NFL Week 9 Power Rankings
Posted by Ryan Courcelle
Another week in the NFL, another week of crazy, weird, bizarre finishes. This year has shown more parity in this league than any other in history. There are 27 teams that have three or more wins through the first 8 weeks of the season. This means pretty much everyone is still in this thing. This week teams that had no business of being on the field with their opponent took them to the brink of huge upsets. In the end, the major upsets were avoided. But just the fact they were that close speaks volumes about this league. Any given Sunday they say, now of course throwing in Mondays and Thursdays. This phrase has never been more appropriate then this year.
But enough of that, you want to get down and dirty with this week’s rankings. Remember, these are rankings not the standings. What these teams did last week or the weeks before only matter to give an impression of what may be to come. A guideline if you will. So without further babbling, here are this week’s power rankings!
1. Atlanta Falcons (7-0)
I don’t think there can be any dispute about the number 1 slot. Atlanta went into Philadelphia, a team that has never lost after a bye week under coach Andy Reid, and dismantled them. That was an impressive display by the offence in the first half to allow them to coast the rest of the way. This team looks to be for real.
2. Houston Texans (6-1)
Can a team on a bye move up the rankings? They can if the team ahead of them has trouble beating the Jags and the team behind them has trouble beating the Panthers. So here they stand, number 2 in the Power Rankings. After next week’s match-up with the Bills they should have the strangle hold on this slot. They should ride that D and that running game all the way to the division title.
3. San Francisco 49ers (6-2)
They looked far more superior then the rest of the teams in this area this week. They took care of business versus a reeling Arizona Cardinals team. Alex Smith set a record with his 18/19 night. That is exactly what Alex Smith needs to do, just make the plays when called upon. He doesn’t need to do too much, this team can and will win on defence and the run game. Basically, Alex Smith needs to be Ben Roethlisberger his first couple of years in Pittsburgh.
4. Chicago Bears (6-1)
This team reminds me, and probably everyone, of that 2006 team that went to the Superbowl. They rely entirely on special teams and an opportunistic defence. It looks like they are lucky getting all these turnovers, but when does luck turn in to just skill at getting after the ball? The problem with that formula is this, if they run into a team that doesn’t turn the ball over are they good enough on offence to win that way? I don’t know about that. But, that’s not really a problem right now as the defence always seems to be there, even if they need to score points like on Sunday.
5. Green Bay Packers (5-3)
Maybe they should be lower after their embarrassingly close game with the Jaguars on Sunday. It is inexcusable for a team with so much talent and experience to be that close with a team as bad as the Jags. This is the story of this team. They quite often play up to and down to their opponents. It’s something such an experienced team should stop at some point. I still have faith this team will put it all together by the end. Charles Woodson injury notwithstanding.
6. New England Patriots (5-3)
The Patriots make a jump over the Giants this week, after-all, this is a regular season power rankings not a Superbowl one. They destroyed a decent St. Louis team in London, England on Sunday, 45–7. They could actually be higher on this list, I just don’t trust the the run game and defence yet. I know what the numbers say. But I want another win against a big time team. Although, the Pats could easily be undefeated after losing 3 games by a combined 4 points this season. That’s painful!
7. New York Giants (6-2)
Was there a team that won a bigger game this week? The Giants came away with a victory from Dallas (maybe they should name that stadium, Giants Stadium?) putting 3 games in the win column between them and the next closest team in the division. The problem with this game and this team is, they Cowboys handed them the game. They gave the Giants 20 points off of turnover in just over a quarter of football. The Giants offence did not move the ball and did not score an “unassisted” touchdown in the entire game. The defence looked great in the beginning then proceeded to get shredded. Dallas had no business being in this game after the first quarter. The fact they came back and went ahead at one point is a shadow on this Giants team. They can’t put teams away and relax too early. If Dez Bryant wears as size 10 glove instead of size 11 Dallas wins in incredible fashion. This team needs to clean it up.
8. Denver Broncos (4-3)
This team is getting better and better. Peyton Manning is looking more and more like the old Peyton, like that hasn’t been said after every week. With Peyton getting better and the defence rounding in to form, this team looks to go on a roll. I’d be a little surprised if they are not somewhere VERY close to the top 5 within a couple of weeks. They don’t really have a glaring weakness.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3)
The Steelers kept super rookie RGIII under wraps on Sunday. Washington was only able to muster one TD for the game. If it weren’t for two game lapses against the Raiders and Titans this team would be much higher. If they can keep up the consistency, this team is experienced and talented enough to take down the division. Getting Troy Polamalu back will help greatly.
10. Baltimore Ravens (5-2)
The Ravens jump a spot while on bye because the Vikings looked like shit and no one around them did anything to jump in to this spot. I don’t believe the Ravens will be making the playoffs this year. The defence is too banged up. Getting Suggs back and now with a week to recover may help and that’s why they are this high. They will need the offence to play well to make any noise. That’s appropriate as the defence has carried this team for years.
