NFL Power Rankings, Week 9 edition

Don't look now, Jay Cutler and the Bears are charging ahead and look like a real Super Bowl contender.

Falcons, Texans retain top two spots, while Bears jump over 49ers. Meanwhile, the Chiefs and Jaguars are in very, very big trouble … paging Mark Brunell? Joe Montana? Away we go:

1. Falcons (8-0): They’ve handled every challenge thrown at them. They’ve won blowout games. They’ve won tight games. They’ve beaten almost the entire NFC East. Now, they’ll go to New Orleans to face a Saints team in desperate need of a season-saving win. Won’t be easy.

2. Texans (7-1): Like a well-oiled machine: run Arian Foster into the ground, let Matt Schaub chuck it around and trust the NFL’s best (second-best?) defense. Houston, we don’t have any problems.

3. Bears (7-1): If Jay Cutler and the offense is rolling like they were last week, forget about it. Bears can beat anybody (even that team in the space above). Game of the year Sunday, at home vs. Texans.

4. 49ers (6-2): Talk all you want about the defense — yes, it’s nasty and stingy — but Frank Gore is the glue holding this Super Bowl train together. On pace for over 1,300 yards.

5. NY Giants (6-3): Big Blue lost despite one of the worst games of Eli Manning’s career (10-of-24, 125 yards, one interception). Some are anticipating another second-half swoon … we’re not. Buy low.

6. Ravens (6-2): Should be able to squeak out a win on reputation alone this week (vs. Oakland), then we’ll find out how tough the Ray Lewis-deprived Ravens are next week in Pittsburgh.

7. Packers (6-3): We told you they were heating up, NBA Jam style. That’s four straight wins with an average margin of victory of almost two touchdowns (12.75). Scary part, the offense isn’t even playing with all its weapons.

8. Patriots (5-3): In Belichick We Trust. His defense may be a tad slow, however, the new wrinkle on offense — Stevan Ridley (716 yards) — is a pretty good insurance policy behind Tom Brady.

9. Broncos (5-3): Peyton Manning hasn’t been shy about floating some ducks, but when you have 48 fourth-quarter career comebacks, 48!, who cares? Denver is officially Peyton’s Place.

10. Steelers (5-3): If you had told anyone not named Dick LeBeau (and maybe him, too) that Troy Polamalu would play only two games and Pittsburgh would rank No. 1 in total defense … yeah, just shut up, because you’re lying.

11. Seahawks (5-4): Just when they were starting to look like pretenders, they earn crucial win against potential playoff team. With this defense, if Russell Wilson can eliminate mistakes, they’ll be in the thick of it.

12. Colts (5-3): Andrew Luck & Co. were supposed to be 3-4 years away from a playoff run, yet here they are, sitting in contention at the midway point. Luck is better than RG3, you heard it here first.

13. Vikings (5-4): The slide has started in Minnesota and it probably won’t end until — with apologies to Samantha Steele — Christian Ponder learns how to be a difference-maker.

14. Dolphins (4-4): Ryan Tannehill won’t get the press his rookie classmates get because he doesn’t put up lofty numbers, but his leadership and intangibles are invaluable.

15. Chargers (4-4): A win is a win is a win is a win, even if it’s against Kansas City. Does Philip Rivers (18-of-20 last week) have one last run in him? We’ll find out over the next two weeks.

16. Buccaneers (4-4): Tampa owns the league’s top-ranked rush defense and ninth-best rush offense (thanks Doug Martin!). They’re also averaging 39 points in their last two victories. Rising fast.

17. Lions (4-4): Left for dead three weeks ago, Matt Stafford has resurrected them. He’s the fourth-highest rated QB (99.8) in the fourth quarter and is on pace to break the 5,000-yard plateau.

18. Cardinals (4-5): Kevin Kolb is reportedly still having trouble sneezing. While he’s far from the Cards’ savior, he’s the best shot they got at saving this sinking ship. Cough, please.

19. Saints (3-5): Drew Brees and the boys have won three of four and actually flashed something not seen in New Orleans in a long, long time: a run game. Don’t bury the Saints just yet, folks.

