After we saw a handful of upsets in Week 8, teams enter the back half of their schedules some are vying for playoff positions while others are struggling to keep their season alive.
Week 8 saw the Titans, Packers, Browns, and Rams get upset by their opponents. The Seahawks and Steelers picked up impressive victories to keep their foothold among the top teams. Tom Brady and his Buccaneers barely escaped with a Monday Night Football win over the Giants. Dallas' woes continued on Sunday night as they lost to the Eagles and failed to score a touchdown for the second consecutive week.
Let's take a look at the Week 9 power rankings based on what we've seen so far this season.
32. New York Jets (0-8, Last Week 32 +/- 0) - Gross.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6, Last Week 31, +/- 0) - Should have traded Gardner Minshew at the deadline.
30. New York Giants (1-7, Last Week 30, +/- 0) - Looked competitive against Tampa Bay in Week 8, but the outlook for the season still looks bleak.
29. Dallas Cowboys (2-6, Last Week 29, +/- 0) - Should have traded for Gardner Minshew at the deadline.
28. Washington Football Team (2-5, Last Week 28, +/- 0) - Football Team gets the Giants coming off their bye week and will hope to get continued production from Antonio Gibson to put a win streak together.
Highest-graded rookie RBs: 1. Antonio Gibson - 80.5 2. Clyde Edwards-Helaire - 75.8 3. James Robinson - 75.1 4. Jon… https://t.co/5SSkm62TGu— PFF (@PFF)1603895462.0
27. New England Patriots (2-5, Last Week 26, - 1) - The Pats fell just short against Buffalo in a game that could've gotten their season back on track, at least from a record standpoint. Instead they're at the bottom of the division looking up and in unfamiliar territory at this point in the season.
26. Houston Texans (1-6, Last Week 24, - 2) - The Texans come out of their bye week with the Jaguars, Browns, Patriots, and Lions on their schedule. This stretch could put them back in the playoff picture if Deshaun Watson can will them to some wins.
25. Chicago Bears (5-3, Last Week 18, - 7) - The Bears lost in OT to the Saints in Week 8, and they slide down seven spots this week. Although they looked better offensively in this game, we need to see it on a more consistent basis.
24. Carolina Panthers (3-5, Last Week 17, -7) - The potential of Christian McCaffrey this week may reverse the drop the Panthers took in the rankings this week. They managed to go 3-3 while McCaffrey was injured behind good play from Teddy Bridgewater and Mike Davis. Their division is competitive, but they're within arm's length of a wildcard spot once they get CMC back.
23. Los Angeles Chargers (2-5, Last Week 21, - 2) - The Chargers lost a close one in Week 8 to the Broncos 31-30. Justin Herbert continues to impress however, and Mike Williams appears to be getting in sync with the rookie QB.
22. Detroit Lions (3-4, Last Week 14, - 8) - After looking better with Kenny Golladay in the lineup, the Lions got blown out 41-21 by the Colts in Week 8 knocking them down a few spots this week.
21. Denver Broncos (3-4, Last Week 27, + 6) - A good comeback victory against a surging Chargers team behind the play of Justin Herbert caught our attention. Resulting in Denver being a big mover on the list this week in the right direction.
20. Las Vegas Raiders (4-3, Last Week 19, - 1) - The Raiders dominated the Browns offense and really should have won by a lot more. The Raiders lose a spot this week due to their average performance against a flat Cleveland team in Week 8.
19. Cincinnati Bengals (2-5-1, Last Week 25, + 6) - The Bengals had an impressive win over the Titans last week and resulted in them jumping up six spots this week. They're on a bye this week and have the Steelers in Weeks 10 and 15. But in between those games Cincinnati plays Washington, the Giants, Miami, and Dallas. While the playoffs are probably out of the question in a competitive AFC, what Joe Burrow and the Bengals have done this year at least makes you wonder Who Dey?
Love my team #WhoDey https://t.co/iTwpZ0UOHq— Billy Price (@Billy Price)1604276906.0
18. Atlanta Falcons (2-6, Last Week 23, + 5) - The Falcons seem higher on this list than they should be, but their potential has been close to the surface all season and they seem poised to breakout. Their five spot jump is preemptive to what we expect to see from them the rest of the way out.
