NFL 2017 Week 9 Power Rankings – Scariest trends for all 32 teams


What should your team be most concerned about as we approach the midpoint of the season?

Here’s a rundown of the Week 9 Power Rankings, as voted on by our power panel — a group of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities — with a look at the most worrisome stats and trends for all 32 teams.

ESPN Stats & Information’s John McTigue contributed the following information.

Methodology: These rankings are based on which teams voters think would win head-to-head matchups. Higher-ranked teams would be favored against lower-ranked teams. Coming off a win doesn’t guarantee a jump, and a loss doesn’t guarantee a fall.

Previous rankings: Week 8 | 7 | 6 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | Preseason

2017 record: 7-1
Week 8 ranking: No. 2

The Eagles own the NFL’s best record right now, but will that last once the schedule toughens up? The Eagles have played the third-easiest schedule and have big tests against the Broncos, Cowboys, Seahawks and Rams coming up.

2017 record: 6-2
Week 8 ranking: No. 1

The Patriots are averaging only 21.8 points per game over their past four. All were wins, but if there’s any cause for concern in New England right now, it’s the red zone offense. The Patriots have turned just 50 percent of red zone drives into touchdowns (63 percent last season).

2017 record: 6-2
Week 8 ranking: No. 3

The Chiefs are winning, but their defense hasn’t been helping the cause. They’ve allowed 392.3 yards per game, the third-most in the NFL. Eventually, Alex Smith will throw some interceptions, and when he does, the defense might not be able to hold.

2017 record: 6-2
Week 8 ranking: No. 4

There are a lot of things going right for the Steelers, but Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t necessarily been one of them. He has thrown the third-most interceptions this season (9), and his completion percentage (61 percent) ranks 24th among qualified pbaders.

2017 record: 6-2
Week 8 ranking: No. 8

What do the Vikings have to worry about after winning four straight? Case Keenum really hasn’t been tested that much, and who knows if and when Sam Bradford or Teddy Bridgewater could return? Keenum is 2-2 against opponents who entered the game with a winning record, including a win over the Packers when Aaron Rodgers was injured.

2017 record: 5-2
Week 8 ranking: No. 6

The biggest concern for the Seahawks right now has to be the running game. There are 71 players with 30 or more rushes this season, including both Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls. Lacy ranks 67th and Rawls ranks 70th in yards per rush.

2017 record: 4-3
Week 8 ranking: No. 5

Ezekiel Elliott has rushed 88 times for 413 yards and four touchdowns the past three games — a scary-big workload. The Cowboys are riding Elliott, but the prospect of him missing time has to be worrisome.

2017 record: 5-2
Week 8 ranking: No. 7

The Rams are off to one of their best starts in years, but they need to cut down on turnovers in order to keep winning. They’ve fumbled 15 times this season (lost eight of them), which is tied for fourth-most in the NFL, and have a turnover margin of zero.

2017 record: 5-2
Week 8 ranking: No. 14

New Orleans’ defense is much improved, but it’s still not perfect. The Saints are allowing 4.9 yards per rush, the third-most in the NFL. They also allowed 169 rush yards per game over the past two despite facing inexperienced quarterbacks who relied on the run.

2017 record: 3-4
Week 8 ranking: No. 9

Deshaun Watson has been great, but it has to be pretty worrisome that Houston is 3-4 despite Watson’s play. The biggest concern is they’ve lost three games when scoring 30 or more points this season. They had three such losses in their franchise history prior to this season.

2017 record: 5-2
Week 8 ranking: No. 15

Can the Bills keep winning with such little production from their wide receivers? Their receivers rank last in receptions (45) and yards (594), and eventually Buffalo could need them to make some plays.

2017 record: 5-3
Week 8 ranking: No. 19

Cam Newton takes a lot of the blame for the Panthers’ struggles, but the most worrisome aspect of Carolina’s offense has been its running game. Panthers backs are averaging 2.8 yards per rush this season, the worst in the NFL.

2017 record: 4-3
Week 8 ranking: No. 12

The Falcons righted the ship following a three-game losing streak, but the road ahead looks daunting. No team has a remaining strength of schedule more difficult than Atlanta’s (.591 opponents’ win percentage).

2017 record: 4-3
Week 8 ranking: No. 13

The defense and the running game have been great for the Jaguars, but the elephant in the room has been the play of Blake Bortles. He has a Total QBR below 50, and he’s one of four qualified quarterbacks completing fewer than 60 percent of his pbades.

2017 record: 3-4
Week 8 ranking: No. 16

The Lions have lost three straight games and four of their past five, so there’s plenty to be concerned about in Detroit right now. Matthew Stafford’s performance against the blitz is among the top worries. He has a league-worst 19 Total QBR against the blitz.

