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The CHARGED Elite: Week Eight

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

Two more top-five teams fall as the rankings keep shaking up, plus a hilarious Philip Rivers GIF.

The CHARGED Elite: Week Eight

Another crazy week of NFL action, but could we expect anything less on Halloween weekend?  It's time to put away all the candy and check out this week's CHARGED Elite rankings for Week Eight.

1. Green Bay Packers  (7-0, Last Week 1) - The Packers had a bye week, and next week they will be heading West to play a San Diego Chargers team coming off an absolutely horrendous loss.  The Chargers are going to be desperate and Green Bay can't take them lightly.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers  (6-2, Last Week 5) - What an impressive win on Sunday by the Steelers.  They throttled Tom Brady and the Patriots offense, holding them to just 17 points and just 213 total yards.  Ben Roethlisberger continued his aerial assault, completing 36-50 passes for 365 yards and two touchdowns.  The Steelers are running on all cylinders now, and we'll see how they handle the bipolar Baltimore Ravens next Sunday night.

3. San Francisco 49ers  (6-1, Last week 4) - Frank Gore continues to carry the load for the 49ers.  He picked up his fourth straight 100-yard game, gouging the Cleveland defense for 134 yards on 31 carries.  If Gore can keep up this torrid pace, and if Alex Smith can continue to manage games without turnovers (just four this season), San Francisco should be fine.  

4. New England Patriots  (5-2, Last Week 2) - Tom Brady was held under 200 yards passing for the first time this season and for the first time since Week 17 of last season.  I think New England had a legitimate gripe when the referees didn't give Rob Gronkowski a touchdown.  That took precious time off the clock and prevented another patented Brady comeback.  The New York Giants come to Gillette stadium next Sunday in a matchup that's important for both teams.

5. Detroit Lions  (6-2, Last Week 7) - That was an emphatic win by the Lions in Denver.  After giving up an early field goal, Detroit ripped off 45 unanswered points.  Matthew Stafford didn't seem too limited by that ankle injury, and the defense was all over Tim Tebow.  I think Stephen Tulloch's "Tebowing" after a sack of Tebow was a bit much, but I'll allow it.

6. Baltimore Ravens  (5-2, Last Week 6) - That was a huge win for the Ravens.  It was a game you couldn't drop after falling to the Jaguars, and even though it looked shaky after the first half, the offense came alive.  Joe Flacco threw the ball well and Ray Rice finished off drives around the goal line, pounding home three short-yardage touchdowns.  The offense needs to show more consistency, but they did avoid a second straight bad loss.

7. New Orleans Saints  (5-3, Last Week 3) - They should have saved some of those points from last Sunday's game.  New Orleans got caught off guard against a hungry St. Louis Rams team that doesn't want to Suck for Luck.  They couldn't run the ball against to worst rushing defense in the league, Drew Brees got picked off twice (the second was returned for a TD with just 2:51 left in the game) and the defense couldn't stop Steven Jackson.  That equals upset.

8. Houston Texans  (5-3, Last Week 12) - Solid win for the Texans against a feisty Jaguars defense.  Arian Foster has done work since coming back full time.  He leads the league in rushing attempts per game at 22.5 a contest.  His production has softened the blow of losing Andre Johnson, who might return next week.  It's amazing that this team hasn't played a complete game yet with Matt Schaub, Foster and Johnson all on the field.

9. New York Giants  (5-2, Last Week 8) - They escaped with a victory against the Miami Dolphins, mostly due to the play of Eli Manning.  Remember those top-five quarterback comments before the season?  Manning is backing all of that up, and he might even be playing his way into the MVP conversation.  I'm not saying Eli is the MVP, I'm just saying that he deserves some consideration.  Look at what he's done this year and tell me otherwise.

10. Buffalo Bills  (5-2, Last Week 11) - During the telecast, Tom Brenneman mentioned that a majority of Buffalo's talent has come from unlikely sources.  Ryan Fitzpatrick was a seventh round draft pick in 2005.  Fred Jackson went undrafted.  Stevie Johnson was a seventh round draft pick in 2008 and is the only active receiver that was drafted.  George Wilson?  Undrafted free agent.  It's amazing what the Bills have been able to assemble.

11. Chicago Bears  (4-3, Last Week 9) - The Bears had their bye week and made a surprising cut during that time.  Chicago released veteran safety Chris Harris, who was a second-team All Pro last season.  He was scooped up by division rival Detroit shortly after, but Harris simply wasn't getting it done for the Bears.

12. New York Jets  (4-3, Last Week 10) - The Jets had their bye week and they gear up for a big showdown with the first place Buffalo Bills next week.  Who would have thought that this week nine matchup would have playoff implications for both teams?     

13. Atlanta Falcons  (4-3, Last Week 13) - Atlanta keeps this spot only because they beat the Eagles way back in week two.  Hopefully Roddy White used the bye week to get healthy.  Atlanta needs White to become that threat he was last season, especially with Julio Jones nicked up. 

14. Philadelphia Eagles  (3-4, Last Week 17) - That's what happens when you give the ball to LeSean McCoy, Andy Reid.  McCoy lit up the Cowboys for 185 yards rushing and two touchdowns as the Eagles steamrolled Dallas 34-7.  The Eagles looked scary good on Sunday night, and if they want to keep this up on offense, it has to start with McCoy.  He is that dynamic.

15. Cincinnati Bengals  (5-2, Last Week 18) - Cincinnati took care of business against the Seahawks and are now three games over .500 and still just a half game out of first place in the AFC North.  I can't ignore them any longer.  They have a great shot to be 6-2 with a trip to visit the inconsistent Tennessee Titans next week.  They will get Cedric Benson back for that game and it should be an entertaining one.

