NFL Power Rankings
NFL Power Rankings: Week 9 Edition (Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

NFL Power Rankings: Week 9 Edition

This week will officially mark the halfway point in the season for every NFL team, with some already reaching eight games played to this point. In a massive year for injuries, COVID-19 struggles, and many other surprises, we take a look at where each team ranks as we head into Week 9.

32. New York Jets (0-8, 4th in AFC East)

This comes as no surprise to many; the Jets sit at the bottom of the league rankings once again. Nobody thought they would beat the reigning champion Chiefs, but allowing them to cover a nearly 20 point game spread sums up the Jets season.

As crazy as it sounds, New York has a realistic path to their first victory of the season this week on Monday Night Football as they host New England (2-5), who have been turnover riddled and currently sit in the bottom five in PPG (19.4).

31. Dallas Cowboys (2-6, 3rd in NFC East) -1

Yes, the Cowboys moved down a spot. Since the injury to Dak Prescott, they have scored one touchdown. ONE. This offense is the worst in the league at the moment, and the defense (who was terrible even when Dak was playing) is still in the bottom five in nearly every defensive metric. When all is said and done and the regular season has concluded, don’t be surprised if the Cowboys are still sitting here with two wins and ranked 32. Oh, and it’s not getting any easier in Week 9 as they will host the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers in a game that could get horrendous for Dallas fans early.

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6, T-3 AFC South) +1

Coming off a bye, the Jags look to get back on the winning side after dropping six straight games. This Jacksonville squad’s lone bright spot has been the emergence of rookie RB James Robinson, who is on pace for over 1,000 yards on the ground this season. The Jaguars get a Week 9 matchup with the Houston Texans (1-6). A matchup to look for: Houston’s rush offense vs. Jacksonville’s rush defense. Both are awful. The Texans currently rank dead last in rush offense, with the Jags ranking in the bottom five in stopping the run. Who will prevail?

29. Houston Texans (1-6, T-3 AFC South) –

Just like their Week 9 opponent, the 1-6 Houston Texans are coming off a bye and hope to get back into the win column. This has been a classic case of an organization failing their QB (if we’re honest). Houston traded away star WR DeAndre Hopkins for quite literally close to nothing and have done little to bolster their offensive line, which was already awful last season. Many believed the Texans would move DE JJ Watt and WR Will Fuller and begin their rebuild, but they stood pat at the deadline, leaving many asking questions about Houston’s goal.

28. New York Giants (1-7, 4th in NFC East) –

The Giants showed glimpses of hope in Week 8 when they lost a 25-23 nail biter with Tampa Bay. Quarterback Daniel Jones shows issues with consistency, as he could have easily had five turnovers in a game the Giants likely should have won. New York gets a winnable matchup with Washington (2-5) in Week 9, which happens to be the only win they have this season.

27. Washington Football Team (2-5, 2nd in NFC East) -3

The three-spot drop may be a bit unfair to Washington coming off a bye, but when you’re dealing with these NFC East jokes, it does get a bit challenging. Washington has yet to find consistent QB play, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. In yet another lousy record game, Washington will hope to get their 3rd win overall in Week 9 and keep their division record intact, which could help down the road if they find themselves fighting for the division later in the year.

26. New England Patriots (2-5, 3rd in AFC East) -3

What the hell happened? Just a few weeks ago, New England was sitting at 2-1, and we were all feeling excellent about QB Cam Newton and this team’s ability to compete not only for the division but in the AFC. Since then, they have lost four straight games by an average margin of 13 points. This doesn’t seem like the Bellichick way. Maybe Brady was more critical to the “system” than some folks want to give credit for. The Patriots get the winless Jets on Monday Night Football in what could be a trap game.

25. Los Angeles Chargers (2-5, 4th in AFC West) -4

Coach Anthony Lynn’s seat is hotter than ever. This team has now broken another NFL record: three straight games with a loss after leading by 17 or more points. 17 POINTS? With a rookie QB, this team should be 5-2, which would be a massive over performance based on what most teams look like when having a rookie at the helm. Nevertheless, LA looks to find themselves singing the same old song after losing to an inconsistent Denver team on the game’s final play. They will host the Raiders this week in a game that should feature a lot of scoring, as both teams rank in the bottom half of the league in scoring defense.

