“They’ve got the team to win it all. That’s obvious by the last two weeks – playing pretty well but not great and still beating two of the top five teams in the conference.” – King on the Steelers at No. 1
“Justifiably, there’s been so much talk about the efficient and explosive offense, but the Bucs are here because the defense is maturing at the perfect time.” – King on the Buccaneers at No. 2
“The 2020 NFL MVP is Wilson’s to lose.” – King on Russell Wilson
“There are lots of exciting players in football. Kyler Murray edges Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson for number one.” – King
STAMFORD, Conn. – Nov. 2, 2020 – The undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers (7-0) sit atop Peter King’s midseason power rankings in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also hands out his weekly awards and discusses the news and notes from around the league in Week 8. This weekend, King’s No. 2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers host his No. 8 New Orleans Saints on Sunday Night Football. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET with Football Night in America on NBC.
Across NBC Sports this week, Peacock’s weekday block of NFL programming from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. ET includes PFT Live featuring Mike Florio and Chris Simms live at 7 a.m. ET, followed by The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Brother From Another, with Michael Holley and Michael Smith, at 3 p.m. ET, and PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. On Monday, Safety Blitz, featuring Rodney Harrison and Jac Collinsworth, streams at 6 p.m. ET, and Chris Simms Unbuttoned streams at 6 p.m. ET Tuesday-Friday. ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest offseason news, and the Rotoworld Football Podcast and Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast discuss Week 8.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
POWER RANKINGS AT THE MIDWAY POINT
King’s full midseason power rankings:
|1) Pittsburgh||9) Buffalo||17) Cleveland||25) Washington|
|2) Tampa Bay||10) Miami||18) Carolina||26) Denver|
|3) Kansas City||11) Arizona||19) Minnesota||27) Atlanta|
|4) Seattle||12) Los Angeles Rams||20) Cincinnati||28) Houston|
|5) Baltimore||13) Indianapolis||21) Los Angeles Chargers||29) Dallas|
|6) Tennessee||14) San Francisco||22) Philadelphia||30) New York Giants|
|7) Green Bay||15) Chicago||23) New England||31) Jacksonville|
|8) New Orleans||16) Las Vegas||24) Detroit||32) New York Jets|
King: No. 1, Pittsburgh Steelers: “Only thing that worries me is Ben Roethlisberger making it through 19 games…Injuries and the tremendous depth at the top of the AFC are threats too…They’ve got the team to win it all. That’s obvious by the last two weeks – playing pretty well but not great and still beating two of the top five teams in the conference. It’ll be a fascinating finish.”
King: No. 2, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: “Justifiably, there’s been so much talk about the efficient and explosive offense, but the Bucs are here because the defense is maturing at the perfect time…You’re not going to play deep into January without being able to stonewall good teams on defense”
King: No. 4, Seattle Seahawks: “Very telling game Sunday, the 37-27 win over the Niners, with some garbage points late for San Francisco. Telling, because the defense showed Legion of Boom signs…Russ can cook, but he can’t rush the passer.”
King: No. 5, Baltimore Ravens: “The weekend takeaway: Lamar Jackson must be better, or the year will end in disappointment again.”
King: No. 9, Buffalo Bills: “Kudos on finally lassoing the Patriots, though it wasn’t the kind of win over wounded New England that should make western New York breathe easy…If (Josh) Allen doesn’t get right, the Bills might win their first playoff game since 1995, but they’d be hard-pressed to go further.”
King: No. 10, Miami Dolphins: “For now, it’s going to be Miami’s defense that leads the way…The Dolphins, with defense like they played Sunday, could make it very hard for Buffalo to win the East.”
King: No. 11, Arizona Cardinals: “There are lots of exciting players in football. Kyler Murray edges Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson for number one. Doesn’t mean he’s the best player in football, because he’s way behind Wilson and Mahomes there.”
King: No. 17, Cleveland Browns: “After 2.5 seasons, do the Browns really know if they have their quarterback of the future? Big question to answer in the second half of the season.”
King: No. 22, Philadelphia Eagles: “The Eagles should win the worst division in recent history, and probably easily. But that won’t mean Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman will feel great about Wentz heading into 2021. No very good quarterback has regressed like Wentz has this year, and the Eagles won’t be a good team until they can fix what ails him.”
