Home > News > Sports > NFL > NFL Power Rankings Week 9: Panthers finally break the top 3

NFL Power Rankings Week 9: Panthers finally break the top 3

RealSport's power rankings are brought to you by Americ


RealSport’s power rankings are brought to you by American Football Development, the UK’s no.1 provider of grassroots American football.

And so “the undefeated” shrink to three, with Denver being toppled by the Colts and toppling out of the top 3 in our power rankings, to be replaced by the Carolina Panthers, who silenced the doubters with their performance against the Packers this Sunday. Elsewhere, the Steelers are our biggest risers – re-entering the top 10 for only the third time this season – though, with Big Ben out for at least another week due to a foot injury, this may only be temporary. Check out the other rankings below!

Panel: Gur Samuel, David Venables, Edd Hodsdon, Remy Cabache, Toby Durant, Pete Hallifax, Brandon Hamme


1. New England Patriots (8-0)

Last week: #1

GS = 1, DV = 1, EH = 1, RC = 1, TD = 1, PH = 1, BH = 1

Seriously, who or what can stop the Patriots? Even using a tight end to fill in for injured offensive linemen can’t slow Tom Brady down. The defense is quietly playoff-calibre and Brady’s weapons are always effective, no matter who is injured. Dare we whisper about 16-0? (EH)

2. Cincinnati Bengals (8-0)

Last week: #2

GS = 2, DV = 2, EH = 2, RC = 2, TD = 2, PH = 3, BH = 3

Welcome to Primetime, Andy Dalton. The Bengals are showing consistency, talent, and cool heads. They’re also showing no signs of slowing down. Of the 8 games remaining on their schedule, only three look seriously problematic. (PH)

3. Carolina Panthers (8-0)

Last week: #4

GS = 3, DV = 3, EH = 3, RC = 3, TD = 3, PH = 2, BH = 2

Anyone not taking the Panthers seriously after Sunday needs to take a good hard look at themselves. Yes, the game management was a little iffy in the fourth quarter, but in truth, the Panthers had the Packers beaten by then. (DV)

4. Denver Broncos (7-1)

Last week: #3

GS = 4, DV = 4, EH = 4, RC = 4, TD = 4, PH = 4, BH = 4

The Broncos fell from the ranks of the undefeated with a frustrating loss to the Colts. The offense has looked better the last few weeks, and if the defense can get over this blip the AFC West is still the Broncos’ to lose. (RC)

5. Green Bay Packers (6-2)

Last week: #5

GS = 7, DV = 7, EH = 6, RC = 6, TD = 5, PH = 5, BH = 5

Two weeks, two big losses for the Packers. Although they should, and will, bounce back, Aaron Rodgers and Co. didn’t look their normal inexorable selves on Sunday in Charlotte. (PH)

6. Arizona Cardinals (6-2)

Last week: #6

GS = 5, DV = 5, EH = 5, RC = 5, TD = 6, PH = 8, BH = 8

A bye week should do wonders for a Cardinals team that needed to get its head in the right place. Consistently allowing inferior teams to stay in touch over the past few weeks has dropped the Cardinals down from the very top of the NFC. A run of decisive wins will put them back in control. (EH)

7. Minnesota Vikings (6-2)

Last week: #7

GS = 8, DV = 6, EH = 8, RC = 7, TD = 7, PH = 6, BH = 6

Though their win against the Rams wasn’t overly impressive, it brings their win streak to 4 games and they are now tied for 1st place in the NFC North with the reeling Packers. With these two teams still having to play twice, the Vikings are in a good spot to take over this division. (RC)

8. New York Jets (5-3)

Last week: #9

GS = 6, DV = 8, EH = 8, RC = 9, TD = 9, PH = 7, BH = 9

The Jets beat the Jaguars despite having a quarterback playing with only one good hand, a wide receiver playing on only one good leg, and a kicker who couldn’t kick due to a quad injury. Throw in some more in-game knocks, and the Jets will be thanking their lucky stars after putting a dangerous Jacksonville team away. (DV)

9. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4)

Last week: #15

GS = 12, DV = 10, EH = 10, RC = 12, TD = 8, PH = 10, BH = 16

The Steelers offense didn’t miss a beat without LeVeon Bell as DeAngelo Williams and Antonio Brown had absolutely monster performances. However, with Roethlisberger out for at least their Week 10 matchup against the Browns, the Steelers have to hope Williams and Brown can carry this team for one more week. (RC)

10. Atlanta Falcons (6-3)

Last week: #8

GS = 9, DV = 12, EH = 18, RC = 10, TD = 10, PH = 9, BH = 12

Atlanta are dropping like a stone in the race for the NFC South. A loss to a Blaine Gabbert led 49ers team hardly looks good on any team’s CV.  (PH)

