The final NFL weekend of October proved itself to be a shakeup Sunday across the league.
Whether it was the San Francisco 49ers continuing to flounder as questions continue to mount around quarterback Brock Purdy, the Philadelphia Eagles demonstrating some championship character when tested against the division rival Washington Commanders or the Kansas City Chiefs getting knocked off by the Denver Broncos for the first time in 16 years, Week 8 had a bit of everything.
Ahead of Week 9, here's a look at how the league stacks up, with some major shakeups in this week's FanBuzz Power Rankings:
1. Philadelphia Eagles (7-1)
Previous: No. 2
The Philadelphia Eagles just keep stacking victories and finding ways to win.
Sunday's win over the Washington Commanders might finally be the revelatory moment of this team's identity; the explosive passing game via the Jalen Hurts to A.J. Brown connection. Brown became the first receiver in NFL history to log six consecutive games with at least 125 receiving yards, catching all eight of his targets for 130 yards with a pair of touchdowns. Week 8 might wind up going down as one of Philadelphia's most important wins of the season as it preserved a 1.5 game lead over the Dallas Cowboys, ahead of next Sunday's showdown, and some margin for error in the NFC race for homefield advantage throughout the playoffs as the most difficult stretch of their schedule looms.
2. Baltimore Ravens (6-2)
Previous: No. 4
Lamar Jackson is suddenly playing the best football of his career, and this might be the best Ravens team he's been part of.
Beyond Jackson continuing to make major strides as a passer from the pocket, Baltimore's running game is churning along. Sunday afternoon, Gus Edwards was an end zone magnet, scoring three touchdowns while rushing for 80 yards on 19 carries. In the hours leading up to the NFL trade deadline, the Ravens could be a team to watch in the running back market, aiming to further solidify the backfield around Jackson. Baltimore is riding the momentum of a three-game winning streak, including a pummeling of the previously high-flying Detroit Lions.
3. Miami Dolphins (6-2)
Previous: No. 5
The Dolphins bounced back from being bullied in Philadelphia, and found some legitimacy in the process with a victory over th division-rival New England Patriots.
Jalen Ramsey's return sparked a breakout performance from the Dolphins' secondary, and the All-Pro cornerback pulled down his first interception of the season as part of a standout performance from Miami's secondary. Offensively, the Dolphins' stuck to their blueprint of deploying explosive speed all over the field, while overwhelming New England's defense en route to 390 yards of total offense, and averaging 5.3 yards per play. A true litmus test for the Dolphins' viability of a Super Bowl contender is waiting in Frankfurt, Germany, when it will be Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs staring across the sideline.
4. Kansas City Chiefs (6-2)
Previous: No. 1
The Denver Broncos, of all teams, exposed a potentially fatal flaw of the Chiefs' offense.
While Patrick Mahomes wasn't fully healthy against the Broncos, the offense was nowhere near fully functional, either. Kansas City has attempted to get by all season with a patchwork receiving corps, to wildly inconsistent returns. But, on a wintry afternoon in Denver it was never previously more evident that this team needs more weapons in the passing game than Travis Kelce alone. Skyy Moore couldn't pull down a touchdown pass that went right through his hands, Marquez Valdes-Scantling fumbled at a critical juncture, and Mahomes was held without an offensive touchdown for just the second time in his career. The Chiefs better figure it out, because a potential shootout against arguably the game's most explosive receiving corps in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle looms.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-2)
Previous: No. 6
Jacksonville might be the best team that no one is talking about, with an upcoming schedule that gives the Jaguars the chance to earn some real credibility over the next month.
Trevor Lawrence was stellar, amid miserable conditions in Pittsburgh, guiding a 20-10 win over the Steelers while passing for 292 yards with one touchdown to one interception. Meanwhile, Travis Etiene continues to be an impact player capable of dictating to opposing defenses, producing 149 yards from scrimmage with a touchdown as a driving force behind Sunday's victory. A multi-faceted offense, buttressed by an opportunistic defense, being well coached by Doug Pederson and staff, this is a team capable of making real noise in the AFC. With games looming against the San Francisco 49ers, Bengals, Browns, and Ravens over the next six weeks, we're about to find out just how good this Jacksonville team is, and can be.
