Before you sharpen your pitchforks, a short note on how we’ve come to rank the teams as we have: all NFLTR writers have compiled their own NFL power rankings, which we’ve compiled and averaged in the list below. We hope you enjoy the fruits of our labor, and feel free to agree, disagree, or roast us in the comments below.
#1) Denver Broncos
It’s not easier to get pushed up in the rankings when you’re on a bye week, especially to No. 1 overall, but it appears as though we are buying the Broncos as the consensus best team in the league through nine weeks. Losing HC John Fox could be a pretty big obstacle for Denver, but there’s no question that Peyton Manning helps to mitigate the downside of adversity. They get Chargers in Week 10.
#2) Seattle Seahawks
Seattle looks like a team who is clearly in need of bye. Their solid defense is starting to show some cracks and their offense is struggling as well. This of course could be attributed to injuries to their offensive line, but they will need to wait another two weeks before they can rest up. They get two sub-500 teams in the Falcons and Vikings in the next two weeks.
#3) Kansas City Chiefs
There is definitely an argument to be made that the Chiefs are the team most deserving of the No. 1 overall ranking. After all, they are the only remaining undefeated team. But Kansas City has yet to go up against a playoff contender. They beat Dallas by a point, but it’s hard to see that as an impressive win. They are on bye in Week 10, which works out well for them as they will have ample time to prepare for the Broncos in what should be a very interesting matchup in Week 11.
#4) Indianapolis Colts ( 1)
It really looked like Case Keenum had secured a rather impressive win over the Colts, but that was before T.Y. Hilton caught three touchdowns and Andrew Luck added another fourth quarter win to his resume. Indianapolis is without a doubt one of the most resilient teams in the NFL, but they need to get more out of their #2 and #3 receiving options now that Reggie Wayne is done for the year. The Colts play St. Louis in Week 10.
#5) New Orleans Saints ( 1)
The Jets are clearly no pushover at home, which explains why the Saints didn’t fall further than two spots this week. It’s a rare sight to see the Saints offense out of sync, which is really a credit to the Jets defense, but that’s exactly what happened on Sunday. The fourth-and-one reverse to the No. 3 tight end also looks like a bad call in hindsight. The Saints play Dallas in Week 10.
#6) New England Patriots ( 3)
We’ve been waiting for the quintessential Tom Brady performance and he finally delivered on Sunday. Clearly, it’s a big help to have your best offensive weapons at full strength. I really think the Patriots could be the team to watch out for in the coming weeks, despite the number of key injuries they suffered on defense. Bill Belichick has been able to get a lot out of unknown guys in the past, so there’s no reason that they can’t go on a decent winning streak. The Patriots are on bye in Week 10.
#7) San Francisco 49ers
Personally, I have the 49ers higher than No. 7 overall. They are getting Mario Manningham back this week and Michael Crabtree could be back sometime soon as well. As long as they can stay healthy in the coming weeks, I believe San Francisco could be the team to beat in the playoffs. The 49ers get the Panthers in Week 10.
#8) Green Bay Packers (3)
So much was made about the Packers backup quarterback position during the offseason, and sure enough, Aaron Rodgers goes down with what appears to be a multi-week injury. The Packers are among the best in the league at getting players to step up in the absence of a starter, but there is really no replacing Rodgers. GB should expect at least eight men in the box for as long as he’s out. The Packers get the Eagles in Week 10.
#9) Carolina Panthers ( 3)
The Panthers continue to put up a ton of points and their defense is playing well enough that they could really cause some problems down the stretch and possibly in the playoffs. Other may them higher in the rankings, but Carolina has yet to beat a team with a winning record. That can change on Sunday they travel to San Francisco.
#10) Cincinnati Bengals ( 2)
Andy Dalton falls back to Earth one week after throwing five touchdowns against a good Jets defense. If not for Dalton’s mistakes, they walk out of Miami with a solid win. This has been said countless times, but the Bengals will go as far as Dalton is able to take them, which has to be concerning for Bengals fans. The Bengals get the Ravens in Week 10.
#11) Dallas Cowboys
A win is a win, so it’s hard to get too caught up in an underwhelming performance against a bad Vikings team. After all, they play in what many consider to be the worst division in the NFL and have a one-game lead over the Eagles. The Cowboys get the Saints in Week 10.
#12) Chicago Bears ( 1)
The Bears should probably be higher than this, considering that they walked out of Green Bay with win, despite starting a backup quarterback. Josh McCown played really well and gave his receivers an opportunity to exploit their size. Matt Forte also looked spectacular, so they offense is clearly a formidable unit moving forward. The downside, however, has to be their interior defensive line and safety play. The Bears get the Lions in Week 10.
#13) Detroit Lions ( 3)
The Lions drop a few spots due to the fact they were on bye and a few teams were able to come away with some decent wins in Week 9. A win over the Bears should be enough to propel them inside the Top 10 next week.
#14) New York Jets ( 3)
If the Jets could prevent some the letdowns, they would easily be a Top 10 team. Few teams have as many good wins over playoff teams than Jets do, but at the same time, the Jets also have their share of major disappointments. I still think Rex Ryan is a hell of coach and deserves an extension, but there’s no guarantee of that happening with a new GM and all. The Jets are on bye in Week 10.
