It’s Week 9 in the NFL, and that means the 2020 National Football League (NFL) season is already almost halfway over. Over half of the league has already played eight games, and we’re starting to get a pretty good sense of which teams are actually good and which ones are already thinking about 2021.
Online sports betting is always about finding the margins before you make your picks. That means looking for which teams are over or undervalued, and it means looking past a team’s win-loss record to see what lies beneath. As you think about your NFL betting this week, dig a little deeper and remember to consider these Week 9 NFL Power Rankings before you make your picks.
Let’s get to the Power Rankings, starting with our last undefeated team at the top!
Tier I — The Super Bowl Favorites
1. Pittsburgh Steelers 7–0 (Previous rank: 1)
The Steelers faced big tests the last two weeks and passed both of them, surviving the Titans and the Ravens to remain undefeated. They’re the last unbeaten team in the NFL, and that shouldn’t change anytime soon with the Cowboys, Bengals, and Jaguars up next. In fact, Pittsburgh has only four more games against teams that have a winning record, so they’re in a great position to win the AFC North and grab that AFC 1-seed. If you’re looking for NFL betting lines, though, beware: the Steelers tend to play down to competition and do just enough to get by.
2. Kansas City Chiefs 7–1 (2)
The Chiefs ran up the score on the woebegone Jets, with Patrick Mahomes tallying five touchdowns. Kansas City even ran a fake punt because why not? The Chiefs have won 88–25 combined over the last two weeks and that offense is full speed ahead and probably won’t slow down with shoddy Panthers and Raiders defenses on the schedule next. The Chiefs are firing on all cylinders. They’ll play in Tampa Bay on Sunday, November 29, in what could be a Super Bowl preview. Circle that one on your calendars.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6–2 (3)
The Bucs barely held on to defeat the Giants on Monday night, ducking a probable pass interference on a two-point play to secure the victory. Don’t worry too much about Tampa, though. Tom Brady has a history with the Giants, and this was a classic letdown game with a huge Sunday night rematch with the Saints coming up this week. The Bucs lost to New Orleans in Week 1, so they need this one badly to keep hold of the NFC South.
Tier II — The Flawed Contenders
4. Seattle Seahawks 6–1 (6)
Halfway through the 2020 regular season, there’s little question that Russell Wilson is the runaway MVP right now. Wilson has thrown 26 touchdowns through seven games, still on record pace for almost 60 on the season. And it sure looks like he’s got an unstoppable weapon now in DK Metcalf, who looks a little more like Terrell Owens every single week. Seattle can’t run the ball or defend much, but as long as Russ is throwing to DK and Tyler Lockett, it may not matter.
5. Baltimore Ravens 5–2 (4)
The Ravens lost a game to the Steelers on Sunday, which was costly in more ways than one. The loss puts them two games back of Pittsburgh in the division and one behind Kansas City, with a lost tiebreaker to both, and they also lost stud offensive tackle, Ronnie Stanley, for the season. The good news for Baltimore is that they actually dominated the game, pounding the Steelers on the ground with 47 runs for 265 yards. The problem was four turnovers and 110 penalty yards that doomed the team, but perhaps that’s good news for the rematch coming on Thanksgiving evening.
6. Green Bay Packers 5–2 (5)
You might figure the Packers should drop a little further after getting dominated by Dalvin Cook and the Vikings, but divisional games are always unpredictable and that’s really the nature of the teams in this tier. The Seahawks and Ravens have also had a couple of complete misses while looking totally dominant in other games. The Packers are still likely to be favored in every game the rest of the way. Unless there are more games like last Sunday, they’ll be fine.
Tier III — Good, Trying to be Great
7. Indianapolis Colts 5–2 (12)
The Colts looked like a totally different team with linebacker Darius Leonard back on the field. Leonard missed games against the Browns and Bengals, and Indianapolis struggled mightily. With him back on the field, they looked like the best defense in the NFL again, like they were over the first month. The Colts are tied for the division lead now, but we’re about to learn a lot about them over the next month. Up next: Ravens, Titans, Packers, and Titans again.
8. Tennessee Titans 5–2 (7)
That perfect 5–0 Titans start suddenly feels very long ago. Tennessee got embarrassed by Cincinnati a week after falling far behind Pittsburgh, and don’t forget, they needed overtime to beat the Texans the week before that. Remember, the Titans won their first three games by just six points combined, all against teams we now know are bad. It might be time to start fading the Titans in NFL betting picks until they prove otherwise on the field.
9. Buffalo Bills 6–2 (13)
The Bills got the big win they needed against the Patriots thanks to a late Cam Newton fumble, but they’re not out of the woods yet. Miami is charging hard and fast in the AFC East, and Buffalo’s closing schedule is brutal. They may not be a sizable favorite in every game, and they haven’t had a single convincing win yet. Josh Allen’s numbers have dropped precipitously the last four games after such a strong start. Be careful of trusting the Bills.
