NFL Power Rankings Poll Week 9: Top Teams Holding Steady

While teams in the top 10 of the power rankings remain consistent, there's some movement at the bottom—notably, a rise from the Chargers and a new No. 31!
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Aaron Rodgers

This week’s voters:

Andrew Brandt, Business of Football Columnist
Albert Breer, Senior NFL Reporter / Lead Content Strategist
Mitch Goldich, Producer/Writer
Gary Gramling, Senior Editor
Kalyn Kahler, Writer/Producer
Bette Marston, Associate Editor
Jenny Vrentas, Senior Writer

Skinnies for each team written by Jake May.

1. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (8-0)

Previous rank: 1
Points in poll: 222
Highest-place vote: 1 (6 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 3 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Cleveland, 27-13
This week: at Baltimore

The defense continues to defy logic as the offense searches for its identity, but the Browns offered little in the way of resistance during a rainy affair in Foxborough. A road game against Lamar Jackson in Baltimore will be their toughest test so far.

2. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (7-0)

Previous rank: 2
Points in poll: 217
Highest-place vote: 2 (7 voters)
Lowest-place vote: N/A
Last week’s result: Beat Carolina, 51-13
This week: at Arizona (Thurs.)

With each passing week, the crowd of naysayers grows a bit smaller. This week, the run game shone; Tevin Coleman (105 yards, 3 TDs), Raheem Mostert, Matt Breida and interloper Deebo Samuel combined for 229 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.

3. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (7-1)

Previous rank: T-3
Points in poll: 209
Highest-place vote: 3 (6 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 4 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Arizona, 31-9
This week: Bye

Drew Brees returned in style with a monster 34-of-43 outing, good for 373 yards, three touchdowns, one interception and a 116.4 rating. The New Orleans faithful remembered to tip the cap to Teddy Bridgewater, a big reason the Saints enter the bye 7-1.

4. GREEN BAY PACKERS (7-1)

Previous rank: T-3
Points in poll: 204
Highest-place vote: 1 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 9 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Kansas City, 31-24
This week: at L.A. Chargers

It’s rare that a 305-yard, three-touchdown, 129.0-rating performance is still worse than the week prior’s, but that’s life as Aaron Rodgers. He had some help–Aaron Jones’s 226 total yards included a huge touchdown run and some key game-clinching carries late.

5. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (6-2)

Previous rank: 5
Points in poll: 190
Highest-place vote: 4 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 9 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Washington, 19-9
This week: at Kansas City

The Vikings beat the Redskins in an extremely nonchalant game of Thursday Night Football thanks to Dalvin Cook and Stefon Diggs simply being too good for Washington’s defense to stop. A road game against the Chiefs is still a stiff test this weekend.

6. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (5-3)

Previous rank: 6
Points in poll: 186
Highest-place vote: 5 (3 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 10 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to Green Bay, 31-24
This week: vs. Minnesota

Matt Moore was good (24-of-36, 267 yards, 2 TDs, 107.1 rating), but Aaron Rodgers was better. The defense couldn’t get off the field late despite having Rodgers pinned against his goal line, and that was that. Now Mahomes watch begins in earnest with the Vikings lurking.

7. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (6-2)

Previous rank: 8
Points in poll: 175
Highest-place vote: 5 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 15 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Atlanta, 27-20
This week: vs. Tampa Bay

The 24-0 halftime cushion held up despite some leaky defense in the second half, and Russell Wilson kept the lead safe despite a modest final line (albeit with a 131.7 rating). He maintains the highest quarterback rating in the league at 115.5.

8. BALTIMORE RAVENS (5-2)

Previous rank: 9
Points in poll: 173
Highest-place vote: 6 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 11 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Bye
This week: vs. New England

Lamar Jackson faces his toughest test of the season this weekend in the Pats’ top-ranked defense. Belichick will surely throw the kitchen sink at the young QB, so this should be a good barometer of how far Jackson has come in the last year.

9. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (5-2)

Previous rank: 7
Points in poll: 172
Highest-place vote: 7 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 9 (4 voters)
Last week’s result: Beat Denver, 15-13
This week: at Pittsburgh

An ugly win in Denver saw the ageless Adam Vinatieri redeem himself for two earlier misses with a 51-yard bomb to win it late. A meh win against a meh team with meh performances across the board, but they stay one step ahead of Houston in the AFC South.

10. DALLAS COWBOYS (4-3)

Previous rank: 10
Points in poll: 156
Highest-place vote: 7 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 12 (5 voters)
Last week’s result: Bye
This week: at N.Y. Giants (Mon.)

