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Thursday, December 13, 2018

LBS NFL Power Rankings Week 8

1. New York Jets (5-1, –)

Nothing drastic enough happened that would dethrone the New York Jets over their bye week. They’ll have a chance to prove they deserve it this Sunday against a Packers team that will only get stronger as it keeps getting healthier.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-1, –)

The refs more or less handed the Steelers the game against the Dolphins on a bad call late in the game.  A win is a win in the NFL.  Don’t be surprised if Roethlisberger suffers his first loss of the season in New Orleans Sunday night.  The Saints will be looking to bounce back.

3. New England Patriots (5-1, –)

Again, a win is a win in the NFL. Despite another puzzling Bill Belichick decision to go for it on fourth down, the Chargers made enough mistakes that the Patriots were able to capitalize on. They’ll take a win any way they can get it, especially traveling to the West Coast.

4. Baltimore Ravens (5-2, –)

It’s tough to not drop the Ravens after they were nearly beat by the Bills, but I don’t think any of the teams listed below are truly stronger at this point. Give them credit for overcoming two separate 14-point deficits and winning what could have been a massive trap game.

5. Tennessee Titans (5-2, +3)

The Titans scored 27 points in the fourth quarter against a good Eagles team. They did it with Kerry Collins as their starting quarterback. Yes, he’s still around. Tennessee is flying under the radar a bit but they’ve played consistently all year, unlike a lot of teams.

6. Indianapolis Colts (4-2, +1)

The Colts jumped a spot over the bye week because some of the mighty have once again fallen. They have an uphill battle ahead without Dallas Clark and a few other key players, but Peyton Manning can overcome a lot of issues and no team in the NFL looks dominant just yet.

7. Green Bay Packers (4-3, +7)

The Packers are getting healthy and managed to win a huge divisional game against the Vikings on Sunday night. If two overtime games go the other way, they’d be in our top three with ease. Green Bay is still the best team in the NFC.

8. New York Giants (5-2, +1)

Make that four straight victories for the G-Men after starting the year 1-2. The injury to Tony Romo certainly helped them on Monday night, but they’re headed in the right direction after a slow start. Eli Manning quietly has one of the best receiving corps in the league.

9. Atlanta Falcons (5-2, +2)

The Falcons nearly blew a huge lead against the Bengals but were able to hang on in the end. They needed to bounce back with a victory after being manhandled by the Eagles last weekend. With the NFC looking so weak, they’re one of the front runners for a top playoff seed.

10. Miami Dolphins (3-3, –)

With the exception of a blowout loss to New England, Miami has lost some close games. If we aren’t going to drop the Steelers despite a bad late call that helped them win, we certainly aren’t going to drop the Dolphins after that same call may have cost them a win.

11. New Orleans Saints (4-3, +3)

The Saints are the ultimate microcosm for the inconsistency across the NFL this season. They followed a 31-6 win in Tampa Bay with a 30-17 loss to … wait for it … the Colt McCoy and the Browns. Whether McCoy is the real deal or not, the Super Bowl hangover looks like a real thing in New Orleans.

12. Philadelphia Eagles (4-3, -7)

The Eagles should climb back up this list if they get a healthy Michael Vick back. Kevin Kolb made Andy Reid’s job easy with the way he played in a loss to the Titans on Sunday.

13. Houston Texans (4-2, –)

The Chiefs blew out the Jaguars as expected, which gives us no reason to move the Texans after their bye week considering they beat Kansas City prior to it. Another win over the Colts on Monday night would be huge for Houston.

14. Kansas City Chiefs (4-2, +3)

The Jaguars were forced to start Todd Bouman against Kansas City, and it proved to be the right medicine for the Chiefs. They needed a win and got it. With the Chargers losing again and the Raiders embarrassing the Broncos, the Chiefs still have a legitimate shot at a division title.

15. Washington Redskins (4-3, -3)

Explain to me how DeAngelo Hall can intercept Jay Cutler four times — one for a touchdown — and the Redskins only win by a score of 17-14. The answer is they haven’t taken care of the football, and the blame rests mostly on Donovan McNabb. He needs to stop throwing picks.

16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-2, +4)

The Buccaneers probably should have beaten the Rams by more than a point at home, but Josh Freeman led a fourth quarter comeback and it wasn’t his first this season. His solid play early on is one of the surprises of the season thus far.

