Courtesy of FanHouse's Adam Gretz -- you may know him from such programs as our Sunday and Monday night live chats -- comes this zinger to open our Week 9 NFL Power Rankings:
"Maybe Jerry Jones can convince the NFL to move the draft to Cowboys Stadium ... at least they could make the No. 1 pick in front of their fans."
Not a bad idea. Dallas clearly isn't going to be the home team come February's Super Bowl, and the Cowboys look like they've already called it quits, not even halfway through the season. Sunday's terrible loss to Jacksonville might be the low point, but who knows -- right now, Dallas looks capable of fading much deeper into the abyss.
Meanwhile, up top in our latest rankings, the NFC is starting to make some noise. This doesn't look like a cut-and-dry season of AFC domination anymore, the way it did a few weeks back. We're still AFC-heavy in our top three, but the NFC is slowing evening out our top 10.
Take a look at our Week 9 NFL Power Rankings:
- 1. Patriots (6-1) | Last Week: 3
Look out, NFL. The Patriots have put together the rag-tag collection of talent that Bill Belichick works best with, and Tom Brady -- with his Tim Lincecum tribute haircut -- is locked in one of those cool and breezy zones.
- 2. Colts (5-2) | Last Week: 5
The Colts continue to lose players to injury. And the Colts continue to plug those holes with whatever able bodies they have. Oh, the Colts also keep winning -- another nod to how ridiculously good Peyton Manning is. At this point, you could probably lineup Manning and 10 offensive linemen and he'd find a way to throw for 300 yards.
- 3. Ravens (5-2) | Last Week: 4
Hopefully for the Ravens, they've washed that miserable effort in a Week 7 win over the Bills away and can get back to smashing people after their Week 8 bye. Their AFC North battle with the Steelers looks destined to go to the wire, so they cannot afford any off games.
- 4. Giants (5-2) | Last Week: 7
The biggest news out of the Giants' bye week might have been the announcement that Eli Manning is a father-to-be. On the field, the Giants still have to be considered among the favorites in the NFC, and in Week 9 it'll be Matt Hasselbeck's turn to try and survive a defense that has been doing terrible things to opposing QBs. -- Michael Katz
- 5. Steelers (5-2) | Last Week: 2
Hard to punish Pittsburgh too much for losing on Halloween night in New Orleans to a desperate Saints team. Still, Ben Roethlisberger looked shaky for three quarters or so against a depleted Saints secondary -- there's still some rust there that he'll have to work through.
- 6. Falcons (5-2) | Last Week: 8
Big two weeks coming up for Atlanta, which gets rising Tampa Bay at home Sunday, then hosts Baltimore in the season's second Thursday night affair. The Falcons need to show a little more consistency on both sides of the ball to take permanent residence up this high.
- 7. Packers (5-3) | Last Week: 18
For all their faults, the Packers find themselves in first place, and given the turmoil in Minnesota and the flaws in Chicago, it wouldn't be any surprise if they stayed there. Green Bay gutted out a second straight win Sunday, shockingly shutting out the Jets with at least one Packers defensive player -- Howard Green -- playing a significant role after practicing with the team just once. -- Bruce Ciskie
- 8. Jets (5-2) | Last Week: 1
That sound you hear is the Jets being smacked down a notch. New York gave a miserable offensive effort in a 9-0 loss to Green Bay that confirmed everyone's worst fear about the Jets: if a team can shut down their running game, Mark Sanchez may not be capable of doing it on his own.
- 9. Saints (5-3) | Last Week: 11
Things are far from perfect in the Big Easy, but Sunday night's win over Pittsburgh certainly helped. The Saints are starting to get healthy and have a manageable schedule coming up. Assuming they don't regress mightily at Carolina in Week 9, this team's ready for a run.
- 10. Dolphins (4-3) | Last Week: 14
Everyone's talking about the Patriots and Jets in the AFC East, but the Dolphins just continue lurking -- and could be the team that adds Randy Moss after he's waived by Minnesota. If they can pull an upset Sunday in Baltimore, look out.
- 11. Chiefs (5-2) | Last Week: 15
It wasn't pretty, but it was a win. The Chiefs couldn't manage to beat the Bills until no time remained in overtime and the football was sailing between the uprights. This running game looks unstoppable; that and a good defense will get them far in the postseason. -- R.J. White
- 12. Eagles (4-3) | Last Week: 12
What a beautiful bye week it was for the Eagles. Division rival Dallas slunk deeper into despair and the quarterback the Eagles jettisoned this offseason -- Donovan McNabb -- was benched by his new team for Sexy Rex Grossman. Now the Eagles should get Mike Vick and DeSean Jackson back, and Andy Reid doesn't lose after a bye week (11-0). -- MK
- 13. Buccaneers (5-2) | Last Week: 13
A nice road win in Arizona kept the Bucs tied with Atlanta atop the NFC South, but we'll know a lot, lot more about Tampa Bay after the next few weeks -- four of the Bucs' next six games are on the road, plus Atlanta comes to visit in that stretch.
- 14. Titans (5-3) | Last Week: 6
Kenny Britt's injury could loom large for Tennessee as it fights to keep pace with the surging Colts in the AFC South. And if Vince Young can't get and stay healthy, you can probably just forget it -- Kerry Collins is still an OK quarterback, but he's not going to blow anyone away anymore.
