NFL Power Rankings Week 9: Full Breakdown of All 32 Teams
Contenders have begun to separate themselves from pretenders in Week 9's NFL power rankings.
Six ballclubs were on a bye this week, but plenty of movement still occurred.
Here is the updated power rankings for all 32 NFL teams along with a breakdown of each club.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-8)
Opponents have outscored the Jaguars by 178 points this season; that's 96 more points than any other team has been outscored by. They want Teddy Bridgewater, and they want him badly.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-7)
Three of the Buccaneers' seven losses have come by a grand total of six points, so they aren't as abysmal as the Jaguars. The Mike Glennon-to-Vincent Jackson connection even makes them an interesting team to watch, but that doesn't mean they still wouldn't love Bridgewater.
30. Minnesota Vikings (1-6)
Adrian Peterson deserves better. He's one of the league's best players, but he's been reduced to irrelevance on the shipwrecked Vikings. It's difficult to believe that he carried this team to the playoffs just a year ago.
29. Houston Texans (2-5)
Houston improved mightily from 2010 to 2011 and also from 2011 to 2012. However, this year's Texans team bucked that trend. They have the talent to be Super Bowl contenders once again, but its difficult to imagine them winning a ring with Matt Schaub and Gary Kubiak.
28. Washington Redskins (2-5)
Robert Griffin III has already thrown more interceptions in seven games this season (8) than he did during his entire rookie year (6), and that includes the playoffs—somewhere the Redskins won't be returning to this year.
27. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-5)
Pittsburgh hasn't finished the regular season with a losing record since 2003. After Terrelle Pryor and the Oakland Raiders halted the Steelers' two-game winning streak on Sunday, a .500 record looks improbable, especially with dates against the New England Patriots, Detroit Lions and Cincinnati Bengals left on Pittsburgh's schedule.
26. Atlanta Falcons (2-5)
In the Falcons' defense, their loss on Sunday to the Arizona Cardinals was their first loss this season by more than one score. However, with a one-dimensional passing offense featuring wide receivers Harry Douglas, Drew Davis and the ever-injured Roddy White, it likely won't be their last.
25. Philadelphia Eagles (3-5)
Philadelphia has quarterback injury issues—surprise, surprise. According to Phil Sheridan of ESPN.com, Michael Vick claims to have felt his hamstring "pop" in Week 8 against the New York Giants. The Philadelphia Inquirer's Zach Berman also reported that the concussed Nick Foles has yet to be cleared to relieve rookie Matt Barkley, who's turned the ball over five times in two games.
24. New York Giants (2-6)
George Blanda threw 42 interceptions in 1962. Eli Manning was on pace to challenge his single-season record with 15 of them through the first six games, but back-to-back games without a pick have stymied the most meaningful thing that the Giants could have accomplished this season. Of course, currently only two games back in the division, New York can still make the playoffs and salvage Manning's defeat.
23. Miami Dolphins (3-4)
Through Week 3, undefeated Miami looked like a legitimate playoff contender, and Ryan Tannehill looked worthy of mention in the crop of promising, young quarterbacks. But then four-straight losses happened.
22. Buffalo Bills (3-5)
Buffalo has its moments. The team has beaten the Carolina Panthers and the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, and they also lost to the New England Patriots and Cincinnati Bengals by just a combined five points. The Bills are a developed EJ Manuel and a properly-utilized C.J. Spiller away from being a playoff contender.
21. Cleveland Browns (3-5)
A brutal three-game stretch against the Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs dropped the 3-2 AFC North contending Browns to 3-5. However, if Jason Campbell performs like he did against Kansas City over Cleveland's next three-game stretch—against divisional foes Baltimore, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh—the Browns should be back in the race.
20. St. Louis Rams (3-4)
We learned last week that Sam Bradford is out for the season with a torn ACL. His replacement, Kellen Clemens, has thrown two touchdowns the past five years. Clemens has never held a starting job for an entire season for a reason, and he'll have the Rams out of playoff contention sooner rather than later.
19. New York Jets (4-4)
New York's Nov. 3 showdown with the New Orleans Saints will determine whether this team is a contender or a pretender. It looked like the former two weeks ago, edging out the Patriots 30-27 in overtime. However, the team looked like the latter after a 49-9 slaughter at the hands of the Bengals this Sunday.
18. Oakland Raiders (3-4)
Terrelle Pryor leads the Raiders in passing yards and rushing yards, and he has also led them to a record in which they're one game out of the playoffs. His five-to-five touchdown-to-interception ratio isn't pretty, but he entered the week boasting a higher completion percentage (64.5) than Matt Stafford, Andrew Luck and Tom Brady.
17. Tennessee Titans (3-4)
Before Jake Locker's injury, Tennessee was 3-1, with its lone loss coming in overtime to a healthy Houston Texans team. The Titans only play two teams with winning records the rest of the season—the Indianapolis Colts twice and the Denver Broncos—so the potential for a playoff run still exists.
16. Baltimore Ravens (3-4)
Baltimore's last three losses have come by a total of eight points. The fact that the team could easily have a 6-1 record right now is reason for optimism; the fact that the team agreed to a contract with Joe Flacco worth $120.6 million over the offseason and he can't close out games is reason for pessimism.
15. Chicago Bears (4-3)
Chicago's bye week couldn't have come at a better time. The Bears could be in free fall in the power rankings depending upon how long Jay Cutler's injured groin keeps him out and also how well Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery gel with Josh McCown. They need an explosive offense to counteract their pitiful defense, which surrendered 38 points to the Redskins and 33 points to the Lions this season.
14. Arizona Cardinals (4-4)
A three-point loss to the Rams in Week 1 is the Cardinals' only loss to a team outside of the top six in these power rankings. They also boast quality wins over the Lions and Panthers. As long as Arizona doesn't trade Larry Fitzgerald before the deadline—which ESPN's Adam Schefter reports could happen—the team will be in playoff contention to the end.
