Five Up Five Down
Five Up Five Down: The 5 Best and 5 Worst NFL Teams Week Eight is where we rank the five best and five worst teams in the NFL. Anybody can list the best teams. It takes real skill to sort through the mess that is the bottom of the league. Week Eight is hours away from kicking off in Houston. What did we learn from Week 7? Kicking woes impact even the best in the game in 2018, The Chiefs can play defense, Drew Brees is so underappreciated, Adam Thielen is historically good, Jags QB position is a mess, and rookie quarterbacks will be rookie quarterbacks.
5 UP: The 5 Best NFL Teams Week Eight
1. LOS ANGELES RAMS (7-0) Last Week: 1st
The Rams finished up a three-game road trip undefeated with a comfortable victory over the 49ers. Los Angeles is pacing the NFL with the most yards per game. Only the Chiefs and Saints average more points per 60 minutes. Todd Gurley is the centerpiece of the offense (686 yards 11 TD’s 4.8 Avg.) as he ran for two more touchdowns versus the 49ers. Jared Goff rebounded from two subpar weeks with a very efficient 75 % completion afternoon with 2 TD’s against San Francisco and no turnovers. Jared now has put up (2,130 Yards 14 TD’s 5 INT 112.7 Ratings) and gets a chance to battle Aaron Rodgers and a Packers secondary that is a pure mess.
The defense had a statement game creating four turnovers and shutting down a 49ers team that looked very well last week in Green Bay. Rams cashed in with 24 points on four turnovers which made Wade Phillips very happy. The Rams will welcome the Packers at home and are 9.5 point favorites against the (3-2-1) Packers. How close is the all-time series between the two teams? In 94 previous meetings, they are dead even 46-46-2 with the last meeting coming in 2015. The Packers have won five in a row in this match-up. Let’s hope the Rams are finished with those hideous uniforms, which were the worst in the league last Sunday.
2. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (6-1) Last Week: 2nd
After a heartbreaking loss to New England, the Chiefs came home and put on a beatdown of epic proportions on the Cincinnati Bengals. Patrick Mahomes II is putting on a show that we have never seen before. He has started eight games in the NFL, has a QB rating of 109.4 and has thrown 22 TDs compared to 6 ints. On Sunday night, he lit up a Bengals defense that looked lost trying to defend him throwing for 358 yards and 4 TD’s while running for another 45 yards. He is making the QB position look easy, and this reminds me of Dan Marino’s rookie year as far as putting up video game numbers. Another positive for the number one scoring offense in the league is Kareem Hunt (15 carries 86 Yards 5.7 AVG and a hurdle that will be a highlight forever) had another fantastic week totaling 141 yards from scrimmage and 3 touchdowns.
The Chiefs defense was embarrassed versus the Patriots, and they took it out on the Cincinnati Bengals. They held the Bengals to 10 points and stuffed Joe Mixon all night long. Kansas City also dared Andy Dalton to beat them, and the Bengals quarterback threw for a meager 148 yards with an interception. The only thing that drives Chiefs Defensive Coordinator, Bob Sutton, crazy is the stupid penalties. The Chiefs defense is the most penalized team in football, and within 5 minutes they were called for 12 men on the field twice. Chiefs this week, are 10 point favorites against the Denver Broncos (3-4) at home against a team they just beat in week four (27-23). Broncos lead the all-time series 62-55, but the Chiefs have won the last six against there AFC West rivals.
3. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (5-1) Last Week: 4th
Thanks to a missed kick and the fact Drew Brees is a defies father time, the Saints got a huge win over the Baltimore Ravens on the road. Drew Brees is now one of only 4 quarterbacks to throw 500 touchdown passes in the NFL. The Saints high powered offense is led by Drew Brees, but Alvin Kamera (363 Yards rushing and 362 yards receiving with seven total TD’s) and Michael Thomas (588 4 TD’S) are two lethal weapons that defenses are having a hard time stopping. Sean Payton has done a masterful job of spreading the wealth around in his play calling and confusing defenses with unique looks.
New Orleans defense played better in Baltimore this past week but still rank 28th overall in the NFL. They will need to shore things up playing a Minnesota Vikings offense that has found a running game recently and are on a three-game winning streak. Minnesota is a 1-point favorite over the Saints and has a 22-11 series lead over the Saints. Last season the Vikings beat the Saints twice, including this one which is known as the Minnesota Miracle.
4. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (5-2) Last Week: 5th
The Patriots are back but are still giving up way too many points. Thanks to a goal-line tackle on a hail mary attempt, they escaped Chicago with a 38-31 win. Tom Brady was solid again (277 yards 3 TD’s) and is gaining trust with new addition Josh Gordon (4 catches for 100 yards). A concern in the Windy City was the knee injury that rookie RB Sony Michel suffered. The good news is it’s not season-ending. What’s impressive is RB James White comes into a game and defenses still for whatever reason don’t guard him or can’t guard him. The Patriots offensive line has done an excellent job recently protecting Brady and creating running room for the backs.
A Bill Belichick defense that is ranked 28th in the NFL would have everyone panicking if they didn’t understand the history of the Patriots. If this team is not in the Top 10 come December then maybe those in the Foxboro offices should be concerned. No coach is better at improving a defense when deep into the winter months. The best way to cure a defense is a trip to Buffalo to battle the (2-5) Buffalo Bills. Tom Brady has already called out the Bills Mafia, and New England is 14 point favorites against Buffalo. The Patriots have dominated the series vs. AFC East rivals (72-43-1) and have won 5 out of the last six contests
5. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (5-2) Last Week: Unranked
The Chargers enjoyed tea and crumpets in England and hanging onto a dramatic 20-19 victory over the Tennessee Titans who decided to go for the game-winning two-point conversion. Philip Rivers was solid again, and he is having a tremendous start to a season (17 TD’s 2,008 Yards 17 TD’s and 3 INT’s 117.8 Ratings). The QB needed to be good because Melvin Gordon was out nursing his hamstring. The Chargers have quietly one of the best wide receiving cores in the NFL and when this offense is entirely healthy, watch out! This offense is the real deal and a Rams vs. Chargers Super Bowl a very realistic possibility.
The defense is about to get a lot better. It’s not like they have been bad and unlike teams above them, the Chargers have a solid defense. Joey Bosa, arguably the team’s best player will be back after the Bye Week. Bosa will add more to a pass rush that has missed him since his injury. San Diego has still managed to sack the quarterback 18 times, but with Bosa back they will be more lethal. A rookie in the NFL not getting enough love? Chargers S Derwin James is an absolute stud! Chargers will enjoy a bye week and when they get back for week #9 will travel to Seattle to battle the Seahawks.
Closing in the top 5 this week: Minnesota Vikings (4-2-1), Washington Redskins (4-2), Carolina Panthers (4-2)
5 DOWN: The 5 Worst NFL Teams Week Eight
28. BUFFALO BILLS (2-5) Last Week: Unranked
This team is a disaster! Buffalo is lucky that the Cardinals and Raiders have been more inept, but each of those teams will be better by the end of the year. The Buffalo Bills are starting Derek Anderson. WTF is going on? Anderson hasn’t started a game since 2016, and it looked that way vs. the Colts throwing three interceptions. This team went from the playoffs to rebuild in eight months. I would like to give the benefit of the doubt to Coach McDermott, but he needs to go and NOW! First, it’s one thing to know that Nathan Peterman stinks but then to put him back in and then tell the fans that Derek Anderson will be the guy? Inexcusable! I realize Josh Allen got hurt, but he should never have been put behind one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL.
Someone is making abysmal decisions and why did they ever trade Tyrod Taylor? It seems like whenever Buffalo is about to take a step in the right direction they shoot themselves in the foot. The defense has battled its ass off, but this team needs to take a chapter out of the Raiders page, trade anyone of value for picks. The Bills are looking at a double-digit loss to the Patriots coming up this weekend in upstate New York. Tom Brady is 28-4 against the Bills. When’s the Draft?
29. OAKLAND RAIDERS (1-5) Last Week: 32nd
Good News! They didn’t lose this past week, but the bad news is they didn’t play. Well, Jon Gruden said his team is not tanking. That’s great. Gruden grinders getting up at 4 am to put together a dated offensive system. I like Coach a lot. He is a stand-up guy, but this team is brutal and close to being one of the worst in the NFL. If this team is not tanking, they are putting up star players for sale. Carr, Conley, and Cooper who was moved to Dallas for a first round pick are all available. For Oakland, it was a good move getting a first round pick for Amari Cooper, but Derek Carr looks like a lost soul. Is he fixable? Well, that is what Jon Gruden is supposed to do.
