By Bryan Dietzler
We are moving through the middle of the season right now and heading into the ninth week of the season; we are starting to see some separation between the top teams and the bottom tier teams. It would appear as if the Cleveland Browns will continue their reign as the worst team in the NFL while the Philadelphia Eagles are the best team in the NFL right now. And that might come as a surprise to some, but they have had the talent for a couple of seasons now and just needed to put it all together.
It looks like the New England Patriots are starting to separate from the rest of the pack in the AFC while the Pittsburg Steelers are nipping at their heels. But don’t forget about the Kansas City Chiefs. They are still in the hunt for the AFC’s top spot.
Let’s see how this week’s power poll looks compared to last week as we look at the Week Nine NFL power poll. Of course, this poll is sometimes late but always consistent but let’s see how it compares against where you think the teams should be ranked through nine weeks of play in the league.
- Philadelphia Eagles-(LW 1, 7-1) The Eagles are flying high after crushing the San Francisco 49ers Sunday. Will they continue to roll, or will some team bring them back down to earth?
- New England Patriots-(LW 2, 6-2) The team is built to win and just might win the Super Bowl again. Is there anyone who can stand in their way?
- Pittsburgh Steelers-(LW 3, 6-2) The Steelers played well in a tough win over the Detroit Lions. This team will contend with the Patriots and the Chiefs to be the best team in the AFC when it’s all said and done.
- Kansas City Chiefs-(LW 4, 6-2) The Chiefs got a win over an ailing Denver team and remain one of the better teams in the NFL. Can they keep pace at the top of the AFC where each team at the top is very talented and difficult to beat?
- Seattle Seahawks-(LW 5, 5-2) The Seahawks won a shootout against versus the Houston Texans on Sunday and proved their offense is a high caliber offense. But their defense struggled. Will they hold up against some of the tougher teams on their schedule?
- Minnesota Vikings-(LW 6, 6-2) The Vikings started out having a tough go of it against the Browns in London but eventually found their rhythm and scored some points. They are the favorite in the NFC North right now and could easily take the division.
- Atlanta Falcons-(LW 9, 4-3) The Falcons got back to their winning ways but did have some trouble trying to beat the Jets. Can they continue to improve and get back to the Super Bowl this season?
- Green Bay Packers-(LW 8, 4-3) The Packers didn’t have a game this Sunday and therefore don’t move up or down in this poll.
- New Orleans Saints-(LW 16, 5-2) The Saints are finally getting the respect they deserve and are one of the NFL’s better teams. Will Drew Brees take his team to the Super Bowl in what might be his last season in New Orleans?
- Carolina Panthers-(LW 10, 5-3) The Panthers earned a win over their division’s weakest team. This team is very inconsistent and is hard to predict. Can they continue to win and reach the playoffs?
- Buffalo Bills-(LW 18, 5-2) I am going to give the Bills the respect they deserve by shooting them up this poll a bit. This team appears to be for real and may make the playoffs. These guys are for real.
- Los Angeles Rams-(LW 12, 5-2) The Rams didn’t have a game this Sunday and therefore don’t move up or down in this poll.
- Dallas Cowboys-(LW 13, 4-3) Dallas earned a hard-fought victory over the Washington Redskins and are starting to look better. Can they get up to the top of the NFC East with the Eagles and compete with the powerhouse team that is Philadelphia?
- Houston Texans-(LW 7, 3-4) The Texans lost a tough one to the Seattle Seahawks Sunday and proved two things. One is that they have the offense to complete while the second thing is that their defense misses J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus. Can they compete with their defense the way it is?
- Tennessee Titans-(LW 15, 4-3) The Titans didn’t have a game this Sunday and therefore don’t move up or down in this poll.
- Detroit Lions-(LW 11, 3-4) The Lions put up a good fight against one of the AFC’s better teams. There is a lot of this team to build upon, but they continue to fall and could reach the depths of this poll if they aren’t careful.
- Denver Broncos-(LW 14, 3-4) Something has happened to Denver and its trouble with the offense. They cannot put up enough points to keep up with opponents. Perhaps they can fix that in the coming weeks, but it looks like it’s not going to get fixed anytime soon.
- Oakland Raiders-(LW 17, 3-5) I thought this team was much more talented than they are now but apparently, they aren’t. Too bad too, this team deserves to get back to the playoffs and prove themselves, but they probably won’t do that this season.
- Washington Redskins-(LW 21, 3-4) The Redskins were able to hang tough with the Cowboys but still couldn’t pull out a win. Will they recover and keep pace with Dallas and Philadelphia or will they keep close company with the Giants?
- Miami Dolphins-(LW 20, 4-3) The Dolphins looked bad against the Ravens on Thursday night. Quarterback is a sticking point or this team and maybe that way for the rest of the season.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers-(LW 19, 2-5) Disappointing. Ugly. Those are a couple of ways to describe this team. They have the talent but just can’t put it together. This team is destined for the NFC South basement.
- Jacksonville Jaguars-(LW 22, 4-3) The Jaguars didn’t have a game this Sunday and therefore don’t move up or down in this poll.
- Arizona Cardinals-(LW 23, 3-4) The Cardinals didn’t have a game this Sunday and therefore don’t move up or down in this poll.
- Baltimore Ravens-(LW 26, 4-4) The Ravens really shut down the Dolphins on Thursday night but some of that was the Dolphins shooting themselves in the foot. They are still going to struggle on offense, but their defense is one of the best in the league.
- Cincinnati Bengals-(LW 27, 3-4) The Bengals just squeezed out a win against the lowly Colts. This team is headed back in the right direction, but will they get better? Will they finish the season on a high note?
- Los Angeles Chargers-(LW 24, 3-5) The Chargers win streak stopped at the hands of the New England Patriots. There is still a lot to do for these guys to be steady winners.
- Chicago Bears-(LW 25, 3-5) The Bears made it interesting but just couldn’t get a victory against the New Orleans Saints this Sunday. Will the Bears be able to pick it up and do some good in the second half of the season? They have a long way to go and too much to do to be great over the next few games.
- New York Jets-(LW 28, 3-5) The Jets are finally starting to sink after a good start. There is just not enough talent on this team for them to be highly competitive but good things are going to happen to this team in the future. You can bet on it.
- Indianapolis Colts-(LW 29, 2-6) Things just keep getting worse for this team. Let’s consider them again next year when they might be able to contend for a playoff spot.
- New York Giants-(LW 30, 1-6) The Giants didn’t have a game this Sunday and therefore don’t move up or down in this poll.
- San Francisco 49ers-(LW 31, 0-8) Will bringing in Jimmy Garoppolo help this team win more games? It’s a step in the right direction but just how good will he be? We are going to find out soon.
- Cleveland Browns-(LW 32, 0-8) “Cleveland bridges falling down” after their trip to London. They have nowhere to go but up.