- 15. Raiders (4-4) | Last Week: 20
Who are you, and what have you done with the Oakland Raiders? A week after recording their best point total in franchise history, the Raiders decimated the NFC West-leading Seahawks. Oakland is now 92-17 over their last eight quarters. Is any team hotter? -- RW
- 16. Texans (4-3) | Last Week: 9
It's tough to expect Houston to sweep the Colts, so Monday's loss isn't a big surprise. What was a surprise was watching Matt Schaub throw the ball to no one for about two-and-a-half quarters. And the defense clearly misses DeMeco Ryans -- that move of Brian Cushing to the middle may not stick.
- 17. Bears (4-3) | Last Week: 17
The Bears lost two straight home games to teams we thought would be inferior to them, then licked their wounds during the bye week. Lance Briggs should be good to go, but he's not going to help protect Jay Cutler. Apparently, neither is offensive coordinator Mike Martz, who hasn't stopped leaving Cutler without adequate blocking in front of him. -- BC
- 18. Redskins (4-4) | Last Week: 10
The Redskins lost in Detroit for the second straight season. This time it wasn't losing to the Lions that was embarrassing, it was the way it happened. Despite his benching, Donovan McNabb still has the support of his teammates. But his relationship with Mike Shanahan seems a bit more perplexing. -- MK
- 19. Chargers (3-5) | Last Week: 26
The injury bug is hitting the Chargers as hard as ever, as they're having trouble fielding a full complement of receivers each week. Still, they took care of business against the Titans in a must-win game and still have a puncher's chance of taking the West. -- RW
- 20. Jaguars (4-4) | Last Week: 21
Sure, they beat the Cowboys, but who hasn't at this point? Even with that 18-point blowout victory, the Jags have been outscored by 61 points this season -- point differential's not the end-all, be-all teller of success, but that's a terrible stat.
- 21. Seahawks (4-3) | Last Week: 16
This is the NFC West's best team? Really? Seattle couldn't do anything on either side of the ball Sunday and got stomped, 33-3, by the suddenly hot Raiders.
- 22. Rams (4-4) | Last Week: 25
St. Louis beat the Panthers, just as the Rams should have. But they look like a team, given their youth and schedule, with an 8-8 ceiling. Of course, that could be enough to win the NFC West by about two games, so ....
- 23. Browns (2-5) | Last Week: 23
Cleveland's not going to challenge Pittsburgh or Baltimore this season, but it'll be interesting to see how the Browns come out of their bye after a win in New Orleans. There's a chance to show some real, legitimate progress here.
- 24. Lions (2-5) | Last Week: 30
Give the Lions credit for a nice comeback win over Washington, which was lost in Mike Shanahan's decision to bench Donovan McNabb for the two-minute drill. Calvin Johnson continues to produce in the face of constant double-teams. Now, the team hopes Matthew Stafford will stay healthy so he can get in a rhythm with his offensive teammates and get better. -- BC
- 25. Cardinals (3-4) | Last Week: 19
Now it looks like Arizona's going back to Derek Anderson at quarterback. Sure, why not? Max Hall's clearly not ready to be a starter in the league, but Anderson's a known commodity -- and there's not a lot in that tank, either.
- 26. Bengals (2-5) | Last Week: 24
Their home game next Monday night against Pittsburgh is kind of a line-in-the-sand type game. If Cincinnati can pull the upset, it'll have some hope for a second-half turnaround. If the Steelers win, we can start taking bets on whether Terrell Owens or Chad Ochocinco will flip out first.
- 27. 49ers (2-6) | Last Week: 31
What's all this then? San Francisco got some life from the QB switch to Troy Smith -- at least enough to beat a crummy Denver team. But hey! The 49ers will end this season with the best record outside the country, so there's that.
- 28. Vikings (2-5) | Last Week: 22
With Monday's decision to waive receiver Randy Moss after just 26 days, it's apparent that the Vikings have become a laughingstock. The only thing that would top this is if the team put in a waiver claim for the receiver they put on waivers, and I'm not even sure that's allowed. One has to wonder what Brett Favre thinks of this move. -- BC
- 29. Broncos (2-6) | Last Week: 27
How can a passing game this good be 2-6 heading into a Week 9 bye? The Kyle Orton-to-Brandon Lloyd connection is as strong as ever, but the Broncos have lost four straight games. Consider Week 10's game against Kansas City the Broncos' last chance at a successful 2010. -- RW
- 30. Panthers (1-6) | Last Week: 28
That Week 7 win over San Francisco might have to hold people over for a bit -- the schedule isn't exactly a cakewalk coming up and the Panthers pretty clearly aren't any good.
- 31. Bills (0-7) | Last Week: 32
How did the Bills, perhaps en route to 0-16, jump over anyone? Well, consider an "Effort Bonus." Buffalo could have -- should have? -- won at Baltimore in Week 7 and at K.C. in Week 8. The Bills are still trying hard, which is way more than can be said for Dallas.
- 32. Cowboys (1-6) | Last Week: 29
If the Cowboys bandwagon emptied after a Week 6 loss to the Vikings, it drove off a cliff in a 35-17 home loss to the Jaguars on Sunday. Jon Kitna threw four interceptions in his first start, and somehow the defense emerged as the biggest scapegoat in this dreadful season. -- MK