NFL Power Ranking Rumblings: Week 8

Hello and welcome back for another week of us critiquing everyone’s favorite sports channel to hate, ESPN! Every week ESPN posts NFL Power Rankings that are generally terrible but not as bad as the commentary they provide to the rankings. So Jesse and I decided it is our duty to endlessly mock the low effort that ESPN put forth.

This year we are doing things a bit different by providing ESPN’s commentary right here on the blog with our personal commentary right below so you don’t have to click between the two articles. But for those of you who want to see the actual rankings, feel free to check them out here:

Week 8 NFL Power Rankings: How every division is stacking up

And thanks for tuning in. Enjoy!

1. New England Patriots

2017 record: 5-2
Week 7 ranking: No. 3

ESPN: 84.0 percent. The AFC East might look closer than ever in the standings, but FPI still indicates the Patriots are the clear favorites to win the division. It’ll take some big efforts from the Bills, Dolphins or Jets to top the team that has won 14 of the past 16 division titles.

Kevin: What’s more boring than the Patriots at the top of these rankings? Maybe the fact that I can’t think of a joke to put here?

2. Philadelphia Eagles

2017 record: 6-1
Week 7 ranking: No. 2

ESPN: 86.4 percent. Carson Wentz leads the NFL in passing touchdowns (17) and already has surpassed his TD total from last season (16). He also has led the Eagles to their best start since 2004 and has given them the best chance of winning the NFC East.

Jesse: I’m probably supposed to ask our friend Ryan about his opinion on the Eagles, since Kevin does that every time, but what would that entail? Texting him and waiting for him to respond? That seems like a lot of work for our silly rankings.

3. Kansas City Chiefs

2017 record: 5-2
Week 7 ranking: No. 1

ESPN: 88.7 percent. FPI might be singing a different tune if the Chiefs lose a third straight game in Week 8 to the Broncos, but for now, the Chiefs are an overwhelming favorite to win the AFC West. Despite the recent losses, they still have the second-most points per game and third-best point differential.

Kevin: Yes, the Chiefs’ chances of winning the division will in fact decrease if they lose to the division rival Broncos, thanks for the analysis.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers

2017 record: 5-2
Week 7 ranking: No. 4

ESPN: 94.8 percent. The Steelers already are 3-0 in division play and the only team with a winning record in the AFC North. FPI gives them nearly a 95 percent chance of winning back-to-back division titles for the first time since 2007-08.

Jesse: What’s with all the callbacks to the 2000’s? Is Jake Plummer going to come back and play quarterback for the Broncos? Because that would be awesome. I’d cry tears of joy even though he’s been retired for 10 years and would probably last about one hit before it was time to go back to Siemian, which would just make me want to cry.

5. Dallas Cowboys

2017 record: 3-3
Week 7 ranking: No. 12

ESPN: 12.5 percent. The Eagles are making it difficult for everyone else in the NFC East right now, but Dallas still has two games in hand against them and five total division games left. The Cowboys’ 12.5 percent chance of winning the division might seem low, but it could look much different in a few weeks.

Kevin: The 12.5 percent doesn’t seem low. In fact I think we should start planning the Eagles’ parade for winning the division. A whole parade for a division title? Yes, Philly needs something nice.

6. Seattle Seahawks

2017 record: 4-2
Week 7 ranking: No. 5

ESPN: 77.8 percent. A win over the Rams in Week 5 has Seattle in the driver’s seat for the NFC West, and the two teams won’t meet again until Week 15. The Seahawks continue to win with defense, allowing a league-best 15.7 points per game this season.

Jesse: I mean this should probably be 100 percent for the Seahawks. The Rams are shocked that they actually won more than five games this year.

7. Los Angeles Rams

2017 record: 5-2
Week 7 ranking: No. 9

ESPN: 21.8 percent. How do the Rams, who currently lead the NFC West and have the best point differential (plus-74) in the NFL, have a less than 22 percent chance of winning the division? In Los Angeles, it’s all about who you know … er, who you’ve beaten, and the Rams didn’t beat the Seahawks. That puts L.A. in the back seat until it can beat Seattle or create more separation.

Kevin: “Why do the Rams have such a low chance to win the division? Because this is Hollywood baby!” Just another way to remind you that the Rams play football in L.A. In case you forgot.

