Don’t look now, but the Seattle Seahawks have joined the ranks of the NFL’s elite. Well, for now at least. Seattle was once left for dead with a battered offensive line and an offensive coordinator who may or may not use the “ask Madden” feature for each play call, but Russell Wilson has dragged the Seahawks into the top five of the power rankings after a 452-yard performance against the Houston Texans.
Other than Wilson’s heroics, Week 8 was fairly mundane, as the favorites went 13-0 this week, giving the NFL playoff picture a little more clarity.
Here?s a look at where each team stands in NESN.com?s NFL power rankings as we head into Week 9. (To see our Week 8 power rankings, click here.)
1. Philadelphia Eagles (7-1; last week’s rank: 1): Doug Pederson’s crew has shown they can win in a variety of ways and look to be the clear-cut best team in the NFL.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (6-2; 2): Kansas City bounced back from two straight losses by taking care of business against the struggling Denver Broncos on “Monday Night Football.” A Week 9 date with the Dallas Cowboys is up next.
3. New England Patriots (6-2; 3): The Patriots’ red-zone struggles could become a concern as the season wears on, but New England heads into its Week 9 bye on a four-game winning streak after squeaking past the Los Angeles Chargers.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2; 4): After two convincing wins, the Steelers struggled in their victory over the Detroit Lions. But as long as its defense is clicking, Pittsburgh has all the tools to reach the Super Bowl.
5. Seattle Seahawks (5-2; 6): These aren’t the Seahawks of old, as the Legion of Boom looks like a shell of its former self. Wilson, however, looks like an MVP candidate, as he torched the Texans for 452 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-38 win at CenturyLink Field.
6. Los Angeles Rams (5-2; 5): Los Angeles has been one of the surprises of the 2017 season. A Dec. 17 showdown with the Seahawks could decide the winner of the NFC West.
7. New Orleans Saints (5-2; 8): The Saints have become a defensive powerhouse all of a sudden during their five-game winning streak. A sixth consecutive win should come Sunday, as New Orleans hosts the struggling Buccaneers.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-3; 7): The Jags’ defense might be good enough to win them the AFC South, but can Blake Bortles really win a playoff game?
9. Dallas Cowboys (4-3; 14): Dallas continues to dominate Kirk Cousins, as the Cowboys outlasted the Redskins in a rain-soaked affair in Washington. Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension looms, but Dak Prescott and Co. can get their first win over an above-.500 team Sunday when they face the Chiefs.
10. Minnesota Vikings (6-2; 10): Make that four wins in a row for the Vikings, as they pummeled the Cleveland Browns in London on Sunday. Minnesota’s defense will give it a chance to win every game, but they’ll go as far as Case Keenum, Sam Bradford or Teddy Bridgewater (maybe?) can take them.
11. Carolina Panthers (5-3; 12): Cam Newton and Panthers’ offense continues to be a work in progress, but Carolina’s defense is no joke.
12. Buffalo Bills (5-2; 16): The Bills quietly have been putting up impressive win after impressive win, the latest a 34-14 drubbing of the Oakland Raiders. Buffalo suddenly looks like a threat to the Patriots in the AFC East (for now).
13. Houston Texans (3-4; 11): Watson was outdueled by Wilson in Seattle on Sunday, but Houston now has its franchise quarterback to pair with a fearsome defense. The Texans have alternated wins and losses so far in 2017, so that’s bad news for their next opponent, the Indianapolis Colts.
14. Atlanta Falcons (4-3; 15): Atlanta has suffered from the patented Super Bowl hangover this season. The Falcons are less than 5 yards away from being 2-5, as their once-dynamic offense has faltered under the direction of new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian.
15. Tennesee Titans (4-3; 20): Someone has to win this division, and the Titans looked good with a healthy Marcus Mariota early in the season. If the third-year quarterback’s hamstring healed up over the bye week, then Tennessee has a great chance to capture the AFC South.
16. Washington Redskins (3-4; 9): Eventually the Redskins are going to have to do more than lose to quality opponents. Can they get a marquee win Sunday against the Seahawks? Doubtful.
17. Los Angeles Chargers (3-5; 17): Does anyone else feel like the Chargers are destined to go 8-8?
18. Detroit Lions (3-4; 18): The Lions shot themselves in the foot over and over again in the red zone against the Steelers. After a promising 3-1 start, Detroit is on the verge of falling out of the NFC playoff picture.
19. Denver Broncos (3-4; 13): Denver has completely imploded and now they have to go face the Eagles and Patriots in back-to-back weeks. Good luck.
20. Baltimore Ravens (4-4; 24): The Ravens pummeled the hapless Miami Dolphins on “Thursday Night Football,” as their defense scored two touchdowns in a 40-0 win. Joe Flacco suffered a concussion on a vicious hit by Kiko Alonso, though, and if he is forced to miss time, then Baltimore’s already horrid offense will be in trouble.
21. Oakland Raiders (3-5; 19): Oakland looks lost, but a date with the Dolphins on “Sunday Night Football” could be the cure for what ails them.
22. Green Bay Packers (4-3; 22): Green Bay probably used its bye week to send Aaron Rodgers to the same clinic in Germany that helped Kobe Bryant heal from his Achilles injury.
23. Arizona Cardinals (3-4; 23): Drew Stanton is going to lead the Cardinals in Caron Palmer’s absence because … well, we don’t know why.
24. New York Jets (3-5; 26): The Jets continue to be competitive, but the last time they faced the Bills they scored two points, so Week 9 could be ugly.
25. Cincinnati Bengals (3-4; 28): Has Marvin Lewis been fired yet?
26. Chicago Bears (3-5; 25): Bears fans have to be encouraged by the fact that Mitchell Trubisky isn’t Mike Glennon. That’s about it, though.
27. Miami Dolphins (4-3; 21): Turns out Jay Cutler was a lot better than Matt Moore.
28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-5; 27): “Lameis” Winston and the Bucs’ offense hasn’t lived up to the hype this season, and after a 17-3 loss to the Panthers on Sunday, it looks like Tampa Bay is finished.
29. New York Giants (1-6; 29): All the Giants have left to play for is pride.
30. Indianapolis Colts (2-6; 30): Andrew Luck reportedly still is feeling soreness in his shoulder, and now the Colts apparently are willing to trade their best receiver. So that’s uplifting for Colts fans.
31. San Francisco 49ers (0-8; 31): Kyle Shanahan got his QB of the future when the Niners acquired Jimmy Garoppolo from the Patriots on Monday night. We expect San Francisco to grab a few wins with Jimmy G at the helm.
32. Cleveland Browns (0-8; 32): Can Alabama beat the Browns?
Thumbnail photo via Troy Wayrynen/USA TODAY Sports Images