NFL Power Rankings: Week Nine

1 – Los Angeles Rams (8-0) (–) — For the fourth time in five games, the Rams squeaked out a victory by a score or less, this time over the Packers thanks in large part to a fumble on the kickoff that would’ve set Aaron Rodgers up for a game-winning drive. It seems everything is going the Rams’ way. And everything’s going Todd Gurley‘s way. I mean wow. This guy, is some kind of end zone heat seeking missile. He’s scored in every single game this season and he’s found the end zone three other times on two-point converts. It’s like the end zone is a magnet and Gurley is a big hunk of football-playing, defender-embarrassing metal that can’t help but be drawn to it. I mean, even Packers fans wanna shake this guy’s hand (cover photo). Gurley was once again the catalyst for the Rams’ late, come from behind win—but it was close. They might not get as lucky as they did with that kickoff fumble next week when they head to the Big Easy to take on the Saints.

Look at that smug grin. Goddamn you’re good Bill.

2 – New England Patriots (6-2) (–) — The Patriots didn’t have their most dominant game against the Bills, with Stevie Gostkowski nailing four kicks to bring New England (and me, in fantasy) a win on Monday night. The 25-6 victory over Buffalo could’ve been a lot more one-sided had Tom Brady been able to finish even half the times he got into the red zone. But like a way-too-drunk guy rounding third base, he could not finish. The offence’s inefficiency was also due in part to a lack of a running game, as their top three rushers on the night were a pair of wideouts and Mr. Brady himself. The Pats will hope to get rookie Sony Michel back in the backfield for Sunday night’s matchup with the Bionicle and his packers, but my gut tells me it’ll be a shootout where we’ll see a lot more James White in the backfield anyway.

3 – New Orleans Saints (6-1) (–) — The Saints have been absolutely lights out since losing to Fitzmagic in Week One. They haven’t lost a game since and on Sunday beat a very solid Vikings team. Though they were down early, a couple of defensive takeaways before and after the half altered the game. Add those takeaways with a couple of slick and smooth touchdowns from Alvin Kamara and you get a 30-20 Saints win. If these guys down in New Orleans can win when Drew Brees throws for 120 yards, they can win wherever, however, whenever. And yes that means that they have a very real shot at taking down the undefeated Rams this upcoming week. Drew is pretty darn good at home too.

4 – Kansas City Chiefs (7-1) (–) — This guy Patty Mahomes is quite the talent, I must say. I wasn’t buying the hype early on, but now it can’t be ignored: this kid’s the real deal. He’s on pace for 52 touchdown passes in essentially his first season as a pro. That’s some wild shit man. He had another four touchdown tosses on Sunday to bring his halfway season total to 26. One of those was nothing more than a shovel pass though, and all the credit should go to Kareem Hunt, because he more than earned it. After converting on a 3rd-down option earlier in the game the Chiefs went back to it, this time going to Tyreek Hill. But after faking it to Hill on the outside, Mahomey dished it inside to Hunt, who burst through four grown men like a kid destroying a LEGO city, then hopped over a dude like Vince Carter in Sydney before carrying another guy into the end zone with him like a goddamn war hero. There have been some impressive plays this season, but that one’s definitely up there for me. The sheer determination and heart displayed was just lovely. The Chiefs should be in for a smooth ride through the Browns in Week Nine despite extreme turbulence in Cleveland at the moment.

5 – Los Angeles Chargers (5-2) (–) — The Chargers just kicked back and relaxed last week as they took their bye in sunny SoCal. It was also an extra week for star running back Melvin Gordon to get healthy after Melzinho missed the Chargers last game with an injury. Gordon should be back at full go this week when he, Bolo Tie Phil and the Chargers head to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Seahawks.

6 – Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2-1) (↑5) — The Steelers won’t admit it, but I’m sure it feels good to be the team to deal the final blow to that stanky, old Hue Jackson regime in Cleveland. And they kicked former Steelers OC Todd Haley’s raggedy ass out the door too, so it was twice as nice. The Steelers dominated the Browns to keep themselves atop the AFC North with the least wins of any division leader through Week Eight. Nice. There’s still no sighting of Le’Veon Bell, but there have been multiple sightings of Antonio Brown in the end zone over the past couple of weeks. After three touchdowns in his first four games Brown now has five in his last three, including a 43-yard bomb in the Steelers 33-12 win on Sunday. There’s also this guy named James Conner who’s been half-decent for Pittsburgh, piling up 599 yards (3rd in the league), nine touchdowns (2nd) and seven 20+ yard runs (t-1st) at a 4.7 yard per carry clip so far. The kid’s got 31 receptions for 329 yards for those still unconvinced. Up next is a huge matchup with Public Enemy numero uno in Pittsburgh, the Baltimore Ravens.

