Week 9 NFL power rankings

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By SAM SPIEGELMAN
XN Sports

Week 8 of the NFL season is officially in the books, and we are still seeing no shortage of surprises at this point in the season. Now we move ahead to the Week 9 edition of the XN Sports NFL Power Rankings.

Every week, XN Sports will rank every NFL team. Here is the Week 9 edition based on the Week 8 results and how teams are trending at this juncture of the season.

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NFL Week 9 power rankings
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Week 9 NFL power rankings

32. Oakland Raiders (LW: 32)

Still winless through the midway point in the season, we’re now on full “win watch” to see if the Raiders will do the improbable: go 16 games without a win.

What to know: Matt Schaub made his Raiders debut Sunday, but turned heads for the wrong reason. Schaub threw an interception in his first pass attempt in the Black and Silver. He also ended his Texans’ tenure with an interception in Week 17 last season (ESPN Stats & Info).

(AP Photo/David Richard)

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 31)

Blake Bortles has played really well at times, showing promise that he’s finally the franchise quarterback the Jaguars have coveted since Mark Brunell. But the rookie is still just that, and leads the league in interceptions. More wins seem unlikely for Jacksonville.

What to know: Bortles is the first NFL quarterback to throw two pick-sixes in one game since Geno Smith did last season against Cincinnati. (SportsCenter). Bortles leads the league with four pick-sixes in 2014.

(Photo by Marc Serota/Panini)

30. Tennessee Titans (LW: 30)

Zach Mettenberger was unable to produce any magic in his first NFL start, but he did pick up his play in the second half of the Titans’ loss to the Texans. With the Titans one of the few AFC clubs already out of the playoff race, they might as well see what they can get out of Mettenberger for the remainder of the season.

What to know: The Titans have now lost eight of their past 10 games at home (Associated Press).

(AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

29. New York Jets (LW: 29)

Geno Smith was absolutely horrendous, playing like he wanted to get benched. Unfortunately, Plan B was equally as horrible, as Michael Vick matched Smith with three turnovers of his own. Now Vick will be trotted out against the Chiefs in Week 9, but this team needs to start watching some college film to determine who’ll be the next quarterback drafted by this organization.
 

What to know: With Vick set to start this week, he becomes the 27th quarterback to start for the Jets since Joe Namath‘s last game in 1976. (Associated Press)

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LW: 28)

Rumors suggest the Bucs are preparing to break up the roster, with Vincent Jacksonand Doug Martin the most prominent names being floated around as trade candidates. Lovie Smith won’t be canned after one season, despite the fact this team was expected to be competitive right off the bat.

What to know: Tampa Bay’s defense has been a major disappointment this year, with the exception being defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. McCoy earned a +4 grade by Pro Football Focus after recording a sack, two hits, three hurries, and a batted pass.

(Photo by Scott Iskowitz/Getty Images)

27. St. Louis Rams (LW: 26)

I’m starting to sour on my prediction that Austin Davis will secure the starting quarterback gig in 2015. After defeating the Seahawks in Week 7, the Rams could barely keep pace with the Chiefs, getting blanked from the second quarter on. It might be time to start tearing up the roster in St. Louis.

What to know: Robert Quinn registered two sacks against Kansas City and now has three total on the season. Last year through eight games, Quinn had 10 sacks.

(Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)

26. Atlanta Falcons (LW: 24)

The Falcons are looking more pathetic with each passing week, and that second-half folly against Detroit was all but the nail in team’s coffin for 2014. Matt Ryan receives almost zero protection now that he’s down to third-string offensive linemen, and the defense is as porous as there is in the NFL.

What to know: Since the Falcons lost in the NFC Championship Game to the 49ers in January 2013, the team is 6-18, including five consecutive losses. (Adam Schefter)

(Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

25. Minnesota Vikings (LW: 27)

I’m encouraged by Teddy Bridgewater‘s play in this one, but even more so by fellow rookie, Anthony Barr, who stripped and returned a fumble for the game-winning score in overtime. The Vikings have a solid young nucleus, and it won’t be long before they’ll be a force in the NFC.

