SGN Columnist Russ Loede’s Week Eight Power Rankings

Cheerleaders of the AFC’s 3rd best team

1. New York Jets (1) – Very interested to see how they attack Rodgers and the Packers this Sunday.  As well as the offense has performed so far, I think they can and will up the ante.  Rex Ryan for Coach of the Year?

2. New York Giants (2) – Ahmad Bradshaw is looking like Barry Sanders.  Brandon Jacobs is complimenting the NFL’s leading rusher with a vengeance.  Eli is making strides, and why shouldn’t he with the best WR’s in the game.  A ferocious pass rush, ball hawking secondary, and the play, leadership of Michael Boley has this defense looking intimidating.  They are knocking out QB’s at an alarming rate.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (5) – I don’t know if I’m ready just yet to hand the Super Bowl like everyone seems to be doing lately.  The defense showed some signs of letting down in Miami.  It had to let up a little, sooner or later.  Aaron Smith’s loss hurts, and I really want to see how they play these next three games against quality opponents.  Two of which, are in prime time on the road.

4. Tennessee Titans (6) – Kenny Britt is playing with a chip on his shoulder.  The defense was excellent not allowing the Eagles to take a bigger lead while the offense was down early in the game.  Jeff Fisher’s squad has four games left against the Colts and Texans.  I’m starting to believe they will not only make the Playoffs, but maybe win the AFC South.  Chris Johnson hasn’t even exploded yet.

5. New England Patriots (7) – The defense is stepping their performance up to another level.  Bill Belichick is calling the game super-aggressive, Tom Brady is in control, and the team is winning close games.  You have to consider them a serious contender in the AFC if they continue to grind out games.

6. Indianapolis Colts (3) – Peyton will overcome these injuries for the time being, but will it hurt him not having two of his favorite weapons in the long run?  Manning will feast on the Houston secondary this Monday Night, but can he beat the Titans?  The loss of Addai may hurt more than people realize.

7. Baltimore Ravens (8) – Ed Reed is back, Joe Flacco looks sharp, and although the defense played awful against Buffalo at home, I’m not overreacting.  This team is in the hunt in the AFC, but how far will they advance in the postseason?  The pass rush isn’t as good as year’s past and Ray Rice is not playing like he should be.

8. Washington Redskins (15) – A team that can win ugly is a plus.  The defense, Ryan Torain are carrying this team.  Donovan has been shaky recently, but he’s a gamer, he know what you’re going to get with him.  Overall, the playmakers on defense will make up for the offense’s shortcomings more often than not.

9. Kansas City Chiefs (11) – The top run game in the league, a coaching staff that is among the best, and an emerging Cassel to Bowe connection that is quickly developing into something promising.  However, the defense is getting a little lackadaisical with the way the offense has been lighting up the scoreboard.

10. Green Bay Packers (13) – Aaron Rodgers, this year’s Drew Brees?  He is winning games and coming up in the clutch despite his #1 receiving target, his #1 RB, and a defense that is losing guys as we speak.  Unfortunately, the health of this team may prevent them from reaching their potential.  Rodgers is the MVP right now in my book.

11. Houston Texans (12) – Andre Johnson is healthy and should dominate the Colts this Monday.  With that said, the best chance to beat the Colts is to duplicate Week one’s blueprint and run Arian Foster wild.  Yet, I still don’t know if they can harass Manning and force the turnovers like they did against Indy to kickoff the season.  I still have my questions with this club.

12. Atlanta Falcons (14) – Matt Ryan to Roddy White is unstoppable, but the lack of pass defense and getting outscored 22-0 in the 3rd quarter at home against the Bengals makes me wonder: Where is the identity?  Ryan’s and White’s success is almost going to hurt them because it’s putting the defense into a bad position.  They need to get back to balanced football and win how they were winning earlier in the season.  If they do that, I think they could win the NFC South.

13. New Orleans Saints (4) – If the Saints lose another game at home I will write them off.  But until then, I still have hope they can right the ship.  Brees is too good, and both Bush and Thomas should return soon.  The defense is actually not playing that bad.  I’m not down on the Saints, however, if they lose to Pittsburgh, it could be the writing in the wall for the defending Super Bowl champions.

14. Philadelphia Eagles (9) – The “real” starting QB will be under center for the Eagles after the Bye week.  But which defense will show up from here on out: The one that shut down the Falcons or the defense that got lit up by the Titans and Kenny Britt?  Run the ball more Andy Reid.  LeSean McCoy needs the ball.

15. Miami Dolphins (16) – Brandon Marshall is Brandon Marshall every other game.  If his is featured more often, I like their chance’s to push for the final Wild Card berth.  The defense is good enough, the run game is still there, but it comes down to Henne to Marshall.

