Week 9 in the NFL saw more shakeups in the league pecking order. A couple of NFC contenders, New Orleans and Green Bay posted statement victories, while two others, Tampa Bay and Seattle showed all kinds of weakness.
Meanwhile, in the AFC, Kansas City, Baltimore and Buffalo flexed in tough games, with Miami and Las Vegas did more to pump up their wild-card playoff campaigns.
Going into Week 10, here’s how we stack every team from No. 1 through No. 32 in Sporting News’ latest power rankings
NFL power rankings
1. Kansas City Chiefs 8-1 (last week: 1)
The Chiefs are getting a little pass-happy with Patrick Mahomes in the middle of the season but he’s also playing at a crazy high MVP level. They need to get better defensively and against the run to maximize his presence on the field.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers 8-0 (2)
The Steelers escaped from Dallas with a victory when their defense struggled at times and their running game wasn’t reliable. Ben Roethlisbeger, knee injury aside, made the big plays when it counted to save them to their talented wide receivers.
3. New Orleans Saints 6-2 (5)
The Saints marched away with a dominant victory in Tampa Bay, sweeping the season series and becoming the clear NFC South and conference favorites. They’ll get a shot at the fading reigning champion 49ers next.
4. Baltimore Ravens 6-2 (6)
The Ravens needed a gritty, old-school defensive win with the passing game not coming through. Lamar Jackson and the running game get plenty of credit for out-slugging the Colts in a critical rebound game.
5. Buffalo Bills 7-2 (7)
The Bills needed that kind of stellar performance against the Seahawks to feel great about Josh Allen and the offense again. The even more encouraging sign was how many big plays the defense made, too.
6. Green Bay Packers 6-2 (8)
The Packers and Aaron Rodgers took care of the 49ers nemesis. They also should feel good about beating the Saints, even though they lost badly to the Buccaneers. They are right back in the NFC top seed conversation.
7. Seattle Seahawks 6-2 (3)
The Seahawks stumbled with terrible pass defense against the Bills and more critical mistakes from Russell Wilson. Their hot start took advantage of an easy schedule. Now they need to sweat out winning the NFC West first before thinking about anything bigger.
IYER: Why Seahawks are fading fast as NFC title contenders
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6-3 (4)
What was that? The Bucs had their biggest opportunity to show they were the new NFC favorite in their biggest game of the year and the entire team now has made it really hard to win the NFC South. Tom Brady and the defense are best off forgetting the Saints nightmare, hoping for a third matchup down the line.
9. Tennessee Titans 6-2 (11)
Remember the Titans as a factor in the AFC race? They got a much-needed defensive-fueled victory over the Bears for Mike Vrabel to also create some breathing room against the Colts in the South.
10. Miami Dolphins 5-3 (14)
The Dolphins also want a say in the AFC in the end with their defense continuing to make big plays for Brian Flores and their offense finding a different kind of groove with Tua Tagovailoa. They can keep it going with a very favorable schedule over the next month.
11. Arizona Cardinals 5-3 (9)
The Cardinals played a classic young QB duel with the Dolphins with Kyler Murray not having the same field-goal fortunes as Tagovailoa. The defense, which had seemed to turn a corner, was most disappointing.
12. Los Angeles Rams 5-3 (12)
The Rams enjoyed a bye knowing they are doing it differently in the NFC than the other playoffs, leaning mostly on their running game and defense when they’re playing their best. Sean McVay should have some great adjustments in store for the second half.
13. Las Vegas Raiders 5-3 (16)
The Raiders are locked in offensively with Derek Carr with the right balance from Josh Jacobs and the running game. They won’t get much better defensively in 2020, but it’s all about making timely stops for them to keep winning.
14. Cleveland Browns 5-3 (17)
The Browns had an eventful end to the bye week with Baker Mayfield landing on the COVID-19 list. Their wild-card chase got a lot harder with the Raiders and the Dolphins winning close games. They must take advantage of three very winnable games ahead.
