Through eight weeks of the NFL season, one thing is clear:
There aren't many good teams in this league. In fact, there are many bad ones. In the AFC, four teams are 4-3, and four teams 3-4. Of those teams, if the season ended today, the Dolphins and the Colts would be in the 5 and 6 spot, respectively. Not many people saw that coming in the beginning of the season. Ryan Tannehill and Andrew Luck have brought hope to the Dolphins and Colts.
In the NFC, after a hot start, the Cardinals have come back to life, dropping their last four games, and show no signs of turning it around. The Vikings, at 5-3, are fresh off of a 35-17 beatdown at home to the Buccaneers. The Eagles and Cowboys have the same problems they had a season ago: They cannot finish out games. Seriously, who can you even trust in the NFL this season?
The Patriots? Can you really trust that defense?
The Ravens? You certainly cannot trust that defense this season. No way.
The Bears? Not with Jay Cutler. Nope. That's impossible to trust.
You see my point. The NFL is wide open this season, and especially the AFC. Would it surprise me if the Giants went back to the Super Bowl? Not at all. How about the Steelers? Not in the least bit.
It's going to be a very interesting postseason.
Without further ado, here are my power rankings for Week 9.
1. Atanta Falcons: 7-0. Having any second thoughts that this Falcons team is for real? Matt Ryan made the Eagles defense look silly on Sunday.
2. Houston Texans: 6-1. The Texans come out of the bye week and host a Bills team giving up a league-worst 176.9 yards per game on the ground. Arian Foster will have a feast on Sunday.
3. New York Giants: 6-2. They hung on in Dallas and now have a three-game lead in the NFC East. The Giants have won four straight since losing to the Eagles in Week 4.
4. San Francisco 49ers: 6-2. After back-to-back wins over the Seahawks and Cardinals, the NFC West still belongs to the 49ers. When Alex Smith plays well, they are nearly impossible to beat.
5. Chicago Bears: 6-1. The Bears have capitalized on their soft schedule and are quietly just a game behind the Falcons in the NFC. Winning ugly is their Forte.
Which team will represent the AFC in the Super Bowl?
6. Green Bay Packers: 5-3. It wasn't pretty, but the Packers hung on against the Jaguars. Up next, they get the reeling Cardinals at Lambeau Field.
7. New England Patriots: 5-3. Tom Brady put on a clinic in London, hitting Brandon Lloyd and Rob Gronkowski for two touchdowns each. They get a bye week before hosting the Bills and Colts the next two games.
8. Baltimore Ravens: 5-2. Did the Ravens fix their defense over the bye week? We'll find out with games against the Browns and Raiders in their next two games.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers: 4-3. The Steelers look to go 3-0 against the NFC East this season when they travel to the Meadowlands to play the Giants.
11. Miami Dolphins: 4-3. In this AFC, the playoffs are a real possibility for the Dolphins. Now, they just hope Ryan Tannehill's injury isn't too bad.
12. Minnesota Vikings: 5-3. The Vikings picked a bad time to play their worst game of the season. The schedule only gets tougher from here.
13. Indianapolis Colts: 4-3. Andrew Luck did it yet again on Sunday, and the Colts playoff chances are real. Next up, they host a Dolphins team in a game with playoff implications. Who saw this coming for either team?
15. Detroit Lions: 3-4. Through seven games, Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson have yet to connect with a touchdown. Madden curse?
16. Dallas Cowboys: 3-4. If Dez Bryant wants to be an elite receiver, he makes that catch to win the game against the Giants. Still, it's hard to spot the Giants 23 points and expect to win.
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 3-4. They dominated the Vikings on the road, but can they continue it? They have a very winnable three-game stretch coming up: @Oak, vs. SDG, @Car.
Who will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl?
19. Cincinnati Bengals: 3-4. Andy Dalton gets his chance to beat a playoff team for the first time in his career with the Broncos and Giants on the horizon. These will be telling games for the Bengals.
20. Washington Redskins: 3-5. Robert Griffin III struggled big time in Pittsburgh, and he will have games like that as a rookie. He's not quite Superman. Yet.
22. Oakland Raiders: 3-4. That's two straight wins for the Raiders, as they have taken advantage of a soft schedule. They look for their third straight when the Buccaneers come to town.
24. Tennessee Titans: 3-5. They blew that one against the Colts, and it will cost them. The rest of the season is seeing if Jake Locker is the answer —if he can stay healthy.
25. St. Louis Rams: 3-5. After scoring the first touchdown of the game, the Rams got outscored 45-0 against the Patriots. Ouch.
26. New Orleans Saints: 2-5. The Saints can't stop anybody on defense, as they are giving up 304.6 yards a game through the air. That loss in Denver was the dagger for their season.
27. Arizona Cardinals: 4-4. Remember that 4-0 start that the Cardinals had? That seems like a lifetime ago. This team has major problems.
28. Buffalo Bills: 3-4. Unless something magical happened to the Bills defense over the bye week, this team will fade quickly. Giving up 176.9 rushing yards per game will not cut it.
29. Cleveland Browns: 2-6. Don't look now, but the Browns have won two of three games. Break them up. Just kidding.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars: 1-6. They competed in Green Bay but simply don't have enough offense to win games like that. Definitely not without Maurice Jones-Drew.
31. Carolina Panthers: 1-6. Cam Newton's late game troubles were proven again on Sunday in Chicago. The Sophomore slump is for real, indeed.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: 1-6. Through seven games, the Chiefs have not led in any game this season. That's pathetic.