NFL Week 8 Power Rankings: Baltimore Ravens on the rise after a convincing win over the Detroit Lions

2MHE67H Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) celebrates his touchdown with tight end Mark Andrews (89) in the first half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Baltimore, Md. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

• Biggest riser: Baltimore Ravens (up six spots since Week 7)

• Biggest faller: Los Angeles Chargers (down four spots since Week 7)

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You can find a statistical review of Week 7 here.

NFL Week 8 Power Rankings

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (up 1)
  2. San Francisco 49ers (down 1)
  3. Philadelphia Eagles (no change)
  4. Miami Dolphins (up 1)
  5. Baltimore Ravens (up 6)
  6. Buffalo Bills (down 2)
  7. Jacksonville Jaguars (up 1)
  8. Dallas Cowboys (down 1)
  9. Detroit Lions (down 3)
  10. Cincinnati Bengals (no change)
  11. Cleveland Browns (up 1)
  12. Seattle Seahawks (up 1)
  13. Los Angeles Chargers (down 4)
  14. Minnesota Vikings (up 1)
  15. New York Jets (down 1)
  16. Green Bay Packers (no change)
  17. New Orleans Saints (no change)
  18. Washington Commanders (up 1)
  19. Indianapolis Colts (up 1)
  20. Los Angeles Rams (down 2)
  21. Pittsburgh Steelers (up 3)
  22. Atlanta Falcons (down 1)
  23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (down 1)
  24. Tennessee Titans (down 1)
  25. Houston Texans (no change)
  26. Las Vegas Raiders (no change)
  27. Denver Broncos (no change)
  28. New England Patriots (up 2)
  29. New York Giants (no change)
  30. Chicago Bears (up 1)
  31. Arizona Cardinals (down 3)
  32. Carolina Panthers (no change)

NFL WEEK 7 TAKEAWAYS

The Bears earned their second win of the season, and they did it with backup Tyson Bagent at quarterback. The undrafted Division 2 product earned a 74.5 PFF grade across 32 dropbacks and didn't record a single turnover-worthy play in his first career start. The Bears finished fourth in successful play rate on offense this week (43.5%).

Despite allowing the fourth-most expected points added (EPA) per play (0.16) and earning the lowest team defense grade of the week (47.3), the Patriots shocked the Bills 29-25. Their defensive lapses were nullified by their offense, which posted the highest drive success rate of Week 7 (67%).

The Browns pulled off a close win over the Colts. The Cleveland defense struggled in coverage, earning their lowest grade of the season (45.2), and they allowed 11 first downs and a 72.7% completion rate. Still, Myles Garrett had a massive game, as he earned a season-best 94.2 grade. He notched two sacks, a 21.7% pass-rush win rate and six run stops.

The Vikings pulled off a big upset on Monday night against the 49ers. Even without Justin Jefferson, the Minnesota Vikings offense finished sixth in team offense grade and third in EPA per play (0.17). Quarterback Kirk Cousins put on arguably the best prime-time performance of his career, completing 35 of his 45 attempts for 378 yards (8.4 yards per attempt), two touchdowns and one interception.

Biggest Riser: Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens secured one of the most impressive wins of the season.

The Lions entered the game having scored at least 20 points in 15 straight games, yet the Ravens basically held them scoreless outside of a garbage-time touchdown. Lamar Jackson is at the top of his game right now — he has produced a 92.9 passing grade and a 9.0% big-time throw rate over the last four weeks, which both rank first among quarterbacks over that span.

The Ravens defense has been playing at an elite level this year, as well, ranking second overall in EPA allowed per play. This is despite missing key starters, such as Marcus Williams, Marlon Humphrey, Odafe Oweh, and David Ojabo, at various points in the season.

Biggest Faller: Los Angeles Chargers

Few would have expected the Chargers to beat the Chiefs on the road, but it still was a rough loss for a team with playoff aspirations. The defense allowed Patrick Mahomes to throw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns in the first half, and the L.A. offense got completely shut out in the second.

Most concerning of all is that quarterback Justin Herbert hasn't looked like himself since suffering a finger injury in Week 4. Over the last four weeks, Herbert has earned a 66.0 passing grade, 18th among 38 qualifying quarterbacks, and he has four big-time throws to six turnover-worthy plays.

