2020 Week 9 Power Rankings

Well Week 9 is here and it’s time for our weekly dose of the Power Rankings. A new number one and the same old number 32. The halfway point of the season for many NFL teams, and in a season like no other the surprises keep on coming. 

Week 8 had divisional battles to keep the fans entertained. An AFC Rivalry that has always provided fireworks, an NFC South rivalry between two former dominant teams, an NFC North matchup between a struggling powerhouse and a dominant offens,e and an NFC East matchup between two unexpectedly poor teams. I haven’t even mentioned the AFC East tilt between the former kings of the division and their long time whipping boys. Anyway, lets get to it.

32. New York Jets: 0-8

Previously: 32

The Jets Week 8 matchup was probably written off before the season even started. When the reigning Super Bowl champions come to town to play a team that has yet to register a win it’s not going to be pretty. New York struggled all day and could only muster together three field goals and nine total points. Sam Darnold had another game without a touchdown pass, meaning he has just three in total for the season. Times are tough on the green side of New York and they don’t look like getting better any time soon.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars: 1-6

Power Rankings
Credit: FanSided

Previously: 31

The best week in football for a Jacksonville fan since Week 1? The bye week. Jacksonville has been in a real slump and a week off gives them the chance to not lose. Gardner Minshew is falling out of favour with a lot of his fans and a week out of sight might make them get back to their moustache loving ways. At least they can’t lose this week and that in itself is a bonus for the Jags.

30. Dallas Cowboys: 2-6

Previously: 30

When you are forced to start a third string Quarterback you can expect them to do some third string Quarterback type things. Ben Dinucci was handed the reigns after injuries to both Dak Prescott and Andy Dalton halted the offensive juggernaut that was the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas struggled before these injuries but at least they still had some form of an offense. Not anymore they don’t. They could only muster together nine points against divisional rivals Philadelphia as they stumbled to yet another defeat. Remember when this team was tipped to have three 1000 yard receivers? Yeah me neither.

29. New York Giants: 1-7

Previously: 29

For the third time in the last four seasons the New York Giants have started a season 1-7. On Monday Night Football the Giants had a chance to knock off the best team in the NFC so far this season, but in typical New York fashion they beat themselves. Daniel Jones threw careless pass after careless pass and yet still found himself in the game in the dying moments. He played the best football of the game on a 70 yard drive late in the fourth as he found Golden Tate in the end zone to put them within a two point conversion. Finally the Tampa Bay defense stepped up and stopped Jones from completing his pass. Another game that the Giants have lost closely, but still they lost it and find themselves bottom of the worst division in football.

28. Washington Football Team: 2-5

Previously: 27

What a week to be a Washington Football fan. There’s something you don’t say very often! A big win over the Dallas Cowboys and their head coach announced that his cancer treatment was a success. Going into the bye week with only two wins and still with a shot at the division isn’t how Ron Rivera would have pictured this year going but he will still enjoy the fact he isn’t out of playoff contention. With a chance to host a playoff game come January who knows what Washington could put together coming out of the bye.

27. Houston Texans: 1-6

Previously: 23

Houston is in perhaps the worst position in football. A terrible record and not even the thought of a high draft pick next year. This season is over and at least the bye week meant that JJ Watt didn’t need to come out and say how much his team sucked. A long rebuilding process is needed in Houston and years of struggle could be on the cards for the loyal Texans fans.

26. Detroit Lions: 3-4

Previously: 20

Detroit had found some form and won in back to back games – something that was never thought possible under Matt Patricia. Confidence soaring and talk of getting into the playoffs seemed to cloud the heads of the Lions offense as they were humbled by the Indianapolis Colts. A contest that was never close served as a timely reminder not to get to ahead of yourself in the NFL. Matthew Stafford and his offense struggled in this one, giving up costly points from turnovers and dooming his team to defeat.  Detroit has to find a way to win at home (0-3 this year) if they have any hope of challenging in the division.

25. Atlanta Falcons: 2-6

Previously: 25

Julio Jones and Matt Ryan are still an elite duo and anyone who says otherwise is wrong. Todd Gurley ran into the endzone again in this one but this time it was his own team that was celebrating with him. The Falcons took a lead into the fourth quarter and for the first time in their history they managed to hold onto it. For once it was the defense that came up with a big play at the end and got Atlanta their second win of the season. It’s still unlikely that Atlanta can get close to the playoffs but it was a win their fans could savour.

