Week 9 Power Rankings

I typically attempt to add a little humor to these power ranking introductions. While they usually only relate to that week's action in the most ancillary of fashions, the ability to make somebody laugh is an amazing feeling. It's probably my leading motivation behind writing in general.

While I'll attempt to return to form in each team's analysis, this week's introduction doesn't fall into the comedy category. Most people who read my weekly power rankings know that I currently reside in the South Side of Pittsburgh. On Saturday, about a mile and a half away from my apartment, the city was shook.

By now, we know the story, even if gaps still remain in the timeline. A gunman opened fire in a Pittsburgh synagogue, killing 11 people and injuring six others in a senseless, terrible and evil act from a man that deserves whatever happens next.

When a tragedy like this occurs, it amazes me how a nation can come together. There are always those that use disaster as a platform for political rants or anti-whoever rhetoric, but the city of Pittsburgh's reaction to the synagogue shooting was nothing short of remarkable. On Saturday evening, nearly 1,000 people gathered in Squirrel Hill for a candlelight vigil to remember the victims and show support for their families. More amazing, this gathering was organized by a bunch of high school kids.

Even in my own world, a circle of support was instantly formed. Though my family and friends knew I likely wouldn't have been present during the events, a check-up text and a plea to stay safe meant the world. In turn, I made sure my friends who lived even closer than I, one of which I know actually has attended the Tree of Life Synagogue, were safe as well. We're all human, and most of us just want to make it through the day healthy and safe. For those 11 victims, their memories will live on.

Here are your Week 9 power rankings.

1. Los Angeles Rams (8-0) — The Rams escape following a costly late-game fumble by Green Bay, though you start to wonder whether Los Angeles' complete lack of a home field advantage will come back to bite them in January. Todd Gurley giving himself up on the two-yard line when he had a walk in touchdown shows that he's the ultimate team player. Or he had the under.

2. New England Patriots (6-2) — They don't need to be dominant every game. They will just keep winning. So much for Josh Gordon being disciplined.

3. Kansas City Chiefs (7-1) — Kareem Hunt and the Chiefs hurdled their way to another victory. Patrick Mahomes throws for 300 yards and 4 touchdowns, and we golf clap as if his performance was ordinary. I think we may be starting to take him for granted. Like our health and our Clear History buttons.

4. New Orleans Saints (6-1) — This doesn't necessarily avenge last year's Divisional heartbreak, but the Saints established themselves as an NFC force on Sunday night. Defensive touchdowns and a stable run game takes the pressure off Drew Brees, who finally threw his first interception of the season. Nathan Peterman isn't impressed.

5. Carolina Panthers (5-2) — The Panthers lit up the league's top ranked defense, led by Cam Newton and an unbelievable "Charms" play to Christian McCaffrey on the goal line. Cam also had another fake hand-off roll out that gave new meaning to the word misdirection. Out here looking like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Football.

6. Los Angeles Chargers (5-2) — It may not so much felt like an off-week for Phillip Rivers and his 27 kids, but Anthony Lynn's team hopefully got healthy during their bye week. They now travel to Seattle to take on a surging Seahawks team and the 12th man. I think Keenan Allen has the breakout game we've been waiting for.

7. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2-1) — With the events of Saturday, we realize how little sports really matter in the grand scheme of things. Still, a Steelers home win brought comfort to a grieving city, and were led by an offense coming into its own. I'm sure Adam Shefter will be reporting live from Le'Veon Bell's bushes soon enough.

8. Green Bay Packers (3-3-1) — Ty Montgomery's mother would certainly be addressing him as Tyler after that decision. She may even though in a Tyler Anthony. There are so many reasons why you don't run that ball out. You considered none of them. Early prediction: the Packers and Rams match up again in Los Angeles, and the Packers win.

9. Minnesota Vikings (4-3-1) — U.S. Bank Stadium was rocking on Sunday night, though I admittedly pressed the mute button as soon as I heard Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth questioning whether a catch should be challenged on a play that also drew a pass interference flag. The Vikings laid an egg, and Stefon Diggs has to spend another week with his neighbors watching him try to get his mail. I personally prefer Flo and her "progressive" mindset.

10. Washington Redskins (5-2) — I don't think the Redskins are the best team in the division, but you are what your record says. Adrian Peterson wasn't born, he was sketched and invented in a secret underwater laboratory. That man has to be eating babies. D.J. Swearinger dressed like Christopher Waltz in Django during his postgame interview.

11. Cincinnati Bengals (5-3) — The Bengals almost blew it until a pair of completions to A.J. Green allowed for the game winning field goal. Randy Bullock may permanently look like he just got his wisdom teeth removed, but he won the game for Cincinnati in the final seconds. It feels like a 4-turnover differential should have resulted in a bigger Bengal victory, though.

12. Philadelphia Eagles (4-4) — Timely defensive stops and conversions for the Eagles, who get back to .500, while the rest of us were just waking up. They got the win in London, but did they have as sweet of a Friday night as the Jaguars' secondary?

13. Chicago Bears (4-3) — Even without Khalil Mack, this defense buckled down while holding the Jets to barely 200 total yards. They weren't necessarily dominant, and are probably still a year away in a division filled with proven winners. Tarik Cohen is faster than Amazon Prime's deliveries.

14. Houston Texans (5-3) — Bill O'Brien's butt chin and his offensive voodoo was in full force on Thursday. Of course, they were playing a defense that DJ Qualls could score on, but that's neither here nor there. The loss of Will Fuller and his ability to take the top off the defense is going to hurt the first-place Texans.

