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NFL Power Rankings Week 9: Las Vegas Raiders plummet, Dolphins and Titans climb

Matt Johnson
NFL power rankings
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

As NFL Week 9 closes in, we’re approaching the halfway point of the 2022 season and each game that passes provides more insight into where each team stands. Week 8 helped answer a lot of questions, providing clarity for the latest NFL power rankings.

We didn’t see many surprises on Sunday. Many of the favorites delivered in their matchups and the best NFL teams in 2022 proved why they are the elite of the elite. We’ve got a clear understanding for which clubs are Super Bowl contenders, but the rest of the NFL standings have been neck-and-neck all season long.

Some of the biggest risers in the NFL power rankings today are the Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers, teams exceeding expectations as of late. As for the fallers, you don’t have to look much further than teams like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Giants.

Related: NFL defense rankings

Let’s dive into the Week 9 NFL power rankings.

32. Detroit Lions (Previously: 32)

The battle for last place in the NFL power rankings and the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft will come down to the Detroit Lions and Houston Texans. Ultimately, despite being in a rebuild longer, the Texans might be further along in terms of depth and talent. The bright side of that is it means Detroit gets to draft Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud.

31. Houston Texans (Previously: 31)

The Houston Texans aren’t going to be aggressive sellers at the NFL trade deadline, so fans shouldn’t count on a ton of draft capital being added to the war chest. With that said, it’s not really necessary thanks to the Deshaun Watson trade that keeps looking better for Houston.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers (Previously: 29)

There is going to be speculation about Mike Tomlin being on the hot seat, but the Pittsburgh Steelers head coach being fired would be a mistake. After years of kicking the can down the road on a rebuild, Pittsburgh’s roster is now one of the worst in the NFL and it takes time to get better.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (Previously: 28)

It might be time to start having an uncomfortable conversation regarding Trevor Lawrence. He is one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL inside the red zone this year and his numbers in critical situations are just as alarming. It might be time to admit the generational prospect will be nothing more than an above-average NFL quarterback.

28. Carolina Panthers (Previously: 30)

While sitting in first place in the NFC South might have felt nice, losing was in the Carolina Panthers’ best long-term interest. P.J. Walker is showing some nice flashes, but owner David Tepper wants a face of the franchise and that is likely to come with a top pick.

27. Chicago Bears (Previously: 27)

NFL: Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears are finally utilizing Justin Fields the right way. We’ve been critical of Chicago’s coaching staff and front office since the offseason, but there are finally signs of progress. The NFL standings don’t matter, Chicago must just stick to this approach and then splurge in 2023.

26. Indianapolis Colts (Previously: 20)

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star
Robert Scheer/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

All things considered, a respectable debut for Sam Ehlinger. He made the throw the Indianapolis Colts needed with the game on the line, it was dropped. Unfortunately, everything we’ve seen from the Colts in recent weeks suggests this just isn’t a good team.

25. Cleveland Browns (Previously: 26)

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns
David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns – mainly Myles Garrett – might have saved the season on Monday Night Football. Taking down the Cincinnati Bengals and moving to 3-5, there are at least scenarios now where this team is still in the playoff hunt when Deshaun Watson returns.

24. Green Bay Packers (Previously: 25)

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Buffalo Bills
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

If only the Green Bay Packers ran the ball for most of October as they did on Sunday Night Football. Aaron Jones is the best player on the roster, the one who can put this struggling offense on his shoulders and deliver scoring drives or at least eat up the clock. The change in approach on offense is worth a slight uptick in the NFL power rankings, but Green Bay still doesn’t look like a legitimate playoff threat.

Related: Green Bay Packers schedule

23. Denver Broncos (Previously: 28)

NFL: International Series-Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Credit to Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos for rallying back on Sunday, turning a lifeless first-half performance into a comeback this franchise desperately needed. Flying home for the Week 9 bye, Denver will certainly view this as enough to avoid selling at the deadline.

