Week 9 NFL power rankings: 49ers go all-in by trading for DE Chase Young

Chicago
By Chicago 7 Min Read

When a team has a legitimate chance to win a Super Bowl, there’s no choice other than to go all out. Windows close all too quickly in the NFL.

The 49ers were aware of that when they bolstered an already-strong defense by trading a third-round draft pick to the Commanders on Tuesday for standout pass rusher Chase Young. Offense is the bigger concern for the 49ers, but an upgrade of any kind gives them a better chance at toppling the Chiefs and Eagles.

There’s a very good chance the 49ers will have to go through both those teams, and Young helps. The only Super Bowl we’ve seen Patrick Mahomes lose was because the Buccaneers’ pass rush was all over him. The Eagles have an MVP-level quarterback, too, in Jalen Hurts and are scoring 28 points per game.

And the 49ers are going at them with Brock Purdy, who is fine but hardly a game-changer. So if you can’t match those teams at quarterback, the next-best move is to load up on defenders who can bring them down a notch and make it a fair fight.

It’s possible no team in the NFL can play a better pair of pass rushers than Young and reigning Defensive Player of the Year Nick Bosa. The two have a total of 60 sacks in a combined 93 games.

The 49ers also felt the heat of a three-game losing streak. While that would be just another nondescript October plunge for the Bears, it was sobering for them and enough to make them question whether they were equipped to battle the Chiefs and Eagles. That’s what life is like at — or near — the top.

• Maybe quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ talk about returning from a torn Achilles tendon this season is just wishful thinking, but the Jets seem to be taking it seriously. And they’re giving him something worth coming back to: They’ve stayed in it at 4-3 and have the No. 8 defense in the league.

• Remember Joe Burrow? He looks to be back to normal, and so do the Bengals. They’re still pushing hard this season and held on to receiver Tee Higgins at the deadline.

• The Vikings aren’t ready to flush their season at 4-4 after quarterback Kirk Cousins’ season-ending torn Achilles tendon. They traded for Cardinals starter Josh Dobbs, who is a viable fill-in. The Vikings currently hold the final playoff spot in the NFC.

• The Saints are only 4-4 but are tied with the Falcons for the NFC South lead. They host the Bears and backup quarterback Tyson Bagent on Sunday and figure to make things very difficult for him. They’ve held opponents to the second-lowest passer rating in the NFL at 73.2. Bagent’s passer rating in three games (two starts) is 73.8.

Here are the power rankings heading into Week 9:

1. Eagles (7-1)

It hasn’t always been pretty, but the NFL’s best roster keeps winning.

2. Chiefs (6-2)

Mahomes had his second-lowest passer rating ever (59.2) and lost to the Broncos.

3. Ravens (6-2)

The Ravens’ plus-81 point differential is second only to the Bills.

4. 49ers (5-3)

Their response to giving up 72 points in three games? Trade for Young.

5. Dolphins (6-2)

The Dolphins would’ve been wise to trade for defensive help.

6. Cowboys (5-2)

They play the Eagles on Sunday and in Week 14 with minimal challenges in between.

7. Lions (6-2)

The Lions control the NFC North, but are aiming higher and traded for Donovan Peoples-Jones.

8. Jaguars (6-2)

The Jaguars were buyers at the deadline and picked up guard Ezra Cleveland.

9. Bills (5-3)

No team gets more pressure than the Bills at 28.8% of opponent pass plays.

10. Seahawks (5-2)

The Seahawks are winning with defense and traded for Leonard Williams.

11. Bengals (4-3)

Burrow has a 111.8 passer rating in his last three games — all victories.

12. Browns (4-3)

They traded three first-round picks for Deshaun Watson and he’s been a wreck.

13. Saints (4-4)

They haven’t beaten anybody good and might not need to in the NFC South.

14. Jets (4-3)

They’ve given up 45 points the last three games and won them all.

15. Chargers (3-4)

Their easy win over the Bears could be the spark they’ve needed.

16. Steelers (4-3)

The Steelers are playing just enough defense to stay afloat.

17. Falcons (4-4)

Changing quarterbacks might not make much difference as the Falcons struggle.

18. Texans (3-4)

Quarterback C.J. Stroud has slowed down after a hot start.

19. Buccaneers (3-4)

They’ve lost three in a row and slipped to third in the NFC South.

20. Titans (3-4)

Rookie quarterback Will Levis threw four touchdown passes in his debut.

21. Rams (3-5)

The Rams are 8-17 since winning Super Bowl LVI. Well worth it nonetheless.

22. Broncos (3-5)

Sean Payton, Russell Wilson might be straightening the Broncos out.

23. Vikings (4-4)

Will trading for Dobbs be enough to offset Cousins’ season-ending injury?

24. Colts (3-5)

Gardner Minshew is 3-13 as a starter the last four seasons.

25. Packers (2-5)

They’re 1-5 with a minus-34 point differential since beating the Bears in the opener.

26. Commanders (3-5)

Already mediocre, the Commanders outright surrendered at the trade deadline.

27. Raiders (3-5)

Very little about this team looks promising for the future.

28. Patriots (2-6)

Is Bill Belichick really going to tank for a top draft pick?

29. Giants (2-6)

It’s been a total plunge for the Giants after making the playoffs last season.

30. Bears (2-6)

Their 2-6 start is their worst since 2016, when they began 2-9.

31. Panthers (1-6)

The Bears get Carolina’s first-round pick and need to knock them back to the bottom.

32. Cardinals (1-7)

They could win a few games once Kyler Murray comes back.

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