With Week 9 of the 2012 NFL regular season out of the way, there are several major changes to the power rankings after all the turmoil in the league.
Super Bowl contenders fell and unheralded teams keep on climbing as the parody of the NFL continues to rear its ugly head. This is a league of unpredictability.
After another wild week of action, this is where every team in the NFL falls on the power rankings after Week 9.
1. Atlanta Falcons (8-0): While the Atlanta Falcons’ win over the Dallas Cowboys wasn’t the most impressive of the season, the fact that the team has remain perfect so far in 2012 is enough to earn them sole possession of the No. 1 spot.
2. Houston Texans (7-1): With another convincing win—this time over the Buffalo Bills—the Houston Texans continue to prove they are the cream of the AFC crop. With an easier schedule than most other playoff contenders, the Texans are shaping up to be the top Super Bowl contender from the AFC.
3. San Francisco 49ers (6-2): With a perfectly timed bye week to get the entire team healthy, the San Francisco 49ers are looking to break out in Week 10 and start the second half of the season off with a bang against the St. Louis Rams.
4. Chicago Bears (7-1): After destroying the Tennessee Titans in Week 9, the Chicago Bears will face their toughest test of the season against the Houston Texans. With the Bears’ defense playing as well as they have over the first half of the season, this will be an amazing regular-season game.
5. Green Bay Packers (6-3): While many experts have already dubbed the Chicago Bears the cream of the NFC North crop, the Green Bay Packers will look to steal that crown back in Week 10 by knocking off the Detroit Lions and reasserting their divisional dominance.
6. Baltimore Ravens (6-2): After a tough loss to AFC rival Houston Texans and a bye week, the Baltimore Ravens bounced back against the Cleveland Browns and won a close game. If the Ravens want to climb in the power rankings and not fall once again, they need more elite play from young QB Joe Flacco.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3): The Pittsburgh Steelers have been depleted by injuries so far in 2012, yet the team continues to win big games. As long as the Steelers stay in the playoff hunt and continue to get healthy, they will round into shape for yet another deep playoff run.
8. New England Patriots (5-3): The New England Patriots had a bye this week, but four wins in their last five games and a divisional battle with the Buffalo Bills on tap is setting up for Tom Brady and the boys to steal the division once again.
9. New York Giants (6-3): The New York Giants are in what has become an easy NFC East division, but they have yet to take advantage of their schedule. A loss against Pittsburgh in Week 9 won’t help matters, but a game against Cincinnati this week could remedy their issues.
10. Denver Broncos (5-3): Another convincing win for the Denver Broncos led by the elite play of free agent acquisition Peyton Manning has the AFC West there for the taking. With the stellar play of the entire offensive unit, the Broncos will not relinquish their division lead.
11. Indianapolis Colts (5-3): While Peyton Manning continues to succeed in Denver, his successor, rookie Andrew Luck, has been thriving in Indianapolis. With the Colts coming off a tough win against the Miami Dolphins, Luck could be leading his team back to the playoff Promised Land.
12. Seattle Seahawks (5-3): After yet another stunning win over the Minnesota Vikings, the Seattle Seahawks continue to shock the NFL and put together quite the season so far. If the young offense can continue to acclimate to the league, the combination of run offense and strong defensive play has Seattle headed in the right direction.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-4): It is hard to decipher exactly what kind of team the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are right now, but with the stellar running of a rookie running back like Doug Martin, these Bucs will be a threat for years to come.
14. San Diego Chargers (4-4): Yet another team that is the definition of "hot and cold," the San Diego Chargers continue to underperform in big situations. While a win against Kansas City in Week 9 will hold off the calls for Norv Turner’s job, next week’s matchup against Tampa Bay could spell trouble.
15. Minnesota Vikings (5-3): After the team’s second straight loss to the Seahawks, the Vikings will take on divisional rival Detroit Lions in Week 9. If the Vikings want to have any chance at making the playoffs, they must beat the Lions and get on the right track before their bye.
