Week 7 in the NFL was a good discovery before the second half of the season. There have been some tough road tests for contenders in both NFC and AFC, and going into Week 8, which leaves only one undefeated team, the Steelers.
There is a clear separation between the elite teams vying to reach Super Bowl 55 and those teams feeding the bottom that are hoping to scratch to reach .500 at some point in December. Then there are some teams in the muddled middle who wear masks, a trick one week and a fun one next week.
Rolling out on Halloween, here’s how all 32 NFL teams compete against each other in Sporting News ’latest power rankings:
NFL power rankings
1. Kansas City Chiefs 6-1 (last week: 3)
The Chiefs have flexed their defensive teams and special great game skills and are even better with Le’Veon Bell considering the tough times in Denver. When Patrick Mahomes wins with an easy day at the office, that makes him so strong to repeat.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers 6-0 (2)
The Steelers have amassed a few style points with their numerous regular points at their best start since 1978, or when they were in the middle of their first Super Bowl dynasty. The defense has been the backbone for Pittsburgh, but it’s really about playing the right complementary football to win games, close and not.
3. Seattle Seahawks 5-1 (1)
The Seahawks ’defensive troubles and making it all a tight game eventually took them down in the fall to the Cardinals on the road in overtime after holding a 10-point break point. Russell Wilson is the MVP, but even when he is brilliant he can be off on key points and needs help from the running and defense game. It’s not perfect and now neither is Seattle.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5-2 (7)
The Buccaneers spread the ball offensively, running effectively when needed and moving the ball methodically for best scoring results with Tom Brady. Defensively, they keep closing the race and limiting the big plays in the passing game. They make fewer sudden mistakes, too. Yes, Brady’s Bucs play more like the Patriots than the Patriots.
5. Green Bay Packers 5-1 (6)
The Packers had dropped Aaron Jones, but they didn’t lose too much of a pace that ran throughout the Texans ’defense. Aaron Rodgers used Houston as a good player as expected and the great development made Davante Adams go on as a healthy and dominant receiver. A pleasant surprise was the defense against Deshaun Watson.
6. Baltimore Ravens 5-1 (5)
The Ravens had a goodbye ahead of facing the Steelers in a monumental Week 8 game that will go a long way in determining who wins the AFC North. The Browns are persistent, but both teams have defeated them, making the division a two-team race. The key for the Ravens is traditionally racing and Lamar Jackson going better off the break.
7. Tennessee Titans 5-1 (4)
The Titans ’defense is hard to understand. It’s based on doing great dramas and taking away and is inconsistent against running. It’s also not built to slow down a lot of passing games with a trembling secondary. The offense is well defined with Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry, but the identity crisis on the other side of the ball can be frustrating.
8. New Orleans Saints 4-2 (9)
The Saints ’defense didn’t look so much better against the step that comes out of goodbye, whatever it takes. Offense is also still in grind mode without Michael Thomas, who works well with Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray to ease the weight of Drew Brees and the defense.
9. Buffalo Bills 5-2 (8)
The Councils didn’t look so good against the Jets, desperately needing to get back on track after being torn apart by the Titans and Chiefs. The offense went from unstoppable with Josh Allen to one who always understood how to run the ball and simplify the passing game. At least the defense has rebounded and special teams, led by rookie kicker Tyler Bass, have arrived when needed.
10. Arizona Cardinals 5-2 (16)
The Cardinals now have two huge division victories over the Seahawks and 49ers. His defense, led by Buddha Baker, began to make timely impacts. His offense, with Kyler Murray in complete control, seems to become more dangerous with each passing week. Kliff Kingsbury as coach of the year?
11. San Francisco 49ers 4-3 (12)
The 49ers deserve a ton of credit for putting things offensively with the return of a healthy Jimmy Garoppolo in the last two weeks. He’s locked in with Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk who are all working with him at the same time and the racing game is also done because of the scheme and the next man, too. They were in a position to walk two weeks ago, but show the heart of an NFC champion.
12. Los Angeles Rams 4-2 (11)
Are the Rams the fourth best team in the division? It is possible, showing how big the NFC West is. They do it more with defense and a racing game. At some point, Jared Goff will perform better against Murray and Wilson than he did against Jimmy G.
13. Chicago Bears 5-1 (10)
The Bears ’only flaw was a bad home loss for the Colts in Week 4. Their defense, especially against the pass, really got them late and they found more in the way. the racing game with David Montgomery. Nick Foles will play better, however, to take them more seriously as contenders for the NFC title.
14. Cleveland Browns 5-2 (13)
The Browns looked set to be bruised again with Baker Mayfield, but then something strange happened. Odell Beckham Jr. he fell with a knee injury and Mayfield suddenly caught fire, looking like the promising rookie operating without OBJ. He doesn’t sleep because it’s the third year he’s had it, surpassing ever-future rival Joe Burrow.
NO LONGER: Odell Beckham Jr. Injury Update
15. Indianapolis Colts 4-2 (15)
The Colts enjoyed their farewell by having more confidence in Philip Rivers and a chance to heal offensively on the line, at wide receiver and at the narrow end. It would also be nice to also have the head of defender Darius Leonard in good health. They beat the Lions in Detroit before their shot at the Ravens at home.
16. Las Vegas Raiders 3-3 (14)
The Raiders need to win the running game with Josh Jacobs to protect their defense. Derek Carr plays very well and delivers on all his key goals, now led by Nelson Agholor and Darren Waller. But it’s not the best kick complementary with his escape defense and going into interchangeable fighting.
17. Miami Dolphins 3-3 (17)
The Dolphins begin Tua Tagovailoa coming out of his farewell, leaving questions about whether Ryan Fitzpatrick, a willing manager and mentor, could be traded to a ninth team before Tuesday. But Tagovailoa could use the support system and confidence for the second half, especially to start his first game against the Rams.
18. Detroit Lions 3-3 (22)
The Lions do their best to play better for Matt Patricia. They hit the right note in their offense with Matthew Stafford and D’Andre Swift – just in time for a comeback win in Georgia. The defense shows signs of response, too, for two straight weeks.
19. Philadelphia Eagles 2-4-1 (23)
The Eagles are slowly finding themselves in the weakest division of the NFL. It hasn’t been easy because of his growing injuries, but Carson Wentz has lifted his game and the defense is alive a little longer.
20. Carolina Panthers 3-4 (18)
The Panthers ’offense works well with Teddy Bridgewater, but they feel the effects of not having Christian McCaffrey’s ability to change games late. They need all the offense they can get with critical defensive forums.
21. Los Angeles Chargers 2-4 (26)
The Chargers finally got on board with a win for rookie Justin Herbert. He showed the same kind of confidence in his arm, his legs and the arms that Mahomes made right outside the door as the Chiefs ’starting QB.
22. Denver Broncos 2-4 (20)
The Broncos may continue to have more doubts about whether Drew Lock is the QB franchise. When they’re not running the ball, without Courltand Sutton, the pass seems just sciatic.
23. New England Patriots 2-4 (21)
The Patriots in the bottom 10 of the NFL without Brady? Cue up the tank for Trevor Lawrence conspiracy theories here. Bill Belichick, coach, still does the best job he can, but Bill Belichick, general manager, has been down a lot with this limited offensive talent and a tremendous QB situation.
24. Washington Football Team 2-5 (30)
WFT has made the right call to go to Kyle Allen over Dwayne Haskins, who plays on time and doesn’t play outside of Ron Rivera’s team. The offense seems more organized and the defense is now in a better position to support it.
25. Dallas Cowboys 2-4 (19)
This season is more WTF for them after another lifeless show capped by Andy Dalton falling with a scary injury. Jerry Jones really needs to re-examine his team’s culture with Mike McCarthy, because the vibes aren’t good.
26. Cincinnati Bengals 1-5-1 (25)
St. Joe Burrow. He has just warmed up as an elite player in this league for years to come. Imagine if he had a little better step protection and a decent defense.
27. Minnesota Vikings 1-5 (24)
The Vikings needed a goodbye to regroup and get Dalvin Cook in good health. Kirk Cousins should also clean up some things. They face a three-game losing streak, starting with the Packers in Green Bay.
28. Atlanta Falcons 1-6 (27)
Did the Falcons think that scoring to put away a game prevented them from jumping the lead? Think again. It’s as bad as their defense is, kicking off all the major offenses they’ve had with Todd Gurley, Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley.
29. New York Giants 1-6 (28)
Joe Judge needs his team to better perform the little things needed to win the games. There is more promise for Daniel Jones and the offense now and the defense has played better than expected in many areas. Now it’s about coaching to put everything together.
30. Houston Texans 1-6 (29)
The Texans have Watson running in search of making any play necessary but the defense will not cooperate to take the weight off him. A review is needed and selection projects are not here for a major immediate change.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars 1-6 (31)
The Jaguars have also been able to use some of these same defensive improvements as the Texans. The fruit is that they also need to look for a franchise replacement for Gardner Minshew with his first two rounders.
32. New York Jets 0-7 (32)
The Jets showed some signs of life with the return of Sam Darnold and a more scrappier defense. Despite that, it’s the same old story for Adam Gage.