Week 8 NFL Power Rankings: Patriots, Seahawks are in command

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While the Patriots hold steady at No. 1, the Seahawks and Broncos inch their way closer to the top in this week's ESPN NFL Power Rankings. ESPN's power panel (a group of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities) saw Seattle's tie game against Arizona as a plus, moving the team up a spot to No. 2.

Methodology note: These rankings reflect who voters think would win in head-to-head matchups. Higher-ranked teams would more often be favored against lower-ranked teams. Coming off a win doesn't guarantee a jump, and coming off a loss doesn't guarantee a fall.

Check out the rest of the league and where each team ranks.

Previous rankings: Week 7 | Week 6 | Week 5 | Week 4 | Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1 | Preseason

ESPN Stats & Information contributed the following research.

1. New England Patriots

2016 record: 6-1
Week 7 ranking: 1

Tom Brady is completing 75.2 percent of his passes this season and has yet to throw an interception. When targeting his tight ends, he's completing 82 percent of his passes. New England travels to Buffalo for a Week 8 divisional grudge match. The Bills shut out the Patriots earlier this season, but Brady wasn't under center for that game and Rob Gronkowski wasn't 100 percent.

2. Seattle Seahawks

2016 record: 4-1-1
Week 7 ranking: 3

The Seahawks have lost only one game so far this season, but things are off in Seattle. For starters, the team is averaging only 3.1 yards per rush this season, second worst in the NFL. A trip to New Orleans could help the Seahawks get the running game back on track.

3. Denver Broncos

2016 record: 5-2
Week 7 ranking: 5

The Broncos moved into a tie with Oakland for the AFC West lead as well as improved to 5-2 after a victory over the Texans on Monday night. Denver is 5-1 with QB Trevor Siemian, who hasn't thrown an interception since Week 2. Siemian's one loss? The Chargers, whom Denver hosts in Week 8.

4. Dallas Cowboys

2016 record: 5-1
Week 7 ranking: 4

We'll find out soon if the Cowboys stick with Dak Prescott or go back to Tony Romo as the team's starting QB. The decision comes at a critical time for the Cowboys, as they could take a big lead in the NFC East with a win against the Eagles in Week 8. If Romo starts, keep in mind he has won five of his past six games against Philadelphia.

5. Minnesota Vikings

2016 record: 5-1
Week 7 ranking: 2

What a difference a week makes. The Vikings' unbeaten season ended at Philadelphia, and QB Sam Bradford's three turnovers sort of reminded us of, well, the old Sam Bradford. Can the Vikings get back on track Monday night against the 1-6 Bears?

6. Green Bay Packers

2016 record: 4-2
Week 7 ranking: 10

Green Bay picked up the win in Week 7, but how long can it survive with wide receivers playing running back? The Packers got seven yards from halfbacks, which worked against the Bears, but the host Falcons will provide a much tougher test this week.

7. Arizona Cardinals

2016 record: 3-3-1
Week 7 ranking: 13

The good news is the Cardinals haven't lost games and haven't committed a turnover in each of their past three games. But it could be tough to feel good after that Week 7 tie with Seattle. Arizona looks to get revenge on the Panthers in Carolina this week.

8. Pittsburgh Steelers

2016 record: 4-3
Week 7 ranking: 7

QB Landry Jones looked pretty good Sunday until the fourth quarter, when he went 9-of-20 passing. The Steelers' bye this week will give Ben Roethlisberger time to heal without missing a game, but Jones could be in line for a few more starts before Big Ben returns.

9. Kansas City Chiefs

2016 record: 4-2
Week 7 ranking: 11

The Chiefs continue to find ways to win, but does anyone fear them? They have a 4-2 record and the fourth-best turnover differential but only a plus-13 point differential. The Chiefs head to Indianapolis this week riding a two-game winning streak.

10. Atlanta Falcons

2016 record: 4-3
Week 7 ranking: 6

The Falcons still sit atop the NFC South despite losing two in a row but they need to stop the bleeding. A home game against the Packers, who have won three straight against Atlanta, and two tough road games (Bucs, Eagles) await the Falcons before their Week 11 bye.

11. Oakland Raiders

2016 record: 5-2
Week 7 ranking: 14

The Raiders are still chilling at the top of the AFC West standings, but are they for real? Of the five-win teams this season, the Raiders by far have the worst point differential (plus-6). A trip to Tampa in Week 8 could help bolster that margin though.

12. Philadelphia Eagles

2016 record: 4-2
Week 7 ranking: 15

The Eagles have one offensive touchdown in their past two games. Their defense has one touchdown in that span, and their special teams unit has two. It's never a bad thing to get points from defense and special teams, but QB Carson Wentz needs to start moving the ball again, especially at Dallas in Week 8.

13. Cincinnati Bengals

2016 record: 3-4
Week 7 ranking: 16

If you can't stop A.J. Green, it's going to be tough to beat the Bengals. Case in point: Green is averaging 10 receptions and 174 yards in wins this season, compared with five receptions and 63 yards in losses. Washington will take its turn trying to stop Green this week.

14. San Diego Chargers

2016 record: 3-4
Week 7 ranking: 19

The Chargers' defense still has some problems, but pass rush is not one of them. Rookie defensive end Joey Bosa has recorded 4.0 total sacks in two of his three games and San Diego ranks in the top 10 in sacks and pressure percentage. They'll be chasing after the Broncos in Week 8.

