Power rankings revisited: Week 8

A weekly review of how teams performed in relation to last week’s Power Rankings (with new rankings scheduled for Tuesday):

The New England Patriots appear destined for the top spot when ESPN.com's NFL Power Rankings come out Tuesday.

They've won five in a row in getting to a league-best 6-1 record. The top-ranked Pittsburgh Steelers and second-ranked New York Jets combined for 10 points while losing in Week 7. The fourth-ranked Baltimore Ravens and fifth-ranked Atlanta Falcons did not play.

The sixth-ranked Indianapolis Colts can state their case against the Houston Texans in the Monday night game, but they would have to dominate for any realistic shot at the top spot.

The Patriots can't get too comfortable if they do emerge from Week 8 as the consensus No. 1 team. They play three of their next four on the road, with games against Pittsburgh and Indianapolis in the next three weeks.

Note: The chart shows how our four panelists -- me, John Clayton, Paul Kuharsky and James Walker -- voted last week. Red lettering identifies teams that lost in Week 8.

The reckoning: Six games featured lower-ranked teams beating higher-ranked teams in Week 8.

  • (30) Detroit 37, (13) Washington 25. We already knew Mike Shanahan was boss. No need to rub it in while needlessly messing with the quarterback position.

  • (24) San Diego 33, (7) Tennessee 25. The Titans' last two opponents have converted 22 of 36 times on third down. This was the third time in six games Tennessee has given up 450-plus yards.

  • (14) New Orleans 20, (1) Pittsburgh 10. Four of the Saints' last five opponents have failed to convert more than 33 percent of their third-down chances. The Steelers converted 3 of 10.

  • (10) Green Bay 9, (2) New York Jets 0. The Packers are 2-0 against Brett Favre's former teams over the past two games. They can make it 3-0 with a self-inflicted defeat against Dallas in Week 9.

  • (23) Oakland 33, (17) Seattle 3. Ninety-two points in two games after managing nine in defeat against San Francisco? What has gotten into this team?

  • (31) San Francisco 24, (27) Denver 16. Troy Smith looks like the easy choice to start for the 49ers following their bye.

Still to play: Houston visits Indianapolis on "Monday Night Football" (ESPN, 8:20 p.m. ET).

My early favorite for the No. 1 spot: It's gotta be New England.