NFL Power Rankings: Week 9

Pierre Thomas
Pierre Thomas scores one of his two touchdowns against the Atlanta Falcons. The Saints are now 7-0 and atop the power rankings.
1. New Orleans Saints (7-0) Following a 35-27 victory against Atlanta, the Saints jumped Indianapolis to gain the top spot in this week’s power rankings. Look for the Saints to be 10-0 before hooking up with the Patriots in Week 12, as they play the Carolina Panthers (3-4), St. Louis Rams (1-7) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-7) in the next three weeks. Oh, and that Drew Brees guy, he’s alright too.
2. Indianapolis Colts (7-0) I’m not sure how much longer this team will stay unbeaten. In the next three weeks, they play the surprising Texans, then meet up with a guy named Brady and the Pats, before clashing with the Ravens in Week 11. For now, however, they are unbeaten and didn’t even need Peyton Manning to throw a touchdown pass to beat San Francisco (Joseph Addai had that covered).
3. Minnesota Vikings (7-1)

 

I don’t care if this team lost to the Steelers, they are the better team. They are as complete a team as you can have in the NFL. The pass rush anchored by Pat and Kevin Williams (wait, they’re not related…had me fooled), along with Jared Allen, is the most menacing in the league (just ask Aaron Rodgers’ ribs). Along with scary-fast linebackers and a ball-hawking secondary, the Viking defense complements the high-octane offense very nicely. Wait…did I just talk about the Vikings without mentioning Adrian Peterson and Brett Favre? Yes, because that’s how good this football team is. Playmakers are more plentiful in Minnesota than compromises to the Health Care Bill are in Washington.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2) Following a bye-week, the Steelers travel to Denver to take on the 6-1 Broncos. Let’s issue a warning to the Steelers, however. This game is in Denver, where the Broncos are 3-0 and have outscored opponents 64 to 33.
5. Denver Broncos (6-1) Suffered their first loss of the season by the count of 30-7 at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens. This team is much better than that, however. Kyle Orton is still playing mistake-free and if the ground-game can get on-track, they will win the AFC West easily. This week they face a daunting task against the defending Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers.
6. New England Patriots (5-2) The Pats aren’t playing Tennessee or Tampa Bay anymore, they are entering the thick of their schedule. In the next few weeks, they play an underrated Miami team twice, along with AFC East foe NY Jets (who beat the Pats in Week 2 16-9), not to mention the two unbeaten teams in the NFL: New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts.
7. Cincinnati Bengals (5-2)

 

The Bengals are an unbeaten 3-0 in the AFC North and have a chance to do what they’ve already done this season in the next two weeks: beat the Ravens and Steelers. If they can do this, the Bengals are the clear favorite to capture the division as they play four teams in the remaining seven weeks with a losing record.
8. Dallas Cowboys (5-2) This is a playmaking team who might finally be living up to the hype. They’ve won three straight, and four of their last five. It’s a good thing they have Miles Austin, otherwise I would rank their receivers near the bottom with the overrated Roy Williams as the basis of that argument. They clash with the team ranked 10th this week on Sunday night, the Philadelphia Eagles.
9. Baltimore Ravens (4-3) A strong second half where they outscored Denver 24-7 showed the NFL just how good they can be.  They have the division-leading Bengals this week, however, and I look for their record to go back to .500.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (5-2) Handily took care of a struggling New York Giants team this past week 40-17. This team has numerous weapons including Usain Bolt in a football uniform: DeSean Jackson. The Eagles can be scary good with an offense that can match any team score-for-score. However, the loss to the Raiders still has me scratching my head. I mean, really? Donovan McNabb told the press, “I didn’t know we could lose to the Raiders in regulation (since overtime supposedly doesn’t exist).”
11. Houston Texans (5-3) This team is finally doing what so many experts have picked them to do for the past few years: WIN. The Texans are 5-3 for the first time in their short history. Despite the fact that Steve Slaton thinks the point of running the ball is to hand it off to the defense, the Bills defense made backup Ryan Moats look like Jim Brown. I look for the Texans to hand Indianapolis their first loss of the season this Sunday on their way to their first ever playoff-berth.
12. Green Bay Packers (4-3) They have been unfortunate as to get the red-hot Vikings twice in their first seven games. However, at least the division games against former QB Brett Favre are over. The problem with this team is that they have no idea how to protect quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who at this point is probably experiencing memory loss and having more trouble making decisions than Brett Favre.
13. San Diego Chargers (4-3) Following a one-score victory versus the Oakland Raiders, the Chargers get the struggling G-Men. This is just the game the Chargers need to get back into the division race and re-establish themselves among the NFL’s elite. In the following weeks, they get the simmering Eagles and the division leading Broncos (in Denver).
14. New York Giants (5-3) They get the Chargers this week before they head into their bye-week. Boy, do they need it or what? They’ve lost three straight, and clearly need to get back into their Super Bowl mindset of two years ago before they take a trip to Denver on Thanksgiving Day.
15. Atlanta Falcons (4-3) Michael Turner, Matt Ryan, and Roddy White will give them a chance to earn a wild-card berth. However, their chances of winning the division are gone, unless Drew Brees breaks his arm trying to dunk the football over the goalpost this weekend.

The Best of the Rest (16-32)

16. Miami Dolphins (3-4)

17. Arizona Cardinals (4-3)

18. Chicago Bears (4-3)

19. San Francisco 49ers (3-4)

20. New York Jets (4-4)

21. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-4)

22. Buffalo Bills (3-5)

23. Carolina Panthers (3-4)

24. Tennessee Titans (1-6)

25. Seattle Seahawks (2-5)

26. Washington Redskins (2-5)

27. Oakland Raiders (2-6)

28. Kansas City Chiefs (1-6)

29. Detroit Lions (1-6)

30. St. Louis Rams (1-7)

31. Cleveland Browns (1-7)

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-7)

-Jon Harris

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