NFL Power Rankings Week 9: Steelers Fall, Brady and Patriots Take Over Top Spot

Bear HeiserFeatured ColumnistNovember 3, 2010

NFL Power Rankings Week 9: Steelers Fall, Brady-Patriots Take Over Top Spot

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    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Week 9 storylines to keep an eye on:

    • Bucs-Falcons battle for the top spot in the NFC South
    • Do the Bills get their first win?
    • Can the Jets rebound in Motown?
    • Will the Dolphins shock us again by winning on the road?
    • Are the Chargers for real?
    • How far will the Vikings fall? How far have the Cardinals fallen?
    • Will the Giants continue their hot streak in Seattle?
    • Chiefs-Raiders big AFC West battle. Over/Under on number of passes thrown--40 
    • Will Andy Reid unleash Mike Vick?
    • Do the Cowboys lay another egg on the big stage?
    • Can the TOCHO show turn the season around on MNF?

    Power Rankings are next. 

32. Carolina Panthers 1-6

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    DeAngelo Williams was inactive for the game against the Rams. He's been a huge disappointment this season.Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 32

    Week 8: 20-10 loss at St. Louis

    I know DeAngelo Williams didn't play--but come one guys! Only 200 yards! I wouldn't be shocked if the Panthers didn't win another game all season. 

    Next up:

    New Orleans Saints 

    I wonder if Matt Moore saw what the Saints defense did to Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers.

31. Dallas Cowboys 1-6

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    Jason Witten has 19 receptions in the past two gamesJeff Gross/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 26

    Week 8: 35-17 loss to Jacksonville

    You may be surprised to see the 'Boys ranked this low. Don't be--they gave up 35 points to the Jags at home. Don't worry about the offense, Jon Kitna will get them going. 

    It's Wade Phillips' defense you should be worried about. How does David Garrard score five touchdowns in four quarters? Mind-boggling!

    Next up:

    at Green Bay on Sunday Night Football

    Even though the Cowboys have been brutal, it's still a must watch. Sometimes it's fun to watch a team self-destruct.

30. Arizona Cardinals 3-4

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    Fitz found the end zone twice against the BuccaneersHarry How/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 29

    Week 8: 38-35 loss to Tampa Bay

    It's like quarterback roulette in Arizona. Which QB kills the Cardinals this week? I bet they wish they had Matt Leinart back.

    How many days till Larry Fitzgerald wants to be traded?

    Next up:

    at Minnesota

    Two teams with quarterback issues. 

29. Buffalo Bills 0-7

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    Johnson has a touchdown catch in five straight games for the BillsRick Stewart/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 31

    Week 8: 

    13-10 OT loss at Kansas City

    Yes--I know the Bills still haven't won a game. They might be the best winless team I have seen this late in a season. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been stellar for the Bills, minus one bad pick against the Chiefs.

    Next up:

    Chicago Bears at Rogers Centre in Toronto

    Perfect time to play the Bears. 

28. Cleveland Browns 2-5

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    Peyton Hillis has been the lone bright spot of the Browns offenseChris Graythen/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 28

    Week 8: BYE WEEK

    Next up:

    New England

    I'm very interested to see Rob Ryan's defense after a week off. Could be a sneaky good game.

27. Denver Broncos 2-6

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    Tim Tebow has now scored a touchdown on two continentsJustin Edmonds/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 20

    Week 8: 

    24-16 loss to San Francisco in London

    Things have gotten bad in Denver. I don't even know what to say. It's not Kyle Orton's fault--I guess. Need to be better defensively, 83 points in two games isn't going to cut it in any division.

    Next up:

    BYE WEEK

26. San Francisco 49ers 2-6

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    Troy Smith gave the Niners offense a much needed sparkWarren Little/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 30

    Week 8: 

    24-16 win over Denver

    First three quarters--3 points

    Fourth quarter--21 points

    Troy Smith looked fairly decent under center. Kind of intrigued by the 49ers right now.

    Next up:

    BYE WEEK

25. Cincinnati Bengals 2-5

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    Terrell Owens has caught a touchdown in three straight gamesKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 23

    Week 8: 22-14 loss to Miami

    Can't win games when Carson Palmer completes only 44% of his passes. This Bengals team has been largely inconsistent. 

    Four consecutive losses is not good for Marvin Lewis.

    Next up: Pittsburgh

    The Bengals have a chance to kick the Steelers while they are down. If they lose this one--the season is OFFICIALLY OVER. Only a matter of time before the TOCHO show dissolves. 

24. Minnesota Vikings 2-5

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    Brett Favre started the game but left after a jaw crushing hitJim Rogash/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 19

    Week 8: 28-18 loss at New England

    There is truly too much wrong with the Vikings to try to summarize in one sentence. So I'm not going to try. 

    Next up: Arizona

    Which team has fallen further since the '09 playoffs? 

