NFL Energy Rankings Week 8 – 1-32 ballot, plus gamers who have to step up in 2020

Because the NFL Energy Rankings cost towards midseason, it is a good time for evaluation. And this week, it is about figuring out who should decide up the slack over the ultimate 10 weeks of the marketing campaign.

Whereas many of the picks under are particular person gamers, place models and even coaches bear a few of this burden.

How we rank in our Energy Rankings: Our energy panel — a bunch of greater than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities — evaluates how groups stack up all through the season.

Earlier rankings: 7 | 6 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | Preseason

Leap to:
NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF

Week 7 rating: 3

Who must step up: S Minkah Fitzpatrick

Sure, Fitzpatrick had a pick-six in opposition to the Browns. However he must make splash performs extra constantly. The Steelers traded a first-round decide final season for Fitzpatrick, who delivered virtually instantly. He has been a lot quieter this season. His largest play in opposition to the Titans was a holding name that gave Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry a recent set of downs on the aim line after a would-be cease. Henry scored on the following play. Fitzpatrick additionally missed a sort out of AJ Brown that led to Brown’s 73-yard touchdown. For the protection to play on the stage it reached final season, Fitzpatrick must have an even bigger constructive impression on the sport. — Brooke Pryor

Week 7 rating: 2

Who must step up: Ok Harrison Butker

Butker has missed 5 further factors, and his PAT price of 79.2% is the worst within the NFL. It hasn’t price the Chiefs but, nevertheless it’s solely a matter of time till it does. What’s puzzling about that is that Butker has been so good on discipline objectives (93%). He hit two 58-yarders in a Week 2 extra time win versus the Chargers. — Adam Teicher

Week 7 rating: 1

Who must step up: S Jamal Adams

It is not that Adams has underperformed when he has been on the sphere. It is that he hasn’t been on the sphere sufficient, lacking the previous three video games whereas the Seahawks’ protection has been gashed at a historic rate. Adams was arguably their most impactful defender earlier than he damage his groin in Week 3. A part of his impression was as a pass-rusher: His two sacks stay tied for the staff lead as Seattle has solely 9 sacks whole. All of the draft capital the Seahawks gave up for Adams will make it tough to commerce for one more impression defender earlier than subsequent week’s deadline. They want their All-Professional security to get again on the sphere and begin making performs. — Brady Henderson

Week 7 rating: 4

Who must step up: WR Miles Boykin

Boykin has didn’t step up into the No. 2 vast receiver position for the Ravens, totaling 11 catches for 122 yards (rating 104th amongst NFL wideouts). Boykin has struggled to develop any chemistry with Lamar Jackson and his growing miscommunication with the quarterback has turn out to be a scorching subject in Baltimore. With defenses loading up the field to cease the run recreation, Boykin could make groups pay with some large performs on the surface. The Ravens want a 3rd possibility as a result of groups are focusing their coverages to cease vast receiver Marquise Brown and tight finish Mark Andrews. — Jamison Hensley

Week 7 rating: 6

Who must step up: OLB Preston Smith

Although six video games final 12 months, the sting rusher had seven sacks (on his technique to a 12-sack season), 12 QB hits and a go rush win price of 24.2%. His numbers by means of six video games this 12 months: a half-sack, two QB hits and a PRWR of 15.6%. Smith made a key fourth-down cease on a read-option by Deshaun Watson throughout Sunday’s recreation, and the Packers’ protection wants extra of that. — Rob Demovsky

Week 7 rating: 5

Who must step up: OLB/DE Jadeveon Clowney

Successful the Clowney sweepstakes was alleged to push the Titans’ protection excessive. Clowney has put some strain on the quarterback, however the Titans have but to expertise the kind of game-wrecking efficiency that compelled them to signal him. Tennessee is final in opponent third-down share (60%). A big a part of that share is as a result of Titans’ incapability to get strain on the quarterback. By means of six video games, the Titans solely have six sacks. The entire blame should not fall on Clowney, however he hasn’t had the impression that was anticipated when Tennessee reunited him with Mike Vrabel. — Turron Davenport



Max Kellerman lastly agrees he was improper about Tom Brady “falling off a cliff” the previous few seasons.

