Advertisement 8. Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs defense has been a problem, which is why they’ve dropped to 8 after holding the top spot for several weeks earlier in the year. They’re 30th in the NFL in yards per play allowed, and have given up 29 or more points in 4 of the last 5 weeks.Offensively, K.C. leads the NFL in yards per play (6.26), and Alex Smith has 16 touchdowns and 0 INT’s through 8 weeks, but they’ve been held under 100 yards rushing in their last 3 games after rushing for more than 100 in their first 5. They need to get their defense figured out and the biggest question is if they can get it done in the playoffs. 4. Dallas Cowboys – Colin still has the Cowboys at 4, despite the apparent loss of Ezekiel Elliott for 6 weeks because he loves their offensive and defensive line play. Dallas ranks 2nd in rushing offense (150.6 YPG), 5th in scoring (28.3 PPG), but will need a running back by committee to replace Elliott, who is tied for 1st in rushing touchdowns (6), and 3rd in total scrimmage yards per game (128.6). Colin thinks they can still get production from Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris behind their mashing o-line until Zeke returns.Demarcus Lawrence leads the NFL with 10.5 sacks, and as a team Dallas ranks 5th in the NFL with 25 sacks. The Dallas D has been one of the most surprising units in the NFL. Dak will need to step up with the absence of Elliott. 2. Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles picked up Jay Ajayi, which gives them a scary downhill running back combo, along with LeGarrette Blount. Carson Wentz is tied for the NFL lead with 19 touchdown passes, and as a team they rank 1st in the NFL in time of possession (33:57), scoring differential (+76), and are scoring touchdowns on 68% of their red zone trips.They lead the NFL in rushing defense, allowing just 70.4 yards per game, and are only allowing opponents to convert 31% on third downs. Philly is a contender. 9. L.A. Rams – The Rams are still good enough to make the Top 10, but they can’t seriously contend because Jared Goff isn’t there quite yet. In his last four games, Goff is completing just 53.9% of his passes, with 4 TD’s, 3 INT’s, and a passer rating of just 74.2.Colin loves their pass rush, run game and they may have the best special teams in the NFL, but they aren’t ready to make a deep playoff run this year. Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks are coming off an impressive win over a tough Houston team, and just bolstered their below average o-line by picking up All-Pro tackle Duane Brown from them in a trade.Since Week 3, Seattle ranks 1st in passing offense (318.6 YPG), 2nd in total offense (411.0 YPG), and 3rd in scoring (30.8 PPG). Russell Wilson is 2nd in the NFL with 286.9 passing yards per game. Seattle has the pieces to get it done and win it all. Colin moves them up to 1 this week.The Seahawks are the best team in the NFLRT if you agree with @ColinCowherd pic.twitter.com/JO7axtBpFL— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) October 31, 2017 5. Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers have turned it around after a slow start because they’re pounding Le’Veon Bell. During their 3-game win streak, Bell is averaging 30.7 rushes per game and 129.7 yards per game, and in his career, Pittsburgh is 19-0 when he gets 23 or more carries in a game.Defensively, Pittsburgh is 1 of 2 teams to have multiple sacks in all 8 games, and has the 3rd best scoring defense in the league (16.4 PPG). 3. New England Patriots – This New England offense may be the deepest, personnel wise, they’ve had in the Belichick era. They’re 1st in total offense (411.1 YPG), 1st in passing offense (302.1 YPG), and Tom Brady leads the NFL in passing yards per game (317.6), and is 2nd in passer rating (106.5).They’re still terrible defensively, ranking 32nd in yards per play allowed (6.59), total defense (417 YPG), and passing defense (295.5 YPG Allowed). Colin still thinks Brady and Belichick can get it done in the playoffs if they can just get the defense to average. 