NFL Week 9 Power Rankings: A Brand New No. 1 Team in the NFL
Week 8 is in the books and was as exciting and unpredictable as usual. This NFL season has been one of the most unpredictable seasons that I can remember. A lot of upsets, a lot of disappointments and a lot of teams that haven't lived up to their preseason hype(Dallas).
Some teams are on the verge of becoming contenders and some are quickly falling behind the pack.
In week 8, we saw teams like the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints have impressive victories against really good times like the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets.
We saw the New England Patriots win yet again no matter who is in the lineup. They simply win as long as Tom Brady is the quarterback and Bill Belichick is the coach, they win.
Like all power rankings, mine change every week. I do my power rankings a little bit differently.
I do my power rankings based off of team records, and then I rank those teams. For example, I'll have all the 2-4 teams together, then rank them.
With that being said, I present you my Week 9 power rankings.
Teams 32-25 all have loosing records and are at the bottom of both their respected divisions and conferences. Although a team isn't usually as bad as their record might suggest, the teams on this page are a few losses away from being eliminated from playoff contention.
32. Buffalo Bills (0-7) The Bills are the only team in the NFL that has yet to win a game. However, the last few weeks they've come very close. They put up 34 points on the Ravens in Baltimore, and took both the Ravens and Chiefs to overtime. If they can continue to play well they should get their 1st win sooner then later.
31. Dallas Cowboys (1-6) Tony Romo is injured, the media is asking for Wade Phillips head, and the sky is falling in Dallas. O.k. maybe not that last part but the Cowboys season is all but over. How quickly Super Bowl aspirations can disappear. Now the question for the Cowboys is "will they still play hard?", only time will tell.
30. Carolina Panthers (1-6) The Carolina Panthers got their 1st win of the season in week 7, but in week 8 they lost 20-10 to the St.Louis Rams. The Panthers are one of the worst teams in the leagues and struggle in all aspects of the game besides pass defense. I have no doubt in my mind that the Panthers will have a top 5 pick in the 2011 draft.
29. Denver Broncos (2-6) The Denver Broncos have lost 4 straight games and have been outscored by 71 points in that span. They can't run the ball (ranked dead last in rushing offense) and they can't stop the run (ranked 31st in rushing defense). Kyle Orton is playing well and so are his receivers but individual stats mean very little when you can't win games. It might be time to see what Tim Tebow has to offer.
28. Cincinnati Bengals (2-5) The Cincinnati Benglas have lost 4 straight games. That sounds awful. The Bengals have lost those 4 straight games by the following amount of points, 3, 3, 7, 8. That's right, they've been in every game. Good teams find a way to win, bad teams find a way to lose. The Bengals are a bad team.
27. Cleveland Browns (2-5) The Browns move up a bid by having a bye week in week 8, and defeating the defending champions, the New Orleans Saints the year before. The Colt McCoy era is under way and the Browns always seem to give their best effort. A few more talented players in some key areas and the Browns could be a really good team.
26. Minnesota Vikings (2-5) The Vikings are in contention for most disappointing team in the NFL this year. A team that has perennial pro-bowlers everywhere, including a few future Hall of Famers, should be better then 2-5 no matter what. In fact, the only two wins the Vikings have are against teams with losing records. Now, Brett Favre is banged up in more ways then one, and the Vikings placed outspoken receiver Randy Moss on waivers, on Monday, in other words the ship is sinking.
25. San Francisco 49ers (2-6) The 49ers should thank their lucky stars that they play in the NFC West. Only in the NFC West division can you still be in contention at 2-6. The 49ers have a bye this week and will look to have miracle second half season to win the division. My suggestion: run talented Frank Gore until his legs fall off.
24. Detroit Lions (2-5) The Lions are one of the "what if" teams. What if the Calvin Johnson play in week 1 would have been ruled a touchdown? What if Matthew Stafford had never gotten injured? The Lions still have a lot to be excited about. A good young quarterback and running back. Maybe the next Warren Sapp at defensive tackle in Ndamkung Suh, and one of the most dominant wide-receiver in the NFL in Calvin Johnson. The future finally looks bright for the Lions.
The following teams are still technically in the playoff hunt and even in the division hunt. The only difference between these teams and the teams ahead of them is that they just haven't found ways to win close games. They've had some bad breaks and some bad luck. However, if they have a strong 2nd half of the season they could still make the playoffs.
23. Arizona Cardinals (3-4) The Arizona Cardinals finally broke their trend of win, loss, win by losing two games in a row. The Cardinals continued to shoot themselves in the foot by Max Hall throwing 2 interceptions that were both returned for touchdowns in week 8 against Tampa Bay. Derek Anderson almost brought them back and now the Cardinals are once again asking who should start at quarterback. Is Kurt Warner done with "Dancing with the Stars" yet?
