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(Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

NFL Power Rankings: Week 9

1. Philadelphia Eagles

In a season full of chaos so far, Philadelphia feels like the safe pick as the top team in the NFL for at least this week. Similar to their previous matchup in Week 3, the Commanders fought hard to keep it close but were no match for Jalen Hurts officially returning to MVP form. The constant turnovers and defense giving up almost 500 yards of offense to a very mediocre Washington team shouldn’t go unnoticed, however. There’s no understating how important it is for the Eagles to take down Dallas on Sunday if they want to flex their NFC East supremacy. 

2. Baltimore Ravens

Effectively taking care of business in Arizona has given Baltimore a share of the top seed in the AFC. Gus Edwards completely dominated on the ground, and the Cardinals scoring in garbage time will take eyes away from the team defense’s four total sacks and turnovers. To be fair, the struggles of Lamar Jackson and the offensive line reinforce why it’s hard to have total faith in this squad. Baltimore certainly looks good now, but playing Seattle this week, plus a surging Bengals squad, ensures no missteps can be taken going forward.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars

Duvall has grown to care little about the ugly nature of their games as long as the total in the win column goes up. When you have three turnovers, 72 yards in penalties, and only score one offensive touchdown in a 20-point effort, most teams would call that winning in spite of themselves. Then again, Jacksonville’s defense obliterating the Steelers’ offensive attack while Trevor Lawrence turns in another solid effort shows why this team is tied for the AFC’s best record. The Jaguars should really hone in on unlocking their full potential this upcoming bye week.

4. Miami Dolphins

Say hello to the third team currently holding first place in the conference thanks to rolling over the rival Patriots 31-17. At this point, there should be no MVP conversation without Tua Tagovailoa, who scorched the earth once again by skying the ball to perhaps the deadliest wide receiver combo in the NFL in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. The Dolphins should be even more of a threat now that the already solid defense has Jalen Ramsey, along with Raheem Mostert, running the ground game. Yet, any praise given to Miami should hold off until they potentially defeat Kansas City to prove they can beat a challenging opponent. 

5. Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs not only lost to Denver for the first time in seven years in embarrassing fashion but confirmed that something just isn’t right with this team. Yes, Patrick Mahomes threw two costly interceptions in a bad overall performance. However, can he alone make up for the offensive play calling, O-line play, lack of a running game, and atrocious wide receiver depth? The defending champions have got to get their act together because a loss to Miami on the international stage might show that Kansas City isn’t the AFC’s cream of the crop anymore.

6. Cincinnati Bengals

To celebrate the Halloween spirit, the Bengals have fully risen from their early season grave to take down the 49ers on the road methodically. The offense, Joe Burrow in particular, looked phenomenal against one of the best defenses in the league. Cincinnati’s own defense never allowed San Francisco to capitalize on their own mistakes and now looks criminally underrated. The job is still far from done since they face the Bills on primetime, along with a lot of ground needing to be covered in the AFC North race. 

7. Seattle Seahawks

It appears that the term “easy victory” is not present in Seattle’s dictionary. They once again almost allowed poor execution in the red zone and sloppy turnovers to rip the win from their hands. Thankfully, the defense stifling Cleveland’s attack to the best of their ability, alongside a game-winning score to Jaxon Smith-Njigba, lands the Seahawks in first place in the NFC West. Beating Baltimore on the road without giving their fans a heart attack is necessary if they want it to last.

8. Detroit Lions

You may look and be confused as to why Detroit has moved down two spots even though they won on Monday night. Their loss of ground in the rankings can mostly be chalked up to elements out of their control since the Lions’ win over the Raiders proves they’re a quality team. Despite several fumbles and a pick-six causing the team to sputter, Jahmyr Gibbs and the defense electrifying the home crowd was enough to seal the deal. The title of Super Bowl contender is definitely debatable, thanks to injuries and offensive inconsistency, yet at least you can take comfort in the fact that no one else is really competing for the North.

9. San Francisco 49ers

Here comes the great Santa Clara landslide as we all slowly wonder how we thought the 49ers were the team to beat in the NFL. Brock Purdy cannot stop turning the ball over in critical moments; the defense had no answers for Joe Burrow, and they don’t even control their own division anymore. You need Deebo Samuel and Trent Williams back from injury, and you need them back now. Hopefully, the bye week shows San Francisco that they can’t just rely on high-end talent to bail them out. 

10. Dallas Cowboys

Similar to Detroit, don’t let the drop-down in ranking fool you; Dallas was nothing less than immaculate in a 43-20 blowout over the Rams. The otherworldly connection between Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb ensured that this contest was effectively over by halftime. It’s no secret that the Cowboys are a very good team, but do they deserve to be in the upper echelon? Beat Philadelphia in their own house, and we’ll talk about you moving away from the NFC’s second tier. 