11. Seattle Seahawks (4-4)

Last week: #12

GS = 16, DV = 13, EH = 15, RC = 8, TD = 13, PH = 11, BH = 7

A bye week for the Seahawks should give them time to work on a better game plan for Jimmy Graham, while allowing the Legion of Boom some rest. (DV)

=12. New York Giants (5-4)

Last week: #13

GS = 11, DV = 9, EH = 12, RC = 16, TD = 14, PH = 12, BH = 10

The offense is the strength of the team, with Odell Beckham torching opposing secondaries. The Giants remain in control of the NFC East, but not by much. The defense struggles to stop anyone, despite shutting down Tampa Bay’s running game well on Sunday. The Giants don’t have a running game of their own, and Beckham is the only receiver who can change a game. (EH)

=12. Oakland Raiders (4-4)

Last week: #9

GS = 13, DV = 11, EH = 7, RC = 17, TD = 11, PH = 14, BH = 11

Despite losing to the Steelers, it was another optimistic and exciting performance from a Raiders team that has surprised everyone in 2015. Derek Carr continues to be a calm, authoritative presence, while Amari Cooper, drops aside, is already proving to be a top-tier receiver. Add to the mix free agent bargain Michael Crabtree and running back Latavius Murray, and the Raiders have an offense capable of putting points on anyone. If they can sure up on the backend of the defense, this team can start think about the playoffs. (DV)

14. St Louis Rams (4-4)

Last week: #11

GS = 10, DV = 17, EH = 13, RC = 13, TD = 12, PH = 17, BH = 15

In Todd Gurley, the Rams have one of the two true standout rookies in the NFL this year. Another exciting young team, St. Louis aren’t quite the finished article, but they’re not far off. (PH)

15. Buffalo Bills (4-4)

Last week: #17

GS = 18, DV = 14, EH = 11, RC = 11, TD = 17, PH = 13, BH = 14

The Bills recovered from their injuries over their bye week and dominated the Dolphins once again. The running game is extremely solid with both McCoy and Williams eclipsing 100 yards, and Sammy Watkins looked like a true number one receiver against a Pro-Bowl secondary. The Bills can now start to chase the Jets for second in the AFC East. (EH)

16. Indianapolis Colts (4-5)

Last week: =#18

GS = 14, DV = 15, EH = 14, RC = 14, TD = 16, PH = 15, BH = 17

Andre Luck played like Andrew Luck of old. Furthermore, the receivers were actually getting open for him against the best defense in the league. If the Colts can carry this momentum then the fact their division is poor basically guarantees them a playoff spot. (RC)

17. Philadelphia Eagles (4-4)

Last week: #16

GS = 15, DV = 18, EH = 16, RC = 15, TD = 15, PH = 16, BH = 13

Huffed, puffed, and finally, blew down the Cowboys to pile more misery onto the Romo-less franchise. Sam Bradford was outplayed by Matt Cassel, which should be concerning for all Eagles fans. Still, their record now puts them just one games out of first place in the NFC East, so does it really matter? (DV)

18, New Orleans Saints (4-5)

Last week: #14

GS = 17, DV = 16, EH = 17, RC = 20, TD = 21, PH = 19, BH = 18

The Saints have been in some exciting shootouts over the past few weeks, but lost the gunfight against Tennessee. The defense continues to be a sieve, forcing Drew Brees to work harder to compensate – which is difficult with a still struggling running game – but the Saints are rapidly catching the Falcons in the NFC South and are on the fringes of the wild card race. (EH)

19. Kansas City Chiefs (3-5)

Last week: =#18

GS = 25, DV = 19, EH = 20, RC = 18, TD = 18, PH = 27, BH = 19

The Chiefs looked to have found their mojo in a blowout win against the Lions. But dropping 45 points on the league’s worst team isn’t the same as hanging with other AFC wild card contenders. The next few weeks will prove if the Chiefs can salvage their season behind a good defense. (EH)

20. Washington Redskins (3-5)

Last week: #21

GS = 19, DV = 20, EH = 21, RC = 25, TD = 19, PH = 18, BH = 26

Kirk Cousins may have liked ‘that’ a fortnight ago, but he will have hated the way his offense let him down against the Patriots. Yes, we all know the Redskins were never in it, but Cousins was solid enough, and could have put more points on the board had the Redskins receivers not left their hands Washington. (DV)

21. Miami Dolphins (3-5)

Last week: #20

GS = 20, DV = 22, EH = 26, RC = 23, TD = 20, PH = 22, BH = 20

The Dan Campbell honeymoon period is over. The Dolphins have suffered 2 divisional losses in as many weeks and they haven’t been all that pretty. The performance of this team is a mystery due to the talent, but at least they have the talent. (RC)

22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5)

Last week: #22

GS = 22, DV = 24, EH = 24, RC = 26, TD = 23, PH = 24, BH = 21

Jameis Winston continues to grow in his rookie NFL season. His decision making is improving every quarter, while constantly keeping his talent-poor Buccaneers team in games. Mike Evans needs to hand him a hand-written apology note after the number of drops he had against the Giants. (DV)

