With no more winless teams left in the league, we shift our focus to those teams that shouldn't but could make the playoffs this year. Are the Cardinals for real? How are the Jaguars 4-4? Are the Bears and Giants done? Here are my power rankings after nine weeks in the 2009 NFL season.
32) Oakland Raiders (31). I'm honestly sick of talking about how bad this team is. Now with Tom Cable back in the spotlight, will he even make it through the season? Who would want to with this bad of a team with that bad of an owner.
31) Cleveland Browns (30). Mangini might give the reins to Brady Quinn, and let's hope he's not as terrible as Derek Anderson. What happened to that team since their playoff run two years ago? They're consistently one of the worst teams in football, and they're not getting any better.
30) Detroit Lions (29). They stuck with Seattle for a bit, but ultimately gave it up. Calvin Johnson needs to get the ball more, regardless of his injury problems. At least they're putting up points. Bolstering that defense is going to have to be their prime concern in free agency and at draft time.
29) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (32). I certainly didn't expect Freeman to have such a great impact on their team in his first start, but wow! He looked very efficient against an average Packers defense, and they forced turnovers. It helped that the Packers offensive line is garbage, but they did what they needed to win.
28) Washington Redskins (27). They wanted to grab a win after their bye week, but they only acquired injuries to key players. Now with Portis and Campbell hurt, do they have any chance of putting up a decent amount of points?
27) St. Louis Rams (28). Though they have two weeks to prepare, it will be very hard to beat an undefeated New Orleans team with their current personnel. They might be able to catch the Saints sleeping, but I doubt it.
26) Kansas City Chiefs (25). Amidst the drama surrounding the departure of Larry Johnson, this team doesn't seem to be going in the right direction. With a loss to a below-average Jacksonville team, they'll contend with the Raiders for worst in their division. Was Matt Cassel the answer?
25) Jacksonville Jaguars (26). They've managed to get themselves to 4-4, and with a lot of luck could make a playoff run. Two wins against the Jets and Bills could get the ball rolling, but MJD will need to have big games since Garrard isn't doing much.
24) Buffalo Bills (23). Their next game against the Titans will be a gauge of how well this team will do the rest of the year. Trent Edwards will more than likely be able to play this weekend, but do they really want him back? Marshawn Lynch needs to step it up.
23) Tennessee Titans (24). Make it two in a row. Vince Young has given this team a spark, and they beat a decent 49ers team. He must stay consistent as teams now have more film on his recent plays, and defenses will know more of how to stop him.
22) Carolina Panthers (21). A valiant effort against one of the best two teams in the league, but they blew their lead. I like that John Fox is going back to the run game, because the combination of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are almost unstoppable. They have a tough three games coming up.
21) San Francisco 49ers (20). After starting off with a good record, the 49ers find themselves way back in the division. Alex Smith has looked a bit worse, and Frank Gore didn't help too much this week. Now they have a short week, and face a furious Bears team who is in a similar position.
20) Seattle Seahawks (22). This has been a rollercoaster ride for the Seahawks so far. They started off well, but their offensive line hasn't protected well at all. A win against Detroit may be just what they need going into the second half of the season, and may make a run at the Cardinals.
19) New York Jets (19). With two weeks to think about that awful loss to the Dolphins, they'll be ready for the Jaguars. In order to stay in playoff contention, a win is necessary, especially if the Patriots lose to the Colts.
18) Chicago Bears (17). Another team with a rollercoaster season. Their defense laid down for the Cardinals, even though Jay Cutler had a decent game. Since Minnesota has all but won the division, they'll need to take the wild card route, and a win against the 49ers would help.
17) Miami Dolphins (16). It was close, but their offense couldn't get it going when it really mattered. It's pretty easy to get over this loss with Tampa Bay, Carolina, and Buffalo next on your schedule though.
16) Arizona Cardinals (18). What a way to bounce back. Kurt Warner looked like he was playing for the Greatest Show on Turf again, and Larry Fitzgerald make a huge impact, even with Boldin out. This significantly helps their chances of winning their awful division.
15) Green Bay Packers (11). That offensive line HAS to be fixed! You have your great, young, franchise quarterback trying to make plays all game, yet he gets ravaged by a below average defense. This is not a very good team, and their defensive play didn't help at all.
14) New York Giants (12). Losing four in a row all but ruins their chances of making the playoffs, let alone the division. Their upcoming bye week may help with their injuries, considering they need Aaron Ross back. Their remaining schedule is just too tough, though.
13) San Diego Chargers (15). And just like that, they've back in the division race. They did what they needed to do to win, and the Rivers/Jackson connection gave them two big scores. They face the Eagles next week, and then a huge second game against the Broncos.
12) Baltimore Ravens (8). They needed that win against the Bengals, and can take their frustrations out on the Browns (what a terrible Monday Night game). Joe Flacco needs to get the ball into the endzone more, but their defense is their biggest concern.
11) Atlanta Falcons (14). Though it was only against the Redskins, that win was exactly what they needed. With a win against the Panthers and Giants, they'll take another stab at the wild card race.
10) Philadelphia Eagles (9). Their injuries really held them back against the Cowboys, in what was an ugly game. They need Westbrook back, but now it appears he has an ankle problem too. Can they bounce back against San Diego?
9) Houston Texans (10). Despite the loss, I still like this team to make the playoffs. They were a missed field goal away from bringing the best team in the AFC into overtime, and they also kept Peyton Manning down to human level. That's saying something.
8) Dallas Cowboys (13). They have strung a bunch of wins in a row, and now face a slumping Green Bay team, a bad Redskins team, and an even worse Raiders team. But December is looming...
7) Denver Broncos (5). Orton looked like his old self, and the rest of their team couldn't get it going. Are they crashing down to Earth? With only a one game lead in the division, that upcoming Broncos/Chargers game becomes much more important.
6) Cincinnati Bengals (7). I guess they are for real after all. Both Cedric Benson and the Bengals defense are big surprises this year, and have significantly helped Palmer return to great form. Now the big question: can they beat the Steelers again?
5) New England Patriots (6). That was a great division win, even if Brady didn't look great. This is a huge Sunday Night game against the Colts, as it is every year. They do, however, have an awfully difficult upcoming schedule, and must stay focused.
4) Minnesota Vikings (4). Now that they're rested, they have a giveaway game against the Lions. As long as they don't get too complacent, they should win their next 3 games and stay in contention for home field advantage.
3) Pittsburgh Steelers (3). Isn't Polamalu just great? Their defense is so much better with him in the game, and Mendenhall could very well be the future of their running game. Their game next week against the Bengals will be for the division lead.
2) Indianapolis Colts (2). A missed field goal kept them out overtime, and this team has looked a bit more vulnerable as of late. They can't let this happen against the Patriots next week. If they win this one, they can definitively be considered the best in the AFC.
1) New Orleans Saints (1). They almost tripped over the Panthers, but (once again) their defense hardened. With all cylinders working effectively on this team, it's hard to imagine another team challenging them for NFC dominance.