6. Cincinnati Bengals (4-3)
Previous: No. 11
The Bengals look like the Bengals again.
Joe Burrow finally looks fully healthy, once again unlocking the potential of an explosive receiving corps headlined by Ja'Marr Chase, who caught 10 of 12 targets for 100 yards and a touchdown against the suddenly reeling San Francisco 49ers. Cincinnati has now won three straight games, and four out of five, with plenty of momentum to do some serious damage in the AFC North. Most encouraging for Cincinnati has passed for 785 yards with eight touchdowns to just two interceptions over the past three games. The Bengals have a franchise quarterback, and the pedigree that comes from a trip to the conference title game and Super Bowl over the past two seasons that will make this a dangerous team to watch in the second half of the 2023 campaign.
7. Detroit Lions (6-2)
Previous: No. 8
Detroit took full advantage of a get-right game against the middling and floundering Las Vegas Raiders, issuing a strong reminder of what makes this Lions team so dangerous.
Rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs held his coming out party, looking the part of a franchise running back. Amon-Ra St. Brown had several big plays after the catch. Detroit's defense completely stifled Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. By the end of Monday night's game, the Lions' disastrous loss to the Ravens felt like a distant memory because this team has every necessary ingredient to make a Super Bowl run in the NFC.
8. San Francisco 49ers (5-3)
Previous: No. 3
Suddenly, the 49ers have lost three straight, and look very beatable.
Beyond injuries to key players, it's starting to become evident that Brock Purdy is regressing from being destined for Canton to overachieving former Mr. Irrelevant. More worrisome for the 49ers is that the physically imposing defense that had been the backbone of this team's championship aspirations has suddenly allowed 24 points per game amid San Francisco's skid, which if that were their season average would be ninth-most in the league. It won't get much easier, as seven of the 49ers' next eight opponents would qualify for the postseason if the regular season ended today.
9. Dallas Cowboys (5-2)
Previous: No. 7
The Dallas Cowboys' defense returned to its dominantly disruptive form, with its biggest test of the season looming in Week 9.
Sunday, the Cowboys held Los Angeles to under 100 yards rushing, sacked Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford twice, intercepted him once, just as Dak Prescott looked as efficient as ever while passing for 304 yards with four touchdowns to one interception in just over three quarters of action. The Cowboys can stake a claim to making the NFC East a competitive race the rest of the way, and climb into the championship conversation if Dallas can go into Philadelphia Sunday afternoon and emerge with a win.
10. Buffalo Bills (5-3)
Previous: No. 12
Thursday night against the Buccaneers, Ken Dorsey and the Bills finally turned Josh Allen loose, as Buffalo led an offensive renaissance as a result.
Allen carved up the Buccaneers with his arm, passing for 324 yards with two touchdowns to one interception, and sliced through Tampa's defense with his legs, while rushing for 41 yards and another score. This was a performance that displayed how the Bills' offense was always supposed to operate. But, Buffalo needs to worry about a defense that let the Buccaneers off the mat late, coming up a Hail Mary that only failed because Chris Godwin never turned towards the football short of handing the Bills a third loss in four weeks.
11. Seattle Seahawks (5-2)
Previous: No. 13
In a lot of ways, the Browns and Seahawks are kindred spirits in terms of team construction; loaded and physical defenses, offenses powered by ground and pound running backs, that are at the moment led by game-managers at quarterback. Sunday afternoon it was Geno Smith who outplayed P.J. Walker while tossing two touchdowns to one interception as Seattle did just enough to survive 24-20. Suddenly, the Seahawks find themselves atop the NFC West with a brand of football that travels late in the season and playoff situations.
12. New York Jets (4-3)
Previous: No. 15
Sunday against the Giants was one of the ugliest football games in recent memory, and while the Jets' offense remains completely disjointed with Zach Wilson at the helm, running back Breece Hall looks like a franchise cornerstone and wide receiver Garrett Wilson made a couple of game-changing catches late to secure the victory. If the Jets are going to play spoiler, or remain in the mix, New York is going to need to keep stacking standout defensive performances like Sunday's effort, holding the Giants to 10 points and 194 yards of total offense.
