Cubs

NFL Power Rankings - Week 8: Texans bounce back

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NFL Power Rankings - Week 8: Texans bounce back

Every week throughout the regular season, we'll be ranking all 32 NFL teams.

Take a look and offer up your thoughts in the comment box below or to us on Twitter @BearsTalkCSN.

Previousrankings: Week 1 Week2 Week 3 Week4 Week 5 Week6 Week 7

SK JF Comments 1 SK: Tough stretch coming up against Eagles, Cowboys and Saints.
JF: Undefeated is undefeated. 2 SK: No doubt Texans are AFC's best after shellacking of Ravens.
JF: Nearly clipped by Redskins, but Manning's TD pass to Cruz saved the day.
3 SK: Didn't have an answer for RG3, but Eli comes through in the clutch once again.
JF: Had that look in their eye again last week with blowout win over Ravens.
4 SK: Super Bowl caliber defense. Offense needs to find some consistency.
JF: Defense continues to dominate. 5-1 is a great start to the season.
5 SK: Make it 9 TD's in Rodgers last two games. Numbers should continue with JAX on tap.
JF: Got past Seattle in a battle of two of the best defenses in the NFL.
6 SK: Defense stymied Wilson, but what's going on with Alex Smith?
JF: Rodgers is starting to look scary-good again.
7 SK: Sloppy game against Jets, but pulled it out. Tough matchup in STL this weekend.
JF: Injuries have hit hard. Embarrassing loss to Texans last week.
8 SK: Continue to get it done. Adrian Peterson was beastly on Sunday.
JF: They aren't impressive, but pulled out another win over Jets.
9 SK: When will they realize they haveone of the best running backs in the NFL?
JF: Peterson has returned to form and the Vikings are 5-2.
10 SK: Could be a shootout on SNF against the Saints.
JF: Seahawks did lose, but stayed close with San Francisco. Still in the hunt.
11 SK: Impressive win in Cincy. Mendenhallinjury didn't slow down running game one bit.
JF: One stop away from pulling off a big win against the Giants.
12 SK: Offensewas miserable against SF. Need to get Sidney Rice going.
JF: Enjoyed the BYE and now ready to build off of recent success.
13 SK: Coughed up the lead late, but RG3 will keep them in games all season long.
JF: Also had a BYE, but Chargers need to get back on track.
14 SK: Let's see what the new DC in Phily cooks up with Falcons looming Sunday.
JF: Still not all the way where they need to be. Have left a few wins on the table.
15 SK: Very impressed with Miami. Philbin has them headed in the right direction.
JF: Took care of business against a worthy opponent in the Bengals.
16 SK: In a freefall after hot start. Doesn't matter who the QB is, when your line can't protect.
JF: Didn't play in Week 7, so it kind of felt like every other week this season.
17 SK: Strange team,but AFC North is up for grabs with injuries to BAL and PIT.
JF: Defense keeps them in games, but offense continues to be a huge burden.
18 SK: Defense was stout in the first half, but then Rodgers decided to do work.
JF: Had a nice relaxing BYE week, now have a winnable game against the Jets.
19 SK: Schedule is getting tougher, but Saints are playing much better as of late.
JF: Every time you think they are ready to take the next step, they don't.
20 SK: Was Norv Turner fired yet?
JF: Caught the Packers at the wrong time. Still a good Rams team.
21 SK: That's the CJ2K we remember. Think Titans have to stick with Matty H for now.
JF: Poor effort by Stafford, Megatron and the rest of the Lions offense in Chicago.
22 SK: I guess is a W is a W.
JF: Lookout! Here comes Brees and the Saints.
23 SK: Should've beat NE. Horrible clock management in the final minutes of Regulation.
JF: Questionable call cost the Bucs against New Orleans.
24 SK: Freeman looks great. Can't say the same about Tampa Bay'sdefense.
JF: Jets almost upset the Patriots. Maybe they are closer than we think.
25 SK: Ugly win. Need to find a way to get DMC going.
JF: Nothing spectacular about the Raiders.
26 SK: Majorquestion marks on the offensive side of the ball. Shouldn't be this bad.
JF: Hasselbeck worked his magic to get Titans past the Bills.
27 SK: Colts are a different team at Lucas Oil Stadium.
JF: So hot and cold. Had a win vs. Titans slip through their fingers.
28
SK: Can't expect tocompete with your giving up 176.9 yards on the ground!
JF: A win over the Browns gives Luck and the Colts their third win of the season.
29 SK: Firing their GM won't help Cam Newton's sophomore slump.
JF: Failed to build off of that win a week earlier.
30 SK: Trent Richardson's injury may be more serious than the Browns are leading on.
JF: Couldn't keep Cowboys down, not travel to Chicago for rude awakening.
31 SK: Here's your chance Brady Quinn.
JF:Have a good shot at home vs. Raiders in Week 8.
32 SK: If there was a spot for the 33rd worst team, I'd put them there.
JF: Solid effort against Oakland, but another loss is another loss.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Jon Lester struggles against the division-rival Cardinals

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Jon Lester struggles against the division-rival Cardinals

It was a tough day for the North Siders.