8. Minnesota Vikings

2017 record: 5-2
Week 7 ranking: No. 13

ESPN: 72.0 percent. Just two weeks ago, Minnesota’s chances of winning the division were down to 21 percent. With Aaron Rodgers out, the Vikings are the favorite to win the NFC North now. Five of their next six games are on the road, though, so they’ll need to improve on their 11-15 away record under coach Mike Zimmer to keep those chances high.

Jesse: As much as I like to dog Case Keenum, the quarterback of my team has led his offense to 10 points combined the last two games, both of which didn’t require much scoring to win. Maybe I should keep my mouth shut?

9. Houston Texans

2017 record: 3-3
Week 7 ranking: No. 11

ESPN: 16.6 percent. The Texans have scored at least 33 points in four straight games, but they are just 2-2 in those contests. Rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson has brought excitement to the offense, but the defensive struggles are bringing down Houston’s chances at a division title.

Kevin: Eek, I’m afraid to say anything here after their owner’s recent prisoner remarks. Maybe we should just talk about the Astros. No wait, the Yuli Gurriel thing just happened. I guess we could talk about the weather in Houston…shit, the hurricanes. Maybe we should just not talk about Houston right now.

10. Oakland Raiders

2017 record: 3-4
Week 7 ranking: No. 20

ESPN: 2.5 percent. Thursday’s win over the Chiefs might have saved the Raiders’ season, but there’s still a lot of work left to do. They won’t play in Oakland again until after Thanksgiving, and they currently have the third-toughest remaining strength of schedule. Good luck with that.

Jesse: Oh, sick burn ESPN! Yeah Raiders, good luck with that!

11. Washington Redskins

2017 record: 3-3
Week 7 ranking: No. 10

ESPN: 1.0 percent. The Redskins have been swept by the division-leading Eagles, which puts their chances at winning the NFC East at slim to none. Their chances aren’t helped by the fact that their next four games are against the Cowboys, Seahawks, Vikings and Saints, who have a combined .640 winning percentage this season.

Kevin: Damn, Washington is this high? Does every team just suck this year? Can we cancel the remaining games in the season due to lack of interest?

12. Atlanta Falcons

2017 record: 3-3
Week 7 ranking: No. 7

ESPN: 17.2 percent. The Falcons had a 72 percent chance to win the NFC South after their 3-0 start, but those odds have fallen drastically after losing three straight. Atlanta’s division chances could hinge on the stretch run. The Falcons play five of their last six games against division foes.

Jesse: Falcons, you aren’t making it easy to stop making jokes about how you blow leads. I’d like to be more creative than that and I’m sure you’re tired of those jokes, so help me help you.

13. Jacksonville Jaguars

2017 record: 4-3
Week 7 ranking: No. 19

ESPN: 59.3 percent. The Jaguars haven’t won a division title since 1999, but FPI currently has them down as the favorites in the AFC South. The defense has been the driving force behind Jacksonville’s resurgence, leading the league in sacks (33), takeaways (16) and interceptions (10).

Kevin: We should make them a banner that says “Favorites in the AFC South” to hang in their stadium. That’d be the most exciting thing to happen to this team in 18 years.

14. New Orleans Saints

2017 record: 4-2
Week 7 ranking: No. 14

ESPN: 63.7 percent. After Week 2, the Saints were 0-2 and the only winless team in the NFC South. Since then, their chances of winning the division have jumped from 1.3 percent to 63.7 percent. An improved defense has helped New Orleans greatly. The Saints have allowed the second-fewest points per drive over their four-game win streak, trailing only the Jaguars.

Jesse: Did someone kidnap all of the Saints’ defensive players and replace them with ones who are actually good? What is going on here?

15. Buffalo Bills

2017 record: 4-2
Week 7 ranking: No. 18

ESPN: 12.2 percent. Their division chances might not be high, but the Bills have the seventh-best chances of making the playoffs in the AFC (39.0 percent). They still have four games against the Patriots and Dolphins from Weeks 13 to 17, so if they can keep winning in the meantime, who knows what will happen down the stretch?

Kevin: Who knows what will happen down the stretch? Is it just me or is the ESPN Bot starting to sound nihilistic? “Who knows what will happen? It’s pointless to guess because it’ll just happen anyway”. Cutting edge stuff.

