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NFL Power Rankings Preview, Week 9: Packers Shut Out Jets, Saints Smash Steelers In Big Day For NFC

October 2010 was a good time to be an AFC fan. For one month, fans of AFC football got to act like fans of SEC football, bragging that their teams dominated the NFL's power rankings. But then Halloween happened, and two NFC teams that weren't even leading their divisions convincingly took down the NFL's two best teams. The Green Bay Packers shut out the Jets in New York, while the New Orleans Saints made the Pittsburgh Steelers look like the team with a Super Bowl hangover.

Pending tonight's Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts game, which involves two teams I'd rank in a final top ten, here's a look ahead at what tomorrow's official NFL week 9 power rankings might look like:

  1. New England Patriots: 6-1
  2. Green Bay Packers: 5-2
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers: 5-2
  4. Baltimore Ravens: 5-2
  5. Atlanta Falcons: 5-2
  6. New York Jets: 5-2
  7. New York Giants: 5-2
  8. New Orleans Saints: 5-3
  9. Philadelphia Eagles: 4-3
  10. Miami Dolphins: 4-3

The Jets deserve a serious reconsideration after yesterday's loss -- a loss to a good team is one thing. A loss at home is another. But a home shutout? Can you name the last Super Bowl champion to get shut out at home*?

And yes, for all that NFC huffin' and puffin' I still actually think the AFC is better. The Pats are the league's only one-loss team, and until yesterday the top cluster of AFC teams had pretty much only lost to each other. Look out for the Dolphins, who've only lost to the Patriots, Steelers, and Jets, have beaten the Packers in Lambeau, only have five road games left, and still get to play the Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears, Buffalo Bills, and Detroit Lions.

* The 1974 Steelers lost 17-0 to the Oakland Raiders in Pittsburgh, then went on to win the Super Bowl. They're the only Super Bowl winner to ever get shut out at home as eventual two-time Super Bowl MVP Terry Bradshaw hadn't yet retaken the starting job from woeful Joe Gilliam.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.