NFL Week 9 Power Rankings: Bears still in Top 25
|Wednesday, November 3, 2021, 12:56 PM- -|
Seven weeks of the 2021 NFL season have come and gone, and it has not been disappointing. This year may look slightly different, with 17 games in 18 weeks and seven teams in each league earning a playoff berth. Nonetheless, we won't have a week without football until February 2022, and we couldn't be more excited to cover another year of NFL football.
We at BearsHQ decided to give our power rankings ahead of the NFL's ninth week:
*We decided to explain the top 16 and the Bears*
1. Buffalo Bills 5-2 (no change)
It may have surprised some people last year, but the Buffalo Bills being one of the league's best teams this season should come as no surprise. Buffalo is led by superstar QB Josh Allen and a brilliant coaching staff. The Steelers gave the Bills some trouble in week one, but after dominating the Dolphins, the Washington Football Team, the Texans, and the reigning AFC Champion Chiefs, they were the top team in the NFL, I believe. But, on Monday Night Football, the Titans handed the Bills their first loss since week one, putting Buffalo at No. 2. However, a strong win over Miami puts Buffalo at number 1 in our rankings.
2. Arizona Cardinals 7-1 (down one spot)
Eight weeks into the NFL season, and the Cardinals are 7-1, riding a potent pass rush and an electric offense to their success so far. Instead of making excuses for why the Cardinals are winning, maybe JJ Watt is right in saying, "Maybe we're just better." They are in one of the hardest divisions in the NFL but have looked like a playoff team thus far, beating the Titans, Vikings, Jaguars, Rams, 49ers, the Browns, and the Texans this past week. They probably should have beaten the depleted Packers last week as well, but the loss drops them to number 2.
3. Los Angeles Rams 7-1 (no change)
The LA Rams may be the most improved team of the offseason just because of their upgrade at QB. Instead of Jared Goff, the Rams have Matthew Stafford leading their speedy offense — and of course, still have Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald on the defensive side of the ball. The new-look Rams are 7-1 to show for it, losing to the Cardinals and including an impressive beat down of the reigning champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Rams blew out the Giants, Lions, and Texans to keep the third spot.
4. Green Bay Packers 7-1 (up one spot)
For most of the offseason, the Packers were one of the most questionable teams — and it all depended on reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers. Well, he's back… but the Packers were thumped by the Saints in week one, dropping the Packers out of the top 5. A dominating win on Monday Night Football over the Lions, a come from behind win over the 49ers, a dominating win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night, a narrow win over the Bengals, and a beat down of the Bears should be enough to defend the Packers being near the top 5. The Packers get into the top-5 after beating the Washington Football team and the previously undefeated Cardinals.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6-2 (down one spot)
It's hard not to rank Tampa Bay in the top five in our rankings. First and foremost, the Bucs are our reigning Super Bowl Champion — and they did not lose a single starter over the offseason. The Bucs have a roster construction to win another Super Bowl, and Tom Brady is never content. But after dropping one to the LA Rams, the Bucs fell to number two. Despite winning against the Patriots in Tom Brady's return to Foxborough and then the Dolphins, the Bucs fell one spot because of the Cardinals and Bills' dominance. Getting past the Eagles, blowing out the Bears but then losing to the Saints drops Tampa to number 5.
6. Dallas Cowboys 6-1 (up one spot)
Dallas is flying under the radar this offseason. Still, a healthy offensive line leaves Dallas with one of the best offenses in the NFL (which includes Ezekiel Elliot, Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup.) The defense is still the clear weakness of this team but has been much better in 2021 — with Trevion Diggs leading the way with several interceptions. The Cowboys gave the Bucs a tough fight in week one and have not lost since, making them a top-10 team. The Cowboys even beat the Vikings without Dak Prescott this week.
7. Baltimore Ravens 5-2 (down one spot) COMING OFF BYE
The Ravens quietly have one of the league's best rosters. Despite not winning the division in 2020 and being in one of the NFL's hardest divisions, the Ravens boast a legit chance to win a Super Bowl behind a star quarterback in Lamar Jackson and a defense that consists of the best secondary in the sport. The Ravens lost a stunner in week one against the Vegas Raiders, and the schedule won't ease up for a while, but they are certainly a top 10 team despite their injuries. Beating the Chiefs in primetime, defeating the Lions, handling the Broncos, storming from behind to beat the Colts, and blowing out the Chargers lock that in without a doubt. The Ravens fell out of the top five after their loss to the Bengals.
8. Tennessee Titans 6-2 (up one spot)
The Titans are the reigning AFC South champion. They have made the playoffs in consecutive seasons — oh, and they've added Julio Jones to an offense that already had Ryan Tannehill, AJ Brown, and Derrick Henry, who just ran for over 2,000 yards. In 2021, no team is going to be looking forward to playing the Titans. The Titans' 2021 season got off to a tough start, though, getting blown out by the Cardinals, but they rebounded nicely with a come-from-behind win over the Seahawks and a solid win over the Colts before dropping to the New York Jets in week four. Beating the Jaguars in week five and the Bills and then Chiefs in week 6 and 7 put them back in the top 10. Beating the Colts raises the Titans, but they did lose Derrick Henry for 6-10 weeks.