20. Eagles (3-5): New week, same mistakes. They are calling for backup quarterbacks and new coaches in Philly — until that offensive line gets fixed, none of it matters.

21. Cowboys (3-5): Jerry Jones admitted he would never fire himself as GM as long as he’s owner. Cowboys fans everywhere are praying for a billionaire to save the day … ummm, Mark Cuban?

22. Bengals (3-5): Andy Dalton picks the absolute worst possible times to go all Ryan Leaf on everyone. He’s got 11 interceptions this season, with eight coming in losses.

23. Redskins (3-6): It’s OK to declare a man-crush on RG3, we’ve all done it. While his unique skill set is decorating highlight reels everywhere, it’s just not translating into wins.

24. Rams (3-5): Sam Bradford appears to be a bust. Steven Jackson wants out. Jeff Fisher needs to rebuild on offense.

25. NY Jets (3-5): Rex Ryan won a poll as most overrated NFL coach. Tim Tebow might win one for most overrated backup quarterback.

26. Titans (3-6): Owner Bud Adams put everyone in the organization on notice. On the bright side, Chris Johnson (435 yards in last three games) has decided to play football again.

27. Raiders (3-5): Aaron Curry has been added to the roster. We’re pretty sure that will strike fear into the hearts of Baltimore this week.

28. Bills (3-5): Not technically dead. After a trip to Foxboro, where they haven’t won in a decade, they will be.

29. Panthers (2-6): Cam Newton somehow got the win in less than electrifying fashion and snapped a five-game skid. Fool’s Gold, if there was ever such a thing.

30. Browns (2-7): Young Brownies haven’t been blown out yet, and rookie Trent Richardson starting to flex muscle. Finally something to look forward to in Cleveland. Maybe.

31. Jaguars (1-7): Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne are equally bad for the NFL’s worst-rated passing attack. Better start picking Mel Kiper’s brain.

32. Chiefs (1-7): Only question is will they fire Romeo Crennel now? Or let him finish out the season?



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Drive charged in fatal hit and run, police…

The NYPD has arrested a man they say is responsible for a fatal hit and run in Manhattan last weekend. Doohee Cho, 33, was hit…

Local

Mayor de Blasio raises minimum wage for some…

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order Tuesday morning that will raise the minimum wage for workers employed by private companies that receive more…

National

3 myths about the working poor

Linda Tirado works to debunk some common stereotypes about the working poor in her new book, "Hand to Mouth."

Money

Lawsuit funding advances: friend or foe?

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Many plaintiffs awaiting resolution of their lawsuit or legal claim often find themselves in a tricky financial…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…

Entertainment

Interview: Metro chats with filmmaker Meir Kalmanson, man…

A New York filmmaker hands out smiles to its residents.

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 30: 'Selfie,' 'Utopia'…

'Selfie' This modern day take on the "My Fair Lady" story stars John Cho in the Henry Higgins role. Perhaps instead of "the rain in…

Music

Can't-miss weekend events continue to attract the masses

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Earlier this summer, the Firefly Music Festival drew crowds of tens of thousands of people to Dover, Delaware.…

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL

Ryan Quigley making a big impact for Jets…

Ryan Quigley, now in his second year as the Jets punter, had an exceptional afternoon with six punts for an average of 51.7 yards per punt.

NFL

3 positives to take from Jets loss to…

The Jets suffered another loss Sunday — 24-17 to the Lions — but the reason why it hurts so much for Jets fans is that…

MLB

Joe Girardi not confident David Robertson will return…

David Robertson was as seamless as anyone could be replacing Mariano Rivera as he converted 39 saves, with a 3.08 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 64 1/3 innings.

Wellbeing

Bees' stingers hold new hope for cancer cure

A promising new lead in the search for a cancer cure has turned up in a place that most people naturally avoid. A team from…

Home

Emily Henderson on small space design

Design expert Emily Henderson shows us how to upgrade our cramped quarters.

Home

Emily Henderson's pet-friendly style tips

Design expert Emily Henderson shows us to live with pets in style.

Education

At one university, college students get to study…

We all know that college students love coffee. Widener University is taking that love to a new level with its Cultivation to Cup program. Inside…