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NFL Power Rankings: Week 9

Welcome to the Week 9 edition of the Cubicle GM NFL Power Rankings.  Every Tuesday you can look forward to our composite rankings, as well as a bit of brief insight and analysis about each of the 32 teams.

The Saints are still on top

The Saints are still on top

The rankings are determined by taking the average of each of the contributors here at The Cube.  For Week 9, we have rankings from five members of the Cubicle GM team, including me, Gideon, Mickey, Walker and Smokey.  So remember, if you disagree with some portion of our rankings, be sure to check the individual rankings to find the culprit.

While we are almost at the midway point of the NFL season, we have reached the midpoint of the Power Rankings for the year.  As a result, I thought it would be fun to take a look at the teams that have done the most movement since the preseason to see how off we really were before the 2009 campaign kicked off.

The biggest surprise in almost everyone’s opinion was the Denver Broncos, who overcame the Cutler saga and Marshall suspension to start the year 6-0.  After ranking them a composite No. 26 to start the year, the Broncos moved up a whopping 23 spots to No. 3 as of last week, the most movement of any team.

The opposite of the Broncos turned out to be the Tennessee Titans. After giving them a composite ranking of No. 8 to start the year, the Titans fell 21 spots all the way to No. 29 after starting the year at an 0-6 clip.  A close second was Mickey and Smokey’s beloved Panthers, who started the year at No. 9, but fell 17 spots to No. 26 after a poor start.

The teams who moved the least were those who started at the bottom and stayed at the bottom.  St. Louis has not cracked the Top 30 this year, spending seven weeks at the very bottom of the ranks before emerging this week.  The Kansas City Chiefs also haven’t moved much, fluctuating only five spots between their current No. 26 and No. 30 for the entirety of the year.

The Cubicle GM rankings have only seen two teams at the top of the rankings, starting with the Steelers defending their title and followed by the Saints after their hot start.  Five teams have occupied the No. 2 spot, including the Colts for a third straight week.  Half the league has found their way into the Top 10, but that includes our misreads on Tennessee and Carolina in the preseason.

Looking now at the Week 9 rankings, Denver fell from the ranks of the undefeated with their loss to Baltimore on Sunday and also out of the top three.  Jumping back into that spot was the Minnesota Vikings, who looked impressive in their win at Green Bay.  The Saints and Colts held on to their unanimous places in the top two spots in the rankings after their respective wins.

After dropping five spots in the last two weeks, the Giants fell again after suffering a third straight loss, a shellacking at the hands of the rival Eagles.  Their position at No. 10 is their lowest of the year.  Replacing them at No. 7 were those Eagles, jumping up three spots.

The bottom of the rankings got a change this week, as the St. Louis Rams and Tennessee Titans removed themselves from the ranks of the winless.  Tampa is now the lone team without a win, and finds themselves at No. 32 in the rankings.  Cleveland falls down four spots to No. 30, and after seeing them in person this week I’m not sure that’s low enough.

Outside of our top two undefeated teams, change was the theme in the rankings this week.  There were 27 teams that changed spots this week, with 12 teams moving at least three spots up or down the ranks.

The Titans had the biggest positive movement this week, jumping four spots after finally winning a game.  The biggest downward mover was interesting this week, as the Jets fell five spots after losing to the Dolphins for the second time this season.

The disagreements among the rankers dwindled this week to nearly nothing. There were just four disagreements of exactly seven spots in their ranks.  This is the second consecutive week with no double digit disagreements between any of the contributors.

Dallas Cowboys (7) – Walker 9, Smokey 16

Green Bay Packers (7) – Gideon 7, Jacob/Mickey 14

Atlanta Falcons (7) – Gideon/Smokey 10, Walker 17

New York Jets (7) – Gideon 13, Smokey 20

On the divisional side, the NFC East continues to lead the way with an average score of 11.50, holding their lead over the AFC North, who came in with a 13.20 average this week.  The bottom two divisions remain the same for the sixth consecutive week, as the NFC West remains at the bottom even with a win by the Rams, checking in with a 22.80 average rank.  They are trailing the NFC South, who has a 19.45 average thanks to Tampa at the bottom.

As a reminder, you can check out all the backup data here.  Without further ado, onto the rankings.  As always, last week’s ranks are in parentheses.