24. Cincinnati Bengals: 2-5-1

Power Rankings
Credit: Joseph Maiorana (USA Today Sports)

Previously: 26

Joe Burrow is a straight up baller. Another 249 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions set the Bengals on their way to a big win and handed the Tennessee Titans a second straight defeat against the AFC North. A solid team performance from the Bengals despite missing four of their five starting offensive linemen is exactly what head coach Zac Taylor needed. Maybe his coat is on a slightly more secure peg now.

23. Carolina Panthers: 3-5

Previously: 18

The wheels are starting to come off in Carolina and after getting off to an impressive start the playoffs now seem unreachable. Teddy Bridgewater almost pulled off a dramatic fourth quarter comeback but in an unlikely turn of events the Falcons defense stepped up. Carolina couldn’t do enough on offense and even with Mike Davis and Curtis Samuel filling in for him, they needed Christian McCaffrey in this one. In the next two weeks Carolina have games against the reigning Super Bowl champions and the Super Bowl elect in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A once 3-2 record is quickly looking like turning into 3-7 and the rebuild under Matt Rhule will need to wait another year.

22. Philadelphia Eagles: 3-4-1

Previously: 22

A game that was only watched by Eagles and Cowboys fans and even they couldn’t have been blamed for turning this one off. It was a poor game all round that was littered with turnovers and sloppy play. Carson Wentz is doing his best Jameis Winston impression and throwing for multiple interceptions in multiple games. The only good thing about Jameis was that he at least threw for hundreds of touchdowns as well. Carson finished with two interceptions and two lost fumbles and yeah he beat the Cowboys – but it was the Ben Dinucci led Dallas Cowboys. Does that really count as a win??

21. New England Patriots: 2-5

Previously: 19

New England’s terrible season continues and may have taken a killer blow on Sunday Night. In the Buffalo Bills, New England had a chance to play an opponent that they have dominated since time began, or so it feels anyway. On Sunday however the worst fears of Patriots fans all over the world were realised – ‘we’re not going to win our division!’ A fumble late in the fourth by Cam Newton doomed the Patriots to a fourth straight loss and left them four games behind the Buffalo Bills and two behind the Miami Dolphins. A season that was on precarious ground from the get go with the loss of Tom Brady, injuries and opt outs is worse than imagined and may get even worse yet.

20. Minnesota Vikings: 2-5

Previously: 28

It’s amazing what a win against a divisional rival can do for you in the power rankings. It’s a rare feat when one player scores all the points for an offense (minus the extra points), but that is exactly what Dalvin Cook managed to do. Four total touchdowns and 226 total yards accounted for the Vikings win and Minnesota have found the formula to prevail; don’t let Kirk Cousins pass the ball. This game was all about Cook and despite knowing it was coming, Green Bay could do nothing to stop him. A win that keeps a glimmer of hope for the Vikings in their quest for a playoff spot.

19. Los Angeles Chargers: 2-5

Previously: 16

The Chargers simply cannot close out a game. Another game where they found themselves up by 17 points and ended up losing. Don’t look now but they may be changing their name to the Los Angeles Falcons. Justin Herbert looked good again despite two interceptions but when it came to the crunch time he couldn’t get the job done. The Chargers last three drives ended interception, field goal and field goal. If he had managed to find the end zone on just one of these drives he would have won the game. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be, and Denver came from behind to shock the Chargers and leave them in last place in the AFC West.

18. Denver Broncos: 3-4

Power Rankings
Credit: Isaiah J. Downing (USA Today Sports)

Previously: 24

Quite literally a game of quarters for the Denver offense in this one. For the first forty five minutes the Broncos offense may as well have stayed at home as they mustered next to nothing. But then comes the bright lights of the fourth quarter. Drew Lock played out of his skin as he went off for 155 yards and three touchdowns to complete a huge comeback win. A win like that, especially against a divisional rival, can galvanise a franchise. And with the struggling Falcons up next the Broncos have a chance to get back at .500 for the season.