23. Washington Redskins 4-4

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    McNabb played his way off the field in DetroitJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 15

    Week 8: 37-25 loss at Detroit

    The 'Skins could be a really good team, but they aren't. Shanahan was supposed to change the culture in DC, but he hasn't. Just like the politics in DC, same sh*t, different day. 

    Has any player been kicked around more than Donovan McNabb? 

    Next up: BYE WEEK

22. Chicago Bears 4-3

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    Matt Forte needs to get the Bears run game going in the second halfJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 21 

    Week 8: BYE WEEK

    Next up: at Buffalo in Toronto

    I don't see the Bears free fall stopping here. Buffalo is playing great football despite being winless.

21. Seattle Seahawks 4-3

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    Hasselbeck was benched in the fourth quarter for extreme inefficiencyEzra Shaw/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 16

    Week 8: 33-3 loss at Oakland

    The difference between the 'Hawks play at home and on the road is astonishing. They've lost 10 of their last 12 on the road. 

    Next up: New York Giants

    If the Seahawks could play all of their games at home, they'd be ranked much higher. Seattle must win special teams to stand any chance.

20. Jacksonville Jaguars 4-4

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    David Garrard has his best day as a pro against the Cowboys, 4 pass TDs, 1 rush TDJ. Meric/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 27

    Week 8: 35-17 win at Dallas

    The Jags are a great team when David Garrard plays well. Just ask the Colts. Problem is--Garrard rarely plays well. 

    Very impressed with how easily they dismantled the Cowboys in Dallas. 

    Next up: BYE WEEK

19. San Diego Chargers 3-5

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    Rivers spread the ball out to eight different receivers against the TitansJeff Gross/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 25

    Week 8: 33-25 win over Tennessee

    Are the Chargers back? They sure looked like it in the win over the Titans. Philip Rivers is doing a lot with only a little. Malcom Floyd, Vincent Jackson, and Antonio Gates form the best receiver-tight end combo in the NFL.

    Next up: at Houston

    The Texans got kicked around on Monday Night Football. A fast start could seal the game early.

18. Detroit Lions 2-5

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    Calvin Johnson caught three touchdown passes in QB Matt Stafford's return to actionLeon Halip/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 24

    Week 8: 37-25 win over Washington

    Matt Stafford threw four touchdown passes against the 'Skins in his first action since week 1 in Chicago. Calvin Johnson caught three of those passes. Now we see what the Lions are made of. 

    Next up: New York Jets

    If the Lions face the same Jets team the Packers did, I'll take the home team. 

17. St. Louis Rams 4-4

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    MLB James Laurinaitis was the Rams defensive MVP against Carolina

    Previously Ranked: 18

    Week 8: 20-10 win over Carolina

    The Rams played their best all around game of the season. Moves them to 4-1 at home and 0-3 on the road. They need to win one on the road to be taken seriously. 

    Next up: BYE WEEK

    The bye week may have come at just the right time for the young Rams. Sam Bradford never played more than 14 games in a season at Oklahoma. 

16. Oakland Raiders 4-4

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    Darren McFadden had his second straight 100 yard game. His fourth in six games this season.Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 22

    Week 8: 33-3 win over Seattle

    Darren McFadden is playing out of his mind. Since his return from injury two weeks ago, he's rushed for 276 yards and scored four touchdowns. Not bad.

    Next up: Kansas City

    This game is pretty important for the Raiders. Kansas City looked shaky last week in the win over Buffalo. Two of the best rush attacks in the league. McFadden-Bush/Charles-Jones.

15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5-2

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    LeGarrette Blount found the end zone twice against the CardinalsHarry How/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 17

    Week 8: 38-35 win at Arizona

    They struggled to beat a bad team. But they won--so what can I really say? They're 5-2 and tied with Atlanta atop the NFC South.

    Next up: at Atlanta

    The Falcons are hot and coming off the bye. Going to be a rough game for the young Bucs.

14. Philadelphia Eagles 4-3

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    Michael Vick returns at the perfect time for the Eagles. A home game against the Colts.Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 13

    Week 8: BYE WEEK

    Next up: Indianapolis 

    Michael Vick returns. DeSean Jackson may return. Team looks much different than it did before the bye. Going to be fun to watch Vick shred the Colts D.

13. Houston Texans 4-3

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 12

    Week 8: 30-17 loss at Indianapolis

    The Texans have played inconsistent football since the win over Indy in week 1. Can't expect to win in Indy when you don't show up all four quarters. 

    Next up: San Diego

    Throw out the records in this one. Neither teams record is representative of how they are playing right now.

12. Tennessee Titans 5-3

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    Britt left the game in the first half with a hamstring injury. Big loss for the Titans passing attackJeff Gross/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 8

    Week 8: 33-25 loss at San Diego

    Not a good week for the Titans. They took a three game win streak into San Diego and left with two huge losses. The first loss was the game--obviously. The second was wideout Kenny Britt. He left early in the game with a hamstring injury.