11. Dallas Cowboys (3-4)
This Cowboys team just lost a game in which they completely dominated. They dominated the game on the offensive side and the defensive side of the ball. But, like they tend to do, they shot themselves in the foot and handed the game over. This time they did it in the first quarter. Romo throwing poor passes, guys running the wrong routes, Bryant fumbling punts. Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. BUT, I saw something in the Cowboys during their comeback that I haven’t seen from this group, GUTS. They showed some mental toughness by coming back again and again. After all the miscues, this team was a Dez Bryant fingernail away from winning this game. They showed me more in this loss than in any win they’ve had this year. They also have a habit of ruining team’s perfect seasons, bank on them going into Atlanta and pulling out a win next week. Tony Romo needs a flawless game or his job is on the line.
12. Miami Dolphins (4-3)
Sorry Dolphins fans, I was wrong. Did I really have this team ranked below the Jets last week? I had no faith but it is growing a little bit. The defence is for real and Tannehill seems to do enough to get the job done. I don’t know how they are doing it but they are. Tannehill needs to be healthy to keep this ranking though. Pray Dolphin fans!
13. Seattle Seahawks (4-4)
I know, I know, the Seahawks beat the Cowboys a few short weeks ago. Why, oh why, are they now ranked below the Cowboys? They were both losers this week, right? Well, the difference is the Cowboys dominated the defending SB champs in every which way and shot themselves in the foot, while the Seahawks lost to a team I had ranked in the 20s last week. They are 4-4, 3-0 at home. This seems like a team that can only win at home. I see 8-8 in the future with not much upside from that.
14. Detroit Lions (3-4)
The Lions have finally shown up? Well, we will see. But beating the pretty good Seahawks is a good start. I liked this team coming into this season so I’ll jump back on the bandwagon a little bit. I couldn’t imagine the offence being this bad then and I can’t now. So having it show some life is enough for me. They also get a layup against Jacksonville this week so a .500 record going in to the next power rankings. Can’t see them moving up too much next week after a big jump this week. Not many points to be gained by beating Jacksonville in my books.
15. Cincinnati Bengals (3-4)
Another team that moves up by not playing. That’s what happens when everyone around you on the rankings loses. They have a tough match up versus Denver at home this week. This presents an opportunity to get a bump in the rankings if they can take out the Peyton led Broncos. Andy Dalton and the Bengals need to do much better on 3rd downs if they hope to compete.
16. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4)
The Eagles are loaded! Too bad they aren’t playing like it. I can’t penalize them too much for losing to the top ranked team. The loss definitely raises some red flags though. It was a home game after a bye. The Eagles simply don’t lose those games in the Andy Reid era. The talk has been Mike Vick is going to be sitting on the bench this week. But, Andy Reid has come out and said, Vick will be the starter this week. The have a dangerous Saints team in New Orleans this week. That should help Vick look good, but the defence will have to hold up at least a little bit against the Drew Brees led Saints offence.
17. Indianapolis Colts (4-3)
This team really isn’t suppose to be winning right now. They gutted their veteran team in the off-season, leading many to believe they would be fighting for that #1 spot in the draft again next year. Andrew Luck has played very well, but the defence not allowing points at an alarming rate is what has made the difference. They have the 7th ranked passing defence which has helped them allow 30 points only twice this season. They are playing another surprise team, the Dolphins, this week. Lets see who takes it. I’m obviously betting on the Dolphins.
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4)
Josh Freeman has been on an incredible role the last few games throwing for 1,010 yards over that span. Those 3 weeks since the bye have resulted in a 2-1 record and an average of 34 points per game. The Bucs passing defence is bad so I didn’t think there was a chance the offence would be able to keep up most games. They are currently proving me wrong. Josh Freeman seems to have turned a corner. Rookie Doug Martin playing out of his mind probably helps just a tad as well.
19. Minnesota Vikings (5-3)
Sorry Vikings fans, getting blown out by the Bucs at home and not being a team with a track record where I can forgive that drops you like a rock. I know, I know, the record is still good. But will anyone be shocked if this team doesn’t win 9 games this year? I wont be. They are a team with a very young QB still learning the pro game. The lack of a decent passing game, currently ranked 27th, will hurt this team in the long run in this pass first league.
20. Washington Redskins (3-5)
The Redskins lost a game to the much more experienced Steelers last week. Not a huge shock, but they did put RGIII in his place a little bit. With all the injuries on defence this team will only go as far as RGIII can take them. Unfortunately, he may be showing some chinks in the armour. I could see this team dropping greatly, unless of course RGIII puts his superman cape back on.
