NFL Power Rankings: Week 9

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NFL Power Rankings: Week 9
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Going into week nine, the contenders are separating themselves from the rest, while others are jockeying for draft position already.

Here's my rundown of the NFL, 1-32.

1. New Orleans Saints (7-0)

With three relatively weak opponents coming up, New Orleans could be 10-0 heading into their Monday night matchup with New England in week 12.

2. Indianapolis Colts (7-0)

The Colts face their toughest test of the season when the much improved Texans come to town Sunday.

3. Minnesota Vikings (7-1)

Brett Favre is completing 68 percent of his passes, with 16 touchdowns and just three interceptions. 

He's certainly getting himself into the MVP race.

4. New England Patriots (5-2)

The Pats look to hand Miami its first divisional loss of the season this Sunday.

5. Denver Broncos (6-1)

The Ravens' blitzes were giving Kyle Orton fits last week.

How will he respond to Pittsburgh's suddenly rejuvenated D?

6. Cincinnati Bengals (5-2)

The next two games (vs. Ravens, at Steelers) will tell us quite a lot about whether or not the Bengals are for real.

7. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2)

Ben Roethlisberger is having his best statistical season to date, and is rolling along under the radar.

8. Philadelphia Eagles (5-2)

With the way their offense has been overwhelmingly dominant at times this season, how did they go to Oakland and lose?

9. Dallas Cowboys (5-2)

Their Sunday night matchup at Philadelphia this week isn't a "must-win", but it's certainly a "must be competitive" after their 44-6  drubbing the last time they were in Philly.

10. Houston Texans (5-3)

The season-ending injury to TE Owen Daniels couldn't have come at a worst time: the week before the biggest game in franchise history at Indy.

11. Baltimore Ravens (4-3)

The Ravens' defense looked like the Ravens' defense of years past last Sunday against the Broncos.

12. Arizona Cardinals (4-3)

Just when it looked like they were putting everything together, they lay a major egg in a home loss to Carolina.

13. New York Giants (5-3)

If they lose at home this week to San Diego, it will officially be time to panic for the G-Men.

14. Atlanta Falcons (4-3)

What better way to rebound from tough back-to-back losses than a home game with the lowly Redskins?

15. San Diego Chargers (4-3)

A win this weekend coupled with a Bronco loss puts the inconsistent Chargers right back into the divisional race.

16. Green Bay Packers (4-3)

If Green Bay hopes to return to the playoffs, they're going to need to keep Aaron Rodgers off the ground.

17. Chicago Bears (4-3)

We'll see if Chicago is a playoff contender over the course of their next four games: Cardinals, at 49ers, Eagles, at Vikings.

18. Miami Dolphins (3-4)

Three non-offensive touchdowns in the win at the Jets overshadowed the lack of production from Miami's wildcat.

19. San Francisco 49ers (3-4)

Alex Smith and co. were able to hang with the Colts on the road. 

We'll see how they handle their third-consecutive AFC South opponent when Vince Young and the Titans come to town.

20. New York Jets (4-4)

A hot start plus recent struggles equals an average team.

21. Carolina Panthers (3-4)

If they're able to run the ball like they were Sunday against Arizona, they could slowly creep back into the NFC Wild Card picture.

22. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-4)

Maurice Jones-Drew had 177 yards rushing in the loss at Tennessee Sunday...on eight carries.

Give him the ball.

23. Buffalo Bills (3-5)

Rookie Jairus Byrd's two interceptions Sunday in the blowout loss to Houston marked one of the Bills' few bright spots.

24. Seattle Seahawks (2-5)

TJ Houshmandzadeh has done a whole lot of nothing during his first season in the Pacific northwest.

25. Tennessee Titans (1-6)

Vince Young looked very comfortable managing the offense in Sunday's win over the Jags, and Chris Johnson was unbelievably good.

26. Washington Redskins (2-5)

Only this year could a team this bad still be so high in the rankings.

27. Oakland Raiders (2-6)

I mentioned this earlier, but it's still baffling. 

How did this team beat the Eagles?

28. St. Louis Rams (1-7)

Steven Jackson's game winning run against the Lions was his first touchdown of the season.

29. Kansas City Chiefs (1-6)

In two weeks, the Chiefs are set to avenge a loss earlier this season at the hands of the Raiders, in what's sure to be one of the least-anticipated games in league history.

30. Detroit Lions (1-6)

I was completely shocked that this team lost to the winless Rams at home.

This is the last time I set relatively high expectations for the freaking Lions .

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-7)

The NFL's last winless team has an extremely ominous-looking schedule the rest of the way.

32. Cleveland Browns (1-6)

Derek Anderson said he was upset that Eric Mangini decided to bench him at the end of the game against Chicago.

When your QB rating is 10, and you've been playing on the same level as JaMarcus Russell for several weeks, how can you possibly think that you deserve to be playing?

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