NFL Power Rankings Week 9: Steelers, Ravens Still Chasing AFC East At Top

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer INovember 1, 2010

NFL Power Rankings Week 9: Steelers, Ravens Still Chasing AFC East At Top

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    GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 24:   Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on October 24, 2010 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jim Prisching/Getty Images)
    Jim Prisching/Getty Images

    We're midway through the season, and at this point you get a better picture of what teams are made of. The pretenders start separating themselves from the contenders by playing poorly, and the contenders start separating themselves from the pretenders by winning football games.

    It's not rocket science. You have talent, a good game plan, and you execute, you're going to start distinguishing yourself from the rest of the league.

    A few intriguing matchups this week, with the Jets facing the Packers, the Patriots hosting the Vikings, and one top 10 team receiving a slap to the face that left them stunned and red-faced (from the slap and from anger).

    Here are the updated NFL Power Rankings for the upcoming Week 9.

Bottom of the Pile

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 31:  Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the Buffalo Bills tries for a first down during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs on October 31, 2010  at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Im
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    32. Buffalo Bills: The only winless team played a nail-biter in Kansas City, but just didn't produce enough offense to pull through. Funny, their offense was the only thing that was starting to show some life. Fail.

    31. San Francisco 49ers: Sure, they beat Denver 24-17 in London, but I'm not ready to have any faith in this squad yet..not after this 49ers fan showed faith before the season and the Niners proceeded to go 1-6. Plus, they have QB Troy Smith at the helm now. He looked better than Alex Smith or David Carr this season, but that's not saying much.

On Top of the Bottom of the Pile

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    ST. LOUIS - OCTOBER 31: Matt Moore #3 of the Carolina Panthers is sacked by James Laurinaitis #55 of the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on October 31, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Rams beat the Panthers 20-10.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Gett
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    30. Carolina Panthers: Their only win came against the horrid San Francisco 49ers, and they lost 20-10 Sunday to a team in the Rams that was supposed to be last place in the weak NFC West this season. Looks like Jake Delhomme wasn't the only one dragging this franchise down.

    29. Denver Broncos: They lost 59-14 to the Oakland Raiders in Week 7, then lost to a Niners team that was 1-6. London was calling Sunday (that's a Clash reference), and the Broncos forgot to show up.

Near the Bottom of the Pile

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    DETROIT - OCTOBER 31: Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions celebrates with teammate Jeff Backus #76 after scoring a touchdown during the fourth quarter of the game against the Washington Redskins at Ford Field on October 31, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan.
    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    28. Detroit Lions: No doubt, the Lions are always bad, but they showed something in a 35-17 whipping of Washington on Sunday. They showed heart. Hey, at least they're trying at this point. They have an emerging QB in Matthew Stafford. And they always have Calvin Johnson, who had 101 yards and three touchdowns Sunday.

    27. Cleveland Browns: The Browns upset the Saints in Week 7. You like to think that's a sign. The problem is they've beaten the Saints three years in a row. It's just some weird anomaly that can't be explained. Kind of like how good the Spicy Chicken Burger is at Jack in the Box.

Still Pretty Bad

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 31:  Fans of the Dallas Cowboys wear brown paper bags over their head as they watch the Cowboys play against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Cowboys Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Image
    Chris Chambers/Getty Images

    26. Dallas Cowboys: David Garrard's return came at a bad time for the Cowboys. They're now 1-6 and they have Top 10 talent. Must be the coach. Off with his head! Here come the grumbles...at least the Texas Rangers are doing well!

    25. Jacksonville Jaguars: The difference in the 4-4 Jags and the 1-6 Cowboys is one has a lot of talent but can't execute, the other does the most with the talent it has. Can that be attributed to the coaching? Oh what the heck...off with his head!

Hey...We're Not Horrible

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    CINCINNATI - OCTOBER 31:  Carson Palmer #9 of  the Cincinnati Bengals throws a pass during the NFL game against the Miami Dolphins at Paul Brown Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    24. Cincinnati Bengals: Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco have a new show now: it's called the "T.Ocho Show." Unfortunately, this show only airs off the field. It's time to call this team what they are. A team that relies on two inconsistent receivers. T.O. and Ochocinco have only played well in the same game once this year. And Carson Palmer doesn't help either.

    23. Arizona Cardinals: A win against Tampa Bay would have nudged this team up a space or two. Unfortunately, they lost 38-35 to an offense that's not exactly electric. Ugh.

Not Bad, Not Bad

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    OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 31:  Darrius Heyward-Bey #85 of the Oakland Raiders is lifted in the air by Marcel Reece #45 after he ran in for a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 31, 2010 in Oakland, California.
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    22. St. Louis Rams: They won 20-10 against the Panthers Sunday. Does that really show anything? I'll tell you this though: they look a lot better than I thought they would before the season. They now have a .500 record.

    21. Oakland Raiders: They win 59-14 against Denver in Week 7 then beat a decent team in the Seattle Seahawks. The 4-4 Raiders and their dangerous running game haven't disappeared yet...and it's eight weeks into the season! Jason Campbell threw for over 300 yards and two scores in this one...what the heck is going on in Oaktown?

