With parity always right around the corner in the NFL, a team can be riding high one week, and feel the weight of the world on its shoulders the next.
Week 9 featured several stunning results that made fans rethink who they believe are serious contenders to play deep into January and February.
As we digest and dissect the aftermath, let’s take a closer look at the AFC, and which teams feel like the superior five after Week 9’s games.
5. Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns had arguably the most resounding statement win of any team in Week 9.
With the Odell Beckham Jr. narrative clouding the franchise, and health questions mounting, Cleveland seemed to be at a tipping point in their season.
Heading to Cincinnati to face the upstart Cincinnati Bengals seemed to be a difficult matchup to have to flip the script, but that’s exactly what they did.
The Browns doubled down on their elite rushing attack, and running back Nick Chubb gashed the Bengals for 137 yards on the ground.
Can we interest you in some Wyatt Teller pancakes? 🥞 pic.twitter.com/TbX5IttOGg
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) November 9, 2021
Cleveland has a winning formula under head coach Kevin Stefanski, and it has proven to be effective regardless of the circumstances surrounding the team.
4. Baltimore Ravens
For what it’s worth, the Baltimore Ravens always seem to play exciting games.
That was certainly the case in Week 9 when they squared off against the Minnesota Vikings at home, winning in overtime 34-31.
They’ve also squeaked by the Kansas City Chiefs on a Sunday night, beaten the Indianapolis Colts on a Monday night in overtime, and edged the Detroit Lions on a 66-yard field goal by Justin Tucker as time expired.
Their blowout loss at home to the Bengals was a wake-up call in Week 7, but Baltimore has the ability to beat anyone in the league on a given day.
3. Kansas City Chiefs
As bad as it has looked for the Chiefs, they still find themselves over .500 and squarely in the mix for another AFC West division title.
One can argue that it speaks to their level of talent and experience, to struggle through the year as much as they have and still be right in the mix.
The inconsistency of their potent offense is still one of the greatest mysteries in the NFL, and will continue to be a hot topic amongst pundits this coming week.
However, they can draw positives out of their recent close victories against the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers.
Winning close games, whether they’re 35-31, or 13-7, are still measuring sticks in the NFL, and the Chiefs have come out on the positive side in two consecutive weeks now.
2. Tennessee Titans
The Tennessee Titans have the best record in the conference at 7-2.
Tennessee is coming off a gargantuan win on the road Sunday night against the Los Angeles Rams.
What they did to stymie Matthew Stafford, while figuring out how to get by without running back Derrick Henry, was extremely impressive.
It’s hard to poke too many holes in their resume, but we’ll need to see them string a couple of efforts together without Henry in order to catapult them to the top spot.
He was still a massive part of their team, and it’s possible a delayed regression is on the way.
Jeffery Simmons' impactful defensive plays vs. Rams @GrindSimmons94
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— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) November 8, 2021
1. Buffalo Bills
One could argue that no team had as embarrassing of a loss as the Buffalo Bills did in Week 9.
They went on the road against a Jacksonville Jaguars team that has struggled mightily this season.
Buffalo ended up losing 9-6 in a clunker of an effort.
Quarterback Josh Allen was forced to try and get it done single-handedly it seemed like, as Buffalo running backs only account for 22 yards on nine carries.
Despite the bump in the road, the Bills still remain the class of the AFC when considering the totality of their 2021 season.
Their 5-3 record doesn’t glisten as brightly as some others’ in the conference, but they’ve largely crushed inferior teams, and handled business against good ones.NEXT: 1 NFL Team Emerges As Top Spot For Odell Beckham Jr.