11. Buffalo Bills

Bills Mafia picks up a much-needed win that, while far from perfect, keeps them near the top of the playoff hunt. The usual elements of Buffalo football in Josh Allen being both captivating and frustrating, no rushing attack whatsoever, and making it way to close at the end were present. The only difference was that the defense did its job in never letting Tampa Bay respond until it was too late. There is no other choice but to have to defeat the white-hot Bengals in Cincinnati on Sunday Night Football if they want to avoid the label of wild card fodder.

12. Cleveland Browns

No matter how hard Myles Garrett pushes the rock up the hill, it tumbles back down to keep Cleveland on the fringes of relevance. A 10-point handicap in the hostile confines of Seattle was almost overcome through the defense, giving the team numerous opportunities to put points on the board. Alas, P.J. Walker throws a brutal interception that results in a touchdown to win the game for Seattle, tossing them a game and a half behind first place in the division. Even if Deshaun Watson comes back from injury soon, how much of an upgrade would that really be?

13. New York Jets

A team that has to kick a field goal in overtime to defeat the New York Giants should usually be nowhere near the top 15. If Graham Gano nails that chipshot in the fourth quarter, we would be talking about how the Jets’ lack of competent quarterback play and an offensive line is holding them back from contention. Instead, their superb defense has dragged New York kicking and screaming to three straight victories. A matchup with the Chargers is both very winnable and a way for the Jets to keep up in the tense AFC race. 

14. Tennessee Titans

Will Levis absolutely balling out in his rookie debut offer a glimmer of light for a sputtering Titans team. The rookie signal-caller was the fresh jolt needed to get the offense producing on a consistent basis. Pair that with the Tennessee defense collecting six sacks on the day, and you’ve got hope returning to the Nashville hopeful at last. Sadly, they’ll have to be very convincing at Pittsburgh this week to prove it’s not already too late.

15. New Orleans Saints

Nothing like an offensive showcase of over 500 yards and 38 points to prove that New Orleans is serious about taking the NFC South for themselves. Pete Carmichael couldn’t even hold Alvin Kamara and Derek Carr back from finally appearing competent this week. The caveat of playing a bottom-five defense on top of ugly penalty numbers and the defense bending a little too often is a bit disheartening. Regardless, getting to play the Bears this week could put the Saints as the NFC South frontrunner. 

16. Los Angeles Chargers

Better late than never for the Chargers to live up to their playoff contender billing in a 30-13 rout over the Chicago Bears. Los Angeles, for once, never let its foot off the gas due in large part to Justin Herbert throwing three touchdowns to cap off a brilliant showing. The softball opponent was nice, but now it’s time to take on a defensive juggernaut in the New York Jets to prove your season isn’t all but lost. 

17. Pittsburgh Steelers

How is it possible to force three turnovers, notch three sacks, and only surrender one touchdown just to lose by double digits? Look no further than the Pittsburgh Steelers, who keep getting the same result when they refuse to make adjustments to their dreadful offensive prowess. Kenny Pickett also suffered a rib injury so the Steel Curtain will have to keep clinging on to a playoff spot for dear life while hoping Mitch Trubisky doesn’t make a rough situation even worse. 

18. Atlanta Falcons

The next stop on Atlanta’s tour of fumbling away a wide-open division takes us to the Music City, where the close score doesn’t tell the story of Sunday’s total letdown. Major O-line struggles were this week’s offensive saboteur in spite of the spark Taylor Heinicke brought in his limited sample. In addition, what looked like a potential top-15 NFL defense allowed a rookie making his first start to throw four touchdowns. Somehow, Atlanta is lucky enough to draw a Minnesota squad without its two best players to keep the wheel of frustration going. 

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay appears just to be copying and pasting the same exact script for every game they have against a legitimate opponent. Baker Mayfield throws two touchdown passes, and the defense gives up only one score the entire second half. Take a guess as to what cost them victory: eleven penalties and still not a single trace of Rachaad White or any kind of rushing attack. The Buccaneers are looking square in the face of missing out on a cakewalk division unless they squash the lowly Texans at home. 

20. Minnesota Vikings

What should’ve been a week for celebration instead turns into a borderline funeral for any hopes the Vikings had of making a miraculous mid-season turnaround due to Kirk Cousins tearing his Achilles. It’s truly unfortunate because so much is starting to go right for Minnesota, mainly the emergence of Jordan Addison and getting to humiliate the Packers at Lambeau Field. Losing their quarterback for the rest of the season leaves the rest of the season in limbo, and trading for Josh Dobbs at the deadline still leaves me with no idea how they’ll respond against Atlanta this week.

21. Indianapolis Colts

There’s a simple fact of life about football that best fits the Colts’ current situation: It doesn’t matter when your offense scores a lot of points if your defense gives up even more. Indianapolis’ defense statistically ranks dead last across the NFL and is actively wasting an offense continuing to thrive without Anthony Richardson. The weapons in both the run and pass game look strong for the future, plus the Colts have a pretty easy upcoming slate. Yet, it’s doubtful that they’ll go very far when they make the Saints’ offense look elite. 

