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NFL Power Rankings: Week 8

Reggie and the Saints are flying

Reggie and the Saints are flying

Welcome to the Week 8 edition of the Cubicle GM NFL Power Rankings.  Every Tuesday you can look forward to our composite rankings, as well as a bit of brief insight and analysis about each of the 32 teams.

The rankings are determined by taking the average of each of the contributors here at The Cube.  For Week 8, we have rankings from five members of the Cubicle GM team, including me, Gideon, Mickey, Walker and Smokey.  So remember, if you disagree with some portion of our rankings, be sure to check the individual rankings to find the culprit.

With their loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday, Minnesota fell from the ranks of the undefeated and also out of the top three.  Those spots in the rankings belong to the three remaining undefeated teams in the league.  The Saints held on to their unanimous place at the top of the rankings after their comeback victory over Miami on Sunday.

The No. 2 ranking is also unanimous, as the Colts received all five votes at that position.  The third and fourth spots were nearly uniform, as only Smokey chose not to vote Denver at No. 3 and New England at No. 4.

After dropping three spots last week after their loss to New Orleans, the Giants fell another two this week after falling to Arizona on Sunday night.  The Eagles regained a spot in the Top 10 after taking care of the Redskins, replacing the Falcons, who fell four spots after their loss to Dallas.

The bottom of the rankings was nearly unchanged this week, as none of the bottom eight teams moved at all from Week 7.  In fact, the only change in the bottom third of the league was Buffalo and Carolina swapping positions after the Bills win in their matchup on Sunday.

While the bottom of the rankings is pretty stable, the same cannot be said for the top and middle.  Sixteen of the top 21 teams changed spots this week, with eight teams moving at least three spots up or down the ranks.

The Arizona Cardinals had the biggest upward movement, jumping four spots to No. 15 after their upset of the Giants.  Not surprisingly the biggest downward mover was the Chicago Bears, falling six spots after being dismantled by Cincinnati.

The disagreements among the rankers increased this week, but are localized in the middle of the ranks.  Out of the six disagreements of seven or more spots in their ranks, five were between No. 11 and No. 17.  This week also marked the first time that there were no double digit disagreements between any of the contributors.

Green Bay Packers (9) – Gideon 6, Smokey 15

San Diego Chargers (8) – Smokey 11, Walker 19

Houston Texans (8) – Smokey 12, Mickey 20

Dallas Cowboys (7) – Walker 11, Smokey 18

Atlanta Falcons (7) – Smokey 9, Walker 16

Cleveland Browns (7) – Walker 23, Jacob 30

On the divisional side, the NFC East continues to lead the way with an average score of 11.85, but their lead over the AFC North is diminishing quickly, as that division improved to a 12.40 average this week.  The bottom two divisions remain the same for the fifth consecutive week, as the NFC West still cannot escape the last place Rams, checking in with a 21.80 average rank.  They are trailing the NFC South, who has a 20.40 average thanks to Carolina and Tampa near the bottom.

As a reminder, you can check out all the backup data here.  Without further ado, onto the rankings.  As always, last week’s ranks are in parentheses.

1.  New Orleans Saints (1) – The Saints trailed for the first time all season in Miami, but turned a 21-point deficit into a 12 point victory by winning the fourth quarter 22-0.

2. Indianapolis Colts (2) – With Anthony Gonzalez close to returning from injury, Peyton Manning will have another weapon to add to his undefeated arsenal.

3. Denver Broncos (4) – The Broncos get a rude awakening after their bye week, as they travel to Baltimore then host the Steelers.

4.  New England Patriots (6) – It would be nice to give London a good matchup, as the Patriots controlled the game from the first series.

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (7) – The most impressive aspect of the Steelers win over Minnesota was the blocking by the defense on the fumble and INT returns.

6. Minnesota Vikings (3) – Two turnovers in the fourth quarter makes Favre’s return to Lambeau next week a battle for first place in the NFC North.

7.  New York Giants (5) – After a second straight loss, the Giants now lead the NFC East by just ½ game going into their showdown with Philadelphia.

8. Cincinnati Bengals (10) – That was easy.  The Bengals dominated the game from the first snap in blowing out the Bears at home.

9. Baltimore Ravens (9) – The Ravens host the undefeated Broncos next week in what could be a must-win game for Baltimore.

10. Philadelphia Eagles (11) – A dream debut for the newly acquired LB Will Witherspoon, recording eight tackles, a sack, an interception and a touchdown.

11. Green Bay Packers (12) – The Packers were not caught looking ahead to next week’s showdown with the Vikings, blowing out Cleveland as expected.

12. Atlanta Falcons (8) – After holding their last two opponents to 24 points combined, the Falcons had no answer for Tony Romo as the Cowboys scored 37 on them.

13. New York Jets (13) – The season-ending injury to RB Leon Washington marred an otherwise perfect day for the Jets in dismantling the Raiders in Oakland.

14. Dallas Cowboys (17) – Terrell who?  Miles Austin proved his first NFL start wasn’t a fluke, going for 171 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Atlanta.

15.  Arizona Cardinals (19) – We all knew the Cards had a great offense, but they showed their defensive prowess on Sunday night by holding the Giants to just 17 points and winning on the road.

16. San Diego Chargers (16) – The best medicine for a two-game losing streak?  Facing the Chiefs.

17. Houston Texans (18) – Houston has now won three of four, not coincidentally those are the games in which Steve Slaton has found the end zone.

18. Miami Dolphins (20) – The Dolphins ran wild on a tough New Orleans defense, but could not contain Brees and the Saints in the second half.

19. San Francisco 49ers (15) – QB Alex Smith has already been named the starter for next week after taking over for Shaun Hill at halftime.  Unfortunately for him the Niners travel to Indianapolis to take on the Colts.

20. Chicago Bears (14) – I don’t want to talk about it.  Let’s just move on.

21. Buffalo Bills (24) – Apparently the answer to last week’s question is yes, Ryan Fitzpatrick is the answer in Buffalo.  At least according to the Bills’ coaching staff.

22. Seattle Seahawks (22) – The Seahawks will have two weeks to prepare for their trip to face the red hot Tony Romo and Miles Austin.

23. Jacksonville Jaguars (23) – If you told me that Jacksonville and Tennessee would have three wins combined going into their Week 8 matchup before the season, I would never have believed you.

24. Carolina Panthers (21) – Everyone else is saying it, so I will too.  Jake Delhomme and John Fox’s seats are about as hot as they possibly can be after losing to Buffalo.

25. Detroit Lions (25) – The upcoming Lions-Rams game is a potential matchup between past and future 0-16 teams.

26. Cleveland Browns (26) – Only positive aspect of the Browns team right now in my mind is that they are coming to Chicago on Sunday.

27.  Kansas City Chiefs (27) – It might be Jamaal Charles’ turn in the backfield, as Larry Johnson made his displeasure with the coaching staff public following KC’s loss.

28. Oakland Raiders (28) – JaMarcus Russell isn’t very good at QB, but then again, neither is Bruce Gradkowski.  How this team beat Philadelphia is beyond me.

29. Tennessee Titans (29) – The Titans’ owner is calling for Vince Young to get more playing time.  Will Jeff Fisher listen?

30. Washington Redskins (30) – A fumbled snap on fourth-and-goal in the fourth quarter pretty much summarized the Redskins’ week.

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (31) – The fact that Tampa Bay is lower in the rankings than Oakland, KC, Tennessee and Cleveland is a testament to how putrid they really are.

32. St. Louis Rams (32) – I’m running out of things to say about not having anything positive to say.

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