As we reach the midway point of the 2012 NFL season, it's becoming obvious that nobody will cruise to the Super Bowl this season. Nobody is standing out above everyone else on a consistent basis thus far. Here's how we rank all 32 teams through Week 8.
1. Atlanta Falcons (7-0, 1st last week): Nice to see the run defense make some adjustments and step it up out of the bye week.
2. New York Giants (6-2, 2nd last week): Still need to see more from Eli Manning, but Stevie Brown's sudden emergence is another nice surprise.
3. San Francisco 49ers (6-2, 5th last week): Oh man, that defense. Only 7.6 points per game the last five weeks. And they can do better than that, you can tell.
4. Houston Texans (6-1, 4th last week): Really looking forward to seeing these guys in Chicago in two weeks.
5. Green Bay Packers (5-3, 3rd last week): That was a dud, but they took care of business on an off day against one of the league's worst teams. Can't afford to play like that in Detroit in two weeks.
6. Chicago Bears (6-1, 6th last week): Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman. Killin' it.
7. Baltimore Ravens (5-2, 7th last week): That bye week couldn't have come at a better time.
8. New England Patriots (5-3, 9th last week): The Patriots have 232 first downs this season. The league's No. 2-ranked team in that category has 180.
9. Denver Broncos (4-3, 12th last week): All hail Peyton motherfreakin' Manning, the league's highest-rated passer.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3, 11th last week): I still don't see this being their year, but the AFC is wide open and they're hanging around.
11. Seattle Seahawks (4-4, 8th last week): Not easy winning three time zones over against a team like Detroit, but it's a shame they're 4-4 because they're much better than that.
12. Miami Dolphins (4-3, 15th last week): Is the defense really this good or is this a mirage? We might not find out until they face New England and San Francisco in Weeks 13 and 14. Ridiculously easy schedule.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4, 22nd last week): What's up, Doug Martin? If the rookie has arrived, the Bucs will be contenders in the second half.
14. Detroit Lions (3-4, 20th last week): For the second straight week they saved their season against a very good opponent. Hanging by a thread, though.
15. Oakland Raiders (3-4, 26th last week): Suddenly, nobody can run on the Raiders, who appear to be the favorite to challenge Denver in the AFC West.
16. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4, 18th last week): Next Monday night could be a tipping point for these Eagles and their long-time head coach. Fortunately, they face the Saints' defense.
17. Dallas Cowboys (3-4, 19th last week): So sloppy and now so depleted by injury. That devastating loss to the Giants might have done them in.
18. New York Jets (3-5, 13th last week): OK, I think that's it for Gang Green. Rex Ryan will be coaching to save his job in 2013.
19. Minnesota Vikings (5-3, 14th last week): Really don't believe in this team, but kudos to Adrian Peterson for leading the league in rushing. Pretty unbelievable. And Percy Harvin's tied for the league lead in catches, too.
20. Arizona Cardinals (4-4, 16th last week): Manhandled as the NFC West continues to lose luster outside of San Francisco.
21. St. Louis Rams (3-5, 17th last week): Manhandled as the NFC West continues to lose luster outside of San Francisco.
22. Indianapolis Colts (4-3, 29th last week): Maybe they can contend right away after all. Peyton Manning's long gone and yet there's Reggie Wayne, with more receiving yards than anyone else in football.
23. Washington Redskins (3-5, 10th last week): Simply not enough talent beyond RG3. The injuries have caught up to the 'Skins. Could be a long second half of the season.
24. Cincinnati Bengals (3-4, 24th last week): Sit still on a bye week. But now they have the red-hot Broncos.
25. Tennessee Titans (3-5, 23rd last week): Promising performance from the defense, but you can't lose to teams like the Colts at home.
26. Cleveland Browns (2-6, 30th last week): Give the defense some serious credit for what they did to the Chargers.
27. San Diego Chargers (3-4, 21st last week): I just don't see how Norv Turner survives this.
28. New Orleans Saints (2-5, 25th last week): Defense is just a complete mess. They can only afford one more loss the rest of the season, but I don't think that's happening.
29. Carolina Panthers (1-6, 27th last week): Cam Newton vs. Robert Griffin III this week, both not in great places.
30. Buffalo Bills (3-4, 28th last week): Even after the bye, they've still given up more points than all but one other team in football.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6, 32nd last week): Not sure how they hung with the Packers sans Maurice Jones-Drew. Anomaly is my best guess though.
32. Kansas City Chiefs (1-6, 31st last week): Matt Barkley Watch can officially begin in KC.