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.

Morning Update: Cubs pick up win No. 101, Sale leads White Sox past Rays

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Morning Update: Cubs pick up win No. 101, Sale leads White Sox past Rays

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John Lackey sees Cubs lining up for World Series run: ‘It’s all here’

John Lackey sees Cubs lining up for World Series run: ‘It’s all here’

PITTSBURGH — The Cubs have so much going for them, all this blue-chip talent, a clubhouse mix of young players and grizzled veterans, arguably the best manager in the game, an impactful coaching staff and a front office that blends scouting and analytics as well as anyone.

So, no, John Lackey is not at all surprised by the way this clicked into place, 101 wins and counting for the machine built with October in mind.

“Not really,” Lackey said after Tuesday night’s 6-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. “I had some pretty good offers from other people, and I chose this one for a reason. It’s all here.”

But to win the World Series — and get the jewelry Lackey talks about — you still need some luck, good health and the guts to perform in those Big Boy Games. That reality of randomness and matchups made a pregame announcement some 250 miles away from PNC Park so telling.

Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos tore the ACL in his right knee, ending his MVP-caliber season. The National League East champions will lose a .307 hitter with 22-homer power from the middle of their lineup and a veteran presence for a playoff rotation that will likely be without injured ace Stephen Strasburg (right elbow) in the first round.

“That’s a tough one when you lose your catcher, a guy who’s that significant for the pitching staff,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “Think about the pitching staff — it’s so different when you know the guy back there is your guy and he knows what’s going on. The communication’s different. The trust factor, all that stuff is different.”

[SHOP CUBS: Get your NL Central champions gear right here]

Within that big-picture context, the Cubs survived as Lackey limited the checked-out Pirates (77-80) to one run across five innings in his fifth start since recovering from a strained right shoulder and coming off the disabled list. Maddon then used six different relievers — staying away from Pedro Strop, Hector Rondon and Aroldis Chapman — during a three-hour, 49-minute game that felt more like the Cactus League.

After defecting from the 100-win St. Louis Cardinals team the Cubs bounced out of last year’s playoffs, Lackey finished the regular season at 11-8 with a 3.35 ERA and 188 1/3 innings.

“I’m going to get to 200,” Lackey said.

Beyond wins and losses, Lackey called this season his career best in terms of “those numbers that they’ve made up in the last few years” like WHIP (1.04) and opponents’ OPS (.646) and whatever. And, no, he doesn’t know his WAR, either: “Not even close.”

Yes, the Cubs got the old-school attitude they wanted when they signed Lackey to a two-year, $32 million deal before the winter meetings. For all the talk about the pitching deficit and the New York Mets after their young guns swept the Cubs out of last year’s NL Championship Series, the Cubs are getting their money’s worth with a guy who will turn 38 in October.

The amazing Mets have lost three of those frontline starters — Matt Harvey (thoracic outlet syndrome), Jacob deGrom (nerve damage in his right elbow) and Steven Matz (bone spur in his left elbow) — and are still holding onto the first wild-card spot, which says something about this playoff field.

This doesn’t guarantee anything in October, but the Cubs are just about as close to full strength as they could reasonably hope now. Instead of the silence that would have come with losing an irreplaceable player like Ramos, the sound system in the postgame clubhouse blasted Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and Notorious B.I.G. after their 101st win.

“Yeah, we lost Dexter (Fowler) for a bit,” Maddon said. “We lost (Kyle) Schwarber all year. Otherwise, when a couple pitchers got banged up, whether you’re talking about Rondon or Strop, I don’t think that our injuries have been as magnified because we’ve covered them pretty well.

“We still had our moments, like everybody else has. But when you get to right now, we’re getting well, and hopefully that trend continues. But to lose somebody of that magnitude for them, that’s got to be difficult.”