The 2008 season in the National Football league has been a hard fought and unpredictable year. After eight weeks of football we are left with many questions. Can the Titans do the unthinkable and go 19-0? Will the Giants continue to defend their title? Will the Bengals and Lions go winless? We will not know those answers until later in the season. But now, without further ado, we can move onto Week Nine’s Power Rankings.
32. Bengals 0-8
Add another mark to the loss column for the Bengals. Let us look at the factors that got them here. Carson Palmer has been sidelined with an elbow injury, Chad Johnson has been in a sling for most of the season that has hampered his play, they placed linebacker Keith Rivers on the injured reserve with a broken jaw, and the list goes on.
What does this mean? That is easy; it has been a long, grueling season for the Bengals organization. One thing that can be looked forward to for next year is a top pick in the coming draft.
31. Lions 0-7
The race is on! The race for the Lions and Bengals to see which team will end with a worse record in 2008. With a tough schedule still ahead of them, will the Lions have the opportunity to win a single game before season’s end?
30. Chiefs 1-6
Tyler Thigpen looked like a well-seasoned pro in Sunday’s close loss to the Jets. After he threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns, do the Chiefs really need to sign recently retired veteran, Daunte Culpepper?
29. 49ers 2-6
Mike Nolan is gone and Mike Singletary is now head coach in San Francisco but the 49ers still did not win on Sunday. Singletary is not afraid to make changes; his first decision was to pull turnover prone quarterback J.T. O’Sullivan for game managing quarterback Shaun Hill. Will Singletary’s recent changes and new attitude pay off for the 49ers?
28. Raiders 2-5
Did the Raiders really have any chance on Sunday? They gave up four sacks, one safety, and one interception, and were beat into submission. JaMarcus Russell has continued to slowly improve over the course of the season, but falling behind early, Russell was forced to throw often against a tough Ravens defense in Sunday’s loss.
27. Seahawks 2-5
With Matt Hasselbeck still banged up, Charlie Frye was not the answer, but Seneca Wallace was able to step up, helping the Seahawks earn their second win on the season. Will Wallace and the Seahawks be able to carry their momentum to this week’s match up with the blitz-happy Eagles?
26. Rams 2-5
Jim Haslett’s Rams came within minutes from going 3-0 since Haslett has taken over the team. With Torry Holt continually being double teamed, Marc Bulger has found a new favorite target in rookie Donnie Avery. If only Steven Jackson could come back from his injury soon, maybe the Rams could improve on their poor offense.
25. Texans 3-4
The Texans made it look easy on Sunday, demolishing the helpless Bengals, 35-6. With that win, the Texans have won three games in a row. Matt Schaub has thrown for 1,623 yards and 10 touchdowns, as well as adding two rushing touchdowns in just six games this season. Can he continue his string of luck this week against the Vikings?
24. Browns 3-4
After an unusually slow start, the Browns have gone on to win three of their past four games. Now can Derek Anderson and his revived Browns team go out and beat one of the toughest defenses Sunday against the Ravens?
23. Chargers 3-5
If not for the Chargers' first two heart wrenching losses of the season, they would be 5-3 instead of being under .500 by mid-season. The good news for the Chargers is that LaDainian Tomlinson seems to have re-found his step in Sunday’s loss to the Saints, where he totaled 170 yards and a touchdown on the day.
The Chargers will have an opportunity to redeem themselves after their bye in week ten, when they face a weak Chiefs team.
22. Dolphins 3-4
The Wildcat formation has only gotten the retooled Dolphins so far this season. On the other hand, Chad Pennington has done a terrific job managing and keeping his team in games. If Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams could get the running game back on track, the Dolphins could surprise many before year’s end.
21. Vikings 3-4
After last year’s surge, the Vikings were a favorite to make the playoffs with ease. This season, though, they have struggled to stay above .500 in the NFC North. Their powerhouse of a defense has been on fire as of late, but their unfortunate turnover issues have cost them games. In week nine, can Jared Allen and his wrecking crew stop a red hot Texans team fresh off a three-game win streak?
20. Colts 3-4
The Colts came within a quarter from putting a stop to the Titans' undefeated season on Monday night. Dominic Rhodes has played well in relief of the injured Joseph Addai, but the porous rush defense has still continued to play poorly. Things will not be getting much easier for the Colts as they now have to face the Patriots, Steelers, and Texans over the span of the next three weeks.
19. Jaguars 3-4
Where has the running game gone in Jacksonville? Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew combined for a measly 53 yards on 20 carries in week eight’s loss to the Browns. The Jaguars still have the ability to go over .500 this season, as they face the winless Bengals and Lions over the next two weeks.
18. Saints 4-4
Across the pond, the Saints played a hard fought battle against the Chargers to put them at .500 on the year. Surprisingly, Marques Colston and Jeremy Shockey were not major factors in Sunday’s win. The Saints will have their opportunity to stay in the race for the NFC South as they face the Falcons and Chiefs after their bye this week.
