Beginning to feel a bit better? Recognizing a hint of optimism as the week rolls on? Allowing yourself to believe that you, and the rest of the world, might have beaten up on the beat-down Patriots just a tad too harshly? Starting to even look forward to Sunday's matchup with the Bengals, with the tiniest bit of hope that New England could pull off a win? Wonderful!
Enjoy that positive state for just a moment -- before this week's rankings jab a pin through your balloon and the experts spit in your sanctuary. Hard to guess the number of ankles that broke jumping off the Belichick-Brady bandwagon after Monday night's debacle, but several of them are represented by the analysts below.
Moving on to Cincinnati.
Around the AFC East:
Buffalo (2-2) at Detroit (3-1) -- NY Jets (1-3) at San Diego (3-1) -- Miami (2-2) Bye
Notable AFC Matchups:
Houston (3-1) at Dallas (3-1)
Baltimore (3-1) at Indianapolis (2-2)
Denver (2-1) vs. Arizona (3-0)
Pittsburgh (2-2) at Jacksonville (0-4)
Kansas City (2-2) at San Francisco (2-2)
Cleveland (1-2) at Tennessee (1-3)
Nate Silver (FiveThirtyEight) ranks them 7th: But if there’s anything Week 4 demonstrated, it’s that one game may not tell us much.
Peter King (The MMQB) ranks them 10th: If you’re the Chiefs and you have to play the Patriots at some point this year, now’s the time. I’d be blitzing from the first second-and-long if I’m K.C. defensive coordinator Bob Sutton.
Joe Fortenbaugh (Nat'l Football Post) ranks them 11th.
Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News) ranks them 12th: Tom Brady struggled mightily in Kansas City to the point someone had the audacity to ask Bill Belichick if quarterback "would need to be re-evaluated." That’s a good one. Here’s a bad one: Brady’s offensive line. Next: vs. Cincinnati, the Patriots will need to dig deep to rebound.
Pat Kirwan (CBS Sports) ranks them 13th: A terrible loss in Kansas City dropped the Patriots from No. 5 to No. 13 but I think the Patriots will get things figured out. This is a very young team learning to play on the road. Keep in mind the No. 1 team in the Power Rankings, Seattle, is 9-8 on the road since 2012.
Tom Layberger (Masslive) ranks them 13th: New England was thoroughly embarrassed in Kansas City under the bright lights of Monday Night Football. The effort came one week after barely getting past lowly Oakland. A defense that was overwhelmed by the K.C. running attack is one of many issues on a football team that is simply not that good right now.
The AP Pro32 ranks them 13th.
USA Today ranks them 13th: What a way for the Jimmy Garoppolo era to begin. OK, maybe not. But New England has serious issues on both sides of the ball.
Josh Sanchez (Fansided) ranks them 14th.
Patrick Imig (Cold Hard Football Facts) ranks them 14th using their Quality Stats rankings.
Andy Hart (Patriots Football Weekly) ranks them 14th using the Wilson-Hart power index.
Chris Burke (SI) ranks them 15th: The frustrated Patriots have now gone three straight games without hitting 300 total yards on offense. That hasn't happened with Tom Brady at the helm since Weeks 13-16 of the 2003 season, a four-game "slump" that coincided with a 15-game win streak ... and a Super Bowl title.
Frank Schwab (Yahoo! Sports) ranks them 15th: I hate to overreact to small sample sizes, but you can't help but wonder if the loss at Kansas City was the sign that the Patriots dynasty is over. It was that bad. Tom Brady just looks like a different player than we're used to seeing. I just didn't believe it could be happening that fast.
Danny Kelly (SB Nation) ranks them 15th.
Mark Maske (Washington Post) ranks them 15th: What if the team that was on display Monday night is who the Patriots really are this season? Maybe it wasn’t merely a bad performance. Maybe it’s a bad team. It will be interesting to find out. Coach Bill Belichick vowed that the Patriots will play better. QB Tom Brady said he knows the team won’t surrender on its season. This was thought to be a season in which Belichick and Brady would chase their fourth Super Bowl title in tandem. For now, it’s all about regaining their dignity and recapturing respectability.
ESPN Experts rank them 16th: The six quarterbacks below Tom Brady in Total QBR (Tannehill, Locker, Cassel, G. Smith, Manuel and Henne) have all either split time or have been in quarterback controversies this season.
Elliot Harrison (NFL.com) ranks them 18th: Huge drop for New England as questions abound regarding the defense and whether the Patriots carry the resources outside to threaten opponents. Moss and Welker >>>>>>>>>>>>> Edelman and Amendola. Maybe everyone can think about that fact before further disparaging Tom Brady.
Pete Prisco (CBS Sports) ranks them 18th: They have no deep speed, the line is bad and they just don't look good on defense. But blame Tom Brady. Everyone else is doing it.
Dan Schneier (Fox Sports) ranks them 18th: The offensive line issues just won’t seem to go away as the Chiefs consistently got pressure and LT Nate Solder was burned yet again—this time it was Tamba Hali, who beat him on the edge to force a sack and fumble. Tom Brady certainly doesn’t have the strongest supporting cast, but he threw for two interceptions, which included a miscommunication and a late throw forced over the middle. The defense was on the field for most of the game, and the Patriots’ 50 offensive snaps were their lowest total since 2010.
Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) ranks them 19th: Tom Brady said he’ll retire when he sucks; when is the press conference?.
Hank Gola (NY Daily News) ranks them 20th: One of Bill Belichick’s ugliest losses ever. They’ve got issues.
AVERAGE RANK: 14.4 (- 7.4)