13. Cleveland Browns (4-3)
Previous: No. 10
The Browns' defense picked an inopportune time to stumble, as Geno Smith orchestrated a precision five-play, 57-yard march down the field culminated by a Jaxon Smith-Njigba touchdown catch to win the game with :44 remaining. Cleveland's trying to bandage a limited offense by committing to the run-game, and it nearly worked, as Kareem Hunt, Pierre Strong, and Jerome Ford combined for 133 yards and a touchdown, but Seattle exposed how little margin for error the Browns have with that formula.
14. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3)
Previous: No. 9
The Steelers have plenty to be optimistic about, particularly on defense, and especially when it comes to the rapid development of second-round rookie cornerback Joey Porter Jr., who has been elevated into the starting lineup. But, Pittsburgh still hasn't been able to establish a consistent offensive identity, and Kenny Pickett suffering a rib injury during Sunday's loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars certainly won't help matters.
15. Los Angeles Chargers (3-4)
Previous: No. 20
All it took for Justin Herbert to look like the kind of quarterback his promise and potential suggest he is, was a home date against the struggling Chicago Bears. Now, the Chargers and Herbert must prove that Sunday's performance wasn't just a byproduct of playing a team with one eye trained on the trade deadline and the other on next spring's quarterback class. Los Angeles has to hope they can carry some momentum on defense into next week off a dominant performance.
16. New Orleans Saints (4-4)
Previous: No. 26
Big bounce back win for the Saints, who got past the Indianapolis Colts. However, the issues for this offense remain significant. Sunday afternoon, it was Taysom Hill who led New Orleans in rushing, with 63 yards and a pair of scores. When an offense can't even get Alvin Kamara going, that isn't exactly going to inspire confidence.
17. Minnesota Vikings (4-4)
Previous: No. 14
Any excitement over the Vikings logging a division win over the Green Bay Packers, for a third straight win and fourth out of five, was quickly tempered by Kirk Cousins tearing his Achilles. Minnesota's defense is once again carrying this team, as they did a large portion of last season, but uncertainty at quarterback moving forward from here raises significant questions about the Vikings' ceiling.
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4)
Previous: No. 18
Tampa has to feel good about a game in Buffalo coming down to a Hail Mary. What this team does in the offseason will be fascinating, because Mayfield has been relatively efficient, Chris Godwin and Mike Evans pretty productive, yet there are a plethora of needs on defense and it remains to be seen if Mayfield can be the solution beyond 2023.
19. Los Angeles Rams (3-5)
Previous: No. 19
The Dallas Cowboys swarming defense dominated Sunday's game from start to finish, and Matthew Stafford banged his thumb off a defender's helmet, which could have long-term ramifications. More worrisome for Los Angeles is the fact that the running game couldn't find its footing, as Rams running backs were held to just 75 yards on the ground. It's going to be an uphill climb for Los Angles in the NFC Wild Card race.
20. Houston Texans (3-4)
Previous: No. 16
The Texans ran into a buzzsaw in Charlotte. Houston's biggest test will be how DeMeco Ryans' team bounces back after C.J. Stroud struggled to get the offense moving against the Panthers. The Texans' offense took a major step back as Stroud was held to 140 yards and a measly 81.9 passer rating in a two-point loss.
21. Atlanta Falcons (4-4)
Previous: No. 17
It's about time head coach Arthur Smith benched Desmond Ridder. Smith wouldn't commit to Ridder as the Falcons' starter moving forward, during the head coach's Monday press conference. Atlanta had been getting substandard quarterback play from the former third-round pick, and if the Falcons fall out of contention, don't be surprised if this is a franchise in the market for a quarterback at the top of next spring's draft.
22. Denver Broncos (3-5)
Previous: No. 30
Was that a turning point for Sean Payton's Broncos? Denver's defense powered Sunday's upset over the Chiefs, and was led by standout performances from Justin Simmons' late interception and two sacks by Brandon Browning. Perhaps the biggest question for the Broncos is whether Sunday's win was enough to stave off any sort of trade deadline fire sale. If Denver continues to commit to the running game, taking the pressure off Russell Wilson to be the offense, this is starting to feel like a team that can punch above its weight.
