NFL Week 9 Power Rankings: League hierarchy starts to come into focus – Metro US

NFL Week 9 Power Rankings: League hierarchy starts to come into focus

NFL Week 9 Power Rankings: League hierarchy starts to come into focus

1. Philadelphia Eagles (7-1) Def. San Francisco 33-10. Last Week: 1

The Eagles got reinforcements ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline, but not at the spot most people were expecting. The Eagles sent a fourth round pick to Miami for running back Jay Ajayi. After a breakout season a year ago Ajayi, like the rest of the Dolphins, has struggled in 2017. He is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry and has the most carries in the NFL among players yet to score a rushing touchdown. Most expected the Eagles to be looking for help at left tackle after Jason Peters injury, but it’s clear the Eagles are doubling down on their early success.

2. New England Patriots (6-2) Def. LA Chargers 21-13. Last Week: 2

The Patriots lead the league in total yardage, the only team averaging more than 400 offensive yards per game, but it’s not always translating into touchdowns for Tom Brady and Co. They rank just seventh in average points scored, and a big reason is settling for field goals on the goal line. The Patriots have kicked four more field goals (11) between 20-29 yards than any other team in the NFL this season. Those kicks are coming with the offense stalled between the 3 and 12 yard lines.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) Def. Detroit 20-15. Last Week: 3

The Steelers set the bar for bend-but-don’t-quite-break defenses this week, allowing Matthew Stafford to throw for 423 yards and the Lions to knock on the door of 500, but limiting them to five Matt Prater field goals on the day. What the Lions couldn’t do from up close, the Steelers did from a distance, sending JuJu Smith-Schuster 97 yards to the endzone on his way to a seven catch, 193 yard game. Martavis Bryant did not play.

4. Minnesota Vikings (6-2) Def. Cleveland 33-16.  Last Week: 4

The Vikings enter their bye with most of the interesting chatter settling around Teddy Bridgewater, reportedly ready to return to playing for the first time since suffering a knee injury in practice before the 2016 season. The question that needs to be asked: do the Vikings mess with a good thing by returning to their franchise quarterback? Case Keenum is 4-2 as a starter (and did most of the heavy lifting as a backup in a fifth victory over the Bears.)

5. New Orleans Saints (5-2) Def. Chicago 20-12. Last Week: 5

The Saints survived two Mark Ingram fumbles in this win. It was an unusual day for Ingram, whose three lost fumbles in 2017 are already a career high. While the Saints sit only a game ahead of Atlanta and a half game ahead of Carolina in their division, the point differentials of plus-46 for the Saints, plus-six for the Panthers, and plus-one for the Falcons give a better idea of how these teams have performed thus far.

6. Kansas City Chiefs (6-2) Def. Denver 29-19. Last Week: 6

With Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt shut down by the Denver defense, the Chiefs turned to Travis Kelce and he delivered, catching half of the team’s 14 completions and accounting for 133 of their 202 passing yards Monday night. Marcus Peters had an interception, and ripped off a fumble return for a score. Those were just two of five takeaways on the day by the Chiefs defense.

7. Los Angeles Rams (5-2) Bye. Last Week: 7

The Rams spent their bye week falling to second place in the division as the Seahawks matched their win total in a dramatic shootout with Houston. That’s got to have them chomping at the bit for their next game against the Giants, equally refreshed after their own bye, if not perhaps equally healthy.

8. Buffalo Bills (5-2) Def. Oakland 34-14. Last Week: 8

A freak tip turned pick-six before the half accounted for one of the Bills touchdowns but great play accounted for the rest. And it might not be that freakish: Buffalo has forced at least three turnovers in four straight games. The Bills were active this week, trading defensive tackle Marcell Dareus to Jacksonville while trading for Kelvin Benjamin from the Panthers. They’re now 4-0 at home but have to hit the road on short rest to attempt the sweep over the Jets this Thursday.

