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Week 9 NFL Power Rankings: Eagles Are An Undeniable No. 1, 49ers Find Their Stride, And Dolphins Rise After Trade Deadline

Mitchell Leff. Getty Images.

We are already at what used to be halftime of the NFL season until they decided to add another game! Can't believe how time flies. Speaking of flying, FLY, EAGLES, FLY. Damn Philly is fun to watch. Although I've said before that you kind of have to hate their obnoxious fans, the passion is so real and it's pretty amazing to see how well the city is doing sports-wise at the minute.

Will have more about them Eagles at the bottom because I'm a sick fuck who ranks the teams in descending order. I literally have to Google "descending order" every time I write it because I always forget if that's the correct way of stating my chosen hierarchical reveal.

AVANTI…

32. Houston Texans (Last Week: 31)

Commendable effort to only lose to the Malik Willis-led Titans by seven points. Only it wasn't really. Tennessee made it clear they were just gonna run the ball down Houston's throat. Nothing the Texans could do to stop that from happening. The roster is a wreck, Davis Mills ain't the guy at QB and I frankly don't see much reason for hope in Houston until 2024 and/or another regime change.

31. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last Week: 27)

Until Matt Canada is fired as offensive coordinator, I don't know how you can endorse the Steelers in any way, shape or form. Their defense also sucks without T.J. Watt, ranking 29th in yards allowed per game. Nothing for Pittsburgh to really get amped about. I imagine the offense won't be better upon trading wideout Chase Claypool to Chicago. Rookie QB Kenny Pickett's development is being sabotaged before yinzers' very eyes.

30. Detroit Lions (Last Week: 32) 

At least in the Lions' case, they can put up some damn points. Sure, they can't stop a nosebleed, but at least when you're watching Detroit play, you can count on Jared Goff to be a first-team All-Pro during garbage time, or to jump out to an early lead on a dynamic set of early scripted plays. I suspect Dan Campbell and GM Brad Holmes will get one more year to turn things around. However, that's a harder sell now that the Lions have fallen to 1-6.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last Week: 21)

I'm proud of my 67-52-2 ATS mark on picking NFL spreads this season. I'm 2-6 when it comes to the Jaguars, so I fucking hate them and pick them every week. Trevor Lawrence has looked like pure ass since Jacksonville got off to a 2-1 start. Five straight losses since then. Yikes. The Duval County prince who was promised better figure shit out FAST.

28. Indianapolis Colts (Last Week: 26) 

The only reason I have Indy ahead of Jacksonville is because the Colts managed to somehow beat the Jags with a washed-up Matt Ryan under center. They're no better off with the more mobile, far less experienced Sam Ehlinger. All-world running back Jonathan Taylor has been beaten up all season. Indianapolis just fired its offensive coordinator. Very little is going right. I anticipate a second-half collapse from this team as it's currently constructed.

27. Carolina Panthers (Last Week: 29) 

Teams like the Vikings and Giants have pulled wins out of their asses all year long and arguably do not deserve such sparkling records of 6-1 and 6-2. Carolina is what happens when the uglier reality plays out in such cases. Losses by a combined five points in the first two games, and two failed kicks to win in Week 8 leave the Panthers at 2-6 when they could easily be 5-3. Hell, if PJ Walker started the whole season over Baker Mayfield, they might be atop the putrid NFC South right now — and Matt Rhule might still have a job!

26. Denver Broncos (Last Week: 30)

Beating the Jaguars in London isn't as impressive as it would've been, say, in Week 4 before everyone realized Jacksonville sucks. Had Trevor Lawrence not thrown a pick on the Broncos 1-yard line, the Jags probably would've won anyway. So nope, not sold on Denver yet. As long as Nathaniel Hackett is dialing up plays and Russell Wilson is quarterbacking how he's quarterbacked in 2022 to date, the Broncos' ceiling is very low.

25. Las Vegas Raiders (Last Week: 14)

Josh McDaniels should be a one-and-done head coach. There's no fucking reason the Raiders should be this bad and getting shut out 24-0 by the Saints. McDaniels is making Mack Hollins the focal point of the passing attack and trying to force the Raiders to be a run-first team. It's weird. Derek Carr and Davante Adams should be wrecking fools. The fact that Adams has three starts with three, 12, and 36 receiving yards is reason enough to kick McDaniels to the curb in Week 18.  

24. Atlanta Falcons (Last Week: 23)

Nothing much to add about the Falcons. They're one of those good bad teams if that makes sense. One silver lining: For the first time since September, Arthur Smith decided to actually utilize Kyle Pitts. Lo and behold, he had five catches for 80 yards and a score. Targeting Pitts seems like a good idea when you rank bottom-four in passing yards per game. Just a thought!

