With Week 9 here, the latest roundup of NFL power rankings from across the web finally has some significant movement at the top.
Through the first eight weeks, the Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Cincinnati Bengals, and New England Patriots are all undefeated, something the Green Bay Packers are no longer. Green Bay was beaten soundly in Denver this past Sunday, knocking the Pack out of the top three in most power rankings.
The Bengals didn't look great in their 16-10 victory over the 4-4 Steelers, but a win is a win, and it was a great example of how this team can win with their defense in addition to offensive shootouts. It also marked just the fifth time since 2005 that the Bengals won in Pittsburgh. In two of those seasons, Cincinnati won the AFC North, and a third time is likely coming now that they hold a 3.5-game lead in the division.
Yahoo Sports' Frank Schwab was one of the few who actually moved the Bengals up after Week 8:
The Broncos played very well on Sunday night. It was the best performance of any team in the NFL this season. But I'm not moving the Bengals down. They deserve to be No. 2 right now.
ESPN is keeping Cincinnati at the No. 3 spot while noting Andy Dalton's struggles against the Browns (because saying something nice means hell froze over):
The Bengals are 7-0 for the first time in franchise history. They host the Browns Thursday, having lost three of the past five meetings. Andy Dalton threw six touchdowns and 10 interceptions in those games.
NFL.com's Elliot Harrison offered the most in-depth write-up of the Bengals, though it wasn't enough to move them up from the No. 3 spot in his latest rankings.
The Bengals are 7-0 and seen as different in the eyes of the masses right now. This organization boasts the most talented roster in the NFL and certainly deserves to be atop the AFC North. But to be clear, Cincinnati didn't look too hot Sunday. The Steelers lost Le'Veon Bell to his season-ending injury early, while Ben Roethlisberger was playing his first game after missing well over a month with a knee injury of his own. The key is that the Bengals' defense was able to hold down the fort late in a game that saw the offense largely stink up the joint (especially on third down). On another note, Andy Dalton's shaved-side updo deserves way more respect. Is that Clipper 1?
SB Nation's Danny Kelly was the most praising with his thoughts on why the Bengals may be one of, if not the NFL's best team:
Following close behind are the Bengals, who passed a big test by beating their division rival Steelers in their place in Ben Roethlisberger's return to action. Cincy's defense was the star in this game, picking off Big Ben three times while making the statement that they are the owners of the AFC North. The Bengals might be the deepest and most talented team in the NFL right now, not to mention the most balanced.
Here's a roundup of all the major current power rankings compared to last week.
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