RankingsNovember 3, 2011

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NFL Rankings: Top Teams Fall in Week 8

By R.J. White

Two of our top five teams from last week succumbed to losses that knocked them out of this week’s top five. The Patriots couldn’t find a way to stop Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ passing attack, and that pass defense looks like it’s going to be the weakness that keeps the Patriots from a deep playoff run. How are they going to stop the Steelers, Chargers or even the Bills in January? The more embarrassing loss came at the hands of the Saints, who were completely dominated by a zero-win Rams team on Sunday. The Rams defense looked dominant in this game, while Steven Jackson was unstoppable despite having A.J. Feeley at quarterback. How did this team start 0-6? It’ll be interesting to see how good they are once Sam Bradford is healthy again. Ditto for the Saints and Sean Payton.

RankPreviousTeamRecordWeek 8Week 9
11Green Bay Packers7-0Byeat SD
After a nice week off, the Packers get to face a reeling Chargers team desperate to stay ahead in the AFC West. Should be an easy win.
22San Francisco 49ers6-1W, CLE 20-10at WAS
Cleveland had no shot against these 49ers, who now have the best scoring defense in the league. Washington could go scoreless again.
36Pittsburgh Steelers6-2W, NE 25-17vs. BAL
Huge win for a Steelers team that has a super-easy second half schedule. The AFC North is theirs for the taking this week.
47Detroit Lions6-2W, DEN 45-10Bye
The Lions wiped out some of the concerns from their previous two weeks (both losses) with a blowout win against a bad team.
55Baltimore Ravens5-2W, ARI 30-27at PIT
The Ravens played six awful quarters from Monday to Sunday, but they got back on track just in time to squeeze out a gimme win in Week 8.
68Buffalo Bills5-2W, WAS 23-0vs. NYJ
The Bills can run, they can pass, and now they can apparently shut teams out. Look out, NFL — this Cinderella isn’t nearly at midnight.
73New England Patriots5-2L, PIT 17-25vs. NYG
Injuries and roster cuts have left the Patriots with a pathetic defense, and unless Tom Brady can score 40 a game, this team may be doomed.
84New Orleans Saints5-3L, STL 21-31vs. TB
What was that? This wasn’t some fluky loss — the Rams dominated the Saints through 60 minutes. Was this just “one of those days?”
910Cincinnati Bengals5-2W, SEA 34-12at TEN
The Bengals have jumped out to a surprising 5-2 record by playing some lackluster competition; we’ll see if they survive the AFC North gauntlet.
1011Atlanta Falcons4-3Byeat IND
The week off vaults the Falcons into the top 10, and with Julio Jones coming back and the Colts on the schedule, odds are Atlanta is here to stay.
1112Chicago Bears4-3Byeat PHI
Two solid pre-bye wins give the Bears some momentum, but now they’ll have to contend with an Eagles team that found their legs against Dallas.
1214New York Jets4-3Byeat BUF
Undefeated at home, winless on the road, the Jets are going to have to find some road success to make the playoffs. Beating Buffalo would be big.
1315Houston Texans5-3W, JAC 24-14vs. CLE
The Texans have a winning record at their halfway point, and they’re still waiting for the return of Andre Johnson. Could this team improve?
1416New York Giants5-2W, MIA 20-17at NE
Ugly win for the Giants, keeping the worst team in the league around all game. They have a lot to prove, even at 5-2 on the year.
1518Kansas City Chiefs4-3W, SD 23-20vs. MIA
Huge win for a great defensive Chiefs team on Monday night, giving them a tie of first in the division. An easy win should be on tap this week.
169San Diego Chargers4-3L, KC 20-23vs. GB
Something looks wrong with Philip Rivers; I’ve never seem him throw this poorly. Are the Chargers in trouble of missing the playoffs?
1717Tampa Bay Buccaneers4-3Byeat NO
The Bucs’ last State-side game was against these Saints, and they came away with a win. A sweep puts them right in the thick of it.
1820Tennessee Titans4-3W, IND 27-10vs. CIN
The Titans picked up an easy win thanks to the competition, but they still haven’t found the magical elixir for Chris Johnson. It ain’t money.
1921Philadelphia Eagles3-4W, DAL 34-7vs. CHI
A performance the Eagles sorely needed, Sunday’s drubbing of the rival Cowboys could ignite this team to reach lofty pre-season expectations.
2019Oakland Raiders4-3Byevs. DEN
Carson Palmer’s now had an extra two weeks to learn the Oakland offense: hand off right, hand off left, hand off right, hand off left …
2113Dallas Cowboys3-4L, PHI 7-34vs. SEA
The defense was whipped, the star receivers were taken out of the game, and the Cowboys were handed an embarrassing loss.
2228Minnesota Vikings2-6W, CAR 24-21Bye
Nice win by the Christian Ponder-led Vikings, who are finally getting Adrian Peterson involved in the passing game. They could make second half noise.
2322Washington Redskins3-4L, BUF 0-23vs. SF
I know this is going to be a surprise to you, but it turns out that John Beck may not be a capable NFL starter. I know, it shocked me too.
2423Cleveland Browns3-4L, SF 10-20at HOU
This Browns team really doesn’t have anything positive to work with right now — I fear they may need another organizational overhaul.
2525Carolina Panthers2-6L, MIN 21-24Bye
It turns out that last year’s defense, paid a large sum of money to stay in Carolina in 2011, overperformed last year. Whoops!
2626Jacksonville Jaguars2-6L, HOU 24-14Bye
The 2010 Panthers of 2011? The Jaguars defense looks pretty stout, but the offense has no chance at moving the ball consistently.
2724Denver Broncos2-5L, DET 10-45at OAK
When Stephen Tulloched Tebowed Tebow after a Tim Tebow sack, my head almost exploded. Tebow’s at 14 minutes of fame and counting …
2827Seattle Seahawks2-5L, CIN 12-34at DAL
Jackson was named the starter, didn’t start, then came on to throw for over 300 yards … and the Seahawks were still blown out.
2930St. Louis Rams1-6W, NO 31-21at ARI
Big win for a team that looked like a complete mess. They have an easy matchup this week, and they have to prove that win wasn’t a one-off.
3029Arizona Cardinals1-6L, BAL 27-30vs. STL
The Cardinals moved in the right direction by going up 24-3 on a good Ravens team in the first half, but then they Arizona-ed it up.
3131Indianapolis Colts0-8L, TEN 10-27vs. ATL
If the Colts get the No. 1 pick, they have to take Andrew Luck. Sorry Manning, but you have about 2-3 good years left — can’t pass up Luck.
3232Miami Dolphins0-7L, NYG 17-20at KC
So close to that unwanted first win; the Dolphins will have to work much harder to make sure they go 0-16 and land Laddy Luck.

R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe, writes for FanDuel and Razzball and has previously written for FanHouse. Catch up with him in the forums under the name daullaz. Follow him on Twitter; don't follow him in real life.
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