WEEK 8 NEWS & NOTES
King on the Steelers: “This is the 14th season of the coach Mike Tomlin/GM Kevin Colbert collaboration in Pittsburgh, and the first time in their era that Pittsburgh has started 7-0. The Steelers haven’t played their best in either of their last two wins, at Tennessee and at Baltimore, but it says something about a team when you can play a B game and beat two of the best teams in the game. And it says something when they do it with new pieces fitting into an excellent defense.”
King on Steelers LB Robert Spillane: “The ascension of Spillane to playmaker…is so fitting. On a day Pittsburgh’s offense sputtered to a 221-yard day of frustration, Spillane’s 11 tackles and two takeaways and two passes defensed comprised the best defensive day by any player on the field.”
King on Spillane’s grandfather: “In 1954, the Steelers drafted the Heisman Trophy-winning running back from Notre Dame, Johnny Lattner, in the first round. Wearing number 41, Lattner had a fine rookie season for Pittsburgh…Lattner enlisted in the Air Force in 1955 and that was the end of football for him.”
Spillane to King on his grandfather: “My grandfather passed in 2016. He was a big part of my life. He would have loved this. He watched so many of my games growing up, and now to play for the team he played for, it’s pretty amazing.”
King on Lamar Jackson: “I think it’s time to be worried about Lamar Jackson’s ability to perform when the spotlight is brightest…When I watch Jackson, I see a player who errs at some of the simple things…Baltimore has built a deep-strike offense that’s not striking deep enough. Two targets to Hollywood Brown in a game that might determine top seed in the AFC? Ridiculous.”
King on the Browns: “I have no idea what Cleveland is. Six points? Against the 31st-ranked scoring defense in football? And don’t tell me about the wind and the cold. You’re a cold-weather team. Sometimes it’s windy. Sometimes it’s cold. It’s got to be maddening to root for the Browns.”
King on Dwayne Haskins: “I think I find it hard to believe that a team would trade anything but a day-three draft pick for Dwayne Haskins by Tuesday’s trading deadline…What would you think as an evaluator if the team that drafted Haskins 15th overall in 2019 demoted him to number three quarterback early in 2020?”
KING’S WEEK 8 AWARDS
Offensive Players of the Week: Russell Wilson, Seattle, Dalvin Cook, Minnesota, & Joe Burrow, Cincinnati.
King on Wilson: “The 2020 NFL MVP is Wilson’s to lose. His career high for touchdowns in a season is 34. He’s on pace for 59. Case closed.”
Defensive Players of the Week: Christian Wilkins, Emmanuel Ogbah, Andrew Van Ginkel, Jerome Baker, Eric Rowe, Shaq Lawson, and Kyle Van Noy, Miami, Bobby Wagner, Seattle, & Robert Spillane, Pittsburgh.
King on the Dolphins defense: “How do you pick one Dolphin defender after seven different Dolphins took turns dominating the game and taking it over in the second quarter in south Florida Sunday?…The Miami defense is really good.”
Special Teams Players of the Week: Jakeem Grant, Miami, Tommy Townsend, Kansas City, & Miles Killebrew, Detroit.
King on Townsend: “A rookie free-agent from Florida, Townsend is noted for his hang time; as a Gator last year, his punts were returned for a total of nine yards all season. Now he’ll be noted for his arm.”
Coach of the Week: Brian Flores, Miami.
King on Flores: “The job done by Flores over the past 12 months has been sensational…Owner Stephen Ross and GM Chris Grier picked the right man for a young and growing team.”
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:
- Football Night in America: Week 8 Recap with Mike Tirico, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison, and Mike Florio.
- PFT Live with NBC Sports’ Mike Florio and Chris Simms streams live on Peacock from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET on weekdays, followed by The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Brother From Another at 3 p.m. ET, PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. At 6 p.m. ET, Safety Blitz streams on Monday and Chris Simms Unbuttoned stream Tuesday-Friday.
- ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest news and updates.
- The Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast and Rotoworld Football Podcast discuss Week 8 and look ahead to Week 9.
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.