NFL

NFL Week 9 Power Rankings: Steelers Make a Statement, Patriots, Cowboys Continue Freefall

We’re officially halfway through the 2020 NFL season, and the true Super Bowl contenders are starting to stand out above the rest. The Pittsburgh Steelers keep passing every test imaginable, while the New England Patriots look to be on their way to a missed playoff appearance for the first time since 2008.

Where does your team land on our NFL Week 9 Power Rankings?

The Contenders

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1 Pittsburgh Steelers (7-0)
Last week: 1

What else do the Steelers need to do to prove they’re the best team in the NFL? They had a breeze of a schedule to start the year, but they’ve now beaten the Titans and Ravens on the road in back-to-back weeks. Pittsburgh has the Cowboys, Bengals, and Jaguars next up on the schedule. Hello, 10-0.

2 — Kansas City Chiefs (7-1)
Last week: 2

The Chiefs had a walk-through scrimmage on Sunday against the Jets, and they handled business without much of a struggle. This game taught us nothing more about this Kansas City team. They’re great. We all know that. Moving on.

3— Seattle Seahawks (6-1)
Last week: 7

No Chris Carson, no problem for Seattle against San Francisco on Sunday. The Seahawks just continue to churn out wins. Russell Wilson should be the leader in the clubhouse for league MVP, and he’s had that offense humming all season long.

4 — Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2)
Last week: 3

Teams are allowed to have off games from time-to-time, but the great ones find a way to win when they don’t have their best stuff. That’s exactly what Tom Brady and the Bucs did against the Giants on Monday night. A crucial divisional matchup against the Saints awaits next week.

5 — Baltimore Ravens (5-2)
Last week: 5

The Ravens can’t be knocked down for losing to the undefeated Steelers on Sunday, but they’re quietly coming apart at the seams. Baltimore lost LT Ronnie Stanley for the rest of the season, Marlon Humphrey just tested positive for COVID-19, and Marquise Brown is openly criticizing coaches on Twitter. They better get their house in order quickly.

6 — Green Bay Packers (5-2)
Last week: 4

So much for that 4-0 start. The Packers have now lost two of their last three, and the defense has looked porous in recent weeks. Aaron Rodgers can only do so much for Green Bay. The defense will need to improve if this team has a shot in the playoffs.

7— New Orleans Saints (5-2)
Last week: 13

It wasn’t pretty, but the Saints left Chicago with an overtime win against the Bears on Sunday afternoon as Alvin Kamara continued his historic season running and catching the football. New Orleans has a huge test coming up against the division-leading Buccaneers in Week 9.

The Pretenders

8 — Buffalo Bills (6-2)
Last week: 10

Talk about getting the monkey off your back. The Bills defeated the mighty Patriots at home on Sunday for the first time since 2011. At 6-2, Buffalo now has a dominant lead in the AFC East, and they should cruise to the playoffs this season.

9 — Arizona Cardinals (5-2)
Last week: 9

The Cardinals got a much-deserved bye week after upsetting the Seahawks in Week 7. They return this Sunday to play Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins in Arizona with a chance to move to 6-2.

10 — Tennessee Titans (5-2)
Last week: 6

The Titans have dropped two straight after starting the season 5-0. The defense is the unit to blame, as they just gave up 31 points to the Bengals and failed to sack Joe Burrow even one time on Sunday. Where on earth is Jadeveon Clowney?

11 — Indianapolis Colts (5-2)
Last week: 11

The Colts put together their best all-around game in Week 8 against the Lions. Philip Rivers was efficient, the defense was dominant, and Indy coasted to a 20-point win. It’s a two-horse race in the AFC South between the Colts and Titans.

12 — Miami Dolphins (4-3)
Last week: 20

Miami fans were stoked to watch Tua Tagovailoa in his first NFL start on Sunday, but it was the defense and special teams that stole the show. They picked off Jared Goff twice and scored two touchdowns in the 11-point victory. Arizona is up next.

13 — LA Rams (5-3)
Last week: 8

Jared Goff struggled mightily against the Dolphins on Sunday in the Rams’ 28-17 loss. LA has a talented roster, but Goff needs to be more consistent if this team wants to reach its full potential.

The ‘Not Quites’

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14 — Las Vegas Raiders (4-3)
Last week: 16

The Raiders seem to be a completely different team week-to-week. Las Vegas’ defense stifled Baker Mayfield and company on Sunday to improve to 4-3, and they have a good chance to nab an AFC Wild Card spot if they can perform more consistently.

15 — Cleveland Browns (5-3)
Last week: 14

The good and the bad of Baker Mayfield were on full display over the last two weeks. After a heroic comeback against the Bengals, Mayfield put up a dud and mustered just six points in the wind and snow against the Raiders in Week 8. Cleveland just isn’t a true contender yet.

16 — Philadelphia Eagles (3-4-1)
Last week: 21

A win is a win, but Carson Wentz looked atrocious against the Cowboys on Sunday night. Wentz now has the most turnovers of any player in the NFL this season. He’ll need to tighten up his play if Philadelphia has any chance of winning a playoff game this year.

17 — San Francisco 49ers (4-4)
Last week: 12

San Francisco just can’t seem to catch a break. The 49ers lost Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle to injuries on Sunday, and both players will be out multiple weeks. The reigning NFC champs will have a tough time getting back to the playoffs with all the bad luck they’ve encountered this season.

18 — Chicago Bears (5-3)
Last week: 15

Nick Foles hasn’t been much of an improvement from Mitch Trubisky for the Bears’ offense, and Chicago has stumbled to two losses in a row. The defense is still great. The offense? Not so much.

No Man’s Land

19 — Carolina Panthers (3-5)
Last week: 17

The Panthers stumbled to a home loss against the Falcons last Thursday, and they don’t get much of a break with the Chiefs next up on the schedule. Keeping it close would be a plus for Matt Rhule’s group.

20 — Denver Broncos (3-4)
Last week: 23

Drew Lock led the Broncos to an incredible comeback win against the Chargers on Sunday, but he was pretty brutal in the first half. Denver needs that second-half Drew Lock the rest of the season if they want to make any noise.

21 — Minnesota Vikings (2-5)
Last week: 25

Hey, some signs of life! Dalvin Cook was incredible against the Packers in Week 8, racking up 226 total yards and four touchdowns. The problem is Minnesota needs that sort of effort from Cook every week to have a chance of winning.

22 — New England Patriots (2-5)
Last week: 18

It’s nearly impossible to believe the almighty Patriots won’t even be in the playoffs this season. Well, believe it. New England lacks talent all over the field, and Cam Newton isn’t the same player he was just a few weeks ago. Bill Belichick could be watching the postseason from his couch for the first time since 2008.

23 — Detroit Lions (3-4)
Last week: 19

The Lions were embarrassed by the Colts on Sunday on their home turf. Thankfully for Detroit, they have four straight teams with losing records next up on their schedule. If there’s ever a time to make a run, it’s now.

24 — Washington Football Team (2-5)
Last week: 24

Washington had a bye in Week 8. They return to play the Giants at home next Sunday in what is actually a crucial game in the NFC East race. Go figure.

25 — Cincinnati Bengals (2-5-1)
Last week: 27

Joe Burrow led the Bengals to one of the biggest upsets of Week 8 against the Titans. The rookie QB is getting more and more comfortable every week, and once the roster fills out around him, Cincinnati will be a force to be reckoned with in the AFC North.

26 — Atlanta Falcons (2-6)
Last week: 28

The Falcons got back to their winning ways last Thursday with a solid all-around performance against the Panthers. Matt Ryan and the offense can put up points, but can the defense stop anybody the rest of the way?

27 — LA Chargers (2-5)
Last week: 22

Teams not named the Chargers are 52-4 this season in games that they led by 17 or more points. LA is 0-3 when leading by 17 or more. It’s truly mind-blowing how they continue to blow games in heartbreaking fashion. Start packing your bags, Anthony Lynn.

The ‘Tank for Trevor’ Sweepstakes

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28 — New York Giants (1-6)
Last week: 30

Boy, do the Giants fight hard. They just don’t know how to win football games quite yet. New York almost stunned Tom Brady and the Buccaneers as 12.5-point underdogs on Monday night, but almost doesn’t count for much in the NFL.

29 — Houston Texans (1-6)
Last week: 26

Bill O’Brien made one of the worst trades in recent memory when he shipped DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona. Now, he’s out of the league and the Texans are a bottom-dwelling team in 2020.

30 — Dallas Cowboys (2-6)
Last week: 29

The Ben DiNucci era began on Sunday for the Cowboys, and it went just about how everyone expected. Dallas didn’t score a single touchdown against the Eagles. Mike McCarthy and company might be close to packing it in for the 2020 season.

31 — Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6)
Last week: 31

The Jaguars had a bye in Week 8, meaning they had their best Sunday since Week 1 when they upset the Colts. The Texans, Packers, and Steelers are next up for Jacksonville. 1-9 is almost guaranteed.

32 — New York Jets (0-8)
Last week: 32

The Jets actually put up a decent fight against the reigning Super Bowl champs on Sunday, but the wheels fell off in the second half. Halfway to 0-16. You can do it, Adam Gase.