NFL Divisional Power Rankings, Week 8: NFC North remains on top

Jonathan Daniel

Every NFL Power Rankings debate is typically about which team is best, but how do the divisions stand up against each other. Here's our Week 8 look at the divisional power structure.

It was a good week for the AFC West to largely rest up for a week. After all, they've been the worst division in the NFL for a while now. The Chiefs, Chargers and Broncos all enjoyed a rest while the Raiders won a game against the Jaguars in one of the worst games of the year. Baby steps, AFC West. Baby steps. As for the rest of the NFL, it provided plenty of action for us to consider our Week 8 Divisional Power Rankings.

Here's this week's take on the divisions in the NFL.

NFL DIVISIONAL POWER RANKINGS, WEEK 8:

1. NFC North - In a defensive battle, the Bears came out on top over the Lions on Monday Night, but Detroit should be proud of their defensive showing. They still have a lot of good football left in them. Unfortunately they're in the best division in football. The Bears are a contender for the Super Bowl, and the Packers should be placed in the same category. Yet the Vikings are proving tough at home with a 4-0 record and they refuse to go away. A very, very strong division top to bottom.

2. NFC East - The Giants continue to roll early in the 2012 season, which is an anomaly given their recent history of late-season surges. Still this team is a Super Bowl contender, and everyone knows it. Still they had to beat a difficult Redskins team to win, and the RG3 trade looks better with each passing week. The Cowboys overcame a lame Panthers squad to win, and it's hard to figure out why that defense can't force a turnover. As for the Eagles, there's a lot to figure out there, but at least they're open to making some changes.

3. NFC West - The bubble has burst on the early season run of this collective. Still that doesn't mean they're finished. The Cardinals have lost three games in the row and it's hard to find anyone who believes in their winning record at this stage. After that, however, the Rams have proven to be a tough last-place team to put away. The Seahawks can hang with anyone, and the 49ers will compete with that defense despite their offensive confusion.

4. AFC North - The Steelers showed some much needed signs of life on the road at Cincinnati this weekend. If it weren't for dropped passes, the Steelers' offense would have looked even better. The Bengals still looked dangerous in the loss. On the flip side, the Browns can't turn the corner and Trent Richardson's injury woes aren't going away. And the Ravens... that's a hard whipping to take in a match-up that should have been much closer. The Ravens' defensive losses might prove to be too much.

5. AFC East - The Patriots and Dolphins won this past week, although the Pats faced the Jets in a someone-must-win match. The Dolphins are interesting to watch at this point given the young nature of the team, and they're a divisional sleeper to watch. If they sneak into the playoffs, expect some Coach of the Year votes for Joe Philbin. As for the Bills, the talent should have started to coalesce into something meaningful at this point. That has to be a very frustrating team to watch.

6. NFC South - This division needed someone to emerge from the wreckage below the Atlanta Falcons, and the New Orleans Saints are doing just that. The Falcons are perhaps the best team in football and should be largely healthy after the bye. The Saints have won 2 in a row and could be at .500 if not for an overtime last-second loss to the Chiefs. As for the Panthers and Bucs, bury them now.

7. AFC South - The Texans dominated the Ravens. The Colts made their way to .500. The Titans are renewing their season game after game. It was a very, very impressive week for the AFC South, and perhaps no division made as many strides as they did. The only thing that keeps the division down is that the Jags gave away a victory against the Raiders.

8. AFC West - The AFC West was enjoying the bye week, for the most part. Still even then, it was a rough week. The Raiders overcame the Jaguars in the worst game of the NFL season so far. But the Chargers are dealing with allegations of a banned sticky substance of some sort. The Chiefs are playing carousel with the worst possible options at quarterback. If the Broncos don't sail straight to the West title, something is wrong.

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