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AP Photo/Bill Feig

2023 NFL Power Rankings: Week 9

Parity remains the theme in the NFL this season, but the Eagles are 7-1 and move up to the top spot in the Week 9 power rankings.


1. Philadelphia Eagles (7-1) | Last week: 2 (+1)

Washington has had major success versus the Eagles offensively both games this season, and the upcoming schedule through the middle of December (vs. Dallas, at Kansas City, vs. Buffalo, vs. San Francisco, at Dallas, and at Seattle) will tell us a lot about the defense. However, as they’ve shown for an extended stretch, Philly just wins games with Jalen Hurts.


2. Baltimore Ravens (6-2) | Last week: 3 (+1)

Baltimore’s win over Arizona felt like a strange one and included late scores by the Cardinals to cut it to one possession, but the bottom line—as John Harbaugh said after the game—they found a way to win, and it’s not always pretty at this level.


3. Kansas City Chiefs (6-2) | Last week: 1 (-2)

As I say all the time, off days happen in sports—particularly in a league with as much parity as today’s NFL. The Chiefs should play a much cleaner game in Germany this Sunday after committing five turnovers in their loss at Denver—Patrick Mahomes’ first against the AFC West opponent.


4. Detroit Lions (6-2) | Last week: 5 (+1)

Running back Jahmyr Gibbs starred with 189 total yards and a touchdown, and fellow rookie Sam LaPorta caught another touchdown at tight end—while the defense had a major bounce back and dominated the Raiders up front—in the Lions’ Monday night victory. Putting the Week 7 outing at Baltimore aside, Detroit has played as well as any team this year.


5. Buffalo Bills (5-3) | Last week: 6 (+1)

Josh Allen seemed to play more freely in last Thursday night’s win against the Buccaneers, and rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid caught his first career touchdown while looking like the future superstar we expected him to be. I love Buffalo’s move to add cornerback Rasul Douglas in a trade with Green Bay.


6. Miami Dolphins (6-2) | Last week: 7 (+1)

Tua Tagovailoa threw for 324 yards and three touchdowns last week to move to 6-0 against Bill Belichick in his career. The Dolphins—with excellent play from Jalen Ramsey in his team debut—are getting healthier with their Week 10 bye week approaching, but first they head to Europe to face the Chiefs in a highly anticipated showdown.


7. Dallas Cowboys (5-2) | Last week: 8 (+1)

The Cowboys emerged from their bye refreshed and looking like the Super Bowl contender many thought them to be this preseason, demolishing the Rams behind strong play headlined by Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb, and the defense. DaRon Bland already has three pick-sixes this season, and his stellar performance has helped alleviate the loss of All-Pro corner Trevon Diggs.


8. San Francisco 49ers (5-3) | Last week: 4 (-4)

The Niners have lost three consecutive games and Brock Purdy has struggled with interceptions, but I think this could be a good learning experience for him and that the offense will be fine. Getting healthier after the bye—including left tackle Trent Williams and receiver Deebo Samuel—would be huge. And I don’t know how San Francisco was able to get Chase Young from the Commanders for just a third-round pick. San Fran has an embarrassment of riches off the edge.


9. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-2) | Last week: 9

Perhaps I am part of the problem in having the Jaguars down at No. 9, but they feel like the most discreet 6-2 team I can remember. Granted, the AFC South isn’t super competitive, but Jacksonville is playing well on both sides of the ball—and the passing game still hasn’t clicked all the way, with Trevor Lawrence not throwing more than two touchdowns in a game this season (and he’s done that just twice).


10. Cincinnati Bengals (4-3) | Last week: 11 (+1)

They’re at No. 10 for now, but I suspect the Bengals will climb rapidly up the power rankings after the way they performed at Levi’s Stadium in Week 9, coming out hot and controlling things against the Niners. Joe Burrow is clearly 100% healthy now after battling through the calf injury, and the defense has hit its stride.


11. Seattle Seahawks (5-2) | Last week: 12 (+1)

Seattle found a way to beat the Browns, and they are now in first place in the NFC West—and added defensive lineman Leonard Williams in a trade with the Giants. At Baltimore this week is a massive test for Geno Smith and the offense.


12. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) | Last week: 10 (-2)

The Steelers were understandable frustrated with poor officiating last week—including a textbook typical roughing-the-passer penalty that led to a Kenny Pickett injury but was not flagged. The Pittsburgh defense won’t have All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (hamstring) for tomorrow night against the Titans, but defensive lineman Cameron Heyward might return to give a boost on the interior.


13. New York Jets (4-3) | Last week: 13

No doubt, the Giants gave them life, but the bottom line is the Jets found a way to win the rivalry game to improve to 4-3. Zach Wilson’s clutch throws to force overtime were very encouraging, and the New York offense just needs to play through Breece Hall and avoid big mistakes.


14. Los Angeles Chargers (3-4) | Last week: 16 (+2)

The Chargers will look to keep it going on both sides of the ball and force the Jets into mistakes this Monday night. LA didn’t have much trouble with an overmatched Chicago team last Sunday night, but I want to see even bigger games from Joey Bosa (one sack last week) and Khalil Mack in Week 9.


15. New Orleans Saints (4-4) | Last week: 23 (+8)

This is a big jump for the Saints, but the vibes were much better on offense in their shootout win over the Colts, and I like the heavy usage of Taysom Hill and Alvin Kamara to get the offense rolling. New Orleans is in a good spot to get to above .500 when they take on the Bears this Sunday.


16. Cleveland Browns (4-3) | Last week: 15 (-1)

The Browns were in yet another close game last week, but they couldn’t find a way to seal the deal at Seattle. It’s on the Cleveland defense to dominate facing rookie quarterback Clayton Tune in his first career start this week.


