Week 8 of NFL Football officially ended on Monday, Oct. 27, 2014, with the Washington Redskins stunning 20-17 OT victory over Dallas on Monday Night Football. It was third string QB Colt McCoy getting the start for Washington, and delivering the ‘W’. Week 8 was all about QBs, as on Sunday, Ben Roethlisberger threw for 522 yds and 6 TDs. He was one of four QBs to throw for at least 400 yds, and he was the only winner. Andrew Luck, Nick Foles, and Aaron Rodgers, all threw for at least 400 yds, but they all lost. It was the first time in NFL history, that four QBs went for 400 yards, on the same day.
The injury bug seemed really focused this week, as it ostensibly crushed the already miniscule playoff hopes of both Chicago and St. Louis. Significant injuries in Week 8: DL Lamarr Houston – CHI (ACL) out for season. OL Matt Slauson – CHI (Pectoral muscle) out for season. OL Jake Long – StL (ACL) out for season. WR Brian Quick – StL (Rotator cuff) out for season. LB Jon Beason – NYG (Toe) out for season. DB Jimmy Smith – BAL (foot) out 3-4 weeks. DL Nick Fairley – DET (knee) out 4 weeks.
Here are the NFL Power Rankings for Week 8:
1) Last week # 2 – Denver Broncos (6-1): Payton Manning continues his assault on the NFL record books. WR Emmanuel Sanders has emerged as such a threat, that Wes Welker has become an afterthought. In fact, taking into consideration, WRs Julius Thomas and Demaryius Thomas, Welker is now an after, after, afterthought. On defense, Demarcus Ware and Von Miller continue to terrorize opposing QBs
2) LW#8 – Arizona Cardinals (6-1): Continue to pass every test, every week. Carson Palmer threw a gutsy 75 yd TD pass to rookie WR John Brown late in the big win over Philly. Most impressive, is that defense, which came up big again this week. Just imagine if this team was actually healthy – Next up, the Dallas Cowboys.
3) LW#5 – San Diego Chargers (5-3): RB Branden Oliver has been a pleasant surprise. QB Philip Rivers is having a great season. The best part of this season, has been the improvement on defense. The defense is currently ranked 4th overall.
4) LW#1 – Dallas Cowboys (6-2): Division games are always tricky. Who’d have ever thought that DeMarco Murray would run for 141 yds, and the Cowboys would lose to Washington. Tony Romo may have tweaked his surgically repaired back as well. They are gonna need all hands on deck, this week vs Arizona.
5) LW#7 – Seattle Seahawks (4-3): When it really mattered, they played like champs, and pulled out a win over Carolina. If Marshawn Lynch’s recent realization that this is his last season in Seattle, begins to affect his play, it could be trouble. Also, there are whispers that QB Russell Wilson is not “black enough”, which apparently is somehow detrimental to the team.
6) LW#3 – Indianapolis Colts (5-3): Andrew Luck threw for 400 yds against the Steelers, and still lost. Every dog has it’s day, but the Colts’ defense letting Ben Roethlisberger throw for 522 passing yards and 6 TDs, is unacceptable for a team with lofty aspirations.
7) LW#6 – Philadelphia Eagles (5-2): This team is beginning to not look quite so invincible. Bottom line, if LeSean McCoy doesn’t find his game, the Eagles will not be able to play with the elite NFL teams. There is a big difference between being able to run the ball when you want to, and being able to run the ball when you need to.
8) LW#9 – Baltimore Ravens (5-3): Almost pulled off a late-game miracle against Cincy. With the way teams are bunched up in the AFC North, this is going to be a great race to the finish. Unlike the NFC South, these teams are all bunched up, and have winning records . . and positive point differentials.
9) LW#11 – New England Patriots (6-2): This past weekend, they drove a stake thru the heart of the entire city of Chicago. The Pats do a great job of playing with new personnel, and making adjustments. Huge game coming up this weekend. Brady vs Manning (the Manning that Brady can beat) for the 16th time. Brady leads 10-5.
10) LW#15 – Cincinnati Bengals (4-2-1): Finally won a meaningful game, when they beat Baltimore this past weekend. The only thing stopping this team from making a deep playoff run, is their lack of killer instinct.
11) LW#4 – Green Bay Packers (5-3): The loss to New Orleans was a bit of a downer, but the real concern is over the seemingly injured hamstring of QB Aaron Rodgers. The injury may not be serious, bt he clearly wasn’t the same QB after it happened.
12) LW#13 – Detroit Lions (6-2): Gutsy comeback from 21 points down against Atlanta, may prove to be the turning point to this season. Making it without the services of WR Calvin Johnson, makes it even more significant. Unfortunately, the defense will have to do without DL Nick Fairley for the next month or so.
13) LW#10 – San Francisco 49ers (4-3): Lost big to Denver before the bye week. Tied with the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West, which is now ruled by the Arizona Cardinals. Looking at the rest of the NFC, there is a good chance one of these teams will not make the playoffs. It looks like Niners will have DL Aldon Smith back very shortly; just in the nick of time.
