With Week 8 concluding, which team continued their rise in the power rankings.
10. Green Bay is in panic mode with a 4-3 record, and I have to believe that Mike McCarthy is on the hot seat. Don't blame Aaron Rodgers for this latest loss to Atlanta after Rodgers threw for 4 TD's. The Packers will square off against the Colts. Right now, I favor a Colts win. The last time these two met, Andrew Luck came out the winner thanks to a last minute touchdown to Reggie Wayne.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers: Pittsburgh had the bye, but they renew their rivalry against the Baltimore Ravens this weekend. Last season, Joe Flacco and the Ravens went into Pittsburgh and defeated the Steelers in overtime. Late last year, John Harbaugh and Ryan Mallett surprised the Steelers. Expect this game to be intense.
8. Oakland Raiders: Trailing the Buccaneers in the second quarter, the Raiders found a way to win in overtime to capture their fifth road win of the season. Derek Carr refused to give up, throwing for 513 yards and 4 TDs. The run game finished with 128 yards and the Raiders outgained the Buccaneers in total offense. And I can't forget that they broke a record with 23 penalties committed. The Raiders welcome the Broncos for a primetime showdown. It's a great opportunity for the Raiders, who snapped an eight-game losing streak last season with a 15-12 win on the road. Can they snap a five-game series losing streak at home against the Broncos?
7. Minnesota Vikings: Minnesota has their first losing streak, as they failed to defeat the Chicago Bears. After the game last night, the Vikings host a critical NFC North division matchup against the Detroit Lions. Minnesota needs to find answers, and they need to attack Marvin Jones, who is one of the league leaders in receiving yards. With no threat to the running game, they need to find ways to win.
6. Seattle Seahawks: Seattle lost a road game to the Saints in a game I had them winning. Russell Wilson threw a costly pick that was turned into a Saints touchdown. Still, without RB Thomas Rawls, the Seahawks used a running back by committee in Christine Michael and C.J. Prosise for a ground attack against the Saints defensive line. Michael did get a touchdown, and Prosise averaged 5.8 yards per carry. Jimmy Graham finished with 34 yards on three catches. The Seahawks host a home game against the Buffalo Bills on Monday Football in a game they will be favored. With that Seattle crowd and the Bills having injury issues on offense, the Seahawks will easily win that game. Also, Percy Harvin returns to Seattle since the Bills picked him up today.
5. Atlanta Falcons: As I mention before, the Falcons defeated the Packers at home, but Falcon fans have to thank Matt Ryan. The MVP contender threw to Mohamed Sanu with 31 seconds left to give the Falcons a victory. Atlanta is 5-3 this season and has outscored their opponents by 31 points. Once Tevin Coleman is back, this Falcon offense will be scary. The Falcons are on short rest and will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football in a major NFC South showdown. Despite dominating the NFC South this year, Atlanta hasn't pulled away with a conference clincher. This game is an opportunity to prove they are the elite in the NFC. It's going to be tough for Buccaneers to shut out Julio Jones.
4. Kansas City Chiefs: Alex Smith was out of the game early, and Nick Foles came in after Smith suffered a concussion. Smith would later return and scored a TD, but Foles went on to finish the game. The Chiefs host the Jacksonville Jaguars. Of course, Smith and Spencer Ware are questionable for the game on Sunday. As we all know, Andy Reid can rely on Foles and Charcandrick West filling in if needed.
3. Denver Broncos: It wouldn't be the 2016 NFL season with the Broncos. The theme of this season is that they trailed in the first quarter. In fact, they have been outscored 54-16 in the first quarter alone. But they still managed to win six out of their last eight games. The running game, in which C.J. Anderson will be inactive managed only 57 yards, but got a TD from Devontae Booker and Juwan Thompson.
2. Dallas Cowboys: Dallas went into Sunday Night Football and got a victory. They committed 11 penalties and struggled in the red zone against Philadelphia. Jason Garrett's goal is to get his players to focus and reduce the penalties. Dak Prescott was mediocre in the first half, but some huge plays by Dez Bryant and Ezekiel Elliott kept him in the game. But in the end, a win is a win. The Cowboys go on the road to face the Cleveland Browns, a team that almost came out with a win against the Jets. Dallas shouldn't go into this contest with a chip on their shoulder.
1. New England Patriots: For the first time this season, Tom Brady threw for 315 yards with four TD's in the Pats victory over the Buffalo Bills. He threw TD's to different receivers in Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan, Julian Edelman, and his favorite target in Rob Gronkowski. The Pats didn't get the ground game going, and Brady was sacked five times. Brady has thrown for 12 TD's without a pick since coming back from his four-game suspension. The Pats go into their bye week with the best record in the NFL.