Friday 19 January 2018 / 02:28 PM


The Patriots and Cowboys remain in the top two spots, but there was a fair bit of shuffling around at the pointy end of the NFL Power Rankings after Week 9.

1. New England Patriots (7-1) –

The league’s number one team had a BYE this week, and got rested up on both sides of the ball. But the big key in the placement of the BYE is that it allowed them to readjust the defense after trading Collins. Now, with the rest of the division sitting around .500, it looks like it’s all Pats going forward.

2. Dallas Cowboys (7-1) –

The Cowboys got the great gift of playing the Cleveland Browns this week, and promptly destroyed them. They’ve been rolling behind the running game and have slowly expanded the role of Dak Prescott. They’ve got Pittsburgh this week, and if Big Ben is still hurt, they could keep this thing going.

3. Oakland Raiders (7-2) +1

The Raiders are getting a well-deserved BYE after an emotional and convincing win over the Broncos. The Raiders are finally getting the respect they should be, and look to be the favorite to take the AFC West. And who doesn’t want to see this offense in the postseason?

4. Kansas City Chiefs (6-2) +2

Quietly sitting behind the Raiders are the Chiefs, who have rattled off win after win, and stuffed the Raiders offense the last time they met up. They’ll get to prove themselves against both the Broncos and Raiders as the season go on, but they’ve got the suddenly surging Panthers this week.

5. Atlanta Falcons (6-3) +2

As your resident Falcons critic, I fully expected a letdown to the Bucs this week off short rest. But they got the win, and it looks like Atlanta is going to shore up the division going forward. The offense is potent, and a test against the Eagles defense will show what they’ve got.

6. Denver Broncos (6-3)

I’m not sure how much farther the Denver offense can fall. CJ Anderson is injured, and their QB situation is not ideal. They’ve got two star receivers that aren’t touching the ball, and it’s fully on the guy in the pocket. Siemian is struggling, and they are showing that the defense can’t carry them again.

7. Seattle Seahawks (5-3-1) +2

The Seahawks got the tightest of wins against Buffalo at home, but you take what you can get in this league. The absence of Kam Chancellor hurt over the course of the game, and the defense fell apart. The less forgiving Patriots await on Sunday night, and they better hope Kam is healthy.

8. Houston Texans (5-3) –

The BYE week gave Houston some time to patch up a defense that’s slowly slid after losing JJ Watt. The division around them is in shambles, and it should be a relatively simple path if they can just take care of business. But in this division that’s far from a given.

9. New York Giants (5-3)

The G-men took care of Philly and secured their spot as the challenger to the Dallas Cowboys. They’ve got the lone win against them, and the offense finally looks to be on the right track. They’ve got a Monday night football game this week against the Bengals, and they’ll need the offense to put up points.

10. Minnesota Vikings (5-3) -5

The Vikings are free falling. If not for the Packers struggles, they would have already lost this division lead. The Lions and Packers are now right behind them, and this offense is just bad. The defense is good enough to keep them afloat, but not to win the division. They need the offense back.

11. Detroit Lions (5-4) +8

The Lions made a statement in a big way over the Vikings. It drew them to just half a game back in the division, and if Matt Stafford is slinging it like this, the Lions can challenge anyone. But the caveat to that is the defense, which could get scored on by anyone at times.

12. Philadelphia Eagles (4-4) -1

Speaking of free-falling, the Eagles have erased their hot start and are now sitting around where we thought they would be. The defense is still solid, but the offense has regressed big time, with Carson Wentz getting pressured at every level. A date with the red-hot Falcons will be a tall test.

13. Baltimore Ravens (4-4) +9

The Ravens got to smack their rivals around, and got to takeover the division all in the same week. Which is a lot to ask for a .500 football team. The Ravens have been far from great, but if Flacco can throw like that, and the defense can be smothering like that, they can win this division after looking so lost a few weeks ago.

14. Washington Redskins (4-3-1) –

The Redskins had the week off, and could use the break. The roster is mostly rested, and Kirk Cousins and the offense are playing good football. The defense is coming along, and if they can pull it together, this is a wild card threat. Catching the Cowboys may be a stretch, though.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4) -5

You could tell in that Ravens game that we weren’t watching the same Big Ben that we saw the first few weeks of the season. He struggled mightily, and obviously is still injured. It may not be the worst idea to give him some extra rest, as the offense can’t play like that again and expect to contend for this division.

