The NFL landscape is one that continuously changes and fluctuates. Week 9 may have given us a slight return to normalcy as favorites won most of their contests, but that only means the power rankings saw major shifts.
The race to be the worst team in football is a virtual dead heat between two AFC squads.
Any guesses who?
And behind the Atlanta Falcons, the top 10 is a convoluted mess of awesomeness.
So let's sort out this NFL season and figure out where your team sits in the power rankings following Week 9.
There may be less talented teams in the NFL, (here is looking at you, Jacksonville) but no team is in worse shambles right now than the Kansas City Chiefs.
Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn are equally inept at QB, Romeo Crennel continues to prove he is not worthy of a head coaching position in the NFL and running back Jamaal Charles is dealing with a neck injury.
The Chiefs are a lost and bewildered franchise in need of a new direction. Perhaps a new GM will be brought into replace Scott Pioli, but the fact remains that the Chiefs have far too much talent to be among the worst teams in football.
It is time for a complete rebuild of the Jacksonville Jaguars organization.
Blaine Gabbert refuses to develop into a starting NFL QB. Justin Blackmon gives highly questionable effort every single week and talent on the roster is sporadic at best.
Jacksonville ranks in the bottom third of the league in most major offensive and defensive categories and the Jaguars have scored more than 20 points just twice all season.
What direction the Jags' head next is anyone's guess, but the current path is a scary one.
If Carolina is going to slowly work its way back up in the power rankings, it is going to do so on the strength of its defense.
The Panthers thoroughly shut down Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins offense and in doing so, restored some faith in this team.
QB Cam Newton still has a long way to go to reverse his sophomore slump, but he will have to do so in tough meetings with the Denver Broncos, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles in the next three weeks.
Carolina is not a playoff team or a threat in the NFC South, but the Panthers still have half of a season to showcase the immense talent they possess.
What exactly do we make of the New York Jets?
New York has won just three games since Week 15 of last season. The offense has shown glimmers of potential, but the fact remains that Mark Sanchez has not properly developed into the quarterback Jets management imagined.
He has the lowest completion percentage of any starting QB in the NFL and is averaging just 207 yards passing per game.
With the struggles of Sanchez and Darrelle Revis missing from the defense, it is hard to see this three-win team turning anything around and making a playoff run.
The Cleveland Browns are not quite as terrible as their 2-7 record may suggest. Yes, Cleveland is a team far from ready to compete within the AFC playoff race or the AFC North division.
However, improvement can be seen nearly each and every week. Brandon Weeden is getting comfortable in the pocket and developing a solid chemistry with fellow rookie Josh Gordon.
Similarly, running back Trent Richardson is exactly the type of steamrolling, downhill runner that Cleveland needed in order to replace the increasingly inefficient Peyton Hillis.
The Browns have four losses this season by a touchdown or less. Once they learn how to win close battles, Cleveland will become a much more intriguing team.
There was a time when Matt Hasselbeck's reinsertion into the starting lineup was seen as a breath of fresh air that could invigorate the Tennessee Titans.
The Titans won two close games over the Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills, running back Chris Johnson showed sings of life and a wild-card berth seemed possible.
Oh, how things have changed.
Tennessee has lost each of its last two games, including a thrashing at the hands of the Chicago Bears. The Titans were thoroughly embarrassed to the tune of 51 points and all of the team's deficiencies were put on display for the world to see.
The Denver Broncos appear to be puling away in the AFC West race, but the Oakland Raiders cannot be counted out just yet.
In Week 9 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Raiders showed they can have a prolific passing game. Carson Palmer threw for 414 yards and four touchdowns while leading a valiant fourth-quarter comeback attempt.
The problem was that he also threw three interceptions. Oakland must limit turnovers and find a way to sustain drives in the coming weeks while also dealing with injuries to Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson.
The Raiders defense is suspect at best, but Oakland's schedule is extremely favorable the rest of the way.
It is hard to look down upon the Buffalo Bills after they posted such a great showing against the Houston Texans in Week 9.
