NFL Power Rankings: Reviewing Week 9 Standings After Sunday's Action

David McCracken@crackemcFeatured ColumnistOctober 31, 2016

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 30:  Running back Jalen  Richards #30 of the Oakland Raiders fends off defensive tackle Akeem Spence #97 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during a carry in the fourth quarter of an NFL game on October 30, 2016 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
Brian Blanco/Getty Images

After a second week in a row that featured a tie, it just goes to show how unpredictable the 2016 NFL season has been through eight weeks.

But let's not focus on teams that can't win games in overtime. Instead, let's praise the ones that actually did win on Sunday.

It was business as usual for the New England Patriots, who are the scariest team in the NFL at the halfway point of the season. Since Tom Brady's return from suspension, no team has been even close to competing with them, and no quarterback has been more impressive than Brady since Week 5. The NFL's official Twitter account had to tip its hat to the 39-year-old signal-caller:

The Patriots, who sit pretty at 7-1 and No. 1 in my power rankings after Sunday's slate of games, are the team to beat. But there are some teams that are starting to look like legitimate contenders halfway through the season.

Let's take a look at the other 31 teams in the NFL and see where they ended up. 

NFL Power Rankings After Sunday of Week 8
RankTeamRecord
1New England Patriots7-1
2Minnesota Vikings5-1
3Dallas Cowboys6-1
4Denver Broncos6-2
5Oakland Raiders6-2
6Seattle Seahawks4-2-1
7Kansas City Chiefs5-2
8Atlanta Falcons5-3
9Green Bay Packers4-3
10Buffalo Bills4-4
11Cincinnati Bengals3-4-1
12Tennessee Titans4-4
13Miami Dolphins3-4
14Pittsburgh Steelers4-3
15Baltimore Ravens3-4
16Philadelphia Eagles4-3
17Houston Texans5-3
18Washington Redskins4-3-1
19Detroit Lions4-4
20New York Giants4-3
21Indianapolis Colts3-5
22Arizona Cardinals3-4-1
23Tampa Bay Buccaneers3-4
24New Orleans Saints3-4
25Los Angeles Rams3-4
26Jacksonville Jaguars2-5
27New York Jets3-5
28San Diego Chargers3-5
29Carolina Panthers2-5
30Chicago Bears1-6
31San Francisco 49ers1-6
32Cleveland Browns0-8
David McCracken's Rankings

   

Team on the Rise

No. 5: Oakland Raiders 

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 30: Quarterback Derek Carr #4 of the Oakland Raiders and wide receiver Seth Roberts #10  celebrate in the back of the end zone after connecting on the winning touchdown in overtime against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stad
Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images

The Oakland Raiders, despite a team record in penalties and two missed field goals from Sebastian Janikowski, miraculously beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road 30-24, improving to 5-0 on the road this season.

Not only is Oakland undefeated on the road, but they also own a 6-2 record, which marks the best start for the franchise since 2001.  

For quarterback Derek Carr, it was the best game of his young career. Not only did he lead his team to an overtime win, but he threw for a franchise-record 513 yards and four touchdowns.

Along with Brady, Carr is a midseason MVP candidate and deserves to be recognized for his accomplishments with a young Raiders team that is improving as the weeks go on. Bleacher Report's Chris Simms shared his thoughts on the MVP race:

   

Team on the Fall

No. 28: San Diego Chargers

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 30:  Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers walks off the field after the first half of the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 30, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dus
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Let's make one thing clear: I do not think the Chargers are that bad of a football team. But they just don't know how to win this season.

It's not unreasonable to argue that this team could easily be .500 or have a winning record, competing in the AFC West. But sitting at 3-5 isn't doing San Diego any favors. With the injuries this team has overcome in 2016, it's a miracle the Chargers are even this good through eight games. NFL Network's Rich Eisen noted the depth of the AFC West:

Eisen is correct with his San Diego take. Maybe not undefeated, but the Chargers could certainly be in the playoff picture if things had turned their way earlier this year. Philip Rivers is still a great quarterback, Melvin Gordon is beginning to look like an every-down running back and if the Chargers still had Keenan Allen, Jason Verrett and Danny Woodhead, who knows how good this team could've been?

But as it stands after eight weeks, the Chargers are low on this week's power rankings until further notice.

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