Week 8 of the NFL season is in this books, and we dissect which teams are moving on up in our Power Rankings, and which are dropping hard after a bad performance.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Who would've thought that this Bucs team without Vincent Jackson would beat the 6-2 Atlanta Falcons? We certainly didn't, and that's why they are on this list. More importantly than this signature win for Lovie Smith, franchise QB Jameis Winston has now strung along consecutive performances where he has showcased absolute control of the pocket. He is staring down the barrel of the gun, taking shots under pressure and his teammates are feeding off the energy. Now, about those Joe Thomas rumors...
Again? Again. The Raiders hosted one of the top defenses this week in the New York Jets and made it look like they were playing against air. Bill Musgrave and the offense had an outstanding game plan going into the game, attacking Antonio Cromartie who is quickly becoming a liability in coverage. Michael Crabtree is quickly looking like one of the most underrated pick ups in free agency (he was available pretty late into the process), and if I was the Raiders I wouldn't wait to open dialogue for a contract extension. Derek Carr is showing the composure of a ten year veteran and the left side of the offensive line is playing lights out football in both the pass and the running game.
But they were already undefeated? Well, sure, but they had a monster test this week playing an undefeated Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. We knew that the Broncos defense was good, but I don't think we had any idea just how good this unit is, holding Rodgers to only 77 yards passing. By the way, is there anyone more savage than Wade Phillips? Dude is pushing 70 and dropping straight fire on his TL.
Look, the Colts did a good job of fighting back after being down two scores in the 4th quarter vs. the undefeated Carolina Panthers on Monday Night. They could've easily quit after a pedestrian three quarters from Luck, but they didn't. But the reason they are on this list isn't because of Luck being less than 50% passing and and throwing costly interceptions, but rather, it's the ever-growing cacophonous dischord that is straining upper management. Irsay and Grigson are reported to be squabbling, Grigson was being shady on his cell phone in the corner of his suite all during the MNF game vs. the Panthers, and everyone including Pagano knows Chuck is a dead man walking. Their next two opponents are the undefeated Denver Broncos and then the Atlanta Falcons following a bye, so it's extremely likely that they will head into Week 12 with a 3-7 record and a new interim coach. Desperate times in Indy.
Whewwwwwwwwww. What an ass-kicking by the Chiefs in London. I'm surprised Jim Caldwell didn't get Dennis Allen'd on the trip back stateside, and call me crazy, but I don't think Jim Bob Cooter is the answer as the offensive coordinator. The offensive line is a disaster and LaAdrian Waddle has been a human turnstile at RT. They are also 32nd in rushing offense despite investing high draft picks this year in RB Ameer Abdullah and OG Laken Tomlinson. Silver lining (although you have to look really hard for it) - Laken Tomlinson was the highest rated player on the offense on Pro Football Focus despite a rocky start to his pro career. I would also try to move Haloti Ngata before the trade deadline, since he has been incredibly ineffective in the Motor City.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
It seems like ages since Jim Tomsula had the highest win percentage in 49ers franchise history.
I almost feel bad for the guy, since he is basically a sacrificial lamb for 49ers Owner Jed York. I read on Twitter that "Tomsula was hired to basically re-shuffle the deck chairs on the Titanic," and I couldn't have put it any better myself to be honest. The team is the dumpster fire of all NFL dumpster fires right now, and the lit match for said dumpster fire was the announcement that Blaine Gabbert would start over Colin Kaepernick this week vs. the Falcons. Blaine. Freaking. Gabbert. RIP 49ers.