While it's obviously early to be handing out 2012 power rankings, NFL.com's Gil Brandt recently provided an early look at how he think the NFL teams will stack up in 2012. Brandt ranks the Patriots at #2, behind only the Green Bay Packers:
The Patriots most likely will be favored in all 16 of their regular season games. Like the Packers, though, left tackle is an area of concern. With Matt Light's retirement, Nate Solder will take over on the left side in his second NFL season. And also like the Pack, New England also spent its first six draft picks on defense. After all, the Pats are coming off a season in which they ranked 31st in total defense. But as long as you have Brady and Belichick, you can't be too worried.
As of right now, this seems like a pretty fair ranking for the Patriots. After all, New England was the NFL's runner up last year, and by all indications, they've significantly improved their team from a year ago.
Brandt also had some other rankings worth noting. He had the Philadelphia Eagles, 8-8 a year ago, as the NFL's third best team. The defending Super Bowl Champion Giants ranked at 6th. The second highest ranked AFC East team were the Buffalo Bills, who came in at 13th. Meanwhile, the Jets were ranked 19th and the Dolphins 25th. I think the ranking of 25th is about appropriate for the Dolphins, but I can't help but think that the Jets are being really overlooked at this point.