2014 NFL Power Rankings: Week 9

Updated: October 28, 2014, 2:55 PM ET
ESPN.com
Week:

Didn't see Dallas, Arizona and Detroit soaring to first place in 2014? Neither did we.

After eight weeks, these NFC stalwarts have a combined 18-5 record -- yet not one made the top 10 in our initial 2014 hierarchy. Once the season got going, however, ESPN's Power Panel (a group of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities) was quick to embrace the Cardinals and Cowboys, who have been among the league's steadiest risers.

On the heels of a dramatic Week 8 win over Philadelphia, Arizona now sits at No. 2, its highest mark of the season. Dallas dropped slightly to No. 4, the result of its Monday night loss to Washington.

The Lions' rise to prominence wasn't nearly as meteoric. Last week, they cracked the top 10 for just the second time this season, and Matthew Stafford & Co. now sit at No. 6 -- a considerable jump from their Week 1 spot (No. 18).

Week 9 will keep two of these teams in the spotlight, as Dallas and Arizona meet Sunday (Detroit has a bye). With No. 1 Denver facing a tough test (No. 3 New England), opportunity could be knocking for the Cardinals, who could conceivably vault to the top spot with a victory.

Note: The comments below are provided by ESPN Stats & Information.

• SN: Rank 'Em | How Cardinals have risen | Vegas rankings: Steelers rise Insider | Team Power Rankings charts since 2002

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