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2021 NFL power rankings heading into Week 9

We use point differential against the spread to see where the value lies in our Week 9 NFL power rankings.

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) runs for a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins in the fourth quarter at Highmark Stadium. Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL has closed out Week 8 and we’re fast approaching the halfway point of the 2021 NFL season. The playoff field is a long way from being set, and Week 8 saw some significant upsets.

The biggest upset saw the Jets knock off the Bengals in the Meadowlands. It was the biggest point spread upset this season (-11). In addition, we saw the Saints upend the Bucs at home and the Packers go into Arizona and beat the Cardinals. That shakes up the top of the playoff picture to some degree, with the Packers now claiming the top spot in the NFC and the Titans atop the AFC.

Now that we move toward Week 9, it’s time for some power rankings. Below we’ve ranked the teams based on spread differential. We took the pre-game point spread at DraftKings Sportsbook and added in the point differential from the game. For example, the Texans closed as 16.5-point underdogs against the Rams and lost the game by 16 points. For the Texans spread differential, we added -16 to +16. For the Rams spread differential, we added 16 to -16.5.

Point differential is a helpful tool for figuring out the best and worst teams. However, point spread can offer a little more context to how good or bad teams might be. The Bills remain a notch behind the Cardinals atop the spread differential with the currently Cooper Rush-led Cowboys right behind them. The most intriguing team remains the Eagles, who this week benefit from a thorough beating of the Lions.

NFL Power Rankings ahead of Week 9

2021 NFL power rankings, Week 9

Rk Team Record Spread differential Point differential LW
Rk Team Record Spread differential Point differential LW
1 Arizona Cardinals 7-1 +72.0 +108 1
2 Buffalo Bills 5-2 +68.5 +120 2
3 Dallas Cowboys 6-1 +59.5 +63 4
4 Cincinnati Bengals 5-3 +52.5 +58 3
5 New Orleans Saints 5-2 +41.0 +48 8
6 Philadelphia Eagles 3-5 +36.5 +12 13
7 Tennessee Titans 6-2 +34.0 +32 7
8 New England Patriots 4-4 +29.5 +42 9
9 Indianapolis Colts 3-5 +27.0 +17 5
10 Los Angeles Rams 7-1 +20.0 +77 10
11 Las Vegas Raiders 5-2 +17.5 +14 11
12 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6-2 +15.5 +77 6
13 Seattle Seahawks 3-5 +10.0 +12 18
14 Baltimore Ravens 5-2 +1.0 +23 14
15 Carolina Panthers 4-4 +1.0 +6 17
16 Denver Broncos 4-4 0.0 +20 16
17 Minnesota Vikings 3-4 -2.5 +6 12
18 Pittsburgh Steelers 4-3 -4.0 -10 20
19 Green Bay Packers 7-1 -4.5 +25 22
20 New York Giants 2-6 -6.0 -44 21
21 Los Angeles Chargers 4-3 -6.0 -5 15
22 San Francisco 49ers 3-4 -22.5 -3 26
23 Houston Texans 1-7 -24.5 -122 24
24 Cleveland Browns 4-4 -26.5 +3 23
25 Chicago Bears 3-5 -35.0 -72 25
26 Atlanta Falcons 3-4 -40.5 -47 28
27 Detroit Lions 0-8 -45.5 -110 19
28 New York Jets 2-5 -46.0 -92 31
29 Washington 2-6 -49.5 -71 29
30 Jacksonville Jaguars 1-6 -51.5 -80 27
31 Kansas City Chiefs 4-4 -57.5 -12 30
32 Miami Dolphins 1-7 -63.5 -95 32