10. New Orleans Saints 5–2 (10)
The Saints continue to be a bit overrated in sportsbook casinos, doing just enough to survive and advance each week. New Orleans has won four games in a row but all four wins have come by one score against the Lions, Chargers, Panthers, and Bears. Should we be worried that the Saints are barely beating these mediocre teams, or impressed that they’re getting the wins even without playing well and missing Michael Thomas most of the season? Sunday night in Tampa will tell us a lot.
Tier IV — The Incredibly Competitive NFC West
11. Arizona Cardinals 5–2 (9)
All four NFC West teams are still in the top 13 of the power rankings, and it sure looks like at least two or three of them will make the playoffs but probably not all four. The last time we saw the Cardinals, they had that incredible overtime win on Sunday night over the Seahawks and headed into a bye week. This has not been the Cards anyone expected. The defense has been far better than predicted, but the offense has not been great, especially the passing attack. Did they get that right during the bye?
12. Los Angeles Rams 5–3 (8)
The Rams still feel like the most well-rounded team in the NFC West, but that was a real clunker against the Dolphins, with LA going down 28–7 before halftime. But half of those points allowed came in a brutal one-minute stretch of the second quarter when Miami scored two touchdowns on a 78-yard fumble return and an 88-yard punt return. Take those two fluke plays away and the Rams actually dominated the game 471–145 yards and 31–8 first downs. These things happen. The Rams may be a bit underrated coming out of their bye this week.
13. San Francisco 49ers 4–4 (11)
It feels like this may be about as high as the 49ers get in the Power Rankings the rest of the season. Some years just aren’t your year, and it sure feels like that’s the case for San Francisco with their never-ending list of injuries. Now Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle are out and may not play again this season — certainly no time soon. San Fran plays the Packers, Saints, Rams, and Bills next. The season could get away from the Niners in a hurry.
Tier V — The Gooey Cream Puff Middle
14. Las Vegas Raiders 4–3 (16)
It’s great to see the Raiders win an ugly game like they did against the Browns on Sunday, 16–6. We already know they can win a shootout like they did in Week 5 against the Chiefs, so it’s good to see them run the ball and play some defense, too. The Browns win is especially important because that looks like a key team Las Vegas will contend with for a wildcard spot.
15. Cleveland Browns 5–3 (14)
The Browns have four wins against bad teams and three losses against good teams, including this week to the Raiders. The only unexpected outcome, really, was a Week 5 win against the Colts. This might just be a relatively average team with a soft early schedule. And that may not change in the second half either. The Browns still play four more games against teams with one or zero wins right now, plus a fifth against the Eagles. As long as Cleveland takes care of business against the bad teams, they should make the playoffs.
16. Miami Dolphins 4–3 (18)
So how do you grade Tua Tagovailoa’s first NFL start? If you think quarterback wins are a stat, 1–0 against a good Rams team is pretty good. But 12-of-22 passes for only 93 yards is not. Miami’s offense was absolutely anemic, with only 145 yards against the Rams, but the Dolphins got bailed out by big defense and special teams plays. Be careful not to overrate Tua or the Fins.
17. Chicago Bears 5–3 (15)
The Bears are 4–0 against sub-.500 teams but 1–3 against teams above .500, and the one win was something of a Thursday night miracle against the Bucs. Chicago’s defense is good enough, but the offense still isn’t doing much, and Nick Foles hasn’t been much better than Mitchell Trubisky, if he’s better at all. Chicago is still struggling to score, so if you like the Bears in a matchup, you better check out the underdog at your sportsbook casino.
Tier VI — Just Good Enough That You Have to Try against Them
18. Philadelphia Eagles 3–4–1 (19)
Few teams need this bye week more than the Eagles. Philadelphia was down to two healthy starters on offense a couple of weeks ago, and the defense hasn’t exactly been fit either. The Eagles haven’t been good, but they may not even have to be average in the NFC East. Like the old joke goes, they don’t need to outrun the bear chasing them — just the other three NFC East teams.
19. Carolina Panthers 3–5 (17)
The honeymoon may be over for the Panthers, who have now lost three games in a row. Teddy Bridgewater and the offense are slowing down, though they should get a boost when Christian McCaffrey returns soon. They’re going to need it with the Chiefs and Bucs next on the schedule. Any long shot NFL betting odds of a Panthers playoff bid are probably about to fade quickly.
20. Detroit Lions 3–4 (21)
The Lions were just righting the ship before getting blown out at home by Indianapolis. That’s a clear setback, and the NFC playoff picture is stacked, but Detroit’s next four games are against below-average teams. If the Lions are going to make a move, they may need to win all four before a brutal final month. Otherwise, it’s stuck back just at or below the middle, pretty much the same as always.
21. Denver Broncos 3–4 (23)
So do the Broncos get credit for coming back for a miracle 31–30 win over the Chargers, or do we fault them for falling behind 24–3? The answer is a little bit of both. Denver’s defense has not looked good in Vic Fangio’s second year with the team, and the offense has turned it over 15 times in seven games. The Broncos are not very good, and there’s a real chance they are not favored again this season. Use that Chargers comeback to fade Denver when you’re betting on the NFL.
