Below are TGH’s official NFL Power Rankings ahead of Week 9.
To see a compiled and averaged ranking of NFL teams from seven major outlets (including CBS, PFT and Bleacher Report), click here!
1. Green Bay Packers
The Packers just beat the lone undefeated team in the league minus ten starters. Their top three wide receivers, top two corners, two linebackers and three offensive lineman were all out. They also lost their TE1 in the middle of the game and still won. Imagine this team at full strength.
2. Los Angeles Rams
L.A. truly is all in. They already did not have a first round pick until 2024. This week, the Rams traded away two more picks in exchange for former-Super Bowl MVP Von Miller. This leaves them with just three in 2022 (one third, one fifth, two sevenths).
3. Arizona Cardinals
Arizona beat the Rams, which means common sense dictates that they should be above them in a ranking such as this. They only fall below Los Angeles because of the Rams’ commitment to putting the NFL’s version of the Avengers on the field. The J.J. Watt loss stings, but 7-1 ain’t bad.
4. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys survived the Vikings on the road with a backup quarterback in Week 8, but it was closer than it should have been, even so. The final one loss team sits at fourth due to the uncanny ability for Mike McCarthy to coach them into terrible situations at the drop of a hat. The talent, though, might just be league-best.
5. Buffalo Bills
Buffalo’s two losses are strange, but they remain on the record nonetheless. The only real flaw on this team is the lack of a bell-cow back that is not named Josh Allen. The AFC is soft this year and the Bills should eventually leave it in their rear-view.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
If the Cowboys’ talent is not league-best, then the Buccaneers have a claim to that throne. The problem is that the Bucs have a banged up secondary and commit an absurd amount of penalties. Brady looked 44 in Week 8’s game against the Saints, but he can flip the super-human switch at any moment. That keeps them high up on the list.
7. Baltimore Ravens
Cluster injuries at running back that led to a Patriots-level platoon at the position has hurt this team. Still, they sit on top of the AFC North, despite a blowout loss to the Bengals. They exorcised their Chiefs demons and proved they can play from behind against the Colts. Oh, and Lamar is throwing the ball better than ever.
8. Tennessee Titans
Losing Derrick Henry changes this team from top to bottom. Offense, defense, special teams and coaching all have to shift drastically now that he is out. That seems hyperbolic, but when a team has a back that can do the things that he does, they coach situationally around those talents on every level. The Titans deserve to be up here ahead of Week 9. Stay tuned to see if they are up to the challenge in Week 10 and beyond.
9. Los Angeles Chargers
Having a three-loss team in the top-10 is a bit aggressive, but when the Chargers are on, they are on. They can beat the Chiefs while casually going for it on 4th-and-9 and they can win a 47-42 shootout with the Browns. The problem is, signing Brandon Staley might not have been as big of a boon to the defense than was originally thought. Plus, as fantasy managers will tell you, Justin Herbert is either MVP-level or puts up a total stinker. A bit of a roller coaster with this team, but they are too good when they are clicking to punish too much at the halfway point.
10. Cincinnati Bengals
That loss to the Jets was flat-out embarrassing. Especially to a backup who had never started an NFL game. But Ja’Marr Chase is still liable to break records and Joe Burrow certainly does not look like he got his entire knee restructured in the offseason. The Bengals will bounce back and have a chance to win this division outright.
11. New Orleans Saints
Being without his starting quarterback has never been as big of a problem for Sean Payton as one might think. Before this season began, the Saints were 8-1 when Brees missed time with injuries. Now, Payton will have to manufacture wins with Trevor Siemian and Taysom Hill after Jameis Winston’s season was ended by a knee injury. He already did it against the defending Super Bowl champions, so maybe this team needs to rely on its defensive brand and lean into their post-Brees era.
12. Las Vegas Raiders
Saying that a Power Rankings article is not the time or place to get into the Gruden and Ruggs situations is easily the understatement of 2021 so far. With that said, the Raiders’ roster continues to change due to horrendous circumstances. They have seemingly played for each other post-Gruden, which is inspiring. They still have a talented team that Derek Carr is leading impeccably, which should move him into MVP conversation regardless of stats and record. There are some winnable games down the stretch and if the Raiders can make the postseason, there will be a 30-for-30 about this team. This article will leave it there and discuss their on-field play next week.
13. Kansas City Chiefs
Color most everyone a shade of “not impressed” after the Chiefs barely squeaked a win by the lowly New York Giants. As far as these rankings are concerned, the Chiefs struggles are not over after beating the Giants by three. Sure, New York’s defense is decent but their offense is stuck in the mud. Kansas City of old would have made this game into a laugher by the third quarter. If they cannot stop the Packers, who are starting a backup quarterback in Week 9, there are officially far more questions than answers.
14. New England Patriots
The Patriots dink-and-dunk style is paying off in spades. New England is in every game they play with good teams and is blowing out the teams they should (minus the Dolphins due to a late fumble). Mac Jones’ 68.1 percent completion percentage is extremely misleading due to the Patriots’ fear of throwing too far past the line of scrimmage. But 4-4 is totally acceptable for a team finding a new identity with a new quarterback and a revamped offense.
15. Cleveland Browns
The Browns are also an extremely injured team that needs to get healthy in a hurry if they want a chance to win the AFC North. But the talent on this team and the expectations behind them force NFL fans to keep believing this ship can be righted. Baker Mayfield may be playing with one arm, but with a running game that stout, they have a puncher’s chance.
