Despite the disparity between the NFL’s best teams from the middle of the pack, the 2013 season has yet to feature any one team running away from everyone else.
Sure the Kansas City Chiefs are the final undefeated unit, but the Denver Broncos are just one game back. Keeping it in the West and we see just one game separating the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers. Even the Arizona Cardinals are just two games back of Niners.
Elsewhere the Indianapolis Colts are 5-2, but two games against the Tennessee Titans could reshape the AFC South. Now factor in the madness of the NFC East and November is shaping up to be one heart-wrenching month. In light of that, let’s check out our power rankings for Week 9.
1. Kansas City Chiefs 8-0, (last week: 1)
Another identity victory for Kansas City. Meaning, the Chiefs won with defense, a ground game and no turnovers.
2. Seattle Seahawks 7-1, (last week: 2)
Huge road divisional win for Seattle. Although the offensive line was suspect, the Seahawks managed a key win in a tough environment.
3. San Francisco 49ers 6-2, (last week: 3)
San Francisco thumped Jacksonville. Let’s see how Jim Harbaugh’s offense fares against a real defense, like Carolina this week.
4. New Orleans Saints 6-1, (last week: 4)
New Orleans is nearly impossible to defeat in The Superdome. The Saints are also 2-0 in NFC road games.
5. Indianapolis Colts 5-2, (last week: 5)
Currently the Colts have just two teams remaining on their schedule with winning records (Cincy, K.C.) Indy should have the AFC South locked up before mid-December.
6. Denver Broncos 7-1, (last week: 6)
Denver’s defense finally got consistent quarterback pressure and that hid its vulnerable pass defense. But the season’s second half offers much more competition than the first did.
7. Cincinnati Bengals 6-2, (last week: 7)
The Bengals are winners of four straight, and boast victories over Green Bay, New England and Detroit. Watch out as Cincinnati is a sleeper Super Bowl contender.
8. Green Bay Packers 5-2, (last week: 8)
Green Bay continues to dominate the NFC North. A win over Chicago this week will certainly give the cheese some breathing room throughout November.
9. New England Patriots 6-2, (last week: 9)
No matter the situation it’s illogical to count out the Patriots with Tom Brady at the helm. Sunday was no different, as New England found a way to win and remain atop the AFC East.
10. Detroit Lions 5-3, (last week: 11)
Incredible win over Dallas on Sunday. Just imagine if the Lions could play defense consistently. Detroit would be unstoppable.
11. Dallas Cowboys 4-4, (last week: 10)
Dallas, once again, finds a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory against Detroit. Now the NFC East is getting really interesting.
12. Baltimore Ravens 3-4, (last week: 12)
Baltimore enters Cleveland on a two-game skid. Even worse, the Browns are hungry and the Ravens have yet to establish any identity in 2013.
13. Tennessee Titans 3-4, (last week: 14)
Three of Tennessee’s four losses have come against teams with winning records. And don’t look now, but with two opportunities against Indy, as well as two versus Jacksonville, the Titans have time to make much more noise before the regular season concludes.
14. San Diego Chargers 4-3, (last week: 16)
After the bye, San Diego heads to our nation’s capital and faces the Washington Redskins. This is a key game, because Denver and Kansas City await later in November.
15. Arizona Cardinals 4-4, (last week: 22)
Arizona is 4-1 outside the NFC West this season. Don’t look now, but with games against Houston and Jacksonville before facing Indy in November, the Cardinals will be flirting with the postseason as their confidence grows.
16. Chicago Bears 4-3, (last week: 18)
The Bears began 3-0, but have gone 1-4 since.The team’s lackluster defense means Chicago will need to jolt up the power offensively. Unfortunately, that remains inconsistent against strong opponents.
17. Miami Dolphins 3-4, (last week: 13)
What happened Miami? Now the Dolphins are 0-2 in the division and haven’t won since September. And November won’t get much easier.
18. Carolina Panthers 4-3, (last week: 19)
Three straight victories for the Cats and Carolina sits above .500. November will be tough, but this defense is for real and the Panthers have a legit shot at the postseason.
19. Cleveland Browns 3-5, (last week: 21)
Jason Campbell is Cleveland’s last hope for 2013. Despite losing to K.C. on the road, he didn’t turn the ball over. Provided Ray Horton’s defense keeps stifling opponents, the Browns still have playoff life.
20. New York Jets 4-4, (last week: 15)
Until Geno Smith learns to generate weekly consistency, the Jets won’t get above mediocrity. And hosting the 6-1 Saints this week doesn’t make 2013 easier.
21. Oakland Raiders 3-4, (last week: 25)
Oakland has won two of its last three and doesn’t face a team (currently) with a winning record until Kansas City in Week 15. The Silver and Black have a chance to really surprise throughout November.
22. Buffalo Bills 3-5, (last week: 17)
There’s no shame in losing at New Orleans, because everybody typically does. That said, Buffalo must figure out its identity with the Chiefs and hungry Steelers these next two weeks.
23. St. Louis Rams 3-5, (last week: 20)
It’s unfortunate that the Rams don’t field an offense that’s even one-quarter of The Greatest Show on Turf, because Jeff Fisher’s defense plays tough against anyone. But you can’t consistently win – especially in the NFC West – by only playing defense.
24. Atlanta Falcons 2-5, (last week: 23)
It’s now or never for the Falcons. Atlanta must start rolling off wins in November, because December brings Green Bay and San Francisco on the road, as well as Carolina at home.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers 2-5, (last week: 24)
Pittsburgh’s defense is just not in a rhythm right now. Nevertheless, the Steel City always has a chance with Ben Roethlisberger and quite a few winnable games still exist on the schedule.
26. New York Giants 2-6, (last week: 29)
Despite starting 0-6 the Giants are just two games out of first place in the NFC East. Watch, Eli Manning will somehow figure out a way to steal the division from right under Tony Romo’s nose.
27. Houston Texans 2-5, (last week: 27)
Are the Texans done and over with for 2013? No, but it’s really close, especially with the Titans looking rather legit by comparison, along with Indy’s supremacy in the AFC South right now, Houston has no choice but to start winning otherwise it will be over very soon.
28. Philadelphia Eagles 3-5, (last week: 28)
The Eagles’ three wins have come against the Giants, Redskins and Buccaneers. Obviously those are unimpressive, but Philadelphia is just one game back of Dallas and still has two divisional matchups left.
29. Washington Redskins 2-5, (last week: 26)
Washington doesn’t have much of a chance for the remainder of 2013. Yes, the offense is finally coming around, but the defense still gives up a boatload of yards and points, which outweighs its ability to force turnovers.
30. Minnesota Vikings 1-6, (last week: 30)
Recipe for defeating Minnesota: Rush everyone to stop Adrian Peterson and win the possession battle. That’s it. Until the Vikings establish a passing attack and play defense, they won’t sniff January.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 0-7, (last week: 31)
Tampa Bay, for the most part of its remaining schedule, faces an opponent with a strong defense. So don’t expect the Buccaneers to notch more than two wins this season.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars 0-8, (last week: 32)
It’s entirely possible that we see two teams (Jacksonville and Tampa Bay) go 0-16 this year. As for the Jaguars, a legitimate winnable game doesn’t come around until they host Houston in Week 14.
Follow John on Twitter @Rozum27