NFL Power Rankings, Week 9: Big Ben Making Some Noise

Week 9 of the NFL Power Rankings brings a little bit of a shakeup, but not a whole lot. Ben Roethlisberger and his Pittsburgh Steelers make a nice jump with a home win over the New England Patriots, while the New Orleans Saints blow a lot of their Week 8 goodwill with a loss to the lowly St. Louis Rams.

1. Green Bay Packers (7-0): The Pack were on a bye, but that's okay. There doesn't look like there's much that will stop the Cheesehead Juggernauts from a repeat visit to the Super Bowl. There should be many more stupid Aaron Rodgers-with-a-pro-wrestling-belt posings to go around.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2): The Terrible Towel waves on, unrelenting, even in the face of the elite New England Patriots. Big Ben started out slowly, but he eventually finished with 365 passing yards and two touchdowns on 50 passing attempts. He didn't exactly outduel Brady (who also had two TDs, but without the interception), but his team snagged a convincing home win against a tough opponent.

3. San Francisco 49ers (6-1): With everyone in the NFC West but the bottom-feeding Rams losing this week, and the Niners easily beating the Cleveland Browns, it's hard to see the division slipping from their grasp. Frank Gore's been very helpful, but much-maligned QB Alex Smith is having himself a fine season under new coach Jim Harbaugh.

4. Baltimore Ravens (5-2): Though it took a historic comeback for the Ravens, they showed some guts coming back from 21 down for the win. Again, though, it was in spite of Joe Flacco, who's season is just a giant slab of crap so far. But if he continues passing to Anquan Boldin (seven catches for 145 yards), that might help.

5. Buffalo Bills (5-2): Fresh from nabbing himself a fat contract extension, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick led his team to a 23-0 drubbing of the Washington Redskins. The win puts them in (technically) sole possession of first place in the AFC East, after the Pats fell to the Steelers.

6. New England Patriots (5-2): Yeah, they lost to the Steelers and that hurts their current standings in their division. However, it would be very surprising if the Bills managed to permanently overtake Tom Brady and the pesky Pats.

7. Detroit Lions (6-2): The Lions made short work of The Savior, Tim Tebow, and his Denver Geldings. Matt Stafford assured a walloping with his three TD passes and 267 airborne yards. Tebow was almost as good as Stafford, except exactly the opposite.

8. New York Giants (5-2): They almost lost to the woeful Miami Dolphins, but then they didn't. Eli Manning actually had himself a decent game with no turnovers and it paid off. Secretly, though, Dolphins fans are thanking Eli for not completely sucking. Andrew Luck!!!

9. New Orleans Saints (5-3): A week after Brees had himself an awe-inspiring performance against the Colts, he basically pooped the bed against the then-winless Rams, with a 1:2 TD:INT ratio. The Rams get to join the teams with at least one win and the Saints get to sulk in their ineptitude.

10. Cincinnati Bengals (5-2): Everyone's hesitant to give this team much credit, but their record's beginning to speak for itself. Newbie Andy Dalton has been mostly just okay; the Bengal's success has been mostly due to their outstanding defense (that, and the mostly terrible competition they've faced).

We're not going to bother with Power Rankings for the rest of the NFL. If your team isn't in the top ten, do you really care if they are 13th or 16th? But in local news, the Arizona Cardinals managed to continue to astound with their mediocrity when they blew a 21-point lead to lose their sixth straight. And Kevin Kolb got himself a bit of the turf toe. There's gotta be a few fans out there, though, that want to see what John Skelton can do.

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