20. Seattle Seahawks

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    OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 31:  Stanford Routt #26 of the Oakland Raiders knocks the ball away from Deon Butler #11 of the Seattle Seahawks at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 31, 2010 in Oakland, California. Routt was called for pass interference on
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    A 33-3 loss to the Raiders is not the end of the world for this team in a weak division, but they've got to wonder what happened after playing well in their first six games of the season.

    I believe in Pete Carroll and I expect him to get them back to playing well next week. But a 4-3 record isn't exactly a winning percentage that's going to clinch a division for you...even in this division. Their pass defense better improve.

19. Minnesota Vikings

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    FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 31:  Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings is helped to the bench after he was hit by Myron Pryor #91 of the New England Patriots in the fourth quarter at Gillette Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Favre was in
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Haha, you thought Brett Farve led the Vikings to victory over the Patriots based on my leading photo didn't you?

    Wrong. Farve came close in the fourth quarter, pulling the Vikes within three points, but he got injured on the last touchdown and had to be helped off the field. The Patriots proceeded to score a TD of their own and ice the game.

    This team is 2-5 now after the 28-18 loss. They have all the talent in the world but this just isn't their year. Better luck next year Farve...I still don't believe you will ever retire.

18. San Diego Chargers

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    SAN DIEGO - OCTOBER 31:  Running back Ryan Mathews #24 of the San Diego Chargers celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter against the Tennessee Titans at Qualcomm Stadium on October 31, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gros
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Huge win for the Chargers Sunday in the midst of a three-game losing streak. A losing streak that included the Raiders and the Rams.

    But they came out on fire Sunday against a very good team in Tennessee, and held off a late drive by the Titans to win, 33-25.

    These types of wins can turn around seasons for teams. If the Chargers play the way they did Sunday, they will have a chance. If they play the way they played before that, clouds will loom over San Diego...not literally, of course.

17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 31:  LeGarrette Blount #27 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates his touchdown with Arrelious Benn #17 and Maurice Stovall #85 for a 31-14 lead over the Arizona Cardinals during the second quarter at University of Phoenix Stadium o
    Harry How/Getty Images

    The Bucs have surprised everyone this year and its 38-point explosion, albeit against Arizona, was another surprise. The team is now 5-2 and young QB Josh Freeman is playing solid football.

    This team finds ways to win, exemplified by LeGarrette Blount's huge day Sunday, rushing for 120 yards and two scores.

    Receiver Mike Williams is the real deal.

16. Miami Dolphins

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    CINCINNATI - OCTOBER 31:  of the Miami Dolphins during the NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    The Miami Dolphins did what they needed to do in Week 8: beat a beatable team in the Cincinnati Bengals.

    They are now 5-3 and their only losses have come against the Jets, Patriots, and Steelers.

    Ricky Williams can still inexplicably make it happen, and this team is coached well enough to play like this the rest of the season.

15. Chicago Bears

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    CHICAGO - OCTOBER 24: Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears reacts after throwing an interception against the Washington Redskins at Soldier Field on October 24, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Redskins defeated the Bears 17-14. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Gett
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Their last two games haven't been too hot. Jay Cutler needs to stop hurting himself. This team has a strong defense, a good core of receivers, and a solid running back in Matt Forte. Cutler had seven touchdowns and three interceptions before Week 7. Then he threw four interceptions.

    This team will only go as far as Jay Cutler can take them.

14. Washington Redskins

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    DETROIT - OCTOBER 31: Kyle Vanden Bosch #93 of the Detroit Lions hits Donovan McNabb #5 of the Washington Redskins during the first quarter of the game at Ford Field on October 31, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    This team was playing solid football until this week: then they came out and got embarrassed 37-25 against the Lions.

    Donovan McNabb has this team pointed in the right direction overall and the defense has played well, but a week like this makes you start questioning a team's drive and focus.

    37-25 against the Lions? Really?

13. New Orleans Saints

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    NEW ORLEANS - OCTOBER 24:  Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints in action during the game against the Cleveland Browns at the Louisiana Superdome on October 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    This team is just not the same team as it was last year for whatever reason. But the talent is there to win the division and you get the feeling it's only a matter of time before this team starts clicking.

    But the team needs to play with more urgency: a 30-17 loss to the Browns in Week 7 is not what the doctor ordered.

    If and when Pierre Thomas comes back, he can definitely help this team by boosting the running game.

12. Kansas City Chiefs

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 31:  Kicker Ryan Succop #6 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates after making a filed goal in overtime to win the game against the Buffalo Bills on October 31, 2010  at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    The team is rolling right now behind a solid game plan and exciting young players in Jamaal Charles and Dexter McCluster. Thomas Jones stabilizes a dynamic running game that has the ability of dominating a football game.

    The defense ain't bad too.

    The Chiefs eked out a 13-10 win over the poor Buffalo Bills on Sunday, but they got the win, and a 5-2 record is looking pretty good right now for this emerging squad.

