Here are my Week 8 power rankings:
1. Eagles – Defense is leading the way.
2. Patriots – Dominant in win over Falcons.
3. Steelers – If they begin finishing drives, look out.
4. Rams – Arrow pointing straight up.
5. Saints – No longer a one-trick pony.
6. Chargers – At Pats this week; now we’ll know.
7. Seahawks – Pete Carroll has them on the rise.
8. Vikings – New power team in NFC North?
9. Lions – Rested and waiting to ambush Steelers.
10. Bills – Showed some offense on Sunday.
11. Chiefs – Will rebound against Broncos.
12. Cowboys – How long can they delay Elliott’s suspension?
13. Panthers – Newton’s moodiness a problem.
14. Falcons – Something is terribly wrong.
15. Raiders – Carr’s back and hope has returned.
16. Broncos – Arrow pointing straight down.
17. Jaguars – Who are you? Who, who, who, who?
18. Redskins – Look out, Cowboys.
19. Dolphins – Still not convinced.
20. Texans – Watson gives them bright future.
21. Titans – Record’s good, but Titans aren’t.
22. Packers – Time to rest, make a new plan.
23. Bears – Winning with a magic wand.
24. Ravens – Flacco big hit, but on cap only.
25. Bengals – Burfict only added to their embarrassment.
26. Jets – Competitive, gritty.
27. Bucs – Must fix their defense.
28. Cardinals – No offense and no defense is a bad combination.
29. Giants – Headed nowhere.
30. Colts – Wheels falling off.
31. Browns – At least they play defense.
32. 49ers – Name one good thing.
Brian from Jacksonville, FL
Are you saying Lamar Jackson's skill set is the future, to mean we are going to see more run-pass option in the NFL? How do you see NFL defenses evolving if that were to become true?
Yes, I think Jackson’s skill set is the future of the position in pro football. When the quarterback is a true runner in a spread offense, the offense has a numbers advantage in the running game because defenses traditionally cover four with six. I think we’re already seeing how defenses will react: lighter, faster, more athletic fronts. Watch what defenses do against Dak Prescott. That’s the future.
Tim from Jacksonville, FL
The NFL announces they will rearrange team rosters by holding a draft for all current NFL players. Who are the first three players selected?
Dak Prescott, Aaron Donald, Khalil Mack. They're all young and dominant.
Chris from Appleton, WI
Hi Vic, it seems as though the Jaguars may have, at least for the moment, crawled their way out of the hapless pits of the NFL. How do they stay out of it again? Blake Bortles can't be the answer, can he?
He has until the end of the season to prove he can be the future at the position. If he doesn’t prove he’s “The Man,” I would expect the Jaguars to spend their first pick on a quarterback. You have to have “The Man” to be a championship contender.
Andrew from Huxley, IA
Vic, the "Insider Inbox" comments sections have become unbearable. I know when you started the column you loved that fans were interacting. Any advice on how one can enjoy the inbox and interact with other fans without being turned off by the hate being spewed by certain posters?
Reason defeats emotion.
Zach from La Junta, CO
It is very evident anything can happen in any football game, but has there ever been a team so bad vs. a team so dominant there was no chance of winning in the NFL?
I saw it in 1976 when the Steelers hosted the winless Tampa Bay Bucs. In all of the years I covered Chuck Noll’s Steelers team, it was the only time I can remember Coach Noll avoiding conversation of that week’s opponent. The Bucs were so bad the outcome was a foregone conclusion, and to speak on the subject would’ve been in bad taste.
Kris from Stockbridge, WI
With no Packers game this weekend, which games should Green Bay fans be watching? Which games will Vic be watching?
The Steelers-Lions game is the obvious choice, as the Packers host the Lions the following week. If the Lions beat the Steelers, I will consider the Week 9 game in Green Bay a must win for the Packers. Vikings-Browns and Saints-Bears don’t interest me, but you never know. Chargers at Patriots has my interest; so does Broncos at Chiefs.
Haillie from Washington, WI
Hi Vic, in the absence of Rodgers, do you think the rest of the team is trying to do too much?
I think Packers fans are trying to do the same thing Coach McCarthy did: play around the quarterback. Defense wasn’t the issue on Sunday. I thought it played better than could be expected against a high-powered offense with a lopsided time of possession advantage. Quarterback was the issue; it’s just that simple. I’m not trying to be overly critical of a guy making his first start, but you’re just not going to win when you pass for 87 yards. Against Drew Brees? Again, let’s get real, OK? Packers fans love to blame the defense because they’re homers for offense. They love the passers and pass-catchers. The Packers’ passing game was a no-show and that’s why they lost.
Greg from Danbury, CT
Carlos and Smith were suspended from the U.S. team and banned from the Olympic Village. They, and their families, faced death threats for the protest on the podium. But we have hope. Carlos competed again in track and field, and Smith went on to play for the AFL. Each man has his proper place in the annals of U.S. track and field. History gives us perspective. It's a patient game. Thanks, Vic.
Mike from North Hudson, WI
Vic, after seven games into the season, what will the Packers need to do to make the postseason?
I think they need to win their remaining four NFC North games. I think it begins with that. That’s the way I see it, as I look at the schedule.
Brian from Kingston, NY
Since you have a penchant for comparing current players to players from other eras, who does Aaron Jones remind you of?
I see some Greg Pruitt.
Bill from Forest Park, OH
Give me hope, Vic.
OK, here’s reason for hope: In my opinion, if the Packers beat the Lions in Week 9, the Packers will make it into the postseason. Should the Packers lose that game, hope will be replaced by desperation. Use your bye weekend to get ready for the big game of the season, the next one.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, historically, how have NFL teams fared record-wise after losing their starting QB?
Let me be specific: In 2013, the Packers played five times in November without Aaron Rodgers and didn’t win any of those games. As I’ve said, you’re not hurt until your quarterback is hurt. The Packers are playing uphill now. This isn’t a feel-good, fill in situation as it was against the Patriots in 2010. This is for the long haul. It will take everything the Packers have inside them to remain a contender. I think Packers fans should lower their expectations and heighten their appreciation of the grit this football team is going to display over the remainder of this season.