23. New Orleans Saints (Last Week: 28)

I was talking to Mintzy in the office yesterday to get his perspective as a Saints fan. He felt like New Orleans' 24-0 romp over the Raiders was more about Las Vegas having that long road trip and the Saints being well-rested with home-field advantage on their side than anything else. I mean yeah…I'd say that outcome was more about the Raiders sucking than New Orleans being good. Maybe I'll take the Saints more seriously if they beat the Ravens on Monday Night Football.

22. Chicago Bears (Last Week: 16) 

No one in their right mind expected the Bears to waltz into Dallas and upset the Cowboys following their stunning upset of the Patriots. Nevertheless, I was impressed with how tough Chicago hung under the circumstances. Justin Fields continues to get better and I can't wait to see how he fares with Chase Claypool and Darnell Mooney for the rest of 2022.

21. Cleveland Browns (Last Week: 25) 

The 3-5 Browns are really only a few plays away from being 6-2 if we're being honest. Their defense might've figured something out these past two weeks, and presuming Jacoby Brissett can continue to be at least serviceable as the starting QB, Cleveland might be in the playoff hunt by the time Deshaun Watson comes back. For obvious reasons, all of us non-Browns stans are hoping not.

20. Washington Commanders (Last Week: 24)

Guess who's eighth in the NFC and only a tiebreaker out from a playoff spot whilst playing in arguably the NFL's toughest division? Yup, the Commanders! AND it looks like Dan Snyder could be selling the team. This might be the best time to be a Washington fan in the past quarter-century or so. At least since RGIII's breakout rookie campaign a decade ago, right? Signs of life for this dumpster fire of an organization!

19. New York Jets (Last Week: 12) 

A week after bashing the 2021 first-round QB draft class, I'm feeling even more confident about my take that Zach Wilson is the worst of the bunch. Three more baffling INTs this past Sunday in a loss to the Patriots. If Wilson was playing to even 70% of his potential to this point, I feel like the Jets would be an elite team. Their young signal-caller is holding the entire team back.

18. Arizona Cardinals (Last Week: 22)

DeAndre Hopkins has 22 catches for 262 yards since returning from suspension. That alone is such a huge lift for Kyler Murray and the Cardinals. I don't believe in much else. All I know is, I can't wait for Arizona's in-season version of Hard Knocks to drop. Kyler's diva ways and lackluster leadership should be on full display, and if it's not, it'll be even weirder when the film crew barely captures any footage of him. With the massive extensions for the Cards' QB, GM and coach, Arizona is the most compelling high-wire act in al of football.

17. Los Angeles Rams (Last Week: 18)

Doesn't it appear the 3-4 Rams could be on the precipice of crashing and burning? On the other hand, they've lost to nothing but quality adversaries who'd all make the postseason if it started today. The schedule gets a little kinder going forward, so presuming LA gets a little healthier and can scrounge out an upgraded running game, I could see them getting a couple games above .500 by mid-December.

16. Los Angeles Chargers (Last Week: 20)

Decimated by injuries, governed by an unimaginative offensive coordinator and saddled with a head coach who can't get out of his own way, Chargers fans should be counting their blessings that they're 4-3 so far. They don't have much of a home-field edge to begin with as visiting teams often turn out in greater numbers, and they play four of their next five on the road. Justin Herbert holds Brandon Staley's fate in his hands.

15. Green Bay Packers (Last Week: 19) 

Some teams get bumped up more by default as others backslide. That's part of what's happening with Green Bay here. Additionally, the Packers competed pretty well in Buffalo to the point where I can at least talk myself into their offense figuring shit out as the second half of the 2022 campaign unfolds. A trip to Detroit could provide the breakout performance Aaron Rodgers and his unit needs to confirm they're headed in the right direction.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last Week: 15) 

For all the chaos going on in Tom Brady's personal life, I don't feel like he's the problem for Tampa Bay amid an underwhelming 3-5 start. The run defense isn't as good, and the Bucs rank DFL in rushing yards. Stopping the run was Tampa's calling card in recent years. Now they're allowing 4.8 yards per carry. Never thought I'd see the day with Vita Vea wreaking havoc up front. So yeah, to fall off in that key department so much and to field the literal worst rushing attack in football, you can expect to struggle no matter who your QB is.

13. New England Patriots (Last Week: 17)

Everyone avert your eyes from televisions this weekend when the Patriots host the Colts. That has the potential to be the ugliest game of the season. I suspect opponents just might be starting to catch up with Matt Patricia's offensive schemes. Something went very wrong in that embarrassing Week 7 blowout at the hands of the Bears. Didn't look much better against the Jets, who to be fair have a great defense. Still, whether it's Mac Jones or Bailey Zappe at the controls, the Pats are limited by their lack of explosive skill players.  

12. Cincinnati Bengals (Last Week: 5)

The wild fluctuations in where I've placed my beloved Bengals in these power rankings reflect the type of season they've had. Three losses on the final play preceded Monday night's beatdown in Cleveland. Losing CB1 Chidobe Awuzie to a torn ACL is downright depressing. Ja'Marr Chase is still out for a while. Let's see how Cincinnati responds in the final game before the bye this Sunday against the Panthers.

