Some of the top contenders across the NFL are beginning to flex their muscles in the latest power rankings.
Baltimore administered another wake up call to another NFC division leader, as the Philadelphia Eagles survived the biggest test of their conference title defense to date, and the Kansas City Chiefs' defense went all the way to Frankfurt, Germany to make it clear it can handle one of the league's most explosive offenses.
So, which teams are rising, which are falling, and where do things stand in the race for Caleb Williams? Here's a look at where things stand in FanBuzz's NFL power rankings after Week 9:
1. Baltimore Ravens (7-2)
Previous: No. 2
The Ravens continue to collect wins against playoff caliber competition, in dominant fashion, behind Lamar Jackson's continued ascension as a passer and an expanding cast of star contributors.
Sunday, it was rookie running back Keaton Mitchell who became a one-man wrecking ball in the running game, running roughshod over a dominant Seahawks defense for 138 yards and his first career rushing touchdown. Baltimore keeps finding new ways to win, against Seattle it was a punishing and relentless ground game and a defense that swarmed around quarterback Geno Smith, holding him to a 49.3 passer rating. Winners of four straight and five of six, the Ravens are starting to look like the most complete team in football, and perhaps the team to beat in the AFC.
2. Philadelphia Eagles (8-1)
Previous: No. 1
Jalen Hurts cast aside any lingering concerns about the Eagles' offense, leading arguably Philadelphia's most impressive win of the season, creating some distance between the reigning NFC champions and the Dallas Cowboys, in the process.
Philadelphia emerges from an NFC East classic as the clear team to beat in the NFC, as Hurts completed 73.9 percent of his passes for 207 yards with a pair of passing touchdowns while adding another rushing score. Meanwhile, the Eagles' defense hung on for dear life on a frenetic final drive of the game, but held the Cowboys to just 73 rushing yards and out of the end zone on two of five trips into the red-zone. Philadelphia's dominant defense and explosive offense with Hurts — who has now won 22 of his last 24 starts — at the helm, are firing on all cylinders as the runaway favorite to repeat as NFC champions.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (7-2)
Previous: No. 4
These aren't your older brother's Kansas City Chiefs.
While Patrick Mahomes remains a truly once in a generation talent, given Kansas City the ability to score every time he touches the football, this offense isn't the Ferrari that Mahomes is used to driving. But, fortunately for the Chiefs, Steve Spagnuolo's defense continues to ascend and made an emphatic statement against the explosive Miami Dolphins that they are capable of picking up the baton and running with it, even as the offense sputters. In Frankfurt, the Chiefs held the Dolphins to under 300 yards of total offense while returning a fumble for a touchdown. The Chiefs' road to a third Lombardi Trophy of this era may be paved by this defense's ability to keep opponents under wraps, which is unfamiliar territory in Kansas City.
4. Cincinnati Bengals (5-3)
Previous: No. 6
Cincinnati welcomed the banged up Buffalo Bills into the jungle on Sunday night, only to beat them up for three hours while issuing a reminder that Joe Burrow and Co. remain legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
The Bengals only allowed the Bills across midfield four times, all game, forced a pair of turnovers and Cincinnati's offense essentially operated at will against a team previously thought to be among the upper echelon in the AFC. Burrow was nearly flawless, while battling a finger injury, passing for 348 yards with a pair of touchdowns. The Bengals have officially returned to form, with four straight victories, including decisive wins over the San Francisco 49ers and Bills in consecutive weeks. With a healthy Burrow and steamrolling defense, Cincinnati is going to be a tough out.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-2)
Previous: No. 5
When the Jaguars return from the bye week, Trevor Lawrence and Co. will look to extend its league-best five-game winning streak against the suddenly reeling San Francisco 49ers.
If Jacksonville can keep the momentum going, facing only the 12th-easiest remaining schedule in the league, Doug Pederson's team will have the opportunity to make a real push for a home playoff game given they still have remaining contests against the Ravens, Bengals, Browns, and Texans, who could could figure in the AFC playoff picture.
