ESPN Experts rank them 1st: The Patriots posted the second-largest margin of victory in the Brady-Manning series and scored more points in the first half (27) than Denver has allowed in a game all season.
Dan Schneier (Fox Sports) ranks them 1st: Despite losing their best pass-rusher Chandler Jones, the Patriots pass defense has remained a dominant force. No quarterback displays better footwork inside the pocket than Tom Brady.
Andy Hart (Patriots Football Weekly) ranks them 1st using the Wilson-Hart power index.
Frank Schwab (Yahoo! Sports) ranks them 1st: They're the best team in the NFL right now. If they played any team behind them on this list on a neutral field tomorrow, I'd pick the Patriots. So they're No. 1. I guess September doesn't matter that much after all.
Josh Sanchez (Fansided) ranks them 1st: Entering Week 10, the New England Patriots rebirth has been complete, thanks to Tom Brady turning in to a MVP candidate and carrying the team to No. 1.
The AP Pro32 ranks them 1st.
Tom Layberger (Masslive) ranks them 1st: Things are going so well for the Pats right now that the running game averaged 2.6 yards per rush and the pass defense yielded 438 yards and they still beat Denver by 22 points. Things like that happen when a quarterback catches fire, which Tom Brady has done once again in throwing 18 touchdown passes with one INT in the last five games. A bye is the only thing that could cool him off.
Elliot Harrison (NFL.com) ranks them 1st: Will keep this short and sweet. The way Tom Brady is playing -- and the way the secondary has been performing over the past few weeks -- methinks New England could beat any team in the league. Not feeling so bad about my preseason Super Bowl pick now. (Midseason, too.)
Peter King (The MMQB) ranks them 1st: Five weeks. Five wins, by 26, 15, 2, 28 and finally 22 against the team we all thought was the best in football until Sunday. That’s how New England climbed to the top.
USA Today ranks them 1st-tied: They may be in driver's seat for AFC's top playoff seed, but only one of their remaining opponents has a losing record.
Nate Silver (FiveThirtyEight) ranks them 1st using its Elo Ratings. The New England Patriots have finally broken the Denver-Seattle duopoly on No. 1 after the Patriots crushed the Broncos 43-21 Sunday afternoon.
Pete Prisco (CBS Sports) ranks them 2nd: So much for all the talk of Tom Brady being done. Is he on fire or what? This is the AFC's best team right now.
Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News) ranks them 2nd: Julian Edelman did in Denver with his dazzling punt return and sneaky great receiving skills, as once again, Tom Brady had Peyton Manning’s number in New England. Brady needs to keep it up with more elite QBs ahead.
Hank Gola (NY Daily News) ranks them 2nd: They've won 34 straight AFC games at home.
Mark Maske (Washington Post) ranks them 2nd: Tom Brady outplayed Peyton Manning on Sunday and improved to 11-5 in their 16 career matchups. More importantly, the Patriots gained the upper hand in the race for the top seed in the AFC playoffs, with a half-game lead on the Broncos plus the head-to-head tiebreaker advantage. New England’s schedule is tough, however. The Patriots have their bye week now but then return to face the Colts, Lions and Packers.
Danny Kelly (SB Nation) ranks them 2nd: Also proving themselves this week were the red-hot Patriots with their dismantling of the Broncos, who until this week looked to be far and away the best team in the NFL. New England is firing on all cylinders right now. Tom Brady is heating up with Rob Gronkowski back in action, the defense is coming up big, and Brandon Browner adds a new dimension of physicality to that secondary.
Pat Kirwan (CBS Sports) ranks them 2nd: A blowout win over Denver was a statement game and right now the AFC playoffs could go through Foxborough. Brady is red-hot and the defense is good enough for a big run in the next few weeks.
Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) ranks them 2nd: Shame on anyone who pointed out that the Patriots stunk back when they, you know, stunk.
Patrick Imig (Cold Hard Football Facts) ranks them 5th using their Quality Stats rankings. The Patriots are No. 1 in Scoreability, averaging one point for every 11.75 yards. Yes, the Patriots are ahead of Denver (No. 3), which is fitting given that the Patriots under Tom Brady average one point more per game than Peyton Manning teams.
AVERAGE RANK: 1.6 (+1.4)