11. New York Giants (Last Week: 6)

FINALLY. I was waiting for the G-Men to fall back to earth a bit. Not because I necessarily wanted them to. It was just getting ridiculous how they kept winning all these games. I still don't know how they beat the Ravens and Jaguars before losing in Seattle in Week 8. Wild stuff. A 6-2 start with this roster is one of the better coaching achievements of the century. Following their bye, the Giants get the freaking Texans and Lions at home. Hello, 8-2 — here we come!!

10. Tennessee Titans (Last Week: 9) 

The Titans aren't going to apologize for who they've played amid a five-game winning streak. That they managed to win with Malik Willis throwing only 10 passes in Week 8 is remarkable in and of itself. Good news is, Derrick Henry looks like his usual dominant self, and Tennessee is second only to the Chiefs — who they face Sunday evening — in red zone TD rate (76.5%). 

9. Minnesota Vikings (Last Week: 10) 

All the close games the Vikings couldn't pull out last year have gone the opposite way in 2022, helping them to a 6-1 record, with each of their last five victories coming by one possession. Following a Week 9 matchup at Washington, Minnesota faces a gauntlet of tough defenses in the ensuing four games. We'll see whether or not the Vikes can keep winning ugly and really cement their claim to the NFC North crown during that stretch.

8. Baltimore Ravens (Last Week: 7) 

I loathe the pass-catching talent Lamar Jackson has around him save for tight end Mark Andrews. It sucks for Lamar that Rashod Bateman can't stay healthy. We'll see about DeSean Jackson potentially adding some juice to the passing attack with his deep speed, but that's asking a lot out of a vet who turns 36 next month. In spite of their flaws, the Ravens appear destined to host a playoff game. Can't knock them too much. Roquan Smith should make their linebacker corps significantly better, too. 

7. Seattle Seahawks (Last Week: 13)

This Seahawks team rising to first place in the NFC West has to be the best story in the NFL through eight weeks. I loved their draft class coming out, but even as Seattle's first six picks were all players in my top 70 big board, I couldn't have imagined damn near all of them contributing right away in such an impactful fashion. Combine that with Geno Smith's mind-boggling renaissance, and Pete Carroll has to be feeling pretttttty vindicated for not letting Russ cook.

6. Miami Dolphins (Last Week: 11)

Upgrading your backfield by swapping Chase Edmonds for Jeff Wilson and acquiring a needed pass-rusher in Bradley Chubb, who can finally go to a team where his offense doesn't suck and he can tee off in obvious passing situations? Yeah, Fins GM Chris Grier was a big winner at the trade deadline. Please read below to discover why Mike McDaniel, TuAnon and myself believe so hard in Tua Tagovailoa.

5. Dallas Cowboys (Last Week: 4) 

Dak Prescott has been excellent the past two weeks. What I don't understand is why Tony Pollard isn't the lead tailback over Ezekiel Elliott. Oh wait I do know. It's a pride, money and sunk-cost fallacy thing with Jerry Jones. Pollard is about to be the lead back elsewhere in 2023. Anyway, that's of little consequence overall. Dallas has a championship-caliber defense that should yield at least one playoff victory.

4. San Francisco 49ers (Last Week: 8)

So many people blasted the 49ers for giving up so many draft assets "FOR A RUNNING BACK" as though Christian McCaffrey wasn't worth it. Guy just had a passing, rushing and receiving TD in the same game, accounting for 183 total yards. Now CMC has a bye to actually dive into Kyle Shanahan's playbook in earnest. This is what blows my mind about some coaches re: their inability to get the ball to their playmakers. WTF are all these other fuckers doing? McCaffrey has had time for a cup of coffee in San Francisco and is already having this much of an impact. Niners stock is UP.

3. Kansas City Chiefs (Last Week: 2)

Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes keep rolling. They take the Sunday night stage against the Titans in Week 9, which should expose Tennessee as a team who simply can't hang with the NFL's elite of elite. Reid is also notoriously devastating off a bye. Kansas City's schedule looks pretty easy from here on out. I suspect they'll give Buffalo a real run for the AFC's No. 1 seed.

2. Buffalo Bills (Last Week: 1)

Sunday night wasn't the prettiest win over Green Bay, yet the Bills have the league's top point differential (+105), are first in yards per play, and have arguably the best defense overall other than (maybe) Denver. Josh Allen keeps Buffalo in any game, and there's something to be said for how well they've lived up to the hype as Super Bowl favorites all year.

1. Philadelphia Eagles (Last Week: 3)

They've basically knockout punched opponents in the first half and coasted from there to a 7-0 record. Philly did it again Sunday when Jalen Hurts and AJ Brown connected for three first-half touchdowns. I'm not going to gas up the Eagles as a legit threat to go undefeated just yet. Look at their schedule, though. Tell me where the loss is! Maybe at Dallas in Week 16?

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