16. Miami Dolphins (4-4): While the Miami Dolphins have played well at times this season, they have looked terrible at times as well. If the Dolphins want to sneak into the playoffs, they will have to step up starting in Week 10 against the Tennessee Titans.
17. Dallas Cowboys (3-5): The Dallas Cowboys suffered yet another close loss, and it is starting to look like the team can’t do anything right. With a tough matchup against a broken Philadelphia Eagles team in Week 10, if Dallas can’t win here, their season will be over.
18. Detroit Lions (4-4): After losing three of their first four games, the Detroit Lions have started to turn things around and have won three of their last four matchups. If they can beat Minnesota in Week 9, the Lions could get themselves back on the right track.
19. Cincinnati Bengals (3-5): Yet another loss—the team’s fourth in a row—has the Cincinnati Bengals moving in the wrong direction once again. Add in a tough Week 10 matchup against the New York Giants and the Bungles are in trouble.
20. St. Louis Rams (3-5): The St. Louis Rams lost three straight games heading into their Week 9 bye, but the hope is that veteran coach Jeff Fisher will have the Rams ready to capitalize on their easier second-half schedule.
21. Arizona Cardinals (4-5): Despite the fact that the Cardinals won their first four games, the team has looked flat-out awful for the most part in the last five matchups. If Arizona can’t defeat the undefeated Atlanta Falcons, they will fall out of playoff contention for the rest of the season.
22. Philadelphia Eagles (3-6): The Philadelphia Eagles came into the 2012 season as one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl, but a horrible start to the season and injuries at key offensive line positions have given the team no chance to success. The dream is over.
23. New York Jets (3-5): After losing their last two games and four of their last five, the New York Jets must get back on the right track now to remain a playoff contender. A Week 10 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks may be exactly what the doctor ordered.
24. New Orleans Saints (3-5): After defeating the Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans is still in a monstrous hole and will need an almost perfect second half to steal a playoff spot. While the odds are unlikely, Drew Brees and the Saints’ offense are too good to write off just yet.
25. Washington Redskins (3-6): Now that the overhyping of rookie Robert Griffin II has calmed down, the realization that the Washington Redskins aren’t that good is finally setting in. While the team will be a contender in a few years, 2012 is not their time.
26. Oakland Raiders (3-5): Despite the return of the talented Carson Palmer NFL fans used to know in Cincinnati, the Oakland Raiders defense has been awful. With an easier second-half schedule than most teams, the Raiders won’t be able to take advantage because of their porous defensive unit.
27. Tennessee Titans (3-6): The Tennessee Titans are a gritty team that has faced injuries all season, but they are finally starting to figure out what kind of group they are. If they can keep running back Chris Johnson running well, they could mount a second-half comeback before coming just short of a wild-card spot.
28. Buffalo Bills (3-5): After losing to the Houston Texans in Week 9, the road back to prominence for the Buffalo Bills stays tough with a matchup against bitter AFC East rivals the New England Patriots. The Bills will lose and continue to fall.
29. Carolina Panthers (2-6): It may be too late for the Carolina Panthers’ playoff hopes in 2012, but the team can start building for the future by getting QB Cam Newton and his sophomore slump figured out. If the Panthers get hot in the second half of the season, they will play spoiler to a few potential playoff teams.
30. Cleveland Browns (2-7): After losing the first five games of the season, the Cleveland Browns have strung together two wins in the last four weeks and will look to build off the rest during their Week 9 bye. If rookie Trent Richardson can stay healthy, Cleveland will win some big games down the stretch.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7): The Jacksonville Jaguars are far from the worst team in the league, but they have yet to play up to their capabilities. With a very tough remaining schedule, the poor season is only going to get worse in Jacksonville.
32. Kansas City Chiefs (1-7): With five straight losses and the fact that the team still has not led a game in regulation—their one win came in overtime—the Kansas City Chiefs are the worst team in the NFL right now. They have a ton of talent, but just can’t get it to work together.
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