AFC Power Rankings Week 9: Raiders skyrocket, Pats hold at No. 1

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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

AFC West. 4-3. Oakland Raiders. 4. player. 28.

Easily the most intriguing team in the NFL right now, the Raiders are playing like a playoff team. I mean that quite literally; if the season ended today, the Raiders would have the top Wild Card spot as a result of their head-to-head advantage over the Jets for the tiebreaker. If the Raiders can keep the train rolling next week and defeat the Steelers, they will be sitting upright at 5-3 at the halfway mark with head-to-head wins over the next-closest Wild Card teams, New York and Pittsburgh.

Derek Carr is coming of age before our eyes, and it’s fun to watch. There hasn’t been excitement like this in Oakland since the team’s 2002 Super Bowl journey. What a difference a competent quarterback can make.

Also, Charles Woodson is currently the NFL’s interceptions leader after notching his fifth of the season on Sunday. He’s now tied for fifth all-time with 65 career interceptions.

Next: 3. Cincinnati Bengals