16. Cincinnati Bengals (3-4-1) –

The Bengals will get a long break after being off last week and not playing until Monday this week. That should be time enough to get this offense clicking again. The Giants defense isn’t great, and they need to pick up a win while the division lead is still so close.

17. Arizona Cardinals (3-4-1) –

The Cardinals come out of the BYE week looking up at Seahawks team that is trending upwards. Those missed kicks will linger for a while, but they’ve got a big chance to get back to .500 against the awful 49ers.

18. New Orleans Saints (4-4) +2

The Saints were dead in the water just a few weeks ago, but the turnaround has been something to behold. After starting 0-3, they’ve won four of five, and now sit solely in second in the division. The offense is great, and the defense is slightly better than awful. But the Broncos and Panthers will test how good they really are.

19. San Diego Chargers (4-5) +4

Speaking of resurgent, the Chargers have won three of four, and look like the team they were projected to be on offense. Unfortunately, they play in the toughest division in football, and still sit solidly behind the pack. Still, they should be favored this week at home, and are going to be a tough out of anyone going forward.

20. Indianapolis Colts (4-5) +4

The Colts got back to winning, and it couldn’t have come sooner for the race for the division. The Texans are anything but a sure thing, and Andrew Luck has worked magic before. But this defense is really bad, and a BYE week may be just what the doctor ordered.

21. Green Bay Packers (4-4) -9

Well, the Vikings slide benefited the Packers, as they’ve slid just as far down. The Pack are struggling everywhere, as evident by Aaron Rodgers calling out the entire team on Monday. Things need to shore up quickly, or it’s going to be a laugher for this division.

22. Buffalo Bills (4-5) -7

The Bills took a really big tumble, and it’s not so much because of who they lost to, but more the guys in front of them that won and just how far out of reach the division is now. The Bills are still a playoff contender, and should be really uplifted by how close they got to getting Seattle.

23. Miami Dolphins (4-4) +3

I know, I know, the Dolphins beat the Bills head to head and everything. But seriously, I’m skeptical of the surge that Miami is on. The defense has been turning people over, but they are still giving up some big yards. And that’s against some bad offenses. Win in San Diego, and you’ll have my attention.

24. Carolina Panthers (3-5) +3

Hey, the defending NFC Champs have a pulse! They are still down pretty big to the Falcons, but they at least have a chance. The offense is back, and the defense is gaining momentum. So why so low? Well look at this schedule: Chiefs, Saints, @ Raiders, @ Seahawks, Chargers, Falcons. Ouch.

25. Tennessee Titans (4-5) -7

The Titans are just like the rest of the AFC South, and are still in the race for the division. Still, the losses inopportune times will get you. They’ve got the Packers this week, in a battle of struggling teams.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5) -5

Well, the Bucs got waxed by the division leaders that they upset earlier in the season. And just about everything regressed. The struggling Bears could provide relief, and they need a win to keep pace in the division.

27. Los Angeles Rams (3-5) -2

The Rams offense was anemic and ineffective against the Panthers pass rush, letting Keenum get bullied around. The running game got hurt, and the passing game just doesn’t exist. There were calls for Goff, and I think those get louder going forward.

28. Chicago Bears (2-6) –

The Bears got the week off, and that means they haven’t lost in two weeks! All seriousness, the Bears are hoping the return of Cutler ignites the offense like it did against Minnesota, and are feeling optimistic about their road trip to Tampa

29. New York Jets (3-6)

The tumble for NY continues. The offense has been bad for a while, but it’s the defense getting the attention this week. Todd Bowles has benched his top two defensive linemen, and things are going south in a hurry for the once promising Jets.

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6) –

The boo-birds are getting louder for Blake Bortles and the Jaguars. The defense and offense are struggling, but the seat is still warming piping hot for Gus Bradley. They need some wins to even give him a chance, and I don’t know where they come from.

31. San Francisco 49ers (1-7) –

Another week, another blowout for the 49ers. It’s now time to start building for next year, and Chip Kelly has been playing many more young guys in the snoozer games. They very well may not win another game.

32. Cleveland Browns (0-9) –

The Browns got blown out for the first time as the scrappy young underdogs they’ve been all season. But they are staring at an 0-16 season, and have to get a win soon just to avoid making the wrong kind of history.

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About the author

Austin Albertson

Austin is CBS' senior NFL and NBA analyst, bringing you commentary on everything between the lines and inside the hashes, from the film room to the scoreboard.

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