Written by Emilio Peña
Before getting into the breakdown for each team, it must be noted these rankings and explanations were done BEFORE the trade deadline, and any moves made that were not mentioned or factored in.
1. Philadelphia Eagles
After spending week 7 on BYE, The Philadelphia Eagles came out in week 8 and continued to be a dominant, complete football team. Philly battled The Pittsburgh Steelers in the battle for Pennsylvania, and controlled the game for its entirety. After The Steelers tied the game late in the 1st quarter, Philly opened the floodgates and never looked back. The game was highlighted by three impressive first half touchdowns by AJ Brown, as well as Jalen Hurts continuing his MVP like campaign with his first career four passing touchdown game of his career. As long as The Eagles continue to win, they will remain at the top.
2. Buffalo Bills
While there was a lot left to be desired on Sunday Night Football against The Green Bay Packers, The Buffalo Bills continued to roll in week 8. Ending the first half up 24-7, The Bills only scored a field goal the rest of the game, and Josh Allen had a pair of ugly interceptions in the second half. There was no cause for concern at Orchard Park, but at times The Bills appear to be too Josh Allen dependent on offense.
3. Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City spent week 8 on their BYE. A well deserved rest after a great overall team performance in week 7 against San Fran. The Chiefs didn’t stand pat during the BYE though, they added disgruntled, former first round wide receiver Kadarius Toney from the New York Giants. There is no guarantee that he will be a difference maker for them, but Andy Reid has a history of taking “knuckleheads” from other teams and getting the most out of them so the move is notable.
4. Dallas Cowboys
In Dak Prescott’s second game back from injury, The Dallas Cowboys looked like the team every Dallas fan has wanted them to look like since they were winning Super Bowls in the 90’s. The offense was hitting on all cylinders, scoring six total touchdowns, and the defense got in on the scoring party adding a scoop and score. The defense uncharacteristically allowed The Chicago Bears to move the ball a fair amount, but if the offense plays half this well on a week to week basis, that won’t be an issue. This team is a legit Super Bowl contender.
5. Minnesota Vikings
After a win in Miami, Minnesota spent week 7 on BYE. They returned from their break to play The Arizona Cardinals. This game was similar to every game of their five game win streak, a one score win. This time though, Minnesota’s offense lived up to the off-season hype where they converted all five of their trips to the red area, something they had struggled with at times during this win streak. Kirk Cousins turned into Lamar Jackson, scoring the team’s first touchdown on a 17 yard scramble. Like we’ve said before, the team is winning games they had lost last season, and continue to get better each week as they adjust to their new schemes.
6. Baltimore Ravens
After only scoring a field goal in the first half in Tampa on Thursday Night Football, the Baltimore offense kicked it into high gear in the second half scoring 24 points. Injuries to Mark Andrews and Rashad Bateman didn’t stop them either, Kenyan Drake, Isaiah Likely and Devin Duvernay all added touchdowns in the second half to help Baltimore secure their fifth win of the season. The Ravens appear to be in firm control of the AFC North as well, and as the team gets back healthy they certainly can challenge for the AFC crown.
7. Tennessee Titans
The Tennessee Titans continue to quietly stack victories as they do year in and year out. The Titans won their fifth consecutive win, and Derrick Henry had his fourth consecutive 200 yard rushing performance against The Houston Texans (!!!). With rookie quarterback Malik Willis making his first career start while starter Ryan Tannehill was out with an illness, it didn’t matter. They gave it to King Henry and let him do what King Henry does every time. This team is running away with the AFC South, and it wouldn’t be a massive shock if they ended up with a top seed in the AFC again.
8. New York Giants
The miraculous start to the 2022 campaign for The New York Giants was temporarily halted when they traveled to Seattle over the weekend. The X factor for Big Blue all season has been Saquon Barkley, and Seattle held him in check all afternoon. Barkley had 53 rushing yards on 20 carries for an average of 2.6 YPC. The Giants managed just 225 yards of total offense, and only had one touchdown on the day. They head to their BYE this week, before matchups against The Texans and Lions which presents an opportunity to get back on track.
9. Miami Dolphins
Tua Tagovailoa continues to be undefeated in games where he both starts and finishes the game. Miami has won both their games since his return and their offense continues to look dominant. Wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle continue to impress, Hill is on pace for 2,042 receiving yards, which would be the most in a single season ever, and Waddle is on pace for 1,545 receiving yards which is simply ridiculous.
10. Seattle Seahawks
In years past, I personally felt like it was time for Pete Carroll to retire. I humbly admit I was terribly wrong with that take. Coach Carroll has The Seattle Seahawks rolling in 2022, and that continued as they hosted The Giants who were also hot before their matchup at Lumen Field. Seattle held NY in check, only allowing a single touchdown of the day, while The Seahawks continued to roll. Pete Carroll’s confidence in career journeymen turned franchise quarterback (probably getting ahead of myself) Geno Smith continues to pay dividends. The team has the division lead, and look to further the gap with a matchup against The Arizona Cardinals next up.
