NFL Power Rankings Week 9

NFL Power Rankings Week 9 5

NFL Power Rankings

NFL Power Rankings Week 9 6It feels like this gets said every week, but Week 8 was a weird one. A game in Seattle turned into an absolute shootout, the East Coast games were heavily affected by weather, and we saw a ridiculously crazy trade deadline. None of the trades shifted the balance of power to a huge extent, but by NFL standards this deadline was bananas. It’s a lot more fun as a fan to see players get moved like this. Starting this week, I’ll be handing out mid-season MVP and a player or unit that needs to get it together for the 2nd half for any team that has played 8 games.

 

Week 9 NFL Power Rankings:

Philadelphia Eagles

Power Ranking: 1

  • Record: 7-1
  • Previous Rank: 1
  • Week 8 result: Win versus San Francisco 49ers, 33-10
  • Week 9: versus Denver Broncos

It may not have been the biggest challenge for the Eagles this week but they took care of business. What will be interesting to monitor is how the loss of left tackle Jason Peters will affect the Eagles. It was a factor this week as the Philly offense started slow. Eventually, the more talented Eagles offense imposed their will but they also won’t face the 49ers every week. The defense played well though that needs to be taken with a grain of salt. The San Francisco offense is not very good, especially when being led by rookie C.J. Beathard. Philadelphia is officially all-in for this season and made a very shrewd trade for RB Jay Ajayi on Tuesday.

  • MVP: QB Carson Wentz
  • Player needed most for the 2nd half: The secondary

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

Power Ranking: 2

  • Record: 6-2
  • Previous Rank: 2
  • Week 8 result: Win versus Detroit Lions, 20-15
  • Week 9: Bye Week
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Sunday night may have seen the breakout of rookie WR JuJu Smith-Schuster. The young buck went OFF for 7 receptions, 193 yards, and a TD. Even if you take away the 97 yard TD, Smith-Schuster clearly fit into the role if the #2 receiver opposite Antonio Brown. Disgruntled WR Martavis Bryant has a long way to go to get out of the doghouse. The offense still isn’t clicking to the extent many thought before the season. QB Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t been the sharpest so far. The defense gave up a ton of yards but stiffened when it mattered most, only allowing 5 field goals to the Lions. The Steelers have a well-timed bye next week as they need to get some issues on offense sorted out.

  • MVP: The defense(could pick Cam Heyward)
  • Player needed most for the 2nd half: QB Ben Roethlisberger

 

Kansas City Chiefs

Power Ranking: 3

  • Record: 6-2
  • Previous Rank: 3
  • Week 8 result: Win versus Denver Broncos, 29-19
  • Week 9: at Dallas Cowboys

The Chiefs just keep on doing their thing. They were in control for the vast majority of this game and continue to be a well-rounded football team lead by MVP candidate QB Alex Smith. He played pretty well versus the stout Denver defense. RB Kareem Hunt hasn’t been quite as productive as the early part of the season, but nobody was going to be able to keep up that pace. Kansas City hits their mid-way point as a serious threat in the AFC. They roll into Dallas this week and may or may not have to deal with RB Ezekiel Elliott.

  • MVP: QB Alex Smith
  • Player needed most in the 2nd half: WR Tyreek Hill

Minnesota Vikings

Power Ranking: 4

  • Record: 6-2
  • Previous Rank: 4
  • Week 8 result: Win versus Cleveland Browns, 33-16
  • Week 9: Bye Week

You never really know what you’re going to get in the London game. It can produce some crazy results but this game went about as expected. The Vikings were in control through most of the contest, even when Cleveland had the lead at some points. The talent gap just became more apparent as the game went on. RB Jerick McKinnon has been a huge part of the team’s success. He stepped up in a major way after rookie RB Dalvin Cook tore his ACL. Even QB Case Keenum has been serviceable. The defense is formidable on every level and the Vikings could be a dark horse in the NFC. Minnesota has shown major resiliency so far this season and that will serve them well as they try to win the NFC North division.