9. Seattle Seahawks (5-2) Def. Houston 41-38. Last Week: 9

This game proved Russell Wilson can do everything on his own, but with Duane Brown arriving to play left tackle, the Seahawks hope he won’t keep having to. Wilson threw for 452 yards and four touchdowns and accounted for 30 of the Seahawks 33 rushing yards in the wild victory over Houston. The Legion of Boom piled up five sacks, three interceptions, and a touchdown of their own, but still allowed 509 yards to the Texans and their rookie QB.

10. Carolina Panthers (5-3) Def. Tampa Bay 17-3. Last Week: 12

The Panthers won for the first time in three weeks on the play of their defense, which allowed no touchdowns for the second straight week. Even in victory the Panthers’ offense continued to struggle, averaging 4.8 yards per pass and 3.2 yards per rush. Luke Kuechly looked more-than-fine in his return from a concussion, grabbing an interception along the way.

11. Dallas Cowboys (4-3) Def. Washington 33-19. Last Week: 13

Dallas may sit two-and-a-half games behind the Eagles but with two games left against the division leaders and a 2-0 division record, their season remains in their own hands. They may have to hold on extra tightly however, because for the umpteenth time, Ezekiel Elliott is suspended. It will probably change before kickoff this week, but Elliott is, for the moment, suspended.

12. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-3) Bye. Last Week: 11

The Jaguars enjoyed a pretty solid bye week, watching their only two division opponents in action, the Colts and Texans, lose, and watching the Texans trade their returned left tackle after he was only active for one game. Leonard Fournette is practicing this week too, which is good news. Unless you’re the Bengals.

13. Atlanta Falcons (4-3) Def. NY Jets 25-20. Last Week: 15

The Falcons finally brought their three-game skid to an end. A few weeks ago, this team was the second-to-last undefeated team in the NFL at 3-0. With 14 totes, Tevin Coleman out-carried Devonta Freeman for the first time this season, and his 52-yard run was the highlight of the bunch. A big-game against the Panthers looms this week.

14. Baltimore Ravens (4-4) Def. Miami 40-0. Last Week: 27

All indications are that Joe Flacco is doing fine after he was knocked out of Thursday night’s game by Kiko Alonso. While he was playing his part in the Ravens’ best performance of the season, it kept going with Ryan Mallett under center. A long week should help Flacco recover, and another 174 yards on the ground from the team this week would help him even more.

15. Green Bay Packers (4-3) Bye. Last Week: 16

The Packers upcoming Monday night game against Detroit doesn’t have the excitement it held earlier this season, with Detroit nursing a losing streak and the Packers minus Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers loss has also put the Packers in danger of enduring a season that makes a trip to London next season a necessity.

16. Houston Texans (3-4) Lost to Seattle 41-38. Last Week: 18

Deshaun Watson was outgunned by Russell Wilson but may have won more plaudits in this defeat than any of his victories as of yet. The Seahawks, notably Wilson and Richard Sherman, praised Watson after his four touchdown performance gave him 16 td throws in his last four games.

17. Detroit Lions (3-4) Lost to Pittsburgh 20-15. Last Week: 17

The Lions began this season as a team re-dedicated to running the football. They finished Sunday night without any players reaching 30 yards on the ground and with Matthew Stafford gaining the team’s only rush longer than 10 yards. The inability to punch it in cost them – whether it was opting against what would have been Matt Prater’s sixth field goal – or settling for the other five.

18. Los Angeles Chargers (3-5) Lost to New England 21-13. Last Week: 14

The Chargers’ three game win streak came to an end where so many do, in New England, and for a second straight week they share the three-win basement of the AFC West with the rest of the teams not named Kansas City.

19. Tennessee Titans (4-3) Bye. Last Week: 22

The Titans had the same fortunate bye week as the Jaguars, watching their divisional opponents lose and the Texans get ostensibly weaker via trade. Meanwhile their own players, most notable Corey Davis, got closer to a return. Next up: Baltimore.

20. Denver Broncos (3-4) Lost to Kansas City 29-19. Last Week: 20

Reports that the Broncos are contemplating a qb change can’t be too far off the mark after Denver outgained their division leader but were out of this game from the beginning due to five turnovers. Since a four touchdown performance in Week 2, Siemian has endured a brutal five game stretch of just three touchdowns and eight interceptions.