11. San Francisco 49ers
If the 49ers can get even half of what Christian McCaffrey did on Sunday on a regular basis, it’s hard to see anyone in the NFC stopping this team. CMC was the first running back since 2005 to throw, catch and run a touchdown in. This was only 10 days after becoming a 49er, it was also while the team was without Deebo Samuel. San Francisco has now won eight consecutive regular season games against the Rams. If San Fran can keep it up, and stay healthy, they will make a run regardless if they win the division or not.
12. Cincinnati Bengals
The Ja’Marr Chase injury appears to be a much bigger concern for Cincy than we initially thought. The Cincinnati Bengals struggled to move the ball all night against their interstate rival Cleveland. The Browns legitimately have The Bengals number, as Joe Burrow has yet to beat Cleveland since entering the league. I think Cincy will be fine in the long term, but life without Ja’Marr Chase is cause for concern in the short term.
13. New York Jets
After a four game winning streak, The New York Jets came crashing down to Earth after a loss to their big brother New England. After taking a 10-3 lead early in the fourth quarter, The Patriots methodically came back to take a 22-10 lead until The Jets made the score more respectable right after the two minute warning in the fourth quarter. The Milfinator Zach Wilson turned the ball over three times, and looked very human. It’s hard to tell what type of team The Jets will be the rest of the season, but for now they are still 5-3 and firmly in the AFC playoff hunt.
14. Los Angeles Chargers
The Los Angeles Chargers spent the week on their BYE, and moved up a spot as some of the surrounding teams didn’t do anything of note to either stay above, or jump them. With hopes to get a bit healthier, The Chargers travel to Atlanta in an effort to climb the AFC rankings.
15. New England Patriots
A week after getting embarrassed by The Bears on Monday Night, Bill Belichick had his team ready for their first divisional matchup of the season against The New York Jets. The team didn’t exactly light the world on fire offensively, but the defense more than held their own. Forcing second year quarterback Zach Wilson to throw three interceptions, they were much more effective this week and I expect that to continue throughout the season. With The Colts next on the schedule, it presents another opportunity for the defense to impress.
16. Atlanta Falcons
Raise your hand if you saw The Atlanta Falcons leading the NFC South after week 8 of the season. Anyone? I certainly did not. After moving off of veteran quarterback Matt Ryan, it appeared that Atlanta would be working towards the future. I think that statement is still true, while also remaining competitive. Coach Arthur Smith has Atlanta working within their abilities, and have been in most games this year. The Falcons had a game that ended in controversy and another that had ended on a missed game winning field goal.
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After leading the game 10-3 at the half, The Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense faltered in the second half, settling for two second half field goals until Julio Jones scored a touchdown that was too little too late. With a mini BYE to prepare for the visiting LA Rams, Tampa looks to get back on track. It’s not too late in a weak NFC South, but the clock is starting to tick.
18. New Orleans Saints
This season has been a tale of two teams for New Orleans. Unfortunately for Las Vegas, they got the good version of The Saints. Dennis Allen had his squad out for revenge on Sunday and boy did they deliver. Pitching just the second shutout of the season, New Orleans won 24-0, and were led by Alvin Kamara’s three touchdowns on the day. As they try to get healthier, this team has a legit chance at winning their division, one that has been incredibly weak this season.
19. Los Angeles Rams
After eight weeks of the season, it’s fair to ask if The Rams are just not a good team this year. The defending champs lost their eighth consecutive regular season game against their divisional rival 49ers, and their performance was far from impressive. A late game injury to Cooper Kupp made matters worse, fortunately, it appears they dodged a bullet. With a matchup against the equally struggling Tampa Bay Buccaneers looming, this will be a do or die game for both squads.
20. Green Bay Packers
There is no such thing as moral victories in the NFL, I felt like The Green Bay Packers found a spark in their game. The Packers lost their fourth straight game, but might’ve found their identity against The Bills. While down 24-7, The Packers continued to run the ball, run the ball, run the ball. It eventually opened some stuff up for Aaron Rodgers and his list of no name pass catchers, which helped spark a mini comeback that gave some hope. Like I said, there are no moral victories, but The Packers could’ve been demoralized, and they ultimately weren’t.
21. Cleveland Browns
The Browns were looking like The Browns of old for the majority of this season, but they ended their four game losing skid by beating down on the southern Ohio team, Cincinnati. Entering the fourth quarter, they were up 25-0, and broke Cincinnati’s streak of not allowing a second half touchdown all year, by scoring on the opening possession of the half. Cleveland has a tough stretch ahead, starting by traveling to Miami, then Buffalo, then hosting The Buccaneers, but not before they have a well deserved BYE.