17. Minnesota Vikings (4-4) | Last week: 14 (-3)

The key win for the Vikings at Lambeau Field was overshadowed by the loss of quarterback Kirk Cousins for the year due to a torn Achilles. The team traded for veteran quarterback Joshua Dobbs, who is set to eventually start; but it’ll be fifth-round rookie Jaren Hall playing versus the Falcons this Sunday. I’m not counting out the Vikings from getting into the postseason with how the defense has played the past handful of weeks.


18. Denver Broncos (3-5) | Last week: 29 (+11)

It was easy to pile on the Broncos early this season (Sean Payton will admit himself that he brought it on himself with his preseason comments about the previous regime), but you have to tip your cap to the way Payton has gotten his team to respond after the slow start. The Denver defense had a great gameplan to contain Patrick Mahomes and make plays last week, and the offense is getting an identity behind running back Javonte Williams.


19. Los Angeles Rams (3-5) | Last week: 17 (-2)

The Rams were no match for the Cowboys, and now quarterback Matthew Stafford is dealing with a right thumb injury that puts him in jeopardy for Week 9. The lack of production for Cooper Kupp over the past two games is surprising and concerning.


20. Tennessee Titans (3-4) | Last week: 28 (+8)

Will Levis threw four touchdowns in his first career start and NFL debut, and that type of performance can be something that gives him confidence to play at a high level. I like how it came via the deep ball, too, as that’ll open things up for Derrick Henry and the run game.


21. Atlanta Falcons (4-4) | Last week: 18 (-3)

We’ll get word today on whether the quarterback switch from Desmond Ridder to Taylor Heinicke will continue into this Sunday against the Vikings, but I think there’s no question that Heinicke gave the offense a boost in their comeback attempt versus the Titans last week. Heinicke gives his playmakers opportunities to make plays, and the Falcons have playmakers that can benefit from that.


22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4) | Last week: 19 (-3)

The Buccaneers were inches away from a Hail Mary leading to an upset win at Buffalo last Thursday night, but overall the fight they showed in the game was a promising sign—they didn’t play particularly well on offense but found a way to be in the game at the end. I think keeping Rachaad White heavily involved as a receiver is a path to success for Tampa.


23. Indianapolis Colts (3-5) | Last week: 20 (-3)

We have to keep an eye on Jonathan Taylor, who was limited in the second half of last week’s loss to the Saints and might be banged up heading into Sunday at Carolina. The Indy defense has given up 37, 39, and 38 points over the past three games.


24. Houston Texans (3-4) | Last week: 21 (-3)

Despite coming off the bye, Houston couldn’t find a way to beat then-winless Carolina and get to 4-3. The ineffectiveness of the Texans run game has been one of the NFL’s biggest disappointments at around the halfway point in the season, but they just need to keep at it and eventually things should pop with Dameon Pierce and Devin Singletary.


25. Las Vegas Raiders (3-5) | Last week: 22 (-3)

The Raiders have fired head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler, which is not a total shock considering the offense had yet to hit 20 points in a game this season (they scored 21 points thanks to a safety late against the Patriots).


As someone with Davante Adams on their fantasy team, I was not happy at all with the Monday night outing, and Jimmy Garoppolo simply must put the ball out there on at least one of those wide-open deep balls—but those were virtually all Jimmy G had opportunities to hit playing behind an offensive line that could not protect him at all. Garoppolo was pressured on 71.4% of his dropbacks, the most in any game since 2018. No quarterback can have success in that situation.


26. New England Patriots (2-6) | Last week: 24 (-2)

The Patriots don’t have the players to keep up with the Dolphins unless they avoid mistakes on offense, so the second-half Mac Jones interception to Jalen Ramsey was a swing in the game that was tough to overcome. Top receiver Kendrick Bourne is done for the year with a torn ACL in yet another blow to New England this season.


27. Green Bay Packers (2-5) | Last week: 25 (-2)

The growing pains for the Packers are evident with their new quarterback, and it’s surprising that a lack of identity appears to be an issue for Matt LaFleur’s squad right now. Hopefully things eventually click for Green Bay.


28. New York Giants (2-6) | Last week: 27 (-1)

The Giants had last week’s game in hand before a missed field goal by Graham Gano in the wet conditions at MetLife Stadium, and the loss might’ve sealed the fate of the 2022 playoff participants—and likely sparking the Leonard Williams trade. That said, Daniel Jones (neck) is back for this week against the Raiders, and we’ll see if New York can somehow go on a run.


29. Washington Commanders (3-5) | Last week: 26 (-3)

The Commanders are in a similar spot after their loss to the Eagles, presumably looking ahead to 2024 while dealing both starting edge rushers Chase Young and Montez Sweat. Analytics certainly played a part in the moves, but the franchise should avoid taking that approach to too extreme of a level with personnel decisions—i.e., selecting players.


30. Chicago Bears (2-6) | Last week: 30

I like Montez Sweat, but I don’t understand that Bears dealing a (likely very high) second-round pick to bring him in for half a season at 2-6. It puts the franchise tag on the table, but they could’ve just offered him a big contract during free agency this offseason if they want to build with him on defense. That’s two straight years of very puzzling second-round pick trades by Chicago.


31. Arizona Cardinals (1-7) | Last week: 31

Kyler Murray (knee) is nearing his 2023 debut, but the team decided to deal Joshua Dobbs to quarterback-needy Minnesota while going with rookie Clayton Tune versus a stingy Browns defense this week.


32. Carolina Panthers (1-6) | Last week: 32

For as bad as a season as it’s been in Carolina, getting Bryce Young a win against C.J. Stroud and the Texans could be helpful for the psyche of the No. 1 pick—and you could see how happy he and the team were following their first victory of 2023. The Panthers have a real opportunity to make it two straight if they can contain the Colts run game in Week 9.