21. New Orleans Saints (2-5)
A loss in which the offence even looked bad. On Sunday Night Football no less. If the offence can’t keep up this team will get blown out. It’s that simple. This defence will NOT help at all, not even a little bit. Keeping a team under 35 points should be considered a win. Meaning, this team needs to put up 35+ a game to pile up some wins. They are capable, but that’s a tall order for any team.
22. Buffalo Bills (3-4)
Buffalo can’t be moved up the board even though they had some teams lose in front of them. Mario Williams had wrist surgery, even with him they have been playing poorly up front. I don’t see them being able to beat the teams that are higher up this ranking. Inconsistent QB play and a BAD run D is not a good combination. They have the Texans this week, it’s very probable this team will toss another tally in the loss column this week. I just hope it’s not as bad as the thrashings they have received in the losses so far.
23. Oakland Raiders (3-4)
The Raiders went out and did what they were supposed to do. They beat a bad team convincingly. This game against the Chiefs was never really in doubt. They have been so up and down, it’s nice to see them take care of business. If they can slow down the Tampa Bay Bucs offence this week they stand a great chance to win. Darius Heyward Bey and Denarius Moore should have a field day with Carson Palmer throwing the ball versus this weak pass defence.
24. Tennessee Titans (3-5)
They are inconsistent in all facets of the game. This allows them to look great at some points in games and look horrendous in others. Matt Hasselbeck just does not have the arm to utilize all the weapons he has on the outside. He is also not using Jared Cook, the tight end, to the best of his abilities either. The defence has been brutal all year, allowing 30+ points in 6 of 8 games. They can beat most mid-level teams and compete with top level teams, but they can also lose to any team in the league.
25. Cleveland Browns (2-6)
Great win last week versus the Chargers. Holding San Diego to 6 points is a great win for this defence. This team is close to really competing in this league. They keep everything close and have wins over the Bengals and Chargers, both teams were playoff contenders. They also were seconds away from beating the Eagles in the season opener. It will not be surprising to see some more “surprising” wins along the rest of the season from this up and coming team.
26. St. Louis Rams (3-5)
It is a shame this team lost a home game in London this year. It was almost unfair tossing this young inexperienced team over the pond to face the supremely talented and experienced Patriots team. Getting your butt whipped 4000 miles from home and calling it a home game, ouch! The Rams are going to be a good team in a couple of years. They still have too many holes right now to compete with the big boys.
27. Arizona Cardinals (4-4)
This team is not good. There really is not much more to say then that. You do have to start feeling sorry for Larry Fitzgerald at this point. It’s not fair being that good and not being able to showcase it because the QBs can’t get you the ball consistently.
28. San Diego Chargers (3-4)
The last 6 quarters of play for these Chargers has resulted in blowing a 24 point lead, losing two games they should have won and losing to the BROWNS!! That is not acceptable for a team expecting to make the playoffs. I have to say, I’m a little shocked Norv Turner is still behind the bench this week.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6)
I figured they deserve a little bump after their very good showing against the Packers. I still can’t see them winning more than a handful of games max with Blaine Gabbert behind centre. He did have a nice game against the hit or miss Packers defence. What impressed me most this past week was their defence that kept the powerful Green Bay offence at bay for most of the game. Very impressive for this team that lacks talent. Maybe they will get some help if the Tim Tebow rumours that popped up this week are true.
30. Carolina Panthers (1-6)
Here’s a team that would have won the game versus the Bears if their mess of a talented QB didn’t throw a costly pick six. Without that defensive score this team wins. But the problem is, this team just can’t afford for Cam Newton to be anything but brilliant. So far this year he has been anything but and it doesn’t look good going forward. Maybe they can trade a RB that is getting paid way to much for doing waaaaaayyy too little. Paging, Deangelo Williams….or either of the other two.
31. New York Jets (3-5)
The record is OK, and probably doesn’t deserve to be this far down. I just get the feeling this team is ready to blow up, I mean more than they already have. Bringing Tim Tebow to town has destroyed Mark Sanchez. He wasn’t a great QB to begin with, now he’s just plain bad. This team is about to collapse and it’s not going to be pretty. Unless, they change QBs and get some divine intervention….not that I’m a believer in that. But they need something!!
32. Kansas City Chiefs (1-6)
Sorry Chiefs, those around you last week lost as well but did it against much better competition and looked much better doing it. This is probably by far the worst team in the league. But hey, maybe Matt Barkley can help turn things around next year. And you are in Kansas City so you have all that other stuff to do…..oh wait, nevermind. Continue to be miserable, this is going to be a long 9 games.
So, there it is. Another week in the books. This has been the toughest year to do these power rankings because any team can win any given week….or at least most teams can. Again, don’t be pissed off at me for where your team ranks, be pissed off your team isn’t better!! Have something to say? Say it in the comments below or I’ll take it you agree wholeheartedly with these rankings….as you should!