As far as the defense, they are minus 66 point differential – 3rd worst in the league. It’s ugly, and the lack of depth is the fault of the entire organization. Hey, Khalil Mack says hi from Chicago. The good news for the Raiders is that they have the (2-5) Indianapolis Colts in town. It will be a chance for the Silver and Black to get a win. Oakland leads the all-time series (9-7) but are 3 point underdogs at home.
30. NEW YORK GIANTS (1-6) Last Week: 29th
The Giants offense should not be this bad. Any team that allows the Atlanta Falcons to look like a good defensive squad has to be horrible. Pat Shurmur who was really good designing a terrific gameplan in Minnesota as an offensive coordinator seems to be making all the wrong calls in New York. He got upset with Eli in Atlanta for not getting OBJ the ball. It would help if Coach had an offensive line that would play better. Rookie Will Hernandez is struggling and Eli Manning might be slow, but he has barely any time to make medium to deep throws. With these names: Barkley, Beckham, Engram, Shepard and Soldier things should be better than this. How bad has the offense been? They have trailed for over 280 minutes this season – the worst in the NFL.
The defense is trying to battle but because the offense cannot sustain drives, they are on the field way too much. They contained Atlanta for 3 quarters then got tired when the Giants could not get anything going offensively. Way too many 3rd down conversions are being given up the New York who should consider making moves for draft picks. The Giants will be at home this Sunday as the first place Washington Redskins (4-2) come to MetLife Stadium in an NFC East rivalry game. Giants have lost 19 of there last 24 games. Giants lead the all-time series (100-68-4)
31. SAN FRANCISCO 49ers (1-6) Last Week: 30th
After a tough loss to the Green Bay Packers, the 49ers came home to challenge the undefeated Los Angles Rams and got blown out. C.J. Beathard had Aaron Donalds named tattoed to his chest as the All-Pro DT sacked him four times. Four turnovers (2 INT and 2 Fumbles) had Head Coach Kyle Shanahan upset after the game. The only player who performed well on Sunday was Tight End Greg Kittle (5 catches 98 yards TD).
The defense actually showed well versus the high powered Rams offense. What killed them were the 4 turnovers that the offense gave the Rams. They held Goff to 202 yards and Gurley to 63 yards on the ground. The 49ers have been undermanned with a lot of injuries but this should now be a tank job. The 49ers travel to Arizona to battle the equally inept (1-6) Cardinals in an NFC West battle. 49ers lead the all-time series (29-25).
32. ARIZONA CARDINALS (1-6) Last Week: 31st
What momentum the Cardinals gathered from a decent showing in Minnesota they lost entirely in one of the ugliest performances ever seen on an NFL field. Arizona got battered, bruised, and manhandled in Denver 45-10 and it wasn’t that close. Josh Rosen threw two pick-sixes which capped a miserable evening from a rookie quarterback who was under pressure all night (21-39 194 Yards 1 TD and 3 INT’S). David Johnson’s poor season continued with just 39 yards vs. Denver. He has (335 Yards 5 TDS at a 3.2 AVG) not been given much help with an offensive line that gets beaten and pushed back on a regular basis. It didn’t take long after the game for the team to hand offensive coordinator Mike McCoy his walking papers. The question is how much time will rookie head coach Steve Wilks get?
As if things can’t get worse in the desert, Cardinals All-Pro CB Patrick Peterson has asked to be traded. The team has said they have no interest in moving Patrick, but if offers do come in, it will start with a first and 4th round pick in any discussions. The Cardinals will be home to face the (1-6) 49ers. They beat San Francisco 3 weeks ago (28-18) so a chance to get a win and move out of the 32nd spot in our rankings.
Teams that are knocking on futilities door:
Indianapolis Colts (2-5), Cleveland Browns (2-4), N.Y. Jets (3-4)
Come back next Thursday for Five Up Five Down: The five best NFL Teams and the five worst NFL Teams for Week 9.