7 – Houston Texans (5-3) (↑9) — There seems to be no in between with DeShaun Watson. He’s either ripping the league apart or struggling with turnovers and accuracy. Starting 0-3, or rattling off five straight wins to take control over a suddenly weak and listless AFC South. The Texans are finally getting something out of Lamar Miller, DeAndre Hopkins continues to play like he’s Fred Biletnikoff in 1976 all covered in stickum, and JJ Watt and the pass rush have reared their heads again. Unfortunately though Will Fuller, the exciting young wideout taking pressure off of Hopkins, tore his ACL and was declared out for the year. So five days later, they went out and bought Watson a new toy in former Broncos standout Demariyus Thomas. It’s unclear whether Thomas will have a good enough grasp of the playbook to be a factor against his old team on Sunday, but it’ll be an interesting thing to see nonetheless.

8 – Chicago Bears (4-3) (↑6) — After eight weeks the team who you definitely thought would be last in the NFC North, is first in the NFC North, thanks in large part to a huge first to second year jump for signal caller Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears’ 24-10 win over the Jets gave them 4 wins, tied for least among division leaders along with the Steelers. I don’t think anyone in Chicago cares about that though. They care about Mitchy’s nimble feet and his 51 rush yards, and they care about Tarik Cohen scoring maybe the easiest 70-yard touchdown I’ve ever seen in my life. It was only easy because he’s fast as all f*** but still, untouched on a 70-yard screen is pretty easy. The Bears visit the Bills this week and will look to continue their reign in the North for at least another week.

9 – Minnesota Vikings (4-3-1) (↓3) — The Vikings just can’t catch a break. I know fumbles and interceptions aren’t necessarily lucky, but come on. They’re up 13-10, driving into the Saints’ red zone to close the first half, and the best wideout of 2018 season fumbles at the 15. The Saints score off the turnover and the second half begins with back-to-back drives for Minnesota that end on quick turnovers, one on downs and one on a pick-six. Just like that it was 27-13. The Vikings have a great passing attack, but what made them such a strong contender last season and going into this season was how great their defence could be. Everson Griffen, who could be considered the heart of that defence, has been dealing with some serious mental issues and has been away from the team, so that could be a reason. There are still tons of playmakers on that defence though. The 2018 Purple People Eaters truly are an enigma. Can they turn the tides against Matt Stafford and the Lions? Or will it be same old same old at US Bank Stadium?

10 – Cincinnati Bengals (5-3) (↑2) — The Bengals pulled that one out but sheesh did they come close to blowing it. Up 34-16 at one point, the Bengals defence disappeared after Jameis Winston was replaced for the Bucs, Cincy barely squeaked out a 37-34 victory after that. Joe Mixon has looked phenomenal of late and Andy Dalton has been the regular old Red Rifle of the regular season, I’m just waiting for the shit to hit the fan. The Bengals will rest this week and hope that the Steelers lose so they can leapfrog back into the division-lead without even breaking a sweat.

11 – Philadelphia Eagles (4-4) (↓4)  —  The Eagles bounced back to .500 with a tough, muddy win over the Jaguars out in London this past week, slipping by Jacksonville by a score of 24-18. The Eagles offence had four guys with four or more catches on Sunday, so they figured they’d add another Pro Bowl pass catcher to the mix, trading a third-rounder for the most elusive man in football, Golden Tate. In fact, it was Philly’s passing defence, not it’s passing offence, that needed a boost. But no matter, it’s always nice to have an embarrassment of riches like Carson Wentz has now. He was probably laughing it up like Scrooge McDuck when he heard the news. I’m not sure if the Eagles already came back to America, but they’re on bye so if I was them I’d stay in Europe for as long as possible because.. you know.. Well it’s no Philly over there let’s just say that.

12 – Carolina Panthers (5-2) (↑3) — Whoever thought Cam Newton would frustrate the face off the Ravens defence and not the other way around can stop lying because no one thought that. It seemed as though Baltimore had the only solid defence left in football but alas, it too has now fallen to the great onslaught of offensive, ratings-driving football. Sure, the three takeaways by the Panthers defence helped, but Killa Cam had himself a day, accounting for 271 yards and three total touchdowns. Oft-injured tight end Greg Olsen looked great in catching a season-high four balls, including a touchdown, and rookie DJ Moore was showing flashes with 139 yards from scrimmage on the day. The Panthers will need another big offensive day this week when the return of Fitzmagic comes to Carolina.

