We’re entering the midpoint of the season. After this week, every team in the NFL will have played at least eight games, and the haves and have-nots are starting to take shape, although there are way more teams that are still in the playoff hunt than those that are, for the most part, out of the race. The AFC is led by the New England Patriots, who sit at 6-1. The NFC sees a three-way tie at the top between the New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are all sitting at 5-2.
For my Week 8 Power Rankings, click here.
Here are my 2010 NFL Power Rankings going into Week 9 of the NFL season (last week’s Power Ranking in parentheses):
Biggest Gainers: Detroit Lions (+5), San Francisco 49ers (+4)
Biggest Losers: Washington Redskins (-7), Seattle Seahawks (-5)
1 (3) New England Patriots (6-1)
As long as Tom Brady is the Patriots’ quarterback and Bill Belichick is the Patriots’ head coach, no one should doubt that they’ll find a way to win a ton of games. If this is what a “rebuilding” year looks like in New England, I can’t wait to see what the real thing is.
2 (4) Baltimore Ravens (5-2)
The only game the Baltimore Ravens have played this season that was decided by more than seven points was their 31-17 win over the Denver Broncos. The main culprit for the Ravens has been their inconsistent offense, which was supposed to be much improved this season.
3 (5) Indianapolis Colts (5-2)
The Colts got their revenge for their season-opening loss to the Texans. The Colts do have some weaknesses, but Peyton Manning instantly turns this team from good into Super Bowl contender.
4 (1) Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2)
Pittsburgh was able to contain the New Orleans Saints for the first three quarters of Sunday night’s contest, but in the end wasn’t able to come out with the victory. The Steelers are still one of the top teams in the AFC, but they aren’t unbeatable.
5 (2) New York Jets (5-2)
The New York Jets defense looked great after the Bye Week, but Mark Sanchez and the offense were dreadful. If there’s one thing that might prevent the Jets from being a Super Bowl contender, it’s the erratic play of Sanchez.
6 (7) New York Giants (5-2)
The Giants are the best team in the NFC. Their defense has been top-notch over the past four weeks, and the only thing that keeps them from blowing out their opponents is Eli Manning’s newfound penchant for turning the ball over.
7 (8) Atlanta Falcons (5-2)
Quarterback Matt Ryan is on pace to break his career highs in passing yards and touchdowns and a career low in interceptions.
8 (10) Kansas City Chiefs (5-2)
In the most exciting game from Week 8, Kansas City continued its miracle season with a field goal in the waning seconds of overtime against the Bills. The offense still needs work, but the Kansas City defense has been amazingly efficient this season.
9 (13) New Orleans Saints (5-3)
Drew Brees has nine touchdowns and two interceptions in New Orleans’ five wins. Brees has seven touchdowns and nine interceptions in the Saints’ three losses.
10 (6) Tennessee Titans (5-3)
The Titans had some opportunities to finish off the San Diego Chargers but weren’t able to seal the deal. The bigger problem going forward for Tennesse is that Vince Young is injured…again.
11 (11) Green Bay Packers (5-3)
The Green Bay Packers defense looked terrific in Week 8’s shutout victory over the New York Jets. The same can’t be said of Aaron Rodgers and the offense, though.
12 (9) Houston Texans (4-3)
The Texans should be happy with holding the Colts to only two offensive touchdowns, but Houston’s offense has to play better if the Texans want to work their way into the playoffs.
13 (14) Philadelphia Eagles (4-3)
Kevin Kolb has been good filling in for an injured Michael Vick, but I would be surprised if Vick isn’t the starter after Philadelphia’s Bye Week. The Eagles are going to miss Desean Jackson, however, who should still be out with a severe concussion.
14 (15) Miami Dolphins (4-3)
Over the past three weeks, Miami Dolphins kicker Dan Carpenter is 13/13 on field goals, including two from over 50 yards and four from 40-49 yards out.
15 (17) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-2)
Head coach Raheem Morris was probably just trying to pump his team up by saying the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the best team in the NFC. It can’t be argued that they are tied for the best record in the NFC with the Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants.