17. Jets 4-3
Brett Favre looked like the Brett Favre of old on Sunday. Facing a 1-5 Chiefs team, Favre continuously threw into double coverage for three interceptions on the day. "Broadway Brett" is now tied for the league lead in interceptions. Can Favre contain himself as he takes on the division rival Bills in week nine?
16. Ravens 4-3
The Ravens' defense shut down the Wildcat formation in week seven and then baffled a weak Raiders offense in week eight. The Ravens are back over .500, but can their top-ranked defense stop a Browns team that is on a roll?
15. Packers 4-3
After a much-needed bye week, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will face their toughest test of the season on Sunday when they face the undefeated Titans. Things would be much easier for Rodgers if running back Ryan Grant could improve on his 3.4 yards per carry average for the season.
14. Broncos 4-3
After a blowout in week seven on Monday Night Football against the Patriots, the Broncos were blessed with a much-needed bye in week eight. The defense is a continual cause for concern, but their backfield will get a little more crowded now that sleeper stud Ryan Torain joins the team in week nine against the floundering Dolphins.
13. Bears 4-3
The Bears won a shootout in week seven against their division rival Vikings and now face a winless Lions team in week nine. If all goes well, the Bears can go 5-3 heading into week ten’s showdown with the undefeated Titans.
12. Falcons 4-3
The Falcons showed their age against the blitz-happy Eagles on Sunday. Matt Ryan has played like one of the best rookie quarterbacks the league has seen for some time. We will see if Ryan continues his rookie luck against a struggling Raiders team in week nine.
11. Eagles 4-3
The Eagles welcomed back Brian Westbrook and Kevin Curtis with open arms in week eight as they picked apart the up-and-coming Falcons team. Westbrook played the role of Superman on Sunday, totaling 209 yards and two touchdowns on the day. Can they keep the momentum going to catch up in the NFC East against a struggling Seahawks team in week nine?
10. Cardinals 4-3
The Cardinals continued their east coast road game issues on Sunday, dropping a close one against a revived Panthers team. The Cardinals should not have to skip a beat facing the Rams, 49ers, and Seahawks over the next three weeks and looking to improve on their recent success.
9. Buccaneers 5-3
The Buccaneers lost a close one to the 'Boys from Dallas on Sunday. Many would have thought Jeff Garcia would have lit up the banged up Dallas secondary come Sunday, but were unexpectedly wrong. Garcia will have to greatly improve on his 5.18 yards per attempt as he faces a 1-6 Chiefs team come Sunday.
8. Cowboys 5-3
Even lacking leadership, a secondary, and steady quarterback play could not stop the Cowboys from pulling off the tight win against the Buccaneers on Sunday. Could this be the last we see of Brad Johnson this season? After this week’s showdown with the Giants, Cowboys fans can only hope so. Tony Romo is expected back after the team’s week ten bye for a rematch against the Washington Redskins.
7. Patriots 5-2
With starters Tom Brady, Laurence Maroney, and Rodney Harrison all on injured reserve, we would expect the Patriots to be struggling right about now, but we would be wrong wrong. The Patriots have kept their composure and have tied the Bills for the division lead. Can the Patriots improve on their current 5-2 record against a struggling Colts team this Sunday?
6. Bills 5-2
The Bills should have won against the Dolphins on Sunday. They let the Dolphins sneak back into the game and win it in the fourth quarter. Every team has had a surprise loss this season—except for the Titans—so the Bills are entitled to one as well.
The Bills better get right back on that horse, as the Patriots are back and are nipping at their feet for the AFC East division lead.
5. Steelers 5-2
The Steelers came close to beating the reigning world champs in week eight. Ben Roethlisberger is turning into a human piñata in Pittsburgh, and if the Steelers' offensive line does not improve, we may see candy scattered around the ground at Heinz Field before season’s end.
4. Redskins 6-2
The Redskins have been one of the few surprise teams of the year thus far. Lead by the improved and flawless play of Jason Campbell, the Redskins won their sixth game of the season on Sunday. They face the tough task of battling the injury depleted Steelers on a sure to be action packed Sunday.
3. Panthers 6-2
After battling back from a 17-3 deficit to win against the Cardinals, the Panthers improved to 6-2 on Sunday. Sunday’s win put the Panthers at the top of the NFC South division race as they head into their bye week.
2. Giants 6-1
The Giants persevered against the banged up Steelers on Sunday. After fighting back from a 14-9 deficit, the Giants secured their place at the top of the NFC East for another week. Next, the Giants face the Tony Romo-less Cowboys at home on Sunday.
1. Titans 7-0
Another week, another win for the still undefeated Titans. The Titans controlled their game against the Colts from start to finish. One of the top defenses, as well as the leadership of veteran Kerry Collins and the duo of LenDale White and Chris Johnson, has paved the way for the Titans' magical start as they head into week nine to face off against the Packers.
This is the way the rankings look for right now; tune in next week once again to see how your team fairs!