of the league, it’s about getting right for December to make the tournament and get hot in the playoffs. Teams like the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals, as well as the Packers and Bucs, need to use the next six weeks to fix their issues and get ready to make a playoff run.

They all have talent, so it’s just a matter of when and if they can get things right.

Then there’s the 6-1 New York Giants and 5-2 New York Jets. Are you believers yet? Can they maintain? Both are getting hit by injuries, which will make it challenging going forward. 

For now, the teams that aren’t quite where they should be have to take solace in the fact that they have time to get there. It’s not about the regular season, it’s about fixing your issues to make sure you have ticket to the postseason party — with a chance to get hot at the right time.

Biggest Movers

Rk

Teams

 

Chg

Rcrd


1


Eagles

They come off their bye with a game against the in-state Steelers. They need to be better in the second half of games going forward. 6-0-0

2


Bills

They come off the bye with a home game against the Packers. That seemed like a big game when the schedule came out, but it’s lost some luster with Green Bay’s slow start. 5-1-0

3


Chiefs

After losing to the Bills, they rolled the 49ers on the road to show just how good they can be. The offense is back in a big way. 1 5-2-0

4


Vikings

At 5-1, they have a firm hold on the NFC North as they come off their bye. The defense still needs to play better going forward. 1 5-1-0

5


Giants

At 6-1, they remain the surprise of the NFL. Daniel Jones is a tough quarterback to defend with his legs. Injuries on the offensive line are now a concern. 6-1-0

6


Cowboys

Getting Dak Prescott back is big, even if he didn’t roll up big numbers against the Lions in his first game back. He changes the dynamic of the offense. 5-2-0

7


Jets

At 5-2, they would be in the playoffs right now. The loss of running back Breece Hall for the season with a knee injury is a damning blow. Newly-acquired James Robinson has to be a big part of the offense. 5-2-0

8


Titans

By sweeping the Colts, they have taken a real hold of the AFC South. They’ve done it how you expect, which is behind Derrick Henry. 4-2-0

9


Bengals

The passing attack has come alive in a big way. Watch out for them as they become a legitimate Super Bowl contender again. 1 4-3-0

10


Dolphins

The offense seemed to click early with Tua Tagovailoa back against the Steelers, but it went bad after the first quarter. The good news is the defense showed up when needed. 6 4-3-0

11


Ravens

They beat the Browns, but there are still issues. The passing game has to be better. You won’t win a lot of games throwing for under 200 yards like they did against the Browns. 6 4-3-0

12


Seahawks

They lead the NFC West at 4-3. Pete Carroll has done an amazing job with this team as they ready to face the 6-1 Giants. 9 4-3-0

13


Chargers

They are among the biggest disappointments so far this season. Where is the explosive offense? The run defense is brutal at 5.7 yards per carry allowed. 4 4-3-0

14


Buccaneers

Tom Brady and the offense aren’t in sync right now. The good news is they play in a bad division and can get it turned around. 2 3-4-0

15


49ers

What happed to the defense against the Chiefs? It looked ordinary. Can Christian McCaffrey play on that side of the ball? 2 3-4-0

16


Patriots

There is a full-fledged quarterback controversy with the Patriots between Bailey Zappe and Mac Jones. But the defense was awful against the Bears, which is also a concern. 5 3-4-0

17


Packers

They have major issues on offense and the run defense isn’t good. Now they face the Buffalo Bills on the road. Good luck. 3 3-4-0

18


Colts

They are in a hole in the division because of the two losses to the Titans. Matt Ryan turned it over again against the Titans, which led to his being benched. It’s Sam Ehlinger time. 3 3-3-1

19


Rams

They come off their bye with a huge division game against the 49ers. The concern going forward is the offensive line, which will get tested by the 49ers. 1 3-3-0

20


Falcons

The defense got exposed by the Bengals, but they are still in the NFC South race because the division is so bad. That was their one really bad game so far this season. 1 3-4-0

21


Saints

They haven’t come close to looking like the team many expected to see. Is this the week Jameis Winston comes back? 1 2-5-0

22


Browns

At 2-5, they are in a deep hole as they wait for Deshaun Watson to come back. The running game just isn’t enough to carry this team. 2-5-0

23


Cardinals

The defense made a bunch of big plays against the Saints. That’s a good sign. The offense showed some life as well. 1 3-4-0

24


Raiders

They finally showed up in a big way in the fourth quarter against the Texans. Josh Jacobs is having a heck of a contract year. 1 2-4-0

25


Bears

That team we saw in New England will win some more games this season. Credit to coach Matt Eberflus for getting that young group ready to play. 5 3-4-0

26


Steelers

The defense played well in the loss to Miami, but will now be challenged in big way by the Eagles. Kenny Pickett did some good things against Miami, but the interceptions were killers. 2-5-0

27


Broncos

Without Russell Wilson, they weren’t good on offense against the Jets. That’s to be expected, but they haven’t been good on that side of the ball all year long. 4 2-5-0

28


Texans

They did show some life on offense against the Raiders. That’s a good sign, but the defense let them down. 1 1-4-1

29


Jaguars

They don’t know how to win close games yet. They’ve been in every loss, but that means little as they head to London to play the Broncos. 1 2-5-0

30


Commanders

They’ve won two straight games to get to 3-4 and stay alive in a tough NFC East. It wasn’t pretty against Green Bay, but it counts. 1 3-4-0

31


Panthers

Christian who? They traded away Christian McCaffrey last week and ended up running the ball better in their upset of the Bucs. So much for tanking. 1 2-5-0

32


Lions

The optimism from the summer and Hard Knocks, coupled with the early offensive showing, has faded in a big way. Dan Campbell faces a real challenge getting this thing turned around. 1 1-5-0





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