NFL Power Rankings Week 9: The Bengals Have Arrived

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SLR’s Week 8 NFL Power Rankings: The Top 8 Oct 27, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman Domata Peko (94) reacts in the game against the New York Jets at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

8. Green Bay Packers (5-2) ▼1

The Packers were missing about a third of their offensive weapons, and just posted a ho-hum domination of the woeful Vikings anyway. That’s what they were supposed to do, but it’s still impressive. After four straight wins, they’re back to being one of the NFC teams to beat. They’re not moving down so much as the Bengals are moving up, a week later than they should have.

7. San Francisco 49ers (6-2) ▼1

It’s too bad they had their London sightseeing tour interrupted by the formality of dismantling the Jaguars. I hope it was a fun trip anyway.

6. Cincinnati Bengals (6-2) ▲3

Okay, fine. Last week I said the Bengals didn’t quite deserve a move up into the “power teams” echelon, and as if in response, they went and beat the Jets by 40. Message received. The NFL may as well hand them they AFC North crown already. If Andy Dalton keeps playing like he has the last few weeks, their potential is unlimited.

5. Seattle Seahawks (6-1) ▼2

A win is a win is a win, and the Seahawks won an ugly game by tightening up defensively in the red zone. They deserve respect for that, especially in their five-down goal-line stand to end the game, but I can’t help but feel like their offense is being exposed. Russell Wilson did not handle the pressure in St. Louis very well at all, and he owes this win to his defense.

4. New Orleans Saints (6-1) ▲1

It doesn’t seem like it’s impressive that they beat the Bills, but they’re a dangerous team. They play like cornered animals every week. Luckily, Drew Brees is dominant. Did you know their defense is fourth in the NFL in scoring, allowing only 17.1 points per game? With this offense, that will win a ton of games.

3.  Denver Broncos (7-1) ▲1

It looked for a moment like the Broncos were going to crash out of the Chiefs’ rear-view mirror, but then that dominant offense showed up again, and it brought an opportunistic, turnover-causing defense with it. If that’s how the defense is going to play with Von Miller back, there won’t be much left to criticize about this team. I’m reserving judgement for now.

2. Indianapolis Colts (5-2) NC

Bye week to-do list: Non-stop catching drills for Darrius Heyward-Bey, hope Trent Richardson is as good as advertised (rather than as good as he’s actually played), figure out some way to set Jim Irsay upon the Texans on Twitter for some reason. Oh, and enjoy that win over Denver a little more before getting back to work. Andrew Luck’s second half will be interesting to see without Reggie Wayne, but I’m not doubting them until they give me a reason to.

1. Kansas City Chiefs (8-0) NC

For the eighth straight week, the Chiefs grind out a win in which they weren’t overwhelming. This team doesn’t overwhelm, and they don’t post video game stats. They just win.  That’s all they’ve known how to do this season. They have to be a little concerned about giving up six sacks to Cleveland, but it hasn’t stopped them from posting a perfect half-season. Only three weeks before an epic showdown in Denver, and they’ll be happy to have a bye week to prepare for it.