17. Seattle Seahawks (4-2, +2)

Marshawn Lynch could turn out to be a nice addition for Seattle. They’ve incorporated into the offense immediately and it’s worked out. Seattle is one of the tougher places to play in the NFL, and that’s a lot of the reason they’re off to a 3-0 start at home.

18. Chicago Bears (4-3, -3)

Chicago can’t protect Jay Cutler and it’s costing them on all levels. Cutler is making bad decisions with the ball, but how can we expect him to get comfortable? Their defense is keeping them in it, but there’s only so much you can do when the offense has a 20-yard field to work with.

19. St.Louis Rams (3-4, +2)

The Rams gave the Bucs a tough game on the road and face the Panthers at home this weekend with a chance to enter the bye week at 4-4. With the way the NFC West looks, they should be in the race all season. Steven Jackson’s health will dictate how far they go.

20. Oakland Raiders (3-4, +7)

I suppose a team that scores 59 points on the road against a decent team has to jump up quite a few spots on our list. The Raiders demolished the Broncos and will be feeling confident headed into a home game with the Seahawks on Sunday.

21. Arizona Cardinals (3-3, -3)

Arizona is somehow hanging around in the NFC West at 3-3 despite one of the worst quarterback situations in the NFL. At least the Vikings have worse quarterback problems, right? Beating Tampa Bay at home this weekend would help their cause.

22. Minnesota Vikings (2-4, -6)

The Brett Favre situation has to be the biggest mess in the NFL this year. Between the sexting scandal and now the injured foot that he’s probably going to play on, they aren’t looking good. Brad Childress can talk all the crap he wants, but he’s in danger of losing his team, if he hasn’t already lost them.

23. Cincinnati Bengals (2-4, –)

The Bengals showed signs of life in the second half against the Falcons, but it was too late. Roddy White torched their defense and he and Matt Ryan pretty much beat Cincinnati by themselves. At this point, the TOcho Show is more predictable than the Bengals.

24. San Diego Chargers (2-5, +1)

Like the Bengals, it was too little, too late for San Diego against the Pats on Sunday. They have a ton of talent but aren’t playing disciplined football. If it’s not going to be Norv Turner, someone needs to step up and be a leader for the Chargers and help put an end to all the bonehead mistakes.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-4, +1)

The Jaguars had to start Todd Bouman against the Chiefs, and while it didn’t help I don’t think David Garrard or Trent Edwards would have made a difference. This is a very bad team that has managed to win three games. It will only get worse from here.

26. Dallas Cowboys (1-5, -4)

The Cowboys’ season is over. Tony Romo will probably miss the entire year after breaking his collarbone in a loss to the Giants. Any thoughts of the Cowboys playing in the Super Bowl on their home turf are complete history at this point.  They’ll finish with a losing record.

27. Cleveland Browns (2-5, +3)

In his only two NFL starts, Colt McCoy has had to face the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New Orleans saints — both on the road. No matter how you cut it, coming out of those two games at 1-1 is a huge accomplishment for the rookie. If nothing else, McCoy should be feeling more confident now that those two tests are behind him.

28. Denver Broncos (2-5, -4)

I don’t think there’s a team in the NFL that could use a bounce back win this weekend more desperately than the Broncos. After losing tough games to the Ravens and Jets, they allowed the Raiders to come into Denver and completely embarrass them. Yes, the Oakland Raiders.

29. Detroit Lions (1-5, -1)

Detroit will face the up-and-down Redskins after enjoying the bye week off. Despite the 1-5 start, the Lions haven’t counted themselves out of the playoffs just yet.  Give them credit for acting confident, I guess.

30. Carolina Panthers (1-5, +1)

A true battle of the bums resulted in Carolina getting its first victory of the season on Sunday. They have another winnable game this weekend against the Rams, but I wouldn’t expect them to win it. I don’t think getting Matt Moore back will help much.

31. San Francisco 49ers (1-6, -2)

Just when we think the Niners can’t get any worse, they go and lose to the Carolina Panthers. How does Mike Singletary still have his job? San Francisco has one of the softest schedules in the NFL and is on pace for a top-5 selection in next year’s draft.

32. Buffalo Bills (0-6, –)

The Bills had to work hard on Sunday against the Ravens, but they were able to hang on to their spot at the bottom of all power polls across the U.S. A win over the Ravens would have been a nice confidence booster. Blowing a 24-10 lead — twice — is a huge confidence killer.

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