It was basically business as usual for the NFL teams that resided in first place a week ago, with the exception of one very competitive division in the NFC.
There wasn’t a lot of change this past week when it came to the top of the NFL standings in each of the eight division leaders. The teams in first place took care of business for the most part. But there was one notable exception.
Here’s a look at all eight divisions entering the New England Patriots’ visit to Orchard Park to face the Buffalo Bills. Of course, Bill Belichick’s club is the front runner in the AFC East. Can they do what six of the other seven first-place teams did in Week 8?
AFC East: As previously mentioned, the Patriots travels to Buffalo looking to extend their lead in the division. New England has won four straight games and scored at least 38 points in each contest. The Bills have dropped two straight, as is the case with the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets. The former has lost four of its last five games following a 3-0 start.
AFC North: The defending AFC North champion Pittsburgh Steelers have suddenly strung together three straight wins after a 1-2-1 start. On Sunday at Heinz Field, the extended their record within the division to 2-1-1 by handling the Browns. Meanwhile, the Baltimore Ravens have dropped two straight games and allowed a total of 60 points in setbacks to the Saints and Panthers. The Cincinnati Bengals managed a 37-34 win over the Buccaneers on Sunday but also blew a 21-point in the process before pulling out a victory.
AFC South: The streak continues. Bill O’Brien’s Houston Texans have now won five consecutive games since opening the season 0-3. Meanwhile, the defending division champion Jaguars dropped their fourth straight contest and now own the same record (3-5) as the resurgent Indianapolis Colts, who have won two straight games and totaled an impressive 79 points in those victories. The 3-4 Tennessee Titans were off in Week 8.
AFC West: Andy Reid’s Kansas City Chiefs held on for a 30-23 win over the pesky Denver Broncos. At 7-1, the team still has the lead in a division they have won the past two seasons. The Raiders dropped to 1-6 and lost their third straight games, outlasted by Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts, 42-28. The red-hot Los Angeles Chargers have won four straight games but had the week off.
NFC East: The defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles are back at .500 thanks to a 24-18 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars at London’s Wembley Stadium. But Doug Pederson’s squad still trails Washington, who have won three games in a row and own a 5-2 record. The New York Giants have now dropped five straight games off losses to the Falcons (last Monday night) and Redskins in the span of seven days. And during their off week, the 3-4 Dallas Cowboys were busy acquiring wide receiver Amari Cooper from the Oakland Raiders.
NFC North: After two straight losses, the Chicago Bears were the only team in the NFC North to win in Week 8. Matt Nagy’s club bounced back with a 24-10 victory over the visiting New York Jets. Both the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions took it on the chin at home to the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks, respectively. Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers remained winless on the road (0-3) thanks to a 29-27 setback to the Rams in Los Angeles.
NFC South: Make in six consecutive wins for Sean Payton’s New Orleans Saints (6-1), who own a 4-0 road record this season and come off wins over the Ravens at Baltimore and the Vikings at Minnesota. The Panthers are right on their heels at 5-2 and handled the Ravens on Sunday. The Falcons were off in Week 8 while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers came up just short at Cincinnati, 37-34. But who will be the team’s starting quarterback this Sunday?
NFC West: The Los Angeles Rams are the first NFL team to win its first eight games since the Super Bowl bound Carolina Panthers went 14-0 three years ago. Sean McVay’s club held off the Green Bay Packers, 29-27, on Sunday at the Coliseum. The Seattle Seahawks returned from their off week and won for the fourth time in five contests with a 28-14 victory at Detroit. And the Arizona Cardinals raised their record to 2-6 by beating the San Francisco 49ers (losers of 6 straight games) for the second time this year.