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Offensive player rankings, Week 8: Todd Gurley, A.J. Green up

Each week in the 2017 campaign, former No. 1 overall pick and NFL Network analyst David Carr will take a look at all offensive players and rank his top 15. Rankings are based solely on this season's efforts. Now, let's get to it -- the Week 8 pecking order is below.

NOTE: Arrows reflect changes from last week's rankings.

Brady and the Patriots made life easier for themselves this time around against the Falcons. Brady's Pats overcame a 28-3 deficit to win Super Bowl LI back in February. But on Sunday, they were never behind. Brady, who is 4-0 vs. Matt Ryan in his career, finished with 249 passing yards, two TDs, no INTs and a 121.2 passer rating. His consistency is bar none.

Brown is the biggest receiving threat in the game even when he's double- or triple-teamed. Against the Bengals on Sunday, he had four receptions (tied for Brown's season low) on 10 targets for 65 yards and a touchdown -- marking the sixth time this season that he was targeted at least 10 times in a game. Brown leads the league in receiving yards (765) by more than 200. Just think about that.

Bell and Brown accounted for 42 of the Steelers' 55 total offensive touches (excluding kneeldowns) against Cincinnati, or 76.4 percent. Bell finished with 35 carries for 134 yards and three receptions for 58 yards, a total of 192 yards from scrimmage. Since Week 4, the star back is averaging 165.5 yards from scrimmage per game (most in the NFL). Like I keep saying, if the Steelers keep leaning on Bell, they won't be denied.

Another game, another 100-plus yards from scrimmage for this rookie. Hunt is the second player since the 1970 merger with at least 1,000 yards from scrimmage in his first seven career games (1,002) -- behind Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson's 1,045 mark. The one knock on him right now is he's gone four straight games without a touchdown after scoring six total TDs in the first three contests of the season.

Smith continues to put his best foot forward in 2017. He finished Thursday night's loss having completed 25 of 36 throws for 342 yards, a 3:0 touchdown-to-interception ratio and a 127.3 passer rating. He has yet to be picked off in 2017, having thrown 228 pass attempts this season without an INT. Smith has one goal this season, and he's doing nearly everything in his power to help the Chiefs come home with the Lombardi.

Brees' stat line against the Packers wasn't his best (he completed 27 of 38 passes for 331 yards, one TD, two INTs and an 84.4 passer rating, along with one rushing TD), but he performed when it counted most. The veteran led the Saints to his 29th career fourth-quarter comeback -- that's the 10th most in NFL history and the third most among active QBs. After starting the season 0-2, he's put the Saints on his back and carried them to the top of the NFC South.

Prior to Monday night's divisional showdown between Washington and Philadelphia, I had Wentz floating around the No. 10 spot. But then he threw that dime to Corey Clement in the third quarter, and I'd seen enough to skyrocket the sophomore QB up the list. He finished 17-of-25 passing for 268 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Yes, Wentz is surrounded by talent, but he's extending plays and making good decisions. He is the reason Philly is the best team in the NFL right now.

Gurley notched his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season Sunday, with 22 carries for 106 yards at Twickenham Stadium. He added 48 yards on four receptions in the win. Gurley is crushing his 2016 production, averaging 34.3 more rushing yards and 55.7 more scrimmage yards per game this season. His impact has elevated Jared Goff's level of play, and he's made the entire Rams' offense more fun to watch.

Let's be honest: No one wants to play in the kinds of foggy conditions that impacted Falcons- Patriots. Nonetheless, Gronk was still a major player, whether he was catching the ball, blocking or demanding double teams. He finished Sunday's game with three catches on seven targets for 51 yards.

Coming off a bye, Hopkins will have his hands full against Richard Sherman and the Seahawks this week. Sherman's been a shutdown corner for the last several years, but Hopkins is clicking with his shiny new quarterback. It's going to be a good matchup, to say the least. If he does well, he could climb.

I've said this before, but if Jones were my receiver, I'd throw it his way every single snap. Jones had nine receptions on 13 targets for 99 yards and *this* touchdown, becoming the second-fastest player in NFL history to reach 8,000 receiving yards. But again, with as much talent as OC Steve Sarkisian has on this roster, he's not helping them out at all. This offense is too predictable, and New England saw right through it.

It wasn't good for the Falcons on Sunday. It seemed like nothing was clicking. Ryan, who had 233 passing yards and one touchdown in the loss, was the first quarterback this season to not surpass 300 passing yards vs. the Patriots' defense. Ryan's production has slowly declined since Week 1, along with the Falcons' record.

Even with Houston having a bye week and Watson not starting until Week 2, the rookie is tied for second in touchdown passes (15), with Tom Brady and Alex Smith -- two quarterbacks in the MVP conversation who also, by the way, have made two more starts this season than Watson. The rookie has a huge test Sunday against the Seahawks' stout D. How he plays in this game will be very telling.

The Los Angeles Rams, sitting atop the NFC West, had a season-high 425 total yards in a blowout win over Arizona. Yet, Goff's play continues to be pedestrian. He had 235 passing yards, one touchdown, one interception and a 75.8 passer rating. The sophomore quarterback hasn't had to play great because Gurley and the defense have been outstanding. In my opinion, he's still playing better than Matthew Stafford for the time being, but it's a close race.

With all the injuries affecting top offensive players, Green squeaked his way into my top 15. He's definitely one of the most talented players out there, and his production has increased fairly steadily. Green is second to Antonio Brown in receiving yards with 545 for the season. From Week 3 to Week 5, Cincy's super-athletic wideout averaged 121 receiving yards, caught 66.7 percent of his targets and hauled in three TDs. Green didn't meet those numbers Sunday against division-rival Pittsburgh, putting up three catches on six targets for 41 yards.

Dropped out: Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 13).


Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions: I'm looking for Stafford to get back on track coming off the Lions' bye. He's had time to rest, and he needs a big game vs. the Steelers this week.

Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguarsshut out the Coltswithout their stud rookie running back. After suffering an ankle injury in Week 6, Fournette rested in Week 7 and will get even more time to recover, as the team has its bye in Week 8. I'm looking forward to Fournette getting back on the field when Jacksonville hosts the Bengalson Nov. 5.

Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons: Freeman's impact on the Falcons' offense is huge, but Kyle Shanahan's exit has affected how he's used. Freeman, who hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 4, finished with 12 carries for 72 yards (6 yards per carry) Sunday.

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys: Elliott played angry against the 49ers on Sunday and recorded a career-high 219 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns. This is the player Dallas needs to get back to the playoffs.

LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills: Shady played a huge role in Buffalo's win over the Bucs, with 23 carries for 91 yards and two touchdowns. He contributed in the passing game with five catches on seven targets for 31 yards. McCoy's averaging 98.3 yards from scrimmage per game this season. He's heating up as midseason approaches.

Follow David Carr on Twitter @DCarr8.

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