  • MVP:  WR Adam Theilen
  • Player needed most for the 2nd half: QB Sam Bradford or QB Teddy Bridgewater

 

Seattle Seahawks

Power Ranking: 5

  • Record: 5-2
  • Previous Rank: 5
  • Week 8 result: Win versus Houston Texans, 41-38
  • Week 9: versus Washington Redskins

NFL Power Rankings Week 9 7This past week could prove to be the game of the season. The Seahawks and the Texans went back and forth all game, throwing haymakers at one another. Both offenses lit up the scoreboard and racked up yards. Quarterback is the most important position by far in the NFL and I’m not sure there’s another QB in football who has the entire offense on his shoulders like Russell Wilson. He has no running game to support him and the offense sinks or swims with whatever type of game Wilson has. Seattle decided to try and get Wilson some help by trading for LT Duane Brown Monday night. The defense got completely torched and isn’t quite as good as it once was. It’s a unit that can be had. Seattle is in a two-horse race for the NFC West crown with the Rams. The defense looks to rebound against the Redskins in Seattle next week.

 

New England Patriots

Power Ranking: 6

  • Record: 6-2
  • Previous Rank: 7
  • Week 8 result: Win versus Los Angeles Chargers, 21-13
  • Week 9: Bye Week

New England is quietly going about their business of being one of the better teams in football. They may not be singularly dominant in the way we thought at the start of the year, but 6-2 doesn’t lie. The biggest development is their defense is starting to round into form, at least a little bit. They likely won’t be anything but average or slightly below and is still the weak spot on this team. It’s not a wise course to question Bill Belichick but one has to wonder if the Pats should just stick with a Dion Lewis and James White combo. The rotation has to be difficult on the backs to get into a rhythm. New England enters their bye week in the running for home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs.

  • MVP: QB Tom Brady
  • Player needed most in the second half: CBs Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler

New Orleans Saints

Power Ranking: 7

  • Record: 5-2
  • Previous Rank: 10
  • Week 8 result: Win versus Chicago Bears, 20-12
  • Week 9: versus Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Saints just keep up their winning ways and have seemed to hit on a formula. They’re moving away from the days when they expect QB Drew Brees to chuck it around the yard 45 times and are running the ball with Mark Ingram more. He’s getting the workload of an alpha running back with rookie Alvin Kamara serving as a change of pace back. It’s helping the defense play better and is helping the team as a whole. The Saints have to be one of the biggest surprises of this season. They started 0-2 and have dug out of the hole to lead the NFC South. They can really put their stamp on the division next week if they can beat the Buccaneers.

 

Los Angeles Rams

Power Ranking: 8

  • Record: 5-2
  • Previous Rank: 8
  • Week 8 result: Bye Week
  • Week 9: at New York Giants

The Rams are looking to win the NFC West division in Sean McVay’s first season. The defense is playing better and it’s not a coincidence that DL Aaron Donald is leading the charge. Los Angeles went through a dramatic shift this past off-season and the first 7 games have paid off. They do have to travel to New York but they also got lucky that the East Coast trip comes after their bye.

 

Dallas Cowboys

Power Ranking: 9

  • Record: 4-3
  • Previous Rank: 11
  • Week 8 result: Win versus Washington Redskins, 33-19
  • Week 9: versus Kansas City Chiefs

NFL Power Rankings Week 9 8Dallas is coming off arguably their biggest win of the season. Going to Washington and winning was imperative to stay within striking distance of the first place Eagles. Keep in mind, Dallas still has both games left against Philly. The defense was able to exploit the patchwork offensive line. Washington was unable to run the ball and even though QB Dak Prescott had a very poor game, RB Ezekiel Elliott carried the weight. He ran all over the Redskin defense. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, his suspension is back on…for now. WR Dez Bryant has now gone 13 straight games without 100 yards receiving. It’s difficult to know what to make of him at this point. Is he falling off a bit? Is the offense going to be ok if he can’t be an elite wide receiver? These are questions that Dallas needs to answer if they can contend for the NFC East. Kansas City rolls in off a division win this Sunday.