22. Chicago Bears
A week after beating The New England Patriots in Foxborough, The Chicago Bears were headed to Jerry World to play The Dallas Cowboys. It was an admirable effort, Justin Fields had three total touchdowns, but The Bears were simply outclassed by America’s Team. While down 35-23, David Montgomery fumbled before it was recovered by Micah Parsons, and a lack of awareness by Fields to touch Parsons down led to him returning it for six. This Bears team is young, and has lots of cap room next season to bolster the roster, but for this season, remaining competitive has to be the goal.
23. Washington Commanders
The Washington Commanders are quietly on a three game win streak, two of which have been led by backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke. While the opponents haven’t exactly been the most impressive squads, someone has to win the games, and that’s what Ron Rivera has his team doing. After falling behind 16-7 The Commanders fought back, and a clutch catch from the Indianapolis native, Terry Mclaurin gave Heinicke a chance to sneak it in for six right before the end of the game. Washington hosts Minnesota next week, and one of the winning streaks will fall. If Washington wants to prove themselves, this will be their biggest test yet.
24. Arizona Cardinals
Miscues led to the detriment of The Cardinals in Minnesota on Sunday. Kyler Murray threw two costly interceptions on Sunday, a fumble in the red zone led to them settling for a field goal instead of a potential touchdown, and on their second to last possession, Murray threw a yard short of the sticks to turn it over on downs. Kliff Kingsbury is running out of time to turn this team around, and if he doesn’t he might lose his job.
25. Denver Broncos
Broncos Country, are we back? The Broncos are far from the team a lot of us expected them to be this season, but they got back on the winning track in London. After falling behind 10-0 early, Denver fought back to take the lead, before dropping it again in the fourth. When things started to look bleak, Russell Wilson and Co were able to put together a scoring drive that ultimately became the winning drive. There is still a lot of improvement to be made in Denver, but getting back in the win column was the first step.
26. Indianapolis Colts
The Sam Ehlinger era began on Sunday for the The Colts. While they didn’t get the result they were looking for, Ehlinger avoided making some of the terrible mistakes that Matt Ryan had been making all season. There was a lot left to be desired, as The Colts scored one touchdown or fewer for the fourth time in eight weeks. Indy is in a weird situation right now, their roster is built to be competitive right now, but they aren’t. The rest of the season is looking to be dedicated to see if Ehlinger is their guy moving forward, and if he’s not, they’ll be looking to have their sixth opening day starter in as many years.
27. Pittsburgh Steelers
It was a tough outing for The Pittsburgh Steelers. They were completely outclassed by Philadelphia on Sunday, as they were outplayed in every facet of the game. Pittsburgh’s playoff chances all but ended on Sunday, it will be interesting to see what they do with All-Pro pass rusher TJ Watt once he’s capable of coming back from injury.
28. Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders were shut out for the first time in eight years on Sunday, losing 24-0 against The Saints and their old head coach Dennis Allen. Las Vegas didn’t even get the ball in New Orleans territory till after the two minute warning in the fourth quarter. This team has to be one of the biggest disappointments of the season. Derek Carr has not had a good season, even with the addition of Davante Adams.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars
After starting the season 2-1, The Jacksonville Jaguars have had a major fall from grace. They have now lost five games in a row and Trevor Lawrence has looked shaky often. The emergence of Travis Etienne has been encouraging, but the team has still had lots of growing pains. The future is still relatively bright for Jacksonville, but they ought to start showing more signs of it in order to build some steam.
30. Carolina Panthers
What a heartbreaking loss for The Carolina Panthers. They tied The Falcons with a miracle DJ Moore touchdown in the final seconds, but a missed Eddy Piñeiro extra point (after Moore was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct). The Panthers had a chance to win the game in overtime, but Piñeiro missed a 32 yard field goal and The Falcons eventually would kick the game winning field goal. Despite the loss, Panthers fans and ownership have to be excited about the competitiveness this team has shown, especially since everyone has written them off.
31. Houston Texans
The Houston Texans might as well rebrand themselves as The Houston Derrick Henrys the way he dominates them each and every outing. Even with The Titans starting rookie quarterback Malik Willis, The Texans didn’t have enough.
32. Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions led the game for over 42 minutes, scoring on their first five possessions, but the final result was all too familiar for Dan Campbell and his team. After taking a ten point lead at the end of the third quarter, The Lions were shutout all fourth quarter, while The Dolphins scored two touchdowns to win the game 31-27. It has been a disastrous season for The Lions. Dan Campbell needs to convert some of these close contests into wins if he wants to remain the head coach next year.