22. San Diego Chargers (3-5) The Chargers finally found a way to win a close game by defeating a good Tennessee Titans team 33-25. The Chargers feature the number one ranked passing attack lead by Phillip Rivers and Antonio Gates. The Chargers also feature the 2nd ranked pass defense and the number one running defense. Three of their four next games are against division opponents so a division title is still in play.
21. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4) The Dallas Cowboys made David Garrard look like John Elway at his best. Garrard threw 4 touchdowns and ran for another, and went out to say that he didn't think the Cowboys cared about the game. However, a win is a win and somehow the Jaguars are 4-4 and still in the mix of things. The 2nd half of their schedule is tough so I think the Jaguars will come back to Earth in the upcoming weeks.
20. Washington Redskins (4-4) Donovan McNabb was benched for Rex Grossman with two minutes to go in the game, and the Redskins were only down by three. Now Redskin's head coach Mike Shanahan is saying that Donovan McNabb isn't in good enough shape to run a two-minute offense. I don't know about the rest of you but I see the Redskins season going down in flames fast.
19. St. Louis Rams (4-4) The St.Louis Rams enter their bye week 4-4 and in second place in the NFC West, which is a little surprising to me. Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo has done a wonderful job with that team, which features the 8th ranked run defense. Of course, a lot of the Rams turnaround has to do with rookie quarterback Sam Bradford, who is almost a shoe-in to win offensive rookie of the year. If Steven Jackson can stay healthy the Rams will always have a chance.
18. Oakland Raiders (4-4) How about them Oakland Raiders? Maybe cornerback Chris Johnson was exaggerating when he said that the Raiders were the most talented team in the NFL, but they sure are talented and playing good football. The Raiders spanked the NFC West leading Seattle Seahawks 33-3 and have now won 3 of their last 4 games. The Raiders also have the 2nd best rushing attack in the NFL. This week will tell us a lot as they take on the AFC West leading Kansas City Chiefs in a big showdown.
The following teams all have winning records. Some of these teams are better then their records suggest and some of them aren't as good as their records would indicate. Some of these teams were even picked as contenders in the preseason. No matter how you look at them, all of these teams still have a chance to make it to the playoffs.
17. Chicago Bears (4-3) One of the worst 4-3 teams I've seen in a while, the Bears will not make the playoffs this year. I feel confident in that prediction. Jay Cutler continues to struggle, whether he's getting sacked or throwing interceptions. Maybe they fixed their passing offense during the bye week. My suggestion is to run the ball more with talented running back Matt Forte. The Bears are on high upset alert this week as they travel to Buffalo to take the 0-7 Bills who are still looking for their 1st win of the season.
16. Seattle Seahawks (4-3) The Seattle Seahawks would make the playoffs if the season ended today. Now I don't know what that says about the NFC as a conference, and the NFC West as a division. The Seahawks got embarrassed 33-3 against the Oakland Raiders in Week 8. They allowed 545 total yards to the Raiders and only had 165 total yards for themselves. They got dominated. It's also very unlikely they fix their problems against a red-hot New York Giants team that is coming of a bye.
15. Miami Dolphins (4-3) The Miami Dolphins are a controversial call away from being 5-2. The Dolphins have been playing good football, ranked in the top have of the league in almost every category, both offensively and defensively. They just need to find some consistency and keep finding ways to win games late. We'll find out a lot about the Dolphins in the next two weeks as they take on the Ravens and Titans.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (4-3) So Michael Vick is going to be the starter. That makes sense. Right now, Vick gives you the best chance to win. The bad news for this team is the second half of the schedule is brutal. Only two of the Eagles next 8 opponents have a losing record, and even those teams are talented (Dallas twice, Vikings). The Eagles play the Giants twice, the Colts, Texans, Bears, and Redskins. If they end up with a record good enough to make the playoffs, they will have certainly earned it.
13. Houston Texans (4-3) Everybody is waiting for the Texans to take the next step into the elite group of NFL teams. I don't think they're quite ready yet after losing to the Colts 30-17 on Monday Night Football. Arian Foster has been their MVP, but my concern is quarterback Matt Schaub, who has looked like everything but an elite qb this year. Also the defense and it's 32 ranked pass defense continues to struggle, which is scary considering Philip Rivers and the number one passing attack is coming to town in week 9.
12. Tennessee Titans (5-3) The Titans should have beaten the San Diego Chargers. However, they couldn't stop the Philip Rivers to Antoni Gates connection. Now the Titans enter their bye behind the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC South. If Vince Young can stay healthy and continue to play consistent football, this team has enough to make a run this year.
11. Green Bay Packers (5-3) Even though they have a bunch of players on their injured reserve list, the Packers continue to find ways to win games. The 9-0 shutout win over the New York Jets was very impressive and says a lot about the character of the Packers and a great job by their coaching staff. They should be able to beat a rotten Dallas Cowboys team and then get their much needed bye. I'm buying stock on the Packers right now.
Teams 10-6 includes the defending Super Bowl champs and a few surprises. All of these teams have put themselves in great positions to make the playoffs this year. In the next few weeks we will learn which teams are for real and which teams simply overachieved the 1st 8 weeks.
10. New Orleans Saints (5-3) The Saints could arguably be considered better then the teams that are ahead of them but they should be punished for losing to teams that are no where near the caliber that they are. After getting upset by the Cleveland Browns, the Saints won an impressive game against a very good team in the Pittsburgh Steelers. The game meant much more for the Saints and the win now keeps them a float in the NFC South. Once they get Reggie Bush back their offense should be more explosive.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-2) The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are one of the pleasant surprises in the NFL this year. The Bucs won another close game over the Arizona Cardinals 38-35 and have now won 4 of their 5 wins by 7 or less points. If The Bucs can defeat the Atlanta Falcons, I bet you a lot of people will jump on the Raheem Morris bandwagon. The 30th ranked run defense is a bit of a concern though.
8. Kansas City Chiefs (5-2) Well the Kansas Chiefs are not going away. After back to back losses to the Colts and Texans, a lot of people started jumping off ship. Now, after back to back wins the Chiefs are 5-2 and can take full control over the AFC West this week, if they can defeat the Oakland Raiders in a huge game.
7. Atlanta Falcons (5-2) The Falcons were off in week 8, hopefully fixing their 27th ranked pass defense. The Falcons are a good team and Matt Ryan looks like he's ready to become one of the better quarterbacks in the league. He better be, and his team better be ready for a tough second half as they only have one team with a record below .500 remaining on their schedule.
6. Baltimore Ravens (5-2) The Baltimore Ravens are good enough to beat any team in the NFL. That being said, they were outplayed by the Buffalo Bills and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had a career day. That concerns me, and so does a 17th ranked run defense, that features Ray Lewis. I would like to see the Ravens show a little more dominance when they play teams that they should beat.
The Top 5
The Top five teams in the NFL. These teams were expected to be hear at the beginning of the season and have all taken very different roads to get hear right now. Some of these teams are still working out kinks in their armor, while others seem geared for a big playoff run.
5. New York Jets (5-2) The New York Jets got shutout 9-0 at home against a banged up Green Bay Packers team. What concerned me even more about the loss was that they threw the ball 38 times even though the wind was a whopping 38 miles per hour. The Jets have to feature their run game or they will not go very far this year. Look for the Jets to get back on track the next two weeks as they play the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2) The Pittsburgh Steelers lost their match-up with the defending champs on Sunday night football. That being said the game meant a lot more for the New Orleans Saints then it did for the Steelers. A big concern for the Steelers is going to be how their defense fairs up against the better quarterbacks in the league. Drew Brees completed short pass after short pass against the defense, giving upcoming offenses a recipe to beat the Steelers.The offense should be fine as Ben Roethlisberger continues to get back into the thick of things.
3. Indianapolis Colts (5-2) The Colts have won 3 straight games since their letdown in Jacksonville. Peyton Manning looks like he's on his way to win his record 5th league MVP. The only thing that concerns me is their 28 ranked rushing defense. You have to think that the Colts are vulnerable against a good running team that can keep Peyton off the field. That being said, the Colts always have a chance to win a game as long as they have number 18 at quarterback.
2. New York Giants (5-2) The Giants entered their bye week after winning four straight games. I think right now you would have to say that the Giants are the most complete team in the NFC. They can run the ball with the 4th ranked rushing attack in the NFL. They can pass the ball with the 8th ranked passing attack. And they can defend the run and pass, ranking 2nd and 3rd in both categories in the NFL. That's very impressive.
1. New England Patriots (6-1) Right now the New England Patriots are the best team in the NFL. While everyone wrote them off when they gave Randy Moss away to the Vikings, they've won three straight games since then, and 5 straight games since they lost their only game to the Jets. The defense isn't impressive statistically, but it makes big plays, and uses a bend don't break philosophy. As long as Bill Bilichick is the coach and Tom Brady is the quarterback, the Patriots will be contenders.