 

Buffalo Bills

Power Ranking: 10

  • Record: 5-2
  • Previous Rank: 13
  • Week 8 result: Win versus Oakland Raiders, 34-14
  • Week 9: at New York Jets

Buffalo continues to push for a Wild Card berth and maybe even challenge the Patriots in the AFC East. This was a big win for the Bills and it’s impressive that the offense can still function at a high level given the lack of receiving options. RB LeSean McCoy and QB Tyrod Taylor are the dynamic duo making this team run. The trade of Sammy Watkins right before the season started still looks fine in the long-term but he could be making a huge difference on this team this season. The Bills did address the position by snagging WR Kelvin Benjamin in a deadline deal. The defense is playing well enough to give the team a chance every week, even without Marcel Dareus. A quick turnaround on Thursday night is up next versus division rival Jets.

Atlanta Falcons

Power Ranking: 11

  • Record: 4-3
  • Previous Rank: 15
  • Week 8 result: Win versus New York Jets, 25-20
  • Week 9: at Carolina Panthers

Atlanta came up with a victory in rainy New York even though they didn’t look great doing it. The offense has seen significant regression under coordinator Steve Sarkisian. It would be one thing to give them a pass if this was the only game we’ve seen poor offensive play. They’re almost halfway through the season and there’s no real end in sight for the sub-par play. The defense makes plays but is really just an average unit. RB Devonta Freeman hurt his shoulder late in the game. Even if he misses, the Falcons should be fine with Tevin Coleman. One day, the Falcons will realize that Julio Jones should go back to being a target monster. A crucial matchup against the Carolina Panthers is up next.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

Power Ranking: 12

  • Record: 4-3
  • Previous Rank: 12
  • Week 8 result: Bye Week
  • Week 9: versus Cincinnati Bengals

NFL Power Rankings Week 9 9The Jacksonville roller coaster comes out of the bye week to face the Bengals at home. They made a very shrewd trade during the bye week, acquiring DT Marcel Dareus for just a sixth-round pick. This should help address the only weakness the Jaguars defense had which is against the run. If Leonard Fournette is healthy, this could be a formidable team in the playoffs. The AFC South is open for the Jaguars to walk through that door.

 

Carolina Panthers

Power Ranking: 13

  • Record: 5-3
  • Previous Rank: 14
  • Week 8 result: Win versus Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 17-3
  • Week 9: versus Atlanta Falcons

Carolina got a division win on the road, which is great. What isn’t good is the offense once again couldn’t find their footing even in a dream matchup. The Buccaneers defense is dreadful and the Panthers only managed 17 points and the running game still was nowhere to be found. The defense is (unsurprisingly) a vastly superior unit when LB Luke Kuechley is on the field. Carolina sits near the top of the NFC South even with all their warts. They need to find consistency the second half of their season. Maybe getting TE Greg Olsen back will help the offense get in their groove. The surprising trade of WR Kelvin Benjamin likely won’t help that right away. The Panthers take on the Falcons this week and whichever team loses is going to be really behind the 8-ball in the division.

MVP: LB Luke Kuechley

Player needed most in the 2nd half: QB Cam Newton

Houston Texans

Power Ranking: 14

  • Record: 3-4
  • Previous Rank: 6
  • Week 8 result: Loss versus Seattle Seahawks, 41-38
  • Week 9: versus Indianapolis Colts

It’s apparently rookie QB Deshaun Watson’s world and we’re all just living in it. This kid is just white-hot at this point and he just went into Seattle and put up 38 points. Sadly for Houston, it didn’t result in a win because the defense got shredded by QB Russell Wilson. As fun as it is to talk about Watson, the defense is the bigger story coming out of this week. If the injuries they have suffered are too much to overcome, this team is going to continue to flirt with .500. Fortunately for Houston, they’re in the AFC South and could easily still win the division. They also have to navigate the off-field distraction of their owner Bob McNair’s totally insensitive comments, referring to the players as inmates. At least for one week, the Texans didn’t let it leak onto the field. A must win game against the Colts is up this week.

 

Washington Redskins

Power Ranking: 15

  • Record: 3-4
  • Previous Rank: 9
  • Week 8 result: Loss versus Dallas Cowboys, 33-19
  • Week 9: at Seattle Seahawks

The season is starting to slip away from the Redskins. They sit under .500 and are a whopping 3 1/2 games back of the Eagles with a loss to Philly on their record. They now have a loss to Dallas as well, which is going to make life difficult in the division. Their offensive line was a liability in this game as they were missing the majority of it to injury. The lack of an outside weapon was glaring in this game. Washington needed to drive the field with no timeouts and QB Kirk Cousins was throwing 3-yard dump off passes to RB Chris Thompson. Washington has had some bad luck and is a good football team. They’re also looking 3-5 right in the face when they have to travel to Seattle to face an angry Seahawk defense.

