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NFL Power Rankings, Week 8: Ugly Wins Beat Pretty Losses

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To move up in SB Nation Minnesota's power rankings, only one thing matters: winning. Even if some of the teams do so in the ugliest way imaginable.

Adam Bettcher

"At the end of the day, all that matters is winning."

Many NFL teams are thanking the heavens that the statement above is true. If style points mattered, lots of the teams that won this past weekend would actually be moving down in our weekly power rankings. But a win is a win is a win no matter how anemic your offense might look at times (we're looking at you, Minnesota, San Francisco, and Chicago). And a loss is a loss is a loss no matter how late you have a lead only to squander it (we're looking at you, Buffalo, New York, and Jacksonville).

As always, we list our power rankings with each team's record followed by how their ranking changed compared to last week.

  1. Falcons (6-0, NC): Atlanta has already had their fair share of ugly wins, but they're still the only undefeated team in the league. No style points needed to keep them at the top.
  2. Texans (6-1, +2): Their humiliation of Baltimore certainly made the Texans' loss to Green Bay look like an anomaly instead of a trend. I had some amazing insight to throw in here but J.J. Watt just batted it down.
  3. Giants (5-2, -1): The Giants practically invented the ugly win over the past handful of years, and they did it again with a very late comeback over Washington.
  4. Bears (5-1, +1): They guessed it...ugly against Detroit on Monday night. Who's scoring on that defense right now? No, that wasn't rhetorical. I'm honestly wondering who can score on Chicago.
  5. 49ers (5-2, +1): Yet another team in our top 5 that didn't exactly turn in a gem of a performance, yet managed to win. The only way to beat San Francisco is to get an early lead and their defense makes that very difficult to do.
  6. Ravens (5-2, -3): Their bye week couldn't come at a better time. They get to lick their wounds and figure out how they're going to play better defense with all those injuries.
  7. Packers (4-3, NC): The Charles Woodson injury hurts, but they'll be fine as long as Aaron Rodgers keeps throwing like he's playing Madden 13 on Rookie level.
  8. Patriots (4-3, NC): Losing double-digit fourth quarter leads is incredibly ugly. But this time the Pats finally won a close one.
  9. Vikings (5-2, +1): Out of all the ugly wins in Week 7, Minnesota's victory over Arizona had to be the ugliest. The Vikes can't expect to make the playoffs if Christian Ponder (8 completions, 58 yards) plays anything like he did on Sunday.
  10. Broncos (3-3, +1): Hopefully they spent their bye week figuring out how to stop spotting their opponents huge leads. Their schedule should be much easier going forward.
  11. Seahawks (4-3, -2): They need to find a way to move the ball and help out their defense on the road before we can take them too seriously.
  12. Steelers (3-3, +4): Pittsburgh never makes you feel comfortable when you watch them play. Yet Ben Roethlisberger still makes just enough happen. (Most of the time.)
  13. Eagles (3-3, +1): I'm sure you've heard by now that Andy Reid is 13-0 after bye weeks. That record is really going to be tested when Atlanta comes to town.
  14. Chargers (3-3, +1): San Diego gets Cleveland coming off their bye week. If they lose that one, they can probably kiss the top 20 goodbye.
  15. Cardinals (4-3, -3): I got to see Arizona's offense live at the Metrodome this past Sunday. They're even worse in person, especially along the offensive line.
  16. Redskins (3-4, -3): Robert Griffin III is obviously the real deal. It's just too bad their defense is obviously not.
  17. Dolphins (3-3, NC): Their last four games have been decided by four points or less. It'll probably be another close one in New York on Sunday.
  18. Cowboys (3-3, +4): There is simply too much talent at the skill positions for this offense to be struggling like it is. But Dallas chalked up another ugly Week 7 W in Carolina.
  19. Rams (3-4, -1): St. Louis is putting up a fight this year, but it doesn't get any easier: they get New England next week followed by San Francisco in two of the four games after their bye.
  20. Jets (3-4, NC): Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda. But they couldn't pull off the late upset in Foxboro.
  21. Saints (2-4, +4): It was a nice win at Tampa, but New Orleans can't expect to simply outscore everyone they play.
  22. Colts (3-3, +4): They struggled at times against lowly Cleveland, but remember what I said about ugly wins the first 52 times in this article? It still holds true.
  23. Lions (2-4, -4): Detroit better fix what's wrong in a hurry--they are already a game and half back of third place in the tough NFC North.
  24. Bengals (3-4, -3): A.J. Green getting only one catch for eight yards is indefensible no matter how much Pittsburgh was double covering him. Cincinnati has no identity right now.
  25. Buccaneers (2-4, -2): That's the Josh Freeman that the Bucs need to be competitive. Now let's see him do it against an actual defense on Thursday in Minnesota.
  26. Titans (3-4, +1): I have no idea how this team has 3 wins. Reports of the demises of Matt Hasselbeck and Chris Johnson may have been a bit exaggerated.
  27. Bills (3-4, -3): I really have no idea how this team has 3 wins, especially with their atrocious defense.
  28. Raiders (2-4, NC): Can't really justify moving Oakland up in the rankings after they barely snuck by a bad team's B squad in overtime at home.
  29. Panthers (1-5, NC): I don't know what's more pitiful: how Carolina has played so far or the fact that I ranked three teams below them.
  30. Browns (1-6, NC): Eleven straight road losses for Cleveland. Obviously they don't react well to all the positive energy in other stadiums.
  31. Jaguars (1-5, NC): If you thought the Blaine Gabbert and Maurice Jones-Drew show was bad, just wait til you see the Chad Henne and Rashad Jennings show.
  32. Chiefs (1-5, NC): Guess how long Kansas City has held the lead this season? Zero minutes and zero seconds. Their only lead was their overtime score in New Orleans. If that doesn't earn you the bottom spot, I don't know what does.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.