11. Philadelphia Eagles

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 17:  LeSean McCoy #25 of the Philadelphia Eagles in action against the Atlanta Falcons during their game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 17, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    The team is solid on both sides of the ball. The defensive schemes will always lend to turnovers, and Kevin Kolb is a good starting quarterback.

    A loss to Tennessee in Week 7 is nothing to be ashamed of, and with LeSean McCoy and this team's receiving core the offense always has a chance of exploding.

    Week 9 the Eagles play the Colts. That should show how good this team really is.

10. Tennessee Titans

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    NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 24:  Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans runs with the while defended by Asante Samuel #22 of the Philadelphia Eagles at LP Field on October 24, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans won 37-19.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Losing to the Chargers hurt this team, but it's still a dynamic team on both sides of the field and Chris Johnson is just scary good.

    You wonder how much load Johnson can carry though. Jeff Fisher always seems to find a way to get things done though. He's an immeasurably asset.

9. Green Bay Packers

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 31:  The defense of the Green Bay Packers celebrate a play against the New York Jets on October 31, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Not ready to place this team ahead of the New York Giants yet, but they got mighty close with a grind-it-out 9-0 win against the mighty New York Jets.

    Aaron Rodgers didn't look great against the Jets Sunday, but he got them enough to win. This defense proved itself immensely on Sunday and is always a difficult defense to score on.

8. New York Giants

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 25:  Quarterback Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants looks to pass against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on October 25, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Tom Coughlin has this team playing its best ball of the season, and its 41-point outburst against Dallas in Week 7 should worry many defenses in the league.

    I believe Eli Manning still hasn't tapped into all his potential, and the team has significantly improved its run offense with Ahmad Bradshaw in there instead of Brandon Jacobs.

    This team should not be taken lightly.

7. Houston Texans

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    OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 3:  Quarterback Matt Schaub #8 of the Houston Texans drops back to pass against the Oakland Raiders during an NFL football game October 3, 2010 at The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California.  The Texans won the game 3
    Thearon W, Henderson/Getty Images

    This offense is enough to make any defense cringe, with Matt Schaub once again proving to be one of the better passers in the league and Andre Johnson making it easy for him.

    It's the offense that makes this team so good, and its win against KC in Week 7 was a huge morale-booster.

6. Atlanta Falcons

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    ATLANTA - OCTOBER 24:  Roddy White #84 of the Atlanta Falcons scores a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals at Georgia Dome on October 24, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Roddy White is an absolute beast. That is all.

    No, but really, this team is really starting to come together. With Matt Ryan at the helm and a dangerous running game-not to mention a better defense than it displayed against Cincy in Week 7- this team has finally reached an elite level.

    Nobody wants to face this sound team.

5. Indianapolis Colts

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    LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 17: Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts throws a pass against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on October 17, 2010 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
    Win McNamee/Getty Images

    This should come as no surprise to anyone. This team is always there, mainly because of Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne.

    It's well-coached and showed heart in its 27-24 win over Washington in Week 6. The defense isn't too shabby either. The team's matchup against Houston on Monday will be huge.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    MIAMI - OCTOBER 24:  Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 celebrates a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on October 24, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    The Steelers went 3-1 without Ben Roethlisberger behind a defense that flies all over the place and creates turnovers and a new Pittsburgh staple in Rashard Mendenhall.

    They are 2-1 with Big Ben and after eking out a 23-22 win over Miami in Week 7 are only getting better. This team has the reigns to make it to the Super Bowl.

    Don't get too sidetracked by the Saints loss. They got defeated by a team fighting for playoff life in their home building that provides one of the best home-field advantages in the NFL.

3. Baltimore Ravens

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    BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 24:  Fred Jackson #22 of the Buffalo Bills runs the ball against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on October 24, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Bills 37-34. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
    Larry French/Getty Images

    One of the leagues best defenses, an emerging QB in Joe Flacco, an always-dominant running game, and a new addition in former Pro Bowler Anquan Boldin. Need I say more?

    This team is poised for a Super Bowl run.

2. New York Jets

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 31:  LaDainian Tomlinson #21 of the New York Jets reacts after dropping a pass against the Green Bay Packers on October 31, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Imag
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    The Jets fell to 5-2 Sunday on the heels of a 9-0 loss to Green Bay. That's enough to drop the team in my opinion.

    This team is still a Super Bowl contender, that hasn't changed. And signing LaDainian Tomlinson was one of the most overlooked moves in the improvement of this team.

    The defense will always be ferocious, and Mark Sanchez, despite Sunday's shutout, is still a guy anyone wouldn't mind leading their squad.

1. New England Patriots

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    FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 31:  Tom Brady #12 of New England Patriots throws against the Minnesota Vikings at Gillette Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Watch out everybody, the Patriots gaining steam heading into the second half of the season. It's no secret why this team wins. They have a winning formula. Losing Randy Moss didn't hurt this team one bit.

    Tom Brady is all you need. And a defense that can keep offenses from simply exploding.

    They proved that in two crucial stands Sunday against the Vikings. This defense is young and only getting better.

    Brady is still finding his way without Moss, but the running game is becoming more of a threat each week, which will continue to open up the field for Brady to air it out.

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