NFL Week 9 Power Rankings
Just a reminder to everyone: the Buccaneers were favored by a field goal this week. They ended up losing by 35. As a Saints fan, that makes me happy, and as a Brady hater, that makes me even happier. But that wasn’t the only big game of the week. This week, we saw the Bills beat down on the former kings of the NFC, winning 44-27 against the Seahawks and vaulting Josh Allen back into the MVP conversation. The Cowboys also nearly upset the undefeated Steelers, but couldn’t finish it off (thanks to some...interesting calls).
Speaking of MVP, the conversation has blown up in our faces over the past two weeks. A few short games ago, Russell Wilson was running away with it while Josh Allen had a few supporters. But now, every person who was once mentioned has had something come up to make it less likely that they win it. Wilson, Allen, Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, and maybe even Dak Prescott were in it for some time. I think it’s time to start looking for the NFL’s worst nightmare: a non-quarterback MVP.
Derrick Henry, Davante Adams, Dalvin Cook and Alvin Kamara I think are all at the top of the league in their respective positions right now, and I could make an argument for each of them despite Adams and Cook missing a few games. But no receiver has ever won an MVP, and no running back since Adrian Peterson did it in 2012. And that took one of the most dominant rushing seasons in NFL history, which Cook, Henry, and Kamara are not approaching.
Simply put, we are not likely going to see a non-quarterback win MVP this year unless Kamara or Henry, my two best picks, absolutely explode down the stretch. It’s not impossible, but it’s not likely.
Anyways, this isn’t an MVP talk article. This is power rankings! So let’s get on with it. If you like them, let me know by Tweeting at me (@AidanCharde)!
32. New York Jets (Last Week: 32) =
They almost won this week! I mean, a win would have been worse and made the fans even more angry at the team, but they didn’t look like an absolute failure of a squad out there. I think part of it had to do with JC Jackson on the Patriots not playing his best game, blowing coverage twice to allow deep touchdowns. But Flacco showed he still has something in the tank and hey, maybe they’ll actually be able to win games with Trevor Lawrence.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 31) =
While the rookie quarterback did play very well for the Jags, and DJ Chark had a big game, it wasn’t enough for Jacksonville to overcome the lowly Texans. The team has a lot of bright spots on offense to move forward with, and as long as the game by Jake Luton wasn’t a fluke, they have a core three to build around with him, Chark, and James Robinson. The defense is another story, as it’s been demolished past the point of recognition from its 2017 form. They have some work to do there, but they’re not too far off from getting back to the playoffs, surprisingly.
30. Washington Football Team (LW: 28) -2
Man, Washington quarterbacks and November really just don’t like each other, do they? Almost exactly two years ago to the day, Alex Smith shattered his leg in a career-threatening (and almost life-threatening) injury. This week, Kyle Allen had one of the most brutal looking ankle dislocations, and who but Alex Smith came in to relieve him. Smith played well enough to keep the Football Team in the game, but three picks ruined a comeback. Regardless, the fact that he managed to come back after what he went through is a victory enough for him.
29. Detroit Lions (LW: 27) -2
This was yet another bad loss for the Lions, made worse by Matt Stafford going out in the fourth quarter with a concussion. There are very few positives to say about this team, which makes me sad because I feel bad for them. Rookie DeAndre Swift has been a bright spot, but even he has had some issues with dropping passes, especially in key moments. Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones, meanwhile, are two top receivers in the league, but they can never seem to be consistent enough to keep the offense afloat. And for a defensive coach, this team should be embarrassed about the defense.
28. New York Giants (LW: 29) +1
Daniel Jones actually has played pretty well over the last two weeks, resulting in a narrow loss and a narrow win. The most impressive stat from this game might actually be that, for just the second time in his career, Jones did not turn the ball over once. He did actually fumble twice, but both were recovered by his team. I think that goes to show that the Giants actually can win games as long as they keep the ball from going to the other team constantly. Last week, they would have beaten the Bucs if not for two Jones interceptions at key moments. If he keeps it under control, he’ll be a much better quarterback.
27. Dallas Cowboys (LW: 30) +3
There was a lot to like about this week for the Cowboys who, despite a loss, looked like maybe the best team in the NFC East. I know, there isn’t much competition, but this is a team that failed to score a touchdown in two straight games coming into this week. Not only did the awful defense manage to keep Pittsburgh in check most of the day, but the awful offense managed to put up 19 points on one of the best defenses in the league. Garrett Gilbert is the one to finally bring a spark back to the Cowboys, and he could just lead them to the division.
