AFC Power Rankings Week 9: Patriots maintain control

Rob Gronkowski Patriots

Rob Gronkowski (87) and the New England Patriots remain atop these AFC power rankings. Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Pass the time this Monday morning by reading through these AFC power rankings that are dominated by the New England Patriots.

16

Cleveland Browns

(0-8)

Last week: (0-7)
Last rank: 16

Only one team has remained in their Week 1 AFC power rankings position, and that is the Browns. Things are getting historically bad for Hue Jackson’s team after yet another disappointing Sunday. It won’t get any easier next week against the Cowboys, who overpower the Browns in just about every positional group.
15

Jacksonville Jaguars

(2-5)

Last week: (2-4)
Last rank: 14th

The shedding of offensive coordinator Greg Olsen and the swirling of Tom Coughlin head coaching rumors is putting the 2016 prospects of this Jaguars team in serious jeopardy. The Jaguars were a sexy playoff prediction entering the season, but now they are just working to match their 2015 win total of five victories.
14

Baltimore Ravens

(3-4)

Last week: (3-4)
Last rank: 15th

Thanks to four straight losses and now a bye week, the Ravens haven’t won since Sept. 25. So while their record is 3-4, the locker room probably has the feel of a 1-6 team right now. It’s just tough to go that long without winning, which makes getting up for the showdown with the Steelers in Week 9 a bit of a daunting task.
13

Indianapolis Colts

(3-5)

Last week: (3-4)
Last rank: 11th

It’s never good when your leading rusher is your quarterback, but it was Andrew Luck who paced the Colts with 60 rushing yards (compare that with Frank Gore’s 37 yards on the ground). Don’t expect the Colts to fare much better next week against an angry Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay; the AFC South title is slipping away from these horseshoes.
Marcus Gilchrist AFC power rankings

Marcus Gilchrist (21) and the Jets rose in this week’s AFC power rankings. Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

12

New York Jets

(3-5)

Last week: (2-5)
Last rank: 13th

That’s two games in a row for Marcus Gilchrist picking off the ball, a welcome sight to Jets fans if there ever was one. However, squeaking out a win over hapless Cleveland isn’t going to put many stickers on the Jets’ refrigerator. Losing to the Dolphins in Week 9 would put a serious damper on the playoff hopes of the Jets, that’s for sure.
11

San DIego Chargers

(3-5)

Last week: (3-4)
Last rank: 9th

Travis Benjamin’s one-handed wonder was probably the play of the day, but alas, not enough for the Chargers to displace the Broncos in Week 8. Had Philip Rivers not thrown three picks, the Chargers would be a few notches higher in these AFC power rankings. A record of 3-5 is not the end of the world, but the Chargers face a must-win situation next week when they host the Titans.
10

Tennessee Titans

(4-4)

Last week: (3-4)
Last rank: 12th

The Titans have a chance to make some serious noise in the AFC. They may sit at No. 10 in these AFC power rankings, but they are just a hair behind the 5-3 Texans. A win against the Chargers in San Diego next week would surely vault the Titans into the top half and would put some added pressure on the Texans.
9

Cincinnati Bengals

(3-4-1)

Last week: (3-4)
Last rank: 10th

Another week, another tie in the NFL. It’s pretty funny that the Bengals and Redskins drew even in London, of all places; the sold-out crowd is used to seeing ties. For the Bengals, this marks the third time this century in which they have tied an opponent. A tie is no way to enter a bye week, especially after a long plane ride home from across the pond.
Ryan Tannehill Dolphins

Ryan Tannehill (17) and the Dolphins come in at No. 8 in this week’s AFC power rankings. Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

8

Miami Dolphins

(3-4)

Last week: (3-4)
Last rank: 8th

Jay Ajayi and the Dolphins are winners of their last two straight and watched divisional rival Buffalo lose in Week 8. Ajayi will continue to be counted on in the coming weeks; the Dolphins face the Jets at home before traveling west to visit the San Diego Chargers and San Francisco 49ers.
7

Buffalo Bills

(4-4)

Last week: (4-3)
Last rank: 5th

The absence of LeSean McCoy severely damaged the dynamicity of the Bills’ offense. Tyrod Taylor did some impressive things on Sunday, but he can’t carry this team on his right shoulder and two legs. The immediate road ahead for Buffalo reads as follows: in Seattle, bye, in Cincinnati. That’s a challenging spell for a team that hasn’t won in since the middle of the month.
6

Houston Texans

(5-3)

Last week: (4-3)
Last rank: 7th

Since starting 2-0, the Texans have gone loss, win, loss, win, loss, win. All three losses have been on the road; all five wins have been at home. This is perhaps the most perplexing team in the AFC right now, and the Texans will remain a mystery for two weeks; they have Week 9 bye.
5

Pittsburgh Steelers

(4-3)

Last week: (4-3)
Last rank: 6th

Two losses heading into their bye week wasn’t ideal, but the Steelers find themselves in the top five of these AFC power rankings because they would beat the Texans right now. Big Ben returning next week against the Ravens bodes well for Steelers squad looking to take the inside track on the AFC North title in Week 9.
Derek Carr AFC power rankings

Derek Carr (4) and the Raiders rank No. 4 in this week’s AFC power rankings. Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

4

Oakland Raiders

(6-2)

Last week: (5-2)
Last rank: 2nd

The first of three AFC West teams in the top four of these AFC power rankings, the Raiders managed to overcome 23 penalties and 200 resulting penalty yards on Sunday. Derek Carr willed his team to victory, becoming the third quarterback to record over 500 passing yards, four passing touchdowns and no picks in one game. However, the Raiders have to keep the laundry to a minimum next week against the defending AFC champs.
3

Kansas City Chiefs

(5-2)

Last week: (4-2)
Last rank: 3rd

Tyreek Hill is providing to be a nifty rookie pickup; he’s now scored in back-to-back games for the Chiefs. With a home game next week against a dispirited Jaguars team, the Chiefs are in good position to keep pace with the Raiders and Broncos in the crowded AFC West.
2

Denver Broncos

(6-2)

Last week: (5-2)
Last rank: 4th

Interceptions from T.J. Ward, Bradley Roby and Darian Stewart proved to be the difference in the Broncos’ escaping of the San Diego Chargers in Week 8. Next up: a huge showdown against fellow 6-2 divisional rival Oakland, in Oakland.
1

New England Patriots

(7-1)

Last week: (6-1)
Last rank: 1st

Two 53-yard touchdowns from Chris Hogan and Rob Gronkowski juiced the Patriots to revenge over the Bills in Week 8. Factoid of the season so far: no Patriots quarterback has thrown an interception. We’re halfway through the year, folks. On the other side of the ball, you have to like the physicality of the defense yesterday, especially from free safety Devin McCourty.

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