6. Detroit Lions (6-2)
Previous: No. 7
Prior to their bye week, the Lions finally got to experience the thrill ride of the Jahmyr Gibbs experience, adding another dynamic weapon to one of the NFL's most exciting offenses. Against the Raiders last Monday night, Gibbs rushed for 152 yards with a touchdown while adding five receptions for 37 yards. With a balanced offense and a prolific defense, Detroit is capable of throwing its weight around as a matchup nightmare for just about anyone.
7. Miami Dolphins (6-3)
Previous: No. 3
At some point, the Dolphins have to beat a team with a winning record. Sunday's loss to the Chiefs was the seventh straight for Miami against opponents with a winning record, dating back to last season. There is little doubt that the explosive talent and speed gives the Dolphins the chance to beat anyone on a given Sunday, and will be an asset in the postseason. However, after Sunday's frenetic comeback fell short, it's fair to wonder just how high this team's ceiling should reasonably be expected to be.
8. San Francisco 49ers (5-3)
Previous: No. 8
San Francisco will return from the bye week, looking to return to form from earlier in the season when this was one of the most balanced teams and gifted rosters in the league. Fortunately, for the 49ers, even after losing three straight games, the defense will take the field with Chase Young opposite Nick Bosa which should give the defense a significant boost. If the 49ers hope to be players in the NFC in January, they're going to have to start winning big games again.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3)
Previous: No. 14
Don't look now, but the Steelers keep finding ways to win, especially thanks to a relentless pass-rush that continues to wreak havoc. Thursday night against upstart Titans rookie quarterback Will Levis, Pittsburgh's front-seven combined for four sacks and Kwon Alexander pulled down an interception off the second-round pick. If Kenny Pickett and the offense manage to get anything going, the Steelers could wind up being pretty dangerous.
10. Dallas Cowboys (5-3)
Previous: No. 9
The Dallas Cowboys have had two major tests, against two of the top teams in the NFC, and have come up short on both opportunities to assert themselves as genuine contenders. After falling to the Eagles, in a game that saw Dak Prescott step out of bounds on a would-be rushing touchdown, and a two-point conversion try fall inches short of converting, Dallas now finds itself 2.5 games out of the NFC East race. There is no more margin for error if the Cowboys hope to host a playoff game in Jerry World.
11. Buffalo Bills (5-4)
Previous: No. 10
Injuries have really taken a toll on the Buffalo Bills, especially defensively. There's only so much that Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs can do to keep this team afloat, especially when Allen continues to turn the football over. Buffalo was outclassed by the Bengals, which should send alarm bells ringing in Orchard Park, especially if the Bills still have any designs on making a legitimate run.
12. Cleveland Browns (5-3)
Previous: No. 13
The Browns got right on Sunday, as teams tend to against the Arizona Cardinals, as Deshaun Watson got back on the field and looked fully capable of executing Cleveland's offense at a high level. Next week will be the barometer for how close Watson and the Browns are to actually competing for anything meaningful this season, against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, who might just be the best team in football.
13. Los Angeles Chargers (4-4)
Previous: No. 15
The Chargers headed into the Swamps of Jersey and delivered a beat down of the Jets in every phase of the game. Los Angeles returned a first quarter punt for a touchdown, sacked Zach Wilson six times, and Justin Herbert did enough on offense to inspire some confidence that perhaps this team has finally turned a corner.
14. Minnesota Vikings (5-4)
Previous: No. 17
The Vikings are doing it again. Last season's one-score victory darlings, Minnesota is once again building a reputation as cardiac kids. Quarterback Josh Dobbs wasn't even in town long enough to learn all of his teammates names, or the entire playbook, but came on in relief of Jaren Hall to beat the Falcons. Suddenly, Minnesota is just 1.5 games behind the Lions in the NFC North.
