I really don't think strength is the issue so much as purpose, yes, aside from Sasuke, his team members aren't nearly as strong as the other members of Akatsuki but I don't really see that as an issue. Each member of Akatsuki seems to have been brought into the fold because they had a specific purpose (even though that hasn't been confirmed both Pein and Madara have implied it). Sasuke and his comrades have now filled that void, in the sense in that they are assisting in the next step of Akatsuki's plan. Being an Akatsuki member doesn't necessarily require a specific level of skill, just as being a jounin or chuunin doesn't necessarily indicate ones ability, Sasuke is a Genin but is significantly stronger than most Jounin.
The bigger question for me is why would Madara want Sasuke to be associated with Akatsuki? I was under the impression that Madara wanted Sasuke to start the war so that Akatsuki is not implicated. That way he can get revenge and destroy Konoha while retaining his ambiguity, making Sasuke look like the leader behind the attack on Konoha. If he is waltzing around in an Akatsuki uniform though, that seems unlikely to happen. I suppose only time will tell what Madara's true intentions are for Sasuke.
As far what happened with Naruto this chapter, I think everyone expected things to turn out as they have. My only worry is that Naruto will magically ascend to Pains level in no time, that would be a true shame. I hope Naruto grows immensely during his impending training but I will be very disappointed if it puts him on Pain's level. I think Naruto should face Pain but with a team and still loose forcing Tsunade to step in and save him, dieing in the process, or something along those lines. As it stands, it will be a tall enough order for Naruto to catch up with Sasuke, let alone Pain.
I was particularly amused by the comments of the members of Hawk about Sasuke's eyes. It is good to see Kishimoto realizes what kind of an upgrade he has given Sasuke and is having the other characters take notice of it. I found Suigetsu's comment to be particularly funny and appropriate, it really mirrors the response of the readers I think.