21. Washington (3-4) Lost to Dallas 33-19. Last Week: 19

The good news for Washington is it will be Thanksgiving before they have to face the Giants and risk falling to 0-4 in the division. The bad news is, they’re 0-3 in the division and have given up the sweep to the Eagles, a team they sit three-and-a-half games behind. Jordan Reed’s garbage-time resurgence against Philadelphia a week ago was short lived, as the tight end returned to a one catch, five yard statline.

22. Miami Dolphins (4-3) Lost to Baltimore 40-0. Last Week: 10

The Dolphins were already in the red, but after Thursday night’s blowout they now have a winning record and a point differential of minus-60. They seem to recognize the former just might be untenable with Jay Ajayi exiting Tuesday and Jarvis Landry apparently available to callers.

23. Cincinnati Bengals (3-4) Def. Indianapolis 24-23. Last Week: 26

The Bengals got Joe Mixon into some space on a screen Sunday but remain unable to do anything with the NFL’s third worst rushing attack. They’re averaging just 3.2 yards per carry and 78 yards per game and underperformed both those Sunday: 2.8 and 58 in the win.

24. Oakland Raiders (3-5) Lost to Buffalo 34-14. Last Week: 21

The Raiders couldn’t keep any momentum from last week’s upset of Kansas City. Minus a suspended Marshawn Lynch, they made just a passing attempt at featuring a rushing game, finishing with 14 team carries. Amari Cooper had five catches, but for just 48 yards, after his explosion a week ago.

25. New York Jets (3-5) Lost to Atlanta 25-20. Last Week: 23

Eric Tomlinson got his first career touchdown on a 20-yard score in the loss to the Falcons. It was only his fifth career catch, but the tight end is proving quite the deep threat. Four of his five have gone for 20-yards or more this season.

26. Chicago Bears (3-5) Lost to New Orleans 20-12. Last Week: 24

Their bye week comes at a fortunate time for Chicago, who suffered injuries to tight end Zach Miller and guard Kyle Long Sunday. Miller had his touchdown catch overturned while leaving the field, adding insult to injury. It’s a tough blow for a Chicago receiving corps already decimated.

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-5) Lost to Carolina 17-3. Last Week: 25

Turnovers continue to plague the Buccaneers, who rank fourth in the NFL in offensive yardage but sixth in interceptions and seventh in fumbles. Doug Martin continues to get heavy usage since his return despite Tampa facing a deficit weekly, but is struggling to get anything going, topping four yards a carry just once this season.

28. Arizona Cardinals (3-4) Bye. Last Week: 28

The Cardinals return to action with a trip to the 49ers calling. While San Francisco has just acquired a new qb, the Cardinals have yet to replace Carson Palmer with the trade deadline fast approaching.

29. New York Giants (1-6) Bye. Last Week: 29

Considering a trade for Jarvis Landry probably isn’t where the Giants thought they’d be at the deadline this season following an off-season of acquiring pass catchers. That that’s what Odell Beckham Jr. spent this week lobbying for shows exactly how far off the rails this Giants season has gotten.

30. Indianapolis Colts (2-6) Lost to Cincinnati 24-23.  Last Week: 30

Monster game for Jack Doyle, with 12 catches for 121 yards. It was the first time since opening weekend (2 for 46) that Doyle topped ten yards a reception. On the season, he has 42 receptions, third most for a tight end in the NFL, but his 9.0 yards per catch ranks 34th among tight ends with at least ten receptions.

31. San Francisco 49ers (0-8) Lost to Philadelphia 33-10. Last Week: 31

Most would figure the Niners as sellers entering the trade deadline without a win to their name, but they paid a fairly high bounty for Jimmy Garoppolo instead. Spending a second round pick on a signal caller with two career starts calls into question their intent to shop for a quarterback this Spring in either free agency or the draft.

32. Cleveland Browns (0-8) Lost to Minnesota 33-16. Last Week: 32

The Browns have now lost 26 of their last 27 games, though they still have a ways to go to match last years 0-15 start. They won’t lose this week; they’re on a bye.

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