What to know: Norv Turner is finally making a concerted effort to involve Cordarrelle Patterson in the offense. Patterson was targeted 10 times, the second-most targets he’s seen in his career. Patterson also touched the ball seven total times. The Vikings are 2-0-1 when that happens (ESPN Stats & Info).

(Photo by Cliff McBride/Getty Images)

24. Washington Redskins (LW: 25)

What a win for Washington, which is down to its third-string starting quarterback after eight weeks. The defense played inspired, with rookie Bashaud Breeland and running mate David Amerson showing signs of an up-and-coming young secondary. Obviously, Colt McCoy is not the future under center, but he did enough to will his team to a second straight win, this one on the road against a division rival. It’s a positive for the franchise as we await RGIII‘s return.

What to know: Over the past two weeks, McCoy leads the NFL in completion percentage with 85.7 percent. (SportsCenter)

(Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

23. Chicago Bears (LW: 18)

Blame needs to be pointed for the Bears’ woes, and the main culprit has to be Jay Cutler. His poor decision-making and unfathomable ball-security issues continue to plague Chicago. Defensively, they’ve been ravished by injuries, including the season-ending loss of Lamarr Houston.

What to know: While Cutler is accepting the bulk of the blame for the Bears’ offensive woes, the defense had a historically poor outing. The 38 points allowed by the Bears before half time are the most in franchise history. (NFL Media)

(Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

22. New York Giants (LW: 21)

A bye week gives the Giants a chance to refocus their game plan around receiversRueben Randle and Odell Beckham Jr., and another week for Rashad Jennings to get healthy.

What to know: The Giants’ season is beginning to come apart. Middle linebacker Jon Beason has opted to undergo season-ending surgery to repair the toe injury that bothered him since the summertime.

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

21. New Orleans Saints (LW: 23)

Finally, New Orleans delivered the signature performance we had anticipated from them all season long. After matching the potent Green Bay offense point for point in the first half, Drew Brees and Co. pulled away in the second half while the defense surrendered just seven points. This the kind of win than can spark a team going forward.

What to know: The difference on defense for the Saints was the pass rush. When the Saints sent five or more pass-rushers, Aaron Rodgers went 1-for-5 with 14 years with two interceptions (ESPN Stats & Info).

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

20. Houston Texans (LW: 22)

Arian Foster is the engine that drives the Texans, and when he’s rolling the Texans look nearly unstoppable. At 4-4, the Texans are also in the playoff hunt in the AFC, which is becoming a trend.

What to know: Foster rushed for 151 yards, the 31st time in his career he eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark in a game in his career. That tied him with Priest Holmes for the most 100-yard rushing games by an undrafted player in NFL history. (ESPN Stats & Info)

(Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/ Getty Images)

19. Cleveland Browns (LW: 20)

The Browns avoided a two-game losing skid by getting past the Raiders, just days removed from Brett Favre suggesting Brian Hoyer could be the next Kurt Warner. Though the Browns aren’t wowing anybody with their play of late, they did just run over the Steelers three weeks ago.

What to know: The Browns are 4-3 for the first time since 2007 (STATS LLC/Associated Press).

(Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

18. Kansas City Chiefs (LW: 19)

This team is certainly proving to be more formidable than we expected them to be, especially given their improved offensive line play. Quietly, Justin Houston leads the league in sacks. The Chiefs will be a tough out, especially since at 4-3 they’re in the playoff hunt and face Buffalo, Seattle, Denver, Arizona, Pittsburgh, and San Diego down the stretch.

What to know: More was at stake than just records when the Chiefs played the Rams. In the battle of Missouri teams, the Chiefs were awarded the Governor’s Cup by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon. St. Louis previously held it after beating the Chiefs during the 2012 preseason (Associated Press).

(Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)

17. Carolina Panthers (LW: 15)

It’s hard to believe the Panthers lead the NFC South with a 3-4-1 record, but the truth hurts. Cam Newton‘s play has been sporadic this season, making it difficult it get a gauge on this team’s ceiling.

What to know: Injuries to the Panthers running backs are catching up with the team, and Newton is trying to shoulder the workload himself. Newton attempted 10 runs before halftime against Seattle, the most before the half in his career (ESPN Stats & Info).

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

16. Buffalo Bills (LW: 17)

The Bills looked really good at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, then again they were assisted with six turnovers from Jets quarterbacks, including three from Geno Smithalone in the opening quarter. Still, Buffalo took advantage, and like the Dolphins are in the playoff hunt.

What to know: Send the pass rush because Kyle Orton can handle it. When the Jets sent extra pass-rushers, Orton completed 9-of-22 passes, his highest percentage of the year. Orton previously completed 26 percent of his passes against five or more rushers, but completed 41 percent vs. the Jets (ESPN Stats & Info).

(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

15. Miami Dolphins (LW: 16)

Miami has reeled off two wins in a row and are right in the thick of the wild card discussion in the AFC. This defense terrorized Blake Bortles and Co., and is making a case to be one of the league’s best units.

What to know: The Dolphins may have the best pass rush in the NFL. When sending five or more blitzers against the Jaguars, Bortles was sacked three times while throwing a pair of picks (ESPN Stats & Info).

(Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

14. San Francisco 49ers (LW: 13)

San Francisco fell into a second-place tie with Seattle in the NFC West during their bye week. Both Patrick Willis and Aldon Smith could return for Week 9, and NaVorro Bowman should not be too far behind.

What to know: Marcus Lattimore will make his practice-field debut for the 49ers this week, the first time in two years he’ll suit up since he injured his right knee during his final season at South Carolina (San Jose Mercury News).

(Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

13. Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 14)

No offense in football is as hot as the Steelers‘. Ben Roethlisberger is making history with his offensive output, and it’s not a coincidence that now the Steelers are in a second-place tie with rival Baltimore. The difference: the young Pittsburgh wide receivers are stepping up and making plays, growing up before our eyes.

What to know: Big Ben’s tremendous production of late will go down in the record books. Roethlisberger became the NFL’s first quarterback with multiple career 500-yard games in NFL history. He also set Steelers franchise records with 522 yards and six touchdowns (ESPN Stats & Info/Elias Sports).

(Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

12. Baltimore Ravens (LW: 11)

The Ravens had this game in hand, but somehow now fall 0-2 against their closest competition in the AFC North, the Bengals. With the Steelers also making a playoff push, this might be the closest divisional race to keep an eye on in the second half of the season.

What to know: The Ravens’ intermediate passing game was non-existent against Cincinnati. On passes of 15 yards or more, Joe Flacco was 1-for-11, and 0-for-4 while targeting Torrey Smith and Steve Smith on such throws (ESPN Stats & Info).

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

11. Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 12)

With the win, the Bengals won their first game since they were 3-0 and retook sole possession of first place in the division. This team truly misses A.J. Green, and must hope the injures to Giovani Bernard and Vontaze Burfict are not serious.

What to know: Without his top two wide receivers healthy, Andy Dalton looked to his legs for an offensive boost. Dalton had his first multiple rushing touchdown game of his career (ESPN Stats & Info).

 (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

10. Philadelphia Eagles (LW: 5)

These dirty birds took a second fiddle to the Cardinals on Sunday, but they still had a chance to win this game late. Somehow, I predict a re-match of this game coming in the playoffs, as long as Nick Foles can avoid his turnover onslaught.

What to know: What’s been ailing Foles this season? Simply put: pressure. Under duress Sunday, Foles completed 32 percent of his passes for an average of 4.4 yards per attempt, including 1-of-6 on the Eagles’ final drive (ESPN Stats & Info).

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

9. Indianapolis Colts (LW: 7)

The Colts’ five-game winning streak came to an end against one of — if not — the hottest offense in the NFL right now. Andrew Luck was still tremendous, but the defense had no answer for Big Ben. This is still a top-four seed in the AFC.