17. Minnesota Vikings (2-5, Last Week 20, +3) - It looks like Dalvin Cook is healthy and he has been the most explosive runner in the NFL when healthy. He is leading the league in rushing touchdowns and has been the focal point of that offense that includes a developing Justin Jefferson opening up the passing game. Like Atlanta, the Vikings benefit from the direction we see them going in.
Anyone playing against Dalvin Cook in fantasy @brgridiron https://t.co/OjpIqLnp4F— Bleacher Report (@Bleacher Report)1604259911.0
16. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4-1, Last Week 22, + 6) - Speaking of teams making big jumps we see the Eagles(!) making a six spot jump up our rankings this week. They have won two in a row and appear to be the clear favorites to win the NFC East. Even if they finish under .500 they still project to be a division winner.
15. Cleveland Browns (5-3, Last Week 11, - 4) - After throwing for five touchdowns in Week 7, Baker Mayfield fell flat on his face in an awful loss to the Raiders in Week 8. The Browns are now without Odell Beckham and need Nick Chubb to return from IR to help boost the running game to the level we saw earlier in the season. This is a good spot for them as they're season is teetering and could go either way depending on the next few weeks.
14. Miami Dolphins (4-3, Last Week 15, + 1) - Tua Tagovailoa got his first NFL win in the first start of his professional career but the Dolphins' defense and special teams helped out adding a fumble returned for a touchdown and a punt return for a touchdown to beat the Rams in Week 8.
13. Los Angeles Rams (5-3, Last Week 13, +/- 0) - The Rams five wins are against the Eagles, Cowboys, Redskins, Giants, and Bears. Their three losses have come against the Dolphins, 49ers, and Bills. Something is askew and we should know who the real Rams are after the next couple weeks.
12. San Francisco 49ers (4-4, Last Week 12, +/- 0) - Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle went down with injuries in Week 8 and it looks like Kittle will be gone for at least eight weeks. Why do they remain at 12 this week in the rankings? Kyle Shanahan has done an extraordinary job with this team through injuries so far, and until he proves unable to keep up, I'm keeping the faith in him.
Put Kyle Shanahan on the QB depth chart 😂 @49ers https://t.co/Rj7mE1ZQLi— The Checkdown (@The Checkdown)1603992274.0
11. Indianapolis Colts (5-2, Last Week 16, + 5) - The Colts trounced the Lions last week and hope to keep that offensive momentum going as they'll have Baltimore this week.
10. Baltimore Ravens (5-2, Last Week 8, - 2) - This seems like a really low spot for Baltimore and it is. But keep in mind they dropped a few spots the prior week just because they were on a bye and they took a loss in which Lamar Jackson looked pretty bad. They don't drop further though because that bad loss was to the undefeated Steelers and that nasty defense.
Lamar Jackson vs Steelers: 2 starts, 3 Pass TD, 5 INT Lamar Jackson vs everyone else: 27 starts, 50 Pass TD, 8 INT https://t.co/8dBEc74MoH— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS)1604266685.0
9. Arizona Cardinals (5-2, Last Week 7, - 2) - Arizona coming off the bye drops a couple spots, but are riding a three game winning streak into their Week 9 matchup with the Dolphins.
8. New Orleans Saints (5-2, Last Week 10, + 2) - Winners of four straight, the Saints will hope to keep the momentum going against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers this week.
7. Tennessee Titans (5-2, Last Week 4, - 3) - Losers of two straight, the Titans want to avoid a mid season slide after starting out 5-0. The loss to the Steelers wasn't alarming, but dropping a Week 8 game to the Bengals certainly raises a flag.
6. Buffalo Bills (6-2, Last Week 9, +3) - Even though they haven't looked their best the past two weeks in division matchups against the Jets and the Patriots, the Bills have managed to win. They will have the Seahawks, Cardinals, and Chargers over their next three games with a bye scheduled for Week 11.
5. Green Bay Packers (5-2, Last Week 6, + 1) - The Packers dropped their second game in three weeks as they lost to the Vikings in Week 8. They don't lose much ground in the rankings though because of what we've seen out of Aaron Rodgers this season. Once they get healthy we expect the Packers to finish the season as NFC North champions.
Aaron Rodgers is really, really good... Since 2018, Rodgers has thrown for 68 TD and 8 INT for a TD/INT ratio of 8… https://t.co/qhfud65RfE— CBS Sports HQ (@CBS Sports HQ)1603906683.0
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2, Last Week 3, - 1) - The Bucs drop a spot here because of the struggle they had closing out the Giants on Monday night. They shouldn't have been in a position where they were needing to come back and it feels like they were overlooking this game and their opponents.