15. Indianapolis Colts 5-3 (10)
The Colts keep trying to win battles of attrition with their running game and defense, but it’s hard to hide Philip Rivers when he’s not playing well. They need to upgrade at quarterback with a true franchise option in 2021.
16. Chicago Bears 5-4 (13)
The Bears are stuck with Nick Foles with Mitchell Trubisky hurting. They keep making a few mistakes offensively to hold them back and put too much of a burden on their stout defense.
17. San Francisco 49ers 4-5 (15)
The 49ers are a shell of the NFC champions from last season and Kyle Shanahan and Robert Saleh can do only so much with their play-calling. It won’t get any easier with the Saints, Rams and Bills in the next three games.
18. Philadelphia Eagles 3-4-1 (18)
The Eagles had a bye to get healthier all around and should be feeling more confident about their NFC East chances with Washington and Dallas losing while they didn’t play. They do get some NFC litmus tests with the Seahawks, Packers, Saints and Cardinals all on the upcoming schedule.
19. Minnesota Vikings 3-5 (23)
The Vikings are creeping back into the NFC wild-card race. Consider four of their losses are to above-.500 times, including the Packers twice, the Colts and the Titans. Dalvin Cook and a favorable schedule makes them a team to watch in the second half.
20. Detroit Lions 3-5 (19)
The Lions blew their chance to take second place behind the Packers with another mess of a defensive game against the Vikings. The writing is on the wall for Matt Patricia now.
21. Denver Broncos 3-5 (20)
The Broncos played inspired comeback football with Drew Lock again in Atlanta, but it wasn’t enough despite their passing offense coming to life. Vic Fangio’s defense keeps opening too many holes.
22. Carolina Panthers 3-6 (21)
The Panthers got Christian McCaffrey back and made a lot of great plays to stay in the game against the Chiefs, having the ideal ball-control game plan. But their pass defense didn’t cooperate when it was needed most.
23. Cincinnati Bengals 2-5-1 (22)
The Bengals had a bye to get healthier on the offensive line and also heal running back Joe Mixon. As for quarterback Joe Burrow, he will continue his push for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
24. New England Patriots 2-5 (25)
The Patriots play Monday night with their season on the line against, of all teams, the winless Jets. The Bills and the Dolphins are both positioned to pull away from them.
25. Los Angeles Chargers 2-6 (24)
The Chargers lost another close game on the final play. What a surprise. Justin Herbert and Anthony Lynn both deserve better breaks than that.
26. Atlanta Falcons 3-6 (27)
The Falcons have found their way defensively a little more, enough to complement Matt Ryan and the offense, which has found its groove again. Now it’a. a bye to try to keep it up under Raheem Morris in the second half.
27. Houston Texans 2-6 (29)
The Texans’ defense is a major liability and the main reason for their record. Deshaun Watson is doing everything he can to help them win with a short deck.
28. Washington Football Team 2-6 (26)
WFT got swept by the Giants as their defense broke down more than expected after a bye and had to deal with a devastating second QB change from Kyle Allen to Alex Smith. Perhaps Dwayne Haskins deserves one last chance?
29. Dallas Cowboys 2-6 (28)
The Cowboys did their best to find a spark with Garrett Gilbert and it worked for a long time as the entire offense played inspired in a tough matchup. Unfortunately, the defense improved greatly against the run, only to break down against the pass in crunch time.
30. New York Giants 2-7 (30)
The Giants finally finished a close game because of defense and turnover-free offense. Joe Judge needed that one in Washington.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars 1-7 (31)
The Jaguars did their best to compete at a high level with Jake Luton, who really didn’t look much different operating the offense than Gardner Minshew did. Unfortunately, he can do nothing to help a shell of a defense.
32. New York Jets 0-8 (32)
The Jets play on Monday night, which means they also will lose on a different day of the week for a change under Adam Gase.
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