NFL Week 8 Power Rankings: Can Anyone Unseat the Patriots?

Kevin Stott

Monday, October 26, 2015 12:27 PM GMT

The Patriots held off the Jets in a big AFC game to remind everyone why they are the defending champions and why they may be #1 in these weekly NFL Power Rankings up until Super Bowl 50.

Christmas is just two months away now, the days are getting shorter and the NFL Regular Season will (sort of) be halfway over after this coming week’s Week 8 play, so Time is flying as she’s known to do and some things never change in the Fall and Winter—like the NFL’s elite separating themselves from the perennial also-rans and middle-of-the packers. And so it is with these rankings, which occasionally gets the pleasant surprise from the AFC’s Cincinnati Bengals or the NFC’s Arizona Cardinals—or both—in the Top 6. But the #1 spot has remained firmly in the grip of the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots who showed on Sunday why lovable party-boy TE Rob Gronkowski is the most reliable player in the NFL. And maybe the most valuable. The teams ranked #2, #3 and #5 last week were all off, resting and recuperating, so the only change there was the Carolina Panthers moving from the #5 to the #4 spot with a nice win over the Philadelphia Eagles at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte on Sunday Night Football. So, without wasting any more words, here’s this week’s fresh NFL Power Rankings heading into the Week 7 schedule-capper from the beautiful Sonoran Desert on Monday Night Football between QB Carson Palmer and the host Arizona Cardinals and Baltimore Ravens at the University of Phoenix Stadium; NFL Odds: Cardinals -10, 49, Pinnacle).

 

NFL Rankings (October 25, 2015)

1—New England Patriots
(6-0 SU, 4-1-1 ATS; +333 win Super Bowl, Paddy Power) Why? The defending Super Bowl champion Patriots stayed unbeaten on Sunday, defeating their AFC East rival, the New York Jets, 30-23 as QB Tom Brady attempted 54 passes (365 yards, 2 TDs) and the aforementioned (TE Rob) Gronkowski (11 receptions, 108 yards, TD) set a career-high for Receptions in the hard-fought and very entertaining Win in Week 7 after the Patriots held off the Colts in Indianapolis, 34-27 in Week 6. This Thursday night in Week 8 action, New England will be welcoming QB Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro for another big AFC East affair (CBS, NFL Network, 8:25 p.m. EDT/5:25 p.m. PDT; Odds: Patriots -7½, 51, Pinnacle). When these two played last season, the Patriots won and covered as 9-point favorites in this game at Home, 41-13, while in Week 1 in Miami last year, the Dolphins upset New England, 33-20 as 3-point underdogs. Recent Trends in this series see the Patriots at 3-0 ATS the L3 here in Foxboro (41-13, 27-17, 28-0). The Advanced Line here was (Patriots minus) 10 while New England opened 9½-point favorites in the NFL Games of the Year number out this Summer, so the win by the Fish on Sunday over the Texans really impressed the linemakers. The solid Patriots are #3 in average Yards Per Play (6.4 ypp) and are +4 in Turnover Margin. Pick: Patriots -7½ (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook). Last Week: #1

 

2—Cincinnati Bengals
(6-0 SU, 5-0-1 ATS; 10/1 to win Super Bowl, Paddy Power) Why? QB Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals (#2 in NFL in Yards Per Play, 6.4) had an Open Date in Week 7, perfect timing after vaulting over three of the NFL’s five Elite—the Green Bay Packers, Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks—in one fell swoop last week in our Week 7 Power Rankings. And these Bengals (5-1 SU, 5-1 ATS, 10/1 to win Super Bowl, Paddy Power) deserve it. And the week off can only help. In Week 6 play, Cincinnati and TCU-product Dalton (23/33, 243 yards, 3 TDs) and the Bengals let their Offense do the talking and took advantage of 8 Bills Penalties (93 yards) to romp to an easy 34-21 win at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo to stay unbeaten as Dalton (13-12 ATS on Road) hooked up with TE Tyler Eifert (4 receptions, 30 yards, TDs), WR AJ Green (4 receptions, 36 yards), WR Mohamed Sanu (2 receptions, 30 yards, 13.8 ypc) and the underrated Marvin Jones (9 receptions, 95 yards, 10.6 ypc, TD) in the Win while RBs Jeremy Hill (16 rushes, 56 yards; 1 reception, 13 yards, TD) and Giovani Bernard (8 rushes, 50 yards, TD) were productive from the Cincinnati backfield. Coming up for the Bengals (#2 in Yards Per Play, 6.4 ypp) and 13-year Head Coach Marvin Lewis (99-95-10 ATS) here in Week 8 is a huge AFC North date with the Steelers in Pittsburgh (CBS, 1 p.m. EDT/10 a.m. PDT) on Sunday at Heinz Field in the Steel City...possibly the perfect time for injured Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger to return? Sound about right. Last Week: #2

