Week 8 NFL Power Rankings: Where 49ers stand after loss to Bengals originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
The NFL is nothing if not unpredictable.
Three weeks ago, the 49ers were the kings of the NFL after dismantling the Dallas Cowboys in primetime. Twenty-one days later, the 49ers now have lost three games in a row, including Sunday’s 31-17 flop against a fully healthy Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals.
At 5-3, the Niners limp into their bye week in second place in the NFC West and in deep need of answers.
The Kansas City Chiefs took over the top spot in the power rankings last week, but their stay at the top will be short-lived after their 24-9 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday. It’s the first time the Broncos have beaten the Chiefs since 2015.
Here’s where each team stands after Sunday’s Week 8 action:
32. Arizona Cardinals (1-7): The Cardinals have reclaimed their rightful place at the bottom.
31. Carolina Panthers (1-6): Bryce Young beat C.J. Stroud on Sunday, and the Panthers face a Colts team on life support next week. Panthers might be getting off the mat. That’s not what the Bears want to see.
29. Green Bay Packers (2-5): There have been games where you can put the Packers’ offensive struggles on Jordan Love, but Sunday’s loss to the Vikings wasn’t one of them. The offensive line is bad, and Love has no playmakers at receiver or tight end to make his life easier. He might not be good, but he’s also set up to fail.
28. New England Patriots (2-6): The Patriots’ loss to the Dolphins laid bare the massive talent gap between the ‘Fins and the former kings of the AFC East.
26. Washington Commanders (3-5): Sell, sell, sell.
25. Chicago Bears (2-6): OK, back to talking about draft positioning.
24. Denver Broncos (3-5): The Broncos’ defense held Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs to nine points and beat them for the first time since 2015. Don’t look now, but the Broncos might have found something.
22. Indianapolis Colts (3-5): Has there ever been a bigger coaching upgrade than going from Jeff Saturday to Shane Steichen? It’s glaring.
20. Los Angeles Rams (3-5): Throwing a pass to your quarterback, who already has a messed-up thumb, on a two-point conversion was maybe a bit too much. Don’t you think, Sean?
19. Houston Texans (3-4): The Texans were criticized for their draft-day trade-up for Will Anderson, but that decision already looks like a huge win. Anderson looks like a foundational piece, and the pick the Texans send to the Cardinals no longer looks like it will be in the top five. Big win for Nick Caserio. He needed it.
18. Atlanta Falcons (4-4): Don’t let the Falcons benching Desmond Ridder distract you from the fact that they showed no interest in trying to sign Lamar Jackson this offseason. A bizarre decision that looks worse each week.
17. Minnesota Vikings (4-4): At 4-4 and with Kirk Cousins, the Vikings weren’t going to be sellers. But with Kirk Cousins reportedly done for the season, it might be time for Minnesota to take some calls.
16. Los Angeles Chargers (3-5): Brandon Staley and the Chargers got exactly what they needed with their backs against the wall — a game against the Bears.
15. New Orleans Saints (4-4): Can we revoke the NFC South’s playoff spot this year?
13. Cleveland Browns (4-3): The Browns’ defense is too good to waste this season with P.J. Walker or the artist formerly known as Deshaun Watson. Browns have to do something at quarterback. Carson Wentz? Ryan Tannehill? Anything.
11. Detroit Lions (5-2): The beatdown by the Ravens was a reality check for the NFL’s darling Lions. How will they respond on Monday night?
10. Buffalo Bills (5-3): The Bills are now 48-13 when Josh Allen has one or zero turnovers. They are 9-14 when he has two or more. Pretty simple formula for Buffalo. When good Josh Allen shows up, they win.
9. Seattle Seahawks (5-2): Just like that, the Seahawks are in first place in the NFC West.
8. Dallas Cowboys (5-2): The Cowboys had a different energy in their throttling of the Rams. If they can keep that energy for the rest of the season, they might enter the playoffs as a legitimate title contender and not a team with a hard ceiling on their championship potential.
7. San Francisco 49ers (5-3): The 49ers are starting to unravel, and the road doesn’t get much easier after the Week 9 bye. Kyle Shanahan needs to go deep into his mad scientist bag to keep things from spiraling out of control.
6. Baltimore Ravens (6-2): The Ravens have six or seven defensive players who are playing some of the best football of their careers. Couple that with Lamar Jackson putting up numbers that are similar to his MVP season, and the Ravens just might be a wagon.
5. Cincinnati Bengals (4-3): Joe Cool is back. That’s bad news for the rest of the NFL. My preseason Super Bowl winner is alive and well.
4. Miami Dolphins (6-2): Tua Tagovailoa is now 6-0 in his career against Bill Belichick. Those six wins are the most by any starting quarterback against Belichick in his 29-year head coaching career. Pretty, pretty good.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-2): Are the Jaguars the second-best team in the AFC? I’m willing to listen to that argument.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (6-2): There was no Michael Jordan flu game for Patrick Mahomes. In all seriousness, can the Chiefs get Baby GOAT a reliable receiver?
1. Philadelphia Eagles (7-1): That was a cool wrinkle out of the Brotherly Shove. Not sure that was the right time to show it, though.
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