Sep. 26, 2016
Week 9 NFL Power Rankings
Biggest Riser: Carolina Panthers (23->16)
Biggest Faller: 3 Teams Tied at -4
1.) New England Patriots (+/-0)
A convincing win over the Bills is enough to keep them in the top spot. Heading into the bye week, Tom Brady and co. look poised for another Super Bowl run after improving to 4-0 since Brady returned.
2.) Denver Broncos (+/-0)
Despite briefly trailing, the Broncos took care of business against the Chargers last week. Trevor Siemian threw his first interception since September but continues to look competent at quarterback. His job is simple: just get the ball to Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Their run game is still inconsistent and this time won't end the year as the NFL's second-best team, but it's already exceeded preseason expectations.
3.) Dallas Cowboys (+2)
It's time to start taking Dallas seriously. Even when Dak Prescott has an off-game (20 incompletions and an interception), he is still good enough to get a win. The win over the Eagles shows that the NFC East is the Cowboys' for the taking. Ezekiel Elliott will not be stopped and Dez Bryant is healthy again. The sky is the limit as long as Tony Romo remains on the bench.
4.) Oakland Raiders (+2)
If not for penalties, Derek Carr would have set the single-game passing record. No matter, the Raiders still disposed of the Buccaneers. Though they only won by six, the Raiders shouldn't be worried. Their defense allows 25.4 points per game but has 13 takeaways this season; it rises to the occasion. Oakland's offense is scary; it's scored 25 points or more in six of eight games. Amari Cooper has woken up and is living up to the hype from when he was draft last year. The Raiders are slowly emerging as a favorite to meet the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.
5.) Minnesota Vikings (-2)
Norv Turner is out as offensive coordinator after the Vikings scored a measly 10 points against a Bears defense that allows 22.4 per game. Whether Turner was forced out or chose to quit is no matter; the Vikings need help. With Adrian Peterson gone and Stefon Diggs the only contributing wide receiver, the offense is worrisome. Sam Bradford has been competent so far but needs to be a difference-maker since Minnesota has no run game.
6.) Atlanta Falcons (+3)
Defensively the Falcons are still embarrassing. That said, Matt Ryan is keeping them alive and deserves MVP consideration. He leads all quarterbacks in passing and touchdowns. It helps to have Julio Jones as your top wide receiver, but Mohamed Sanu has also been a difference-maker and was a great pickup. Though he wasn't effective against the Packers, Devonta Freeman is still an elite running back and Ryan can be confident that the offense will still pick up first downs when he hands the ball off. The only team that can compete with the Falcons offensively is at the top of this list.
7.) Seattle Seahawks (-3)
A week after tying the Arizona Cardinals, the Seahawks lost the defensively-abysmal Saints. The loss showed two things: 1) Drew Brees is still a beast. 2) Seattle's offense has problems. When Russell Wilson does not throw a touchdown and the Seahawks' defense scores more than its defense, it's a sign of concern. The Saints defense allows 110.7 rushing yards per game, but the Seahawks combined for 74 yards between three different players. Does Marshawn Lynch miss football?
8.) Philadelphia Eagles (+1)
Even though the could not get it done against the Cowboys, the move up on the list because they did about all that they could. The Eagles, though 4-3 overall and 1-3 on the road, are still a dangerous team. The Carson Wentz hype is still deserved and that defense is legit. It made Dak Prescott finally looking human and if not for a great drive on the first play of overtime, it may have been the story of the game. Things get tougher for the Eagles after the Giants this weekend, but they continue to show that they belong among the NFL's best.
9.) Green Bay Packers (-2)
Is Aaron Rodgers back on track? Sure, his four touchdowns and 246 yards were nice, but his defense couldn't stop the Falcons and the Packers dropped to 4-3. Though the Vikings have lost two in a row, it would take a major collapse for Green Bay to jump past Minnesota and claim the NFC North. Eddie Lacey complicates the run game and will force Rodgers to throw the ball much more. He's still young enough to win the Packers games with his arm, but at 32, his chances of getting injured and taking longer to recover skyrocket.
10.) Pittsburgh Steelers (+/-0)
The bye week came a great time. After back-to-back losses, one without Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers are set to take on the Ravens this weekend. While still in control of the AFC North, the Steelers future is murky until Roethlisberger returns. He has practiced this week and could play Sunday, but no one knows how effective he will be. Might be safer to just start Landry Jones and give Roethlisberger another weekend off.
11.) Kansas City Chiefs (+1)
12.) Washington Redskins (+2)
13.) Arizona Cardinals (-2)
14.) New York Giants (+1)
15.) Houston Texans (+3)
16.) Carolina Panthers (+7)
17.) Buffalo Bills (-4)
18.) New Orleans Saints (+4)
19.) Cincinnati Bengals (+/-0)
20.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-4)
21.) Detroit Lions (-4)
22.) Baltimore Ravens (-2)
23.) San Diego Chargers (-2)
24.) Tennessee Titans (+2)
25.) Miami Dolphins (-1)
26.) Indianapolis Colts (-1)
27.) Los Angeles Rams (+/-0)
28.) Chicago Bears (+2)
29.) New York Jets (+/-0)
30.) Jacksonville Jaguars (-2)
31.) Cleveland Browns (+/-0)
32.) San Francisco 49ers (+/-0)
Note: Angelo Inglisa assisted Joel Norman in these power rankings.