16. Minnesota Vikings
Dalvin Cook is unbelievable, first and foremost. Even so, a one-two punch of Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen combined with an up-and-comer like K.J. Osborn should be enough to put the Vikings in contention for the division. Alas, their quarterback continually shrinks in big moments and their defense is not up to snuff. They are going to have to go Wild Card hunting with abandon.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers stole the first game of the season on a blocked punt. They promptly lost three games in a row to good teams. The three wins in a row after that came against a bad team, a middling team with a backup quarterback and an injury-ridden Browns team. Honesty time: Najee Harris is their entire offense. If he goes down, the Steelers will be lucky if they win three more games. The defensive front is still fantastic, though.
18. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers are missing two things: good quarterback play and Christian McCaffrey. If it were not for those two glaring flaws, they would be a playoff contender, plain and simple. McCaffrey can possibly come back in Week 9 against the Patriots. That is at least something.
19. Seattle Seahawks
Seattle’s defense is just bad. Outside of Bobby Wagner, the Seahawks just do not do a lot right on that side of the ball. The Legion of Boom days continue to fade into the rear view. Geno Smith has been decent in relief of Wilson, but they need him back in a big way. They will get just that after their Week 9 bye.
20. Philadelphia Eagles
What is this team’s identity? They can get blown out, or they can keep it close against the Super Bowl champions. They refuse to run the ball, or they rush to a 44-6 victory against the Lions after their best running back is injured. All in all, they surely are not as bad as they initially seemed to be at the start of the season.
21. San Francisco 49ers
The Niners have a quarterback controversy between two injured quarterbacks. That is enough to place them this low on its own. Deebo Samuel is their first, second and third option on offense while Brandon Aiyuk has completely disappeared. The defense is still stout, but injured. Kyle Shanahan continues to run one of the most head-scratching teams in the league.
22. Indianapolis Colts
Watching Carson Wentz play football is like watching a skateboarding compilation. They both are either going to nail the trick, or go down in a heap. He is truly reckless, both with the ball and his own body. That aside, the injury bug has bitten this team as well, especially at receiver. Jonathan Taylor is excellent, though and could possibly put the team on his back en route to winning the Derrick Henry-less AFC South.
23. Denver Broncos
Teddy Bridgewater has kept many a team afloat, but the Broncos might be a bridge too far. The 4-4 Broncos have beaten four bad teams and that is it (Giants, Jaguars, Jets and Washington). Vic Fangio is a great defensive mind that is being wasted at head coach of this below-average team.
24. New York Giants
As stated above in the Chiefs’ section, the Giants defense is good, but the offense is lost. Sure, Barkley, Golladay and Toney have all missed time, but Sterling Shepard is still there, John Ross is still a burner, Evan Engram can catch a ball from time to time and Kyle Rudolph is still a great red zone weapon. It might be time to move on from the Daniel Jones era if this team cannot go on a streak when healthy.
25. Atlanta Falcons
Well, at least the Braves won the World Series! In all seriousness, what are the Falcons doing this year? The answer is playing uninspired football that keeps their head just barely above the surface of “worst teams in the league.” For the city’s sake, just hope they at least attempt to get Kyle Pitts involved.
26. Chicago Bears
What is worse; continuing to put up awful offensive performances that will land the Bears with the a bottom-five record, or somehow figuring things out with Justin Fields to the point that Matt Nagy gets to continue to be the head coach? The defense can still get after the quarterback, which is nice. But the offensive line is just bad and the NFL has figured out Nagy. Giving a brand new quarterback two systems in two years is not ideal, but it might be warranted in Chicago.
27. Washington Football Team
With four first-round selections on the defensive line, this defense should be better than it is, bottom line. Most NFL fans knew the offense would not be anywhere near league-best, but it has been a bigger problem than was originally expected. Taylor Heineke is fine but Antonio Gibson is being criminally underused and Terry McLaurin is not getting the catches he needs. And to think, people thought they were going to win the NFC East in back-to-back years.
28. New York Jets
In all fairness, the Jets found a way to win against the (then) AFC-best Cincinnati Bengals. With a backup quarterback, no less. The issue is, it may not be such a good look that the number two overall pick has won the same amount of games as a second-stringer that just started his first games.
29. Miami Dolphins
Deshaun Watson is not on his way to save the Miami Dolphins’ 2021 season. Fans are now greatly looking forward to the offseason, when, hopefully, lawsuits will be resolved one way or another. In the mean time, Tua looks decent, but the Dolphins cannot seem to win a game. Maybe against the Texans in Week 9?
30. Detroit Lions
The Lions have really only been truly been embarrassed twice. Once against the Bengals and last week against the Eagles. Despite their 0-8 record, they just do not fail the eye test hard enough to be called the worst team in the league. There are a few winnable games left on their schedule, so do not place bets for 0-17 just yet.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars are in third place in the AFC South! But really only because they have played one fewer game than the Texans. The Jags are bad, but Trevor Lawrence is taking his lumps, at least. This team is far from a finished product, but will Urban Meyer be there to see it?
32. Houston Texans
The Texans are not just bad. They continue to get rid of their best pieces on top of being untalented. Mark Ingram, Charles Omenihu and Whitney Mercilus are all gone, among others. And now they are saddled with dealing with Deshaun Watson questions and drama until the trade window opens back up in the offseason.
Featured image courtesy of Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports
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