Week 9 of the NFL season featured a historic performance from a rookie quarterback, a stunning win by the AFC’s best team (not the Chiefs), and the continued resurgence of the Bengals. Meanwhile, a suspected Super Bowl contender in Germany was placed under fraud watch.
In New Orleans, Tyson Bagent played the role for three quarters before turning the ball over three times in the final quarter as the Bears lost 24-17. It was another encouraging performance from the backup quarterback, but the Bears’ lack of talent and inability to execute in crucial moments once again cost them a one-score game.
Philadelphia Eagles (8-1): The Eagles have their weaknesses, but they have been the class of the league for 10 weeks. No question.
Kansas City Chiefs (7-2): After years of dragging a broken defense into the playoffs, Patrick Mahomes finally has a defense that can carry him. That’s good, because these aren’t your father’s Chiefs.
Baltimore Ravens (7-2): The Ravens have been the AFC’s best team for nine weeks, but I can’t see them overtaking Patrick Lavon Mahomes II just yet.
Cincinnati Bengals (5-3): The Bengals are at the bottom. As long as Joe Cool is healthy, the Bengals will be there at the end.
San Francisco 49ers (5-3): The bye week comes at the perfect time for the limping and tired 49ers. Will Kyle Shanahan be able to find a cure for the Niners’ offseason woes?
Jacksonville Jaguars (6-2): The Jags entered the bye with a share of the top spot in the AFC. They’ve done a good job, but the real challenges lie ahead when they face the 49ers, Bengals, Browns and Ravens in four of the next six weeks.
Detroit Lions (6-2): Are the Lions real? The jury remains out and will remain so for quite some time.
Miami Dolphins (6-3): The Dolphins could be the bad-good team. They destroy the scum of the NFL, but have been handled by the NFL’s best. South Beach Scam Alert.
Dallas Cowboys (5-3): Sunday was a perfect summary of the last 30 years of Cowboys football: Just not good enough.
Cleveland Browns (5-3): Embarrassing Clayton Tune only gets you a few points in these rankings.
Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3): The Steelers have no business being 5-3. And yet, like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, Mike Tomlin finds a way.
Buffalo Bills (5-4): The Bills have a lot of problems and none of them can be easily solved. The last hurray of this version of the bill could fizzle out before we reach January.
New York Jets (4-3): Just like that, the AFC East is right up there for the Jets without Aaron Rodgers. What a strange, strange season.
Minnesota Vikings (5-4): Make the Josh Dobbs statue now. What an incredible performance from the Vikings’ new quarterback.
Seattle Seahawks (5-3): Pete Carroll insisted that Geno Smith wasn’t the problem for the Seahawks’ offense in their no-contest loss to the Ravens. That may be true, but he wasn’t part of the solution either.
Los Angeles Chargers (3-4): The Chargers are trending in the right direction after steamrolling the hapless Bears. This means that a terrible loss is imminent. Oh, they’re playing Zach Wilson on Monday night? A terrible loss is imminent.
Houston Texans (4-4): CJ Stroud set the NFL single-game rookie passing record with 470 yards and five touchdowns, including a game-winning drive with 46 seconds left. So to the S2 test.
New Orleans Saints (5-4): The Saints are deeply untrustworthy, but I think someone has to be in first place in the worst division in the NFL.
Indianapolis Colts (4-5): Kenny Moore’s two pick-sixes brought the Colts back to .500. There is no refueling here.
Washington Commanders (4-5): Over the last five games, Sam Howell has thrown for 1,510 yards and 10 touchdowns. Both lead the NFL. Washington might just have its franchise quarterback.
Atlanta Falcons (4-5): Why did the Falcons draft Bijan Robinson if they don’t even want to use him properly?
Denver Broncos (3-5): It was a big week for former Texas Rangers legend Russell Wilson. I wonder if he gets a World Series ring to go with his Super Bowl ring.
Las Vegas Raiders (4-5): Look up “addition by subtraction” in the dictionary and all you see is a picture of Josh McDaniels as head coach.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5): Baker Mayfield scored 37 points in a loss at Houston on Sunday. This isn’t the first time, but it is the first time Alex Grinch wasn’t there to ruin Mayfield’s good work.
Tennessee Titans (3-5): Did Will Levis really slip in the draft because he puts mayonnaise in his coffee? Drafting a quarterback is the most inexact science. A gift may have fallen into the Titans’ lap.
Green Bay Packers (3-5): The Packers gave the ball to Aaron Jones and good things happened on Sunday. See, it’s not that hard.
Los Angeles Rams (3-6): The Rams couldn’t take anything positive from Sunday’s offensive performance. Brett Rypien just doesn’t have it.
Chicago Bears (2-7): Tyson Bagent has a bit of Gardner Minshew about him. He may not end up being a starter, but he appears to have long-term value as a competent NFL backup. That’s valuable, as is *gestures at what the Rams did today*
New England Patriots (2-7): Mac Jones has been far from perfect this season, but the Patriots’ offense is doing little to help the young quarterback. Jones sounds like he’s losing confidence in New England’s offense, and I don’t blame him.
New York Giants (2-7): The Giants will use Matt Barkley and Tommy Devito for the foreseeable future. Welcome to the Caleb Williams Sweepstakes, Giants.
Arizona Cardinals (1-8): The Cardinals have been in the poll position for Caleb Williams for nine weeks. Exactly how they designed it.
Carolina Panthers (1-7): Maybe the Panthers should have kept Steve Wilks as head coach. Frank Reich made a ton of money off of Nick Foles’ Super Bowl appearance, but is now 41-40-1 as a head coach. I’ve seen enough.