Week 7 rating: 7

Who must step up: TE Rob Gronkowski

I would not say Gronkowski must step up as a lot as I feel he must proceed doing what he has completed over the previous two weeks — catching 10 passes for 140 yards and two TDs. He’s beginning to personal the center of the sphere and is having success on crossing routes and within the pink zone on back-shoulder fades. That is particularly vital with out O.J. Howard (Achilles) and with Mike Evans persevering with to recuperate from an ankle damage. — Jenna Laine

Week 7 rating: 8

Who must step up: LB Tremaine Edmunds

To his credit score, Edmunds has performed by means of a shoulder damage that he suffered in Week 1 and brought on him to overlook the Payments’ following recreation. However when he has been on the market, the third-year linebacker hasn’t seemed just like the Professional Bowler we noticed final season. His reactions appear slower, he has missed tackles and he has issue shedding blocks. Buffalo’s defensive struggles signify the staff’s largest shock this season, and if the Payments are going to show it round in pursuit of an AFC East title, Edmunds wants to steer the cost. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

Week 7 rating: 9

Who must step up: The secondary

It would not be truthful to single out only one participant within the Saints’ secondary, since each one among them has taken turns with busted coverages or go interference penalties — which have turn out to be New Orleans’ most nagging drawback all season. The Saints have now allowed six passes of 48-plus yards of their previous 4 video games. They usually have only one interception since Week 1. They want cornerbacks Marshon Lattimore and Janoris Jenkins to stay as much as their potential as one of many league’s greatest CB duos, they usually want much more consistency from the proficient security trio of Marcus Williams, Malcolm Jenkins and C.J. Gardner-Johnson. — Mike Triplett

Week 7 rating: 10

Who must step up: Ok Samuel Sloman

It could possibly be too little, too late for Sloman, a seventh-round decide from Miami (Ohio), after the Rams signed veteran Kai Forbath to the energetic roster from the Bears’ follow squad forward of Week 7. Sloman has lacked consistency, particularly on PATs and kickoffs, whereas his discipline aim vary stays considerably of a thriller due to the Rams’ potential to attain touchdowns. A ninth-year professional, Forbath might take over the job at any second. — Lindsey Thiry

Week 7 rating: 16

Who must step up: RB Chase Edmonds

Even when Kenyan Drake‘s ankle injury is not severe, Edmonds will nonetheless have to preserve enjoying like he did throughout Sunday evening’s win over the Seahawks. Edmonds gained 145 whole yards, had a serious impression in extra time and helped kick-start the Cardinals’ run recreation. He confirmed, but once more, that he can deal with no matter is thrown at him. If the Cardinals wish to make a run to the playoffs, Edmonds might want to play a big position. — Josh Weinfuss

Week 7 rating: 11

Who must step up: QB Nick Foles

Chicago is positioned for a playoff run. The Bears have a championship-caliber protection and a better-than-expected kicker, Cairo Santos, however the offense is suspect. Coach Matt Nagy benched Mitchell Trubisky in favor of Foles to easy out the tough edges and play a extra constant model of soccer. The outcomes have been common. The Bears are successful, however the offense underneath Foles would not look a ton higher than it did when Trubisky ran the present. Foles is underneath strain to raise his recreation. The season hinges on it. — Jeff Dickerson

Week 7 rating: 12

Who must step up: WR T.Y. Hilton

Hilton is on tempo for the least-productive season of his nine-year NFL profession. He has 20 receptions for 242 yards and no touchdowns by means of the primary six video games. What makes Hilton’s lack of manufacturing even worse is that the soon-to-be 31-year-old shall be a free agent on the finish of the season. — Mike Wells



Marcus Spears particulars how large of a loss it’s for the Browns that Odell Beckham Jr. will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL.

Week 7 rating: 13

Who must step up: WR Rashard Higgins

With Odell Beckham Jr. out for the season with a torn ACL, the onus will fall on Higgins to exchange him within the lineup. Higgins and QB Baker Mayfield, who are also shut associates, have loved a rapport on the sphere going again to Mayfield’s rookie season in 2018. The Browns will want Higgins to be Mayfield’s safety blanket alongside new No. 1 WR Jarvis Landry if the Browns are to lastly snap the league’s longest playoff drought, which dates to 2002. — Jake Trotter

Week 7 rating: 17

Who must step up: QB Jimmy Garoppolo

Over the previous two weeks, the 49ers have gotten again to their method of operating the ball, enjoying good protection and having Garoppolo steer an environment friendly play-action passing assault. However the schedule is about to get tougher, and the burden might be going to fall extra on Garoppolo to ship. Meaning pushing the ball down the sphere extra constantly and taking benefit when opposing defenses stack the field to cease the run. Garoppolo has completed it earlier than, however for the Niners to stay within the NFC playoff hunt, they’re going to seemingly want him to do it once more. — Nick Wagoner

Week 7 rating: 15

Who must step up: RT Trent Brown

The enigmatic and extremely paid proper sort out hardly ever practiced in coaching camp resulting from a cranky calf, performed three snaps within the season opener after aggravating the damage and was a drive within the Raiders’ upset win at Kansas Metropolis on Oct. 11. Then he examined constructive for COVID-19 final week, and since he was not sporting his tracker within the staff facility, the 4 different beginning offensive linemen needed to self-quarantine and miss follow the remainder of the week earlier than facing a fearsome Tampa Bay defense. Since signing a four-year, $66 million take care of the Raiders, Brown has performed 10-plus snaps in simply 11 of twenty-two video games. Las Vegas wants a greater return on its funding. — Paul Gutierrez

