KN’s NFL Power Rankings through Week Nine
1. Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs, better known as the former Super Bowl Champions, top the list for best team in the NFL. Everything about this team is wonderful. Led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs have a solid offense. Tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill are aiding Mahomes and benefitting the passing game greatly. Rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire and recent acquisition Leveon Bell complete the backfield. On the other side of the ball, the Chiefs are not as impressive but still solid. Against the run, they are decent whereas against the pass, they are great. Tyrann Mathieu, Bashaud Breeland and Daniel Sorenson are notable players to keep an eye on. The Chiefs are 8-1 with wins against the Bills, Ravens and Patriots and a loss against the Raiders.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers are right up there with the best this season. Unlike the Chiefs, Pittsburgh prides themselves on the defense. The Steelers have the best defense in the league against the run and arguably the best against the pass as well. All-Pro TJ Watt paired with Cameron Hayward form an intimidating defensive line. Joe Haden and Minkah Fitzpatrick lead the no-fly secondary. On offense, veteran Ben Roethlisberger is playing well after his season-long injury last year. He is aided by JuJu Smith-Schuster, Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson, a formidable receiver core. The offensive line is a brick wall as well. The Steelers are the only undefeated team left at 8-0, beating the Titans, Browns and Eagles.
3. Green Bay Packers
The Packers are a great team once again this year. Aaron Rodgers, at 36 years old, is performing impressively considering the poor receivers that he has around him. The team’s offensive line compliments Rodgers well, ranking in the top 10 for sacks given up this year. The defense is decent but nothing special. Cornerback Jaire Alexander usually spots up on the opposing number one receiver and shuts them down. The Packers are 6-2, only losing to a good Buccaneers team and the Vikings.
4. Seattle Seahawks
Although losing to the Cardinals and Bills in a well-fought battle, the Seahawks are the first team from the National Football Conference (NFC) on the list. Seattle possibly has the most deadly offense in the league with the likes of Russell Wilson, Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf and Chris Carson. Wilson is making his case for the MVP award and is the frontrunner at the moment. Lockett and Metcalf have proved themselves as the best receiving duo in the league. The O-line is decent as well. On defense, the Seahawks could use some help, giving up on average 28 points per game. Defensive end Carlos Dunlap was just traded from the Bengals for a draft pick, which should help their run defense a bit. Nevertheless, the Seahawks are vulnerable on defense and mostly carried by their outstanding offense. They are 6-2 with losses to the Cardinals and Bills.
5. Buffalo Bills
The city of Buffalo is loving their Bills this season. Coached by Sean McDermott, the Bills are surprising many. Third year man Josh Allen has so much potential and already is showing signs of eliteness. One of the best additions to the team this season is wide receiver Stefon Diggs. Arguably a top five receiver in the league, he has helped Josh Allen carry this offense to victory. Coming into the season, the Bills’ defense was highly ranked. They have been somewhat disappointing so far though, ranking middle of the pack among other defenses. The Bills are now 7-2, beating teams such as the Seahawks, Rams and Raiders. They have lost to the Titans and Chiefs.
6. Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens are continuing their success into the 2020 season. Quarterback Lamar Jackson is struggling early this season but the team is still succeeding. The offense is not that impressive compared to the other teams high on this list. Mark Ingram is not who he used to be but Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown are average for Jackson. The Ravens’ defense is their strength. The defensive line led by Calais Campbell, linebackers with Patrick Queen and defensive backs including Marlon Humphrey are all great. Unlike the Seahawks, the Ravens are carried by their defense not offense. The Ravens are 6-2 with a tough loss to the Steelers.
7. New Orleans Saints
What a win this week against the Buccaneers. The Saints are now favored to win the NFC South and are major championship contenders at the moment. Drew Brees is looking like old Brees and currently has one of the best passer ratings in the league. All-Pro receiver Michael Thomas has been hurt the entirety of the season and is just recovering. Running back Alvin Kamara is having a MVP type season. Their defense has room for improvement but has been better in the past weeks. As always, Cameron Jordan and Marshon Lattimore are having great seasons. The Saints are 6-2 with early loses against the Packers and Raiders.
8. Tennessee Titans
After a loss in the AFC championship last season, the Titans are back on a great 2020 campaign. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill is having a way better season than expected with the fifth best passer rating in the league. Of course, Derrick “King” Henry is always doing his thing; he is currently the rushing leader by over 100 yards in the NFL. Receivers AJ Brown and Corey Davis are pulling their weight, too and aiding Tannehill in the passing game. However, the loss of Pro-Bowl offensive lineman Taylor Lewan due to an ACL injury provides a weakness in their defense. The other side of the ball has been disappointing. Opposing offenses are not frightened by the Titans’ defense, but they still can get the job done. The Titans are 6-2 with losses against the Steelers and Bengals.
