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NFL Power Rankings: Week 8 (2021)

by October 26, 2021
Derek Carr

As is the case every year, the number of genuine Super Bowl contenders dwindles with each passing week. However, this year, the list feels incredibly short, just seven weeks into the season. 

Just four of the eight divisions have a second-place team that’s currently over .500. Just under a third of the league has two or fewer wins. There are some bad football teams in the NFL this year, but luckily for us, it makes the power rankings interesting from top to bottom each week.

A few teams like the Chiefs, Bengals, and Raiders showed us who they are – good or bad. But, at the same time, others like the Seahawks and 49ers left us wondering where they could be if the injuries hadn’t piled up in key positions. So here are this week’s power rankings as we head into Week 8.

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NFL Power Rankings Week 8

Big Movers

Kansas City Chiefs
It’s been seven weeks, and I feel comfortable saying the Chiefs are bad; this isn’t a fluke. Their defense is horrific, but we already knew that. They settled in a little bit against Tennessee, but the Titans had already taken their foot off the gas. But the offense was the worst it’s been since Patrick Mahomes took over, literally. It’s the first time in his tenure the Chiefs failed to find the end zone. As a result, there’s a real, distinct possibility the Chiefs don’t make the playoffs, which is mind-blowing to say out loud.

Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons are not a good football team by any means, but they’re 3-3. Sure, they’ve beaten the Giants, Jets, and Dolphins, and it doesn’t get much easier than that. But remember that they’ve got an entirely new coaching staff in place and are in their first season in the post-Julio Jones era. Chemistry was always going to take time, and while I don’t expect them to end this year at or around .500, you’ve got to be happy for Matt Ryan that they’re at least competitive right now.

New York Giants
The NFL is filled with so many bad teams that the two-win Giants just beat a terrible Panthers team and climbed up five spots to 23rd in the rankings. Somehow, I was able to find nine NFL teams I was comfortable ranking behind the New York Giants, a team who just got their doors blown off by the Rams on their home field just a week ago. On a serious note, games like this show that Daniel Jones has natural talent, but the lack of ability to consistently put that talent together week in and out is ultimately the reason why the Giants should still have their eyes peeled for an upgrade at the position.

Random Musings

Cincinnati Bengals
If it feels like everyone is rooting for the Bengals, it’s because they are. And how could you not be? The Bengals haven’t been good in forever, but they’ve got perhaps the most fun, young offensive core in the NFL, and their defense is legitimate as well. There was nothing flukey about their victory over the Ravens on Sunday; they walked into Baltimore and thoroughly dominated the class of the AFC North. The Bengals are 5-2.

Las Vegas Raiders
Like the Bengals, I find it hard to root against the Raiders and interim coach Rich Bisaccia right now. I’ve heard a bunch of “the Raiders are only good because the Chiefs aren’t” chatter, and quite frankly, I don’t understand why. The Raiders' defense is vastly improved from a year ago, Derek Carr is playing exceptionally well, and they’ve got quite a home-field advantage. Sure, the Chiefs falling off a cliff may be helping Las Vegas sit atop the AFC West, but it has nothing to do with why they’re 5-2. They’re 5-2 because they’re a good team.

Carolina Panthers
What happened here? Just four weeks ago, Matt Rhule was the next best coach, Sam Darnold was fixed, and the Panthers defense was the best young unit in football. Just a month later, Matt Rhule is being questioned - and if you want my opinion, I never understood the hype around him - Sam Darnold has been benched, and the Panthers have allowed 36, 21, 34, and 25 in four straight losses. The bottom has fallen out in Carolina, and they’re in a tough spot moving forward.

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Mike Wagenman is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him on Twitter @mjwags23.