22. Washington Commanders

Something about playing the Eagles brings out the best side of the Commanders we’ve seen yet. Sam Howell came close to single-handedly out dueling Philadelphia, but they instead had to settle for respect rather than the win itself due to an utter collapse of the defense. This team would be so much better than they are if both sides of the ball could coexist together. Washington is still only one game back of a wild card spot, and any success will have to be done in spite of the team selling off pieces at the trade deadline.  

23. Houston Texans

Nothing kills the feel-good story of a team faster than losing to the winless Carolina Panthers. Every passing week has made it more evident that Houston has little else than C.J. Stroud, and only mustering 13 points against the league’s third-worst defense proves how one-dimensional their attack is. The defense, while always playing with heart, is undisciplined and takes way too many penalties. This season is definitely an improvement, but it’s merely a start.

24. Los Angeles Rams

Los Angeles’ teetering around .500 and making us all wonder what they truly were gave way to getting blasted at Dallas 43-20. Despite the NFC being shallow enough for them to be in the mix technically, things are really starting to crumble in Rams House. Matthew Stafford’s age is showing in his play and physical ability; the offense offers nothing in the run department, and their secondary might be the worst in the NFL. The good news is that their next opponent is Green Bay, which should hopefully show that the old core still has something to offer. 

25. Denver Broncos

The wicked witch of Kansas City is finally dead as Denver gets to gallop into their bye week at an all-time high. No better time for Russell Wilson and the defense to turn the clock back to 2015 than to snap a 16-game losing streak to their most hated rival. It’d be foolish to think that this means the Broncos have completely fixed all their issues. Nevertheless, the gradual progress being made over the last two weeks suggests the team may finally be turning a corner of some sort. 

26. Las Vegas Raiders

Just like Davante Adams after Monday night’s game, few words are to be said about the Raiders’ descent back into the basement. Jimmy Garoppolo turned out to only make the offensive stagnation somehow worse after returning from injury, with the team putting together 157 total yards of offense. Any opportunity that arose to take advantage of the Lions tripping over themselves was squandered, and the result was the organization decided to clean house. Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler have finally been fired, a pyrrhic victory that unfortunately won’t prevent the talents of Adams, Meyers, and Jacobs from rotting away.

27. New England Patriots

New England’s regression back to the status quo in a pivotal loss to the Dolphins confirms that last week was all but a fluke. Surprisingly, the most apparent flaw on the team currently isn’t Mac Jones, who was pretty much the only thing keeping the offense going. That would be the defense that let Tua Tagovailoa torch them for 3 touchdowns. Now that Kendrick Bourne will be out with injury, the ship is only sinking faster and faster.

28. Green Bay Packers

Four straight losses, including a 24-10 stonewalling by the Vikings at Lambeau, has the season looking lost already for Green Bay, and team management seems to agree. When Jordan Love is your leading rusher in a game, that’s all the evidence you need that the offense is both predictable and ineffective. Moving Rasul Douglas at the trade deadline is a telling move that the front office is jumping ahead to next year. At least Rashan Gary’s contract extension keeps him as a franchise cornerstone through the hard reset. 

29.Chicago Bears

You know it’s bad when the only notable thing the Bears did this week was buying at the deadline again. In terms of the product on the field, a team led by Tyson Bagent did exactly as expected against the Chargers to fall to 2-6. Chicago failing to make any strides this season makes as much sense as trading a second-round pick for Montez Sweat while not wanting to pay Jaylon Johnson. The Bears need to think very carefully about why this season has gone the route it has or else they’ll just be experiencing the same thing next year. 

30. New York Giants

Negative nine passing yards. 3 more punts than actual points. Brian Daboll opted for a field goal on a 4th & 1 with 28 seconds left and the Giants up by 3 when the Jets had no timeouts. The only good news to speak of is that Daniel Jones will be back this week, they get to play the Raiders, and trading Leonard Williams fetched them a nice return.

31. Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals’ fourth-quarter rally against the far superior Ravens, while inspiring, wasn’t enough to snatch victory nor prevent a shakeup. Josh Dobbs getting shipped off to Minnesota makes rookie Clayton Tune the new signal caller for now. Kyler Murray should also finally be returning to action, and it’ll be interesting to see if he can convince the organization that he’s still their franchise quarterback.

32. Carolina Panthers

A single win doesn’t completely reverse the Panther’s fortunes, but there are definitely things to smile about in Charlotte. The defensive line under Ejiro Evero looks top-notch, Bryce Young outshined C.J. Stroud in a solid performance, and they made the Bears’ pick no longer first overall. Be comforted in that no matter how rough this season’s result will be, 0-17 is not in your future Panthers.

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