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Tennessee Titans

Power Ranking: 16

  • Record: 4-3
  • Previous Rank: 16
  • Week 8 result: Bye Week
  • Week 9: versus Baltimore Ravens

The Titans exit their bye only to face the AFC North gauntlet. The next three games are the Ravens, Bengals, and Steelers. That’s not an easy road for a team that hasn’t found their identity yet. Rookie WR Corey Davis should be back in the lineup, which can’t hurt the offense. The Titans are one of the three-headed monster vying for the AFC South crown. It’s likely only one team will make the playoff out of this bunch.

 

Los Angeles Chargers

Power Ranking: 17

  • Record: 3-5
  • Previous Rank: 17
  • Week 8 result: Loss versus New England Patriots, 21-13
  • Week 9: Bye Week

When you start the season at 0-4 these kinds of losses hurt more than they normally should. There’s no shame in going across the country and hanging with New England in New England. The bottom line is they still have 5 losses. The chances for any postseason berth is slim at best. At pretty much any spot you look, the Chargers are an average team. They need to be a team that looks for their next young QB in this upcoming draft. I’m not saying Philip Rivers needs to be replaced right now, but the sun is setting. They have the bye week to try and figure things out to make a second-half charge.

  • MVP: DE Joey Bosa/LB Melvin Ingram
  • Player needed most in 2nd half: QB Philip Rivers

 

Detroit Lions

Power Ranking: 18

  • Record: 3-4
  • Previous Rank: 18
  • Week 8 result: Loss versus Pittsburgh Steelers, 20-15
  • Week 9: at Green Bay Packers

Detroit needs a win badly and they need it soon. They played pretty well in all phases Sunday night but couldn’t punch it in for a touchdown. Sure, they didn’t run the ball effectively but that hasn’t happened in a long time. QB Matthew Stafford made the most of what was around him for large chunks of this game. Jim Caldwell not kicking gimme field goal is likely going to haunt this team during this week. The game could have been much different had the Lions taken the points because shortly after, they gave up a 97 yard TD. That’s a 10 point swing in a tight game. The Lions travel to Green Bay to face an under-manned Packers squad on Monday Night Football this week.

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Chicago Bears

Power Ranking: 19

  • Record: 3-5
  • Previous Rank: 23
  • Week 8 result: Loss versus New Orleans Saints, 20-12
  • Week 9: Bye Week

First and more important than football, the Gridiron Experts staff wish TE Zach Miller a speedy recovery. Injuries are part of football but it’s always scary to hear that doctors had to fight to save his leg. As far as football goes, the Bears moved up in the ranks because they just keep scrapping with superior teams. They shouldn’t be competitive against most teams but yet here they are. Frankly, I’d rather elevate these kinds of teams than continue to try and keep teams like Tampa or Baltimore higher in the ranks. RB Jordan Howard is the heartbeat of the team and faces an uphill climb every week in this wreck of an offense. Chicago has their bye week this week.

  • MVP: Jordan Howard
  • Player needed most in the 2nd half: Any WR to step up

 

Green Bay Packers

Power Ranking: 20

  • Record: 4-3
  • Previous Rank: 20
  • Week 8 result: Bye Week
  • Week 9: versus Detroit Lions

NFL Power Rankings Week 9 10It’s unclear if the Packers can make a run without QB Aaron Rodgers. The early returns weren’t very good with QB Brett Hundley in Week 7. The offense has plenty of talent on it but it would be reasonable to see RB Aaron Jones be a centerpiece of this offense in the second half. It’s hard to put a ton of support behind this team without Rodgers. We’ll start to get a clear picture this Monday night versus the Lions.