Week 7 rating: 18

Who must step up: TE Ian Thomas

It will be straightforward to say all the protection that simply allowed the Saints to transform 12 of 14 third downs and has been horrible on third down all 12 months. However I am going with Thomas, as a result of in seven video games, he has solely seven catches for an offense through which he ought to thrive. Certain, the tight finish has been downplayed considerably in Joe Brady’s scheme. However one motive it has been downplayed is the dearth of constant playmaking potential by Thomas. It makes that place a doable goal earlier than the commerce deadline. — David Newton



Ryan Clark breaks down why Cam Newton hasn’t turned out to be precisely what the Patriots wanted up to now.

Week 7 rating: 14

Who must step up: QB Cam Newton

Would the true Cam Newton please rise up? Is it the QB who electrified New England within the first weeks of the season? Or the struggling QB who hasn’t looked the same over his subsequent three video games? The distinction is placing. Fewer interceptions and higher accuracy and decision-making are the place the development begins. — Mike Reiss

Week 7 rating: 19

Who must step up: RB Matt Breida

The Dolphins introduced in two veteran operating backs this offseason — Breida and Jordan Howard — to improve their run recreation, and each have been outplayed by second-year again Myles Gaskin. Breida was introduced in for his velocity and big-play potential, however he has but to interrupt an impression play. Over the previous 4 video games, he has 21 carries for 56 yards (2.67 yards per carry). With Tua Tagovailoa as the brand new beginning QB, Breida must be extra of a playmaker. — Cameron Wolfe

Week 7 rating: 21

Who must step up: The protection

Melvin Ingram is again from IR and is the chief of the group. In his absence, the D gave up 17-point results in Tampa Bay and New Orleans and misplaced each video games. The protection additionally was in peril Sunday versus the Jaguars, dropping a 16-point lead at one level. Justin Herbert is likely to be all that, but when the protection would not step up, it will not matter. As Ingram stated, “We will not preserve making the identical errors. We are available in, we have a look at one another within the eye as males and say, ‘It is acquired to cease someplace, so why not right now?'” The shut losses should cease, and Herbert cannot do it on his personal. — Shelley Smith

Week 7 rating: 22

Who must step up: DT Fletcher Cox

Carson Wentz has picked up his game, so now it is vital for the first driver on protection to do the identical. Cox has 1.5 sacks by means of seven video games, placing him on tempo for 3.5 this season — a far cry from his 10.5-sack marketing campaign in 2018. Cox attracts loads of double-teams and has had his share of impression performs, however large expectations include a median wage of $17 million and the billing as one of many NFL’s greatest defensive gamers. With Hassan Ridgeway misplaced for the season and Malik Jackson coping with a quad damage, it is as vital as ever that Cox units the tone for a protection that is yielding 28 factors per recreation. — Tim McManus

Week 7 rating: 23

Who must step up: RB Adrian Peterson

Whereas the Lions are seeing higher play from rookie D’Andre Swift, they should get extra from the Peterson. The long run Corridor of Famer’s numbers may not look too unhealthy, however his manufacturing is trending down. He has gone from 6.64 yards per carry in Week 1 to 2.64 yards per carry in Week 7. If Detroit goes to present Peterson 10 or 11 carries a contest as an alternative of, say, going to Kerryon Johnson or utilizing Swift extra, Peterson must be doing extra with these alternatives. It is not all his fault: The playcalling hasn’t at all times been advantageous to him, typically leading to runs in pretty predictable conditions. Some playcall diversification from offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell would possibly assist. — Michael Rothstein

Week 7 rating: 24

Who must step up: QB Drew Lock

Broncos coach Vic Fangio is appropriate when he calls the staff’s passing-game struggles “an 11-man operation.” And the Broncos actually have points in go safety (13 sacks mixed in Weeks 2 and three), dropped passes and a propensity for adverse performs. But Lock is only a 53% passer since coming back from a shoulder damage that saved him out of two video games. He has looked impatient in the pocket at occasions, leaving his progressions too early and passing up simpler completions to make riskier and unsuccessful throws downfield. He wants assist, however he can management how he operates within the pocket and the way he handles the best way defenses are enjoying him. — Jeff Legwold

Week 7 rating: 25

Who must step up: QB Kirk Cousins

The Vikings’ QB was brutally sincere after throwing three interceptions within the first half of Minnesota’s fifth lack of the season. “The fact is, if the tempo I am on when it comes to the interceptions, if that have been to proceed, I will not end the season,” Cousins stated. He’s tied for the league lead in interceptions (10) after throwing simply six final season. If Cousins’ poor play continues, the Vikings might want to decide about his future. Sure, it could be financially catastrophic to maneuver on from the QB who has two years (principally assured) left on his contract, but when Minnesota goes to attempt to rebuild and Cousins continues to play poorly, his standing shall be debated. — Courtney Cronin



Rex Ryan considers the Cowboys’ failure to increase Dak Prescott to be the explanation for the staff’s on-field struggles.