15. Seattle Seahawks (5-3)
Previous: No. 11
Seattle was the latest victim of the Ravens' punishment tour, and Sunday's game was over well before halftime. Similarly to the brick wall the Lions ran into against the Ravens a few weeks back, Baltimore held Seattle to just 28 rushing yards, six first downs for the entire game, and outclassed the Seahawks in all aspects of a 37-3 blowout. The only sliver of a silver lining for Pete Carroll's team is that they won't run into the Ravens again until a possible Super Bowl.
16. New Orleans Saints (5-4)
Previous: No. 16
The NFC South might be the worst division in football, but the Saints have piecemealed an offense together around both Derek Carr and Taysom Hill at quarterback and emphasizing the running game to create opportunities vertically with Chris Olave. It worked fine enough to survive against the Bears, and with the second-easiest remaining schedule perhaps the Saints will sneak into the postseason conversation. They might even be the team to beat in the division.
17. Houston Texans (4-4)
Previous: No. 20
Houston has gone from plucky little fun surprise, to a team that's capable of winning in myriad ways. C.J. Stroud's historic effort against the Buccaneers, passing for 470 yards with five touchdowns was made even more impressive by capping it with a flawless 75-yard game-winning touchdown drive in the final :46 of action. DeMeco Ryans' hyper-competitive culture took root weeks ago, now, the breadth and talent of the Texans' roster is shining through. That's a potent combination. It sure feels like Houston is well ahead of schedule and potentially capable of crashing the playoff party.
18. New York Jets (4-4)
Previous: No. 12
It's a real shame that the Jets never made any real effort to acquire a veteran quarterback when Aaron Rodgers ruptured his Achilles tendon Week 1. Zach Wilson, and the Jets' offensive line for that matter, were completely overmatched, overwhelmed, and outclassed by the Chargers front-seven all night long. New York never got into any semblance of a rhythm offensively. This is a really talented defense that is capable of making a run to the postseason, but it's not going to be able to overcome being the only competent phase.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5)
Previous: No. 18
Be it by injuries or the defense getting little in terms of production or disruptiveness from anyone not named Devin White or Lavonte David, the Buccaneers have suddenly regressed. Hard. The good news for Tampa is that only the Jaguars, 49ers, and Saints are currently in the playoff picture, among the Buccaneers' remaining opponents. If Baker Mayfield and the offense can rediscover their footing, perhaps this team can climb back into the NFC South conversation.
20. Indianapolis Colts (4-5)
Previous: No. 23
A matchup against the Carolina Panthers was just what the doctor ordered for the banged up Colts. Indianapolis' defense left Bryce Young dazed and confused, as the No. 1 overall pick in this spring's draft tossed three interceptions, with just one touchdown. Indy has the talent on defense to play spoiler, even against more competent and experienced quarterbacks, down the stretch.
21. Washington Commanders (4-5)
Previous: No. 25
Sunday wasn't the prettiest effort from Sam Howell, but it was one of the grittiest wins of the Commanders' season. Over the past two games, Howell has combined for 722 yards with five touchdowns to two interceptions. Surviving against the struggling and woebegone Patriots is one thing, but Ron Rivera may be coaching for his job the rest of the way with major showdowns looming with six more games against teams currently projected to make the postseason.
22. Las Vegas Raiders (4-5)
Previous: No. 26
It's difficult to discern what was more cathartic for the Raiders; the come-to-Jesus team meeting where players and coaches reportedly aired their grievances days before Josh McDaniels was ultimately fired, or Sunday's first victory without their former head coach, over the New York Giants. Regardless, it couldn't be more obvious how disliked McDaniels was in that locker room than the fact that players smoked cigars to celebrate Sunday's game, celebrating as if they just won the Super Bowl. Something that branches of the Bill Belichick tree, McDaniels included, have failed to do as head coaches outside of New England. Hmm.
