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NFL Week 9 Power Rankings

11 November 2020

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The NFL season has reached its midway point in 2020. In spite of all of the COVID concerns, most teams have played half of their games for the year. In this week’s NFL power rankings, we look at all 32 teams and how they have performed to this point in what has been anything but a conventional year in the National Football League.

32. New York Jets (Last Week: 32)

The New York Jets came so close to beating their rivals, the New England Patriots in Week 9. Up double digits in the fourth quarter, the Jets allowed the Patriots to score the final 13 points of the game to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. While the losses continue to be painful for Jets fans, this team is firmly in the driver’s seat to draft Trevor Lawrence with the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last Week: 31)

Jake Luton wasn’t terrible in his first professional start for the Jaguars on Sunday. But he fell just short of tying the game on the team’s final drive. A missed two-point conversion left the Jaguars two points shy of the Texans in what was a surprisingly close 27-25 game. Jacksonville has now lost seven straight games, and the team has the third-worst point differential in the NFL at -68 through eight games.

30. Dallas Cowboys (Last Week: 29)

The Cowboys put up a valiant effort against the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 9. Dallas led for most of the game, slowing down the Steelers offense, and playing some quality defense for the first time all season. But the Steelers rode a fourth quarter comeback to victory over the Cowboys to remain undefeated. Fortunately for Dallas, Garrett Gilbert looked like a potential answer at the quarterback position while the team waits for Dak Prescott to get healthy.

29. Washington Football Team (Last Week: 26)

The Washington Football Team has played the New York Giants four times in the last two seasons. They have lost all four of those games. Last week, the Football Team dropped a 23-20 game to the Giants to drop to 2-6. Washington had several chances to tie the game or take the lead late in the fourth quarter, but Alex Smith threw two late interceptions to keep the Football Team from getting the victory. Nonetheless, it is great to see Alex Smith healthy and on the football field.

28.  Detroit Lions (Last Week: 28)

Detroit never had a chance to win against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 9. They lost 34-20, and it can be argued that the game wasn’t even that close based on how poorly the Lions played. The Lions committed three turnovers in the loss, while they forced zero turnovers on defense. The loss dropped the Lions to the bottom of the NFC North, where they are likely to spend the rest of the season.

27. New York Giants (Last Week: 30)

Here is a very interesting stat pertaining to the New York Giants, one that is worth remembering for NFL betting purposes. In the last two seasons, the Giants are now a combined 6-19 straight up. Against the Washington Football Team, they are 4-0, and they are 2-19 against all other NFL teams. The Giants got another win over the Football Team in Week 9, but they need to start mixing in some wins against other teams.

26. Cincinnati Bengals (Last Week: 26)

The Cincinnati Bengals had a bye week in Week 9, fresh off of their win over the Tennessee Titans the week before. Cincinnati now has the chance to take a shot at the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers this coming week. With the Steelers surviving a scare against the Cowboys last week, Cincinnati has to like their chances with an extra week of rest more than they did after seeing the Steelers beat the Titans and Ravens.

25. Atlanta Falcons (Last Week: 27)

This might sound crazy, but the Atlanta Falcons might not be as bad as we all think. They picked up a 34-27 win over the Denver Broncos last week, moving them to 3-6 on the season. Despite their poor record, though, the Falcons have a point differential of just -8 on the year. That suggests that the Falcons have been very competitive even though they have been losing games. One has to wonder what could have been this year if the Falcons could hold onto a lead.

24. Carolina Panthers (Last Week: 24)

The Carolina Panthers lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, as they were expected to do. But they did so in a very competitive game, losing 33-31 on the road to the defending champions. Christian McCaffrey looked great in his return, even though he is set to miss Week 10. The problem for the Panthers is that either their offense or defense fails to show up each game, leaving the other unit out to dry on a consistent basis.

23. Denver Broncos (Last Week: 20)

It looked like things were turning around for the Denver Broncos after their comeback win over the Chargers two games ago. But Denver came crashing back down to Earth last week with their loss to the Falcons. The second half schedule for the Broncos is very difficult, including more games against NFC South opponents. At this point, it doesn’t look like the Broncos are making all that much forward progress this season.

22. Los Angeles Chargers (Last Week: 18)

The Chargers have now lost two straight division games in brutal fashion. After losing at the final second against the Broncos in Week 8, they did the same against the Raiders in Week 9. The Chargers are now 0-3 in division games this season, with all three games being decided on the final play of the game. At 2-6 the Chargers’ -11 point differential is a statistical improbability to say the least.