Wide receiver Josh Palmer has done well to step up in Mike Williams’ absence, but the Chargers need more out of first-round pick Quentin Johnston if they are to contend this year.

WAR Lost to Injuries

Note: At the time of publication, this graphic does not include David Montgomery

The Dolphins continue to struggle with injuries, as they lost offensive guard Isaiah Wynn and linebacker David Long in Week 7. Wynn’s backup, Lester Cotton, was called for a holding penalty on a drive that should have ended in a touchdown, and he allowed a hit and three hurries across 33 pass-blocking snaps. 

Kansas City's Nick Bolton left his Week 7 game with a wrist injury. He’s the highest-graded (72.7) Chiefs linebacker this season, and he ranks ninth at the position in run-defense grade on the year (80.8).

Seahawks star D.K. Metcalf missed his first game as a pro last weekend. However, his teammates stepped up, accounting for two touchdowns and 219 receiving yards. 

Late-Down-Decision-Making

The Saints lost the most win probability due to kicking on fourth down. They punted four times, missed a field goal and turned the ball over on downs in Week 7.

Although they won, the Vikings kicked two field goals and punted once on key fourth downs. 

The Lions have been aggressive on fourth downs this season, but they punted four times in the first half and were unable to score. They also turned the ball over on downs three times. 

Game Finishers

The Dolphins ranked 31st among offenses in EPA per play in the second half of Week 7 (-0.4), while the Eagles ranked eighth in that same metric. The Dolphins' only second-half score was due to an interception.

The Bills tried to rebound in the second half, but it was too little too late. They earned a 73.8 team offense grade and generated 0.34 EPA per play in the second half, fourth and third, respectively, among teams. It didn’t help that the Patriots scored on all five of their red-zone drives.

The 49ers outperformed the Vikings in the second half on Monday night, posting a 46.2% successful play rate to the Vikings' 30.6%. However, the Vikings were able to extend their drives and take playing time away from the 49ers.

The Trenches

Falcons guard Chris Lindstrom earned the highest PFF grade of any offensive lineman last week (92.1). As a unit, the Falcons ranked 11th in PFF grade.

The Patriots offensive line held up well against the struggling Bills defense. Tackle Trent Brown earned the highest run-blocking grade of the week (92.6). Guard Sidy Sow had the highest percentage of positively graded run-block snaps (39.1%), and Brown finished third in that metric (30.4%).

Myles Garrett went off last week. He’s the highest-graded defensive player in the league at 93.4 overall.

Defensive Success

The 49ers pass rush struggled to pressure Kirk Cousins on Monday night. The group ultimately earned their lowest pass-rushing grade of the season (64.9), and it was the first time they've been held without a sack all year.

Vikings safety Camryn Bynum had a massive game on Monday night, earning a 92.0 grade. His two interceptions sealed his team's victory.

The Patriots allowed the fourth-most EPA per play this week (0.16) but did not let the Bills come back. They allowed a conversion rate of 35.2%, but the Bills were behind them at 35%.

The Lions allowed the highest conversion rate (38.3%) and the most EPA per play (0.37). Their defense earned the second-lowest grade of the week (48.8), while the Ravens ranked third (72.0).

Perfectly Covering Plays

The Ravens defense is slowly making its way to the top of the chart. Mike Macdonald has solidified himself as a head coach candidate, and he’s been able to call plays for an elite defense despite various injuries to key players.

On the other hand, it’s a little shocking to see the Bengals defense at the bottom here, as they were the best defense in the league at perfectly covering plays last year. They did lose three starters in the secondary this offseason and replaced them with some young pieces, but Lou Anarumo’s defense is usually much better than this.

Sustaining Drives on Offense

There aren’t any major changes in this chart from last week, but it is interesting to see the placements of certain teams.

For example, the Jaguars have the seventh-highest rate of three-and-outs in the league, yet they are 5-2 and at the top of their division. On the other side, the Raiders have the fifth-lowest rate of three-and-outs and just lost a game to the Tyson Bagent-led Chicago Bears.

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