As the top four remains the same, the NFC looks to be a lot tougher to find a playoff spot than the AFC, where the wild cards are up for grabs. With most teams reaching the halfway point, here is where they sit going into week nine.
1. New England Patriots (8-0)
Last week: 1
The Patriots took care of business against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Their biggest test of the season is set for next Sunday night in Baltimore. We will see if the Patriots really have a shot at an undefeated season if they pull through with the W.
Week 9: @ BAL; Sunday 8:20pm ET
2. New Orleans Saints (7-1)
Last Week: 2
The Saints got their Hall-of-Fame quarterback Drew Brees back on Sunday against the Cardinals, and it looked like he didn’t miss a beat. New Orleans’ defense continued to be ferocious while the offense is clicking at the right time. This is the best all-around football team outside of New England.
Week 9: BYE
3. San Francisco 49ers (7-0)
Last Week: 3
San Francisco continued their winning ways by pounding the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. Their defense looks like a top-five unit in the NFL, and the run game headed by Tevin Coleman has been impressive through seven games. These guys are for real and look to be playing at home come the playoffs.
Week 9: @ ARI; Thursday 8:20pm ET
4. Green Bay Packers (7-1)
Last Week: 4
Aaron Rodgers looked the part of an MVP on Sunday night in Kansas City, where reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes was sitting out. The Green Bay defense didn’t play that well, but Rodgers did his part in lighting up the Chiefs’ defense to give the Packers a win. Green Bay and Minnesota look to be locked in a two-horse race in the NFC North with eight games to play.
Week 9: @ LAC; Sunday 3:25pm ET
5. Baltimore Ravens (5-2)
Last Week: 7
The Ravens look to be well on their way to an AFC North title. The depleted Steelers and underachieving Browns don’t appear to be real threats this year. The Ravens will look to push for a bye in the playoffs by beating New England on Sunday at home.
Week 9: vs NE; Sunday 8:20pm ET
6. Seattle Seahawks (6-2)
Last Week: 8
The Seahawks took a 24-0 lead on Atlanta and backup QB Matt Schaub and never looked back. The Seahawks came off a rough loss at home against Baltimore and got a much-needed win. With a tough division and a stacked NFC, the Seahawks will need every win they can get to get into the playoffs.
Week 9: vs TB; Sunday 4:05pm ET
7. Minnesota Vikings (6-2)
Last Week: 9
The Vikings continued their winning ways on Thursday against the Redskins. Kirk Cousins aired it out once again, keeping the arrow pointing up on his 2019 season. Next week, the Vikings visit Kansas City, where Aaron Rodgers provided a blueprint to torch the Chiefs’ defense.
Week 9: @ KC; Sunday 1:00pm ET
8. Indianapolis Colts (5-2)
Last Week: 11
The Colts keep on winning. Their defense is improved and Jacoby Brissett is continuing to play at a high level. If Indianapolis can continue to play to this level, the AFC South is theirs to lose.
Week 9: @ PIT; Sunday 1:00pm ET
9. Kansas City Chiefs (5-3)
Last Week: 5
Matt Moore played well in the absence of Patrick Mahomes on Sunday night. The problem, like most of this year, was the defense for Kansas City. Patrick Mahomes makes this team a Super Bowl contender, but if the defense doesn’t step up, it will be difficult to dethrone the Patriots in the AFC.
Week 9: vs MIN; Sunday 1:00pm ET
10. Houston Texans (5-3)
Last Week: 12
Deshaun Watson continues to prove he is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He moves around the pocket well and makes a lot of throws that many quarterbacks cannot make. If the Texans don’t find themselves at the top of the AFC South, a wild card berth in an open AFC looks doable.
Week 9: @ JAX (London); Sunday 9:30am ET
11. Buffalo Bills (5-2)
Last Week: 6
The Bills offense could not get going at home against a really bad Philadelphia defense. Even with a legitimate defense, the Bills will need Josh Allen to win games with his arm. Buffalo looks to be fighting for one of the wild card berths with New England atop the AFC East once again.
Week 9: vs WSH; Sunday 1:00pm ET
12. Los Angeles Rams (5-3)
Last Week: 13
The Rams’ offense has looked like the Rams’ offense the past two weeks. Jared Goff is slinging it around, and the defense is playing at a much higher level. The Rams will be another NFC West team fighting for a wild card spot in December, maybe even the division.
Week 9: BYE
13. Carolina Panthers (4-3)
Last Week: 10
Kyle Allen was not very good in San Francisco. He threw the first three interceptions of his career and took a tough loss. With Cam Newton coming back soon, the Panthers have a decision to make with their team fighting for a playoff spot.
Week 9: vs TEN; Sunday 1:00pm ET
14. Dallas Cowboys (4-3)
Last Week: 14
The Cowboys lead a poor NFC East after seven games. Their offense can look high-powered one week and the exact opposite the next. They have a favorable matchup in New York on Monday night. If they can pull out a win, they can keep their lead over the Eagles with a head-to-head win over Philadelphia as well.
Week 9: @ NYG; Monday 8:15pm ET
15. Detroit Lions (3-3-1)
Last Week: 17
Matthew Stafford and the Lions have played well this year, especially on offense. A playoff birth is going to be tough, especially in the NFC North, but Detroit has the offense to keep up with anyone on any given Sunday.