9. Las Vegas Raiders
In their first season in Vegas, the Raiders have started strong. After being ranked among the lowest preseason quarterbacks, Derek Carr is impressing many people this year and leading the Raiders’ success. Second year running back Josh Jacobs is performing when healthy. Furthermore, the deep threat of Henry Ruggs III and Nelson Agholor is a dangerous, over-the-top combo. The Raiders’ defense is nothing to write home about. However, their offense is powerful enough to point up 30-40 points per game, outsourcing their opponent. The Raiders are 5-3 with big wins against the Chiefs and Saints.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After a decent season last year, the arrival of quarterback Tom Brady rejuvenated the Buccaneers. He has clearly brought a new culture to Tampa Bay with his previous success with the Patriots. The team’s offense led by Brady, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin is deadly. Tight end and friend of Brady Rob Gronkowski is also starting to heat up halfway through the year. Additionally, the acquisition of Antonio Brown could make this team into a real Super Bowl contender. The Bucs’ defense is hitting on all cylinders as well. Arguably, they have the best linebacking group in the league with Jason Pierre-Paul, Devin White, Lavonte David and Shaquil Barrett. Keep an eye out for rookie Antoine Winfield Jr. who is having a huge season at the safety position. Week nine was tough for them versus the Saints; something was wrong off the field, probably. Tampa Bay is 6-3 right now with wins against the Packers and Raiders and losses against the Saints and Bears.
11. Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals organization has been rejuvenated this year by many factors. After multiple poor seasons, the Cardinals are finally back to the Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald Jr. days (Fitzgerald still plays for the Cards). Kyler Murray has developed dramatically since last year and is making a case for 2020 MVP. The acquisition of Deandre Hopkins from the Houston Texans has also energized the team. On defense, they are ranked in the top half. Their success derives from their secondary, which consists of eight-time Pro Bowler Patrick Peterson and All-Pro Budda Baker. The Cardinals are 5-3 at the moment with losses against the Dolphins, Lions and Panthers. They do have a notable win against the Seahawks, though.
12. Miami Dolphins
At the start of the season, no one would have believed that the Dolphins would be a solid playoff contender halfway through the year. This team’s schedule is very difficult and they have made huge strides since the start of the season. Veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was controversially benched for rookie Tua Tagovailoa back in week seven but the decision has not proven to be a mistake yet. Running back Myles Gaskin has just been placed on the injury reserve, which will negatively impact the offense in the coming weeks. On the other side of the ball is where the Dolphins shine, though. In the past weeks, this defense has been shutting down pretty solid offenses such as the Rams and 49ers. They rank fourth in points given up per game, which makes up for their low-powered offense. The offense only needs to put up three to four scoring plays in order to put up a win. Entering week 10 on a four game winning streak, Miami is 5-3 right now with losses to the Seahawks, Bills and Patriots.
13. Indianapolis Colts
The Colts have completed an impressive first half of the season. Although their schedule is about as easy as it gets, they win the games that they are supposed to. The largest issue with this team is the offense. Quarterback Phillip Rivers does not have the same talent which he had a few years ago. After running back Marlon Mack’s season ending injury in preseason, rookie running back Jonathan Taylor has disappointed so far. Additionally, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton does absolutely nothing. Indianapolis can still put up some points in weeks when Rivers is feeling hot but not often. Similar to the Dolphins, this defense is what makes the team. The Colts are the best defense in the league, only allowing a mere 290 yards per game and 20 points per game. The defense features big names such as DeForest Buckner, Justin Houston, Darius Leonard and Xavier Rhodes. Through week nine, the Colts are 5-3 with a notable win against the Bears.
14. Los Angeles Rams
The Rams are such a volatile team. Any week they could either lose by 15 to a bad team or win by 15 to a good team. Their offense does not seem to be clicking right now. All three of the running backs, Darrell Henderson, Cam Akers and Malcolm Brown, cannot seem to burst out and distinguish themselves from one another. Quarterback Jared Goff is decent but nowhere near outstanding, and receivers Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods are not involved enough in the offense. The Rams have managed a formidable offensive line, but the lack of offense behind it is wasteful. Like the teams around them in the rankings, LA holds a great defense. They allow the second least points and yards per game, which provides their offense with enough time to score. Of course, defensive lineman Aaron Donald and cornerback Jalen Ramsey lead this defense. The Rams are 5-3 right now.
15. Chicago Bears
This fifteen spot is difficult to choose with so many mediocre teams. However, the Bears are a step above the remaining teams, mainly because of their defense. On offense though, Chicago is stagnant. Nick Foles is at the helm and ranks in the bottom five for quarterbacks this year. Running back David Montgomery went down with an injury last week, leaving the Bears with Ryan Nall. From receiver Allen Robinson, they have a glimmer of hope. This year, Robinson has consistently been one of the best in the league, and does not show signs of slowing down due to poor QB play. While the offense is in the bottom half of the league, the defense is included in the top five. Ranging from the defensive line, to the linebackers, to the secondary, Matt Nagy’s Bears are stacked. The front seven includes Mario Edwards, Khalil Mack and Danny Trevathan among others. Meanwhile, the secondary features Kyle Fuller, Eddie Jackson and rookie Jaylon Johnson. The Bears are 5-4 with wins against the Buccaneers and Falcons.
Honorable Mentions: Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns, Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers