NFL Power Rankings Week 9: Are Seattle Seahawks Worst Division Leader in NFL?
NFL Power Rankings Week 9 has a different look thanks to a pair of AFC powers suffering setbacks in Week 8.
The Packers took advantage of sloppy play by the Jets to post a shutout win at a windy New Meadowlands stadium, while the Saints held the Steelers' offense in check to earn a much-needed victory Sunday night.
Meanwhile, those disastrous Dallas Cowboys just keep falling down the rankings.
San Diego and Oakland climb into the top 20 this week as Minnesota finds itself dealing with even more misfortune.
Here's a complete look at NFL Power Rankings Week 9.
The Bottom Of The Pack
No. 32 Buffalo Bills: Buffalo has played better in the last two games, but the losing has continued. The Bills should have a decent chance this week with the Bears and the NFL's worst offensive line coming to town.
No. 31 Denver Broncos: Josh McDaniels isn't looking like a young genius anymore and could find himself looking for work in the offseason.
No. 30 Carolina Panthers: John Fox is the epitome of a lame-duck head coach, and his Panthers will be lucky to win more than three games this season.
No. 29 Arizona Cardinals: After Max Hall had two interceptions returned for touchdowns Sunday, Derek Anderson promptly got another chance to lead the Cardinals. Of course, he threw an interception late to seal the loss.
No. 28 Dallas Cowboys: Dallas really misses Tony Romo and looks completely disinterested at this point.
No. 27 San Francisco 49ers: Before the 49ers get too excited about Troy Smith, they should remember beating the Broncos isn't really a big accomplishment.
No. 26 Cleveland Browns: The Browns have been competitive all season, but 2-5 is 2-5. Peyton Hillis still isn't getting the credit he deserves for having a fantastic season.
No. 25 Detroit Lions: Things are looking up for the Lions with Matthew Stafford back and Calvin Johnson continuing to flourish.
No. 24 Cincinnati Bengals: Those bumbling Bengals were at it again Sunday. Another loss would officially end any hopes for a postseason push.
No. 23 Jacksonville Jaguars: The NFL's ultimate Jekyll and Hyde team this season, the Jags looked great while trouncing the Cowboys Sunday.
No. 22 Seattle Seahawks: The Raiders are improving, but losing 33-3 really hurts Seattle's stock, especially if Matt Hasselbeck's concussion lingers for the remainder of the season. The Seahawks are indeed who we thought they were, and it's still good enough to lead the NFC West.
No. 21 Minnesota Vikings: Randy Moss is gone, and Brad Childress is hanging on by a thread. A fairly favorable schedule suggests the Vikings could start to get things rolling in the weeks ahead.
No. 20: San Diego Chargers
Why They Are Here: The Chargers needed some inspiration to turn things around, and a passionate halftime speech by Norv Turner evidently did the trick.
Sunday's comeback win over Tennessee could be the first step in another late playoff-push by the Chargers.
Staying Power: San Diego has too much talent to keep losing. Kansas City's schedule gets a little tougher down the stretch, and the Chargers should make things interesting.
It starts with a win at Houston in Week 9.
No. 19: Oakland Raiders
Why They Are Here: Just a couple weeks ago, the Raiders appeared headed for another long, miserable season.
How quickly things can change in the NFL.
Darren McFadden's return has helped spark an Oakland offense that suddenly looks respectable.
Staying Power: McFadden's health will be the most pivotal factor in the Raiders' fortunes moving forward this season.
The Raiders are far from perfect, but the AFC West appears to be there for the taking this season.
Division-leading Kansas City comes to town in Week 9.
No. 18: St. Louis Rams
Why They Are Here: The Rams are the NFL's most unlikely 4-4 team, thanks in large part to Sam Bradford's consistent play at quarterback.
Despite having no proven targets at his disposal, Bradford has flourished at times during his rookie campaign.
Staying Power: The Rams are a great story, but the margin for error remains painfully small.
Following a bye in Week 9, St. Louis heads to San Francisco with another chance to make a statement.
No. 17: Washington Redskins
Why They Are Here: The Redskins now have losses to the Rams and Lions this season, injuries in the backfield and a budding quarterback controversy.
Still, at 4-4 with wins over Green Bay and Philadelphia, the Redskins aren't out of the mix in the NFC just yet.
Staying Power: Mike Shanahan says Donovan McNabb isn't fit enough to run a two-minute drill, then brings in JaMarcus Russell for a workout?
Talk about ironic.
The Redskins still have time to circle the wagons, and it would be shocking if McNabb doesn't remain the starting quarterback for the rest of the season.
No. 16: Chicago Bears
Why They Are Here: Despite having a winning record, Chicago is a mess.
The offensive line can't protect Jay Cutler, and Mike Martz refuses to commit to the running game.
Staying Power: The Bears' defense has been very impressive this season, and the schedule is manageable down the stretch.
Avoiding a loss in Week 9 in Buffalo is absolutely crucial to Chicago's chances moving forward.
No. 15: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Why They Are Here: At 5-2, Tampa Bay is without question the biggest surprise in the NFL.
LeGarrette Blount is beginning to look like a very solid back, and Josh Freeman has been impressive all year long.
Staying Power: The young Bucs have more talent than they get credit for, but the NFC South is no walk in the park.
Tampa travels to Atlanta in Week 9 for a divisional showdown.
No. 14: Philadelphia Eagles
Why They Are Here: The Eagles have managed to hang around despite suffering a myriad of injuries to key players.
With Michael Vick expected back in Week 9, things could be looking up for Andy Reid's team.
Staying Power: If Vick manages to rediscover his magic, the Eagles' offense should be among the NFL's best down the stretch.
New York looks like the best team in the NFC East but don't count Philly out quite yet.
