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Monday, November 8, 2010
Power rankings revisited: Week 9

By Mike Sando

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. 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.