23. Denver Broncos (3-5)
Previous: No. 22
Contrary to conventional wisdom, and what was expected, the Broncos did not sell off at the trade deadline. Now, returning from the bye week with a suddenly winnable game in Buffalo against the banged up and reeling Bills, maybe Denver starts to build a little bit of momentum? After all, the last time we saw the Broncos, Sean Payton's team upset the Chiefs, something the much more talented and prolific Dolphins failed to do ...
24. Los Angeles Rams (3-6)
Previous: No. 19
Los Angeles is scraping the bottom of the barrel ... at least Sean McVay and Co. better hope this is rock bottom. Getting lambasted by Jordan Love and the struggling Packers isn't exactly encouraging. This is a group that's been banged up and is now coming apart at the seams, on both sides of the football.
25. Tennessee Titans (3-5)
Previous: No. 24
The rest of this season is solely about giving Will Levis experience and allowing the second-round pick to make strides in his development. Thursday night, he nearly upended the Pittsburgh Steelers. Tennessee could use more from Derrick Henry, to take some pressure off the young quarterback, than the 75 yards he was able to muster against the Steelers.
26. Atlanta Falcons (4-5)
Previous: No. 21
The Falcons' offense is an abject mess, and head coach Arthur Smith looks increasingly like he is in over his head, with each week that goes by. Sunday, Bijan Robinson and Kyle Pitts' disappearance from the red-zone game plan was beyond puzzling. It sounds like Taylor Heinicke will be the Falcons' quarterback moving forward, but with a defense that is regressing and a convoluted offense, it might not matter who's behind center. It's high time to have the Arthur Smith conversation.
27. Green Bay Packers (2-6)
Previous: No. 27
Jordan Love now has nine more games to prove to the Packers he is the long-term solution. Love didn't exactly set the world on fire against the Rams, passing for 228 yards with a touchdown. But, Green Bay may have found a winning formula; pound the running game and play stout defense. It worked against the Rams, we will soon see if it can travel.
28. New England Patriots (2-7)
Previous: No. 28
Even as the AFC East has regressed as a whole, as the second half of the season begins, the Patriots simply do not have the personnel to climb into the conversation. Marred by key drops, New England was dropped by the Washington Commanders, handing Bill Belichick a seventh loss, through nine weeks, two shy of last season's total defeats.
29. Chicago Bears (2-7)
Previous: No. 29
Ryan Poles got a jumpstart on the offseason, trading for pass-rusher Montez Sweat, and then signing him to a long-term extension on Saturday afternoon. Sunday, Tyson Bagent gave Chicago a competitive game, but ultimately a loss to the New Orleans Saints, which could help keep the Bears within striking distance of Caleb Williams or Drake Maye.
30. Carolina Panthers (1-7)
Previous: No. 32
It's still insanely early in Bryce Young's career, but it's difficult to feel confident that the Panthers made the right choice at quarterback, when juxtaposing his performance this season against what Stroud is doing in Houston. The caveat, of course, is that Houston's roster is far closer to a finished product than Carolina's, because the Panthers are in the very infancy of a rebuild. After getting blown out by the Colts, it's obvious the Panthers are pretty far away from competing.
31. Arizona Cardinals (1-7)
Previous: No. 31
The Cardinals shipped Dobbs off to the Vikings at the trade deadline, and now must decide if playing Kyler Murray to evaluate whether he can be the franchise's future is worth risking out on the chance to select USC quarterback Caleb Williams. If the season ended today, Arizona would be picking first overall. If Murray wins a couple of games down the stretch, will it really have been worth it?
32. New York Giants (2-7)
Previous: No. 30
It's almost indescribable how the Giants went from winning a playoff game in 2022, to struggling to stay competitive week-to-week in 2023. Now, after losing quarterback Daniel Jones to a torn ACL, with Tyrod Taylor possible lost for the season with fractured ribs, it might be rookie Michael DeVito the rest of the way. Suddenly, with the season — and team chemistry — coming apart at the seams, the Giants are now legitimate players. In the Caleb Williams sweepstakes, that is.
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