 

3—Green Bay Packers
(6-0 SU, 5-1 ATS; +333 to win Super Bowl, Paddy Power) Why? Green Bay had a welcome Open Date in Week 6 after holding off the Chargers, 27-20, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay in Week 5, but in that game, the Packers looked extremely average on Offense and Green Bay DBs struggled much of the afternoon, allowing Chargers QB Philip Rivers to pass for over 500 yards. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (16/29, 255 yards, 2 TDs) did help earn the hosts the win, as always, but RB Eddie Lacy (4 rushes, 3 yards) was very ineffective and it truly took a team effort—and a break up of a pass in the End Zone as time expired—to hold off San Diego as James Starks (TD) and James Jones (TD) had nice games for the Cheeseheads. Even with a win this Sunday night in primetime over Denver (Broncos -2½, 46, Pinnacle), Green Bay and Head Coach Mike McCarthy (94-64-4 ATS) would need a Bengals Loss to vault to #2. The Packers are tied for #1 in TO Margin (+6) and rank #5 in Yards Per Play (+6.1 ypp). Last Week: #3

 

4—Carolina Panthers
(6-0 SU, 5-1 ATS; 16/1 to win Super Bowl, Paddy Power) Why? The Carolina Panthers have played two really impressive games in a row, upsetting the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field in Seattle in Week 6 as QB Cam Newton was 20/26, 269 yards and a TD and TE Greg Olsen (7 receptions, 131 yards, TD) and RB Jonathan Stewart (20 rushes, 78 yards, 2 TDs) were his main targets in the upset in the Emerald City, and then holding off the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night in primetime at Home at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, 27-16 in Week 7 to up their Regular Season win streak to an impressive 10 games. So, moving up to this shiny #4 spot seems justified when compared to Denver. At least these Cats play Offense and don’t have a QB needing Geritol and Bifocals, brother. Next up for TE Greg Olsen and the Panthers in Week 8, a date with Andrew Luck and the wobbly Indianapolis Colts at Home in Charlotte on Monday Night Football (ESPN, 8:30 p.m. EDT/5:30 p.m. PDT; Odds: Panthers -5½, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook). Heading into SNF, the Panthers were tied for #1 in the NFL in Turnover Margin (+6)—something this Ron Rivera-coached team has always been good at—but a surprising 28th in Yards Per Play average (5.0 ypp). Last Week: #5

 

5—Denver Broncos
(6-0 SU, 4-2-0 ATS; 10/1 to win Super Bowl, Paddy Power) Why? Denver had its Open Date in Week 7 and hopefully figured some things out Offensively and let some Injured players heal. The Broncos host Aaron Rodger and the Green Bay Packers at Sports Authority Field on Sunday in Denver (Broncos -2½, 46, Pinnacle) and in the renowned Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook NFL Games of the Year, the Broncos opened up as 2½-point chalks the same as it is opening Offshore and a ½ point less than the number hanging at the SuperBook (-3). In their last game, the host Broncos once again needed Overtime to get the Win and stay perfect, this time against the Browns in Cleveland. But the Denver Offense again showed it’s a liability and 39-year-old QB Peyton Manning (103-63-5 ATS off Wins)—who has 10 Interceptions already—looks like he is declining by the minute. But the Broncos active and ferocious Defense—without the injured Demarcus Ware—again scored on its own, again on a Pick-6 and the talented Aqib Talib returned a poor Josh McCown pass to the house for Denver early on. The Broncos had too many drops, and again, the Offense—which scored its first TD in 27 drives—ended up putting way too much pressure on the Defense. But again, the Defense rose to the occasion. But asking or expecting the Defense to carry this team all season, and it seems sooner or late this team may slide from the Top 6 although the Broncos do just find a way to win. One key will be getting RBs Ronnie Hillman and CJ Anderson going. This Packers game at Home (Packers -2½, Pinnacle) will reveal much about this Denver team this year who’s First Quarter Unders have been straight butter. This enigmatic team is tied for #1 in TO Margin (+6) but 31st is in average Yards Per Play (5.0 ypp) behind Grandfather Peyton ao with their two big back-to-back Wins, now #4 Carolina deserved to leapfrog the Broncos. Last Week: #4