The Eagles beat the Bills and have a winnable game this weekend against the Bears, so Dak, Jason and the ‘Boys need to be sharp Monday night against the Giants if they want to stay atop the division.

11. HOUSTON TEXANS (5-3)

Previous rank: 13
Points in poll: 155
Highest-place vote: 8 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 14 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Oakland, 27-24
This week: at Jacksonville

Another messy win for the Texans, but Deshaun Watson once again proved to be nails in the fourth quarter with this game-winning drive. Another devastating, season-ending injury for J.J. Watt comes at a tough time with the Jags up next.

12. LOS ANGELES RAMS (5-3)

Previous rank: 12
Points in poll: 149
Highest-place vote: 10 (3 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 14 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Cincinnati, 24-10
This week: Bye

London games are a crapshoot, so tough to knock the Rams for only winning by 14. Big game from Cooper Kupp (7 receptions, 220 yards, 1 TD) and another steady outing from Jared Goff have the Rams feeling better as they hit the bye.

13. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (4-4)

Previous rank: 16
Points in poll: 143
Highest-place vote: 9 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 15 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Beat Buffalo, 31-13
This week: vs. Chicago

Credit where it’s due–the Eagles went into upstate New York and hung 31 points on a solid defense while their own leaky unit only surrendered 13 points. The Birds should be licking their chops with a reeling Bears team in town this weekend.

14. BUFFALO BILLS (5-2)

Previous rank: 11
Points in poll: 136
Highest-place vote: 10 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 16 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to Philadelphia, 31-13
This week: vs. Washington

After last week’s near debacle in Miami, the Bills got blown out at home by a .500 team. The defense gave up the most points it has all season, the run was nonexistent, and Josh Allen couldn’t do much against the patchiest of patchwork secondaries. 5-2 seems generous for this bunch.

15. DETROIT LIONS (3-3-1)

Previous rank: 14
Points in poll: 127
Highest-place vote: 12 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 18 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat N.Y. Giants, 31-26
This week: vs. Dallas

Matthew Stafford continues another quietly excellent season for a Lions team that feels better than its record indicates. He logged his best passer rating of the season (129.4) and averaged 10.69 yards per pass attempt against the Giants.

16. CAROLINA PANTHERS (4-3)

Previous rank: 15
Points in poll: 123
Highest-place vote: 13 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 18 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to San Francisco, 51-13
This week: vs. Tennessee

Kyle Allen is the latest backup QB darling to have his honeymoon cut mercilessly short (158 yards, 0 TDs, 3 INTs, 7 sacks, 28.9 rating), but the defense should be taking a hard look in the mirror after surrendering 10 or more points in each quarter.

17. TENNESSEE TITANS (4-4)

Previous rank: 19
Points in poll: 109
Highest-place vote: 16 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 20 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Tampa Bay, 27-23
This week: at Carolina

Ryan Tannehill got the Titans back to .500 and strengthened his grip on the starting QB job. TE Jonnu Smith had his best game of the year, reeling in six catches for 78 yards and his first touchdown of the season.

18. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (4-4)

Previous rank: 21
Points in poll: 100
Highest-place vote: 17 (3 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 24 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat N.Y. Jets, 29-15
This week: vs. Texans

Two wins in a row over bad teams, yes, but Gardner Minshew turned in another clean performance (22-of-34, 279 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs) and has the Jags back at .500. They can reenter the AFC South race with a win against Houston on Sunday.

19. CHICAGO BEARS (3-4)

Previous rank: 17
Points in poll: 98
Highest-place vote: 15 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 23 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost L.A. Chargers, 17-16
This week: at Philadelphia

That might have been the one that breaks this team. This was the snake-bit bowl, with the mantle now officially passed from the Chargers to the Bears. A road matchup at the Linc against an Eagles team trying to claw back into the NFC East race doesn’t look like the best opportunity for a bounce-back game.

20. OAKLAND RAIDERS (3-4)

Previous rank: 20
Points in poll: 88
Highest-place vote: 19 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 22 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to Houston, 27-24
This week: vs. Detroit

Tough loss in a game the Raiders led for chunks of all four quarters. 10 penalties for 100 yards hurt, as did several important missed tackles on Carlos Hyde (most notably here and here) and this drop by Tyrell Williams.