9. Los Angeles Chargers 4-3 (no change)
LA might have had the best offseason in the AFC. Justin Herbert is coming off of an impressive campaign in which he won Rookie of the Year, and the Chargers have added to his offensive line - while also making some key acquisitions to the defense, the team's weakness in 2020. That, plus some opt-outs and injuries back, leave the Chargers with one of the most talented and intriguing rosters in 2021. It wasn't particularly pretty, but the Chargers gutted out an impressive week one win and took a hard to swallow week two loss against Dallas, but handling the Kansas City Chiefs and earning a win in week three, beating the Las Vegas Raiders in prime time and winning a shootout over Cleveland solidified LA as a top 5 team for me. With a chance to prove that, LA lost to the Ravens, handily, and then the Patriots and now stands at 9.
10. Las Vegas Raiders 5-2 (up one spot) Coming off BYE
If you want to talk about the grittiest team in the NFL, the Raiders deserve to be in that conversation. The Raiders were touchdown underdogs in week one against the Raves and week two against the Steelers — two of the toughest teams in the sport. To everyone's surprise, the Raiders pulled off wins. After starting 3-0, the team has unraveled a bit with losses to the Chargers and Bears. PLUS, head coach Jon Gruden has resigned due to emails of his past resurfacing — but the Raiders got back on track this week against the Broncos and stayed hot with a win over the Eagles.
11. New Orleans Saints 5-2 (up three spots)
The Saints are back in our top 16 after a nice win over the Washington Football Team. The team has a much different identity than Drew Brees as the quarterback, but the Saints have been able to win games. Jameis Winston and the offense has some explosiveness, and the defense has been solid. Wins over the Packers, Patriots, Football Team, Seahawks, and most recently, the Buccaneers put the saints on the brink of the top ten.
12. Cincinnati Bengals 5-3 (down two spots)
Joe Burrow and the Bengals are off to a great start this season. Their losses have come in a game that Burrow threw interceptions of three straight plays, one where their kicker missed the game-winner twice and a stunner against the Jets. The defense may have holes, but the offense is loaded with weapons — including Ja'Mar Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd, a three-headed monster of receivers for Joe Burrow to throw to. Wins over the Steelers, Vikings, Jaguars, Lions, and now Ravens put the Bengals as a top 10 team, but their loss to the Jets knocks them down a peg.
13. Kansas City Chiefs 4-4 (down one spot)
It would be hard to imagine the Chiefs falling out of the top 10 this season so long as Patrick Mahomes is healthy, but they did. This team easily boasts the best offense in the league — while also adding to an offensive line that was exposed in the Super Bowl last year. Keep an eye on a motivated Chiefs team this season, especially after losing week two to the Ravens and in week three to the Chargers. The Chiefs got back on track Sunday against the Eagles but then suffered a blowout loss to the Bills in week five. The Chiefs rebounded nicely with a strong win over Washington but fell again to the Titans before beating the Giants narrowly. It might be panic time.
14. Pittsburgh Steelers 4-3 (up two spots)
The Steelers have cracked back into our top 16 after strong wins over the Broncos and Seahawks. The recipe may not be pretty with Ben Roethlisberger aging, but the Steelers have figured out how to make their offense work with their tremendous defense. They are in a very tough division in the AFC but are a top 16 team, and they proved that by beating the Browns last week.
15. New England Patriots 4-4 (up nine spots)
The New England Patriots are back in the top 15 after a pair of strong wins over the Jets and the Chargers after narrowly losing to the Buccaneers and the Cowboys. Bill Bellichick still coaches this team, so you can never count them out.
16. Cleveland Browns 4-4 (down one spot)
Yes, you read that right. After years of being the NFL's laughing stock, the Cleveland Browns have constructed a roster good enough to win a division and make a run in the playoffs. The Browns displayed dominance in their week two win over Houston and their week three win over the Bears and their week four win over Minnesota, and this team has all the makings of a top 10 team in the NFL. After two straight losses, the Browns fell out of the top ten, but a gusty win over the Broncos keeps them in the top 16. A narrow loss to the Steelers won't help their cause, though.
17. Seattle Seahawks 3-5 (up three spots)
18. San Francisco 49ers 3-4 (up three spots)
19. Minnesota Vikings 3-5 (down four spots)
20. Indianapolis Colts 3-5 (up three spots)
21. Carolina Panthers 4-4 (up one spot)
22. Denver Broncos 4-4 (up one spot)
23. Philadelphia Eagles 3-5 (up two spots)
24. Chicago Bears 3-5 (no change).
It's been up and down for the Bears, with ugly losses against the Rams and the Browns. But in week four, Matt Nagy handed over play-calling to Bill Lazor, and the Bears looked like a much better team since. However, back-to-back-to-back losses to Green Bay, Tampa Bay, and San Francisco, where the Bears' offensive line could not protect Justin Fields, are wildly concerning. We'll see if Fields can play better AND if the Bears can protect him this week.
25. Atlanta Falcons 3-4 (down seven spots)
26. New York Giants 2-6 (duo change)
27. Washington Football Team 2-6 (no change)
28. New York Jets 2-5 (up two spots)
29. Miami Dolphins 1-7 (down one spot)
30. Houston Texans 1-7 (down one spot)
31. Jacksonville Jaguars 1-6 (no change)
32. Detroit Lions 0-8 (no change)
Stay tuned as we update these rankings every week.