24. Atlanta Falcons (2-6, 4th in NFC South) +2

Atlanta has started to take shape here at the midway point, or at least look formidable. WR Julio Jones has made all the difference, as the Falcons are 2-1 since his return from injury and has hugely helped this offense. With a reasonably tough schedule down the stretch, it’s not likely that Atlanta will make much noise. Hosting Denver in Week 9, they look to carry momentum and improve to 3-6.

23. Cincinnati Bengals (2-5-1, 4th in AFC North) +2

Coming off their best win in a few seasons, the Bengals come into their bye-week with an underwhelming two wins. The win over Tennessee opened the eyes of many, and QB Joe Burrow has made his way into many conversations as one of the best young QB’s in the NFL. With a less than stellar strength of schedule in the second half, it’s possible the Bengals could finish with close to a .500 record.

22. Minnesota Vikings (2-5, 4th in NFC North) +5

Dalvin. Cook. That was the story for the Vikings in their 28-22 win over Green Bay in Week 8, as the star running back scored touchdowns on four consecutive drives and was dominant all afternoon. This moved them up five spots in this week’s power rankings, the second-highest leap of any team. Minnesota has now won two out of three, as they get a favorable matchup in Week 9 with Detroit and look to carry momentum.

21. Detroit Lions (3-4, 3rd in NFC North) 4

With QB Matthew Stafford’s Week 9 status now in questions due to COVID-19 rumors, the Lions season starts to look even bleaker than before. The defense was gutted in their Week 8 blowout loss to the Colts, allowing nearly 400 yards to an average offense. Stafford had two turnovers in the loss. With his availability now uncertain, the Lions are in trouble as their weak rush defense hosts one of the league’s best running backs, Dalvin Cook, and the Minnesota Vikings.

20. Carolina Panthers (3-5, 3rd in NFC South) –

The Panthers are a team that not many know what to think about at the halfway point of the season. After a 3-2 start, Carolina has dropped three straight games, including their Week 8 loss to Atlanta (25-17). This offense has become incredibly stagnant, as they were dominated in time of possession and went 2-10 on third down. They will need to be a lot better if they hope to inch closer to .500 in Week 9 as they travel to Kansas City to take on the defending champion Chiefs.

19. Denver Broncos (3-4, 3rd in AFC West) +3

Denver overcame an early 21-3 deficit to win on the game’s final play against the Chargers Sunday, giving them hope at a playoff run in the second half of the season. Albeit facing a weak Chargers 2020 defense, QB Drew Lock played exceptionally well in the second half as threw for two scores. However, this is a Denver defense that still has massive issues, allowing nearly 500 yards to the rookie QB led Chargers. They will need to be much better in Week 9 as they visit a Falcons offense starting to hit their stride at the midway point in the season.

18. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4-1, 1st in NFC East) –

Philly is doing enough to stay afloat, but just barely. There’s not much to take away from their Week 8 win over Dallas because we all know the Cowboys are at this point in the season. Carson Wentz currently leads the league in interceptions (12) and, despite some big yardage games this year, has not played at the Tier 1-2 QB level in which his contract reflects. They will get a much-needed bye in Week 9 as they face teams currently in the playoff picture in five of their next six games.

17. Miami Dolphins (4-3, 2nd in AFC East) +2

What a statement win for Miami. In rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa’s first start, the defense stole the headlines as they forced four turnovers en route to a 27-18 win over the Rams. The Dolphins currently rank No. 1 in the league in scoring defense, and if this offense can keep the turnovers down, this is a Miami team that can make a run at the playoffs in 2020 and possibly even win the AFC East. They get an interesting Week 9 matchup as they travel to Arizona to play the Cardinals.

16. Chicago Bears (5-3, 2nd in NFC North) -1

The Bears are who the tape says they are through eight games in 2020. They’re a team that struggles to move the ball consistently and has a hard time winning against good teams (For the most part). Chicago is 1-3 this season against teams with a winning record and 4-0 against teams that don’t. QB Nick Foles has thrown an interception in every game he’s played this season (6) and has the longest such streak in the NFL. This team needs a big surge if they want to contend in the NFC. They have the perfect opportunity for a statement win in Week 9 as they travel to Tennessee to take on the Titans (5-2), who are coming off back-to-back losses.

15. San Francisco 49ers (4-4, 4th in NFC West) -4

Injuries: The story of the 2020 San Francisco 49ers. As if losing two of their best defensive linemen and a plethora of offensive personnel wasn’t enough, now QB Jimmy Garoppolo and TE George Kittle both hit the IR, and the feeling around the league is that they could both be done for the season. Their schedule doesn’t do them any favors either, as six of their final eight games come against teams currently in the playoff picture. This new-look 49ers squad will be put to the test in Week 9 on Thursday Night Football as they face the Green Bay Packers (5-2).

14. Cleveland Browns (5-3, 3rd in AFC North) -2

Cleveland is a mess. We know that, but they are a mess that we are polarized by. This team is loaded with talent on both sides of the ball, and despite an ugly Week 8 loss to Las Vegas, finds themselves on a realistic path to the postseason. The Browns’ inconsistency has been their downfall, as they are averaging over 37 PPG in their wins and just 6.3 PPG in their losses. Cleveland gets a bye this week but returns to three very winnable games as their next three opponents have a combined record of 5-16-1 with the return of RB Nick Chubb from injury.

13. Los Angeles Rams (5-3, 3rd in NFC West) -4

Yet another perfect case of an inconsistent football team. The Rams had finally started to convince us that they were close to that 2018 team, which played in the Super Bowl, but we can tell now that it is entirely false. This is an offense that is turnover riddled, turning in four of them in Week 8 against the Dolphins. This is a defense that is currently first in the league in defensive yards per game and top five in scoring, but the offense has hindered them of late, failing to score more than 24 points in three straight games and five of eight games overall. LA gets a bye in Week 9 before a big division matchup with Seattle upon return.

12. Las Vegas Raiders (4-3, 2nd AFC West) +4

Gruden has a plan… and it’s working. With all the blunders this defense has had this season, Las Vegas is doing enough to win games at this point. After back-to-back bad losses, they merely out-coached and executed better than Cleveland in an ugly 16-6 win in Week 8. This has been a team whose story has been told by the way they play on third down, which they did very well against the Browns, a team many thought the Raiders would fall to. The Raiders defense will have their work cut out for them as they will be favorites heading into their Week 9 matchup with the Chargers, who currently are 2nd in the league in yards per game.

11. New Orleans Saints (5-2, 2nd NFC South) +2

After an ugly 1-2 start, the Saints have put together four straight wins and asserted themselves back into the NFC realm of relevancy. Despite still not having All-Pro WR Michael Thomas (out with ankle injury since Week 1), the Saints are undefeated since Week 4. RB Alvin Kamara currently leads the NFL in scrimmage yards, and it looks as though New Orleans will continue to ride that trend along with their other back, Latavius Murray. The Saints get Tampa in Week 9, which will be their biggest game of the season. Remember, New Orleans defeated Tampa Bay in Week 1, so this game could go a long way in deciding the NFC South’s fate.

10. Arizona Cardinals (5-2, 2nd in NFC West) –

Arizona is coming off a bye with a load of confidence after their Week 7 win over Seattle. This is an offense that tallies more YPG (419) than anyone else in the NFL and will have their work cut out for them taking on a defense that allows the fewest points per game and top-five scoring defense in Miami. This team will reveal its true identity over the coming weeks, as their next three opponents all have winning records. Is Arizona legit? We’re going to find out soon.

9. Buffalo Bills (6-2, 1st in AFC East) -1

Buffalo comes into the halfway point of the season feeling good with a 6-2 record, their best start to this point in more than a decade, and they are coming off a 24-21 win over New England. Why would they move down a spot? This win wasn’t what Bills fans wanted to see out of QB Josh Allen, as he’s continued to struggle since his red-hot start to the 2020 season. Allen posted just 154 yards through the air and had a TD/INT ratio of 0-1. The Bills offense ran it effectively, but this became a question of whether or not Coach Sean McDermott will trust Allen in big spots down the stretch. They’ll need Allen to throw a whole lot in Week 9 as Buffalo squares off with MVP front-runner QB Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks, who still sit atop the league in scoring. Expect a shootout in this one.

8. Tennessee Titans (5-2, T-1 AFC South) -5

Maybe we jumped the gun on the Titans, eh? Tennessee has lost back-to-back games for the first time since QB Ryan Tannehill took over in 2019, and they looked overmatched in Week 8 against a lackluster Bengals defense. They’ve faced a relatively week schedule to this point and have only mustered one win in 2020 over a team with a winning record (1-1). They will be put to the test against another team who has struggled against winning teams in Week 9: The Chicago Bears. Tennessee had a five-spot drop in this week’s rankings, the most significant decrease of any team.

7. Indianapolis Colts (5-2, T-1 in AFC South) +7

As we currently stand, the Indianapolis Colts are the best team in the AFC South. They are coming off a blowout win in Week 8 over the Lions and still sit in the top five in every defensive metric this season. This is a championship-level defense. The story will be whether or not QB Phillip Rivers and this offense can take care of the football and produce enough points to be a legitimate Super Bowl threat. The Colts will be put to the test in Week 9 as they will host the Ravens in a game of two teams ranked in the top five in scoring defense. The Colts moved up seven spots in this week’s power rankings, the highest leap of any team.

6. Green Bay Packers (5-2, 1st in NFC North) –

After a 4-0 start, the Packers have been humbled. They’ve now dropped two out of three, and it is more evident than ever that the rush defense is a real problem. The Packers sit in the bottom half of the league in total defense and scoring, which could be problematic as they embark on the second half of their season. Green Bay will be without their three leading rushers at the running back position due to injury in Week 9. Look for them to lean heavily on QB Aaron Rodgers as he looks to continue to keep the red hot connection with WR Davante Adams, who has been dominant since returning from injury. The Packers square off with injury-riddled San Francisco in Week 9.

5. Baltimore Ravens (5-2, 2nd in AFC North) -1

Baltimore is coming off a turnover riddled loss to the undefeated Steelers in a game they had no business even being close in down the stretch. Despite four turnovers from reigning MVP QB Lamar Jackson, the game came down to the final play, as Jackson threw a ball over 30 yards into the end zone that was ultimately broken up by safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. The Ravens defense did stand tall in this one, allowing just 21 points to the Steelers, but it wasn’t enough. However, the league may be starting to gain some ground on Lamar as last year’s passing touchdowns leader has just nine scores through the air in seven games. Baltimore gets a testy matchup with one of the leagues best defenses in Indianapolis as they look to get back on the winning trail in Week 9.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2, 1st in NFC South) +1

Despite a slow start on Monday Night against the Giants, the Bucs were able to squeak by with a 25-23 win thanks to a goal-line stiff on the game-tying two-point conversion. This is a team that, when healthy, can beat you in multiple ways. They have the best offensive personnel in the NFL and a defense that can play at a championship level. This team has not been a good first-half team and has been wildly inconsistent, but the components of a February team are there. Oh, and they are activating WR Antonio Brown this week to add to their weaponry. They will square off in a critical Week 9 matchup with New Orleans with first place in the division up for grabs.

3. Seattle Seahawks (6-1, 1st in NFC West) +4

QB Russell Wilson has been the story for this team without question, and he certainly delivered again in Week 8, dumping in four more touchdowns scores through the air en route to a 37-27 win over the 49ers. The Achilles heel has been the defense and lack of pass rush, but they delivered in this one. Despite allowing 27 points, Seattle held San Francisco to 52 yards rushing while posting three sacks and forcing two turnovers. This is what they are going to need and hope to after acquiring DE Karlos Dunlap from Cincinnati. Seattle gets a shootout-likely opponent in Week 9 as they take on the Buffalo Bills.

2. Kansas City Chiefs (7-1, 1st in AFC West) –

Good lord. Patrick Mahomes is playing madden out here. Not many are surprised by the Chiefs 35-9 victory over the New York Jets, but to cover a nearly 20 point spread in confidence is astonishing. Kansas City continues to be the best offense in the NFL with the best player at the most crucial position. A QB/Coach duo like no other, offensive personnel rivaled by only Tampa Bay, and an underrated defense are putting KC on a path to return to the big game. The Chiefs come into their Week 9 matchup with Carolina once again as double-digit point favorites.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-0, 1st in the AFC North) –

The NFL’s hierarchy still goes through Pittsburgh in 2020. The Steelers cemented themselves as legitimate championship contenders after their 28-24 win over the Ravens, forcing QB Lamar Jackson into a career-high four turnovers. It’s entirely possible these Steelers could keep this streak alive for a while, as their next three opponents have a combined five wins to this point. Is it possible we’re looking at the leagues’ second-ever 16-0 team? Only time will tell. Pittsburgh looks to remain perfect in Week 9 as they will square off with the laughable Dallas Cowboys.

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