Ranking Bad: NFL Week 9

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In last week’s rankings breakdown, the big question was whether or not the Chiefs’ undefeated record merited their being ranked No. 1 by default. I said I didn’t think so, and this week it seems everyone else has decided the same thing. After two weeks in the top spot, Kansas City has dropped down to second, this despite maintaining the undefeated record.

Given who replaced them at the top, it’s pretty clear Kansas City doomed itself with a not-very-impressive 23-13 win against Buffalo (No. 23) with a less-than-impressive performance by quarterback Alex Smith. The new No. 1? Denver, who had a bye week. The Seahawks had what seemed to be a cakewalk through winless Tampa Bay to reach the top, but ended up needing an overtime field goal to win (at home) and dropped from second to third.

The other big change in the top five is the appearance of the San Francisco 49ers, who’ve been out of it since they were third in Week 2. They popped up into the fourth spot, like the Broncos, without even playing, supplanting New Orleans, who lost to the Jets. 

With the win, the Jets climbed three spots to 16th. The Patriots and Browns also went up by the same margin. Philadelphia and Washington improved to 4-5 and 3-5, respectively, and jumped four spots (it helped they both were in the high 20s in Week 8). The Giants (up) and the Ravens (down) each moved five spots, and the Raiders dropped six, having been the victim of Nick Foles’ touchdown bonanza.

The Jets are also among the ranks of teams that confuse observers and confound categorization. While four sources have the Jets at 14th, Jeff Sagarin’s computer says 27th, the biggest high-low difference this week. Right behind them, with a gap of 12 (11 to 23), are the Miami Dolphins, coincidentally right behind the Jets in the AFC East with a 4-4 record. The next highest difference belongs to the 3-5 Baltimore Ravens, who stretch from 14 to 25.

So it seems the answer to last week’s other question is no, we aren’t quite sure how good these middling teams are. And given the Seahawks and Chiefs dropping with wins and the Broncos and 49ers climbing without even playing, it seems we’re a little less sure how good the top teams are, too.

Check out this week’s full rankings to see where your team landed.

Brian Colella is an associate editor of RealClearSports.

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