Week one and the winning was easy. Week two, and suddenly I have to scroll almost halfway down every Power Rankings page just to find New England. Yeesh. How fast they fall.
The Pats dropped an average of five points in the rankings and now stand anywhere between 4th and 10th. The two main concerns stemming from Sunday's loss to the Cardinals were a leaky offensive line and losing Aaron Hernandez for 4-6 weeks. Although shocked at the last-second loss, none of the analysts are insinuating that it's time to panic. On that point, they're right. A prime-time win over the Ravens in Baltimore would most likely do wonders to scoot the Pats back up near the top.
The AP Pro32 prepares it's rankings from a panel of 12 national experts. In their comments on the Patriots for Week 2, these analysts pretty much echo ESPN's Chris Berman, who succinctly summed it up this way: "Week 2 mulligan." Good call Boomer.
In an odd note, this week the NFL set a record with 20 teams at 1-1. Only two teams in the AFC, the Houston Texans and San Diego Chargers, are sitting at 2-0. That's good news for the Patriots who sit in an all-tied AFC East. This coming week's matchups for the division stay within the Conference, with Patriots at Ravens, Jets at Dolphins and Bills at Browns. That oughta shake things up a bit.
Pro Football Weekly ranks them 4th: Lost possibly Brady’s most valuable weapon in Hernandez.
National Football Post ranks them 4th: Did Arizona just expose more flaws in the Patriots’ O-Line during the upset win in Foxborough?
Pro Football Talk ranks them 5th: Gostkowski picked the worst possible time to kick like Vanderjagt.
ESPN ranks them 5th: A home loss to Arizona either will be a wake-up call or the beginning of the Patriots' demise.
Elliot Harrison (NFL.com) ranks them 6th: Dropping four ticks is enough for one of the best teams in the league, even if it did really just lose to Kevin Kolb at home. Consider: A) The Patriots made a myriad of mistakes yet were still able to be in position to win the game at the end; B) the Aaron Hernandez injury means Tom Brady only has three great targets to target instead of four; and C) street cred. Oh, let's not fail to recognize that New England outgained Arizona 387-245. Who really thinks this club won't win at least 10-11 games? The defense is still better than in 2011, and the Patriots will still win the AFC East (even if they lose in Baltimore on Sunday night).
The Sporting News ranks them 6th: D-line stud: Chandler Jones. He’s already been a fine first-round pick with a sack and two forced fumbles in two weeks. Now he’ll get to show it in front of his brother Arthur, who plays for the Ravens with Ngata.
WEEI ranks them 7th: Protection for Tom Brady is a legitimate concern for the Patriots. The star QB has been sacked five times and is being flushed out of the pocket too often. The high-octane offense can’t operate if Brady is not comfortable and doesn’t have time.
Joel Thurman (SB Nation) ranks them 7th: The Patriots are probably better than the seventh-ranked team but you can not lose to the Cardinals -- !!!! -- in your home opener. First ever home opener loss at Gillette. That was bad.
NFL.com experts rank them 7th.
Brian Billick (Fox Sports) ranks them 8th: Some question Bill Belichick's decision to center the ball, then spike it and settle for what would have been the game-winning field goal that missed vs. the Cardinals. It was the right call given the situation, but it should have never come down to the kicker. He had already accounted for 12 points on the day. Tom Brady doesn't appear to have any chemistry with his receivers, and it only gets worse with Aaron Hernandez on the shelf for the foreseeable future.
Peter King (SI) ranks them 10th: Waaaaaay too much leakage from the offensive line, and now it looks like half of the tight end luxury package (Aaron Hernandez) is gone for at least a month. I don't know how Tom Brady lasts 16 games if he's under the kind of pressure he was on Sunday, and if he's without Hernandez until Halloween.
Pete Prisco (CBS Sports) ranks them 10th: lt's hard to imagine they would lose at home to a team they were favored to beat by 14. They just never seemed to get it going on offense.
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Don Banks (SI) ranks them 5th: I don't know about you, but it's always a bit jarring to me to see the Patriots look positively mortal, as if they're affected by the same laws of NFL gravity as the next team. I know they haven't won a Super Bowl since Corey Dillon was their lead running back, but they still crank out victories at a rate that sets them apart from the rest of the league. But last week the Cardinals were their Kryptonite, and that's an odd sentence to even write.
The AP Pro32 ranks them 7th.
Cold Hard Football Facts ranks them 7th.
Michael Silver (Yahoo! Sports) ranks them 8th: Where's Welker?
AVERAGE RANK: 6.5 (-4.9)