3. Seattle Seahawks (6-1, Last Week 5, + 2) - The Seahawks had an impressive win over division rival, San Francisco last week. Russell Wilson had four touchdown passes while Seattle was without their top two running backs in Week 8.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (7-1, Last Week 2 +/- 0) - KC took care of business against the Jets handling them easily. They have Carolina this week before their bye and they're in the driver's seat to win the AFC West.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-0, Last Week 1, +/-0) - The Steelers had an important division win against the Ravens in Week 8 allowing them to remain undefeated. Turnovers made the difference in that game and the Pittsburgh defense continues to be one of the most feared in the league. The Steelers have the Cowboys, Bengals, and Jaguars over their next three games before taking on the Ravens for the second time. The path for them heading into that game 10-0 is pretty clear.
JuJu and Chase had the Steelers locker room lit after staying undefeated 🔥😂 @TeamJuJu @ChaseClaypool @steelers (… https://t.co/QsGK0ZktdV— The Checkdown (@The Checkdown)1604269160.0
As Ferris Bueller might say: The world of sports moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around at least once a week, you could miss it.
Here we'll review what you might have missed in the past week all in one place. Why spend hours scrolling through Twitter to catch up on the news you want? We've already done that for you, so remember to check back every Monday to get your dose of weekly sports review.
Taysom Hill, Andy Dalton, and P.J. Walker all lead their teams to Week 11 victories filling in for injured starting QBs. Cleveland moved ahead of the Ravens in the AFC North with their win over the Eagles while Baltimore fell to the Titans. The Steelers continued to roll and now sit at 10-0 atop the NFL. The Colts outlasted the Packers in an overtime thriller as Indianapolis is now positioning themselves as a team nobody wants to see come playoff time as they boast the best defense in the NFL.
Joe Burrow was injured in the Bengals' game against Washington and he miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury. This should make Justin Herbert the odds on favorite to win Rookie of the Year if you're interested in a futures bet.
At this point, I may never bet on the NFC West again.
Week 10 Vibe Check (2-2)
At this point, I may never bet on the NFC West again. After losing to the Rams last week, Seattle turned around and beat the Cardinals on Thursday night. Every matchup in that division is a heavyweight bout and it's hard to justify betting on one when they can all throw a haymaker at any time. Meanwhile, the Bengals weren't ready for a D like the Steelers and the QB of the future looked stuck in the present reality for the time being.
As for our wins, in a shocking turn of events, betting against the Chargers WORKED! Or, perhaps, I should say betting on the Dolphins worked. Brian Flores looks more and more like he was the true key to the Patriots defensive success in recent years. He took on two NFC teams back to back and cruised against the poor, befuddled Chargers. Tua coming into his own has certainly helped, as well.
Brandon Aiyuk tallied a whopping seven catches down in New Orleans, even as the 49ers completely sputtered and blew a chance to upset a Drew Brees-less Saints. This continues a month long streak of calling player props, which is almost certain to end this week after pointing out its existence. *Fingers crossed* *No jinx* *Reverse jinx*
The draft saw a few trades that sent some familiar faces to new places and the free agency period is now open.
In less than a week, we've seen the defending champion Lakers acquire dynamic guard Dennis Schröder from OKC. Chris Paul is now in Phoenix with Devin Booker and the Suns. Jrue Holiday and, well, just Jrue Holiday, is joining Giannis in Milwaukee, and that's just a few of the big moves around the NBA so far.
But with all that excitement comes some bad news as well. Warriors star Klay Thompson tore his Achilles and will miss the entire 2020-21 season. This after the sharpshooting guard missed the previous season with a torn ACL. It's a tough blow for the Dubs as they sought to contend for a title this season, but without Thompson, the odds are against them. General manager Bob Myers wasted no time in bolstering the roster, however:
The Golden State Warriors are finalizing a trade to acquire Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kelly Oubre, Jr., for a 2… https://t.co/5VDqSmtyhH— Adrian Wojnarowski (@Adrian Wojnarowski)1605837968.0
Kelly Oubre, within a matter of days, went from Phoenix, to Oklahoma City before finally landing in the Bay Area. Oubre will be joined by No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman.