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Monday, November 29, 2021

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NFL Week 9 Power Rankings: Steelers or KC #1?


Week 9 is filled with great matchups but before we get into that, let’s take a look at some of the top storylines from week 8. 

We saw the Vikings defeat the Packers with a breathtaking showing from RB Dalvin Cook. This was a big loss for Green Bay, a team that is aiming for the number one seed in the NFC.

The Dolphins controlled their game against the Rams from start to finish. Giving Tua Tagovailoa his first NFL win in his first career start.

The Bengals defeated the Titans in what was another brilliant performance from rookie QB Joe Burrow. The Titans have lost two straight games after a hot 5-0 start.

The Steelers remained undefeated with a close win over the Ravens while the Jets remained winless with a blowout loss to the Chiefs. 

As week 9 approaches, let’s get into the first edition of my NFL Power Rankings.

32. New York Jets (0-8)

NFL Week 9

Week 7: Lost 9-35 vs Chiefs

The Jets are clearly the league’s worst team. Home of the 32nd ranked offense, they’ve only scored over 20 points once all season. The Jets have one touchdown drive in their last three games. This is a bad football team. Maybe they’ll be able to defeat the sputtering Patriots in week nine.

Week 9: vs Patriots


31. Dallas Cowboys (2-6)

Week 8: Lost 9-23 vs Eagles

The Cowboys were down to Ben Dinucci at QB Sunday night. It was hard to watch. He’s clearly not fit to be a starting QB. The Cowboys defense played better against the Eagles. That’s the one bright spot but right now the Cowboys are headed towards a top five pick in the 2021 draft.

Week 9: vs Steelers


30. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5)

Week 8: Bye

Gardner Minshew suffered a thumb injury so he won’t be starting in week nine. Rookie 6th rounder Jake Luton will make the start for the Jaguars. Jacksonville has the 31st ranked defense so the rookie will have to put up points in his first start. Look for the Jaguars to lean heavily on stud rookie RB James Robinson. 

Week 9: vs Texans


29. New York Giants (1-7)

Week 8: Lost 23-25 vs Buccaneers

A controversial non-call on the Giants two point conversion attempt ended a near comeback attempt. It was a gritty performance against a contending team but you have to finish. Daniel Jones made some nice plays on the final drive but he missed several deep throws to his receivers throughout the game. He has to hit on those throws if he wants to prove that he’s their future franchise QB.

Week 9: @ Washington


28. Washington Football Team (2-5)

(Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Week 8: Bye

Ron Rivera is coaching the Washington defense up. They’re ranked 4th in total defense and 1st in passing defense. Chase Young and Montez Sweat have a promising future. But the offense is still a work in progress.

Week 9: vs Giants


27. Houston Texans (1-6)

(Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)

Week 8: Bye

Deshaun Watson is one of the best QB’s in the NFL but he can’t save the Texans alone. Poor coaching and bad roster moves have transformed the Texans from a playoff team in 2019 to one of the league’s worst teams in 2020. A week nine matchup against the Jaguars could get them on track.

Week 9: @ Jaguars


26. Atlanta Falcons (2-6)

Week 8: Won 25-17 vs Panthers

Atlanta’s defense has played better in the last two games, giving up only 40 points combined in both games. Things should be even better for them in week nine against Drew Lock and the Broncos. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones could lead this team on a winning streak if the defense can keep improving.

Week 9: vs Broncos


25. Los Angeles Chargers (2-5)

(Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Week 8: Lost 30-31 vs Broncos

Justin Herbert doesn’t look like a rookie QB. He’s putting up big numbers and is in complete control of the offense. The Chargers just can’t seem to close games. They blew yet another lead on Sunday vs the Broncos. They’ve now blown double digit leads in three out of their last four games. Tough luck.

Week 9: vs Raiders


24. New England Patriots (2-5)

Week 8: Lost 21-24 vs Bills

Cam Newton’s red zone fumble with 37 seconds left in the game sealed the Patriots fate. It was another ugly game by the offense but they still found themselves in position to either win or tie the game late. Newton has struggled all season and he’s the teams only playmaker. Luckily for them, the Jets are up next on the schedule.

Week 9: @ Jets


23. Denver Broncos (3-4)

Week 8: Won 31-30 vs Chargers

Denver found themselves down 24-3 mid-way through the third quarter but found a way to win. Drew Lock has some miscues early in but he found his rhythm late in the game throwing for three TD’s in the 4th quarter. The offense finally showed some life after struggling the past three games.

