NFL Power Rankings, Week 8: Saints Surge Up To Second Spot

NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 23: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints enters the field prior to a game against the Indianapolis Colts being held at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 23, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

SB Nation's 2011 NFL power rankings for Week 8 are out and, once again, the Packers are our No. 1 team while the Saints jump up five spots to No. 2.

SB Nation's 2011 NFL power rankings for Week 8 are out and we have the same team sitting at No. 1 -- Green Bay Packers -- and the same four teams sitting at bottom -- Minnesota Vikings, St. Louis Rams, Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins.

Everyone else in the middle had some movement. Here's what the eighth week of the power rankings looks like:


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1. Green Bay Packers (7-0, LW: 1): Last week I said this is the best team in football and it's not even close. That's still true this week. I really do wonder who's going to beat the Pack (if anyone).

2. New Orleans Saints (5-2, LW: 7): The Saints jump over the Patriots and 49ers this week because putting up 62 points on any NFL team, even the Colts, is awfully impressive. Drew Brees, by the way, is completing over 70 percent of his passes.

3. New England Patriots (5-1, LW: 3): They'll be tested in the coming weeks against the Steelers, Giants, Jets, Chiefs and Eagles. I have a feeing they'll do just fine in that stretch.

4. San Francisco 49ers (5-1, LW: 5): Think 5-1 is impressive? Look at this schedule and tell me how many wins you see. I count as many as 12 or 13.

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2, LW: 8): Same old formula: decent offense with an elite defense but guys like Mike Wallace bring that offense up a notch. Seems like Pittsburgh's been quietly winning this year after getting blown out in Week 1.

6. Baltimore Ravens (4-2, LW: 2): Dude. The Jaguars? Really?

7. San Diego Chargers (4-2, LW: 4): Uh-oh. The Chargers couldn't close out the Jets now they're playing for the AFC West lead against the Chiefs on Monday night, a stadium they lost in on Monday night last year. Hmm.

8. Detroit Lions (5-2, LW: 6): That's two losses in a row. Were the Lions a bit of a fluke early on? Did they start believing they were good? Winning two (Broncos, Panthers) of their next three is very possible and that'd move them to 7-3 entering Week 12.

9. Buffalo Bills (4-2, LW: 10): This is a team that still has to play the Dolphins twice. They're going to be somebody to deal with as the playoff pictures comes into focus.

10. New York Giants (4-2, LW: 11): I mentioned this last week but the Giants season comes down to this stretch: at Patriots, at 49ers, Eagles, at Saints, Packers and at Cowboys.

11. Houston Texans (4-3, LW: 15): Next four: Jags, Browns, Bucs and Jags. If the Texans are going to make their move, this is it. There is simply no excuse not to win this division.

12. Cincinnati Bengals (4-2, LW: 13): Say what you want about Cincy but this is the fourth ranked defense in the league. That's nothing to laugh at. And when you get a team that turns it on in the fourth quarter, they're somebody to watch out for.

13. New York Jets (4-3, LW: 18): Big-time win over the Chargers, a win they desperately needed. The Jets can't fall too far behind in the AFC.

14. Chicago Bears (4-3, LW: 17): Jay Cutler's playing pretty well under less-than-ideal conditions with that offensive line. That's a good sign for the future.

15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-3, LW: 9): Gotta beat the Bears if you're thinking of winning the NFC South.

16. Dallas Cowboys (3-3, LW: 19): They had their first "get well" game against the Rams. The Seahawks can be the same in a couple weeks. The NFC East is still wide open.

17. Oakland Raiders (4-3, LW: 12): They're definitely right in the AFC West race but still a bit of a wildcard. It depends how Carson Palmer looks once he's had more than a week of practice under him.

18. Atlanta Falcons (4-3, LW: 20): They've finally won two in a row this season. I think the Falcons can play more consistently down the stretch but I won't be betting on it.

19. Washington Redskins (3-3, LW: 14): I'm not quite sure what to do with the Redskins. I think you have to win games against Carolina if there's an idea that you can win the division (and, yes, they can win the division because seemingly no one wants to jump out in front in the NFC East).

20. Philadelphia Eagles (2-4, LW: 21): Three straight home games coming up, including Sunday night (and three of their next four are in primetime, by the way) against the Cowboys. Another one of those must-win games.

21. Kansas City Chiefs (3-3, LW: 23): Quietly, the Chiefs have moved on from their 89-10 combined loss in the first two games and come back to win three in a row. Believe it or not, KC can get a share of the AFC West lead by beating San Diego on Halloween night.

22. Tennessee Titans (3-3, LW: 16): I think the Texans are the better team in the AFC South but I also think the Titans can still win the division. Houston will give them an opportunity to get back into it.

23. Cleveland Browns (3-3, LW: 22): Definitely a team on the rise but they need to prove they can beat good teams before I take them too seriously.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5, LW: 28): OK, Jacksonville, that was a huge (but ugly) win. You get a good bump for that in our power rankings. Snapping the five-game losing streak is big.

25. Denver Broncos (2-4, LW: 27): Interesting things in Denver. Tim Tebow may need a few more dramatic comebacks with games coming up against the Lions and then at Oakland and at Kansas City.

26. Carolina Panthers (2-5, LW: 24): Sometimes when you do these power rankings, you want to rank a team higher but can't justify putting them over another team. I want to put them higher but I just can't do it right now. That's my bad, Panthers fans.

27. Arizona Cardinals (1-5, LW: 25): With a game in Baltimore, 1-6 is around the corner. What a disappointing season for a team I thought would compete for the NFC West crown.

28. Seattle Seahawks (2-4, LW: 26): The Seahawks are the losers in the ugliest game of the year battle. 6-3?

29. Minnesota Vikings (1-6, LW: 29): Hard to say a 1-6 team is promising but I like Christian Ponder and this team has weapons. They could be good down the road.

30. St. Louis Rams (0-6, LW: 30): Worst defense in the NFL and second to worst offense in the NFL. Most disappointing team in the league this year (outside Philly)?

31. Indianapolis Colts (0-7, LW: 31): Embarrassing. 62 points on national TV? That's a game that gets people fired.

32. Miami Dolphins (0-6, LW: 32): The Colts have an argument for last place but the Dolphins remain here after completely blowing it last week. That was incredible.

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