23. Dallas Cowboys (2-6)

Last week: #24

GS = 23, DV = 29, EH = 25, RC = 21, TD = 30, PH = 20, BH = 22

Thank goodness Tony Romo will be back soon. The Cowboys are desperate for their star man back. Matt Cassel hasn’t done a terrible job, but he hasn’t done a good job when it’s mattered.   (PH)

24. Chicago Bears (3-5)

Last week: =#25

GS = 26, DV = 25, EH = 22, RC = 24, TD = 24, PH = 25, BH = 27

The Bears have talent on their team, Matt Forte is out but Jay Cutler is showing why he has been celebrated at different times of his career. This team can make plays on both sides of the ball. (RC)

25. Baltimore Ravens (2-6)

Last week: #28

GS = 24, DV = 21, EH = 30, RC = 22, TD = 26, PH = 23, BH = 28

Adding Joe Morgan (who?) to replace Steve Smith during their bye week won’t fill the Ravens fans with much hope, but stranger things have happened. (DV)

26. San Diego Chargers (2-7)

Last week: =#25

GS = 30, DV = 28, EH = 27, RC = 19, TD = 25, PH = 21, BH = 29

The Chargers are holding back Philip Rivers. Despite having the league’s best passing offense, San Diego are last in the AFC West are have essentially no hope of seeing the post season. Injuries have depleted both sides of the ball, and Melvin Gordon hasn’t brought the balancing run game that the Chargers sorely need. (EH)

27. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6)

Last week: #23

GS = 27, DV = 26, EH = 19, RC = 27, TD = 28, PH = 30, BH = 23

The Jaguars will seemingly forever be the nearly men of the NFL. They nearly beat the Jets, which would have nearly put them at the top of the AFC South, but alas they lost and they didn’t. Ball retention work is needed if the Jaguars really want to challenge in the NFL. (DV)

28. Cleveland Browns (2-7)

Last week: #27

GS = 21, DV = 30, EH = 29, RC = 29, TD = 22, PH = 28, BH = 31

The Browns were overpowered by the Bengals on TNF, but there is some reason to be optimistic. I think Manziel looked very much like a QB who has only ever started 4 games, and they should get some defensive players back. (RC)

29. Tennessee Titans (2-6)

Last week: #31

GS = 28, DV = 31, EH = 23, RC = 28, TD = 29, PH = 31, BH = 24

Winning in New Orleans says more about the Saints than it does about the Titans. Yes, Mariota being back makes them a better team, but at the same time, with Mettenberger at QB they were simply awful. (PH)

30. San Francisco 49ers (3-6)

Last week: #30

GS = 29, DV = 27, EH = 31, RC = 31, TD = 27, PH = 26, BH = 25

Despite some improvement under Blaine Gabbert, this is still a bad team led by a bad quarterback. A rebuild looks necessary as neither quarterback is the answer, and the 49ers are doomed to last place in the NFC West. (EH)

31. Houston Texans (3-5)

Last week: #29

GS = 31, DV = 23, EH = 28, RC = 30, TD = 31, PH = 29, BH = 30

The Texans entered their bye week tied for 1st in the AFC South and they are currently 2nd. However, their QB situation is the worst in the division and I think the Jags and Titans will both find ways to get ahead of the Texans. (RC)

32. Detroit Lions (1-7)

Last week: #32

GS = 32, DV = 32, EH = 32, RC = 32, TD = 32, PH = 32, BH = 32

Detroit seem to be intent on losing with excitement. First, they hire an offensive coordinator whose actual first name name is Jim Bob. Then, owner Martha Firestone Ford decides to fire GM Martin Mayhew and President Tom Lewand in one swift afternoon on their bye week. That is one way to go about staying relevant in the NFL. (DV)

American Football Development is a British-American company dedicated to bringing the genuine culture of American football to the UK and beyond. Catering to every aspect of American football – from grassroots programs for schools and communities to elite performance clinics with former NFL players, AFD are the go-to people for all things football-related. AFD are proud to sponsor RealSport’s weekly NFL power rankings.

Agree with our power rankings? Think we ranked your team too low? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Want to share your opinion? Why not Write For Us?


Tags

Gur Samuel

Hi! I'm Gur and I'm RealSport's Editor-in-Chief. I'm also currently the site's tennis editor, and contribute to our NFL, wrestling and Formula 1 coverage as well. I'm also an NFL analyst for CNN International and contributor to SB Nation, and have contributed to, or been interviewed by, various print, broadcast and online media, including Sky News, the BBC, Al Jazeera, Mail Online, ABC, NBC, CBS, USA Today, the Boston Globe, and Yahoo! Sports.

NFL Power Rankings Week 9: Panthers finally break the top 3

Send this to a friend