Nine weeks down, eight weeks to go.  We are starting to see some separation in the NFL within tiers as we gain more and more information with each and every week.  This is the week that we’ve seen the most movement as teams that were on the fringe in some tiers made jumps with impressive wins or disappointing losses.

As a reminder, these rankings are 100% forward looking.  Meaning how would you rank the teams going forward.  In gambling terms, which team should be favored if they played on a neutral field.  Here are the NFL power rankings heading into Week 10.

Tier 1: Superbowl Favorites

(1) New England Patriots

(2) Pittsburgh Steelers

(3) Philadelphia Eagles

New England has been in our top spot the entire season.  While many fans and pundits overreacted to their defense getting off to a slow start, they have quickly turned it around and still have that Tom Brady guy on offense.  The Steelers still have a ton of talent on their roster and expect to be butting heads with the Patriots for home field advantage in the AFC.

The Eagles make a jump into the top tier this week much to the delight of twitter followers who have hated their ranking each time I post them.  The Eagles continue to prove themselves as contenders on the field although their schedule gets tougher as three of their next four games are road games against the Cowboys, Seahawks, and Rams.

Tier 2: Some Question Marks

(4) Seattle Seahawks

(5) Dallas Cowboys

(6) Jacksonville Jaguars

(7) Kansas City Chiefs

All of these teams figure to be top-10 teams the rest of the way but all of them have their faults that are concerning.  The Seahawks have no semblance of a running game since Chris Carson went down and their offense has been inconsistent because of it.  The Cowboys’ biggest question mark relies on the legal system and whether or not their workhorse Ezekiel Elliot will be available down the stretch.  The Jaguars’ biggest question mark is if they can maintain this success with their defense and running game or will opponents force Blake Bortles to beat them.  The Chiefs were incorrectly crowned the best team in the NFL but have since lost three of four games as teams have started to bottle up Kareem Hunt and their run game.

Tier 3: Surprises

(8) Los Angeles Rams

(9) New Orleans Saints

(10) Minnesota Vikings

All three of these teams were expected to hover around 8-8 this season but all have surprised to be playoff contenders.  The Rams just needed a coach who wasn’t Jeff FIsher to see the offense actually be able to put up points.  The Saints needed to go back to their running game and also turned their secondary into something that doesn’t resemble a sieve.  The Vikings defense was expected to be good, but the fact that they have been able to be fine on offense with Case Keenum under center is the big surprise in Minnesota.  Although a bigger surprise could be Teddy Bridgewater taking snaps for the Vikings soon.

Tier 4: Above Average

(11) Atlanta Falcons

(12) Carolina Panthers

(13) Baltimore Ravens

The Falcons’ hangover is lasting longer than the night after your bachelor party in Las Vegas.  Even All-Pro Julio Jones looked like he was on the Josh Gordon pregame plan as he dropped an easy touchdown.  The talent is still there for Atlanta but they could start to fall if they continue to struggle.

Baltimore is strange to see this high personally but the numbers do like them going forward.  Joe Flacco has looked…um, how do I put this nicely…he’s looked like shit.  But we’ll see if Harbaugh is able to keep the Ravens around in the AFC playoff picture.

Tier 5: League Average

(14) Detroit Lions

(15) Buffalo Bills

(16) Oakland Raiders

All of these teams have games where they look like a playoff contender, and then they have games where they look like a bottom ten team in the league (although that is the case for 90% of the league to be fair).  While all three of these teams are relatively close in the power rankings, their playoff odds are all over the place.  The Bills (55.2%) have the best shot to make it to the postseason while the Lions (35.7%) and Raiders (13.5%) will need some breaks to go their way to play more than 16 games this year.

Tier 6: Upset Specials

(17) Los Angeles Chargers

(18) Washington Redskins

(19) Tennessee Titans

Our numbers are lower on the Titans than I’ve seen from other publications but this seems about right for them.  They could perhaps be bumped up one tier but I couldn’t picture them any higher than that right now.

The Redskins are only 4-4 but have also played a brutal schedule thus far.  They have played the Eagles twice already, as well as the Chiefs, Cowboys, Rams, and Seahawks.  As we just saw in Week 9, they are capable of getting the upset against any team so as their schedule eases up they could sneak into the playoffs.

Tier 7: AFC Dropouts

(20) Cincinnati Bengals

(21) Denver Broncos

(22) Houston Texans

All three of these teams had playoff aspirations going into the season but they are all but eliminated from those.  Houston had those hopes dashed just last week with the injury to Deshaun Watson and with no capable backup quarterback.  The Broncos can’t seem to figure out which bad quarterback they want to start on a weekly basis but none of them are likely to get Denver back into the playoffs no matter how good the defense plays.

Tier 8: A Whole Bunch of Junk

(23) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

(24) New York Jets

(25) New York Giants

(26) Chicago Bears

(27) Arizona Cardinals

(28) Green Bay Packers

(29) Miami Dolphins

All of these teams are near the bottom of the heap of NFL teams but all got there in different ways.  The Packers and Cardinals lost their veteran quarterbacks.  The Jets have over-performed to get to this level.  The Bears were planning on this being a rebuilding year.  The Bucs and Giants should be following the Bears plans.  And honestly, I’m not sure how the Dolphins have won four games this year but we don’t project them to get many more the rest of the way.

Tier 9: The Bottom of the Barrel

(30) Indianapolis Colts

(31) San Francisco 49ers

(32) Cleveland Browns

All three teams have major roster problems and are searching for their quarterback of the future.  The 49ers are hoping that Jimmy Garoppolo is their guy.  The Colts are hoping Andrew Luck can play again.  The Browns are hoping for a miracle.