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NFL Power Rankings - Week 9: Ravens at crossroads, Texans crack top 10

Scott Taetsch / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The NFL Power Rankings are selected by a panel of theScore's football editors, including Mike Alessandrini, Jack Browne, Michael McClymont, and Arun Srinivasan.

1. Los Angeles Rams (8-0)

Previous Rank: 1

The top two teams in the NFC will clash in Week 9 when the Rams visit the Saints. Buckle up. - Alessandrini

2. New England Patriots (6-2)

Previous Rank: 2

New England struggled to finish drives and still emerged with a blowout road victory in primetime over the Bills on Monday night. It's full speed ahead for the Patriots now, with the Packers on the horizon in a mouth-watering Sunday Night Football showdown. - Srinivasan

3. New Orleans Saints (6-1)

Previous Rank: 4

The Saints' defense deserves more attention than it's getting. The unit is giving up just 22 points per game since a Week 1 loss. Can New Orleans keep it up against the Rams? - McClymont

4. Kansas City Chiefs (7-1)

Previous Rank: 3

You cannot stop Patrick Mahomes, you can only attempt to limit the damage he causes. - Alessandrini

5. Los Angeles Chargers (5-2)

Previous Rank: 5

They may not be able to sell tickets in Los Angeles, but the Chargers are clear leaders of the AFC's second tier after the Patriots and Chiefs. They're a legitimate Super Bowl contender. - Alessandrini

6. Carolina Panthers (5-2)

Previous Rank: 7

The Panthers keep stacking wins, and they're patiently waiting for the Rams or Saints to trip up in the NFC. - McClymont

7. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2-1)

Previous Rank: 9

James Conner has all but assured the end of Le'Veon Bell's time in Pittsburgh is coming, with the second-year back needing just seven games to match Bell's career-best single-season rushing touchdown total (nine). - Browne

8. Minnesota Vikings (4-3-1)

Previous Rank: 6

There was no sequel to the Minneapolis Miracle, but despite the loss to the Saints on Sunday night, the injury-riddled Vikings should feel good about their chances in a potential playoff rematch if they can avoid the same costly turnovers. - Browne

9. Cincinnati Bengals (5-3)

Previous Rank: 12

Joe Mixon had his coming out party in Week 8, rushing for two touchdowns and 123 yards. If he, not Andy Dalton, can consistently be the focal point of the Bengals' offense, Cincinnati could be a sleeper contender in the AFC. - Browne

10. Houston Texans (5-3)

Previous Rank: 15

The Texans are on a five-game winning streak, and they have one of the easiest schedules down the stretch. The AFC South may have to go through Houston. - McClymont

11. Washington Redskins (5-2)

Previous Rank: 11

Adrian Peterson turned back the clock with a 149-yard performance, and now the Redskins are somehow sneaking under the radar at 5-2, even while playing in the nation's capital. - Srinivasan

12. Chicago Bears (4-3)

Previous Rank: 13

With the Bills and Lions coming up on their schedule, the Bears would be wise to give Khalil Mack as much time as he needs to fully recover from his ankle injury. Chicago needs him firing on all cylinders later in the season for two all-important games against Minnesota. - Browne

13. Philadelphia Eagles (4-4)

Previous Rank: 14

After a quality win over the Jaguars, hopefully every game for the remainder of the season isn't treated like a referendum on the defending champions' resilience - Srinivasan

14. Baltimore Ravens (4-4)

Previous Rank: 8

Baltimore is at a crossroads and sitting at .500 through eight games after Cam Newton and Co. torched the Ravens' defense 36-21 on Sunday. - Browne

15. Green Bay Packers (3-3-1)

Previous Rank: 10

Does Aaron Rodgers have another late-season charge in him? Even if he does, is it in the Packers' best interests for him to again paper over the widening cracks elsewhere on Green Bay's roster?. - Browne

16. Seattle Seahawks (4-3)

Previous Rank: 16

He's not at Beast Mode levels just yet, but Chris Carson is making many wonder if Marshawn Lynch ever left Seattle. - Alessandrini

17. Miami Dolphins (4-4)

Previous Rank: 18

Wake me up when Brocktober ends. - Srinivasan

18. Dallas Cowboys (3-4)

Previous Rank: 20

Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys are getting a relatively easy matchup coming out of their bye. But which version of the Cowboys will show up to face the Titans on Monday Night Football? - Srinivasan

19. Detroit Lions (3-4)

Previous Rank: 17

The Seahawks embarrassed Detroit in Week 8 while cruising to a 28-14 win. Now, two tough road games against Chicago and Minnesota are coming up. It's now or never for the Lions. - Browne

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-5)

Previous Rank: 19

No team needs a bye week more than the Jags. The defense is in disarray and the offense is in shambles. - McClymont

21. Atlanta Falcons (3-4)

Previous Rank: 21

Three games back in the division with nine games to go doesn't feel like an insurmountable hole. But the Falcons play in the NFC South, a division the Saints lead with their offense averaging 33.4 points per game. - McClymont

22. Tennessee Titans (3-4)

Previous Rank: 22

Oh yeah, the Titans are still in the NFL. How are they doing? - McClymont

23. Denver Broncos (3-5)

Previous Rank: 24

It might be wise for the Broncos to begin trading their veterans while targetting a star pivot prospect in the 2019 draft. - Alessandrini

24. New York Jets (3-5)

Previous Rank: 25

Sam Darnold has completed less than 50 percent of his passes in three of his last four games. Rookie mistakes are to be expected, but the Jets' feel-good vibes have disappeared. - Srinivasan

25. Indianapolis Colts (3-5)

Previous Rank: 27

Would you have believed it if we told you before the season started that Andrew Luck will lead the league in pass attempts and rank 28th in sacks taken after eight weeks? - McClymont

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4)

Previous Rank: 23

Dirk Koetter benched his franchise quarterback and fired his defensive coordinator. He doesn't have many cards left to play. - McClymont

27. Cleveland Browns (2-5-1)

Previous Rank: 26

Only the Browns could go from Hue Jackson to Gregg Williams, replacing one disaster at head coach with potentially another. Still, this team is going be appointment viewing. Can we get "Hard Knocks" back in Cleveland next summer, pretty please? - Browne

28. Buffalo Bills (2-6)

Previous Rank: 29

The Bills showcased their excellent defense on Monday night. But the quality of that unit doesn't matter if the worst offense of the modern era can't take advantage. - Srinivasan

29. Arizona Cardinals (2-6)

Previous Rank: 31

The Cardinals have knocked off the 49ers twice in 2018, which at least proves Arizona isn't the NFL's worst team. - Alessandrini

30. New York Giants (1-7)

Previous Rank: 30

Eli Manning refuses to waive his no-trade clause despite being one of the obvious reasons behind another disastrous season for the Giants. It's tough to exit gracefully, but Manning should know he's done. - Srinivasan

31. San Francisco 49ers (1-7)

Previous Rank: 28

The Raiders and 49ers kick off Week 9 on Thursday night in a battle to see which disappointing squad deserves to be last in our rankings. - Alessandrini

32. Oakland Raiders (1-6)

Previous Rank: 32

With hours left before the trade deadline, we'll see if Jon Gruden is able to continue the largest fire sale in recent memory. - Alessandrini

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