13 – D.C. Football Team (5-2) (↑5)  — That boy AD can still run ya’ll. Adrian Peterson put up the 53rd 100-yard game of his career and did so in spectacular fashion, chugging 64 yards around right guard for the game-sealing touchdown in D.C.’s 20-13 win. Alex Smith has not quite been what the doctor ordered, but he’s been just good enough where you don’t have to go see the doctor, you know? The defence was stout again, though saying that when they went up against the anemic Giants offence is hardly a compliment. They’ll face a much tougher test on D this week when Matt Ryan and the high-flying Falcons come to town for a rumble.

That look will send you running to Joe Flacco with your tail between your legs.

14 – Green Bay Packers (3-3-1) (↓6) — Well, that was fast. The Packers should’ve beaten the unbeaten Rams on Sunday but for a Ty Montgomery fumble that kept Aaron Rodgers off the field in the dying moments. Less than 48 hours later, Montgomery was shipped out to Baltimore for a seventh-rounder. Not a bad deal. Mason Crosby should count himself lucky he didn’t suffer the same fate a few weeks back when he cost old Iron Leg a victory himself. Just kidding. Montgomery was a business move of course. Nonetheless, the Packers must soldier on without their third-string running back in what will no doubt be a classic against Tom Brady and the Pats in Foxboro on Sunday night.

He wasn’t.

15 – Jacksonville Jaguars (3-5) (↓6) — The Jaguars weren’t expected to beat the Eagles out in London, but they put up a good fight anyway in a 24-18 loss. The Jags have now lost four straight and are in complete free-fall as they and the Texans have completely swapped spots in that division. The Jags are as good as they are going to be with the quarterback they have, plain and simple. Maybe (definitely) a better offensive weapon would help but Blake Bortles just won’t be the guy in the end. They had a Cinderella run last season which was great, but the defence just isn’t as stout as in 2017 and with Bortles in and Leonard Fournette out, the offence just can’t get cookin’. They’ll take their bye and pray to all the gods, monotheist and pagan alike, that Leonard Fournette heals up and returns to revive their season in Week 10… before it’s too late.

16 – Baltimore Ravens (4-4) (↓6) — I just don’t know what to think. Every time you think, ‘Hey, that’s a pretty good defence they’ve got over there,’ that defence gets absolutely walloped. It happened to the Vikings, it happened to the Jags and now it’s happened to the Ravens, who like the Jags, have QB problems and therefore can’t score to keep up when their defence fails. Joe Flacco threw a maddeningly confusing INT in the middle of the game and didn’t even finish the contest, ceding his spot to the exciting rookie Lamar Jackson, who tossed a touchdown pass before the fat lady sang. Flacco definitely remains the starter and he always comes to play against the arch-rival Steelers, who they’ll host in Baltimore this week.

17 – Miami Dolphins (4-4) (↓4) — The Dolphins have indeed reverted back to their mean after a hot start to the season, sitting two games back of the Pats and just one ahead of the lowly Jets in the AFC East. For a second we all had hope that Brady’s reign of terror was over but it was not to be, not in 2018. While the Patriots continue to rattle off Ws, the Dolphins took a big L on TNF in a 42-23 loss to the red hot Texans. Though it seems preseason darling Kenyan Drake has finally decided to punch in and do some work, he’s now being quarterbacked by Brock Osweiler, and there’s really not much he can to blunt that disaster. The Fins host the Jets this week in South Beach but don’t be surprised if the Jets pull out a W against Osweiler now that Brock-tober is over. Not that he was even good in October, I just wanted to use the pun. Nailed it?

18 – Seattle Seahawks (4-3) (↑3) — The Seahawks are without a doubt one of the least exciting teams in the NFL this season. They won 28-14 against the Lions last week, Russell Wilson is still an escape artist and their defence is half decent. That’s about it. Chargers comin’ up at home.

It’s a rare sight but I swear I’ve seen one in my day.

19 – Atlanta Falcons (3-4) (↓2) — The Falcons have without a doubt been one of the biggest disappointments in the league this season, sitting in last place in what has turned out to be one of the strongest divisions in football. Matt Ryan will have to leave the Atlanta nest this week, and he has not fared well away from home. Let’s all hope he realizes who Julio Jones really is (THAT dude) and relies on him heavily against a seemingly solid Washington defence.