The defense showed how good it can be when firing on all cylinders, but the offense held Buffalo back from pulling off a tremendous upset.
Ryan Fitzpatrick may not be the long-term answer at QB and Chan Gailey may not be the right man as head coach, but there is talent on this roster and plenty of it.
Buffalo has another tough matchup with the New England Patriots in Week 10. A win in that contest will stir up the AFC East pot quite a bit, but the Bills defense must continue to improve.
The Arizona Cardinals have fallen, and they have fallen hard.
Once a 4-0 team sitting atop the NFC West, the Cardinals now look like one of the worst teams in football that may struggle to win six games.
The defense is still among the best in football, but with a mediocre John Skelton lining up behind a pathetic excuse for an offensive line, Arizona has little hope for success this season.
The common theme surrounding the St. Louis Rams for the majority of this season has been that they are not a great team, but they play everyone tough.
Well, a 45-7 loss at the hands of the New England Patriots somewhat changes that notion.
Still, St. Louis is headed in the right direction. The secondary has looked great at times this season and the defense as a whole is much improved.
However, there are not enough offensive weapons (especially without Danny Amendola) for this team to consistently compete with high-powered juggernauts.
The Rams will get there, but not yet.
It does not matter whether Michael Vick or Nick Foles is behind center for the Philadelphia Eagles because the offensive line is a mere shell of the unit led by Jason Peters last season.
The problems surrounding Philly right now may be too numerous to list, but there is no denying that this is a severely flawed football team that lacks passion.
Every week they look more sluggish and disinterested than the last. That is a shame because the Eagles possess more skill than most teams across the league.
The playoffs are virtually out of the question and more changes are clearly coming.
The biggest question is where they will occur.
With just a 1-3 record within the friendly confines of Paul Brown Stadium, the Cincinnati Bengals are not exactly setting themselves up for success as this season wears on.
The Bengals have the right pieces in place, but it is tough to know which team is going to show up each week. The AFC North is still winnable, even if it is a long shot. Cincinnati must find a way to take advantage of the upcoming part of its schedule.
Games with the Chiefs, Raiders and Chargers are all approaching within the next four weeks. Cincinnati has a lot to prove, but the opportunity is right in front of them.
When the Washington Redskins become healthy and learn how to play consistent football, they will become a scary good football team.
Unfortunately, that time is not coming this season.
Robert Griffin III is exciting, but the Panthers clearly showed that he can be stopped.
Three straight losses have left the Redskins reeling. RGIII, Alfred Morris and Ryan Kerrigan clearly signal a bright future for this team, but patience is essential.
The New Orleans are clawing their way back towards relevance, but it is still an uphill climb.
A Monday Night Football win over a struggling Philadelphia Eagles team is a start that can lead the Saints on the road to a wild-card berth.
The defense is still terrible against the pass, allowing more passing yards per game than any other team in the NFL. Can New Orleans improve that defense enough to string together valuable wins?
Week 10 brings with it a game against the undefeated Atlanta Falcons, so that question will be answered sooner rather than later.
I am convinced the Dallas Cowboys will always underachieve. They will show just enough glimpses of their potential to keep everyone interested, but ultimately they will collapse and lose games they should win with ease.
There is talent in every nook and cranny of this roster, yet the Cowboys sit at 3-5, looking for answers and victories.
The NFC East crown is still attainable, but it is going to take a massive turnaround from a Dallas squad that changes identities on a week-to-week basis.
The type of turnaround that the Cowboys have never shown they are capable of making.
It's amazing how good a team can look after playing the Kansas City Chiefs. Suddenly the San Diego Chargers are a relevant 4-4 team with a realistic shot at winning the AFC West.
We have seen this before. In fact, we see it every year. Pressure again rides on Norv Turner to keep his job and lead this team to the playoffs.
Pressure again falls on QB Philip Rivers to make smart decisions and take hold of the offense. These things are all possible, but the pieces must all fit into the puzzle properly.
San Diego has just two division games remaining, but if there is one thing we know about the Chargers, it is that they are never out of a race.
