NFL Week 9 Power Rankings: Patriots, 49ers steady at the top, Rams rise back into top 10, Bills plummet

We're about halfway through the NFL season, and it really doesn't start by my way of thinking until after Halloween.

That means it's time for real contenders to emerge. The pretenders will fall off.

After eight weeks, we have two undefeated teams left in the New England Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers. One is almost a lock to get to the Super Bowl in the Patriots.

The 49ers have truly impressed, but the NFC is loaded. Are they that much better than the Saints and the Packers

The Patriots and 49ers stay atop the Power Rankings this week, but the Packers and Saints are right behind them.

What I like to do at this point of the season is to try and find a team that could be ready to make a move towards the top. Is there even one? That's tough to say, but a team that seems to have fixed a few problems the past few weeks is the Los Angeles Rams. Playing against two bad defenses the last two games has helped right the offensive ship.

A wild Week 8 is in the books and there's a lot to go over. Fortunately Will Brinson, John Breech, Ryan Wilson and Sean Wagner-McGough are here to break everything down on the latest episode of the Pick Six Podcast. Listen to the full show below and be sure to subscribe right here for daily NFL goodness.

Could the defending NFC champs be readying to make a real push to be an elite team again in the NFC? 

In the AFC, the team to watch is the Kansas City Chiefs. They are 5-3, but they've lost three homes games. That's a bad look, but they played this past week without quarterback Patrick Mahomes. He is expected back soon, and when he's back they are a real threat in the AFC.

It won't be easy this week for the Chiefs when they play host to the Minnesota Vikings, another team that has played well the past month and could be pushing to be an NFC elite. 

It's Halloween folks, time for the real contenders to emerge – even if, aside from a few of the obvious, it might be tough to do.

Biggest Movers
5 Texans
6 Bills
Rk
Teams
 
Chg
Rcrd
1 Patriots They haven't really been challenged as a defense. That will change this week against the Ravens and Lamar Jackson. --12-4-0
2 49ers They are the real deal. That defense is special and they can run the heck out of the ball. That's a good combination. --13-3-0
3 Saints With Drew Brees back, they head to their bye as one of the top teams in the league. That defense is improving by the week. --13-3-0
4 Packers Aaron Rodgers and the offense are rolling now. The idea he would have problems in the new system is laughable now. He's the MVP. --13-3-0
5 Ravens They come off their bye with a major challenge against the Patriots. Can Lamar Jackson handle facing that top defense? 114-2-0
6 Vikings The offense continues to play at a high level with Kirk Cousins playing well. They head to Kansas City for a tough game with the Chiefs this week. 110-6-0
7 Seahawks It wasn't pretty, and the defense had issues, but they found a way to win a road game at Atlanta. The defense needs to tighten up. 111-5-0
8 Colts The offense was a bit stagnant against the Broncos, so that has to be better, starting this week against the Steelers. They can't expect to win low-scoring games. 27-9-0
9 Cowboys They come off the bye with a division Monday night road game against the Giants. The last time they went to that stadium they lost to the Jets, so be careful. 28-8-0
10 Rams They have found their offense the past two weeks. Jared Goff has piled up big numbers against two bad defenses. 39-7-0
11 Bills That was a bad loss to the Eagles at home. The run defense was terrible and has to be better. They got mauled. 610-6-0
12 Panthers So much for the idea that their defense could be dominant. The 49ers ran right through that unit. Kyle Allen-mania also slowed in that game. 35-11-0
13 Texans Losing J.J. Watt for the season will really test that defense. They face a stiff challenge against the Jaguars in London this week. 510-6-0
14 Jaguars Gardner Minshew continues to pile up big numbers to make it a tough call to replace him when Nick Foles is ready. What happens if he outduels Deshaun Watson this week and wins? 16-10-0
15 Chiefs Without Patrick Mahomes, they are just ordinary. The defense isn't good enough without him. Three home losses are tough to understand for this group. 312-4-0
16 Lions At 3-3-1, they are hanging around. But the division is tough and their defense has to be better. 13-12-1
17 Raiders They did a lot of good things against the Texans last week, things that should carry over. They finally get a home game this week against the Lions. 37-9-0
18 Eagles That was a season-saving victory against the Bills. The running game has keyed two big road victories against the Packers and Buffalo. 19-7-0
19 Steelers They came off their bye and started slowly against Miami, but they played much better in the second half. They've won two straight and face a big one against the Colts this week. 18-8-0
20 Titans The decision to go to Ryan Tannehill has really inspired this team on offense. They will need it this week on the road against a Panthers team coming off a big loss. 39-7-0
21 Chargers That close victory against the Bears might have saved their season. Maybe it's a sign that those types of things will now go their way. 45-11-0
22 Bears The passing offense is just way too limited right now. At some point, Mitch Trubisky has to be better. 68-8-0
23 Browns At 2-5, is their season over? The schedule gets softer, but they have to be better. They did run the ball against the Patriots. 26-10-0
24 Cardinals They have been moving the ball, but they need to score more points. Kyler Murray has to get the touchdown passes going. 25-10-1
25 Broncos At least they competed against the Colts, which had to be tough since they seem to be playing for the future. The defense played well. 17-9-0
26 Giants They got a nice bounce-back game from Daniel Jones against the Lions. Even after an early turnover for a score, he responded. That's a good thing. --4-12-0
27 Buccaneers They turn the ball over way too much to win games. It happened again against the Titans, and it cost them. --7-9-0
28 Redskins The offense is limited and can't keep up. At some point, Dwayne Haskins will take over, but he must not be close to being ready. --3-13-0
29 Jets It gets worse by the week. The offensive line is a mess and they can't do anything on offense because of it. --7-9-0
30 Falcons They head to the bye as one of the biggest disappointments of the season. There will be a coaching change - but when? --7-9-0
31 Bengals Why not unload A.J. Green? It's clear this is a team that is going nowhere and he might leave after the season anyway. --2-14-0
32 Dolphins They competed in the first half against the Steelers, but that means little. The tanking continues. --5-11-0
CBS Sports Senior Writer

Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an... Full Bio

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