T-21. CLEVELAND BROWNS (2-5)

Previous rank: 18
Points in poll: 82
Highest-place vote: 18 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 24 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to New England, 27-13
This week: at Denver

It’s general knowledge that turning the ball over against the Patriots puts you on the inside track to an L (especially this year). Naturally, the Browns coughed up four of them, including the potential worst pick of the season by Baker Mayfield

T-21. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (3-5)

Previous rank: 27
Points in poll: 82
Highest-place vote: 19 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 23 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Chicago, 17-16
This week: vs. Green Bay

Given the Chargers’ recent run of bad luck, they deserved a wink from above. Solid games from Rivers, Bosa and Mike Williams, but opportunities to build on this win seem scarce against Green Bay.

23. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (3-4)

Previous rank: 23
Points in poll: 74
Highest-place vote: 21 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 25 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Miami, 27-14
This week: vs. Indianapolis

A troubling first quarter against these truly bad Dolphins, but then the Steelers overcame some early first-half problems and Miami remembered the ultimate end-goal of this season.

24. ARIZONA CARDINALS (3-4-1)

Previous rank: 26
Points in poll: 63
Highest-place vote: 23 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 26 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to New Orleans, 31-9
This week: vs. San Francisco (Thurs.)

Playing the Saints on the road indeed proved to be a stiffer test than the Bengals, Falcons and Giants. With the 49ers in town on Thursday night, it could be another tough week for Kyler, Kliff and co.

T-25. DENVER BRONCOS (2-6)

Previous rank: 25
Points in poll: 54
Highest-place vote: 21 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 27 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Indianapolis, 15-13
This week: vs. Cleveland

The wild horses mucked it up against the juvenile horses but couldn’t finish the job as Adam Vinatieri walked it off with a 51-yard bomb. Joe Flacco herniated a disk in his neck, so Brandon Allen will start against the Browns.

T-25. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (2-5)

Previous rank: 24
Points in poll: 54
Highest-place vote: 19 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 27 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Tennessee, 27-23
This week: at Seattle

Another mixed bag for Florida’s favorite pirates, as the Bucs went from down 14-3 to up 23-17 to 27-23 losers. Ryan Tannehill (3 TD, no INTs) was better than Jameis Winston (2 TDs, 2 INTs), and the Tampa offense going scoreless after the 11:16 mark of the third quarter didn’t help.

27. NEW YORK GIANTS (2-6)

Previous rank: 28
Points in poll: 49
Highest-place vote: 25 (4 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 28 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to Detroit, 31-26
This week: vs. Dallas (Mon.)

Frustrating loss for the G-men, who played well but couldn’t hang with Matthew Stafford in the second half. Daniel Jones (28-of-41, 322 yards, 4 TDs, 124.2 rating) continues to make Dave Gettleman look good.

28. NEW YORK JETS (1-6)

Previous rank: 22
Points in poll: 35
Highest-place vote: 27 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 29 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to Jacksonville, 29-15
This week: at Miami

Poor offensive showing from the Jets, who mustered a measly 213 yards of offense (46 rushing yards). New York remains 31 in team offense, and Sam Darnold’s spleen had to endure eight sacks against the Jags.

29. ATLANTA FALCONS (1-7)

Previous rank: 29
Points in poll: 29
Highest-place vote: 28 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 29 (6 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Seattle, 27-20
This week: Bye

This team still plays hard for Dan Quinn, but a 24-point deficit was too much to overcome against a solid defense (Matt Schaub, you can still take a bow). Arthur Blank has some decisions to make during the bye.

30. WASHINGTON REDSKINS (1-7)

Previous rank: T-30
Points in poll: 20
Highest-place vote: 30 (6 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 31 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to Minnesota, 19-9
This week: at Buffalo

More competitive from the Washington Dan Snyder’s, but most of that was thanks to the now-concussed Case Keenum. Dwayne Haskins isn’t ready, and Colt McCoy didn’t dress on Thursday night. But the defense looks alright!

31. CINCINNATI BENGALS (0-8)

Previous rank: T-30
Points in poll: 13
Highest-place vote: 30 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 32 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to L.A. Rams, 24-10
This week: Bye

Good news: Cincy hung with the Rams, outgained them on the ground and logged more first downs. Bad news: Cooper Kupp went for 220 yards, the O-line gave up five sacks and the Bengals are 0-8 heading into the bye

32. MIAMI DOLPHINS (0-7)

Previous rank: 32
Points in poll: 9
Highest-place vote: 31 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 32 (5 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Pittsburgh, 27-14
This week: vs. N.Y. Jets

Sure, the Dolphins may have played their best quarter of football this season on Monday night against the Steelers, to the point where people were wondering whether this team was still tanking. But don’t you worry—it was all over when Miami called a zero-blitz on a Pittsburgh third-and-20 late in the first half, which led to a Diontae Johnson touchdown.

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