15. Baltimore Ravens (4-4) — A circle of misfortune for Baltimore on Sunday. Poor run stopping led to long drives, and 3 turnovers resulted in short rest for an already beaten defense. Are these the same old mediocre Ravens or will Alex Collins river dance them into the postseason?

16. Seattle Seahawks (4-3) — Pete Carroll is out here slapping refs on the ass and offering them Bubbilicious. Things look brighter in Seattle than we originally thought, and a playoff birth isn't out of the realm of possibilities.

17. Miami Dolphins (4-4) — Brock Osweiler in prime time sounded about as exciting as a Big Bang Theory marathon. Oh really, they all didn't get laid again? That's so shocking. Nonetheless, this game was actually fun to watch, most likely because Miami's defense could stop Stoop kid from leaving his stoop.

18. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-5) — I'm an optimist, so I'm going to assume the four Jaguars defensive backs just forgot to hit an exchange kiosk at the airport. And they left their credit cards in their room. Either way, this team is on the skids. With the events of the weekend, you begin to think these problems start at the top.

19. Atlanta Falcons (3-4) — Another week Julio Jones doesn't find the end zone, but I promise it's coming soon. In a crowded conference, the Falcons are still very much in the hunt for a playoff spot. Legend has it, if you rub Dan Quinn's baldhead at the exact moment the sun sets, the ghost of Chris Chandler grants you three wishes and a pick-six.

20. Detroit Lions (3-4) — The Lions aren't as bad as when they got blown out by the Jets. The Lions aren't as good as when they beat the Patriots and Packers. They are somewhere in between.

21. Tennessee Titans (3-4) — We probably won't remember these Titans, but talks of some strong side weak side unity over the bye week could mean big things for the Titans about to start a key stretch. They start Monday night vs. America's Team.

22. Denver Broncos (3-5) — Too many mistakes for a team that needed to play nearly perfect to beat the Chiefs in Arrowhead. People are starting to think that Case Keenum's 2017 was a misnomer. I still think he's good enough to win with enough help. We'll see if they keep Demaryius Thomas for the ride.

23. Dallas Cowboys (3-4) — An off-week for the Cowboys to continue integrating Amari Cooper in their offense, and also for Dak Prescott to do a few more takes on his Campbell's Chunky Soup commercial. We already knew you weren't as good of a quarterback as Donovan McNabb, and now we know you're not as good of a soup spokesman either. Your timing was the opposite of "oh, so good."

24. Cleveland Browns (2-5-1) — The Browns didn't take advantage of early opportunities in Pittsburgh, and ultimately fall deeper into the AFC North basement. Baker Mayfield has talent, but the countdown has already started on a Hue Jackson/Todd Haley cage match. EDIT: I wrote this before they were both canned, though maybe now we can actually schedule this brawl. We have to keep in mind that this is a learning year for Cleveland. Hopefully tackling techniques are part of the curriculum.

25. Indianapolis Colts (3-5) — Adam Vinatieri can officially take Morton Anderson's chick by becoming the NFL's all-time leading scorer. Andrew Luck spread the wealth in the victory, and Marlon Mack ran for a career high in yards. I think Mo Alie-Cox tops DeAndre Hopkins for the best catch of the week since his actually counted.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4) — Things just got a bit more complicated. Ryan Fitzpatrick flat out looks like the better quarterback on this team and while naming him the starter may be the right move in the present, Dirk Koetter is still playing with fire. Soon, he'll probably just be fired.

27. New York Jets (3-5) — Tony Romo may have been hammering Coronas at halftime of the call, but he knows that Sam Darnold has the tools to be good in this league. It's kind of tough when Jermaine Kearse is your best target and your do-it-all back is on the IR. Can we finally all agree that Tony Romo is the best color man in the game?

28. Buffalo Bills (2-6) — I respect the attempted trickery in front of the home crowd who hasn't seen a Monday Night game since Flo Rida was still getting low. That defense was serious, and I bet Matt Milano stays in the league a bit more before he takes over his father's pizza joint. It's hard to figure out your offensive identity with a placeholder.

29. Arizona Cardinals (2-6) — Larry Fitzgerald topped the century mark for the first time this year, as the Cardinals scored 15 fourth quarter points to beat the 49ers. If the Cardinals played the 49ers every week, they'd be a borderline playoff team, though Josh Rosen still has a better future working as a K9 drug dog.

30. New York Giants (1-7) — Did we all just watch Eli's last passes for the Giants? I don't think so, though I think Kyle Lauletta may get his shot at some point this season. April 25th may be the next day where it'll be exciting to be a Giants fan. My own Manning-face is getting way too much use at home.

31. Oakland Raiders (1-6) — By the time you are reading this, the Raiders have probably already made four more trades. I can't blame them, but their inventory looks like a yard sale comprised solely of weird Grandma trinkets that nobody would ever want. Gruden is going to need to build from the ground up.

32. San Francisco 49ers (1-7) — There's too many options for Californian sports fans. Klay had 52 last night; you think they're going to choose the 49ers? The Niners are like the last pick in recess kickball that you're only nice to because they have a hot mom. Mrs. Corbett was feeling me and we all know it. I don't buy the back pain excuse for her life choices, though.

Comments and Conversation

October 31, 2018

Anthony Brancato:

Thanks for letting me know that we can edit articles after we originally post them. The week I filled in for you I made a factual error in my comments about the 49ers, in that it was actually four decades ago, not three, that Steve DeBerg played for them, and Bill Walsh made his epic remark about him.

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