Week 9 was a record breaking week for two rookies who continued their teams' upward climb in the power rankings. Andrew Luck set a rookie record for passing yards in a game with 433 yards while Doug Martin set a Tampa Bay record with 251 rushing yards.
Teams are spread out across the rankings regardless of overall record. Since these power rankings have been based on week to week performance and not just a list of the teams with the best record, teams in the middle of the pack are spread out more than anyone. With 4-4 teams spread from Tampa at #11 to San Diego at #23 and 3-5 teams from Cincinnati at #14 to Buffalo at #30, parody is in full effect in the NFL.
Previous week's ranking and current record in parentheses
1. (1) Atlanta Falcons (8-0) - The best teams are sometimes the ones that know how to win the close games, and Atlanta keeps up that trend winning another close one in the 4th quarter to remain undefeated.
2. (4) Chicago Bears (7-1) - The vaunted Chicago defense does it again, dominating the Titans by forcing five turnovers including a pick-6 by Brian Urlacher, and consistently giving the Bears offense a short field to work with.
3. (2) Houston Texans (7-1) - A solid but not dominating win over a bad Bills team has Houston dropping one spot.
4. (3) Green Bay Packers (6-3) - The Packers win easily over Arizona with Aaron Rodgers' four passing touchdowns, but Rodgers' 14-30 passing on the day worries me as this team can't allow him to start slipping.
5. (5) San Francisco 49ers (6-2) - It will be interesting to see which 49er team shows up after the bye week against the Rams, the team that crushed the Cardinals or the one that got crushed by the Vikings.
6. (6) New England Patriots (5-3) - New England might get another big win after their bye week, facing Buffalo at home. Hopefully they don't overlook the Bills in anticipation of their game against the Colts in week 11.
7. (7) Denver Broncos (5-4) - Manning again has a three touchdown day as he improves his record against the Bengals to 8-0. Though it remained close through most of the game, it never felt like Manning didn't have everything under control.
8. (9) Baltimore Ravens (6-2) - The Ravens needed a rally late to come away with a victory in Cleveland. If I'm a Baltimore fan, I'm starting to worry about my team being able to put up points. But a win is a win.
9. (10) Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3) - A HUGE 4th quarter comeback on the road for the Steelers behind big games by Roethlisberger and Redman. The defense stepped up in the 4th quarter, not allowing a single first down.
10. (8) New York Giants (6-3) - Again the Giants try to give a game away, but this time Eli Manning couldn't bring his team back.
11. (13) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-4) - Tampa Bay's offense continues to be red hot, this time relying on Doug Martin's 251 yards and 4 touchdowns on only 25 carries.
12. (14) Detroit Lions (4-4) - Matthew Stafford (285 passing yards) puts up some good yardage along with Calvin Johnson (129 receiving yards). But running back Mikel Leshoure was the story of the game with three touchdowns.
13. (15) Seattle Seahawks (5-4) - Another good win at home (4-0) for the Seahawks. For the first time this season, Russell Wilson carried Seattle to victory throwing 3 touchdowns.
14. (12) Cincinnati Bengals (3-5) - Andy Dalton held his own against Peyton Manning, but in the end the Bengals suffer another home loss (1-3 at home).
15. (22) Indianapolis Colts (5-3) - Andrew Luck leads the Colts to victory with a record setting performance with 433 passing yards (a rookie record). Don't look now, but the Colts are in line to make a playoff birth.
16. (11) Minnesota Vikings (5-4) - Another game where Christian Ponder struggles while Adrian Peterson has a big day has some questioning if Ponder is ready to lead this team.
17. (16) St. Louis Rams (3-5) - A much needed bye week after getting destroyed by the Patriots in London. Next week doesn't look to get any better as the Rams travel to San Fransisco.
18. (17) Arizona Cardinals (4-5) - The Cardinals are on the kind of skid I expected from them before the season as they are now on a 5 game losing streak.
19. (18) Miami Dolphins (4-4) - Tannehill has another good week but is overshadowed by the loss and Andrew Luck's record breaking performance..
20. (24) New Orleans Saints (3-5) - Once again, Brees and the offense needed to put up points. The defense gave up some big yardage, but was able to keep Philadelphia out of the end zone for the most part.
21. (19) Philadelphia Eagles (3-5) - The Eagles moved the ball against a bad Saints defense, but a few bad breaks and a horrible offensive line doomed Philadelphia.
22. (21) Dallas Cowboys (3-5) - I'm starting to feel bad for Tony Romo. He's playing decent but the rest of the team around him can't seem to put together a complete game.
23. (25) San Diego Chargers (4-4) - The Chargers got a much needed division win at home, but need to perform better against teams that aren't terrible if they expect to make a second half run.
24. (20) Washington Redskins (3-6) - Bad play calling in another loss for the 'Skins means it might be time to question if Mike Shanahan really knows how to best use his weapons.
25. (23) Tennessee Titans (3-6) - CJ2K had a good day on the ground with 141 yards rushing, but five turnovers killed the Titans.
26. (28) Oakland Raiders (3-5) - Oakland's offense continues to look like they're getting things figured out, but the defense gave up over 500 total yards of offense.
27. (26) New York Jets (3-5) - The Jets have a tough draw after the bye week, heading across the country to play at Seattle who are currently 4-0 at home.
28. (27) Cleveland Browns (2-7) - The rookie duo of Richardson and Weeden had some success moving the ball against the Ravens defense, but this team needs to not settle for field goals if they expect to make any progress.
29. (31) Carolina Panthers (2-6) - RG3 said last week that he didn't want to be compared to Cam Newton, but rather Aaron Rodgers. Cam responded, carrying the Panthers to a good road victory. The team is still bad, but a win is a win.
30. (29) Buffalo Bills (3-5) - Buffalo continues to struggle to put points on the board as the Texans hold them to only 3 field goals. At least the defense didn't get killed this week though.
31. (30) Kansas City Chiefs (1-7) - Once again, turnovers kill the Chiefs against San Diego. But Kansas City looked overmatched throughout most of the game.
32. (32) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7) - Blaine Gabbert is starting to put up some numbers this season (granted, against a bad Lions secondary), but this team has way too many holes to make any significant progress anytime soon.
J. Lance Moose is a contributor and lead football writer for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter, and subscribe on Facebook facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports
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