Week 9 brought the most abrupt changes to these Power Rankings, with shocking results around the league. We lost both an undefeated and winless team, leaving just one team in each category: the San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals.

The most important result of Week 9 was the Baltimore Ravens win over the previously undefeated New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football. Lamar Jackson has elevated the Ravens into the conversation for not only best team in the AFC, but in the NFL.

On the other end of the spectrum, there were some shake-ups among the worst teams in the league. The win-less Miami Dolphins found an opponent worse than them, the New York Jets, en route to their first win of the season. But both those teams escape the #32 slot: for now.

There’s a new #1 team, a new #32 team, and tons of shake-ups in-between. See how Week 9 affected the NFL’s landscape.

Power Rankings After Week 9

  1. New Orleans Saints (8-1) [Last Week: 2]
    • New Orleans didn’t play this week, but moved up to the top position with the Patriots losing to the Ravens. The Saints are more versatile than the Patriots and 49ers, winning both high-scoring and low-scoring games. They didn’t miss a beat with Drew Brees sidelined, going 5-0 with Teddy Bridgewater as the starter. With Brees back in the fold, the Saints are the most dangerous team in the NFL.
  2. San Francisco 49ers (8-0) [Last Week: 3]
    • The same week the Patriots suffered their first loss of the season, the 49ers had a scare against the Cardinals. San Francico would hold on, and they’ve now moved up to the second-best team in the NFL. I still can’t put them above the Saints, for now. The two teams are on course for an epic clash on December 8.
  3. New England Patriots (8-1) [Last Week: 1]
    • The Patriots undefeated season, which drew parallels to their 16-0 regular season, came to a halt against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens on Sunday night. New England still ranks a spot higher though, as they’re the more consistent team, have an elite defense, and are still nearly impossible to beat at home. But the Patriots loss may have been an indicator of how the Patriots will fare against playoff teams this season.
  4. Baltimore Ravens (6-2) [Last Week: 6]
    • The Ravens had a prime opportunity to make a statement on Sunday Night Football, and they didn’t hesitate to seize the moment. They not only beat the Patriots, but took care of them pretty handily.
  5. Green Bay Packers (7-2) [Last Week: 4]
    • The Packers laid an egg against the Chargers, losing 26-11 in a head-scratcher against the Chargers. Still, seven solid wins are enough for me to discard the loss as a fluke for Aaron Rodgers and company.
  6. Seattle Seahawks (7-2) [Last Week: 7]
    • This Seahawks team loves to make things interesting, defeating the Buccaneers in overtime this week. Next Monday night, they face the undefeated 49ers in the most important game of each of their seasons.
  7. Houston Texans (6-3) [Last Week: 8]
    • The Texans took control of the AFC South in Week 9: for now. The Colts lost, and Houston beat the Jaguars 26-3 in London. Their next three games couldn’t be more crucial, playing the Ravens, Colts, and Patriots. Houston could be in position for a first-round bye, or in 3rd place in the AFC South by the time this stretch is over. It will tell us a lot about who the Texans really are.
  8. Kansas City Chiefs (6-3) [Last Week: 12]
    • The Chiefs are finally back in the Top 10 for the first time since Patrick Mahommes injury. They’re hardly playing bad with Matt Moore under center, beating a good Vikings team this week.
  9. Minnesota Vikings (6-3) [Last Week: 6]
    • Minnesota slides down three spots after failing to get it done against the Mahommes-less Chiefs. They’re still a pretty good team.
  10. Los Angeles Rams (5-3) [Last Week: 10]
    • The Rams bye week came after two straight wins. Los Angeles will need a better mark than 5-3 in their final games to make the playoffs in all likelihood.
  11. Dallas Cowboys (5-3) [Last Week: 11]
    • Dallas played a close Monday Night Football game with the Giants, but pulled away late. The win didn’t really impact how I feel about the Cowboys, as beating the Giants is a relatively easy task.
  12. Carolina Panthers (5-3) [Last Week: 14]
    • The Panthers got back on track with a 30-20 win over the Titans this week.
  13. Indianapolis Colts (5-3) [Last Week: 9]
    • The Colts have ground out some close wins this season. This time, they fell on the wrong side of the coin, losing to the Steelers by two and missing a game-winning field goal attempt.
  14. Philadelphia Eagles (5-4) [Last Week: 15]
    • Carson Wentz has won back-to-back starts against good defenses in Buffalo and Chicago. He was the better passer in both games, outplaying Josh Allen and Mitch Trubisky. Two quality wins, but tougher roads lie ahead.
  15. Buffalo Bills (6-2) [Last Week: 16]
    • This may seem unreasonably low for a 2-loss team this late in the season. Buffalo’s offense scored 22 points or more for just the 3rd time this season in their win over the lowly Redskins. Still not convinced Buffalo is a good team, but they do have a great chance to make the playoffs this year.
  16. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4) [Last Week: 21]
    • After an 0-3 start, Pittsburgh has went on a 4-1 tear, employing their second and third string quarterbacks. They’re in the playoff mix now, but I’m still worried their success could be fool’s gold. This week’s win was their most impressive, beating a solid Colts team. Their other three came over the Dolphins, Bengals, and Chargers.
  17. Oakland Raiders (4-4) [Last Week: 17]
    • If there’s one thing you can count on in these Power Rankings, it’s the Raiders clocking in between #17 and #20. They’re perfectly mediocre. I don’t even mean that as a slight, as they’re legitimately better than all the teams under them.
  18. Detroit Lions (3-4-1) [Last Week: 13]
    • I was high on the 2-0-1 Lions, heck, even the 3-3-1 Lions of last week. Those three losses came against worthy opponents: the Packers, Lions, and Chiefs. But after a loss to the Raiders, it’s only fair to put Detroit beneath them.
  19. Chicago Bears (3-5) [Last Week: 18]
    • At 3-1, the Bears had questions, but remained optimistic about their chances this season. Four straight losses later, those whispered questions have become loud exclamations. Mitch Trubisky hasn’t been getting it done.
  20. Los Angeles Chargers (4-5) [Last Week: 3-5]
    • I nearly forgot the Chargers are always a better second-half team. After a 2-5 start which made me write them off, they’ve put together two solid wins, most recently, upsetting Aaron Rodgers and the Patriots. The Chargers have two games remaining against the Chiefs: winning them could make things interesting.
  21. Tennessee Titans (4-5) [Last Week: 24]
    • The Titans lost 30-20 to the Panthers, but actually rise a few spots. It’s a mix of me giving them a little more credit, as well as the teams under them faltering or not looking too impressive.
  22. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5) [Last Week: 19]
    • In a huge week for AFC South standings, the Jaguars dropped the ball. They lost 26-3 in their “home game” in London to the Texans. You would think with the team’s familiarity playing over seas, they’d be able to better prepare.
  23. Arizona Cardinals (3-5-1) [Last Week: 22]
    • Arizona was manhandled by Drew Brees and the Saints, but the Cardinals nearly handed the 49ers their first loss of the season, only losing by three.
  24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-6) [Last Week: 25]
    • Man, these Buccaneers can play some exciting football games, but they always seem to come out on the losing end of the stick.
  25. Denver Broncos (3-6) [Last Week: 26]
    • The Broncos looked a lot better without Joe Flacco throwing the ball. Playing against the Browns also helps.
  26. Cleveland Browns (2-6) [Last Week: 23]
    • A new season-low for Cleveland, who hasn’t won a game in a month. At 2-3, alternating wins and losses through their first five games, I thought Cleveland would keep up that pace and finish with seven or eight wins. But the Browns have become the same old Cleveland Browns before our very eyes.
  27. New York Giants (2-7) [Last Week: 27)
    • If you have short-term memory loss, you may have forgotten Daniel Jones ever won a football game; actually two. The Giants played close with the Cowboys for most of three and a half quarters, but ultimately, the black cat that crossed their path doomed them to yet another loss (their 5th straight.)
  28. Atlanta Falcons (1-7) [Last Week: 29]
    • The Falcons are lucky there’s not enough room at the bottom to put them in the 30’s, where they really belong.
  29. Miami Dolphins (1-7) [Last Week: 32]
    • After some winnable opportunities against the Redskins and Steelers, Miami finally broke into the win column against the hapless Jets. Though I’ve had them #32 for a while, the win may keep them out of the last spot for a few weeks. They might not even be the worst team in the AFC East.
  30. Cincinatti Bengals (0-8) [Last Week: 30]
    • Though the Bengals didn’t play this week, they became the league’s only winless team by virtue of the Dolphins victory. Still, they’ve scored more points and allowed less points than the Jets, Redskins, and Dolphins, and will probably win a game this year.
  31. New York Jets (1-7) [Last Week: 28]
    • I thought the win over the Cowboys was a sign of good things to come in Sam Darnold’s return. I thought the blowout loss to the Patriots was just a result of the opponent. But the Jets have sunk to a new low after allowing the Dolphins to win their first game of the year.
  32. Washington Redskins (1-8) [Last Week: 29]
    • No matter who Washington throws out at quarterback, it’s likely to be a loss.

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Header photo credit: Will Newton/Getty Images

 

 

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