Los Angeles Chargers and Minnesota Vikings jump into top 10 in NFL power rankings entering Week 8

Jay Asser 24/10/2018
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The San Diego Chargers beat the Tennessee Titans at Wembley last Sunday.

Now seven weeks into the season, the good teams are starting to separate themselves from the middle of the pack.

The Los Angeles Rams continue to lead the way with their flawless run, but behind them teams like the Los Angeles Chargers and Minnesota Vikings are creeping back up to the top.

Even Washington are beginning to make their case as one of the contenders in the NFC after another win.

See where all the teams rank in our latest power rankings heading into Week 8.

1. Los Angeles Rams

Record: 7-0 | Previously: 1

Aaron Donald joined the party this week by destroying the 49ers as the Rams kept chugging along to remain unbeaten.

2. New Orleans Saints

Record: 5-1 | Previously: 4

Winning outdoors against the top-ranked defence was no small feat and proved just how tough the Saints can be.

3. New England Patriots

Record: 5-2 | Previously: 5

Injuries to Rob Gronkowski and Sony Michel are concerning, but the Patriots offence has really found its rhythm.

4. Kansas City Chiefs

Record: 6-1 | Previously: 2

Their defence bounced back after giving up 43 points to New England by smothering the Bengals to show improvement.

5. Los Angeles Chargers

Record: 5-2 | Previously: 15

They didn’t play well in London, but did enough to get a win on a day they were without top playmaker Melvin Gordon.

6. Minnesota Vikings

Record: 4-2-1 | Previously: 13

Winners of three straight, the Vikings’ defence is looking like itself again while Adam Thielen continues to carve it up on the other side of the ball.

7. Carolina Panthers

Record: 4-2 | Previously: 6

They’re going a bit under the radar and even though Philadelphia are struggling, a 17-point comeback on the road is impressive.

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8. Baltimore Ravens

Record: 4-3 | Previously: 11

It’s hard to be too critical of the Ravens after a rare extra point miss from Justin Tucker cost them a shot at the Saints in overtime.

9. Pittsburgh Steelers

Record: 3-2-1 | Previously: 14

They enjoyed a bye this week in more ways than one as every other team in the division suffered a defeat.

10. Washington

Record: 4-2 | Previously: 16

They’ve been winning ugly, but they’re wins nonetheless and in the lacklustre NFC East, that’s all they need.

11. Green Bay Packers

Record: 3-2-1 | Previously: 10

After getting a bye to rest up, their credentials will be put to the test against the Rams and Patriots in consecutive weeks.

12. Cincinnati Bengals

Record: 4-3 | Previously: 8

Everyone gives up points to the Chiefs, but Cincinnati’s defence looked particularly horrid in a dispiriting blowout.

13. Philadelphia Eagles

Record: 3-4 | Previously: 12

The defending champions’ rope is getting shorter and shorter as they continue to dig themselves a deeper hole.

14. Chicago Bears

Record: 3-3 | Previously: 9

It’s a problem that the Bears defence can’t hold up unless a healthy Khalil Mack is wreaking havoc against opposing quarterbacks.

15. Seattle Seahawks

Record: 3-3 | Previously: 21

They almost surely won’t catch the Rams in the division race, but this is still a team that can grab a wild card spot.

16. Houston Texans

Record: 4-3 | Previously: 24

Houston are starting to click after reeling off four straight wins, with their latest against Jacksonville their best one yet.

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17. Miami Dolphins

Record: 4-3 | Previously: 17

Brock Osweiler has actually been decent in relief of Ryan Tannehill, but the Dolphins defence is doing him no favours.

18. Atlanta Falcons

Record: 3-4 | Previously: 19

Their defence took a step forward this week and if they can maintain that level of play, Atlanta’s offence can get them to the playoffs.

19. Jacksonville Jaguars

Record: 3-4 | Previously: 3

After a promising start to the season, they’ve hit a rough patch as they’ve dropped three in a row? Can they regain their footing?