Week 7 rating: 20

Who must step up: LB Jaylon Smith

Just one? Nicely, then it is Smith. Or DeMarcus Lawrence. However let’s stick to Smith. Do not be fooled by his sort out stats. He has not made impression performs, and he has been poor in protection and out of place. He was added to the Professional Bowl final 12 months, however his greatest season was in 2018. If Smith doesn’t enhance, he is likely to be a salary-cap casualty in 2021. He’s set to make $7.2 million subsequent season, which turns into totally assured on the fifth day of the league 12 months. Given how the season has performed out, no person is secure; the Cowboys might transfer on from Smith if he doesn’t decide up his efficiency. — Todd Archer

Week 7 rating: 26

Who must step up: RB David Johnson

As interim coach Romeo Crennel stated Monday, the Texans “have to ascertain a operating recreation.” Houston’s operating recreation — Johnson and backup Duke Johnson — has failed to seek out consistency. David Johnson, acquired within the DeAndre Hopkins commerce and making greater than $11 million this season, would not have a 100-yard speeding recreation for Houston and is averaging 3.88 yards per carry. He got here shut with 96 speeding yards in Week 5 in opposition to Jacksonville however in any other case has not been a ample substitute for Carlos Hyde, who ran for greater than 1,000 yards in 2019. — Sarah Barshop

Week 7 rating: 27

Who must step up: S Vonn Bell

One of many Bengals’ lone wholesome additions from free company has struggled in go protection. When Bell is the closest defender, he has the second-highest whole anticipated factors added of any Bengals defender, in accordance with ESPN Stats & Data knowledge. He has had some powerful moments early on and can look to enhance a go protection that is likely one of the worst within the NFL. — Ben Child



Washington coach Ron Rivera receives an ovation as he walks down the hospital hallway to ring the bell after his closing day of most cancers therapy.

Week 7 rating: 29

Who must step up: RB Peyton Barber

There are various who belong on this checklist, and Barber may not be wanted as a lot if rookie Antonio Gibson turns into a constant again. However for now, Barber retains getting carries in Washington’s jumbo bundle and has averaged 2.13 yards on 38 carries. He averages solely 0.63 yards after contact. It is not like he’s at all times getting big holes, so his lack of manufacturing goes to all the group. But when Washington retains utilizing him on this position, then the manufacturing must be larger. This staff is not going to win with its go recreation and subsequently must be more practical with Barber within the recreation. — John Keim

Week 7 rating: 28

Who must step up: Interim coach Raheem Morris

Morris may need misplaced his likelihood to be a chief candidate for the Falcons’ everlasting coach when they fell to Detroit on Sunday. However what if Morris leads the Falcons to a 10-1 file? The fact is, Morris is not simply auditioning for Falcons proprietor Arthur Clean; Morris is basically auditioning for a training place for each staff that may have any type of opening on its workers subsequent season. — Mike Wells

Week 7 rating: 30

Who must step up: DE Josh Allen

When the Jaguars traded Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue, they have been relying on Allen to be an excellent higher pass-rusher than he was as a rookie (10.5 sacks). Allen has made minimal impression, although, with simply two sacks and 7 tackles in 5 video games. (He did miss two video games with a knee damage.) He’s getting extra consideration from opponents but in addition is not successful as many one-on-one battles with blockers as he ought to. He must be higher — a lot better — within the second half of the season. — Mike DiRocco

Week 7 rating: 31

Who must step up: QB Daniel Jones

Jones was anticipated to make the bounce in Yr 2. That meant reducing down on the turnovers and proving to the brand new teaching workers he was the unequivocal quarterback of the longer term. As a substitute, Jones has seemed very similar to he did as a rookie — flashes one play, makes a bonehead play the following. He’s tied for second within the NFL with 11 turnovers by means of seven weeks. These closing 9 video games are a chance to take that subsequent step in his development. — Jordan Raanan

Week 7 rating: 32

Who must step up: QB Sam Darnold

In 5 begins, Darnold is averaging lower than 200 passing yards per recreation, with twice as many interceptions (six) as landing passes (three). He may not be again subsequent 12 months if the Jets land the No. 1 general decide, however they need him to play well to spice up his commerce worth for the offseason in the event that they determine to make a change. The factor is, if he performs properly, it might end in a few wins, which might price them Trevor Lawrence. Ah, such a dilemma. — Wealthy Cimini

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