'07 rankings: Super sevens

Jason Cole and Charles Robinson

Past rankings: Preseason | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

As expected, the Patriots and Colts continue to hold down the top 2 spots, respectively, as the pair of unbeaten teams go into next Sunday's showdown. In fact, the top 7 spots on each side of the rankings remained the same following a week in which most of the league's elite teams continued to win.

Overall, there was no significant movement. The Chargers, after a third straight impressive win, are now in the top 12 of both writers' rankings. However, the NFC North-leading Lions are still stuck in the "Muddled Middle" despite completing a season sweep of the Bears.

Here are the complete rankings following Week 8 action.

TOP 12
Cole rankings
1. LW (1) New England Patriots (8-0)
2. LW (2) Indianapolis Colts (7-0)
3. LW (3) Dallas Cowboys (6-1)
4. LW (4) Jacksonville Jaguars (5-2)
5. LW (5) Green Bay Packers (6-1)
6. LW (6) Tennessee Titans (5-2)
7. LW (7) New York Giants (6-2)
8. LW (9) Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2)
9. LW (10) Cleveland Browns (4-3)
10. LW (14) San Diego Chargers (4-3)
11. LW (11) Seattle Seahawks (4-3)
12. LW (12) Kansas City Chiefs (4-3)
Robinson rankings
1. LW (1) New England Patriots
2. LW (2) Indianapolis Colts
3. LW (3) Green Bay Packers
4. LW (4) Dallas Cowboys
5. LW (5) Pittsburgh Steelers
6. LW (6) New York Giants
7. LW (7) Tennessee Titans
8. LW (8) Jacksonville Jaguars
9. LW (9) San Diego Chargers
10. LW (12) Cleveland Browns
11. LW (11) Baltimore Ravens
12. LW (10) Washington Redskins
Cole: Say what you want about the tactics of Pats coach Bill Belichick, but the Patriots are one really well put together team. They are on a run unmatched in NFL history in many ways. The only hope to stop them at this point is Indianapolis. It could happen, but it's also silly for Indy fans to argue the Colts should be No. 1 based on the belief that Indy has played a tougher schedule. The difference just isn't that significant, particularly when you factor in how dominant the Patriots have been … Tennessee fans are whining that the Titans should be ranked ahead of the Jaguars based on having beaten the Jags in the opener. Fair point, but it's just a gut feeling that Jacksonville will be better over the course of the season than the Titans. … San Diego gets back into the top group after stringing together some impressive victories, but the Chargers have to keep it going. They are still a very fragile team after so many early-season slips. Robinson: I don't care what Bill Belichick says, going for it on fourth-and-1 when you're up 38-0, and then passing for a touchdown is classless. He's making all that paranoia about Patriot-haters come true. … If the Colts come out the same way against New England as they did against Carolina, they are going to go into halftime trailing by 35 points. … Brett Favre's touchdown bomb in overtime was magic. It sounds crazy, but with all the momentum the Packers are gathering, they have to be considered alongside Dallas as a Super Bowl favorite in the NFC at this point. … San Diego has been impressive against average teams. Before all the Chargers fans start getting bent about their team not getting respect, they better wait to see how San Diego fares against Indianapolis on Nov. 11. … No offense to Randy Moss, but Cleveland's Braylon Edwards might be the best deep receiver in football right now.
Cole rankings
13. LW (13) Baltimore Ravens (4-3)
14. LW (14) Washington Redskins (4-3)
15. LW (8) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-4)
16. LW (19) New Orleans Saints (3-4)
17. LW (21) Detroit Lions (5-2)
18. LW (17) Cincinnati Bengals (2-5)
19. LW (24) Carolina Panthers (4-3)
20. LW (20) Chicago Bears (3-5)
21. LW (22) Oakland Raiders (2-5)
22. LW (16) San Francisco 49ers (2-5)
Robinson rankings
13. LW (15) Detroit Lions
14. LW (16) Seattle Seahawks
15. LW (18) Kansas City Chiefs
16. LW (13) Denver Broncos
17. LW (14) Carolina Panthers
18. LW (24) New Orleans Saints
19. LW (17) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
20. LW (21) Arizona Cardinals
21. LW (23) Buffalo Bills
22. LW (19) Chicago Bears
Cole: Carolina and Detroit fans have been whining for weeks that their teams aren't getting proper respect. Detroit posted perhaps its most impressive win of the season in beating Chicago last Sunday in the Windy City. The best part of that victory is the Lions defense showed up. Sure, the Bears are challenged offensively, but that's still some nice work for the Lions. As for the Panthers, it's almost impossible to take them seriously. They are 0-3 at home and have just gotten trounced. The defensive line barely shows up. Throw in one of the worst quarterback situations in the league and the bottom line is that they're simply not that good. Robinson: You have to give respect to the Lions for a gritty win in Chicago, but the easy part of the schedule is over. Seven of their final nine games are against teams that should be in the thick of the playoff hunt. … That the Panthers are winless at home and still in first place in their division says a lot about how crummy the NFC South has become. The Saints are going to have a serious shot at winning that division. … Five words for the Bears this offseason: Restricted free agent Derek Anderson.
Cole rankings
23. LW (23) Denver Broncos (3-4)
24. LW (24) Buffalo Bills (3-4)
25. LW (26) Philadelphia Eagles (3-4)
26. LW (25) Minnesota Vikings (2-5)
27. LW (27) Houston Texans (3-5)
28. LW (28) Arizona Cardinals (3-4)
29. LW (29) New York Jets (1-7)
30. LW (30) Atlanta Falcons (1-6)
31. LW (31) Miami Dolphins (0-8)
32. LW (32) St. Louis Rams (0-8)
Robinson rankings
23. LW (20) Houston Texans
24. LW (26) Philadelphia Eagles
25. LW (22) Cincinnati Bengals
26. LW (25) San Francisco 49ers
27. LW (27) Minnesota Vikings
28. LW (28) Oakland Raiders
29. LW (30) Atlanta Falcons
30. LW (29) New York Jets
31. LW (32) St. Louis Rams
32. LW (31) Miami Dolphins
Cole: There wasn't a lot of change here at the bottom, although both Miami and St. Louis played competitively Sunday. That shows some hope that they'll each break out of the winless ranks at some point soon. How soon? Don't ask me to pin down a date on that one. … A couple of teams, such as Philadelphia and Denver, should probably break into the middle of the pack. Other than that, Houston is an extremely perplexing team. Early in the season, the Texans were playing extremely efficient football behind quarterback Matt Schaub. But as they continue to play without wide receiver Andre Johnson, they're starting to fall apart. If not for a big fourth quarter against Tennessee, they'd have been embarrassed in back-to-back weeks. Robinson: The Texans have had a run of injuries, but there are some long-term problems that still persist. First and foremost, Ahman Green looks like he may be finally showing all the early mileage from his career. It's time to spend a high draft pick on a running back that can carry the load. … How has Darren Howard fallen off so dramatically in Philadelphia? And at what point does Trent Cole finally become a household name? … San Francisco kicker Joe Nedney apologized for flipping fans the bird Sunday. How long before Mike Nolan makes amends for the obscene gesture he calls an offense? … Here is what it has come to for the Vikings: signing Jeff George might be a coup. … With Kellen Clemens taking over as a starter for the Jets, Jerricho Cotchery's big-play ability can finally become a factor.

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