There really wasn’t a single thing shocking about Week 8. The teams at the top of the rankings a week ago all got wins and the teams at the bottom got losses.
The real spiciness of Hallo-weekend was the blockbuster trades that shook up the fortunes of a few teams.
It’s the kind of trade deadline excitement that’s usually reserved for the MLB and NBA, but the NFL is finally getting in some midseason wheeling and dealing too.
The three teams that got shiny new players from the trades have reason to be more optimistic about their futures.
The 41-38 win over the Texans may have been the best game of the NFL season so far, and it improved the Seahawks’ record to 5-2. Russell Wilson was a wizard even if the rushing attack of Seattle struggled and the defense couldn’t slow down Deshaun Watson outside of a few interceptions.
But getting three-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Brown is reason to be even more excited about the Seahawks. Finally Wilson will have some more help up front, and the addition may help the team start running the ball well too.
Climbing in a bye week? I don’t see why not when the two AFC South teams that were playing both lost, and LOOK AT THAT FREAKING DEFENSE NOW.
No team allowed fewer points per game through the first eight weeks of the 2017 season. Only the Bills forced more turnovers. And now the Jaguars have a two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle coming to town to make things scarier.
The Jaguars’ inability to stop the run so far has been an Achilles’ heel for a defensive juggernaut, and if Dareus helps fix that, oh boy, it won’t be fun trying to score on them.
San Francisco 49ers
Yes, they lost by 23 to the Eagles. But we rank hopefulness around here, and getting Garoppolo for a second-round pick gives the 49ers a whole lot more reason to be optimistic about the future.
Now the team has a young franchise quarterback in place, and its rebuild looks much less daunting. They don’t exactly launch into the top 10 of our rankings, but a little bump feels justified.
What the hell was that, Miami? Was Jay Cutler really the only thing holding that offense together?
Adam Gase says the Dolphins have “the worst offense in the NFL,” and wow was that obvious Thursday in a 40-0 loss to the Ravens. Somehow the Dolphins are 4-3, but it just doesn’t seem like there’s any reason to believe that this team makes the postseason again.
It doesn’t sound like Andrew Luck’s recovery is going well and that’s about the worst-case scenario for the Colts, a team that is really just treading water with a bad roster until he returns.
Jacoby Brissett gets crushed behind a subpar offensive line on a weekly basis, and his receivers don’t give him much help either. The AFC South doesn’t have a clear-cut leader, but it does have one team in the cellar and that’s Indianapolis.
Full hope rankings
Weekly disclaimer: These aren’t your average power rankings and are instead an attempt to measure the current state of mind — or “hope” — for each team and fan base.
The NFL can be an emotional roller coaster, and one big week can shoot a team’s spirits through the roof and tank another’s hopes of finishing with the Lombardi Trophy in February or beyond. Teams near the top are feeling great after Sunday, while those at the bottom aren’t feeling too optimistic.
If you’re looking for a ranking of who would beat who, this isn’t always going to be the best gauge:
Hope rankings, Week 9
|2||New England Patriots||2|
|5||New Orleans Saints||4|
|6||Kansas City Chiefs||7|
|7||Los Angeles Rams||6|
|22||New York Jets||21|
|23||Los Angeles Chargers||20|
|25||New York Giants||25|
|26||Green Bay Packers||29|
|27||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||26|
|28||San Francisco 49ers||31|