13. Dallas Cowboys (4-4)
Dallas has outscored its opponents by 112 more points than the Jets, but both teams share the same record. That is probably because three of Dallas' losses have come by a combined five points. Jerry Jones called the Cowboys' Week 5 loss in a barn-burner to the Broncos a "moral victory," via Clarence E. Hill Jr. of The Star-Telegram, but their last-minute collapse against the Lions on Sunday was heartbreaking.
12. San Diego Chargers (4-3)
Philip Rivers' passer rating is 22.4 points higher than it has been at any point over the past two seasons, and his return to Pro Bowl form has the Chargers in the driver's seat for an AFC wild-card berth. In order to maintain that control, though, it must pull at least one upset against over its remaining schedule, which includes the Bengals and both the Broncos and Chiefs twice.
11. Carolina Panthers (4-3)
Carolina is undefeated this season when Cam Newton has thrown for at least 200 yards without an interception. His 667 passing yards, eight total touchdowns and zero interceptions over the past three weeks have led to the team's three-game winning streak. He must stay efficient against competitors that include the San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints (twice) for the Panthers to stay in contention for a playoff spot.
10. Detroit Lions (5-3)
Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson all but solidified the Lions as playoff contenders, orchestrating the drive of the year against the Cowboys on Sunday. The Packers and the Cutler-less Bears are the only teams with winning records remaining on Detroit's schedule.
9. New England Patriots (6-2)
Tom Brady is having his worst statistical season since taking over the reins in New England in 2001, but the Patriots are still head and shoulders above the rest of the AFC East. If he improves his shockingly low 55.4 completion percentage and eight-to-five touchdown-to-interception ratio, the Patriots will be Super Bowl contenders once again.
8. Green Bay Packers (5-2)
Aaron Rodgers has managed to carry the Packers to the top of the NFC North, despite weapons like Randall Cobb, James Jones, Jermichael Finley and James Starks all missing games this year. Expect easy sledding for the team once Jones and Cobb return. Green Bay doesn't play a winning team outside of the division for the rest of the regular season.
7. Cincinnati Bengals (6-2)
Cincinnati is riding a four-game winning streak after a 49-9 trashing of the Jets on Sunday. Andy Dalton now has quite the arsenal of weapons with the additions of rookies Giovani Bernard and Tyler Eifert alongside A.J. Green as well as the emergence of Marvin Jones. The Bengals are the heavy favorite to win the AFC North crown, with the Colts and Chargers being the only winning teams left on their schedule.
6. San Francisco 49ers (6-2)
San Francisco boasts the longest winning streak in the NFL outside of anyone not named the Chiefs. The 49ers haven't lost in five weeks, and they have won each game by multiple scores. They're still just 1-2 against opponents that currently have winning records, though, and they play the Panthers, Saints and Seahawks in three out of their next five contests.
5. Indianapolis Colts (5-2)
With wins against Broncos, Seahawks and 49ers—beating the last team mentioned by 20 points—no one has more quality victories this season than the Colts. The Bengals and Chiefs are also the only winning teams that they'll face the rest of the way. With its easy schedule and tiebreaker over the Denver, Indianapolis could ultimately challenge for home-field advantage in the playoffs.
4. Kansas City Chiefs (8-0)
Is KC underrated or overrated?
Kansas City's turnaround from worst to first certainly deserves praise. Its the story of the season, and the Chiefs look like a legitimate playoff contender.
Still, they haven't played a single team that currently has a winning record, and a six-point win over Cleveland and one-point win over Houston showed tremendous vulnerability. Jason Campbell and Case Keenum outperformed the Chiefs' Alex Smith in both of those contests, respectively.
Kansas City plays five winning teams the rest of the way—Denver and San Diego twice as well as Indianapolis—and the Broncos will remain the AFC West favorite until the Chiefs knock them off.
3. New Orleans Saints (6-1)
Only once has an opposing team scored more than 18 points on the Saints' defense this season. The last time that they fielded a stop unit this effective, they won the Super Bowl.
Their offense is certainly potent enough to go the distance. All of Drew Brees' efficiency ratings are up from last season, and Jimmy Graham is third in the NFL in receiving yards per game—not among tight ends, but all receivers.
Three years ago, a 7-9 Seahawks team shocked the heavily favored Saints on Wild Card Weekend by the score of 41-36. This season, New Orleans looks like the best bet to knock off Seattle, getting revenge as a result.
2. Seattle Seahawks (6-1)
Seattle hasn't lost a game at Quest Field since 2011. If it locks up home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs—which it's on pace to do—then all signs point to a Super Bowl berth.
The Seahawks will enter their Monday Night Football showdown against the Rams with the No. 1 rushing offense and the No. 3 defense in terms of points allowed this season. Their greatest weakness, an inconsistent passing attack, could be solved once Percy Harvin returns from injury.
They're the team to beat in the NFC until home-field is taken from them.
1. Denver Broncos (7-1)
Denver has outscored its opponents by a combined 125 points this year, which is 31 more than any other team. The team has also scored a grand total of 343 points this season, which is 113 more than any other team.
At the age of 37 years young, Peyton Manning's 123.3 passer rating entering Week 8 was the highest of his career. Three interceptions on Sunday against the Redskins will decrease that stat a bit, but he (again) showed just how overwhelming the Broncos' offense can be by throwing three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter alone. The unit eats up yards so effortlessly that it could boast four 1,000-yard receivers—Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Eric Decker and Julius Thomas—by season's end.
Expect Denver to secure home-field advantage for the second-straight season.
David Daniels is a breaking news writer at Bleacher Report and news editor at Wade-O Radio.
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