#15) Miami Dolphins ( 4)
Miami came away with a much needed win and just happened to come against a likely playoff team. It’s just too bad that the Richie Incognito situation has taken away from what a good game the rest of the Dolphins team played in Week 9. The Dolphins are currently 4-4 and in the mix for a wildcard spot, so they must be thankful that they get the winless Buccaneers in Week 10.
#16) San Diego Chargers (2)
The Chargers had done a pretty good job of traveling to the east coast and playing teams this season, but they just couldn’t get it done against the Redskins in Week 9. Keenan Allen has to be one of the biggest steals of the 2013 draft. How did this guy last until the third-round? The Chargers get the Broncos in Week 10.
#17) Arizona Cardinals ( 1)
Arizona manages to move up a spot, despite being on bye in Week 9. It helps that they had a great win over the Falcons the week before and that other teams really dropped the ball in Week 10. The Cardinals get the Texans in Week 10.
#18) Tennessee Titans ( 2)
It really looked like Jeff Fisher was going to get the best of his former team, but the Titans managed to walk away with a win after putting together a solid fourth quarter. The Titans were on a losing streak, but that had to be expected given the quality of opponents they played. Things get easier for them in the coming weeks, so there is a chance they could be in the running for a playoff bid.
#19) Philadelphia Eagles ( 4)
What can’t you say about Nick Foles performance against the Raiders? He clearly could have broken the NFL record for most passing touchdowns in game had Chip Kelly not pumped the breaks. Foles gets a much harder test next week against the Packers, but he will still have his chances to make plays down the field. I’d expect LeSean McCoy to be a bigger factor next Sunday.
#20) Washington Redskins ( 1)
It appears as though we’re taking a wait-and-see approach with the Redskins this week. They beat a pretty decent team at home and managed to score 30 points again, but there are still a number of concerns regarding this team. Washington gets the Vikings in Week 10.
#21) Buffalo Bills ( 7)
Dropping seven spots following a loss to the undefeated Chiefs probably isn’t too fair. After all they were starting an undrafted rookie against one of the best defenses in the league. I would expect the Bills move up a few spots next week, even if they end up losing to the Steelers.
#22) Baltimore Ravens ( 7)
The Ravens are big letdown this season. Thankfully they won a Super Bowl last year, because this team has some big issues moving forward. Joe Flacco looks nothing like he did last year and Ray Rice is one of the most ineffective running backs in the league. This could be attributed to the poor offensive line play, but either way, everyone on this teams needs to play a lot better. The Ravens get the Bengals in Week 10.
#23) New York Giants ( 4)
I’m not sure what the Giants did on their bye week to deserve moving up four spots, but their two-game winning streak appears to be enough for us to buy their turnaround continuing. The Giants get the Raiders in Week 10.
#24) Houston Texans
If only they could have held on and came away with a much needed win over the division leading Colts. Case Keenum is clearly their option at quarterback moving forward. The Colts had no answer for Andre Johnson and the Texans deserve credit for exploiting that fact. They need to play better in the secondary if they are going to starting winning these close games. The Texans get the Cardinals in Week 10.
#25) Oakland Raiders ( 1)
You could easily make the case that the Raiders deserve to be much lower than this following what was an atrocious performance against the Eagles last weekend. Darren McFadden managed to get hurt again and Terrelle Pryor wasn’t able to much at all against poor Eagles defense. They travel to take on the Giants in Week 10, so they will need to shore things up across the board if they hope to have any chance of winning.
#26) Pittsburgh Steelers ( 1)
Pittsburgh’s defense is reeling right now and that could be putting it mildly. They ran into an improving Patriots offense in Week 9, but that is still no excuse for the worst statistical performance from a Dick LeBeau-led defense. The Steelers are basically out of contention at this point, so the remainder of the season should be an evaluation period. The Steelers get the Bills in Week 10.
#27) Cleveland Browns ( 4)
The Browns have four wins this season and are somehow behind three teams with fewer total wins. We are clearly taking a cautious approach with them and Jason Campbell, but they really do deserve a lot of credit. They get a bye in Week 10, which help them prepare for a road game against the Bengals.
#28) Atlanta Falcons ( 2)
It’s still shocking to see how bad this season has gone for the Falcons, who had the most wins in the NFC last year. Injuries are effecting all teams at this point in the season, but the real concern for Atlanta is their inability to develop players beyond their notable draft picks. The Falcons get the Seahawks in Week 10.
#29) St. Louis Rams
The Rams looked like they were going to come away with a win over the Titans, but unfortunately for them, they allowed 14 fourth quarter points and are now sitting at 3-6 on the season. It’s hard to win with Kellen Clemens, but they have had their opportunities in the past two weeks. They get the Colts in Week 10.
#30) Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings are bad news. Thankfully for them, they are not as bad as the Jaguars and Bucs. They have now lost four straight and are likely to keep Christian Ponder in place as their starter for at least one more week. They get the Redskins in Week 10.
#31) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It was honestly shocking to see them with a sizable lead over the Seahawks on the road, so they get credit for making this a watchable game. Mike James really looked great against a solid defense, so there is a chance that they could put together a complete game and prevent themselves from an 0-16 season. They get the Dolphins in Week 10.
#32) Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville will have two weeks to prepare for the Titans, so this could be their only shot at getting a win this season. The Jaguars are clearly evaluating as many players as possible this season, which is evident from the fact that they have signed or claimed countless players so far. Hopefully, they are able to finish the season with a better foundation with regards to their roster.