26. Los Angeles Chargers (LW: 25) -1
This was one of the best games the Chargers played this season, but it still ended the same way nearly every single one of their losses do: in absolute heartbreak. Justin Herbert is having his stellar rookie campaign shrouded by a team that can’t close out games and is sitting at 2-7 because of it. The Chargers have not lost a game by more than one score this season and they’ve taken some really good teams down to the wire. But if they can’t close the games, it doesn’t matter.
25. Atlanta Falcons (LW: 26) +1
Even without Calvin Ridley playing, the Falcons offense still managed to score 34 points. Of course, it wasn’t against the best defense, but that’s beside the point. Actually, they nearly blew another massive lead, only thwarted because of a mistimed snap on 4th and 10 for the Broncos. I would not say this was a “good win”, but the fact that they managed to get a lead and hold on to it, no matter how close it got, speaks volumes.
24. Minnesota Vikings (LW: 24) =
Holy crap Dalvin Cook! Despite missing a game, he is easily in the conversation for MVP at the moment after putting up 206 rushing yards on the Lions. In two weeks after returning from an injury, he’s compiled 478 total yards and six touchdowns. That pace can’t be kept up, but it more than makes up for the lost time. It definitely helps that the team around him is hopeless and their only chance of winning is by giving it to him every single play, but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do!
23. Houston Texans (LW: 22) -1
Houston did manage to get a win against the Jaguars, but it was a lot closer than it should have been. Even as bad as the Texans have been this year, they’ve looked a lot better than the Jaguars have, and playing against a rookie quarterback in his first start, it shouldn’t have been a competition. Will Fuller had another one of his weird insanely good games, but the team was stale otherwise. They let DJ Chark eat them up and James Robinson ran all over them. With each game, I’m losing hope that they’ll be back on top next year.
22. Philadelphia Eagles (LW: 21) -1
Because the Cowboys almost won this week, I dropped the Eagles during their bye. Philly is clinging to the division lead by a thread, sitting at 3-4-1 over a 2-6 team and two 2-7 teams, which means it’s still likely for anyone to get the division. But with the way the Cowboys played under Gilbert, I think they have the best chance of making a “run”, and that’s not good news for the Eagles. Like the Texans, I had hope for them going into the season, but as they continue to lose, I just lose hope.
21. Denver Broncos (LW: 18) -3
Denver was one of my sleeper teams at the beginning of the season, and boy was I wrong. While they’ve had some good moments, and Drew Lock does look like he’s their quarterback of the future, there is still a lot to work on. Losing Courtland Sutton hurts, since it’s forcing a rookie to be the top receiver on a team, and while Jerry Jeudy has looked great, it’s hard to put him in that situation. And the running back combo, which should be deadly, isn’t playing as well as they should be. The team all around is inconsistent, but they have a lot of solid pieces.
20. Chicago Bears (LW: 17) -3
When you’re asking Nick Foles to throw the ball 52 times in a game, you know you have no shot of winning. If Mitch Trubisky weren’t injured, I would say they should make the switch back to him, but the one play he was in for against the Saints proved to be a disaster. They were lucky to start the season with the record that they did, but they never played like a 5-1 team. They’ve lost their last three straight, and unless they can turn it around against Dalvin Cook this week, they’ll keep skidding for a while.
19. New England Patriots (LW: 23) +4
I know, this is way too far to move the Patriots up after they beat the worst team in the league on a walk-off field goal. But the situation between 23 and 18 is a mess right now, so I’ve been having trouble figuring out where to put them. I do think that a victory, however small, is something that they really needed right now just to get some confidence back after losing four straight. I don’t think they’ll be making the playoffs, but an 8-8 record isn’t completely out of the question if they start to grind and actually come together as a team.
18. Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 20) +2
Another team that probably shouldn’t have moved up but did anyway, the Bengals looked really good before the week before their bye. Some might say it will slow their momentum, but I think it’s a good way to keep confidence going into their next game against the best team in the division. They have two weeks to plan for the Steelers, who are coming off of a narrow victory. If the Bengals play like they did against the Titans, this game might not be as much of a guarantee for Pittsburgh as they’d like you to think.
17. Carolina Panthers (LW: 19) +2
The Panthers lost the game, but even worse than that, they lost CMC...again. All things considered, though, they put up one hell of a fight against the Chiefs. While they couldn’t hold on for the upset, they were just a field goal away from winning against a really good team, which should light a fire under them. They’ve now lost two games on missed field goals against really good opponents, which shows that they are good enough to actually fight for some of these wins. They have to play the Bucs this week, but the way they played against the Saints, this game could go either way.