23. Indianapolis Colts (3-5)
Previous: No. 22
The Colts missing out on the opportunity to evaluate rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson through the second half of this season is one of 2023's biggest disappointments across the league. Still, you can see Indianapolis has some offensive firepower to build around in years to come. But, this just isn't a complete enough roster to compete right now.
24. Tennessee Titans (3-4)
Previous: No. 29
Will Levis looked like exactly what the Titans' offense had previously been missing. Levis' connection with DeAndre Hopkins was instant, as the rookie QB maximized the explosive receiver's potential in the offense on four receptions for 128 yards and three touchdowns. The sudden aggressiveness in the vertical passing game created all kinds of opportunities for Derrick Henry to rush for 101 yards, just the second time he's eclipsed the century mark in 2023. Tennessee would be wise to start Levis the rest of the way.
25. Washington Commanders (3-5)
Previous: No. 24
Sam Howell and the Commanders' receivers put on a clinic in the first half against the Eagles, with Howell finishing with 397 yards, four passing touchdowns to one interception. But, the Commanders' defense wilted late. Don't be surprised if following Sunday's loss to the NFC East leaders if Washington becomes one of the biggest sellers at the trade deadline.
26. Las Vegas Raiders (3-5)
Previous: No. 23
Nothing went right for the Raiders on Monday night in Detroit. Jimmy Garoppolo didn't surpass 100 passing yards until the Raiders' final possession of the game, the offensive line couldn't get any traction in the running game and was a sieve in the passing game. Had it not been for Maxx Crosby forcing a fumble along the goal line, and Marcus Peters returning a Jared Goff interception for a touchdown, the Lions' rout would have looked much worse. This offense has no identity, and the Raiders just have no chance of competing right now.
27. Green Bay Packers (2-5)
Previous: No. 25
Another week, and more concern that Jordan Love might not be the answer in Green Bay. Minnesota jumped out all over the Packers on Sunday afternoon, to a 24-3 lead and this offense simply isn't built to come from behind. Love has 10 games remaining to convince GM Brian Gutekunst that he has what it takes to develop into a franchise quarterback. That's the only thing that matters for Green Bay in 2023.
28. New England Patriots (2-6)
Previous: No. 27
It's unclear what the Patriots even do well. On either side of the football. Offensively, this team is hamstrung by Mac Jones' limitations, and now wide receiver Kendrick Bourne is out for the season. New England served as Miami's get-right game, as the Dolphins produced 390 yards of total offense and 30 points. It could be a significant rebuild ahead for the Patriots.
29. Chicago Bears (2-6)
Previous: No. 28
So, Tyson Bagent isn't an All-Pro in waiting, after all. More concerning for Chicago than the former undrafted Division II quarterback tossing two interceptions is the fact that a defense in the throes of a rebuild was lit up by Justin Herbert's chargers for 30 points and 352 yards of total offense. It may be a slog for the Bears to stay competitive with this roster as constructed.
30. New York Giants (2-6)
Previous: No. 21
New York's season is careening off the tracks, and adding injury to the insult of one of the ugliest losses you'll ever see, the Giants saw backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor and tight end Darren Waller knocked from Sunday's contest against the Jets. Daniel Jones was cleared for contact and could possibly return against the Raiders next Sunday, but time will tell if that's actually a good thing for a woebegone Giants offense.
31. Arizona Cardinals (1-6)
Previous: No. 31
Arizona mounted a furious fourth quarter comeback against the Ravens, but the Cardinals' defense continues to be a sieve, allowing three drives of eight plays or more, unable to get off the field in key spots. Kyler Murray's return could be an audition to keep Arizona from taking a quarterback high next spring.
32. Carolina Panthers (1-6)
Previous: No. 32
The Panthers got off the schneid, as Bryce Young outplayed C.J. Stroud Sunday afternoon in Charlotte. Now, Carolina gets to take its best shot at the Colts, who fired Frank Reich at midseason last fall.
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