In our first edition of NFL Power Rankings this season, an undefeated record hasn’t exactly translated into the top spot.
What the Kansas City Chiefs have done under first-year head coach Andy Reid has been nothing short of incredible, but two other teams deserve slightly more credit through the first nine weeks of the season.
Peyton Manning and the Broncos appeared poised to obliterate the NFL, leaving defenses dismembered with more than 42 points a game, but Denver looked very vulnerable in consecutive weeks against Indianapolis and Washington, and were one quarter away from losing two straight. Not to mention the Broncos' 30th ranked pass defense, which will come under major scrutiny in the postseason.
The last two teams, the 5-3 Carolina Panthers and Detroit Lions, could fall out of the top 10 depending on how they perform in Week 10. While the New England Patriots could be revving up for a spectacular second half run.
Checkout the full rankings below.
1.Seattle Seahawks 8-1
They’ve bookended their one loss with two four-game winning streaks, smacking four of the NFL’s top defenses in Carolina, San Francisco, Tennessee, and Arizona in the process. It’s unlikely they slip in the two games before the bye (at Atlanta, Minnesota), but in Week 13 they host New Orleans, then have a two game trip against the 49ers again and then the inconsistent New York Giants.
2.New Orleans Saints 6-2
The offensive line looked horrid against the Jets in Week Nine, and they don’t really have a quality victory just yet. The loss to New England came down to one play, so they could easily be the third team in the league with just one loss. Beating Dallas and then San Francisco in consecutive weeks, along with a Seattle loss could put them at No. 1.
3.Kansas City Chiefs 9-0
Undefeated with the NFL’s best defense and running back in Jamaal Charles and not No.1? Yep. The Chiefs have posted an amazing run so far, but only two of their nine wins have come against teams currently with a winning record. A win at Denver in Week 11, blowout or close, should catapult them to the top no matter what New Orleans and Seattle does.
4.Indianapolis Colts 6-2
Questions on defense are the main reason the Colts aren’t higher. Otherwise, Andrew Luck has proven more than capable to rally this team late. Indy is the only team to beat Seattle and Denver, but four games against Tennessee, Cincinnati, and Kansas City could make the difference between one home playoff game and an extra bye week in January.
5.Denver Broncos 7-1
Clearly they have the best offense in the league, but the Broncos have used their rather easy schedule to get ahead of the rest of the AFC. The Broncos are actually 1-1 against teams with a winning record. The Chargers are also a big threat in Week 10.
6.New England Patriots 7-2
The return of Rob Gronkowski has lifted the Patriots offense, and the defense hasn’t missed a beat with the losses of Vince Wilfork and top tackler Jerod Mayo. After the bye, two games at Carolina and home against Denver could tell us all we need to know about the Pats.
7.San Francisco 49ers 6-2
The defense has hit its stride allowing 12.2 points during a five-game win streak, second best in the NFL. Frank Gore has made his case for the best running back in the league thus far, but San Francisco needs more from Colin Kaepernick if it hopes to make any noise in the playoffs. Sunday’s matchup with Carolina has huge implications for both teams.
8.Cincinnati Bengals 6-3
The ugly letdowns to Miami and Cleveland have marred what’s otherwise been an excellent start to the season for the Bengals. A win over Baltimore this week could all but wrap up the AFC North, and Week 14’s matchup with Indianapolis could decide one of the top three seeds in the postseason.
9.Detroit Lions 5-3
Matthew Stafford’s lunge into the end zone showed the kind of guts the Lions have been missing for more than a decade. Two straight roadies against Chicago and Pittsburgh could be a turning point that moves Detroit up the rankings, and put them in line for a second postseason trip in three seasons.
10.Carolina Panthers 5-3
A win in San Francisco would speak volumes for Cam Newton and the Panthers top defense. Another win in Week 11 against New England and Carolina could find themselves amongst a handful of playoff contenders. The final four weeks of the season will also be telling, with two games against New Orleans and one versus the punishing Jets defense.
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