16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers  (4-3, Last Week 14) - Tampa Bay probably hated to see New Orleans fall to St. Louis.  Now the Saints are going to be foaming at the mouth come Sunday, especially after falling to Tampa Bay earlier in the season.  If LeGarrette Blount is back for the game, Tampa's got a shot.  If he can't go, the Bucs might be in trouble.

17. Kansas City Chiefs  (4-3, Last Week 21) - What a weird game, but the Chiefs will take it.  Who would have pictured this turnaround for Kansas City after that 0-3 start?  And where did this Jonathan Baldwin come from?  His touchdown catch in the back of the end zone was a thing of beauty.  He adds a new dimension to Kansas City's offense paired with lead wideout Dwayne Bowe.

18. San Diego Chargers  (4-3, Last Week 15) - Philip Rivers last-second fumble, now known as the "Phumble," cost the Chargers a win and first place.  ESPN cameras caught Rivers saying "That was the worst day ever," and that pretty much sums up the game. (via @Jose3030):

19. Tennessee Titans  (4-3, Last Week 19) - The Titans had a nice week off bounce-back win against the Colts on Sunday, but now they face a real test in the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.  The Bengals have the second-best rushing defense in the NFL, which is not what the struggling Chris Johnson needs to hear.  Maybe CJ2K will surprise us, but he will most likely continue to play awful football.  Expect a lot of Javon Ringer against the Bengals.

20. Dallas Cowboys  (3-4, Last Week 16) - Dallas barely showed up on Sunday night against the Eagles.  They had no answer for McCoy, Vick or Maclin.  They were moving the ball well on the ground in the first half, but they abandoned the run after they fell behind early.  You know you've got it bad when Lance Armstrong is ripping your performance.

21. Oakland Raiders  (4-3, Last Week 20) - Carson Palmer had an extra week to familiarize himself with the Oakland offense.  Hopefully the new bye week rules didn't slow him down, because he is going to need all the reps he can get if Oakland is going to remain competitive in the AFC West.

22. Minnesota Vikings  (2-6, Last Week 25) - And the Christian Ponder era is in full force!  Ponder had a second-straight solid game after taking over for the ineffective Donovan McNabb.  It certainly helps having Adrian Peterson behind you, but Ponder has impressed early on.  

23. Carolina Panthers  (2-6, Last Week 22) - What a way to lose.  Cam Newton drives Carolina into field goal range, and then Olindo Mare shanks a 31-yarder that would have tied the game.  Cam Newton might have to start doing everything for this team if he wants to win games.

24. Cleveland Browns (3-4, Last Week 23) - Cleveland can't afford to lose any more running backs.  Peyton Hillis has been banged up all season, and now backup Montario Hardesty will be out for a few weeks.  Colt McCoy has no chance if he doesn't have a run game behind him.

25. Washington Redskins  (3-4, Last Week 24) - Washington is a shell of a team right now, and they got manhandled by the Bills up in Toronto.  Going into that game, Buffalo had four sacks all season.  They sacked Washington QB John Beck nine times on Sunday.  It was an embarrassing effort all around for the Redskins.  

26. St. Louis Rams  (1-6, Last Week 30) - Yes, I believe the Rams are better than the Jaguars and the Seahawks.  That was an entirely different team we saw on Sunday, the one most expected to see back in week one.  If Bradford can return healthy and the defense can continue to play like it did on Sunday, St. Louis might have "spoiler" written all over them. 

27. Jacksonville Jaguars  (2-6, Last Week 27) - Maurice Jones-Drew might fall apart before the season ends.  He's on pace for 332 carries this season.  He hasn't topped 300 carries since 2009, but he is Jacksonville's best chance at winning games while Blaine Gabbert learns to be a QB in the NFL.

28. Seattle Seahawks  (2-5, Last Week 26) - Why Tarvaris Jackson didn't start the game for Seattle is very puzzling, especially after the way Charlie Whitehurst played last week.  I don't know if it would have made that much of a difference, but it might weigh on the psyches of both Whitehurst and Jackson.

29. Denver Broncos  (2-5, Last Week 28) - The only people "Tebowing" after Sunday's game were Broncos opponents.  Tebow looked dreadful against Detroit.  Denver was outscored by Detroit's defense.  You better believe John Fox and John Elway would like to see Andrew Luck in Denver, but their two wins really hamper their abilities to win the "Suck For Luck" race.

30. Arizona Cardinals  (1-6, Last Week 29) - That's a tough loss for Arizona.  In desperate need of a win, the Cardinals had Baltimore on the ropes early.  They couldn't seal the deal and ended up blowing a 24-3 halftime lead.  You don't want to give up on Kevin Kolb this early, but what if Arizona is in a position to draft Luck? 

31. Miami Dolphins  (0-7, Last Week 31) - Another crushing defeat for the Dolphins.  They should be 2-5 after the last two weeks, but they couldn't finish either game.  They were shafted by what looked like a phantom offensive pass interference award on Brandon Marshall.  Instead of a first down, they faced second and long and ended up punting it away.  Miami will win at least three games this season, though.  They play too hard to go winless.

32. Indianapolis Colts  (0-8, Last Week 32) - Contrary to what owner Jim Irsay is telling us on Twitter, it seems like the towel has been tossed in Indy.  Indianapolis should just embrace their status as the frontrunners in the "Suck For Luck" campaign. 

Agree?  Disagree?  Let us know what you think in the comment section, and make sure you check out next week's updated rankings of the CHARGED Elite, where I will give the MVP's for each team as we pass the halfway point of the season.


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