6—Arizona Cardinals (4-2 SU, 4-2 ATS; 14/1 to win SB, Paddy Power) Last Week: 6
7—Seattle Seahawks (3-4 SU, 2-4-1 ATS; 9/1 to win SB, Paddy Power) Last Week: 7
8—New York Jets (4-2 SU, 5-1 ATS; 33/1 to win Super Bowl, Paddy Power) Last Week: 9
9—Atlanta Falcons (6-1 SU, 4-3 ATS; 25/1 to win SB, Paddy Power) Last Week: 12
10—Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3 SU, 3-2-1 ATS; 25/1 to win SB, Paddy Power) Last Week: 8
11—Minnesota Vikings (4-2 SU, 5-1 ATS; 25/1 to win SB, Paddy Power) Last Week: 10
12—New York Giants (4-2 SU, 3-3 ATS; 25/1 to win SB, Paddy Power) Last Week: 15
13—St. Louis Rams (3-3 SU, 3-3 ATS; 80/1 to win Super Bowl,Paddy Power) Last Week: 13
14—Oakland Raiders (3-3 SU, 3-3 ATS; 100/1 to win SB, Paddy Power) Last Week: 18
15—Indianapolis Colts (3-4 SU, 2-5 ATS; 16/1 to win SB, Paddy Power) Last Week: 11
16—San Diego Chargers (2-5 SU, 4-3 ATS; 50/1 to win SB, Paddy Power) Last Week: 14
17—Buffalo Bills (3-4 SU, 2-5 ATS; 40/1 to win Super Bowl, Paddy Power) Last Week: 16
18—New Orleans Saints (3-4 SU, 4-3 ATS; 100/1 win SB, Paddy Power) Last Week: 26 (T)
19—Philadelphia Eagles (2-4 SU, 2-4 ATS; 18/1 to win SB,Paddy Power) Last Week: 20
20—Dallas Cowboys (2-4 SU, 2-4 ATS; 50/1 to win SB, Paddy Power) Last Week: 19
21—Miami Dolphins (3-3 SU, 3-3 ATS; 100/1 to win SB, Paddy Power) Last Week: 31
22—Baltimore Ravens (1-5 SU, 1-5 ATS; 80/1 to win SB, Paddy Power) Last Week: 21
23—Cleveland Browns (2-5 SU, 4-3 ATS; 80/1 to win SB, Paddy Power) Last Week: 17
24—Washington Redskins (3-4 SU, 3-4 ATS; 100/1 win SB, Paddy Power) Last Week: 24
25—Chicago Bears (2-4 SU, 3-3 ATS; 275/1 to win SB, Paddy Power) Last Week: 26 (T)
26—San Francisco 49ers (1-5 SU, 2-4 ATS; 500/1 to win SB Paddy Power) Last Week: 25
27—Kansas City Chiefs (2-5 SU, 2-5 ATS; 100/1 to win SB, Paddy Power) Last Week: 29
28—Houston Texans (2-5 SU, 2-5 ATS; 150/1 to win SB, Paddy Power) Last Week: 21
29—Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5 SU, 2-4 ATS; 275/1 win SB, Paddy Power) Last Week: 32
30—Detroit Lions (1-6 SU, 1-6 ATS; 200/1 to win SB, Paddy Power) Last Week: 25
31—Tennessee Titans (1-5 SU, 3-3 ATS; 150/1 to win SB, Paddy Power) Last Week: 28
32—Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4 SU, 3-3 ATS; 500/1 win SB, Paddy Power) LW: 30

 

NFL WEEK 8 POWER RANKINGS PICKS: New England Patriots -7½ over Miami Dolphins (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook), New York Jets PK over Oakland Raiders (Pinnacle)

SUPER BOWL FUTURES CURRENT PERCEIVED VALUE LOOKS: Arizona Cardinals 14/1, Carolina Panthers 16/1, Cincinnati Bengals 10/1, New York Jets 33/1 (Paddy Power)