7. New Orleans Saints – New Orleans is the one of the surprise teams in the NFL because they’re playing real defense and running the ball.The Saints have 11 takeaways during their current 5-game win streak with at least 1 turnover in each of those games, and are only allowing 4.67 yards per play over that span. They’re also averaging 138 rush yards per game during the streak, with 7 TD’s on the ground. Drew Brees and Sean Payton have turned it around thanks to their new found balance. Every Tuesday during the NFL season, Colin puts out his Herd Hierarchy NFL power rankings, and there’s movement after Week 8. This week, the Rams drop, the Vikings are back in, and there’s a new #1.Here are his Top 10 teams after Week 8:10. Minnesota Vikings – Colin likes the Vikings, even with backup Case Keenum under center, and it’s mostly because they have one of the best defenses in the league. The Minnesota D is ranked 3rd in total defense (282.1 net YPG), 4th in rushing defense (81.4 YPG), scoring defense (16.9 PPG), and elite pass-rusher Everon Griffen is tied for 2nd in the NFL with 10 sacks.The Vikings offense may not be spectacular, but because they rank 5th in the league in time of possession (31:27), it gives them a chance to win. They’d be higher if they had an above average quarterback. 6. Houston Texans – Houston and Deshaun Watson have been impressive, but the loss of All-Pro tackle Duane Brown in a trade with Seattle hurts. They’ve allowed a QB pressure on 43.2% of dropbacks, which is the worst in the NFL. Brown would have helped shore up the protection, but now he’s gone.Since Will Fuller returned in Week 4, Watson is averaging 9.44 yards per pass, with 16 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, and a passer rating of 116.0. Colin likes the roster, weapons and Watson has exceeded all reasonable expectations.
Administration’s Global Health Cuts Could Lead To ‘Catastrophic Loss Of Life’ The White House proposes reducing funding to major programs including the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, help for aid organizations that provide family planning and other health services and contributions to the United Nations Population Fund. Meanwhile, experts are “very concerned” that the Trump administration is not prepared to deal with a pandemic outbreak, and an idea that all research should serve a national purpose sparks debate. A musical called “The Great Immensity” made its New York premiere in 2014, the product of nearly $700,000 in grants from the National Science Foundation. Aimed at increasing awareness of the widespread impacts of climate change, the musical featured one song that explained the emergence of the global economy and another on the extinction of the passenger pigeon. It was widely panned. The production, however, made a brief comeback earlier this year — not on stage, but in an outline of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s authorization and oversight plan. According to the committee, grant awards like the ones used to fund the musical necessitated a crackdown: Lawmakers must ensure that all grants serve “the national interest.” (Facher, 4/10) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Los Angeles Times: Trump Pushes Historic Cuts In Global Health Aid, Stoking Fears Of New Disease Outbreaks And Diminished U.S. Clout And in other news — The Washington Post: The Trump Administration Is Ill-Prepared For A Global Pandemic Half a century after the United States led a global expansion of international efforts to combat infectious disease and promote family planning, the Trump administration has embarked on a historic retrenchment that many fear threatens the health of millions and jeopardizes America’s standing in the world. Since taking office, President Trump has proposed dramatic cuts to the U.S. Agency for International Development, which has historically spearheaded U.S. efforts to improve women’s and children’s health. (Levey, 4/10) The Wall Street Journal: Impact Of Federal Hiring Freeze Seen At Veterans Affairs, Prisons, Social Security The Trump administration has failed to fill crucial public health positions across the government, leaving the nation ill-prepared to face one of its greatest potential threats: a pandemic outbreak of a deadly infectious disease, according to experts in health and national security. No one knows where or when the next outbreak will occur, but health security experts say it is inevitable. Every president since Ronald Reagan has faced threats from infectious diseases, and the number of outbreaks is on the rise. (Sun, 4/8) Stat: Push For Science In The ‘National Interest’ Puts Some On Edge The hiring freeze President Donald Trump ordered on his first full working day in the White House is threatening to compromise the safety of correctional officers, delay payments to veterans and prevent disabled and retired Americans from getting their Social Security checks on time, union officials and government workers say. (Reinhard and Ballhaus, 4/9)