22. Cincinnati Bengals 2–5–1 (24)
The Bengals are just the opposite. Mighty Joe Burrow is 6–2 against the spread now, and Cincinnati has become the king of the backdoor cover. This week, they came in through the front door with a dominant win over the Titans. The Bengals aren’t going to make the playoffs and don’t need a high draft pick because they already have their quarterback. This season is already a win for Cincinnati.
Tier VII — Wait, Shouldn’t These Teams Be Way Better?
23. Los Angeles Chargers 2–5 (22)
The Chargers have also found their quarterback of the future in Justin Herbert, and he looks every bit as good as Joe Burrow so far. But it’s the same old Chargers, inventing new ways to lose late every week. LA has two overtime losses and they blew a 24–3 lead this week to Denver. All five Chargers losses have come by one score. This team is clearly better than its record, so remember that when you consider NFL betting lines.
24. Minnesota Vikings 2–5 (26)
Well that was exactly what Mike Zimmer wants from this team, with everything on offense flowing through Dalvin Cook. Cook had a monster game with four touchdowns and has become something of a Packers killer his last few times, and he certainly looks healthy. The Vikings have already been trading pieces and look like they’re eyeing 2021, but the second-half schedule is far easier than the first half. This is still a good roster, so don’t be surprised if they end up finishing around .500 still.
25. Atlanta Falcons 2–6 (28)
The Falcons are a bit like the Chargers, always building leads and always blowing them late. They finally held onto a late lead to beat the Panthers, but Atlanta has one of the toughest schedules remaining. They still face the Bucs and Saints twice each, along with a Kansas City road trip. The good news for the Falcons is that the defense is improving. After allowing 34.5 PPG their first four games, they’re down to 21.5 PPG allowed in four games since.
26. Houston Texans 1–6 (27)
The Texans haven’t been nearly as bad as their record. Five of their six losses have come against teams that rank in the top-8 of these Power Rankings, but Houston has six remaining games against average or poor opponents. Don’t rule out a Texans run at the playoffs if Deshaun Watson gets hot. The margin for error is extremely slim, but if you’re looking for an extreme playoff long shot with great sports betting odds, the Texans might be worth a pick.
27. New England Patriots 2–5 (20)
The Patriots might just be terrible. New England has lost four games in a row, their longest losing streak since drafting Tom Brady and the start of the dynasty. Cam Newton doesn’t look healthy and the team just doesn’t have much talent between all the injuries and COVID-19 opt-outs. The Patriots are only averaging 12.3 PPG during this losing streak. If they can’t score on the Jets on Monday night, the dynasty may truly be over.
Tier VIII — The NFC East Is Truly Terrible
28. Washington Football Team 2–5 (25)
If only Washington had pulled off that late two-point conversion against the Giants a few weeks ago, Washington would be 3–4 and feeling pretty good in the NFC East, with a perfect 3–0 division record. This team is an intriguing playoff long shot, though. The Giants, Lions, Bengals, and Cowboys are up next before a rough closing month. If Washington can win three of these next four, they’ll be within range in the division. Week 17 in Philadelphia looms large.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars 1–6 (30)
Ever heard of Jake Luton? Well, the sixth round pick out of Oregon State is making his first start at quarterback for the Jaguars this week. But before you count Luton out, don’t forget who he’s replacing. Gardner Minshew was an unknown sixth round rookie from a Pac-12 school too just a year ago. Maybe the Jaguars can catch lightning in a bottle twice?
30. Dallas Cowboys 2–6 (29)
Halfway into the season, the Cowboys might reportedly start their fourth quarterback of the year in Cooper Rush. Andy Dalton and Ben DiNucci certainly aren’t it, but it’s hard to believe Rush will provide any answers unless he can also play defense and offensive line. In games outside the NFC East, the Cowboys are allowing 36.8 PPG. Face it: Dallas just stinks.
31. New York Giants 1–7 (31)
The Giants are a failed Washington two-point try away from making it two pathetic New York teams at 0–8 at the bottom of the standings. Then again, they were also a failed two away from beating the mighty Bucs on Monday night and only lost to the Eagles and Cowboys by four points combined over the past month. Believe it or not, the G-Men are just that close to a four-game winning streak.
Tier IX — How Many College Teams Would Beat the Jets?
32. New York Jets 0–8 (32)
The Jets finished as 20-point underdogs heading into the game against the Chiefs, and it never looked for even a minute like they had any chance to cover. Will the Jets win a game this season? Five of their remaining games are against teams over .500, which leaves a Chargers road trip and two games against the Patriots. As shocking as it seems, this Monday night at home against New England may be their best chance left at a win.
We may already be halfway through the 2020 NFL season, but there’s still plenty of NFL betting to be done. So as you head to get ready for some online sports betting in NFL Week 9, don’t forget to think about the Power Rankings! Remember everything you learned above, and make some great picks as you check out Week 9 NFL betting lines.
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