2017 record: 4-3
Week 8 ranking: No. 22

In the Packers’ most recent game, which was at home, they won the turnover battle and rushed for 181 yards. They lost 26-17. The Packers couldn’t win under such favorable circumstances without Aaron Rodgers, so what happens if they turn it over more or can’t run the ball?

2017 record: 3-4
Week 8 ranking: No. 17

The Broncos’ defense is feared, but no one fears their offense right now. Trevor Siemian has thrown three touchdowns and eight interceptions over the past five weeks, with Denver going 1-4 in those games. The only thing scarier than his poor performance? His backup is currently Brock Osweiler.

2017 record: 3-4
Week 8 ranking: No. 11

The Redskins have lost to the Chiefs, Cowboys and Eagles (twice) this season. On paper that’s not bad, but it has to be concerning they can’t beat anyone good. Case in point, the Redskins are 3-12 since 2015 against teams that are over .500.

2017 record: 4-3
Week 8 ranking: No. 21

The Titans’ offense has seemingly been all or nothing, which is a big cause for concern. They’ve scored 30 or more three times, but only the Browns and 49ers (both 0-8) have been held to 16 or fewer points more times (five) than Tennessee (four).

2017 record: 3-4
Week 8 ranking: No. 26

The Bengals have won three of their past four to get them back into the playoff picture, but their upcoming schedule is concerning. Cincinnati plays its next three on the road — at the Jaguars, Titans and Broncos — and they’ve lost eight straight road games outside of Cleveland.

2017 record: 3-5
Week 8 ranking: No. 10

Look away, Raiders fans. Your team had the fourth-best chances to reach the playoffs prior to the season, according to FPI (55 percent). Since losing five of six, those chances have dipped to 4 percent, which is 13th in the AFC.

2017 record: 3-5
Week 8 ranking: No. 18

It’s frightening how many ways the Chargers can lose games. Sure, they’ve won a few close ones recently, but since the start of 2015, they’ve gone 9-22 (.290) in games decided by eight or fewer points. No other team has played as many close games in that time.

2017 record: 4-4
Week 8 ranking: No. 25

Joe Flacco’s play hasn’t inspired much confidence, as his Total QBR (31) ranks 29th out of 32 qualified pbaders. His concussion in Week 8 could put his status in doubt, which could put the Ravens in even more of a bind.

2017 record: 2-5
Week 8 ranking: No. 23

It has been a bad stretch for the Bucs, who have dropped four games in a row and five of six. Jameis Winston had lost four games in a row only once in his career prior to this stretch, the last four games of his rookie season.

2017 record: 4-3
Week 8 ranking: No. 20

Miami was pegged as a breakout offense in the preseason, so imagine the horror after being shut out for the second time in seven games. The Dolphins are last in points per game (13.1) and yards per game (252.4). They haven’t finished last in either since the 1970 merger.

2017 record: 3-5
Week 8 ranking: No. 27

The Jets could actually be in the hunt still if they could close out games late. They’ve been outscored by 56 points in the fourth quarter, second worst in the NFL. Josh McCown has a Total QBR of 12 in the fourth quarter this year (and a 69 Total QBR in first three quarters).

2017 record: 3-5
Week 8 ranking: No. 23

Outside of the running backs, the supporting cast surrounding Mitchell Trubisky on offense hasn’t been strong. Trubisky has managed to complete 48 percent of his pbades in four starts for 128 yards per game.

2017 record: 3-4
Week 8 ranking: No. 28

No Carson Palmer and no David Johnson. The Cardinals already boast the NFL’s worst rush attack (63.4 yards per game), so it could be interesting to see what happens to the offense with Drew Stanton starting at quarterback going forward.

2017 record: 2-6
Week 8 ranking: No. 30

The Colts might have the most reason to be fearful the rest of the season. According to FPI, their chances of losing out are 16 percent, the highest in the NFL — yes, even higher than winless Cleveland or San Francisco.

2017 record: 1-6
Week 8 ranking: No. 29

Eli Manning has lost Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall as targets. Outside of rookie tight end Evan Engram, Giants players have combined to catch 50 percent of pbades the past two weeks for 6.3 yards per reception.

2017 record: 0-8
Week 8 ranking: No. 31

Every team fears going winless, and the 49ers are currently living those fears, starting 0-8 for the first time in franchise history. That’s not all though. They haven’t beaten a team other than the Rams since Dec. 6, 2015.

2017 record: 0-8
Week 8 ranking: No. 32

“Dimanchophobia” is the fear of Sunday. The Browns must have a serious case of it, because they’ve lost 25 straight games played on Sunday, which, according to Elias Sports Bureau, is tied for the longest Sunday losing streak in NFL history (1976-77 Buccaneers). The Browns’ remaining eight games are all Sunday games.

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