- Los Angeles Rams (7-1)
Last Week: 3
It was a very business-like performance for the Rams. Houston doesn’t nearly have the horses to challenge the Rams. The win wasn’t the big news for the new top-ranked team. The big news is that the Rams landed Von Miller from Denver. If he can stay healthy, the pass rush just took a major step up for Los Angeles.
- Green Bay Packers (7-1)
Last Week: 4
The Packers were able to run the ball when everyone knew they were going to. It was an impressive effort for Green Bay. Without their top wideouts, the Pack pushed Arizona around the field and their defense forced critical turnovers to win on the road against a top NFC opponent.
- Arizona Cardinals (7-1)
Last Week: 1
The turnovers will be what most point to as to why the Cards dropped their first game of the year. The more telling theme and the more concerning thing coming out of the game was that the defense couldn’t stop the run despite knowing how limited the Packers passing game would be.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2)
Last Week: 2
Tampa averaged 5.1 yards per rush, but they only chose to run it 14 times. Brady threw it 40 times. That’s not exactly a balanced approach for Tampa. The Bucs also committed 11 penalties for 99 yards. In contrast, New Orleans was only penalized twice for ten yards. Even if the Bucs shoot themselves in the foot again over the next three weeks, the soft competition (NYG / Washington / Atlanta) probably isn’t good enough to take advantage. The Bucs will likely stand at 11-2 heading into a game with the Bills followed by a rematch with New Orleans.
- Dallas Cowboys (6-1)
Last Week: 5
The Cowboys notched their sixth straight win. This time Dallas won on the road without their starting quarterback. Third down efficiency told the story of the game. The Cowboys converted 7 of 14 third downs, while Minnesota only converted 1 of 13. There’s a defense again in Dallas.
- Buffalo Bills (5-2)
Last Week: 6
The Bills allowed the Dolphins just 68 rushing yards on Sunday. They improved on their league’s leading defensive stats giving up just 11 points to Miami. There’s still a bit to be learned about the Bills as the few winning teams they have played have put points on the board. After the next two weeks, the Bills play a tougher lineup, so it will be a little while before we get a better idea just how good they are.
- Tennessee Titans (6-2)
Last Week: 8
The Titans won a huge division game in Indianapolis stretching their division lead to three games. The bigger news is the loss of all-world running back, Derrick Henry. There are many who believe the loss of Henry dooms the Titan’s chances for the season.
- Baltimore Ravens (5-2)
Last Week: 9
The Ravens got a huge assist from the Jets to move back up into the lead in the AFC North. The week off should give the Ravens time to figure out just how the Bengals hammered them. The focus must be on the defensive side as the Ravens are a lackluster 25th in total defense.
- Las Vegas Raiders (5-2)
Last Week: 10
The Raiders are in the right place as Kansas City seems a shadow of its former self, and the Chargers are proving much too inconsistent to contend. The Raiders biggest challenge may be blocking out off-field distractions like the Jon Gruden mess and today’s news that Henry Ruggs has been charged with a DUI crash that resulted in a fatality.
- New Orleans Saints (5-2)
Last Week: Not Ranked
The Saints played a spirited game Sunday beating the Bucs to put themselves back into the division race. Losing Jameis Winston certainly dampened the celebration. There are few good options for New Orleans. The defense will need to play lights out football just to get the Saints into the wildcard race.