The NFL is in its transition stage, meaning contenders and pretenders will be separated very soon.
It’s already started, whether or not you want to believe it is your choice. The Pittsburgh Steelers' win over the New England Patriots is the biggest moment of the NFL season so far. The players and coaches for both teams would most likely tell you that.
Patriots safety Patrick Chung was quoted on ESPN.com after seeing film of the game on Monday.
"[I'm] definitely encouraged. We played a good game. [The Steelers] just played a better one. They had more big plays than we did. We played a good game, they played a better game, and they got the best of us."
Sounds like a playoff quote doesn’t it? That’s because the Patriots are a well-coached team that consistently makes it to the postseason.
Here’s three other teams that will make a step in the right direction in Week 9, but were ranked low by Matt Miller in his Week 9 power rankings.
Cincinnati Bengals (No. 12)
The Bengals are one slip-up away from being talked about as a top-five team.
A loss to the Denver Broncos in Week 2 cost them a higher ranking in the power rankings. Rookies Andy Dalton and A.J. Green have done their part, but have also benefited from the most underappreciated defense in the NFL. The Bengals D is in the top 10 in least points against and total, passing and rushing yards allowed.
Which team is the best of the three?
The Bengals will hammer down another win in Tennessee this week, which should move them to the top-10.
New York Jets (No. 15)
The Jets have made the AFC Championship two straight times. I thought the first time was a fluke, but a strong running game and defense prevailed, as it has in the past.
The Jets face the Buffalo Bills this week, who will get a taste of reality after blanking the Washington Redskins. It won’t be a blowout, but the Jets will prove they’re the better team in the fourth quarter—when it matters.
Detroit Lions (No. 9)
The Lions rose to national prominence with enormous comeback wins against the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys in back-to-back weeks to stay undefeated.
The Lions struggled a bit in Weeks 6 and 7, but the calm after the storm came in the shape of a 45-10 massacre of the Broncos.
With a bye this week, the Lions can sit back and watch the Bills (No. 8) lose to the Jets (No. 15), New York Giants (No. 7) lose to the Pats (No. 4) and the Baltimore Ravens (No. 5) lose to the Steelers (No. 3).