New York Jets

Power Ranking: 21

  • Record: 3-5
  • Previous Rank: 24
  • Week 8 result: Loss versus Atlanta Falcons, 25-20
  • Week 9: versus Buffalo Bills

The Jets are in the same boat as the Bears. They’re far more competitive than people ever thought they would be. There were whispers about a 0-16 campaign and even I thought that was a possible outcome. The Jets fight hard every single week and QB Josh McCown has actually been playing at a decent level. Coach Todd Bowles deserves a ton of credit for getting this team to give their all every week even when it looked like they were doing their best to tank the season. The Jets have to play the Bills on Thursday night this week.

  • MVP: QB Josh McCown
  • Player needed most in the 2nd half: RBs Matt Forte and Bilal Powell

 

Oakland Raiders

Power Ranking: 22

  • Record: 3-5
  • Previous Rank: 19
  • Week 8 result: Loss versus Buffalo Bills, 34-14
  • Week 9: at Miami Dolphins
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This season is not working out at all the way the Raiders thought it would. A sleeper Super Bowl pick before the season started, they sit at just 3-5 at their mid-way point. The running game has been a shadow of what it should be. It’s been a combo of poor offensive line play and not enough good play from the stable of running backs. QB Derek Carr started the season well but suffered a back injury that cost him a game and has been plenty inconsistent in his own right. WR Amari Cooper has had exactly two good games out of eight. Not a really good ratio for a receiver who’s supposed to be as good as people claim Cooper is. Oakland travels to Miami this week with their backs against the wall.

  • MVP: DL Khalil Mack
  • Player needed most in the 2nd half: Offensive line

 

Cincinnati Bengals

Power Ranking: 23

  • Record: 3-4
  • Previous Rank: 26
  • Week 8 result: Win versus Indianapolis Colts, 24-23
  • Week 9: at Jacksonville Jaguars

NFL Power Rankings Week 9 11The Bengals eked out a victory over the Colts this weekend. That’s a thing that happened and there’s truly not much to take away from this game. The Bengals are just another team at this point and it was startling to see WR A.J. Green do next to nothing in this game. After all, Blake Bortles just rolled up almost 300 yards on this defense. Cincinnati actually has to play that same Jaguar team this upcoming week in Jacksonville.

 

Denver Broncos

Power Ranking: 24

  • Record: 3-4
  • Previous Rank: 22
  • Week 8 result: Loss versus Kansas City Chiefs
  • Week 9: at Philadelphia Eagles

Denver got pretty well worked over Monday night in Kansas City. It’s time to recognize the Broncos do not have a QB. Trevor Siemian started off really well this season and has since seen the wheel fall off. Yes, he was missing Emmanuel Sanders again but there’s simply no excusing his poor play. Basic concepts like not throwing late across the middle of the field were totally ignored. The Broncos are dead in the water until they figure out that spot. Former first-rounder Paxton Lynch and Brock Osweiler aren’t the answer either.

 

Baltimore Ravens

Power Ranking: 25

  • Record: 3-4
  • Previous Rank: 29
  • Week 8 result: Win versus Miami Dolphins, 40-0
  • Week 9: at Tennessee Titans

Baltimore completely destroyed the Dolphins on Thursday night. They dominated every facet of this game but that’s more an indictment on how poor the Dolphins team truly is. QB Joe Flacco took a brutal headshot that looked terrifying. Fortunately, he should be OK and isn’t experiencing any concussion symptoms according to Coach John Harbaugh. RB Alex Collins provided the offense with a needed shot in the arm and should be the new #1 back moving forward. Baltimore aims to get back to .500 when they travel to Tennessee this week.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Power Ranking: 26

  • Record: 2-5
  • Previous Rank: 25
  • Week 8 result: Loss versus Carolina Panthers, 17-3
  • Week 9: at New Orleans Saints

Tampa put up a stinker at home that leaves them in the basement in the NFC South. They have a long climb considering the Falcons are in third place and have four wins already. QB Jameis Winston is dealing with a shoulder injury which can’t help his performance. Still, a 2-5 record through seven games is not what Tampa expected. The defense finally showed up and held a team under 20 points and it still didn’t matter. Traveling to New Orleans this week is going to be a must-win game for the Bucs.