16. Cleveland Browns (LW: 16) =
We’ve seen a tale of two teams this season from the Browns, who have averaged 37.4 points per game in wins, but just 6.3 in losses. Their defense has clearly been an issue, as even including their wins they’ve only held one team to under 20 points, so it’s up to the offense to outscore everyone. And as we’ve seen, that won’t work every week. This is the best Browns team since they came into existence, but I don’t think they’ll be the one to make the playoffs.
15. San Francisco 49ers (LW: 12) -3
Without most of their starting lineup from the Super Bowl last year, it’s easy to see why the Niners are having so much trouble this year. I don’t fault them at all for the steep drop off, but if this keeps up next year when they’re fully healthy again, then there might be some cause for concern. Jimmy G has shown that he can play very well, but he’s also shown a tendency to get hurt...a lot. Nick Mullens clearly isn’t the answer in San Francisco, so do the 49ers try to trade for someone this offseason? It’s looking like their choice to not pursue Brady in the offseason might have been a mistake.
14. Los Angeles Rams (LW: 15) +1
LA got a boost in their bye week because of the 49ers loss, since it puts them one step closer to winning the division. All four teams are still in the hunt, but it is notable that the Rams have only beaten one team outside of the NFC East. All but two of their remaining games are against teams that are likely to make the playoffs, which is not a good sign considering they are yet to beat a presumptive playoff team so far. Sean McVay hasn’t been the same since taking the loss in Super Bowl LIII, and it might be getting close to calling the experiment a failure.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LW: 7) -6
Where do I start? I’m going to try to go easy on the Bucs after last week’s embarrassment of a slaughtering. Ah, who am I kidding? I loved this! Tom Brady, supposedly the greatest to ever play, was unable to get a first down until the Saints were already up 21-0 even when armed with three #1 receivers. And I know the Saints run defense is formidable, but that doesn’t mean you should only attempt four runs against them, especially when the pass game clearly isn’t working. And the defense? Oh man, the defense looked awful! This is against a team that needed overtime to beat the Bears, and Drew Brees threw four touchdowns against them. Why in god’s name were they favored? Sorry for the long analysis here, but the Bucs aren’t good. Sorry.
12. Indianapolis Colts (LW: 11) -1
As the YouTuber “UrinatingTree” put it, the Colts offense is like a light switch. Sometimes it will be insanely good, and sometimes it will just decide to not show up. This week, it was off. Philip Rivers came down from his hot streak and the Ravens defense made sure that they regretted every little mistake, scoring on a fumble recovery and the drive after a Rivers interception. The defense, which has been so great all season, played great in the first half, but couldn’t keep up in the second. This was an important week for the Colts, who are trying to sneak back into the divisional race, but next week against the Titans is even more important.
11. Las Vegas Raiders (LW: 13) +2
I still believe the Raiders are a playoff team, even if they have had some bad performances. They were able to win this week, thanks to an iffy call as time expired, but the fact that they were able to keep pace with a very good offense speaks volumes. Obviously, they won’t be taking down the Chiefs from the top of the AFC West, but they could still grab a Wild Card spot, especially if they keep playing well. As weird as it sounds, though, the Dolphins might be their biggest competition, so that week 16 matchup might be a good one to watch.
10. Miami Dolphins (LW: 14) +4
So...Miami is 5-3, in second place in the division, and currently in control of the 7th seed in the playoffs. What happened? Well, the defense is playing phenomenally during their 4-game win streak. They’ve allowed an average of 16.25 points per game in that span, and, while their offense has been up and down, Tua looks like the real deal. He outdueled Kyler Murray in a battle of the speedsters, and that was a key win for a Dolphins squad that hasn’t been legitimate contenders in quite some time now. I knew Brian Flores would turn this team around, I just didn’t think it would happen this fast.
9. Tennessee Titans (LW: 9) =
For the first time this season, the Titans defense actually gave them the win. Sure, Foles put up 335 yards and 2 touchdowns against them, but most of that came in the fourth quarter on a failed comeback. Tannehill only threw the ball 21 times for just 10 completions, but he managed to connect for touchdowns on two of those throws. They also benefited from two fumble recoveries, including one from newly acquired Desmond King that he ran back for a touchdown. They also managed to sack Foles three times and hold the team to under 60 yards rushing, which are both things that they’ve had problems with over the past few weeks. They might not be a Super Bowl contender quite yet, but they’re still in the race.