16. Detroit Lions

2017 record: 3-3
Week 7 ranking: No. 15

ESPN: 14.2 percent. The Lions have lost three of their past four games and have struggled to keep Matthew Stafford upright, as he has taken 23 sacks, second most in the NFL. Detroit’s chances of winning the division are low, but with five division matchups remaining and Aaron Rodgers out, they could start to climb.

Jesse: I mean, Stafford has to be upright before he can climb anywhere, right? Just saying.

17. Denver Broncos

2017 record: 3-3
Week 7 ranking: No. 8

ESPN: 5.7 percent. The Broncos have lost three of their past four games, with Trevor Siemian throwing two touchdowns (and five interceptions) over that stretch. The offense hasn’t mustered more than 16 points in the past four contests, and Denver’s chances of winning the division have dropped below 6 percent as a result.

Kevin: Much like the Broncos offense, I’m going to put no effort in this entry and leave you disappointed.

18. Los Angeles Chargers

2017 record: 3-4
Week 7 ranking: No. 24

ESPN: 3.2 percent. After the Chargers dropped to 0-4, their chances to win the AFC West sat at 0.1 percent, so the increase to even just 3.2 percent is noteworthy. The problem is, the Chargers travel to New England, Jacksonville and Dallas for three of their next four games. So they could be back down to 0.1 percent in the near future.

Jesse: Yeah, that’s what I always told my parents about my grades in algebra. “Hey, I was at just 70.01 percent, so that move up to 72 percent is noteworthy!”

19. Carolina Panthers

2017 record: 4-3
Week 7 ranking: No. 6

ESPN: 12.6 percent. Scheduling oddities could be behind Carolina’s low division chances right now. There has been only one division matchup played in the NFC South so far this season and the Panthers lost it, putting them behind the eight ball, so to speak. Carolina looks to rebound against the Bucs and Falcons over the next two weeks.

Kevin: Only one division matchup in the NFC South so far this year? You’re right ESPN Bot, that is odd. Thanks for the insightful information for once.

20. Miami Dolphins

2017 record: 4-2
Week 7 ranking: No. 26

ESPN: 3.8 percent. The Patriots are the main reason that the Dolphins have only a 3.8 percent chance to win the division, but their offensive struggles are why they have only a 19 percent chance of making the playoffs. Miami’s next three games are in prime time, so all eyes will be on this team in the coming weeks.

Jesse: Based on how the first of those three games went, I doubt there will be many eyes on the Dolphins in the next two.

21. Tennessee Titans

2017 record: 4-3
Week 7 ranking: No. 21

ESPN: 24.1 percent. The Titans are one of three teams with a winning record and a negative point differential this season. They’ve beaten the Jaguars, which boosts their division chances, but they’ll need to be more consistent coming out of their Week 8 bye.

Kevin: The Titans had to go to OT to beat the Browns. Usually that’s a bad sign but two seasons ago the Browns took the eventual Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos to OT and the Broncos barely survived. This unequivocally proves the Titans are winning the Super Bowl.

22. Green Bay Packers

2017 record: 4-3
Week 7 ranking: No. 16

ESPN: 13.2 percent. Entering Week 6, the Packers were nearly a 65 percent favorite to win the NFC North, according to FPI. Just two weeks later those chances have dipped to 13.2 percent. That’s how big of an impact Aaron Rodgers’ injury has made.

Jesse: Funny. I thought Rodgers being out would have a very minimal impact on the Packers’ season. Was my sarcasm font on for that? It was supposed to be.

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2017 record: 2-4
Week 7 ranking: No. 25

ESPN: 6.6 percent. The bad news is that Tampa Bay has lost three in a row, dropping it to last in the NFC South. The good news is that the Bucs have yet to play a division game, so that 6.6 percent chance of winning the division could change quickly with a few division wins. Up next: Carolina.

Kevin: Man the Bucs could really use a bye week right now. Too soon?

24. Chicago Bears

2017 record: 3-4
Week 7 ranking: No. 28

ESPN: 0.6 percent. Mitchell Trubisky has completed a whopping 12 passes over the Bears’ two-game win streak. Chicago’s offense ranks worst in FPI. So while the team’s recent successes might be nice, FPI still gives them only a less than 1 percent chance of winning the North.

Jesse: Hmm. A quarterback who doesn’t complete many passes. A John Fox team that’s on a winning streak thanks in part to that quarterback. Where have I seen this movie before?