16 (16) Chicago Bears (4-3)
If there’s one person who needed an off week, it was Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. Cutler has looked awful since returning from a concussion, and if he doesn’t play well after getting a week off, the Bears are in serious trouble.
17 (19) Oakland Raiders (4-4)
How do you follow up a dominant 59-14 victory? How about beat the Seattle Seahawks 33-3. The Oakland Raiders have quietly worked themselves back to .500 and Darren McFadden is finally showing the potential that made him a high first round pick in the 2008 draft.
18 (22) San Diego Chargers (3-5)
The Chargers were able to turn their big yardage into points, although they once again lost the turnover battle. The Chargers have the potential to go on a run and work themselves back into the playoff race, but they’ve dug themselves quite a big hole.
19 (12) Washington Redskins (4-4)
What I wrote last week is still true this week: “Every time I write the Redskins off, they come through with the win. Every time I give the Redskins the benefit of the doubt, they end up losing. The one constant for Washington this season has been the underwhelming performance from quarterback Donovan McNabb.”
20 (21) St. Louis Rams (4-4)
Can the St. Louis Rams go from winning one game in 2009 to winning the NFC West in 2010? It’s definitely possible, as right now the Rams are only a half game behind the Seahawks for the division lead and, overall, look like the better team.
21 (23) Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4)
Apparently, playing against the Dallas Cowboys is a great way to get out of a funk. The Jaguars had looked awful against Tennessee and Kansas City, but David Garrard was able to pick apart the Dallas defense and lead Jacksonville to a very convincing victory.
22 (18) Minnesota Vikings (2-5)
Old man Brett Favre actually looked better playing on a broken ankle than he has in previous weeks playing on a non-broken ankle. The Vikings still couldn’t find a way to win, however.
23 (24) Cleveland Browns (2-5)
Colt McCoy is going to struggle playing on a somewhat thin Cleveland Browns offense, but he’s easily a better choice than Seneca Wallace or Jake Delhomme.
24 (29) Detroit Lions (2-5)
Matt Stafford was terrific in his first game back from injury, throwing for four touchdowns and only one interception. The Lions have shown the ability to stay within striking distance all season without Stafford. With Stafford back at quarterback, the Lions might make a run at a fairly weak NFC North.
25 (20) Seattle Seahawks (4-3)
The Seattle Seahawks rank near the bottom of the league in passing offense, rushing offense and passing defense. About the only thing they’re doing well is containing the run, and they weren’t even able to do that against the Raiders in Week 8.
26 (30) San Francisco 49ers (2-6)
What are the odds that Troy Smith is the starting quarterback for the 49ers by the end of the season? He looked more poised in his first start of the season than Alex Smith has in any of his six starts this season.
27 (27) Arizona Cardinals (3-4)
Max Hall and Derek Anderson have now combined to throw 5 touchdowns and 12 interceptions on the season. As long as the Arizona Cardinals’ quarterbacks keep playing this poorly, I’m going to keep pointing out just how horrible they are. Arizona will not make the playoffs with either of these guys as the starting quarterback.
28 (25) Denver Broncos (2-6)
The Broncos followed up their awful loss to the Raiders by losing to the struggling 49ers in London. The Broncos are now an abysmal 4-14 after starting last season 6-0.
29 (28) Cincinnati Bengals (2-5)
When Terrell Owens gets a touchdown reception, the Cincinnati Bengals are 0-4. When he’s kept out of the endzone, the Bengals are 2-1.
30 (26) Dallas Cowboys (1-6)
Jon Kitna threw four interceptions in his first start in two years. The Dallas Cowboys once again abandoned their rushing offense and once again came away with a loss. This team is toast.
31 (31) Carolina Panthers (1-6)
I’m running out of ways to say the Carolina Panthers stink. Matt Moore now has twice as many interceptions as touchdowns, and he won back the starting quarterback job because Jimmy Clausen wasn’t playing any better.
32 (32) Buffalo Bills (0-7)
Once again the Buffalo Bills played better than some of the teams ahead of them in the Power Rankings, but once again they’re relegated to the bottom spot as the only winless team left in the NFL.
All stats and records from ESPN.com