 

Indianapolis Colts

Power Ranking: 27

  • Record: 2-6
  • Previous Rank: 27
  • Week 8 result: Loss versus Cincinnati Bengals, 24-23
  • Week 9: at Houston Texans

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…QB Andrew Luck will not practice this week and there’s no timetable for his return. The Colts are an absolute mess. It’s a surprise to me they were able to keep this game on Sunday close. Then again, the Bengals aren’t a very good football team either. The Colts reportedly shopped RB Frank Gore(makes plenty of sense) and WR T.Y. Hilton(makes less sense) before the trade deadline. This team badly needs an influx of talent at a lot of positions. They get to try to slow down QB Deshaun Watson and the rest of the Texans offense this week in Houston.

  • MVP: QB Jacoby Brissett
  • Player needed most in the 2nd half: Everybody is a cop-out, but it’s Luck for sure.

 

Arizona Cardinals

Power Ranking: 28

  • Record: 3-4
  • Previous Rank: 28
  • Week 8 result: Bye Week
  • Week 9: At San Francisco 49ers

Arizona did not trade WR Larry Fitzgerald, much to my dismay. The season is completely lost for them and they’ll try to even out their record at 4-4 when they travel to San Francisco this week.

 

San Francisco 49ers

Power Ranking: 29

  • Record: 0-8
  • Previous Rank: 30
  • Week 8 result: Loss versus Philadelphia Eagles, 33-10
  • Week 9: versus Arizona Cardinals

The 49ers have seen enough out of rookie QB C.J. Beathard and know that he is not the answer they need long-term. They went and traded their earliest second-round pick to the New England Patriots for QB Jimmy Garoppolo on Monday night. He’s not likely to play this week, but it will be interesting to see him as the unquestioned starter the rest of the way. The 49ers will look for their first win versus the Drew Stanton-led Cardinals this week.

  • MVP: RB Carlos Hyde
  • Player needed most in the 2nd half: WR Pierre Garcon

 

Miami Dolphins

Power Ranking: 30

  • Record: 4-3
  • Previous Rank: 21
  • Week 8 result: Loss versus Baltimore Ravens, 40-0
  • Week 9: versus Oakland Raiders

NFL Power Rankings Week 9 12I had a feeling that Miami was the most smoke and mirror team in the NFL. They sure looked it this past Thursday night when they got their doors blown off by the Ravens. It doesn’t matter if Matt Moore or Jay Cutler is the QB for this team. They aren’t nearly as good as their record suggests. Coach Adam Gase completely ripped into his offense afterward, suggesting they don’t study or take things seriously enough.  That’s pretty damning for the coach to throw players under the bus like that. He then backed up his words by shipping RB Jay Ajayi right out of town. Miami is in the playoff picture for now. I would be surprised if that remained the case all season.

 

New York Giants

Power Ranking: 31

  • Record: 1-6
  • Previous Rank: 1-6
  • Week 8 result: Bye Week
  • Week 9: versus Los Angeles Rams

The Giants will try to salvage whatever they can from this season and their down to playing for pride and their paychecks next season. New York likely faces a lot of turnover for the 2018 season and drafting a QB must be a priority. They get the high-scoring Rams this week.

 

Cleveland Browns

Power Ranking: 32

  • Record: 0-8
  • Previous Rank: 32
  • Week 8 result: Loss versus Minnesota Vikings, 33-16
  • Week 9: Bye Week

It’s really starting to look like the Browns may not win a game this season. The rebuilding effort is not going smoothly in Cleveland and Hue Jackson needs this team to show some form of life if he’s to be back in control next season. They just don’t have the talent needed to compete.

  • MVP: RB Duke Johnson
  • Player needed most in the 2nd half: Whichever QB is playing that week

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Adam Strangis

I'm a sports fanatic who wears it on my sleeve (seriously, I have a Pittsburgh sports tattoo). I'm just a big scruffy looking nerf-herder who somehow managed to marry an incredible and supportive woman, have a wonderful family and a sweetheart dog. When I'm not at work, odds are I'm watching sports or the latest comic book movie. Life is good, it's just much better with fantasy football in it. The sarcastic and above it all fantasy analysis is overdone, I'm here to bring it back to what you need to know with a terrible sense of humor. Let's win some fantasy titles!

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