17. San Francisco 49ers: 4-4

Previously: 14

Just when you think the 49ers have turned a corner and are ready to kick start the season the football gods strike again. Injuries have plagued San Francisco all year, so why change the habit? Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle both got hurt in the loss to Seattle and look set to miss substantial time. A devastating blow for their season and what do they get as a reward; a short week before a Thursday night game against the Green Bay Packers. Look away now 49ers fans, look away now.

16. Chicago Bears: 5-3

Previously: 15

Despite the season looking so promising for the Bears, the wheels are starting to come off. Nick Foles isn’t having the impact he was meant to have and has now thrown an interception in his last seven games played. In fairness to the Bears they did nearly complete another come from behind win but in overtime the offense did what they do best and stalled. The defense gave Chicago a chance as they seem to always do but Foles and his cohorts couldn’t take advantage. A second straight loss and a tough week 9 matchup against the Tennessee Titans has a few Bears fans asking, Is it time to go back to Trubisky??

15. Miami Dolphins: 4-3

Previously: 21

The dizzy heights of being above the New England Patriots will be a strange feeling for Dolphins fans, but a feeling they will be able to get used to. A game that was destined to be all about Tua Tagovailoa became about the Miami defense and special teams. The defense forced four turnovers in the first half alone and the special teams unit gave us the first punt return for a touchdown this season. A pass rush that couldn’t be stopped made for a tough time for Jared Goff and the Rams, and the early turnovers proved costly. Miami gets a big win as they now travel to take on the Arizona Cardinals.

14. Las Vegas Raiders: 4-3

Previously: 17

In horrendous weather conditions the Raiders simply bullied the Cleveland Browns into defeat. A strong run game that culminated in Josh Jacobs finishing with over 120 yards allowed Derek Carr to rest his arm and only have 112 passing yards. The defense’s ability to hold the Browns to 101 rushing yards put them in a strong position and if it wasn’t for a should-be touchdown being ruled out, the Raiders would have won by more. Tough weather conditions kept the game low scoring but a big win for Las Vegas against a team they could be up against for a wildcard spot.

13. Cleveland Browns: 5-3

Previously: 12

The injury bug has struck in Cleveland and the bye has come just a week late. Odell Beckham is out for the season and now Jarvis Landry, Myles Garrett, Nick Chubb, Austin Hooper and Baker Mayfield are all nursing ailments. After a tough defeat in even tougher conditions a chance to rest and regroup is exactly what this team needs.

12. Indianapolis Colts: 5-2

Previously: 13

One of the best defenses to start the season and they continued to show why. In a close game up stepped Darius Leonard in the third quarter to strip sack Matthew Stafford and change the course of the game. Phillip Rivers would score off the strip sack and a pick six on the next drive moved the Colts ahead by 21 points. The pass rush got to the Lions quarterback all day and they simply had no answer for such a dominant defense. Now sitting in the outright lead in the AFC South with two matchups coming up against the Titans, the Colts have a chance to cement their place at the top of their division.

11. Los Angeles Rams: 5-3

Previously: 8

How did the Los Angeles Rams lose this game? They outgained Miami 471-175 yards in total yards and had 23 more first downs than Miami, yet they still found themselves on the end of a resounding defeat. Costly turnovers and sloppy play by the special teams unit doomed the Rams to a shock defeat in this one and despite out playing Miami in pretty much all offensive categories they simply couldn’t do enough. A quick bounce back is needed to keep in touch with the high flying Seattle Seahawks.

10. Arizona Cardinals: 5-2

Previously: 10

A week off to relax and watch how the rest of your division got on. After the start the Cardinals have had they are well deserved of a rest. Two divisional rivals lost and the other one won, is just about as good as the break could have gone for Arizona as they get ready to face the Miami Dolphins in week 9. The Cardinals are well placed to make a push at the division and by beating the Seahawks and 49ers already this year they are well in the mix of contenders for the NFC West crown.

9. New Orleans Saints: 5-2

Power Rankings

Previously: 11

Despite missing Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, the New Orleans Saints ended up with another win on the board after an overtime bout with the Chicago Bears. Alvin Kamara is doing it all for the Saints and he is showing that he is more than capable of carrying the load. Another performance where he finished up with over 150 scrimmage yards and yet another team had no answer for him. The return of the two wide receivers is only going to open up this offense and make opposing teams have to choose their poison. They will not be able to stop them all.