Week 9: vs Falcons


22. Detroit Lions (3-4)

Week 8: Lost 41-21 vs Colts

Matt Patricia can’t get any consistency from his team. Detroit laid a dud at home after winning back to back games. The Colts took an early 20-7 lead and the Lions never recovered. The run game was completely non existent with D’Andre Swift and Adrian Peterson running for a combined eight yards. I think the Lions are headed towards their trademark 7-9 season.

Week 9: @ Vikings


21. Cincinnati Bengals (2-5-1)

Week 8: Won 31-20 vs Titans

Some may feel like the Bengals are ranked too high but this is a promising young team. An upset win over the Titans showed what they’re capable of. Four of their losses have been by a combined 15 points. Joe Burrow has been surgical the last three weeks and he’s utilizing all of his receiving options. The Bengals will string together some wins after their bye week.

Week 9: Bye


20. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4-1)

Week 8: Won 23-9 vs Cowboys

The Eagles played a sloppy game Sunday night against Dallas. Wentz ended the game with 123 yards, two interceptions and two lost fumbles. That’s unacceptable regardless of the lack of weapons around him. The Eagles might be the best team in the NFC East even with a depleted roster.

Week 9: Bye


19. Carolina Panthers (3-5)

Week 8: Lost 17-25 vs Falcons

Carolina lacks an offensive identity without Christian McCaffrey. Teddy Bridgewater hasn’t been able to make enough winning plays for his team. A porous Atlanta secondary was able to hold their offense in check. DJ Moore and Robby Anderson were both bottled up and the passing game never got it going. They’ll need to make some plays in week nine going up against Patrick Mahomes.

Week 9: @ Chiefs

18. Miami Dolphins (4-3)

Week 9: Won 28-17 vs Rams

Tua Tagovailoa ended his first NFL start with a win. But he didn’t have to do much, Tagovailoa  went 12-22 with 93 yards and a touchdown. This was an all around dominant team performance from the Miami Dolphins. Brian Flores has this team playing hard. We’ll see if Tagovailoa can put up bigger numbers in week nine.

Week 9: @ Cardinals


17. Minnesota Vikings (2-5)

Week 8: Won 28-22 vs Packers

I know the Vikings only have two wins but they have a lot of potential on offense. Dalvin Cook alone gives them a chance to win on any given Sunday. Cook dominated against Green Bay with 163 rushing yards, 63 receiving yards and four total TD’s. This was a big win for Minnesota and it could turn their season around.

Week 9: vs Lions


16. Cleveland Browns (5-3)

(Ken-Blaze USA TODAY Sports)

Week 8: Lost 16-6 vs Raiders

I’m not sure how to feel about the Browns. They’ve had three games where they’ve failed to score double digits but have scored over 30 points in every other game. The passing game didn’t look promising in their first game without Odell Beckham Jr. so that’s something to keep an eye on in the coming weeks. Their bye week is coming at the perfect time.

Week 9: Bye


15. Las Vegas Raiders (4-3)

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Week 8: Won 16-6 vs Browns

Josh Jacobs reached 100 rushing yards for the first time this season. It was a cold, windy day in Cleveland so the Raiders stuck with the run game and played ball control offense. They controlled the ball for more than 37 minutes. Jacobs ended the game with 128 yards on 31 carries. This was a good rebound victory after their blowout loss to the Buccaneers in week eight.

Week 9: @ Chargers


14. San Francisco 49ers (4-4)

(AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

Week 8: Lost 27-37 vs Seahawks

The injury bug bit the Niners again in week eight. Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle both exited the games with injuries that will keep them out for multiple weeks. Kittle will miss eight weeks with a foot injury and Garoppolo will miss a minimum of six weeks with a high ankle sprain. That could be the final nail in the coffin for San Francisco.

Week 9: vs Packers


13. Chicago Bears (5-3)

Week 8: Lost 23-26 vs Saints

Chicago lost a hard fought game against the Saints. David Montgomery had his best rushing game of the season with 89 yards on 21 carries but it wasn’t enough. If the Bears want to be taken seriously as contenders then these are the games they have to win. Back to back losses puts them in a must win situation week nine against the Titans.

Week 9: @ Titans


12. Los Angeles Rams (5-3)

Week 8: Lost 17-28 vs Dolphins

Sean McVay’s team couldn’t find their footing offensively in week eight. Jared Goff committed four turnovers and the Rams were never able to find their rhythm. The Dolphins are a solid team but the Rams are in a tight division race in the loaded NFC West so that’s a game you have to win.

Week 9: Bye


11. Buffalo Bills (6-2)

(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)

Week 8: Won 24-21 vs Patriots

Josh Allen has come back down to other over the last month of the season but the Bills are still winning games. The defense has stepped up in back to back games as the team has regained their momentum with consecutive wins. Rookie Zack Moss had a breakout game with 81 yards and 2 TD’s and the Bills escaped week eight with a narrow victory over the Patriots.

Week 9: vs Seahawks

10. Indianapolis Colts (5-2)

Week 8: Won 41-21 vs Lions

At first I thought the Colts defense was a fluke but every week they prove me wrong. Ranking 3rd in total defense and 4th in scoring defense, this Colts defense is the real deal. Stafford ended the game with 336 yards but he threw a pick six and lost a fumble. Philip Rivers managed the game with an efficient passing attack and the defense did the rest. Lamar Jackson awaits them in week nine.

Week 9: vs Ravens


9. Tennessee Titans (5-2)

Week 8: Lost 21-31 vs Bengals

Titans have dropped two straight after starting the season 5-0. They were outplayed in all phases of the game on Sunday. The defense couldn’t get off the field allowing the Bengals to convert 10/15 of their third down conversations. Ryan Tannehill will look to right to the ship in week nine.

Week 9: vs Bears

8. Arizona Cardinals (5-2)

Week 8: Bye

The Cardinals didn’t have a game on Sunday but they’re week 7 victory over Seattle was impressive enough. Kyler Murray is playing at a MVP level with 20 total TD’s on the season. Murray and DeAndre Hopkins hit the ground running even with a limited off-season. Kliff Kingsbury will be in the running for coach of the year if the Cardinals keep it up.

Week 9: vs Dolphins


7. Green Bay Packers (5-2)

Week 8: Lost 22-28 vs Vikings

Dalvin Cook ran wild against Green Bay in week eight. The defensive line was dominated in the trenches as Cook consistently found running lanes throughout the game. The Packers are a playoff team because of Aaron Rodgers but the defense has to clean things up if they’re going to win a Super Bowl.

Week 9: vs 49ers


6. New Orleans Saints (5-2)

(Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports)

Week 8: Won 26-23 vs Bears

At this point Alvin Kamara has to be in the MVP conversation. He’s been carrying this Saints offense as injuries have decimated their receiving corps. Against the Bears Kamara has 163 yards from scrimmage and made several key plays down the stretch. This was a good win for the Saints with a big divisional matchup with the Buccaneers in week nine.

Week 9: @ Buccaneers


5. Baltimore Ravens (5-2)

Week 8: Lost 20-24 vs Steelers

In two starts against Pittsburgh, Lamar Jackson now has seven turnovers. His four turnovers on Sunday were the difference in the Ravens winning and losing the game. 5-2 isn’t a bad start but losses against the two teams you have to go through in order to reach the Super Bowl isn’t an encouraging sign. A win over the Colts in week nine would be a big confidence boost for this team.

Week 9: @ Colts


4. Seattle Seahawks (6-1)

Week 9: Won 37-27 vs 49ers

Russell Wilson continued his MVP campaign with 261 yards and 4 TD’s through the air. He’s the NFL’s leader in passing TD’s with 26. The Seahawks would be higher in my rankings if they didn’t have the 32nd ranked defense. They’ve had problems getting to the QB but recorded three sacks on Sunday. Can they keep it up against Josh Allen in week nine?

Week 9: @ Bills


3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2)

Week 8: Won 25-23 vs Giants

It was an ugly win, but a win nonetheless. Most of us expected the Buccaneers to dominate the Giants but it ended up being a nail biter. Maybe they were looking ahead to their week nine showdown with the Saints but no matter how you look at it, this was a flat performance. Next week they’ll have Antonio Brown in the lineup so we’ll start seeing what this offense can really do with two healthy stud wide receivers.

Week 9: vs Saints


2. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-0)

Week 8: Won 24-20 vs Ravens

Pittsburgh was victorious over Baltimore even with a slow start from Ben Roethlisberger. The defense forced four turnovers and scored a touchdown. In total the defense recorded three sacks, forced three fumbles and intercepted two passes. Chase Claypool caught the game winning touchdown pass and the Steelers improved to 7-0 on the season. Pittsburgh is a well rounded team that can win games in multiple ways. Signs of a true Super Bowl Contender.

Week 9: @ Cowboys


1. Kansas City Chiefs (7-1)

Week 8: Won 35-9 vs Jets

As expected, KC blew the Jets out in week eight. Mahomes did whatever he wanted on Sunday. He passed for 416 yards and five TD’s and three Chiefs receivers had 90 or more receiving yards. It seemed like Andy Reid just wanted to have some fun on Sunday because he barely ran the ball. Next up is the Carolina Panthers. Another below .500 team for the reigning champs.

Week 9: vs Panthers

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