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My 2021 Week 8 NFL Power Rankings

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Rich has a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Penn State. WE ARE!!!

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2021 Week 8 NFL Power Rankings

We are at the pseudo halfway point of the season. Most teams have played eight games which used to mean the season was at its midpoint. That is not true anymore since the league decided to add a 17th game to the schedule. So, I guess we are at the halfway point when the 1 pm games are done on Sunday? Then again, aren’t there more games on during the early hour? Does Daylight Savings Time (coming up this Sunday) have anything to do with it? Who’s to know for sure. What I do know for sure, is this is how I feel about each team at this not quite halfway point of the season.

1. Los Angeles Rams (7-1) ~ If you want another example of the rich getting richer look no further than the Rams. They just added pass rushing savant Von Miller to a defense that already includes two members of the Madden 99 club. How can an offensive line account for Aaron Donald AND Miller coming after the quarterback? That is what the Tennessee Titans will be tasked with Sunday night. (Last Week’s Ranking 2)

2. Arizona Cardinals (7-1) ~ The 1972 Miami Dolphins, authors of the only undefeated season in NFL history, were able to pop their champagne bottles Thursday night when Arizona became the last team in the NFL to endure a loss. While some people might say it’s better for them to lose now so it takes some of the pressure off, I am not in that same camp. Isn’t the goal to win every game? I don’t think a team should feel good, or relief, from suffering a loss. The bigger takeaway from this game is that MVP candidate Kyler Murray was injured at the end. If he is forced to miss time this team could be in trouble. Pop quiz hot shot: without looking, who is Arizona’s backup quarterback? Can’t do it? Neither could I. The answer is Colt McCoy. While he is better than most backups, he is no Kyler Murray. (LWR 1)

3. Green Bay Packers (7-1) ~ No Davante Adams. No Allen Lazard. No Marques Valdez-Scantling. A short week. A road game against the lone remaining undefeated team in the league. None of it mattered. John Wick, uh, I mean Aaron Rodgers, went in to Arizona shorthanded and dealt Arizona their first loss of the season. Seven straight wins for the Packers. (LWR 5)

4. Dallas Cowboys (6-1) ~ Dak Prescott was forced to miss a game due to a calf injury. That meant Cooper Rush was going to make his first NFL start on the road against what I believe to be a solid Minnesota team. All Rush did was throw for 325 yards and two touchdowns, the last of which gave Dallas the lead with just five seconds left on the clock. This is a statement game. The league has been put on notice. As much as it pains me, Dallas is for real. (LWR 6)

5. Buffalo Bills (5-2) ~ Don’t look now, but as the calendar flips to November, Josh Allen is the betting favorite to take home MVP honors. Allen is just 11th in passing yards (1,972) and his 17 touchdowns are tied for fifth. But, we all know it isn’t just these counting stats that make the MVP. I’ve been mentioning Buffalo’s easy upcoming schedule and should the Bills rattle off a few more wins they could make their case for the top seed in the AFC. That would also garner him a few MVP votes. (LWR 4)

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2) ~ Rob Gronkowski made it through just five plays in his return from a rib injury. The team is already without Antonio Brown and, if Tom Brady loses his safety valve in Gronk for a few more weeks it could put a little more pressure on the Tampa offense. Their next game isn’t until the 14th, so maybe the bye week is coming at just the right time. (LWR 3)

7. Baltimore Ravens (5-2) ~ Baltimore went in to the bye week in second place in the AFC North after getting trounced by Cincinnati. It had to put smiles on their faces this Sunday when they saw those same Bengals take a loss to the woeful New York Jets. Baltimore is back on top of their division without even having to play a game. What more could they ask for? (LWR 9)

8. Tennessee Titans (6-2) ~ They were legitimate Super Bowl contenders. They still might be, but I’ll need to see how this offense looks without Derrick Henry. The best runner in the league may miss the rest of the season due to a foot injury. The good news for the Titans is that they have a three-game cushion in the AFC South and own the tiebreaker over Indy. Maybe Henry can make it back for the playoffs if and when we get to that point. (LWR 8)