    Next up: BYE WEEK

    Good news for Kenny Britt.

11. Miami Dolphins 4-3

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    Run Ricky run!!!!!Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 10

    Week 8: 22-14 win at Cincinnati

    Somebody please explain this to me. The Dolphins are 0-3 at home and 4-0 on the road. Hmmmm--I've got nothing.

    Next up: at Baltimore

    Should the 'Fins be favored in this game because they are undefeated on the road? Probably not. Ravens are fresh off the bye.

10. Green Bay Packers 5-3

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    Aaron Rodgers has done a lot with only a little in 2010Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 14

    Week 8: 9-0 win at NY Jets

    I think it's too early to buy into the Packers as legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Aaron Rodgers has looked better. I've got to hand it to the defense, they knocked down nine pass attempts.

    Next up: Dallas on Sunday Night Football

    The Pack's offense needs to rebound after facing the Jets. It will happen against the Cowboys.

9. Kansas City Chiefs 5-2

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    Charles had 238 total yards in the win over BuffaloJamie Squire/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 9

    Week 8: 13-10 win over Buffalo

    I'm interested to see if anybody can stop the Chiefs rushing attack. Have you watched them? If you haven't, try to catch the HUGE AFC West matchup Sunday. 

    Next up: at Oakland

    First of two meetings between the two teams. A huge game, but far from a must win for KC.

8. Atlanta Falcons 5-2

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 7

    Week 8: BYE WEEK

    Next up: Tampa Bay

    The Falcons cannot afford any home losses until they can win on the road. A win would mean a lot to both teams. Not really a marquee matchup on paper, but since when is football played on paper?

7. New Orleans Saints 5-3

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    Drew Brees is back on track. Another 300-yard game and a big win.Matthew Sharpe/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 11

    Week 8: 20-10 win over Pittsburgh

    I was really low on the Saints prior to their win over the Steelers on Halloween. After watching them dominate an offense that has rolled ever since the return of Ben Roethlisberger, I'm back on the bandwagon. 

    Next up: at at Carolina

    I don't care what happened the first time they met. A gimme game if I've ever seen one.

6. Baltimore Ravens 5-2

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    I wonder if Ray Lewis hit anybody during his week offJim Rogash/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 5

    Week 8: BYE WEEK

    Next up: Miami

    The Dolphins are 4-0 on the road, but winless at home. I'd be nervous if I were the Ravens. That's just me though. 

5. New York Jets 5-2

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    The Jets failed to score at home against the PackersJim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 2

    Week 8: 9-0 to Green Bay

    The Jets laid an egg after the bye. Rex Ryan needs to do a better job of getting his team mentally prepared for games. Try comparing the five wins with the two losses. Kind of comical. Next week won't be any easier.

    Next up: at Detroit

    The Lions are a dangerous team with Matt Stafford in the lineup. Revis needs to bring his best.

4. Indianapolis Colts 5-2

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    Tamme was one of Peyton's favorite targets against the TexansAndy Lyons/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 6

    Week 8: 30-17 win over Houston

    I'm going to use this section for my bold statement of the day. Peyton Manning is the greatest quarterback of all time. 

    Next up: at Philadelphia

    More interested in seeing what Eagles can do against the Colts than seeing what the Colts will do to the Eagles.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers 5-2

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    Mendenhall was the only thing New Orleans couldn't stopKarl Walter/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 1

    Week 8: 20-10 loss @ New Orleans

    The Steelers didn't look prepared to play on Halloween. Big Ben has his worst game since coming back from suspension. Rashard Mendenhall was the only thing working for the Steelers on offense. Too bad they only handed him the ball 15 times. 

    Next up: at Cincinnati on Monday Night Football

    Can't afford another loss to a team they should beat. The rest of the division is too good.

2. New York Giants 5-2

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 4

    Week 8: BYE WEEK

    You may not agree with the placement on this one. Quite frankly, I'm OK with that. Ask Jay Cutler how good he thinks the Giants are. 

    Next up: at Seattle

    The 'Hawks are a much better home team. Should be a great test for the well-rested Giants. 

1. New England Patriots 6-1

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    Benjarvus Green-Ellis has six touchdowns in the past five gamesJim Rogash/Getty Images

    Previously Ranked: 3

    Week 8: 28-18 win over Minnesota

    Ever witness a daylight robbery? If Moss signs back with the Patriots, you officially have. 

    You can't say the guy doesn't make a difference.

    w/ Moss: Patriots averaged 36 PPG

    w/o Moss: Patriots average 25 PPG

    Next up: at Cleveland

    This game shouldn't be overlooked. Stopping Peyton Hillis is a must.