One thing we learned about each NFL team in Week 9 of 2021 season: Panthers, Vikings need shakeups


Week 9 of the 2021 NFL season is officially in the books. The Titans rolled over the Rams. The Cardinals routed the 49ers. The Jaguars stunned the Bills. And the Broncos somehow destroyed the Cowboys ... and that was just a fraction of the action at the midway point of the first-ever 17-game season.

What did we learn about each of the 32 teams after another week of matchups? We're so glad you asked. As Week 10 draws near, we take a look below at one thing we took away from each team:

Arizona Cardinals

They have the deepest offense in the NFC. You could've said this before, but man was it proven Sunday, when Colt McCoy and James Conner led the way in a huge divisional win with Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green all sidelined.

Atlanta Falcons

Matt Ryan still has it. He's quietly been really good for most of this season. And Sunday against the Saints, he helped carry the offense, even lending his legs to the action. Maybe the Falcons aren't done yet.

Baltimore Ravens

Le'Veon Bell has a real role here. Eleven carries for the ex-Steeler against Minnesota, including some key crunch-time touches. Baltimore finds a way to run it, regardless of who's in the lineup.

Buffalo Bills

They need more from the run game. It's quietly been an issue for weeks, but on Sunday, it was at the forefront, with Josh Allen reverting to try-hard form alongside little ground support.

Carolina Panthers

They need to consider benching Sam Darnold again. Like, for good. Matt Rhule won't do it with Carolina barely hanging around in the South, but at this point, what is anyone gaining from keeping the mistake machine under center?

Chicago Bears

Justin Fields has "it." A week after threatening the 49ers with his arm and legs, Fields looked even better in crunch time against the Steelers, nearly guiding a comeback. You can see a franchise QB in there.

Cincinnati Bengals

They need this bye in Week 10. It's time for Joe Burrow to step back and ensure he isn't telegraphing passes to Ja'Marr Chase all day, and for the defense to hone in on the fundamentals.

Cleveland Browns

Baker Mayfield is happier. Just a guess, but he sure looked cool and confident and even inspired running the Browns' efficient offense post-Odell Beckham Jr. He got plenty of help, too.

Dallas Cowboys

Dak Prescott is still hurting. Or so it seems, with the one-time MVP candidate wildly off the mark at times in a blowout upset loss to Denver. Perhaps Dallas would've been smart to let him keep resting.

Denver Broncos

Tim Patrick is for real. Denver's defense owned the day against Dallas, but Patrick has quietly stepped up a number of times this year. He's on pace to approach 1,000 yards as their WR2.

Detroit Lions

They're in for more trouble. The Steelers will host them in Week 10 fresh off a physical win over the Bears. Best wishes, Jared Goff.

Green Bay Packers

Jordan Love isn't quite ready. The Chiefs successfully got after him early in his emergency start for Aaron Rodgers, but Matt LaFleur didn't exactly help him out early, either. In any event, they need Rodgers back.

Houston Texans

They are rudderless. Sure, it was obvious before, but here's a reminder. Tyrod Taylor, the "steady" presence back under center, was a disaster against Miami. How soon after the year will David Culley depart?

Indianapolis Colts

Jonathan Taylor might be the NFL's best running back. Outside of a healthy Derrick Henry, that is. The Colts are finally leaning on him, and it's paying dividends. They might have an offense if he keeps it up.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Urban Meyer is getting buy-in. He might still be over-matched, but consider the Jags' hard-fought upset over Buffalo came just a week after Jacksonville got stomped by Seattle to fall to 1-6.

Kansas City Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes still isn't right. Steve Spagnuolo dialed up a lot of good stuff to rattle Jordan Love in their win over Green Bay, but Andy Reid's offense remained erratic while trying desperately to be conservative.

Las Vegas Raiders

They need DeSean Jackson. Sounds desperate, but that's kind of where they're at right now, in the wake of some killer mistakes from Derek Carr, Daniel Carlson and Co. They need a jolt of life, and if Carr can air it out with authority again, that'll help.

Los Angeles Chargers

Their defense is cause for concern. Not because Jalen Hurts and the Eagles lit them up Sunday, but because Philly ran pretty much at will. Last three weeks: A 34-6 loss to Baltimore, a 27-24 loss to Mac Jones and the Patriots, a 27-24 win over the rebuilding Eagles.

Los Angeles Rams

Their offensive line deserves monitoring. Because against Tennessee, it did not hold up, leading Matthew Stafford to devolve into the scrappy but reckless role he often played in Detroit.

Miami Dolphins

Emmanuel Ogbah is gonna get paid. He's been around the QB all year, and his 2.5 sacks against Houston puts him on pace for close to double digits. A big free agency awaits.

Minnesota Vikings

They're getting stale. After a quietly explosive start to the year, they're not showcasing much stamina on either side of the ball. You really wonder if the Mike Zimmer regime is nearing a crossroads.

New England Patriots

They need their defense moving forward. That side of the ball was already key to their scrappy contention, but with two more injuries in their running backfield, it's even more true.

New Orleans Saints

Their pass catchers are holding them back. Trevor Siemian wasn't perfect starting in place of Jameis Winston, but man, did his receivers let him down throughout a tough loss to Atlanta. They've lacked elite options all year.

New York Giants

Patrick Graham's defense is finally coming alive. And Xavier McKinney deserves a ton of credit for the unit's dominance this week, repeatedly getting the best of Derek Carr in the Giants' upset win.

New York Jets

Mike White needs to start vs. Buffalo. Zach Wilson is set to return to practice, but here's the thing: the offense has looked significantly better without him. Robert Saleh has an easy decision for the sake of the team here.

Philadelphia Eagles

They might not need Miles Sanders. Without him, Nick Sirianni has finally leaned on the run and gotten results -- with Jordan Howard and Boston Scott, of all backs. Sanders is clearly superior, but it's also apparent he's replaceable.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Pat Freiermuth can be a game-changer. For them, at least. He's come on strong since JuJu Smith-Schuster's injury, giving Ben Roethlisberger a legitimate safety valve for a team bent on winning ugly and physically.

San Francisco 49ers

It's going to get worse before it gets better. Or at least it looks that way, with the Rams up next. Kyle Shanahan has few answers for an underwhelming, overrated roster right now. A QB switch may help, but does he deserve to oversee its development?

Seattle Seahawks

It's now or never in the West. With Arizona still rolling and the Rams still a close second despite their slip-up against the Titans, Russell Wilson's return couldn't come at a more important time.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The South is probably theirs. The Saints are scrappy but clearly in a tough spot, the Falcons have fought hard but mostly against lesser teams, and the Panthers just keep moving downward, big-picture-wise.

Tennessee Titans

They are the AFC favorites. For now! How can we say otherwise in the wake of their latest heavyweight victory? The run game still needs work with Derrick Henry out, but that defense has been really feisty in the right spots.

Washington Football Team

They need way more from their veterans. Coming off the bye, Washington had better hope guys like Curtis Samuel and William Jackson III start earning their paychecks, or else they'll easily finish last in the NFC East.

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