22. Washington Commanders (Previously: 24)

NFL: Washington Commanders at Indianapolis Colts
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Talk about the perfect homecoming. In his return to Indiana, Terry McLaurin simply accounted for 113 receiving yards and made the game-changing play in the closing seconds that set up the win. At this point, it’s fair to start wondering if a healthy Carson Wentz should even get the starting job back when he returns.

21. Arizona Cardinals (17)

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

DeAndre Hopkins is back, removing the excuse for Kyler Murray‘s underwhelming 2022 season. Now sitting at 3-5, it’s fair to say that every dollar Arizona spent on its general manager, coach and quarterback appears wasteful right now.

20. Las Vegas Raiders (Previously: 12)

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at New Orleans Saints
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

It’s one thing to lose, but getting shut out and averaging just 3.3 yards per play is embarrassing. Now two months into the season, it’s fair to call the Las Vegas Raiders’ offseason investments a failure. At least they kept their first-round pick, unlike some teams below Las Vegas in the Week 9 NFL power rankings.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Previously: 18)

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady regrets everything. He thought he would be returning to a Super Bowl-caliber roster, a team ready to help him hoist the Lombardi Trophy for the eighth time. Instead, the 2022 NFL season has cost him far more than ever imagined and there are no signs anything will get better for the Buccaneers’ offense.

20. Atlanta Falcons (Previously: 21)

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

It’s absolutely wild that the Atlanta Falcons are in first place entering Week 9. Most assumed this team would be battling for the No. 1 pick, now it would be hosting a playoff game if the regular season ended today. Will it last? Probably not, but it’s clear Arthur Smith is a good head coach.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Falcons, check out #RiseUpATL rumors, rankings, and news here

17. New Orleans Saints (Previously: 22)

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at New Orleans Saints
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Could this be a turning point for the New Orleans Saints? In the face of trade rumors, Alvin Kamara delivered his best performance of the season and it led to an offensive explosion. On the other side, the Saints defense played like the elite unit we anticipated entering the season. Let’s see what New Orleans does on Monday Night Football against the Baltimore Ravens before making any definitive ruling.

16. New England Patriots (Previously: 19)

NFL: New England Patriots at New York Jets
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

After an ugly showing against Chicago, Bill Belichick got his team back on track against the opponent who he loves facing more than few others. Heading into a winnable Week 9 matchup against the Colts, New England is in a prime position to turn a 1-3 record into a 5-4 mark before its bye week.

15. Los Angeles Rams (Previously: 13)

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Ownage is ownage and the Los Angeles Rams have no answer for the San Francisco 49ers’ defense or offense in the regular season. Sunday marked the Rams’ third loss in four games and it’s apparent the reigning Super Bowl champions aren’t remotely close to that level right now and they might not ever be.

14. New York Jets (Previously: 9)

Syndication: The Record
Kevin R. Wexler-NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Breece Hall injury will be remembered as the turning point of the New York Jets’ 2022 season, but a team with Zach Wilson under center was never going to sustain its early record. There are no signs of improvement from Wilson and it’s fair to wonder if the Jets need to explore pursuing a veteran quarterback next offseason.

13. Los Angeles Chargers (Previously: 16)

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Chargers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

One can only wonder where the New Orleans Saints would land in consensus NFL power rankings if they weren’t cursed. Injuries are the biggest problem, with so many key starters – Mike Williams, Corey Linsley, Rashawn Slater, Joey Bosa – among numerous players who are unavailable.

12. New York Giants (Previously: 7)

NFL: New York Giants at Seattle Seahawks
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Let Week 8 serve as a reminder as to why the New York Giants won’t make a long-term commitment to Daniel Jones. He is far more reliable than the quarterback seen in previous seasons, but Brian Daboll is putting kid gloves on the offense because of Jones. Heading into the Week 9 bye, New York can still feel good about its playoff odds.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Giants, check out #TogetherBlue rumors, rankings, and news here.

