2011 NFL Power Rankings: Week 8
The Packers, the unanimous No. 1 for the fifth straight week, aren't only team with staying power up top.
The first seven weeks have seen many movers and shakers (none more notable than the 49ers, who have risen from No. 26 to No. 4), but the Patriots and Saints have been anchors in an unpredictable sea. Both have been in the top 10 from the outset.
The same goes for Baltimore, even though it lost some luster with a listless Monday night performance against the lowly Jaguars. The Steelers, after a brief fall from grace (No. 13 in Week 5), have reeled off three straight wins and now look capable of hanging among the elite.
Barring significant injury, it's hard to see any of these heavyweights taking a precipitous fall.
The question is how our voters (ESPN.com's John Clayton, ESPN.com's Ashley Fox, AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky, NFC West blogger Mike Sando and AFC East blogger James Walker) will account for the remaining top spots. The 49ers look legit, but not every first-place team appears built to last. The Texans are inconsistent, the Chargers have yet to beat a team with a winning record, and the Giants' injury issues -- and schedule -- remain troubling.
Will Week 8 turn things upside down? Not likely, especially when it comes to breakthrough opportunities. The Eagles-Cowboys winner might make some gains, but a top-10 spot seems unlikely. The Chiefs (No. 21) have gained steady ground in the rankings thanks to three straight wins, but they'll need to do more to make major headway. Beating No. 9 San Diego on "Monday Night Football" would be a good way to really open some eyes.
Editor's note: "LW" indicates each team's ranking in the Week 7 edition of the 2011 Power Rankings.