20 – Denver Broncos (3-5) (↓1) — Those pesky Broncos eh. Twice they’ve played the Mahomian Chiefs and twice they’ve kept it excruciatingly close with the most exciting team in football. They fell short once again however, 30-23, after some mid-game miscues cost them momentum not to mention points. And the tackling on that Kareem Hunt touchdown? My god that was pitiful. Those Broncos defenders are going to be running the gauntlet all week long after that display. Case Keenum also turned the ball over again, so the Broncos went out and got him another weapon to ease the pressure. Oh no wait, they did the opposite of that, and sent the Broncos legend Demariyus Thomas away for a fourth-round pick right before the trade deadline. I guess that means more looks for exciting rookie Courtland Sutton? When a team makes a move like that at the deadline, they generally don’t have a sunny disposition on their outlook for the season. By some twist of fate, Thomas will have to return to Mile High the week he was traded as the Broncos host his new team, the Texans, in Week Nine.

Back like I never left baby.

21 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4) (↑1) —  I don’t know what to say about Jameis Winston. He’s a scummy guy off the field and he’s just a plain old bad quarterback on the field. Those four interceptions he threw against the Bengals were all worse than the last. After the fourth was returned to the house, everyone knew what time it was: Fitzmagic time. Using one of his most famous tricks, Fitzmagic made Cincy’s defence disappear while he took his team from down 34-16 to tied 34-34 in a little over a quarter. Unfortunately the Bucs defence is god-awful and gave up the game-winning field goal drive but still, the Bucs are definitely trending up with Ryan Fitzpatrick back at the helm. That guy can flat out sling it. As for Winston, I doubt he wins a starting job in the NFL again. Maybe he can catch on with a team as a backup after his contract expires, but he could very well be out of the league by 2020, maybe as early as 2019.

Oh that’ll get a clap from Jason Garrett for ya buddy.

22 – Dallas Cowboys (3-4) (↑1) — Even when they take their bye and make zero moves at the trade deadline, the Cowboys still somehow find themselves the butt of the joke around the league. Jon Gruden completely fleeced Dallas in sending Amari Cooper, who’s hands are either made of stone, or covered with butter on any given day, to the ‘Boys for a first-round pick early last week. Everyone rightly riffed on the Cowboys for vastly overpaying for a modest asset. Then, at the trade deadline the Eagles and Texans both traded for receivers (Golden Tate to Philly and Demariyus Thomas to Houston) who are arguably better and valuable than Cooper for 3rd- and 4th-round picks, respectively. Even though the Cowboys were made to look like fools by the Raiders (I mean, their logo is a pirate after all, can’t trust it) they still upgraded their 2018 team and gave Dak Prescott a receiver who could help him fight off that 200-yard monster he’s been battling. We’ll see if Cooper can be of any help in Texas when they take on the Titans on Monday night.

23 – New York Jets (3-5) (↓3) — The Jets are always kind of a mixed bag. Well mixed, but mixed like one of those of those packs of Starburst where you get almost all yellow ones. So mostly bad. Sam Darnold has been meh. I’m still not sure they shouldn’t have let him learn under Josh McCown, a more than capable QB with a ton of experience. Look what that extra year of tutelage did for guys like Patrick Mahomes or Aaron Rodgers. Not saying he’s a talent like those beauties, but you get the idea. This week Darnold and his ragtag group of New York misfits will try to make it to the only place in Florida they don’t feel superior: South Beach. Your guess is as good as mine as to who comes out on top in that snooze-fest.

24 – Detroit Lions (3-4) (–) — The Lions struggled on offence on Sunday so they went and sent their no. 1 wideout to the Eagles. Strong move. The Lions lost Golden Tate for a third round pick (not a bad return) but they do still have Marvin Jones (two touchdowns in the 28-14 loss to Seattle) and 2018 breakout Kenny Golladay to rely on at wideout. It was a strange move that indicates the Lions are not in win now mode. Which is fair enough considering the talent levels of some other teams out there. Matty Stafford will have to get the boys going on all cylinders this week if they expect to out-score a well-oiled Minnesota offence in Minnesota.

25 – Indianapolis Colts (3-5) (↑5) — The Colts got the 42-28 win against the Raiders but really that’s all they get credit for. Unless you completely obliterate a team as hapless as the Raiders, you should barely even be proud of the dub. A win is a win in this league, I will admit begrudgingly, so the Colts must rise above those that have fallen in Week Eight in the rankings. The Colts will take a week off to get their affairs in order and attempt to make a push for a playoff spot in the second half of the season. I wouldn’t bet on it.