14) LW#14 – Miami Dolphins (4-3): There is no need to get too excited about a win over Jacksonville, but it was the Dolphins fourth straight game of solid football. If they can come out strong against San Diego and Detroit, in these next two weeks, they may be onto something.
15) LW#16 – Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3): Followed up what might be considered a lucky win vs Houston, with a crushing performance vs Indy. Steelers look like they are turning the corner just in time. A revenge win against Baltimore on Sunday night, will add to the momentum. Especially since they will also be retiring Mean Joe Greene’s jersey # 75 on that same night. If they go into the game thinking, “What would Joe do”, they should be fine.
16) LW#12 – Kansas City Chiefs (4-3): Chiefs just need to stick to their bread and butter run game, and they will be okay. After a helter skelter start to the season, they have now won 3 of the last 4, including wins over the Patriots and Chargers. LB Justin Houston is having an All-pro season. Next two games are against the NY Jets, and Buffalo.
17) LW#17 – Carolina Panthers (3-4-1): In the same boat as the Cincinnati Bengals. They have struggled in big games, and last week’s loss to Seattle was no different. Due to the tie with Cincy two weeks ago, they hold a precarious lead in the ridiculously weak NFC South. Have a big home game vs 2nd place New Orleans on Thursday night.
18) LW#25 – New Orleans Saints (3-4): Beat Green Bay last week, but still have a long way to go. So far, they are 3-0 at home, and 0-4 on the road. Even if 8-8 gave them the division title, the chances of having home field advantage throughout, are virtually zero. They must start winning on the road. Thursday in Carolina would be a great time to start.
19) LW#18 – Cleveland Browns (4-3): Rebounded from their fiasco against Jacksonville, with a solid win over Oakland (a win is a win). Should be able to handle Tampa Bay this weekend, and then the schedule gets tougher. They need to hold the fort, until WR Josh Gordon returns.
20) LW#20 – Houston Texans (4-4): Still playing over their heads, but the offense did carry it’s weight last week vs Tennessee. Next three games are Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Cincy. If RB Arian Foster can carry the load, they have a shot. We know J.J. Watt will anchor the defense.
21) LW#21 – Buffalo Bills (5-3): The winning record may be a bit deceptive. QB Kyle Orton is a solid pro, and has been great for the team. The loss of RBs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, is probably going to be their undoing.
22) LW#19 – Chicago Bears (3-5): The implosion has officially begun. They gave up 51 points, and 5 TD passes to Tom Brady and the Patriots. Both Lamarr Houston and Matt Slauson are out for the season, and QB Jay Cutler is walking aroubd with “that look” on his face. This team is done.
23) LW#27 – Washington Redskins (3-5): QB Colt McCoy put on a great display against Dallas, but all eyes are on the return of QB Robert Griffin III. I suppose it is better to have the occasional big play mixed in with an overall disappointing offense. The real question is whether or not oft-injured RGIII will even finish out the season without another injury.
24) LW#23 – NY Giants (3-4): It is almost time to abandon ship. There is still a slight chance it will not sink, but were this a real ship, lifeboats would be ready, and the crew would have life jackets on.
25) LW#22 – St. Louis Rams (2-5): Lost to injury, OL Jake Long, and RB Brian Quick. Both are done for the season.There are building blocks in place, just a few quality free agent pickups in the offseason could turn it around. In the meantime, there are 9 games left in this season.
26) LW#24 – Atlanta Falcons (2-6): Said Head coach Mike Smith, “This may be a 2-6 team, but we do not have a 2-6 locker room.” Hollow solace for fans of these Falcons, who were dreaming the impossible dream when the season began. Owner Arthur Blank has indicated that big changes are on the way.
27) LW#30 – Tennessee Titans (2-6): The Zach Mettenberger era has begun. He was so excited about it, that he spent the week posting selfies, before getting his butt soundly kicked by Houston.
28) LW#26 – Minnesota Vikings (3-5): In Anthony Barr, the team may have a franchise LB around which they can build the defense. The offense is whole other project.
29) LW#29 – Tampa Bay Bucs (1-6): So much for the Bucs being the NFC’s “surprise team”. This is just painful to watch. Hard to believe the answer to the trivia question, is “The Pisttsburgh Steelers in Week 4”
30) LW#28 – Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7): Actually had a little bit of a chance in their game vs Miami. They have to wonder what might have happened, had they not been so careless with the football. QB Blake Bortles may actually die of growing pains.
31) LW#31 – NY Jets (1-7): Now we know what it takes for Geno Smith to finally get pulled; three interceptions in one quarter is the threshold. That is pretty generous, but Geno managed to do it. Now it will be Michael Vick, who never did master playing the position of QB, but always made for great highlights. These days, those highlights are few and far between
32) LW#32 – Oakland Raiders (0-7): The Oakland Raiders are free to leave Oakland at season’s end, as their stadium lease is expiring. I wonder what city would want this Freakshow ?