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Week Nine power rankings

New York Giants v New England Patriots

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 06: Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants calls out the play in the fourth quarter against the New England Patriots on November 6, 2011 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots 24-20. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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1. Packers (No. 1; 8-0): Halfway to an undefeated season, the Packers’ defense is suddenly alarmingly porous.

2. 49ers (No. 2; 7-1): The Niners have a better formula than the Packers to win games in January.

3. Giants (No. 6; 6-2): The good news for the Giants is that quarterback Eli Manning truly has become elite. The better news is that the whole team is, too.

4. Ravens (No. 7; 6-2): If the offense that showed up late in the Steelers game had shown up against the Titans and Jaguars, the Ravens would be undefeated.

5. Lions (No. 5; 6-2): In 16 days, they get their crack at the Pack.

6. Steelers (No. 3; 6-3): Sunday night’s finish gave Steelers fans nausea-like symptoms.

7. Bengals (No. 8; 6-2): The next two games (vs. Steelers, at Ravens) will tell us everything we need to know about this team.

8. Patriots (No. 4; 5-3): Chad Ochocinco never dreamed he’d have to look up to see the Bengals

9. Saints (No. 9; 6-3): The key to more wins is more Darren Sproles.

10. Texans (No. 12; 6-3): If/when Andre Johnson returns, this team could be ready to compete for a first-round bye.

11. Jets (No. 17; 5-3): If the Jets keep winning, it’ll shut up Joe Namath. If they start losing, it’ll shut up Rex Ryan. Either way, one of them will hopefully shut up.

12. Bears (No. 13; 5-3): Maybe Matt Forte’s two fumbles will take some steam out of his campaign for a contract.

13. Falcons (No. 15; 5-3): Falcons fans are jonesing for more Julio.

14. Bills (No. 10; 5-3): The Bills Mafia could be seeing their playoff chances get whacked.

15. Cowboys (No. 20; 4-4): No team manhandles bad teams and struggles against good teams like the Cowboys.

16. Raiders (No. 11; 4-4): The team that once owned the AFC West apparently was only renting it.

17. Buccaneers (No. 14; 4-4): With two games to play against the Panthers, the up-and-down Bucs need to worry about ending up down in the basement of the division.

18. Chiefs (No. 16; 4-4): Todd Haley’s beard was done in by Reggie Bush.

19. Chargers (No. 18; 4-4): Philip Rivers’ “off year” apparently has extended to his ability to assess his own performance.

20. Eagles (No. 19; 3-5): As a PFT commenter has observed, Juan Castillo is a great offensive line coach. Never before has the Bears’ offensive line looked so good.

21. Vikings (No. 21; 2-6): Monday night’s game against the Packers will be very close. Before the opening kickoff.

22. Panthers (No. 22; 2-6): Their record doesn’t reflect how potent this team is.

23. Titans (No. 23; 4-4): It’s a sad day when 64 yards rushing from Chris Johnson is regarded as an improvement.

24. Broncos (No. 27; 3-5): If coach John Fox runs Tim Tebow until he breaks, Fox will never have to bench him.

25. Redskins (No. 24; 3-5): To apply the term “rebuilding” to this franchise implies that there’s actually been something in the past 15 years that had been built.

26. Cardinals (No. 30; 2-6): Kevin Kolb didn’t realize he had a Skelton in the closet.

27. Browns (No. 25; 3-5): The Big Show could soon be looking for the nearest exit from the theater.

28. Jaguars (No. 28; 2-6): G.M. Gene Smith turned down a contract offer. Presumably, he didn’t want to work for minimum wage.

29. Seahawks (No. 29; 2-6): Maybe Pete Carroll opted to coach in Seattle so that, when his return to the NFL flops, no one will notice.

30. Dolphins (No. 32; 1-7): If Tony Sparano keeps screwing up the team’s shot at Andrew Luck, Sparano definitely will be getting fired.

31. Rams (No. 26; 1-7): The Rams apparently didn’t get the memo that the easy portion of the schedule had begun.

32. Colts (No. 31; 0-9): The true definition of “rats who lie about people”? Anyone who would suggest that the Colts aren’t the worst team in the league.