Last week’s second half was not so great, but the Steelers still secured a massive road win against another previously unbeaten side in Tennessee. As the last undefeated in the league, Pittsburgh had to take top spot this week. But it is tight at the top and a huge challenge beckons in Week 8 in the Baltimore Ravens.
The Chiefs are winning as a team, scoring rushing and passing touchdowns on offense, as well as a defensive and special teams score against Denver. But is anyone else a tiny bit concerned that an offense led by Patrick Mahomes went 0 of 8 on third down against the Broncos? That is worth monitoring.
Russell Wilson had his first down game of the season in Week 7 and it cost the Seahawks in the form of their first loss at Arizona. That’s how these 2020 Seahawks are going to roll – they will rise and fall on the performance of their quarterback. Luckily for them, Wilson will be magical more often than not.
Tom Brady is starting to heat up. Brady has thrown 15 touchdown passes and just one interception since Week 2 and will soon have a new addition to his receiving corps in the form of Antonio Brown. There is no doubt that the Bucs are all in for the Super Bowl in 2020, knowing time is short for Tom Terrific.
The Ravens have quietly moved to 5-1 but have yet to truly convince the football world that they are Super Bowl front-runners. They won’t get a shot at Kansas City (their only loss of 2020) until the playoffs, but they can make us sit up and pay attention with a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night.
The Titans were disappointing for two and a half quarters against Pittsburgh, but they fought back nicely and would have tied the game at the end were it not for Stephen Gostowski’s field goal miss. This remains one of the true contenders in the AFC and they are most definitely playoff bound.
The Packers got back on track with a big win over Houston last week and that game served as a reminder that the Aaron Rodgers-Davante Adams connection is special and tough to defend. Next up for the Packers are the Vikings and their struggling defense. Rodgers – who is enjoying a career year – is about to eat!
The Bills need to re-discover their offensive mojo that made them so fun to watch in the season’s first month. Josh Allen threw 12 TD passes in the first four games of 2020 but has tossed just four in the last three outings. If Buffalo are top dogs in the AFC East, they must see off a New England team that has beaten them 35 times in 40 contests with Bill Belichick in charge.
Leaning heavily on Alvin Kamara, the Saints find ways to get the job done on offense and that is impressive without receivers Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. But their pass defense is becoming a major worry. The Saints have given up six pass plays covering at least 48 yards in the past four games.
The Rams are not setting pulses racing on the offensive side of the ball, but they are driven by a defense that ranks in the league’s top 10 in every conceivable statistical category outside of turnovers. The Rams are able to play behind that defense and the outstanding special teams play of punter Johnny Hekker.
Much like the Seattle team they defeated last week, the Cards are going to need Kyler Murray at his electrifying best every Sunday to be successful. Last week’s win was a good case in point… the Cardinals gave up 572 yards but were able to secure victory because Murray led his side to 519 yards of their own.
It’s often been stated that Baker Mayfield would be better off without Odell Beckham Jr. and that he plays better when not forcing the ball to his star receiver. That proved to be the case when OBJ limped off last Sunday and now we get to see if it holds true the rest of the way because Odell is done for the year.
The Colts are coming off their bye week and to be successful moving forward they need Philip Rivers to avoid the mistakes that were a part of their two losses this season. With a solid defense in place, Rivers doesn’t need to push the envelope on offense as much as he sometimes does.
The 49ers have been decimated by injuries and yet they have shown off their depth and their outstanding coaching in limping and fighting to a 4-3 record. The football gods are not being too kind to the Niners as their next five are against Seattle, Green Bay, New Orleans, LA Rams and Buffalo. Ouch!
The Bears deserve some modicum of respect given their 5-2 record but that start has been powered by the defense. Have we really seen much improvement at quarterback with Nick Foles replacing Mitchell Trubisky? Foles has thrown an interception in all five of the games he has played for Chicago this season.
A new era begins in South Florida with Tua Tagovailoa taking over as Miami’s starting quarterback. And he leads a Dolphins team that suddenly finds itself in the middle of the AFC playoff race at 3-3… largely thanks to the recent impressive displays of the man he is replacing, Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Justin Herbert and the Chargers finally won a close game last week. Imagine if they had won the four that preceded victory over Jacksonville? This is a dangerous and sneaky team making lots of big plays. With an extra playoff spot in each conference this year, don’t bet against LA sneaking into the wildcard equation.