1. New Orleans Saints (1) – The Saints won again despite a second straight four turnover game.

2. Indianapolis Colts (2) – It was tougher than expected, but the Colts got by the 49ers despite no TDs from Peyton Manning.

3. Minnesota Vikings (6) – The Vikings proved they can win when teams focus on Adrian Peterson, emerging victorious despite just three first downs on the ground.

4. New England Patriots (4) – The Patriots got a little help from their friends in Miami to open a 1.5 game lead during their bye week.

5. Denver Broncos (3) – It was bound to happen sometime, as the Broncos offense was shut down in their first loss of the season.

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (5) – The Steelers have two tough games coming off their bye, facing Denver and Cincinnati.

7. Philadelphia Eagles (10) – DeSean Jackson already has six TDs of 50 or more yards on the season.  Incredible.

8. Cincinnati Bengals (8) – Cincinnati can take control of the AFC North if they can beat Baltimore and Pittsburgh, their next two opponents.

9. Baltimore Ravens (9) – The Ravens defense looked like, well, the Ravens defense of old in a big win over Denver.

10. New York Giants (7) – What happened to the undefeated Giants?  Three defeats later this team looks lost on both sides of the ball.

11. Dallas Cowboys (14) – Another excellent performance from Tony Romo gives him three straight games with three plus TDs and no interceptions.

12. Green Bay Packers (11) – The Packers didn’t turn the ball over, had nearly equal total yards, and greater time of possession, but could not complete a second half comeback against Minnesota.

13. Atlanta Falcons (12) – The Falcons held tough against the Saints, but were doomed by a interception returned for a TD late in the first half.

14. Houston Texans (17) – Steve Slaton’s fumbling wasn’t the worst of Houston’s problems, as they lost TE Owen Daniels for the year with a knee injury.

15. San Diego Chargers (16) – The Chargers weren’t overly impressive in their win over the Raiders, but at least LaDainian Tomlinson found the end zone.

16. Miami Dolphins (18) – The Fins proved they didn’t need the wildcat to beat the Jets, using it just five times in their 30-25 victory.

17. Chicago Bears (20) – The Bears bounce back from a blowout loss with a big win, albeit over the Browns.  This team still needs work if it wants to contend though.

18. New York Jets (13) – The Jets lost despite allowing just nine points to the Miami offense.

19. Arizona Cardinals (15) – After shutting down the Giants, the Cardinals allowed 270 yards on the ground in a loss to the Panthers.

20. San Francisco 49ers (19) – After running for a 64-yard score on just his third carry of the game, Frank Gore was held to just 20 yards on his final 10 of the game in a loss to the Colts.

21. Carolina Panthers (24) – The Panthers matchup with the Cardinals was nearly a mirror image of last year’s playoff game, as it was the Panthers who forced five interceptions in their win.

22. Jacksonville Jaguars (23) – Maurice-Jones Drew had 172 yards on his first five carries of the game, yet only received three carries the rest of the game.  Explain to me how that makes sense.

23.  Seattle Seahawks (22) – Looks like the bye week didn’t help much in preparing for the Cowboys, as the Seahawks allowed Dallas into the end zone five times.

24. Buffalo Bills (21) – T.O. finally found the end zone on his only carry of the game, and was nearly the leading rusher for the Bills on Sunday.

25. Tennessee Titans (29) – Vince Young started at QB, but Chris Johnson did all the work, piling up a career high 228 yards on the ground in the Titans’ first win of the year.

26. Kansas City Chiefs (27) – The Chiefs look to improve off the bye week with Jamaal Charles in the backfield.

27. Detroit Lions (25) – Maybe the Lions didn’t want their ’08 team to have company in the record books.  How else do you explain a loss to the Rams?

28. Washington Redskins (30) – With Atlanta, Denver, Dallas, Philadelphia and New Orleans coming up, November looks to be winless for the lowly Skins.

29. Oakland Raiders (28) – One of my new favorite terms is the JaMendoza line, which is over/under three fantasy points for a QB.  Russell was under it this week in the loss to the Chargers.

30. Cleveland Browns (26) – After seeing this team in person, I am in shock that they have more than zero wins on the campaign. 

31. St. Louis Rams (32) – It’s a good thing the Rams won this one, because it doesn’t look good for them going forward.

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (31) – Nowhere to go but up.

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