20. Detroit Lions

Record: 3-3 | Previously: 25

Don’t look now but the running game is picking up speed with Kerryon Johnson as they’ve won three of their past four.

21. Dallas Cowboys

Record: 3-4 | Previously: 22

The trade for Amari Cooper better give them a jolt because they paid a premium and have few other avenues to improve offensively.

22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Record: 3-3 | Previously: 20

They had to eek out a win over Cleveland in part because Jameis Winston is a turnover machine.

23. Tennessee Titans

Record: 3-4 | Previously: 7

Mike Vrabel should be applauded, not criticised, for having the gall to go for the win on the two-point conversion.

24. Denver Broncos

Record: 3-4 | Previously: 18

Their smack-down was laid on what may be the worst team in the league, so they still have more to prove.

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25. Cleveland Browns

Record: 2-4-1 | Previously: 23

They just can’t finish off contests as they keep falling in close game after close game.

26. New York Jets

Record: 3-4 | Previously: 30

They’re wildly inconsistent on a week to week basis, so it’s hard to know what team you’re getting.

27. Indianapolis Colts

Record: 2-5 | Previously: 27

The success of the running game this week was incredibly encouraging for a team that has often struggled to threaten on the ground.

28. New York Giants

Record: 1-6 | Previously: 26

They’re too talented, at least on the offensive side of the ball, to have one win through seven weeks.

29. Buffalo Bills

Record: 2-5 | Previously: 31

Somehow, Derek Anderson wasn’t really an upgrade over Nathan Peterman, which is not a good sign.

30. San Francisco 49ers

Record: 1-6 | Previously: 30

They ran into a buzz saw with a back-up quarterback, so the results were hardly surprising.

31. Oakland Raiders

Record: 1-5 | Previously: 28

Amari Cooper wasn’t exactly thriving, but the Raiders are still worse today after trading their number one wideout.

32. Arizona Cardinals

Record: 1-6 | Previously: 32

Maybe a change at offensive coordinator can give them a bit of life because whatever they were doing before wasn’t working.

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Odell Beckham Jr and Julio Jones look to end scoring droughts when star wideouts meet

Jay Asser 22/10/2018
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Two of the best offensive talents in the league will be in action on Monday night when Odell Beckham Jr and Julio Jones share the same field.

But while the wide receivers are game-changers, their impact has come, for the most part, away from the end zone.

Beckham has only scored one touchdown, which came in Week 5 against the Carolina Panthers, while Jones has yet to find pay dirt.

It’s not as if the star wideouts have been marginalised in their respective offences – Beckham and Jones are both in the top 10 in the league in targets (69, 69), receptions (45, 44) and receiving yards (506, 708).

Yet end-zone visits have been almost non-existent as opposing defences have focused on limiting them inside the 20-yard line.

The drought is uncharacteristic for Beckham, who had 38 scores in 47 games coming into the season.

Jones, however, has strangely never had many touchdowns in his career, reaching double-digit scores in just one of his seven seasons before this year.

Facing a crippled Atlanta Falcons defence on Monday, Beckham has a golden opportunity to have an explosive performance, with Atlanta allowing the fourth-most passing yards per game at 295.8, while being tied for the most passing scores surrendered with 16.

Beckham and running back Saquon Barkley can do much of their damage underneath, where the Falcons have been particularly vulnerable, allowing 1,675 yards on throws under 20 yards, which is second-most among all teams this season, according to Pro Football Focus.

Injuries and rough play on the defensive side of the ball have throw Atlanta’s season into disarray and put them firmly on the outside of the playoff picture.

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Watch: Antonio Gates praises London's growing understanding of NFL

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Antonio Gates and the Los Angeles Chargers will be in London to take on the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, marking the second game in the UK this season.

Ten years after the Chargers made their first trip to London, Gates believes the game is growing across the pond.

“This country has opened their arms to welcome us and being able to play the game of football,” Gates said. “And more people understand it now too.”

See Gates’ full comments in the video below.

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