Until the millisecond before Tom Brady's injury, the New England Patriots enjoyed the uncontested Numero Uno spot in Power Rankings all across the NFL. That was before. Without the future Hall-of-Famer at the helm, and the team's future uncertain in the eyes of the national analysts, Week 2's Power Rankings saw them knocked unceremoniously off their pedestal.
Where do the "experts" rank the 2-0 Patriots as we head into Week 3?
Below 12th, in the "Middle of the Pack" category, just ahead of "Needs Work."
That's where NFL.com's senior columnist Vic Carucci banishes them. The Patriots are the only 2-0 team on that list. Carucci doesn't add any comments, but I guess his rating says it all.
6th - ESPN.com's NFL staff issued their Power Rankings, moving the Patriots up from number 9. Below the Eagles, and ahead of the Colts.
They're still the AFC East team to beat even if they don't have superduperstar QB Tom Brady. Matt Cassel played it safe against the Jets, and that was good enough. They should be 3-0 with the Dolphins coming to Foxborough.
5th - Fox Sports on MSN moved New England up 2 spots from 7th. Now they sit between the Panthers at number 4 and the Colts at number 6.
Bill Belichick is the best coach of all-time, period. It's very easy to despise his (lack of) human traits publicly, but admire the organization and framework of a team that could start a quarterback who didn't start since high school and beat a team with arguably the greatest passer in NFL history.
4th - ProFootballWeekly ranked the Patriots 7th last week, but have moved them up a few notches heading into week 3. Now they're between the Steelers at number 3 and the Eagles at number 5.
Cassel was stormed but he rallied the troops well.
2nd - Dr. Z's Power Rankings keep the Patriots at the same spot as last week, behind the Cowboys and one spot ahead of the Eagles.
Laugh at me if you'd like, but let someone knock 'em off, then I'll move them down. Hey, how'd you like Adalius Thomas' 20-yard sack of Favre? A double sack. He brought down Leon Washington and Brett, all in the same package. If I'd have been on the stat crew, I'd have given him two for the price of one, three if he'd have managed to grab the ref's ankle, in passing, and tripped him up, too.
2nd - Gary Blocku from The Morning Call, also keeps the Patriots in the number 2 spot, sandwiched between the Cowboys at number 1 and the Steelers at number 3.
QB Matt Cassel, in replacing Tom Brady, didn't light up the world with 165 yards passing in his first start since high school, but it was enough to burn the Jets.