25. Baltimore Ravens

2017 record: 3-4
Week 7 ranking: No. 22

ESPN: 4.2 percent. At one point, Baltimore’s chances to win the AFC North were close to 43 percent, according to FPI, but since losing four of five games, those chances have dipped to 4.2 percent. Joe Flacco has thrown six interceptions to two touchdowns over that five-game stretch.

Kevin: The good news, since these rankings were written the Ravens demolished the Dolphins 40-0. The bad news, a dude named after a Neopet demolished Joe Flacco.

26. Cincinnati Bengals

2017 record: 2-4
Week 7 ranking: No. 23

ESPN: 1.0 percent. The Bengals showed some life with back-to-back wins in Weeks 4 and 5, but a 15-point loss to the Steelers has Cincinnati down to 2-4 overall and 1-2 in division. FPI doesn’t like its odds for the division title (1.0 percent) or playoffs (8.5 percent).

Jesse: Don’t feel bad, Bengals. You’re only about half a season away from saying goodbye to Marvin Lewis. Sometimes it’s good to suck!

27. New York Jets

2017 record: 3-4
Week 6 ranking: No. 27

ESPN: <0.1 percent. Even after the Jets won three straight games, their chances to win the division were only 0.3 percent, according to FPI. Blowing a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead with minus-4 yards of offense against the Dolphins might’ve well ended any playoff hopes for the Jets.

Kevin: I don’t think blowing the 14-point lead ended their division hopes, I think just existing in the Patriots division ended those hopes.

28. Arizona Cardinals

2017 record: 3-4
Week 7 ranking: No. 17

ESPN: 0.4 percent. Carson Palmer is out. David Johnson is out. (Someone please hide Larry Fitzgerald.) Arizona was showing signs of life, but with Drew Stanton now helming the offense and Arizona already several games behind, the Cardinals’ chances to win the division are down to a minuscule 0.4 percent.

Jesse: Wasn’t Drew Stanton a capable backup just a few years ago? Did that change or am I just grasping at straws to make my girlfriend from Arizona feel better?

29. New York Giants

2017 record: 1-6
Week 7 ranking: No. 30

ESPN: 0.1 percent. The Giants have virtually no shot at winning the division, but FPI doesn’t think the Giants are this bad. Despite owning one of the worst records in the NFL, FPI thinks the Giants have a 41.3 percent chance at a top-five draft pick.

Kevin: Wait, the FPI doesn’t think the Giants are this bad? But FPI thinks they are bad enough for a top-five pick? Which goes to the bottom-five worst teams? And right now they are ranked the fourth worst team? So FPI actually does think the Giants are this bad? I think that’s clear.

30. Indianapolis Colts

2017 record: 2-5
Week 7 ranking: No. 29

ESPN: 0.0 percent. Fun fact: The Colts’ two wins this season came against the winless 49ers and winless Browns. How bad do the Colts miss Andrew Luck? They actually have the highest chances of losing out (13.3 percent).

Jesse: Hmm. The Colts tanking without their injured star quarterback en route to getting a top draft pick, then that quarterback winding up on the Broncos the following season. Where have I seen this story before?

31. San Francisco 49ers

2017 record: 0-7
Week 7 ranking: No. 31

ESPN: 0.0 percent. The saying goes: On any given Sunday, you can win or lose. The 49ers have lost 19 straight games played on Sunday. If they played more on Monday, Thursday or Saturday, they might have a chance at the division. Instead, their chances at the division are literally zero percent.

Kevin: Wow the ESPN Bot just uncovered a huge scandal. The NFL wants the Niners to lose so they scheduled all of their games on Sundays! Knowing that the Niners don’t win on Sundays. It’s rigged! It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the Niners suck so bad that the NFL doesn’t want them involved in any prime time game, that’s for sure.

32. Cleveland Browns

2017 record: 0-7
Week 7 ranking: No. 32

ESPN: 0.0 percent. The Browns are just the fourth franchise in the Super Bowl era to start 0-7 in back-to-back seasons. Their chances to win the division are nonexistent, but their chances to “earn” the top pick in next year’s draft are through the roof. The Browns are a 58.4 percent favorite to pick first, according to FPI.

Jesse: If the Browns have a chance at a silver lining for their pathetic season, rest assured they will win a couple games, lose the top pick to the Colts or 49ers, and screw that up too.

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