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NFL power rankings 2018, Week 9: Steelers climb as top 10 teams become clearer

The NFL’s top teams keep winning, making the top of this week’s power rankings easy to determine.

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The NFL’s top contenders seem pretty clear at the halfway point of the season. The Rams, Patriots, Chiefs, and Saints have imposed their will on their opposition and are paving their paths toward the playoffs.

Those teams make up the top four of our Week 9 NFL power rankings with the Chargers placing fifth following their bye week. The 8-0 Rams just keep winning and though the Packers came close to beating them, Los Angeles kept their streak alive. Next up for the Rams will be the Saints. Will LA remain undefeated coming out of Week 9?

The Patriots are ... the Patriots. An annual contender and always-dangerous team. The Chiefs have only lost to the Patriots and somehow look to be getting even better as the weeks pass. The Saints made beating the Vikings on the road look easy in the Minneapolis Miracle rematch on Sunday night.

On the rise

The Steelers moved up from eight to six after their third-straight win and fourth in the last five games. James Conner is looking like a more-than-capable replacement for Le’Veon Bell, who continues to sit at home and watch football on TV.

The Panthers are also proving they’re no fluke as they’ve lost only two games this season on the heels of an impressive year from both Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey. The second-year running back has 723 yards from scrimmage as well as three touchdowns.

Also on the rise are the Bears who went from first to fourth and back to first in the NFC North in the last three weeks. The Eagles got a bit of a boost from their win over the lifeless Jaguars in London and elsewhere in the NFC East, Washington remains in the top 10 after another win. Their latest came over the bottom-feeder Giants, so while it’s a win, it wasn’t all that difficult to achieve.

We’d be remiss not to discuss the Texans who are very much on the rise after their fifth-straight win and a terrific game from Deshaun Watson who had a magical night against the Dolphins.

The Colts are also climbing the rankings, though much lower down the list. They went from 22nd to 17th following their second win a row. Those wins have come against the Bills and Raiders. So let’s not get too excited just yet, but they do look much improved. Next up they have the Jaguars, Titans, and Dolphins, so there’s more opportunities ahead for them to impress against similar and lesser competition.

On the decline

The Ravens have lost in back-to-back weeks to top-10 teams. Their loss to the Saints was a close one but their loss in Carolina to the Panthers came with a 15-point margin of defeat.

The Vikings are also falling after their loss to the Saints. They’ve yet to have an impressive win as they’ve only beaten the 49ers, Eagles (by two), Cardinals, and Jets. Next up they have their division-rivals in three straight games: the Lions, then a bye week, followed by games against the Bears, and Packers.

The Packers took a two-spot dive this week after losing to the Rams. You can’t really fault a team for losing to the Rams, but the Packers (much like the Vikings) don’t have an impressive win as their victories came over the Bears (by one), the Bills, and the 49ers.

Somewhere in the middle

There might not be a weirder team than the 5-3 Bengals who look hot and cold in the same game quite frequently. The Bengals had a 27-6 lead over the Buccaneers on Sunday before Ryan Fitzpatrick entered the game​ and tied things up at 34-34. Cincinnati was lucky to come away with a win.

The Seahawks are climbing back into relevancy thanks to some highly efficient play from Russell Wilson​. The Seattle quarterback had a perfect 158.3 passer rating in the Seahawks’ win over the Lions. Wilson joined his fellow NFC West quarterback Jared Goff as the two quarterback to finish a game with a perfect passer rating this season.

At the bottom

The Broncos lost to the Chiefs, but at least they were competitive and now they’re also done with the AFC’s best team for the rest of the year (unless Denver surprisingly makes the playoffs). The Falcons were on a bye, but got bumped up one spot due to other teams losing; the Cowboys were also on a bye and stayed at the same spot as they were in last week. The Jaguars lost in their home away from home (London) and look like they’re falling apart. The Jets, Buccaneers, Browns, Cardinals, Bills, Giants, 49ers, and Raiders round out the bottom eight.

NFL Week 9 Power Rankings

Ranking Team Last Week
Ranking Team Last Week
1 Los Angeles Rams 1
2 New England Patriots 2
3 Kansas City Chiefs 3
4 New Orleans Saints 4
5 Los Angeles Chargers 5
6 Pittsburgh Steelers 8
7 Carolina Panthers 10
8 Chicago Bears 11
9 Washington 9
10 Philadelphia Eagles 12
11 Baltimore Ravens 6
12 Houston Texans 14
13 Minnesota Vikings 7
14 Cincinnati Bengals 15
15 Green Bay Packers 13
16 Seattle Seahawks 18
17 Indianapolis Colts 22
18 Miami Dolphins 16
19 Tennessee Titans 19
20 Detroit Lions 17
21 Denver Broncos 21
22 Atlanta Falcons 23
23 Jacksonville Jaguars 20
24 Dallas Cowboys 24
25 New York Jets 25
26 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26
27 Cleveland Browns 27
28 Arizona Cardinals 31
29 Buffalo Bills 30
30 New York Giants 29
31 San Francisco 49ers 28
32 Oakland Raiders 32