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Power rankings revisited: Week 9

11/8/2010

A weekly review of how teams performed in relation to last week’s Power Rankings (with new rankings scheduled for Tuesday):

The New England Patriots' reign atop ESPN.com's NFL Power Rankings appeared safe heading to Cleveland, where Mike Holmgren's rumblings about wanting to coach again signaled potential doom for Eric Mangini.

The previously 6-1 Patriots and their No. 1 ranking were the ones doomed Sunday. The Browns' 34-14 victory left the second-ranked Baltimore Ravens in prime position to claim the top spot in our power rankings for the first time since Weeks 3 and 4 last season.

Losses by the Patriots and fifth-ranked Indianapolis Colts could clear the way for NFC teams to crack the top five.

The Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants were ranked sixth and seventh, respectively, before beating teams with winning records in Week 9. Green Bay, New Orleans and Philadelphia also impressed. Atlanta draws the Ravens at the Georgia Dome in Week 10, giving the Falcons a chance to keep climbing toward the top spot.

Note: The chart shows how our four panelists -- me, John Clayton, Paul Kuharsky and James Walker -- voted last week. Red lettering identifies teams that lost in Week 9.

The reckoning: Four games featured lower-ranked teams beating higher-ranked teams in Week 9.

  • (26) Cleveland 34, (1) New England 14: Raise your brown-and-orange pom poms if you saw this one coming.

  • (22) San Diego 29, (13) Houston 23: The Texans have lost two in a row and now must play two on the road. They did not win between Nov. 2 and Dec. 12 last season, so midseason slumps might be a problem.

  • (16) Oakland 23, (11) Kansas City 20: The Chiefs lead the league in rushing and the Raiders rank second. Some laughed when AFC West blogger Bill Williamson dared to say the Raiders would win the NFC West if they changed divisions. They might win the AFC West at this rate.

  • (12) Philadelphia 26, (5) Indianapolis 24: Victories over the Falcons and Colts have raised the Eagles' profile. They still have five division games remaining, including two against the Giants. Think those teams are looking forward to defending Michael Vick?

Still to play: Pittsburgh visits Cincinnati on "Monday Night Football" (ESPN, 8:20 p.m. ET).

My early favorite for the No. 1 spot: Baltimore. The Ravens have beaten the Jets and Steelers, and lost only narrowly at New England.