15. Detroit Lions

2016 record: 4-3
Week 7 ranking: 21

Matthew Stafford has thrown 11 touchdowns with no picks in the Lions' four wins this season, leading a fourth-quarter comeback in each game. Eventually the Lions may win by more than a score, but they'll have their work cut out for them in upcoming games at Houston and at Minnesota.

16. Buffalo Bills

2016 record: 4-3
Week 7 ranking: 8

The Bills couldn't get their ground game going against the Dolphins and they lost, a common theme for them this season. The Bills are averaging 73 rushing yards in losses and 212 rushing yards in wins. They ripped off 134 the first time they played the Patriots in Week 4. Can they do it again this week?

17. Houston Texans

2016 record: 4-3
Week 7 ranking: 17

The Texans have been held without an offensive touchdown twice this season. They have nine offensive touchdowns on the year, fewest in the NFL. If they can't find the end zone against the Lions in Week 8 -- who rank in the bottom five in defensive efficiency -- Houston will have a problem.

18. New York Giants

2016 record: 4-3
Week 7 ranking: 12

The Giants head into their bye 4-3, having won two straight after losing three straight after winning two straight. It has been a streaky season for first-year head coach Ben McAdoo and the G-Men, who are one of three teams with a winning record and a negative point differential this season.

19. Washington Redskins

2016 record: 4-3
Week 7 ranking: 9

The Redskins have allowed a game-winning score in the final five minutes in two of their three losses this season. Those could come back to haunt them with the NFC East as tight as it is. The Redskins travel to London to face Cincinnati this week.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2016 record: 3-3
Week 7 ranking: 28

Raise your hand if you thought it would be Jacquizz Rodgers who would be saving the Buccaneers' season. Rodgers has posted his first two career 100-yard rushing games his past two games, rushing a total of 56 times. Rodgers & Co. will look to repeat against the Raiders in Week 8.

21. Baltimore Ravens

2016 record: 3-4
Week 7 ranking: 18

The Ravens have lost four straight games for the first time since 2007 (when they lost nine straight), so this Week 8 bye probably couldn't have come at a better time. QB Joe Flacco has a lot to figure out: He has just two touchdown passes in his past five games.

22. Carolina Panthers

2016 record: 1-5
Week 7 ranking: 23

The Panthers return to the field after a bye in hopes of ending a four-game losing streak. It won't be the NFC Championship Game rematch we all expected at the start of this season, but it could be a chance for Carolina to right the ship. The Panthers scored 49 against Arizona in the 2015 playoffs.

23. Tennessee Titans

2016 record: 3-4
Week 7 ranking: 22

The Titans could be a lot better if they didn't have to play at home (1-3 this season). Tennessee is 2-10 at home with a minus-15 turnover differential the past two seasons (4-7, minus-3 on the road). Another home game awaits for the Titans on Thursday against Jacksonville.

24. Indianapolis Colts

2016 record: 3-4
Week 7 ranking: 24

QB Andrew Luck is on pace for career highs in completion percentage, touchdown-interception ratio and Total QBR this season, yet the Colts are below .500. And believe it or not, after winning in Week 7 at Tennessee, Luck has a chance to win consecutive starts for the first time since 2014 when Indy hosts Kansas City in Week 8.

25. New Orleans Saints

2016 record: 2-4
Week 7 ranking: 20

It's rare for the Saints' defense to hold opponents to fewer than 30 points, but New Orleans has not taken advantage of those rare instances. They are 0-2 in such games this season. The defense could hold again against Seattle this week, but points will be tough to come by.

26. Miami Dolphins

2016 record: 3-4
Week 7 ranking: 27

O.J. Simpson. Earl Campbell. Ricky Williams. Jay Ajayi. Those are the only players in NFL history to rush for 200 yards in back-to-back games. The Dolphins are on bye this week, though, so we'll have to wait until Week 9 to see if Ajayi can make it three straight.

27. Los Angeles Rams

2016 record: 3-4
Week 7 ranking: 26

The "case for Case" is starting to run thin as the Rams have lost three straight, with Keenum throwing an interception on the Rams' final drive each time. With a bye this week, will the Rams have made any changes when we see them against Carolina in Week 9?

28. New York Jets

2016 record: 2-5
Week 7 ranking: 25

Since QB Geno Smith is done for the season, the Jets will have no choice but to believe in the Fitz-magic again. It shouldn't take much magic, no matter who starts, to beat the 0-7 Browns this week.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars

2016 record: 2-4
Week 7 ranking: 29

The Jaguars get their opportunity to shine in prime time Thursday against the Titans. If their first six games are any indication, they won't be making a good first impression at the start of the game: The Jaguars have an NFL-worst minus-44 point differential in the first half.

30. Chicago Bears

2016 record: 1-6
Week 7 ranking: 30

QB Jay Cutler is back. He was hurt on Monday night in Week 2 and he'll make his return on Monday night in Week 8. He'll have to face the Vikings, against whom he has lost three straight. They boast a defense with the most takeaways and fewest points and yards allowed this season. Good luck with that.

31. San Francisco 49ers

2016 record: 1-6
Week 7 ranking: 31

Forget the 49ers' quarterback situation for now. In seven games, the 49ers have allowed 1,296 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns. Only three running backs have hit those marks for an entire season since 2013, and the 49ers have yielded it in seven games. Guess what they'll be working on during their bye?

32. Cleveland Browns

2016 record: 0-7
Week 7 ranking: 32

Six Browns have thrown a pass this season. The researchers at Elias Sports Bureau say the last team in a non-strike year that had six players throw a pass in the first seven games: the 1976 Buccaneers, who went 0-14. The 0-7 Browns are halfway there and host the Jets this week.