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Panthers the biggest gainers in power poll 817-grey.gif By Vic Carucci

National Editor, NFL.com

(Nov. 8, 2005) -- This is how the NFL's 32 teams stack up after Week 9:

IN THE HUNT

(Teams that look good enough to be among the 12 playoff qualifiers but not based on conference -- listed with record and previous week's ranking)

1. Indianapolis (8-0; unchanged): The Colts have cleared one of their largest hurdles on the way to a perfect season.

2. Denver (6-2; unchanged): With a rested defense and Mike Anderson and Tatum Bell in the backfield, the Broncos should take care of business in Oakland.

3. Pittsburgh (6-2; unchanged): The Steelers are thankful for their exceptional depth at running back.

4. Cincinnati (7-2; unchanged): You're a good team when you win the games you're expected to win, as the Bengals have done the past two weeks.

5. N.Y. Giants (6-2; unchanged): The Giants didn't let their guard down against the 49ers, and they'll need to be equally focused now that Brad Johnson has injected some life into the Vikings.

6. Carolina (6-2; 10): Is there any stopping Jake Delhomme -to-Steve Smith?

7. Atlanta (6-2; unchanged): Although the Falcons defense came up with a game-sealing interception against the Dolphins, it can't feel good about being trampled by the running of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams.

8. Seattle (6-2; unchanged): Shaun Alexander already is on pace to break Priest Holmes' single-season NFL record for rushing touchdowns (27), and could realistically have thoughts about a 2,000-yard season.

9. Dallas (5-3; unchanged): The Cowboys can't give any life to the reeling Eagles on Monday Night Football.

10. Chicago (5-3; unranked): The Bears defense makes them a legitimate factor in the unsettled NFC.

11. Washington (5-3; unranked): The Redskins have the defensive strength to add to Tampa Bay's growing offensive misery.

12. San Diego (5-4; unranked): Beating the Jets was less comfortable than it should have been, but the LaDainian-powered Chargers found a

way to win, and now have a break at the perfect time.

______________________________________________________________

Am I wrong or did we not defeat the teams ranked 8, 9 and 10? I can understand ranking Seattle ahead of us maybe, but please.

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I can see us being ranked ahead of Da Bears, I cant see us being ranked ahead of Dallas. They beat the Giants, and destroyed Philly. We got crushed by the Giants and barely beat Philly and we won off of a miracle in Dallas. A win is a win, but they were the better team that monday night. I can make an argument that we should be ahead of Seattle and the bears but not Dallas. Not yet anyway.

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Don't be surprised if the Eagles upset the Cowboys this Monday night, they're still a good team, and probably gonna rally around this T.O. carnival... much like the Saints and Giants, they can ride the emotion... and they're playing at home this time...

The Skins have to make sure they put the foot on the throat of the Bucs, because the Bucs defense can win games for them... might be like last years, 10-6, or even 10-9. I hope the Skins stay focused...

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C'mon. The Bears shouldn't be ahead of us and I STILL don't buy the Cowboys are that good. Bledsoe is going to break their hearts again and again. Thats what he does.

Chargers should be better then their record but for some reason they're not. I'm looking forward to that game on our schedule.

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Speaking of the bears. Does anyone remember the flack we were getting because we didnt score more points against them.

Now it seems everyone recognizes they have a top flight defense. Makes our performance against them look a little better in retrospect.

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same chargers that almost lost to the brooks bollinger led jets after LT scored 4 tds?

Yes those same Chargers. Everyone has close games in the NFL. They also spanked the Giants...while we...well...let's not think about that...

I mean shouldn't we have beaten the Bears more than 9-6?

The Chargers are a better football team than we are right now.

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I can't believe how much "dap" the cowboys are riding by beating the eagles, when they were beat up.

and I am so sick of hearing they could be 7-1 :rolleyes:... yet people ignore they could just as easily be 2-6... even more so because their close wins where more luck than win.

For goodness sake, they are the only team the 49ers have score more than 17 points on since their only week 1 victory over the Rams 28-25.... and they hung 31 on the Pokes

again it's that selective memory

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Speaking of the bears. Does anyone remember the flack we were getting because we didnt score more points against them.

Now it seems everyone recognizes they have a top flight defense. Makes our performance against them look a little better in retrospect.

Some of us knew the Bears had a good D, even at the start of the year.

Gibbs sure did;).

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I can see us being ranked ahead of the bears and dallas. The bears we beat, and cant win outside of the horrid NFC north. Dallas we beat, and dallas has had a much easier schedule thatn we have. Sure, they are 5-3, but they have played oakland, arizona, and SF already, we have only played SF.

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There is no rhyme or reason for the Bears to be ranked higher than the Skins. Bears are solid, though. But the Skins are stronger.

That said...

The only published "power ranking" I care about is the Skins atop some sports Almanac one that lists them as the 2005 Super Bowl/NFL Champion.

(And getting the season's first road win against an NFC opponent this Sunday will be another step towards that)

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(And getting the season's first road win against an NFC opponent this Sunday will be another step towards that)

Oops. Forgot about the Dallas game. How could I do that?! Maybe my subconscious was distracting me from thinking that right now the Cowboys, I admit, are playing better than our team. Their defense may get better as the season goes on.

But, so can the Skins offense.

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I think we're a better team than the Bears, BUT the Bears are more likely to make the playoffs. I think we both will but the Bears should win their division. They have no competition. We might win the division but we have a lot more competition and the wild card will be difficult this year. I think we will make the playoffs, but if I had to pick one of the two teams (us or the Bears) I think the smart money would be on the da bears.

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