26 – Tennessee Titans (3-4) (↓1) —  The Titans didn’t play last week but if they did I probably would have the same amount to say about them as I do after their bye. They’ll play on MNF this week against the Cowboys in what is sure to be one of that series’ lowest rated games ever

Hue pointing at Todd Haley like “It was his fault, you gotta fire him too!”

27 – Cleveland Browns (2-5-1) (↓1) — Well, it had to end some time didn’t it. They gave him a shot, then another, and then a third. And on that third, Hue Jackson once again f***ed up. Three strikes you’re out bud, baseball rules apply for this one. And take your washed up OC Todd Haley with you. The Browns don’t need offensive minds to win, they’ve got Gregg Williams as their new head coach! Williams, commonly described as crafty with a high football IQ, was also the architect of BountyGate. So, yeah. Trading as a loser for a crook. That’s where the Browns are at. I wonder if Jarvis Landry is regretting his free agency decision yet.. Oh yeah, almost forgot. Their first game of the new regime is against the Chiefs. Okay, good luck!

28 – Arizona Cardinals (2-6) (↑3) — I guess Josh Rosen isn’t a lost cause after all. Under new advisement, Rosen was able to put together a solid performance and lead his team to a win with a last minute touchdown toss to Larry the Legend Fitzgerald. The 18-15 win came against fellow lost souls in the 49ers, so it’s not a hip-hip-hooray thing, but Arizona still gutted the win out, which is what you need to do. And we got the first every Larry Legend spike, and it was an emotional one (read above). The Cardinals will bask in the ambience of victory for an extra week as they take their bye.

They’re not wrong.

29 – Buffalo Bills (2-6) (↓1) — Monday Night Football came back to Buffalo for the first time in a long time according to Booger and Jason Witten, but Bills Mafia was let down once again as the Bills lost a very winnable game to the Patriots 25-6. Buffalo’s defence played great, stifling the Pats and forcing them into four short field goals. On the other side, the Bills were god-awful—and Booger and Witten weren’t pulling any punches for ESPN. Booger pretty much questioned Nathan Peterman‘s manhood while the poor guy stood hopefully with his helmet on the sideline, and though Derek Anderson threw for 290 yards, he couldn’t lead a touchdown drive, and is also terrible. The Bills probably have the least exciting and most anemic offence in football right now. Hopefully they can give the Mafia a better show than the one they put on in the parking lot themselves next week against da Bears. Or else they better expect more dildos. Lots and lots more dildos.

30 – San Francisco 49ers (1-7) (↓3) — With Jimmy Garoppolo this team was suspect. Without Jimmy G, they’re hopeless. I’m not saying they should tank, because I think the Raiders are already doing it too well, but this is pretty much a lost season halfway through. The Niners have some very exciting players on their defensive front, but that’s really the only part of their team that’s above average. The Niners will get their shot at the tankers this week when they host the Raiders in one of the worst TNF matchups of all time. Two 1-7 teams in prime time. he lowest combined winning percentage ever. Nice. How do you even make promos for a game like that?

31 – New York Giants (1-7) (↓2) — The New York Saquons once again couldn’t get anything done on offence while the defence allowed just enough to give the Giants a 20-13 loss to Washington in Week Eight. I always say you can’t put everything on Eli Manning, but this time it was on him. On the field goal drive before Adrian Peterson iced it with a 64-yard score, Manning had rookie Saquon Barkley more wide open than I’ve seen anyone this season and under-threw him by a mile. They still got a pass interference call, so no biggie. But then inside the five Eli had Barkley waiting wide open inside the end zone for three seconds that felt like an eternity and by the time he finally decided to throw it, a defender was there to bat it down. The end to Eli’s time in the NFL may be upon us. Also side not, Odell Beckham must’ve heard everyone talking about Hopkins’ hands after his performance on TNF because that one-handed sideline catch while giving the DB a piggy back was something else. Just another one to put in the highlight reel for him I guess.

A little sneak peek at the isgrudengoneyet.com site. One of the best on the interweb.

32 – Oakland Raiders (1-6) (–) —  Another day, another loss, another future draft pick for the Raiders. It’s like they’re not even trying to pretend to try to win at this point. Lucky they already squeaked out a win or else they’d be a serious candidate to run the table and lose every game this year. I don’t know exactly how many picks the Raiders have in 2019 now, but they’ve got at least three in the first round. Does Jon Gruden have a plan? Who knows, if you don’t like him, check out this amazing site counting down his time in Oakland along with how much money of his deal he’s made to date. Things like these are why the internet is so great. Just top notch.

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