The Cubs got obliterated by the Cardinals as Matt Carpenter had a three-homer, two-double day. Ben Finfer, Seth Gruen and Maggie Hendricks join David Kaplan on the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast to talk about the blowout.

Was Jon Lester due for this kind of terrible outing? And do the Cubs have enough to swing a big trade before the deadline?

Plus, the panel discusses Matt Nagy’s first training camp practice in the rain and Roquan Smith’s absence in Bourbonnais.

You can listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Could Bears improve and still lose ground? The MMQB's Albert Breer weighs in on tough NFC North

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USA TODAY

Could Bears improve and still lose ground? The MMQB's Albert Breer weighs in on tough NFC North

NBC Sports Chicago’s John "Moon" Mullin talked with The MMQB's Albert Breer, who shared his thoughts on where the Bears stand — and if they’ll be able to compete — in a highly competitive NFC North.

Moon: The Bears have made upgrades, but they’re in the NFC North and not many divisions are tougher, given the strength at quarterbacks.

Breer: Yes. You look at the other three teams, and they all very much believe they’re in a window for winning a championship. The Packers are going through some changes, but they’ve gotten Mike Pettine in there as defensive coordinator and a new general manager who was aggressive on draft day. I know that internally they feel that’s going to give them a boost, and bringing Aaron Rodgers back obviously is the biggest thing of all.

Minnesota, all the things they did this offseason, signing (quarterback) Kirk Cousins, (defensive lineman) Sheldon Richardson, and they were knocking on the door last year.

The Lions have been building for two years under (general manager) Bob Quinn and (new coach) Matt Patricia, who lines right up with the general manager — the two of them worked together in New England. They really believe that Matthew Stafford is ready to take the sort of jump that Matt Ryan made in Atlanta a few years ago, where you see that mid-career breakthrough from a quarterback that we see sometimes now.

It’s one of the toughest divisions in football, and every team in the division believes that it’s in the position to contend right now.

Moon: We didn’t see a lot of Mitch Trubisky — 12 games — so it sounds possible that the Bears could improve and still lose ground.

Breer: The Lions were pretty good last year. The Vikings were in the NFC Championship game. And who knows where the Packers would’ve been if Rodgers hadn’t broken his collarbone. The biggest change is that Aaron Rodgers will be back, and that’s the best player in the league. It was a really good division last year, and you’re adding back in a Hall of Fame quarterback.

As far as the Bears, there’s going to be questions where the organization is going. It’s been seven years since they were in the playoffs. I think they certainly got the coach hire right. This is a guy who I know other organizations liked quite a bit and was going to be a head coach sooner or later.

And I think he matches up well with Mitch. I think the Bears are in a good spot, but as you said, they’re competing in a difficult environment, so it may not show up in their record.

Moon: A lot of love for the Vikings after they get to the NFC Championship and then add Kirk Cousins.

Breer: A lot of people look at Minnesota and think Kirk Cousins’ll be a huge improvement. And maybe he will be. I think he’s a very good quarterback, top dozen in the league. But Case Keenum played really, really well last year, so it wasn’t like they weren’t getting anything out of that position last year.

The NFC right now is clearly the strength of the league. If you picked the top 10 teams in the league, you could make a case that seven or eight of them are in the NFC. I think there will be NFC teams that miss the playoffs who could be in the Super Bowl coming out of the AFC. There’s a little bit of an imbalance there.

Moon: Trubisky projects as part of a wave of new quarterbacks league-wide, a sea change in the NFL.

Breer: The interesting thing is that this is probably as stable as the league has been at quarterback in a long time. There’ve been questions where the next great quarterbacks will come from, but I don’t know that there’s a team right now in the NFL like you looked at the Jets or Browns last year, where you say that team is definitely drafting a quarterback in 2019.

Everyone either has a big-money veteran or former first-round pick on their roster. One team that doesn’t is the Cowboys, but they’ve got Dak Prescott who’s played really well. Every team in the league has some stability at the position. I think the position is as healthy as it’s been in a long time, and you’ve got a lot of good young prospects.