Rams head coach Jeff Fisher sure is funny. Remember back in 2009 when he wore a Peyton Manning jersey under his shirt? Everyone outside of Tennessee thought it was a hoot. This year he goes one better. First, he forgets to pack the Rams' defense for the trip to London and then he must have punked his players, telling them their bye week started immediately after the first series. Sure wish we could have a laugh-riot like Fisher here in New England instead of that humorless troll Bill Belichick. Plus, the Pats usually win whenever they share the field. Too bad.
Let's see where we stand after eight weeks.
The Patriots (5-3) head into their bye leading the division and looking good. The Jets (3-5), also on their bye, are trending in the opposite direction and will have to sit in last place at least until a week from Sunday.
The improving Dolphins (4-3) travel to Indiana to play the Colts (4-3), and Buffalo (3-4) will play the Texans (6-1) in Houston.
Other AFC games to keep an eye on this week will be the Broncos (4-3) at Bengals (3-4), Ravens (5-2) at Browns (2-6) and Steelers (4-3) at Giants (6-2).
No action for New England but still a lot of moving and shaking to watch for this week.
Rest up and heal up Pats!
Shutdown Corner (Yahoo! Sports) ranks them 6th: Despite playing without Aaron Hernandez, Pro Bowl left guard Logan Mankins and both of their starting safeties (Patrick Chung and Steve Gregory), the Patriots went over to London, England, and blew out an inferior opponent. New England's offense racked up 473 yards of offense on Sunday, surpassing 350 yards of offense in 17 straight games, an NFL record. The Buffalo Bills 31st-ranked defense awaits the Patriots after their bye week, which New England will use to get Hernandez, Mankins, Chung and Gregory back to 100 percent.
Ryan Van Bibber (SB Nation) ranks them 6th: Bill Belichick flew to London on Friday, half annoyed that he had to be there. His team carved up the Rams for 45 points and came home.
NFL.com experts rank them 7th.
Don Banks (SI) ranks them 7th: If the NFL ever had a real shot at establishing a team in London, it would have to be the only one with "England" in its name, and we know that's not happening. The Patriots do play like they're at home over there, humiliating the Bucs (2009) and Rams (last Sunday) by a combined 80-14 over the span of four seasons. And as ambassadors of American football go, you can't do better than Rob Gronkowski with his quirky end zone dances against St. Louis.
Pro Football Talk ranks them 7th: Midseason MVP: Tom Brady, because he’s still Tom Brady.
The AP Pro32 ranks them 7th.
WEEI ranks them 7th: The Patriots historically get better when the month of November rolls around. It doesn’t hurt that six of their remaining eight games are against the Bills, Colts, Dolphins, Jets and Jaguars. There’s no reason to believe the Pats can’t lock up at least the No. 2 seed in the AFC.
Pete Prisco (CBS Sports) ranks them 7th: Tom Brady is so good at getting this team right when some wonder if they can. The concern in the division now is the Dolphins.
National Football Post ranks them 7th: The Rams didn’t have an answer for Brady and Gronkowski over in London.
Pro Football Weekly ranks them 7th: Brady had his best game, as did the "D" in a London rout.
Peter King (SI) ranks them 7th: After the best end-zone celebration of the season (by far), the one with Rob Gronkowski looking very much like a Buckingham Palace guard, Gronk was asked what his touchdown celebration was, exactly. He said: "That little nutcracker dude who's guarding the house."
Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News) ranks them 7th: Defensive MVP: DE Chandler Jones. The first-rounder from Syracuse has come through as advertised as an immediate-impact pass rusher. His six sacks give him a shot at defensive rookie of the year.
ESPN ranks them 8th: New England feels at home in England. The Patriots have scored 80 points in two trips across the pond since 2009.
Brian Billick (Fox Sports) ranks them 8th: The Patriots put up 45 unanswered points in London on the way to a 38-point win over the Rams at Wembley Stadium. This was the sixth-largest margin of victory for the Patriots under Bill Belichick and the 17th consecutive game in which they have totaled 350-plus yards, an NFL record.
Elliot Harrison (NFL.com) ranks them 8th: New England did whatever it wanted in England. Tom Brady threw for 304 yards and four touchdowns, Stevan Ridley rushed for 127 yards and another touchdown, and Rob Gronkowski put up a 146-spot and two scores. The Patriots went 8-for-13 on third and fourth downs and made the NFL's annual International Series game a laugher. Now, if only they had worn the Pat Patriot jerseys in London ...
Cold Hard Football Facts ranks them 8th: New England let The Gronk loose in London, and it was St. Louis who paid dearly for it. Rob Gronkowski went for 146 yards and two TDs in a 45-7 romp over the Rams. The Pats moved up six spots to No. 5 in Scoreability as a result.
AVERAGE RANK: 7.1 (+0.5)