No. 13: Kansas City Chiefs
Why They Are Here: A strong running game, an improved defense and just enough contributions from Matt Cassel have the Chiefs sitting pretty in the AFC West.
Staying Power: There's a lot to like about the Chiefs, but in the end Cassel will probably need to win a game by himself at some point this season.
Aside from Dwayne Bowe and promising rookie Tony Moeaki, the Chiefs don't have many weapons to make plays in the passing game.
Kansas City looks to improve to a stunning 6-2 with a win in Oakland this week.
No. 12: Tennessee Titans
Why They Are Here: At 5-3, the Titans have now lost games to Denver and San Diego this season.
They are also dealing with injuries to Vince Young and emerging young receiver Kenny Britt, who might be out for several weeks with a hamstring problem.
Staying Power: If Young stays healthy and gets more help from Chris Johnson, Tennessee should be able to compete for a playoff spot.
Johnson has followed up one of the best seasons for any running back in league history with a fairly average campaign by his standards.
It's time for him to start running to daylight once again.
No. 11: Houston Texans
Why They Are Here: Houston looked like one of the best teams in the NFL early in the season but has come back to earth since.
Unless the defense improves, Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson might have to carry the load yet again down the stretch.
Staying Power: The Texans have a real weapon in Arian Foster, and they need to use him early and often.
It's beginning to look like Houston's best chance of winning is to play keep away from opponents.
Get ready for a shootout with the Chargers coming to town in Week 9.
No. 10: Miami Dolphins
Why They Are Here: The Dolphins can't buy a win at home but keep finding a way to win on the road.
Chad Henne has played well despite getting almost no help from the running game this season.
Staying Power: If Miami ever manages to start running the ball, the Dolphins will be difficult to beat.
Giving Henne a chance to make plays off play-action with Brandon Marshall and Davone Bess down field is a recipe for success.
Miami travels to Baltimore this week with another chance to record a big road win.
No. 9: Indianapolis Colts
Why They Are Here: The Colts could be ranked higher but injuries are going to be a real problem down the stretch.
Joesph Addai, Mike Hart and Donald Brown are all banged up. Dallas Clark is out for the season and Austin Collie is out indefinitely.
It's looking like Peyton Manning will have to find a way to shoulder even more of the load.
Staying Power: Aside from Clark and safeties Bob Sanders and Melvin Bullitt, the rest of the Colts should be back on the field at some point.
Indy will need a sterling effort from its defense to solidify a spot in the postseason.
No. 8: Green Bay Packers
Why They Are Here: Not many people saw Green Bay's win over the New York Jets coming.
Suddenly, the Packers are looking good again in the NFC picture despite playing without a number of key starters on both sides of the ball.
Staying Power: Green Bay still needs to develop some sort of a running game in preparation for the postseason.
The Packers welcome the woeful Cowboys to Lambeau in Week 9.
No. 7: New Orleans Saints
Why They Are Here: New Orleans spooked Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers Sunday night, getting a much-needed win at home.
The Saints need to iron out exactly what is going on with the backfield situation.
Staying Power: Ladell Betts and Julius Jones will need to head back to the bench at some point for the Saints to roll into the postseason.
That means Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush will need to get healthy and stay healthy.
The Saints travel to Carolina in Week 9 for what looks like an easy win.
Don't forget the Panthers nearly upset the Saints in the first meeting between the two teams this season.
No. 6: Atlanta Falcons
Why They Are Here: The Falcons have consistently played well on both sides of the ball this season.
Staying Power: At the moment, Atlanta looks like the most complete team in the NFC South.
The running game has been productive, and Matt Ryan and Roddy White have been lethal.
The Falcons host the Bucs Sunday with a chance to improve to 6-2 on the season.
No. 5: New York Giants
Why They Are Here: The Giants are rolling after a sluggish start to the season.
Ahmad Bradshaw has emerged as one of the most productive runners in the NFL and Brandon Jacobs has slowly crawled out of Tom Coughlin's doghouse.
Staying Power: Barring an injury to Eli Manning, the Giants probably aren't going to fold down the stretch.
New York travels to Seattle to face a dangerous Seahawks team this week.
No. 4: New York Jets
Why They Are Here: The Jets aren't nearly as good as they think they are.
That said, they are still a team capable of making a big run down the stretch.
New York has now lost two home games this season, playing very poorly in both contests.
Staying Power: Mark Sanchez has come back to earth in the last two games after playing flawless football.
With LaDainian Tomlinson's production likely to tail off, Sanchez and Shonn Greene will need to carry the offensive load as the season continues.
No. 3: Baltimore Ravens
Why They Are Here: The Ravens are 5-2 on the season, but you get the feeling they have yet to play their best football.
Staying Power: The offense should find continued success in the coming weeks as the running game improves, shifting the focus to Ed Reed and the Ravens' secondary.
If Baltimore can stop opponents from lighting up the skies, there's no reason to expect more than four losses this season.
No. 2: Pittsburgh Steelers
Why They Are Here: Sunday's loss to the Saints certainly was enough to bump the Steelers from the top.
Pittsburgh has won on the strength of the league's best defense this season, but the offense could still use a little work.
Staying Power: Ben Roethlisberger has plenty of talent around him to flourish as the season continues.
Pittsburgh travels to Cincinnati in Week 9 to face a hungry Bengals team.
No. 1: New England Patriots
Why They Are Here: Somehow, Bill Belichick's team has scrapped and clawed its way to the best record in the NFL.
The biggest reason has been the continued improvement of the young defense, which looked very vulnerable early in the year.
Staying Power: New England still needs to make more big plays.
Brandon Tate's long touchdown catch Sunday gave the Pats' offense a jolt and even seemed to open up the running game.
Unless Tate and others start making more plays, the Patriots might just have to settle for winning ugly heading into the playoffs.
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