21. Philadelphia Eagles (Last Week: 21)

By having a bye week, the Philadelphia Eagles were again the big winners in the NFC East in Week 9. The two teams closest to them in the standings both lost, putting the Eagles two games up in the loss column over the Cowboys and Football Team. The Eagles face the Giants in Week 10, with a chance to extend their lead over another division opponent.

20. Chicago Bears (Last Week: 19)

Matt Nagy’s team lost its third straight game when the Bears fell 24-17 to the Tennessee Titans in Week 9. The problem for the Bears continues to be their offense. Nick Foles wasn’t all that effective until the portion of the game where the Bears were down by multiple possessions. If the Bears want to keep their playoff hopes alive this season, they are going to need to find a spark on offense to relieve some of the pressure on their stout defense.

19. Houston Texans (Last Week: 23)

The Houston Texans won in Week 9, defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars. Both of the Texans’ wins this season have come against the Jaguars this season. In a year where the gap between the haves and have nots wasn’t so wide, there is no way the Texans would be ranked this high. But they have been playing decent football under Romeo Crennell since the firing of Bill O’Brien, and can always move the ball thanks to the electric Deshaun Watson.

18. Minnesota Vikings (Last Week: 22)

Slowly but surely, the Minnesota Vikings are getting back on track in the NFC North. They have won two straight games, including last week’s destruction of the Detroit Lions. Dalvin Cook has scored six touchdowns in his last two games, both wins over division foes. They would need to do a lot of winning over the next eight games to keep their playoff hopes alive, but the Vikings have finally found a rhythm.

17. San Francisco 49ers (Last Week: 16)

The San Francisco 49ers are going to continue to slide down these power rankings for the rest of the season. That will be a likely outcome, especially if the Niners continue to play the way that they did on Thursday Night Football against the Green Bay Packers. The final score of that game was 34-17, but the Niners needed a couple of late, meaningless touchdowns for the final score to be even that close. Without Jimmy Garoppolo, the offense just looks lost.

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16. Las Vegas Raiders (Last Week: 17)

Surprisingly, the Las Vegas Raiders are up to second place in the AFC West. They barely held off the Los Angeles Chargers in a tight division game last week. In that game, the Raiders were outgained by over 100 yards. But the Raiders did a better job of finishing drives than the Chargers did. Vegas only had to settle for one field goal in the game, while the Bolts had to take three on two occasions. Those small details going the Raiders’ way is a good sign for Jon Gruden’s team.

15. New England Patriots (Last Week: 14)

New England got a much-needed win over the Jets on Monday Night Football. But the fact that the game was even close is troubling. New England’s defense failed miserably to get a push up front against the Jets’ offensive line. Fortunately, they managed to get a couple of late stops and their offense clicked when it needed to down the stretch. It is always good to get a win in the NFL, but it is clear that the Patriots have some major flaws that need to be addressed.

14. Indianapolis Colts (Last Week: 12)

One step forward and two steps back seems to be the motto for the Indianapolis Colts. At home, after taking an early lead, the Colts lost by two touchdowns to the Ravens. Indianapolis has defeated one team with a winning record so far this season. That win came against the Chicago Bears, who have struggled to move the ball all season long. If the Colts want to be a legitimate threat, they need to beat better competition.

13. Cleveland Browns (Last Week: 13)

Cleveland had the week off in Week 9, as their bye week came and went. On the other side of their bye, the Browns have a great chance to move to 6-3 on the season. Cleveland plays at home against the Houston Texans in their next game. Against a Houston team that is 0-6 against teams that aren’t the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Browns will be expected to take care of business at home.

12. Miami Dolphins (Last Week: 15)

Perhaps the biggest surprise of Week 9 in the NFL was the way that Tua Tagovailoa played in his second career start. Tagovailoa threw for 248 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions, as the Dolphins beat the Cardinals on the road. Tagovailoa still has a long way to go in his development, but the Dolphins have been one of the great surprises in the NFL this season as they look like a legitimate contender to reach the AFC playoffs.

11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last Week: 4)

The most disappointing team in the NFL in Week 9 was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They were a three-point home favorite against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday Night Football. But the Bucs were blown out 38-3 in a game that was never close. The Bucs are now behind the Saints in the race for the NFC South title, with the Saints holding the tiebreaker by beating Tampa in both of their matchups this season.

10. Los Angeles Rams (Last Week: 11)

Los Angeles didn’t play in Week 9 as it was their bye week. Now, fresh off of a week of rest, the Rams have a home game against a division rival in the Seattle Seahawks. The Rams have a rest advantage in that game, as the Seahawks had to play in Buffalo against the Bills while the Rams had their bye. With two weeks to prepare for the Seahawks, this game represents a massive opportunity for the Rams to solidify their playoff positioning.

