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There weren’t many surprises in Week 8, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
As the season progresses and settles into its midway point, the top teams in the league have revealed themselves, battling both injuries and weather conditions to continue to pull out wins.
While the NFC seems to be much more contested than the AFC, we still have a long way to go until the 2020 Super Bowl hits Miami on February 2.
Here are your official Power Rankings for Week 9 of the 2019 NFL season.
1. New England Patriots (8-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 1
Week 9 Opponent: at Baltimore Ravens (5-2)
If it’s starting to sound like a broken record, that’s because it is – the Patriots defense is the reason that New England has held onto this top spot for eight consecutive weeks.
It got started early in New England’s 27-13 win over Cleveland on Sunday as the Patriots defense forced three turnovers within the first quarter. Browns running back Nick Chubb fumbled on back-to-back possessions (one resulting in a return touchdown for Dont’a Hightower) and then Baker Mayfield tossed an interception right into the hands of defensive lineman Lawrence Guy.
But Tom Brady also came to play in the rain-soaked conditions in Foxborough. Brady threw for 259 yards and two touchdowns to propel the Patriots to victory on a day where the running game could only muster up 79 yards.
The Patriots dominance this season can’t be overstated – they’re outscoring opponents by 189 points, which is the second most all-time through eight games.
The win was also Bill Belichick’s 300th in his career, joining Don Shula and George Halas as the only coaches to reach the milestone.
2. San Francisco 49ers (7-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 2
Week 9 Opponent: at Arizona Cardinals (3-4-1)
All questions about the 49ers legitimacy have been erased after this week.
San Francisco throttled the visiting Carolina Panthers, 51-13, to stay undefeated and further prove that they are the top dog in the NFC.
Defensive end Nick Bosa’s candidacy for Defensive Rookie of the Year may have evolved into a campaign for Defensive Player of the Year, as the Ohio State product had three sacks and his first career interception in the win.
In total, the 49ers intercepted Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen three times.
On the offensive side of the ball, Tevin Coleman ran rampant with four touchdowns on 11 carries and Jimmy Garoppolo went 18-for-22 for 175 yards and a touchdown.
3. New Orleans Saints (7-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 3
Week 9 Opponent: BYE
It’s like Drew Brees never left.
The Saints prolific passer returned to the field on Sunday for his first game back since undergoing thumb surgery on his throwing hand. And instead of easing back into his throwing motion and being used lightly, Brees threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns in New Orleans’ 31-9 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
With Brees back at full health, we’ll finally get a look at how good this Saints team can be. They went undefeated with Brees on the sideline for five weeks, but now they have their historic passer back as they look to be hitting their stride.
Most of the praise in the absence of Brees has to go to the defense, though. They kept the ship steady while backup Teddy Bridgewater managed to keep their offense afloat. In the win over Arizona, the Saints held their opponent to under 260 total yards for the fifth straight game.
The Saints are healthy… and the rest of the NFC is on notice.
4. Green Bay Packers (7-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 4
Week 9 Opponent: at Los Angeles Chargers (3-5)
Something truly frightening is starting to reveal itself this Halloween season – the partnership between Aaron Rodgers and head coach Matt LaFleur.
Rodgers threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns in the Packers 31-24 win over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. While the dream duel between Rodgers and Pat Mahomes didn’t take place due to the latter’s knee injury, it still was an inspiring performance from Rodgers in hostile territory.
Aaron Jones added to his catalogue of terrific performances, catching seven balls for 169 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for another 67 yards.
The once clogged NFC North seems to be splitting in half, with the Packers leading the charge at the top.
5. Minnesota Vikings (6-2)
Last Week’s Ranking: 5
Week 9 Opponent: at Kansas City Chiefs (5-3)
A short week wasn’t a problem for the Minnesota Vikings as they handled the Washington Redskins, 19-9, on Thursday night.
The win was the Vikings’ fourth in a row and the fourth consecutive positive outing for Kirk Cousins, who threw for 285 yards on 23-for-26 passing in the win.
While it didn’t show on the scoreboard, Minnesota handled the Redskins pretty easily. The Vikings amassed 434 total yards to the Redskins 216 yards and stifled Washington in the run and pass game.
With Cousins continuing his hot streak and wide receiver Stefon Diggs playing back to the height of his potential, there’s no telling what the ceiling for this Vikings team is.
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