16. Minnesota Vikings (10) – Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin are waiting for Randy Moss to come and play.  All the talk has been about Favre this and Favre that but how about Moss, and even better, the pass rush?  What ever happened to the best defensive line ever assembled?  The secondary looks so bad because there’s no pass rush.  Yet with all in all, I have a feeling the Vikings can still win the NFC North.

17. Oakland Raiders (28) – Darren McFadden has been playing out of this world.  He gives the Raiders offense a legitimate threat and a true identity.  I’m interested to see how they play against the AFC West leading Kansas City Chiefs.  But right now, they have to prove they can defend their home against the NFC West leading Seattle Seahawks.  The talent is there, and now the team believes they are a team that can win within the division.  Now it’s time to step of out of their boundaries and show us who they really are.

18. Seattle Seahawks (23) – Mike Williams is a #1 WR.  The guy that amazed us from USC, this is him.  He’s the real deal and with his play combined with the outstanding performance of the defense, you have to think Pete Carroll’s boys have all the confidence in the world.  You can see they believe and relish the underdog role.

19. Tampa Bay Bucaneers (25) – Josh Freeman shows us why he’s a franchise QB.  Mike Williams is a #1 WR.  Now they have found their RB in LeGarrette Blount.  The defense bends but doesn’t break and I love their coach.  Raheem Morris is playing this thing loose, and so is his team.

20. Cincinnati Bengals (17) – We started to see glimpses of a team that was ready to rebound, but it was just not enough to pull out a come from behind victory in the Georgia Dome.  Cedric Benson has to be featured more in the offense than he has been.  I’m puzzled by this sputtering defense.  Maybe they can play with that same type of fire and intensity they played with coming out of the tunnel for the second half against Atlanta.

21. St. Louis Rams (18) – Outplayed the Bucs, yet lost.  Sam Bradford has been absolutely stellar, and plays like a savvy vet, not a rookie.  The defense doesn’t make big plays, and the offense doesn’t either.  It makes it hard to win games playing tight.  I would to see more of an aggressive approach, but it’s hard to without a vertical aerial attack.  The receivers are definitely lacking.  They can use a Julio Jones or an A.J. Green in next year’s Draft.

22. Chicago Bears (20) – Now this is the team I expected in the beginning of the season.  The offensive line and lack of run game will continue to do the Bears in.  I might be in the minority on this one, but Jay Cutler is not the problem, however, lately, he’s not been much of an answer either.  Matt Forte is “kicking and screaming” like Mike Ditka for the rock.  I can’t believe Chicago is still in first place.

23. Detroit Lions (26) – Stafford is finally back.  Jahvid, on the other hand, will not be fully recovered from his toe issue this season.  But it doesn’t matter because I can’t wait to see Stafford to Johnson.  The defensive line is a force and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them beat Washington at home.  The arrow is pointing up for the Lions despite their record.

24. Denver Broncos (19) – The Kyle Orton honeymoon is well over.  This team went from being one play away from beating the best team in the NFL to losing by 45 to their division rivals at home.  I don’t know what to say, expect this: Tebow Time.

25. Dallas Cowboys (21) – Now the run game will have to be emphasized.  Why did it take a Romo injury?  Nonetheless, I don’t think this team will be that bad with Kitna because the defense will turn it up a notch.  Barber and Jones have to play with some urgency sooner or later.

26. Arizona Cardinals (22) – Chris Wells where are you?  Better yet, Kurt Warner; can you come back?  Sloppy play did them in against Seattle.  Still could win the division, not all hope is lost.  However, some of their playmakers and leaders need to make an impact and play like they’re being paid.

27. San Diego Chargers (27) – Valiant effort in comeback effort that fell short against the Patriots.  They really could use Vincent Jackson.  They have replaced the Raiders as the most frustrating team in the NFL.  I was, and am still expecting more from Ryan Matthews – I bought the hype.

28. Jacksonville Jaguars (29) – They were within one point of the Chiefs in the 2nd half.  They aren’t that bad, but Maurice Jones-Drew just isn’t the same.

29. Cleveland Browns (30) – The defense was stifling against Brees in the Superdome.  Can’t believe I just typed that sentence.  Colt McCoy is the future QB.  But does he have the arm strength to be a winning QB, a Pro Bowl QB?

30. Carolina Panthers (31) – Matt Moore looked very precise against the 49ers.  I don’t know what happened to the run game.  John Fox is as good as gone.

31. San Francisco 49ers (24) – I’m excited to see Troy Smith start.  Still not giving up on the 49ers completely until I see how Smith plays.  Could he play so well that he’s the 49ers QB for years to come?  I love to still believe they can win the NFC West like Singletary.

32. Buffalo Bills (32) – Ryan Fitzpatrick is going to Hawaii!  You better believe it.  He reminds me of Marc Bulger.

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One Response to “SGN Columnist Russ Loede’s Week Eight Power Rankings”

  1. caddieman says:

    Well I guess you can get your nose out of Rex Ryan’s Jock strap……… the rest of the main stream media!