9. New Orleans Saints (5-2) ~ Losing Jameis Winston to an ACL injury hurts. There’s no way around it. But does it hurt as much as it appears on the surface? The Saints are averaging just 181 yards per game through the air which is 31st in the league. Before the season started, we weren’t sure if Winston or Taysom Hill would win the starting job. Hill played just fine in four starts last season. I for one don’t think there will be that big of a drop-off here. This is all based on the assumption Hill will be healthy enough to play this weekend as he is coming back from a concussion. (LWR 13)

10. Las Vegas Raiders (5-2) ~ Henry Ruggs was involved in a serious car crash that resulted in a death. He is being charged with a DUI. This is a sad and scary development for the Raiders, Ruggs and the families involved in this tragedy. (LWR 11)

11. Cincinnati Bengals (5-3) ~ Well, they did it. They lost to the Jets. That game knocked about 50 people, myself included, out of my last man standing pool. Is that what I get for putting faith in the Bengals? Last week I talked about how the Bengals were the top seed in the AFC playoffs if the season ended that day. Now I’m talking about them losing to the Jets. Sigh. (LWR 7)

12. Los Angeles Chargers (4-3) ~ Safety Adrian Phillips had the first multi-interception game of his eight-year career, including a pick-six, in a Chargers home game. If that happened prior to 2020, Chargers fans would be celebrating. Phillips, who spent his first six seasons as a Charger, did his damage Sunday while wearing a Patriots jersey. Always nice to get one, or in this case two, against your former team. (LWR 10)

13. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) ~ I’ll be the first to admit that I thought this was the end for Pittsburgh. It was time for Big Ben Roethlisberger to fade off quietly into the sunset. Maybe I was getting ahead of myself. Three straight wins have the Steelers back in playoff contention and taking a peek ahead at their schedule I see two home games against Chicago and Detroit. There’s a very realistic chance the Steelers will be sitting at 6-3 two weeks from now. Unless I just jinxed them. Wouldn’t be the first time. (LWR 15)

14. Kansas City Chiefs (4-4) ~ My confidence level is not high. Last week I mentioned that Patrick Mahomes was leading the NFL in interceptions. He threw two more. He is not the biggest problem, however. The defense can’t seem to stop anyone. Maybe that’s why they acquired pass rusher Melvin Ingram from Pittsburgh earlier today. All it took was a 6th round pick to bring Ingram back to the AFC West. (LWR 14)

15. New England Patriots (4-4) ~ Four more catches for Jakobi Meyers. That puts his career total at 130 catches without finding the end zone. It is the longest stretch to begin a career in NFL history. New England’s spot in these rankings may just turn into a Meyers touchdown clock. (LWR 19)

16. Cleveland Browns (4-4) ~ It’s easy to talk about Odell Beckham Jr’s disappearance from the Cleveland offense, but let’s talk about someone else for a change. Right tackle Jack Conklin is the latest Brown to go down with an injury. Last year’s feel good story about the Browns is going up in flames before our very eyes. (LWR 12)

17. San Francisco 49ers (3-4) ~ Deebo Samuel broke the 100-yard receiving mark for the fourth time in Sunday’s win against the Bears. It was the first time he eclipsed 100 yards in a game and didn’t score. Coming into the season the hype was surrounding Brandon Aiyuk to be San Fran’s breakout wide receiver. Instead, Aiyuk has just 13 catches in seven games which is less than teammates Mohamed Sanu and Kyle Juszczyk. (LWR 18)

18. Minnesota Vikings (3-4) ~ As if the loss to a Cooper Rush led Cowboys team wasn’t bad enough, Minnesota also lost their best pass rusher. Danielle Hunter tore a pec muscle in that loss and will miss the rest of the season. He led the Vikings with six sacks across the first seven games. (LWR 16)

19. Indianapolis Colts (3-5) ~ Last week I talked about Carson Wentz making one of the most Carson Wentz moves possible. Well, I guess he didn’t get my message because he pulled another one on Halloween. How ya feelin’ about your quarterback Colts fans? (LWR 17)

20. Carolina Panthers (4-4) ~ Chuba Hubbard ran for 82 yards as the Panthers amassed more than 200 yards on the ground. Sure, that’s important, but the reason I bring up Hubbard’s name is that the great Chris Berman, one of the best nickname givers of all time, referred to him as the Chuba Missile Crisis. I….I can’t even. Gold. (LWR 20)