Week 9: @ OAK; Sunday 4:05pm ET
16. Philadelphia Eagles (4-4)
Last Week: 19
The Eagles got a much-needed win against Buffalo on Sunday. Their defense played much better while the offense did its job on a windy afternoon. Next, they take on the reeling Bears, a game in which they’ll need another win to keep the Cowboys close in the division.
Week 9: vs CHI; Sunday 1:00pm ET
17. Arizona Cardinals (3-4-1)
Last Week: 15
Kyler Murray and the Cardinals played well in New Orleans but ultimately took the loss. Arizona has looked promising all year, and they have some wins to show for it. It will be difficult to find a playoff birth, but the maturation of Murray is what 2019 is all about.
Week 9: vs SF; Thursday 8:20pm ET
18. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-4)
Last Week: 20
The Steelers find themselves hovering around .500 without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. In a year where the playoffs are out of reach, the Steelers continue to fight and will play the role of spoiler down the stretch.
Week 9: vs IND; Sunday 1:00pm ET
19. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4)
Last Week: 21
The Jaguars have a good defense and a decent offense. Leonard Fournette is having a career year, and rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew continues to impress. The Jaguars could sneak into the playoffs if they can find their mojo for the second half of the year.
Week 9: vs HOU (London); Sunday 9:30am ET
20. Oakland Raiders (3-4)
Last Week: 16
Derek Carr looks pretty good in year two with Jon Gruden. Once the Raiders continue to add more pieces to their offense and defense, they will find themselves as playoff contenders.
Week 9: vs DET; Sunday 4:05pm ET
21. Tennessee Titans (4-4)
Last Week: 25
The Titans pulled out another close game at home on Sunday. The defense forced four turnovers, and quarterback Ryan Tannehill played well enough again to give the Titans a win. It will be tough for Tennessee to make the playoffs this season, but their defense is a playoff-caliber unit.
Week 9: @ CAR; Sunday 1:00pm ET
22. Los Angeles Chargers (3-5)
Last Week: 26
The Chargers played a sloppy game again on Sunday but finally pulled out a win against the Bears. Even with the win, the Chargers don’t look to have a good shot at the playoffs, as their offense has just been brutal.
Week 9: vs GB; Sunday 3:25pm ET
23. Chicago Bears (3-4)
Last Week: 18
The Bears’ offensive struggles continued on Sunday. Even with a good day from running back David Montgomery, the passing game did not impress. Even though they gave kicker Eddie Piniero a chance to win the game, the offense and head coach Matt Nagy take the blame for this loss.
Week 9: @ PHI; Sunday 1:00pm ET
24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-5)
Last Week: 22
The Buccaneers played really well in Tennessee minus the four turnovers by quarterback Jameis Winston. Once they have a QB who can manage the game for them, Tampa Bay should find themselves a lot better than 2-5.
Week 9: @ SEA; Sunday 4:05pm ET
25. Cleveland Browns (2-5)
Last Week: 23
The Browns offense once again hurt their team more than they helped on Sunday. The Patriots swarmed Baker Mayfield all day, leading to another loss for the 2-5 Browns. A once hopeful season has turned into a typical Cleveland Browns campaign.
Week 9: @ DEN; Sunday 4:25pm ET
26. Denver Broncos (2-6)
Last Week: 24
The Broncos led the Colts for the majority of the game on Sunday but fell on a last-second field goal. The Broncos have some really good players to build around, but in a rebuilding year, it will take time to get back to where they want to be.
Week 9: vs CLE; Sunday 4:25pm ET
27. New York Giants (2-6)
Last Week: 28
Daniel Jones has had his ups and downs this season. He makes some really bad mistakes, but also makes some plays that make you say “wow!”
In a lost year, Jones should continue to grow and learn to be ready for 2020.
Week 9: vs DAL; Monday 8:15pm ET
28. New York Jets (1-6)
Last Week: 27
The Jets have looked brutal besides a bizarre win against the Cowboys. Adam Gase could see himself out of a job after only a year in New York. Even with injuries, this was not the way Jets’ fans saw the season going. It looks like a top-five pick is once again on its way for the Jets.
Week 9: @ MIA; Sunday 1:00pm ET
29. Atlanta Falcons (1-7)
Last Week: 29
The Falcons should soon be showing head coach Dan Quinn the door. A 1-7 start is nowhere near the expectations the Falcons had going into this year, and it feels like that will result in a firing sooner rather than later.
Week 9: BYE
30. Washington Redskins (1-7)
Last Week: 30
Quarterback Dwayne Haskins had to come in for an injured Case Keenum on Thursday night. The Redskins’ young QB doesn’t look ready for the league just yet and will need some time to develop. The Redskins knew it was a project when they drafted him, and it is the right move to let him sit and learn.
Week 9: @ BUF; Sunday 1:00pm ET
31. Cincinnati Bengals (0-8)
Last Week: 31
The Bengals kept it close with Los Angeles but couldn’t pull out the win across the pond in London. Another loss means another step closer to a new QB next year and a brighter future in Cincinnati.
Week 9: BYE
32. Miami Dolphins (0-7)
Last Week: 32
Miami sent running back Kenyan Drake to the Arizona Cardinals on Monday before yet another loss. They look destined to be picking first overall in next year’s draft.
Week 9: vs NYJ; Sunday 1:00pm ET
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