8. Buffalo Bills (LW: 10) +2
This was the win the Bills needed. In one of the biggest surprises of the year (yes, even though the Bills are a good team), everything clicked for Buffalo once again and they absolutely obliterated Seattle on both sides of the ball. Josh Allen put himself right back in the MVP conversation after another game of 400+ yards and 3+ touchdowns, while the defense, which has been eaten up by everyone since week 3, sacked Wilson five times, two of which were strip sacks, and picked him off twice. This win was especially important for the Bills, though, since the Dolphins are making sure that they don’t take the division that easily.
7. Arizona Cardinals (LW: 4) -3
This was a tough loss for Arizona since a win would have put them in first place in the division, but it wasn’t a terrible game. Kyler Murray has been great all season, and he kept them in the game against the top scoring defense that had only allowed one other team to score over 30 on them all season. They also showed that they could stay in games even when DeAndre Hopkins was basically cut out, since he only managed three catches for 30 yards. Instead, Christian Kirk stepped up to total 123 yards and a touchdown. Of course they wanted to win, but they’re still a really good team and could manage to get the 5 seed in the playoffs.
6. Green Bay Packers (LW: 7) +1
The Packers had a boring win against a mediocre team, but at least it was a bounce back from an ugly loss last week. Davante Adams once again put the team on his back, accounting for more than half of Rodgers’ passing yards and a touchdown. Not every game has been perfect for Green Bay, but I think they’re doing enough to hold off the Bears and win the division, though that isn’t really saying much. They don’t have too many tough matchups left, but the Colts, Titans, and Panthers could put up a good fight.
5. Seattle Seahawks (LW: 3) -2
The one big stain on Russell Wilson’s MVP campaign is the amount of interceptions he’s thrown this season. He’s only thrown eight, but five of them have come in the past three games, and both of his multi-pick games have been the only losses for the Seahawks this year. Of course, he’s on pace to throw 56 touchdowns and 5,000+ yards, but he has to get those picks under control. It’s also unfair to just blame him. His defense has been awful all season, which has allowed every team to stay in the game. The offense is playing so hard, but they might exit early with that level of defense.
4. Baltimore Ravens (LW: 5) +1
Despite being down in the first half, and Lamar Jackson looking dead in the water, the Ravens managed to come back and win the second half against the Colts. Sure, there was a game-turning controversial call where they gave Baltimore an interception on what was definitely an incompletion, but that’s how the cards fall sometimes. The bigger point is that Lamar Jackson has lost his novelty and teams know exactly what to expect from him. This is not last season’s MVP, not even close. His receivers aren’t good enough to allow him to throw, and defenses expect the run. If it wasn’t already hard for them to win in the playoffs, now it definitely will be.
3. New Orleans Saints (LW: 6) +3
This was the win the Saints needed. Not only was it a blowout, not only was it against a divisional opponent, but it was against a team that, coming into the season, was supposed to be the best in the league. New Orleans showed just how wrong the analysts were. The Saints forced four straight three-and-outs and then picked Tom Brady off immediately after the Bucs first first down of the game, the first of three. They had a beautiful goal line stand, holding the Bucs without a touchdown in the red zone for the first time this season. If this doesn’t show that the Saints are the best team in the NFC, I don’t know what does.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 1) -1
This game probably should have been the first loss for the last undefeated team, but Pittsburgh was able to escape with a win. Either way, it doesn’t really matter to me. The Steelers are 8-0 but only one of their wins came by more than nine points. I’m not saying they’re bad, but as dominant as the defense has been, they’ve survived a lot of close games against bad teams. I don’t really think they have a shot to go 16-0, but 14-2 is definitely not out of the question and they could end up being the team to beat in the AFC. For now, I think last week showed us a lot of small flaws that could end up being this team’s undoing.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (LW: 2) +1
I don’t think it’s fair to say that the Chiefs are as good as last year, but they’ve kind of quietly been incredible this season. Sure, they’re not blowing out opponents every single game, Patrick Mahomes isn’t throwing for 500 yards and five touchdowns week after week, but they’re winning games and they’re winning easily, save for two weeks. I don’t think it’s a shot to them that the Panthers nearly beat them, since the Panthers are playing well above what their record shows. The rest of the season may be difficult, though. The only team to beat the Chiefs so far is the Raiders, who they play next, and they also have games against the Bucs, Dolphins, Saints, and Chargers, who nearly beat them in week 2. Could that result in five losses? We’ll have to see.