21. Denver Broncos (4-4) ~ This season Denver has been defined by their defense. They allow just a hair over 17 points per game which is 2nd best in the NFL. In fact, they’ve held their opponent to 17 or fewer in five of their eight games. It makes me wonder why they traded Von Miller, the face of their franchise, when the defense hasn’t been the problem and the Broncos have a legit shot at a playoff spot. If Denver was 2-6, I understand the trade. Not at 4-4. (LWR 21)

22. Seattle Seahawks (3-5) ~ Did Geno Smith end his time as the starter with a win? Seattle is on a bye this week and Russell Wilson had the pins removed from his finger. There is a chance Wilson returns to the field the next time Seattle suits up against the Packers. (LWR 23)

23. Atlanta Falcons (3-4) ~ Calvin Ridley is stepping away from his NFL career to focus on his mental health. This is a serious issue and cannot be taken lightly. All the best to him and his family. (LWR 22)

24. Philadelphia Eagles (3-5) ~ What if I told you that Jalen Hurts completed just nine passes for 103 yards and was removed from the game not due to injury. You’d think the Eagles were blown out, wouldn’t you? It was quite the opposite, really. Philly racked up a season-high 44 points while running the ball with success all game long in Detroit. Funny that the team decides to run the ball once they are without starter Miles Sanders who was placed on injured reserve earlier this week. (LWR 25)

25. Chicago Bears (3-5) ~ I am shocked that the Bears didn’t move one of their quarterbacks before today’s trade deadline. It appears that this is Justin Fields’ team and they will take the ups with the downs from starting a rookie quarterback. Fields is the future, but the Bears could have acquired a piece to help that future by moving on from either Andy Dalton, Nick Foles or even both of them. (LWR 24)

26. New York Giants (2-6) ~ Speaking of players that should have been traded, how is Evan Engram still a Giant? It’s clear that this relationship will not continue after the season. Maybe the Giants know that they just need someone, anyone, to be on the field to try and catch a pass from Daniel Jones? They’re trotting out John Ross and someone named Collin Johnson against the Chiefs and still almost pulled the upset. The Giants are not a good team, but they would be 1-2 wins better simply if they could have their full complement of skill players. (LWR 27)

27. Washington Football Team (2-6) ~ For the second straight season the Football Team is 2-6. Last year they rebounded and won the NFC East. I’m not sensing they will turn it around this year. It doesn’t get easier with a trip to Tampa to take on the defending champs a week after Tom Brady and Tampa suffered a loss. (LWR 26)

28. New York Jets (2-5) ~ The focus is on Mike White, and rightfully so as he put up over 400 passing yards in his first NFL start. Let’s shift it a bit to another young player who had himself a day. Rookie running back Michael Carter ran for 77 yards and a score while also catching nine passes for another 90 yards. It appears the Jets have found their lead back as no other player had more than four carries. (LWR 30)

29. Miami Dolphins (1-7) ~ Seven straight losses for the Dolphins. They can’t run the ball (30th in the league) or throw the ball (25th overall). The don’t score points (17.3 per game is 28th in the league) and their opponents score seemingly at will (29.1 per game is 29th in the league). At least they’ll have a high draft pick…..oh….that’s right. Their first round pick (presumably top five) belongs to Philadelphia. I’m thinking the sports focus in Miami has shifted to the Heat. (LWR 28)

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6) ~ Will the Jags win a game on American soil this year? That is pretty much the only thing on my mind when it comes to the Jags this season. (LWR 29)

31. Houston Texans (1-7) ~ Deshaun Watson was not traded. Will he remain on the roster when the Texans come together for next season? Because, let’s be real, the only thing the Texans have to look forward to is next season. (LWR 32)

32. Detroit Lions (0-8) ~ I made a mistake. Last week I took the Lions out of the rankings cellar. They rewarded me by getting absolutely embarrassed by my Eagles. An Eagles team that hasn’t looked very good this season. There is no spot other than #32 for this Lions team. (LWR 31)


And that is that. That's all I've got this week. You're now free to go about the rest of your day. Or night. Whatever it may be. If you want more of me, be sure to give me a follow on Twitter or just leave a comment below.













This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2021 Rich

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