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Sid Saraf’s NFL Power Rankings: Week 9

Why can’t we have nice things?

There wasn’t a bigger Deshaun Watson cheerleader than yours truly. As I said numerous times, his games quickly turned into appointment television. He was promising. He was dynamic. He was exciting.

And now he’s gone. Fallen by a torn ACL suffered in practice. Not in a game, but practice, man.

A rookie season for the ages done before Week 9.

I have every reason to resent Houston at the moment, because I spent the past week watching the Astros tear my heart out in the World Series. And even I feel bad for Texans fans. After losing J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus to injury and Brian Cushing to chemicals, they finally found a man under center who inspires confidence. Now that delicious dish has been snatched away after just a few bites.

Sad!

When you add Watson to Aaron Rodgers collarbone and Andrew Luck’s shoulder, this NFL season has come with quite the butcher’s bill.

Anyway, let’s see how the league is shaping up heading in Week 9.

(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)

NFL’S TOP 10

1) Eagles – What a wonderful time to get a home game against the Broncos. Philly is rolling and there’s no reason to believe that ends this week. And they’ve added Jay Ajayi to boot. In a season where nobody seems like a true Super Bowl favorite, this team appears to be the closest.

2) Patriots – Now, why would I put New England ahead of Kansas City? Simple, because the Patriots have figured things out and wouldn’t lose to the Chiefs for a second time if they meet in the playoffs.

3) Chiefs – Their defense is getting gashed on the ground as they rank 28th in the league in rushing yards per game. That won’t get it done. And going back to my earlier point, don’t you think Bill Belichick will use his 97 running backs all day in a potential playoff matchup?

4) Seahawks – Yes, the Legion of Boom got smacked around by Deshaun Watson (sniff, sniff) last week, but how many quarterbacks will they see like him going forward? Seattle’s offense has been on fire since halftime of their Week 7 win over the Giants.

5) Steelers – Hey, JuJu Smith-Schuster might be one of the rare USC wide receivers to become a real threat at the NFL level. Pittsburgh will run away with the AFC North since every other team in the division is a dumpster fire. Congrats.

6) Rams – Yes, I’m a homer. Fight me. However, one wonders if the bottom will fall out of this team at some point. They haven’t played from behind very often and that’s going to happen as games get more important. Let’s see how Jared Goff responds to that.

7) Vikings – It’s nice to see Case Keenum keeping the train rolling in Minnesota. And kudos to Jerick McKinnon for picking up the slack for the injured Dalvin Cook and for my fantasy team.

8) Saints — I’m not as high on this team as everyone else. But there’s no arguing the Saints defense has been a complete 180 from recent years. That’s good to see.

9) Panthers – Still hard to believe they just got rid of Kelvin Benjamin. But watching him on the field, it was obvious something was wrong. Who knows, maybe this is a case of addition by subtraction.

10) Cowboys – Despite all their drama, it still seems as though the Cowboys are a force to be reckoned with. But at some point, Ezekiel Elliott will have to serve a suspension, right?

WHAT’S THE CHATTER?

Colts: Now that Andrew Luck is officially on the shelf until 2018, one has to wonder what Indy will do going forward. They’re going to end up with a top three pick. Do they keep the pick and go after an elite offensive lineman? Do they trade down and accumulate more picks? Do they (gasp!) trade Andrew Luck? We’ve got months of annoying speculation to come.

Steve Sarkisian: Classic fall guy. When your team comes within a few points of winning the Super Bowl and you return pretty much the entire cast with the exception of the offensive coordinator and struggle, it makes sense that the new guy would take the brunt of the criticism. But this entire Falcons team just hasn’t seemed all there this season.

49ers: Wow, Jimmy Garoppolo! And all this time, I thought the team was treading water until they could sign Kirk Cousins in the offseason. Solid move for the franchise and it seems Jimmy G has all the tools to be a success. What he won’t have is Bill Belichick behind him. Let’s see how he does. But the history of players leaving New England isn’t great. Just sayin’ …

NFL’s slice of pie: Papa John’s blames their declining pizza sales on the NFL anthem protests. Pizza Hut disagrees with that statement. I feel Papa John’s declining sales are due to their horrible commercials.

Trevor Siemian: The man got benched by the Broncos after Monday night’s debacle. Sometimes there are decisions made that don’t require a counter-argument. This is one of those.

Browns: Seriously, it’s like they want us to make fun of them. How do you botch a deadline trade by not following the proper procedure? At some point, this franchise will come out of the darkness, but they’ve made it all but impossible to believe.

WHAT TO WATCH IN WEEK 9

Falcons at Panthers: I picked Atlanta to win the NFC South, but a loss here would make that difficult, at best. The last thing they want to do is fall two games behind the Saints and Panthers.

Redskins at Seahawks: This one looks really good on paper and should be close for the first half. However, Seattle should blow it open in the third quarter.

Chiefs at Cowboys: Yes, yes, yes. This is the game of the week. And while I’ve seen most experts put their money on Kansas City, I’m going the opposite way. Expect Zeke to gash the Chiefs on the ground and Dak to bounce back with a strong performance at home.

Rams at Giants: Maybe you’re not excited. But I am. And that’s all that counts.

 

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Written by Sid Saraf
2 weeks ago
NFL,

Sid Saraf

Currently a Mobile Editor at Yahoo, Saraf spent 5.5 years (Oct. 2010 - Feb. 2016) working for FOX Sports as an NFL Editor and Writer. Prior to that, Saraf worked for CBS Interactive for 4.5 years (May 2006 - Oct. 2010) as a Staff Editor.

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