Week 9 NFL Power Rankings: Is The AFC North The Best Division In Football?

Back in week six of the NFL season, we titled our power rankings post "Bow To Our NFC North Overlords." This week, maybe we should scratch out NFC and replace it with AFC, because that division is probably the best in football. The Steelers, Ravens and Bengals (yes, the Bengals) all have just two losses and the Browns actually have the best record of any last place team in the league. This is a strong division and the best part of it is, they really haven't started to play one another yet. The Ravens still have Cincy & Cleveland twice, plus they get the Steelers next weekend. The Steelers also still haven't played the Bengals. So not only should we learn a lot about just how good these teams are over this second half, we'll probably be seeing some good football in doing so.

The AFC North isn't the only division that's tight right now. All four NFC East teams are within 2 games of the lead, the NFC South has three teams with three losses, and any one of three teams could be leading the AFC East after next week. There's more parity than ever this year in the NFL. It's mostly thanks to mediocrity and inconsistency... but hey, chances are your team isn't out of it.

With that, let's get on with the week 9 NFL power rankings.

1) Green Bay Packers - They finally failed to get a win, but that's only because they were on a bye. Fantasy players everywhere lament. LW (1)

2) Pittsburgh Steelers -The Steelers have won four straight and lead the AFC North. Now they get a shot to make up for that opening weekend blowout at the hands of the Ravens. (LW 5)

3) San Francisco 49ers - They've been a better team than the Lions so far, but still aren't getting respect as the "turn it around" team of the season so far. (LW 4)

4) Baltimore Ravens - Is it a good sign that they needed a huge comeback to beat the Cardinals at home? I dunno.. But I doubt they can do that if they fall down by 21 to Pittsburgh this week. (LW 7)

5) Detroit Lions - They crushed the hapless Broncos, but it's still worrying that they lost two straight at home to NFC contenders in the previous two weeks. The Lions were in need of any win last week, now they need a quality win after their bye  (LW 8)

6) New York Giants - Not the most impressive win over a winless team at home... but it was a win and the Giants are 5-2. Their schedule is brutal from here on out however. (LW 6)

7) Buffalo Bills - Great shutout win over the Redskins ties them atop the AFC East. This game against the Jets should be one of the best of this week.  (LW 12)

8) New England Patriots - We've known all year that the Pats defense isn't anything special, but to see their offense struggle like they did is a concern. They've got a tough schedule ahead. LW (2)

9) New Orleans Saints - The Saints thought the scheduling Gods did them a huge favor by giving them back to back winless teams on their schedule... But the scheduling Gods are vengeful. (LW 3)

10) Cincinnati Bengals - The Bengals are 5-2 and have won four straight. If you don't think they deserve to be this high, you just aren't paying attention. (LW 15)

11) Houston Texans - They've won two straight and could be getting some major help back this week If Andre Johnson can play. (LW 16)

12) New York Jets - The Jets have a tough game this week at the Bills, but a win could put them on top of the AFC East. (LW 10)

13) Atlanta Falcons - The bye week must have felt like a win for them as the Saints choke job in St Louis means they're tied in the loss column for the NFC South lead. And they get the Colts next!  (LW 11)

14) Kansas City Chiefs - It was a sloppy, turnover filled mess they played Monday night against the Chargers... But it was their fourth straight win and puts them in a three way tie atop the AFC West.  (LW 20)

15) Chicago Bears - They will be well rested as they head into Philly for a Monday Night game against the resurgent Eagles. A loss in that game probably buries any hopes they'd have in the NFC North. (LW 13)

16) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Just like the Falcons, the week off felt like a win with the Saints loss. They're now tied in the loss column atop the NFC South. (LW 14)

17) Philadelphia Eagles - The Eagles defense was giving up 26 points per game over the first five weeks. Over the last two games, they've given up 20 total points. It may have taken a month, but it appears the Eagles we expected to see have arrived. (LW 19)

18) San Diego Chargers - Phillip Rivers turned the ball over three times, including an inexplicable fumble of the snap as the Chargers were well within range of a game winning FG with less than a minute left. He's just having an awful season. (LW 9)

19) Tennessee Titans - The Titans have done a good job staying alive in the AFC South, but their schedule gets very tough from here on out. With no Kenny Britt and basically no Chris Johnson, it's hard to see how they're going to come out of the next six games above .500. (LW 21)

20) Dallas Cowboys - Going into Sunday night's game, Dallas had the best run defense in the NFL. Apparently someone forgot to tell LeSean McCoy. (LW 17)

21) Oakland Raiders - Carson Palmer's debut two weeks ago and Tim Tebow last week may have been the two worst QB performances we've seen all season... And now they get to face each other this week! (LW 18)

22) Cleveland Browns - The Browns haven't been terrible this year, but they've unfortunately found themselves in arguably the best division in football. (LW 23)

23) Washington Redskins - It doesn't get worse than being shut out. The Redskins strong start is long gone as this team has lost three straight with a pretty tough second half ahead. (LW 22)

24) Minnesota Vikings - Christian Ponder bested his fellow first round pick Cam Newton, although if Cam had Adrian Peterson he'd probably have won too. (LW 29)

25) Jacksonville Jaguars - For all the press Tim Tebow gets for his struggles, rookie Blaine Gabbert isn't much better. He's completing less than 50% of his passes while seeing his class of 2011 counterparts like Cam Newton and Andy Dalton have great rookie seasons (Christian Ponder is playing better than Gabbert too). (LW 24)

26) Carolina Panthers - The Panthers got 99 problems but a QB ain't one. Hit me! (Seriously though, they've got like ninety-nine problems) (LW 26)

27) St. Louis Rams - A.J. Feeley now has as many wins as a starter this season as Kevin Kolb and Donovan McNabb. #ExEaglesQBs (LW 31)

28) Denver Broncos - Tim Tebow wasn't as bad as I expected him to be on Sunday. He was worse. (LW 25)

29) Seattle Seahawks - They're 2-5 and in sole possession of second place in the NFC West, which should tell you something about that division. At least San Fran is making sure we won't see another 8-8 playoff team from them. (LW 28)

30) Arizona Cardinals - Kevin Kolb has been pretty poor this season, but he is getting sacked more times per game than any other QB in the league. (LW 27)

31) Miami Dolphins - They gave the Giants all they could handle in a game everyone picked to be a laugher. Plus, they still lost, so they're still right there in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. (LW 30)
32) Indianapolis Colts - I thought the music in that Calvin Johnson Acura commercial was Bach's Cello Suite no. 1 in G Major, but it turns out that it's an original piece made for the spot. Although it obviously borrows from the Bach piece. (LW 32)

*The Colts are so bad that I've decided to talk about things more interesting than them, rather than trying to find new ways to describe their awfulness.

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