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NFL Divisional Power Rankings, Week 9: NFC North retains supremacy

In another week of our Divisional Power Rankings, we analyze each division in the NFL for which set of teams is the strongest top to bottom. Here's our Week 9 list.

David Banks

While everyone else will be breaking down team by team and comparing them with one another in endless lists that look alike, welcome to our take on the best divisions in football from top to bottom. The weekly NFL Divisional Power Rankings are just that -- a measure of which teams have the toughest road to a playoff spot and which divisions are a cakewalk for someone -- anyone -- to step up. Another week in the NFL has come and gone and our early conclusions for most divisions are following suit.

Here's this week's take on the divisions in the NFL.


1. NFC North - The Bears have won five in a row and look the part of a Super Bowl defense. The Packers remain the Packers and that won't change from week to week, win or lose. The Lions are returning to .500 and hope to catch some momentum after an early season slump. The Vikes lost, but they remain 5-3 and they're a solid team when they can ride Adrian Peterson for 60 minutes. Top to bottom, the best in football

2. NFC East - The Eagles, Cowboys and Redskins all lost, and there are major issues with each and every team. The Cowboys let one get away and they're better than that, but it might be a long season in Philly in the second half. As for the Redskins, Griffin looks great but injuries are getting the best of them. The Giants, however, keep rolling and should be thinking Super Bowl berth. The division is weaker than it was 2 weeks ago, but it's still a solid one.

4. AFC North - For a division leader, the Baltimore Ravens are only +13 in points for and against -- by far the smallest margin in football for someone at the top. Every season has an early horse out of the gate, so watch them for stamina through the midsection of the schedule. Still they're a great team and the Steelers are showing life in the same week that the Browns came up big. While the Bengals have lost 3 in a row, no one takes them lightly either. Top to bottom, each week is tough in the North.

3. NFC West - The Seahawks have lost 2 in a row, the Rams 3 in a row and the Cardinals have lost 4 of their last 4. In short order, everyone is learning to lose in the NFC West. Only the 49ers look impressive, which is exactly what everyone thought coming into the season. Still give credit for Seattle and Arizona showing some fight early, and the 'Hawks are likely to continue to do so throughout the season. Still this is a sinking ship of a division.

5. AFC East - Two weeks ago, the East was a mess with four teams that looked the same. Now the Pats and Fins are starting to show their colors as the best fish in a small, muddy pond. The Jets have tanked and Rex Ryan is taking suggestions from his assistant coaches on what to do at this point. However, the Pats offense looked strong in London, and the Dolphins are slowly coming together under Joe Philbin. As mediocre as a division gets.

6. AFC South - The Jags are looking like they want the No. 1 overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft. The Titans have allowed 30 more points than any other team in football. However the Colts are accelerating the rebuild with Andrew Luck under center and some solid coaching. Then there's the Texans, who probably hold the key to the entire AFC. This division is getting stronger week by week.

7. NFC South - Another week brings more frustration to the NFC South, and NFL fans can only shake their heads. The Panthers were on the way up last season, but now questions surround everyone on that team -- including Cam Newton. The Saints have imploded amidst the drama of the offseason and without their head coach. Yet both teams should be better than this, and this list doesn't even include the Bucs. As for the Falcons, they're undefeated but they could be .500 and take this division.

8. AFC West - Can this division get any worse? Not really. Which is why the win by the two-game winning streak by the Broncos is a breath of fresh air. Peyton Manning is looking like his old self, and that makes the Broncos' weaknesses rather insignificant. After all, anyone who remembers the Colts teams of old will remember absolutely no running game and a defense with no beef. As for the rest of the division, they are among the lousiest teams in the NFL.