8. Tennessee Titans: 5-2

Previously: 7

Tennessee is in a bit of a slide as they lost their second on the bounce. After the heartbreaking loss to Pittsburgh they had the chance to get right against an injury riddled Cincinnati Bengals team. It wasn’t to be. A spluttering offense for the first time this season and a defense that couldn’t get near to the rookie QB let alone stop him. The acquisition of Desmond King should have an instant impact to the secondary and help get them back to winning ways.

7. Green Bay Packers: 5-2

Previously: 6

Another poor display from the Green Bay defense and the problems that haunted them in last year’s playoffs are following them into the new season. The defense is not playing to the same level as the offense and what is that old football adage?? Defense wins championships. Aaron Rodgers is doing incredible things on the offensive side of the ball but if this defense doesn’t come up with ways to stop opposing teams, this season will end in a similar fashion as last year. The GM and other upper management’s inability to make moves before the trade deadline gives the impression that they aren’t all in on winning soon – a decision that will anger Packers fans everywhere and maybe more importantly will anger their star Quarterback.

6. Buffalo Bills: 6-2

Previously: 9 

For the first time in nine years the Buffalo Bills have won a home game against the New England Patriots. The times are changing in the AFC East and it’s about time too. Finally the Bills are the favourites for this division and they further proved that with an impressive win. A strong running game led by Zack Moss and Devin Singletary covered up for another mediocre performance from Josh Allen. Buffalo needs to get Allen back to his best before a big game with Seattle. 

The Bills almost blew it and allowed the Patriots to march all the way down the field in the dying moments and get themselves well into field goal range. Up stepped the Bills defense as they forced a costly fumble from Cam Newton. It’s the Bills time and I am all for it.

5. Baltimore Ravens: 5-2

Previously: 5

A third straight week with no movement from the Ravens. Stuck in limbo in number five on this list, not bad enough to drop down but not playing well enough to move up and crack into the top four. A tough loss at home to their long time rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers is not what the Ravens needed. To go with the loss they lost offensive lineman Ronnie Stanley for the season and Marlon Humphrey has tested positive for COVID. A bad week in Baltimore and don’t look now but next up is a potentially tough matchup against the Indianapolis Colts and their turnover machine of a defense.

4. Seattle Seahawks: 6-1

Previously: 4

Is DK Metcalf human? Week after week he does something else truly incredible. In this one he dominated the 49ers with 161 yards on 12 receptions and two touchdowns. The connection between Russell “Mr Unlimited” and Metcalf is a thing of beauty. When you throw in a bit of Tyler Lockett and Chris Carson (when he is healthy) and this offense is in the argument for best in the league. If they can sort the problems on the defensive side of the ball then Seattle could become the most feared team in the league and make their way to the top this list.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 6-2

Previously: 3

Tom Brady and the New York Giants is a story that will forever be remembered in NFL history. The team that haunts Brady almost got another unexpected win against him. The Tampa defense had an off day and the Giants managed to get to Brady and slow down his high flying offense. But, Tom and his Buccaneers held on and secured their sixth win of the season in a uglier manner than they have been used to. Next up is a rematch of week one as they take on the New Orleans Saints in what could prove to be a vital divisional match up.

2. Kansas City Chiefs: 7-1

Previously: 1

Well I will probably regret it but the Chiefs have been knocked off their perch. Not for any poor play on the Chiefs part I might add. Simply because they did exactly what they were meant to and nothing more. Kansas opened up as heavy favourites against the hapless Jets and they finished the game as dominant winners. Patrick Mahomes went back to the air raid style of play as he threw for over 400 yards and four touchdowns. He completed big pass after big pass as he single handedly ripped apart the Jets. A week 9 matchup against the Panthers and Christian McCaffrey may pose more problems than the Jets did but I’m sure they will make me regret dropping them down the rankings.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers: 7-0

Credit: CBS Sports

Previously: 2

If being the only team still undefeated and going into your hated rivals house and beating them doesn’t get you to number one then what will? A strong performance from the defense resulted in four turnovers and a vital stop on a fourth down and a Steelers win. Still undefeated and three games upcoming that the Steelers are expected to win. Dallas, Cincinnati and Jacksonville are what stands in the way of Pittsburgh and a 10-0 record. So far this season none of these teams have shown that they are capable of stopping this Steel juggernaut.