Peter King at SI ranks them 3rd (+3): Bill Belichick won't sleep for the next five days, or maybe five weeks. No time for the coach or the 53 men on the roster to wallow, with the Jets, Saints, Dolphins and Panthers coming up.
Cold Hard Football Facts ranks them 4th (nc): Last week: 35-34 loss at Indianapolis. The Defensive Hogs are New England's Achilles' heel, both on the field and in the stat sheet. They are an un-Patriotic 25th on our index, 21st in yards per rush allowed, 23rd in Negative Pass Plays forced adn 21st in third-down defense.
Vic Carucci at NFL.com at NFL.com ranks them 4th (+1): It will be interesting to see how quickly the Patriots can put aside the devastation of what happened vs. the Colts and focus on getting some redemption vs. the Jets.
What If Sports ranks them 5th (-1)
National Football Post ranks them 5th (-1): The “call” by Belichick will be questioned all season long—until the Pats meet the Colts again in January.
The Sporting News ranks them 5th (+1): They will not be the AFC's No. 1 seed, but maybe they will see the Colts again in the playoffs.
ProFootball Weekly ranks them 5th (-1): Timeout fiasco even worse than going for it on fourth.
CBS Sports ranks them 5th (-1): They are still in control of the AFC East, but don't lose this week against the Jets. Then it's another story.
WEEI ranks them 5th (nc): The Patriots can take a lot of positives out of the loss to the Colts. For the most part, they dominated the game. The offense has struggled in the red zone all year and it came back to bite them against Indianapolis. If they can solve their red zone troubles and learn from the mistakes they’ve made, the Patriots can be the best team in the AFC, which they proved by their performance against Indy.
USA Today ranks them 5th (nc): Colts' 35 points were the most they allowed all season.
ESPN ranks them 5th (+1): The AFC road to the Super Bowl is going through Indianapolis, thanks to Bill Belichick's fourth-down decision.
Fox Sports ranks them 5th (+2): The true shame of the Bill Belichick controversy is that his much-discussed fourth-down call gone bad has distracted us from noticing how much of the game the Patriots dominated at Indy. Pity the defense that held Peyton Manning to just 14 points in the first three quarters before giving up a trio of fourth-quarters TDs. The new-look Pats D still ranks third in fewest points allowed and has forced two or more turnovers in five straight games — something they only did four times in all of 2008.
Don Banks at SI ranks them 5th (-1): Just for symbolism sake, I wanted to drop the fourth-ranked Patriots back two spots after their heart-breaker at Indianapolis. (Get it, fourth-and-2?) But I just couldn't talk myself into going for it. I couldn't rationalize bumping the Steelers ahead of New England. Pittsburgh lost at home to the No. 5 Bengals. The Patriots lost on the road to the No. 2 Colts. That's a win of sorts for New England.
Yahoo! Sports ranks them 6th (+1): Does this hairless thug who threw down an NFL Films cameraman while escorting Bill Belichick to the locker room think we live in a repressive Third World country ruled by a ruthless dictator – or does he just think the NFL is its own, sovereign nation? *
AVERAGE RANK: 4.79 (+.14)
* File this in the not-what-it-appears department. According to Ian Rapoport, the contact was inadvertant, as the cameraman ran out of cable and was yanked backwards just as Belichick and security were running off the field.