11. Seattle Seahawks (Previously: 15)

NFL: New York Giants at Seattle Seahawks
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The comparison to a college football team feels right. There’s a nice mix of youth and veterans, but the energy and competitiveness the Seattle Seahawks play with stands out every week. Imagine a Detroit Lions team with a significantly better quarterback and defense. That’s why Seattle is a bonafide playoff contender.

10. Miami Dolphins (Previously: 14)

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Detroit Lions
Junfu Han-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins look like a much better team with their starting quarterback under center, imagine that. Mike McDaniel’s offense fired on all cylinders in Sunday’s victory reminding fans of the unstoppable unit it enjoyed early in the season. However, that shaky Dolphins’ defense is what stands out as a concern right now. Still, the No. 10 spot in the NFL power rankings is a massive improvement compared to last year.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Dolphins, check out #FinUp rumors, rankings, and news here.

9. Cincinnati Bengals (Previously: 5)

Syndication: The Enquirer
Sam Greene / USA TODAY NETWORK

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is now under more pressure to perform without Ja’Marr Chase and he’s not going to be able to do it if the offensive line is as porous as witnessed on Monday Night Football.

8. San Francisco 49ers (Previously: 11)

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

This is what Kyle Shanahan imagined when he acquired Christian McCaffrey. It also certainly helps that the San Francisco 49ers defense was provided a “get right” game against the Rams’ offense. All of this is a positive step forward, but the quarterback disadvantage is a massive weight that drags San Francisco down.

7. Tennessee Titans (Previously: 10)

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

This is the brand of football we’ve grown used to from the Tennessee Titans. Let Derrick Henry shoulder the entire offense, eat up the clock and pound the life out of opposing defenses. On the other side of the ball, Tennessee’s defense makes crucial stops and generates turnovers. It’s a recipe that can win the AFC South. Just don’t expect it to fare well in Week 9 vs Kansas City.

6. Minnesota Vikings (Previously: 5)

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

If based entirely on record, the Minnesota Vikings deserve to be right near the top of the NFL power rankings. Yet, per NFL analyst Justis Mosqueda, Minnesota ranks 20th in ANY/A total. The offense is great, but Kirk Cousins struggles on the big stage, while the defense is below-average. That’s what separates Minnesota from the best NFL teams.

5. Baltimore Ravens (Previously: 8)

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens still haven’t put together a complete performance this season, but their peaks are right up there with the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles. With All-Pro linebacker Roquan Smith now joining the defense, there’s even more reason to push Baltimore up the NFL power rankings.

4. Dallas Cowboys (Previously: 4)

NFL: Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

There is one flaw with the Dallas Cowboys, which is responsible for it dropping a tier in the NFL power rankings for Week 9. For all of the talent on defense, Dallas simply can’t stop the run to save its life and now there is a weakness in the slot. It’s issues like this that put the Cowboys at a disadvantage compared to the Super Bowl favorites.

NFL power rankings: Best NFL teams in 2022

3. Kansas City Chiefs (Previously: 3)

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at San Francisco 49ers
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

There are risks with the Ka’Darius Toney trade, but the Kansas City Chiefs offense is the perfect landing spot for him. There are receivers with complementary skills throughout the offense, creating a passing attack that is just as effective as the Tyreek Hill era. Facing the Titans in Week 9, Kansas City should prove its supremacy.

2. Philadelphia Eagles (Previously: 2)

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Philadelphia Eagles
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Robert Quinn trade is going to be the biggest in-season addition by any NFL team. Already loaded with pass rushers, Philadelphia acquired another chess piece that is going to cause havoc for every opponent it faces. Combine that with the Jalen Hurts–AJ Brown combo on offense and this is far and away the best team in the NFC.

Related: Bold predictions for NFL trade deadline

1. Buffalo Bills (Previously: 1)

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Buffalo Bills
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills remain No. 1 in the NFL power rankings, with minimal consideration for the other top teams in the NFL. On Sunday Night Football, Buffalo used the Green Bay Packers’ defense to start establishing its ground attack. That’s exactly what you want to see from a Super Bowl contender.