What to know: T.Y. Hilton is beginning to evolve into a true No. 1 wide receiver. After Sunday, Hilton has recorded three straight games with a catch of at least 45 yards, the longest such streak in the league (ESPN Stats & Info).

(Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

8. Green Bay Packers (LW: 6)

It doesn’t appear as if Aaron Rodgers‘ hamstring injury is serious. The Packers were overmatched by a very talented Saints team playing in the friendly confines of the Superdome in a “must-win” situation. The Packers should be fine.

What to know: The Packers and Saints were a part of the history. This game marked the first time that a game featured no punts and no kickoff returns, and the third game in league history without a punt for either side. The Packers were also a part of the second such game in league history, which occurred back in Week 4 vs. the Bears (Elias Sports).

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

7. Detroit Lions (LW: 10)

Thank god for second chances, especially when they’re a result of your team’s penalty. The Lions finally were on the right end of a game-winning field goal, and continue to hold onto first place in the NFC North. Side note: has there been a better free-agent signing than Golden Tate? Wow.

What to know: Matthew Stafford threw his 119th career touchdown pass as the quarterback of the Lions, which pushes him into first place in that category in franchise history over previous holder, Bobby Layne. (ESPN Stats & Info)

(Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

6. Seattle Seahawks (LW: 8)

The defending champs bounced back, but not in an overwhelmingly convincing fashion that made us feel silly for doubting them. This defense is clearly not as elite as it was during the playoff stretch last season, and this offense is lacking. Still, a win on the road against a stingy Carolina team propels the Seahawks to over .500 and within striking distance of the NFC West-leading Cardinals.

What to know: That East Coast swing — it’s real. Over the past three seasons, Seattle is 22-6 in games that begin at 4 p.m. ET and 5-5 in games that begin at 1 p.m. ET (ESPN Stats & Info).

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

5. Dallas Cowboys (LW: 4)

Let’s not make any secrets about it: Washington should’ve beat Dallas in regulation. Now there are concerns about Tony Romo‘s health going forward. We knew the Cowboys wouldn’t win out, but losing to Washington is a tough blow.

What to know: DeMarco Murray‘s magical season continued in Dallas’ loss Monday night. Murray is the first running back to surpass 1,000 yards rushing this season following his eighth consecutive game with at least 100 yards rushing. (SportsCenter)

(Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

4. San Diego Chargers (LW: 3)

The Chargers were no match for the surging Broncos, especially with a beat-up secondary. This team still has the makings of a playoff club, but in the past two losses their weaknesses have been exposed.

What to know: Antonio Gates continues to re-write the Chargers’ record books. Gates became the Chargers’ all-time leader in receiving yards (9,610), breaking the previous mark held by Lance Alworth.

(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
3. New England Patriots (LW: 9)

The Patriots … are back. Whoever would’ve suggested Tom Brady is washed up must be crazy! This offense looks unstoppable now that Rob Gronkowski is at full strength and playing most of the offensive snaps. And that defense did a superb job stymieing the normally potent Bears offense.

What to know: Brady had as many touchdown passes (5) as incompletions Sunday, but was perfect when targeting Gronk and Brandon LaFell. (ESPN Stats & Info)

(Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

2. Arizona Cardinals (LW: 2)

These Cardinals put together another signature victory, this time over the Eagles. They’re in first place in what many considered to be the toughest division in all of football.

What to know: Ball security has been key for the Cards in 2014. On Sunday, Cardinals quarterbacks did not throw an interception for the sixth time in seven games (STATS LLC/ESPN). Arizona ranks second in the NFL with a +9 turnover differential.

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

1. Denver Broncos (LW: 1)

No offense is as dominant as the Broncos, and this defense is now playing at a top-five level. How scary is it that Peyton Manning actually has a legitimate defense playing behind him?

What to know: Since Manning joined Denver, teams are 3-21 against the Broncos when coming off a loss. (Gil Brandt).

(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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