The Miami Dolphins and Ryan Tannehill played a fantastic game in Week 9 as they lost to the Indianapolis Colts by a score of 23-20.
Unfortunately, Andrew Luck was a little better, throwing for a rookie record 433 yards and proving why he was taken No. 1 overall.
Still, there is much reason for hope and optimism surrounding the Dolphins. Reggie Bush gives this team a legitimate ground game and an AFC Wild Card is still very much so in the discussion.
One area that must be fixed is the Dolphins 30th-ranked pass defense. Stopping the pass will go a long way towards earning nine or 10 wins.
The Minnesota Vikings are still way ahead of schedule on their development, but after two straight losses, this team is clearly coming back down to earth.
Christian Ponder has lost some of his early season luster and this offense is again being carried mainly by Adrian Peterson.
Is that a bad thing? Not completely, but Ponder must play well for Minnesota to win games down the stretch.
The NFC North is one of, if not the strongest division in football and five of the Vikings' remaining seven games will be played within the Black and Blue division.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are hitting their offensive stride at the perfect point of the season.
Doug Martin is emerging as a Rookie of the Year candidate (251 yards rushing will do that) and Josh Freeman has thrown for at least 247 yards in each of the past five games.
The Buccaneers are a team with an identity and an attitude now. They play hard for coach Greg Schiano and each of their four losses this season are by a touchdown or less.
Atlanta long ago ran away with the NFC South division, but upcoming games with San Diego and Carolina offer a prime opportunity for Tampa Bay to gain ground in the wild-card race.
Accept it, the Seattle Seahawks are for real, folks. Well, as long as they play at home.
There is no team in football that appears so different based on home or road games. However, Seattle is a team that is growing and evolving.
Russell Wilson is playing beyond even the most optimistic of expectations that anyone could have made and Marshawn Lynch has been in a season-long state of "Beast Mode."
A Week 9 win over the Minnesota Vikings was impressive, but the game everyone is highlighting on the schedule comes in Week 16 when the San Francisco 49ers come to town.
Maybe, just maybe, the Detroit Lions are becoming the team they are capable of. Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford are still unable to connect for touchdowns and the secondary still cannot stop a nosebleed, but Detroit is straightening things out.
The offense is succeeding because a plethora of options are emerging and helping to put points on the board. The best example of this was Mikel LeShoure exploding for three rushing touchdowns against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 9.
A balanced offensive attack can only mean good things moving forward and the NFC playoff race is now firmly within reach.
The Indianapolis Colts are 11th in the power rankings. I'll say that one more time, the Colts are 11th in the power rankings.
Now that everything has sunk in, let's examine the strengths of this football team. Andrew Luck has played well beyond his years at QB and the team is playing for Chuck Pagano and a cause beyond anything most of us can possibly imagine.
Can Indy keep winning games against teams with superior talent? They will have to. The Colts have yet to play either of their divisional matchups with the Houston Texans and teams like the New England Patriots and Detroit Lions are lurking as well.
At 6-2 and atop the AFC North division, it almost pains me to put the Baltimore Ravens at just the tenth position on this list.
However, a narrow victory against the Cleveland Browns is hardly a signal of dominance and this is clearly a team missing crucial pieces.
Can the Ravens continue to win without Ray Lewis? Will offensive coordinator Cam Cameron continue to give Ray Rice the ball 25-plus times a game as he finally did last week?
These are critical questions for Baltimore, but they are fully capable of meeting and exceeding expectations.
Early season questions about the New England Patriots are quickly evaporating now that the team has won four of its past five games.
New England has the highest scoring offense in all of football and has scored at least 23 points in each of the past five games.
There are still issues, particularly in the secondary, but the Patriots finally have some semblance of offensive balance and are stout against the run.
We all know the Patriots will be a factor down the stretch and games against Houston and San Francisco will make things interesting.
When the Pittsburgh Steelers show up as they did in Week 9 against the New York Giants, it is easy to fall in love with this team.
They can suddenly plug in anyone at RB and get 100 yards on the ground. Ben Roethlisberger is a consistently underrated elite QB and the defense ranks in the top ten against both the rush and the pass.