Last week’s poor display at home to Tampa Bay should not have come as a massive surprise given how the entire offensive line missed practice in the buildup to the game due to a Covid-19 scare. That loss to Tampa summed these Raiders up – they are a middle-of-the-pack team who will win some and lose some.
The Panthers have some issues to address on a young defense that allowed New Orleans to convert on 12 of 14 third down attempts last week. But that side will grow and I like what Joe Brady is putting together on the offensive side of the ball. Their creative use of the wide receivers is right on trend in today’s NFL.
The Patriots are 2-4, have lost three in a row and look truly terrible on both sides of the ball. I would be ready to completely write them off the rest of the way were it not for the fact they are led by the greatest head coach in history in Bill Belichick. But there is not much talent for the man in the hoodie to work with.
Matthew Stafford was at his dramatic best in leading the Lions to victory over Atlanta. His cannon of an arm remains one of the best in the league and his connection with wide receiver Kenny Golladay is as entertaining as any passing game double act in the NFL. The Lions are showing some signs of life.
The Eagles are decimated by injuries and Carson Wentz continues to throw to practice squad targets. But I think the most positive thing I can say about this team is that they continue to fight hard for head coach Doug Pederson and that should be enough to take the NFC East, particularly when key players return.
The biggest risers these power rankings have seen in quite some time come in the form of the Washington Football Team. I loved their physicality on Sunday, albeit against a Dallas team that has already mailed it in. If Washington can avoid offensive mistakes and lean on their D, they are outside contenders in the East.
Joe Burrow is the perfect example of what a high draft choice quarterback should do for a franchise. Sure, he doesn’t have much of an offensive line in front of him, but Burrow has thrown for more than 700 yards in the last two games and, more importantly, has shown Cincy an exciting way out of their current mess.
I was surprised to read of arguments between offensive and defensive players in Denver over the past week. I didn’t think this was going to be a playoff contender given all of their key injuries by any means, but they did appear to be playing hard for Vic Fangio. Team spirit could be an issue the rest of the way.
Jerry Jones can get as angry as he likes when talking to the media but we’re still going to wonder about the long-term future of Mike McCarthy. The players are calling out the coaches, the coaches are pointing fingers at the players and the losses are piling up. And it’s only Week 8. This is a hot (sauce) mess!
It certainly looks like the Vikings are giving up on 2020 and positioning themselves for a rebuild following the trade of pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue to the Baltimore Ravens. The Pro Bowler only played five games in Minneapolis. Let’s see if anyone else gets moved on before the trade deadline passes.
We spent quite a lot of time pontificating over the fact that Houston traded away DeAndre Hopkins and rightly so – the elite receiver is balling out in the Arizona desert. But the issues run deeper than one man. The defense is terrible and undoes the good work of Deshaun Watson, who has posted a QB rating over 100 in five straight games.
I can’t describe all the different ways the Falcons lose games without breaking into some kind of nervous giggle. And I’m really not trying to twist the knife because I’m sure Falcons fans are totally fed up with the state of their team and don’t see the humour in any of this. It’s almost worse than being blown out every week.
We’re a few days into the Jags’ bye week and Doug Marrone remains on board as head coach at the time of this writing. So, it appears he is safe for now. I’m not sure who is riding to Jacksonville’s rescue any time soon though and the losing could continue at quite a rate. But will it be enough to land Trevor Lawrence?
The Giants are a mess but at least they are having fun being one of the league’s laughing stocks. In fact, when Daniel Jones fell flat on his face at the end of his 80-yard run; it was his own teammates who got the biggest laugh out of it. And Jones reportedly then followed that disaster by being spotted out in New York City the following night with his teammates, going against NFL Covid guidelines.
The Jets almost won a game last weekend. Well, they led for a while against the Buffalo Bills. That’s all I’ve got for this team and that is about as positive as I’m going to get. Sam Darnold needs to catch fire in a big way in the second half of this season or the Jets are going to draft his replacement in April.