9. Arizona Cardinals (Last Week: 6)

Kliff Kingsbury and the Cardinals have to be disappointed with the way their defense played in Week 9. Giving up 34 points at home to a rookie quarterback is a problem, as the Cardinals could have used that game to draw even with the Seahawks in the NFC West standings. Kyler Murray is playing some incredible football, but the question is whether the Cardinals can play consistently enough to help him make the playoffs.

8. Green Bay Packers (Last Week: 9)

The Packers took care of business by destroying a depleted 49ers team in Week 9. Green Bay now has another game on their schedule that they would be expected to win. The Packers have the Jaguars up next on their schedule, with an all-time quarterback mismatch set to take place between Aaron Rodgers and Jake Luton. Green Bay will need to be sure not to overlook their opponents in Week 10.

7. Buffalo Bills (Last Week: 8)

The Buffalo Bills continue to take advantage of opponents dealing with tough travel schedules during their home games. This past week, the Bills beat a Seahawks team that had a division game the week before and have a division game the week after. They could not be stopped offensively, racking up 44 points in a huge victory to solidify their position atop the AFC East. The Bills still have questions to answer on defense, but they are clearly a top-10 team in the league right now.

6. New Orleans Saints (Last Week: 10)

The Saints were a slight underdog in Tampa Bay against the Buccaneers on Sunday Night Football. But Sean Payton’s team demolished the Bucs, putting up 38 points on the road and holding Tom Brady to a field goal for the duration of the game. If the Saints can continue to hold serve, they will remain in the driver’s seat to win the NFC South. This team may have been the big winner of Week 9.

5. Tennessee Titans (Last Week: 7)

After two straight losses, the Tennessee Titans bounced back with a win over the Chicago Bears. Tennessee had been struggling on defense over the last few weeks. But a game against the Nick Foles-led Bears offense is a great way to cure any defensive issues. Now the Titans open up Week 10 on Thursday Night Football with a home game against their division rivals in the Colts.

4. Seattle Seahawks (Last Week: 4)

The defensive issues of the Seattle Seahawks were on full display against the Buffalo Bills. They gave up 44 points to the Bills and lost the game by double digits in Week 9. Now the Seahawks have to travel back to the West coast to take on a Rams team that just had their bye week. That is not normally a good situation for the team with less rest and dealing with coast-to-coast travel demands.

3. Baltimore Ravens (Last Week: 5)

Baltimore redeemed itself for losing to the Steelers by beating another postseason contender in the Indianapolis Colts. The Ravens’ defense was incredible, holding the Colts to just 10 points for the game. Things looked shaky at the beginning of the game, but the Ravens stabilized themselves nicely and put themselves back in the win column. The Ravens are an impressive 4-0 on the road so far this year.

2. Kansas City Chiefs (Last Week: 2)

It was a sweat, but the Kansas City Chiefs won at home in Week 9 in a 33-31 game over the Carolina Panthers. As has been the case for much of this season, the Chiefs’ offense played excellent football to make up for the team’s subpar defense. That defense could become a problem in the playoffs, but it is so difficult to bet against Patrick Mahomes.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last Week: 1)

Pittsburgh won an ugly game against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 9. Ben Roethlisberger suffered an apparent knee injury in the game, but managed to gut it out and play enough to spark a second half comeback. The Steelers are the last undefeated team left in the NFL in the 2020 season. If they can earn a first-round bye in the playoffs over teams like the Chiefs and Ravens, it would be massive for their Super Bowl hopes.

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Are the Steelers really the best team in the league?

It is hard to tell at this point in the season, but the Steelers are the best team in the NFL to this point in the season. They have beaten several Super Bowl contenders this season, and have one of the few defenses that is reliable in the NFL right now. Ben Roethlisberger’s health is always a concern, but the Steelers have been incredible this year.

What happened to the Buccaneers last week?

The truth of the matter is that the Saints are just a bad matchup for the Buccaneers. Drew Brees gets rid of the ball quickly, which mitigates the pass rush of the Buccaneers. And the Saints’ pass rush has been capable of giving Tom Brady headaches, which is worth remembering if these two teams play in the postseason.

Are the Bills for real?

The Buffalo Bills appear to be a legitimate playoff team this season. They have an earnest MVP candidate in Josh Allen, and their defense can make big plays even if they give up a lot of points. They forced Russell Wilson into multiple interceptions, which is no easy feat as Wilson’s numbers have indicated in 2020.


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