Injuries have not been kind to the Steelers and players like Antonio Brown and Troy Polamalu are sorely missed from the depth chart.
However, Pittsburgh finds ways to compete and contend every season. Beating the Giants was a serious statement to the rest of the league.
The Denver Broncos' three losses this season have come at the hands of the Falcons, Patriots and Texans.
Losing is never acceptable, but for a team just now hitting its stride, it is clear that the Broncos are among the most elite in football. They do not lose games they should win and have scored at least 30 points in three straight weeks.
Denver has won four of its past five games and has survived one of the most grueling first-half schedules in football. The rest of the way is not exactly easy sailing, but anything less than 10 wins would be a serious letdown for the Broncos and MVP candidate Peyton Manning.
It is hard to drop the New York Giants in the power rankings after a hard-fought loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. For once, Eli Manning was unable to rally the team in the fourth quarter.
Excuses are never allowed in the NFL, but this was a tough week for New York in the midst of Hurricane Sandy and one bad game is not indicative of the caliber of play the Giants have showcased this season.
The defense must stop allowing big plays and the rushing game undoubtedly has room for improvement, but make no mistake about it, this is one of the best teams in the NFL.
The Green Bay Packers are seriously heating up just in time for their Week 10 bye. Aaron Rodgers has regained his MVP form of a season ago and the Packers offense has scored at least 24 points in five straight games.
A running game may never develop and wins may not always be pretty, but a Rodgers-led attack is never out of a game. This bye gives receivers Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings more time to get healthy and prepare for a tough remaining slate of games.
Five of the Packers' remaining seven games will be played within the NFC North, a division that is becoming increasingly intriguing with each passing week.
Coming off of a Week 9 bye, the San Francisco 49ers have another chance to prove their dominance over the NFC West division as they face off against the St. Louis Rams.
The 49ers have had frustrating moments this season; a Week 3 loss to the Minnesota Vikings comes to mind, but there are few weaknesses on this team.
One of the best defenses in the NFL and an offense that plays an old-fashioned brand of football have led San Francisco to the top of the NFC heap.
A Week 11 showdown with the Chicago Bears will settle the debate of who has the NFL's best defense, but more importantly it can give the 49ers momentum into a road-heavy conclusion of their season.
There were no questions about the validity of the Chicago Bears defense heading into Week 9, but Chicago still decided to silence any doubters that may have remained.
The Bears defense causes turnovers in every way possible and are scoring points at a rate comparable with some teams' offenses. Jay Cutler is finding a rhythm and has helped Brandon Marshall elevate his game to among the best in all of football.
Marshall has seven touchdowns on the young season and Chicago has won six straight games. This is a dangerous team with strength on the ground and through the air.
The NFC North is going to beat itself up towards the end of the season, but the Bears have put themselves in tremendous position approaching the home stretch.
Outside of a Week 6 embarrassment at the hands of the Green Bay Packers, the Houston Texans have looked flat-out dominant all season. Only two of Houston's wins have come by a touchdown or less and the Texans have scored at least 30 points four different times.
The Texans rank in the top five of most defensive categories, including pass defense and rush defense, and have a balanced offensive attack that can hurt you in a multitude of ways.
A Week 9 win over the Buffalo Bills showed that Houston can win the occasional close game, but this is a team that will be measured by what they do once the postseason rolls around.
Until then, Houston's main goal is holding onto the No. 1 spot in the AFC and home-field advantage.
It does not matter if the Atlanta Falcons had won every game this season by two points or 20. The fact remains that they are the lone unbeaten squad in the NFL and continue to impress every single week.
The NFC South is all but clinched and this season is barely halfway over. Matt Ryan is a bona fide MVP candidate with two of the game's premier weapons at his disposal in Julio Jones and Roddy White.
The defense is not perfect, but it is solid. Atlanta can win close games and it can blow teams out of the water. What matters is if the Falcons can finally get over the hump once the postseason starts.
However, they are clearly the best team in football at this point in the season and do not face a team with a winning record until the New York Giants visit in Week 15.