Six and Ohhhhh.....Baby!
Huge win last week. Huge. It means the difference between first and second place in the AFC East. The difference between looking up at the Jets and looking down at them. Believe me, as improved as the Jets may be, something will have gone horribly wrong in the NFL universe when the Jets are leading the division.
Thursday night the Patriots will face another test, another division rival, and yet another rejuvenated-under-a-new-head-coach team, in the Miami Dolphins. Seems as if the biggest challenge to the Patriots is always the next team on the schedule. Go figure. Should be a battle, but the game is at home, in prime-time, and the Patriots have Tom Brady. New England wins this one too.
Around the AFC East:
Patriots (6-0) vs. Miami (3-3)
NY Jets (4-2) at Oakland (3-3)
Buffalo (3-4) -- Bye
Notable AFC Matchups:
Denver (6-0) vs. Green Bay (6-0)
Cincinnati (6-0) at Pittsburgh (4-3)
Indianapolis (3-4) at Carolina (6-0)
Cleveland (2-5) vs. Arizona (5-2)
San Diego (2-5) at Baltimore (1-6)
Houston (2-5) vs. Tennessee (1-5)
Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) ranks them 1st: The Patriots may wish they’d gotten on Thursday night the Joe Philbin Dolphins, not the Dan Campbell Dolphins.
Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News) ranks them 1st: Who needs ghouls and goblins when you've got a Gronk to haunt every defense? We also hear Tom Brady is once again dressing up as "the luckiest man on the planet."
ESPN Experts rank them 1st: The 6-0 Patriots have dropped back to pass on 70 percent of their snaps this season. The other two teams to drop back that often (Lions, Colts) are a combined 4-10.
Mark Maske (Washington Post) ranks them 1st: The offense wasn’t at its best Sunday against the Jets. The Patriots abandoned the running game and Tom Brady’s receivers dropped too many passes. Brandon LaFell was the main culprit there, but Julian Edelman dropped a TD pass. When crunch time arrived, though, Brady delivered and the Patriots remained on course for 16-0.
The AP Pro32 ranks them 1st.
Chris Burke (SI) ranks then 1st: Tom Brady had another one of those "screw this, I'll do it myself" sort of games against the Jets in Week 7—355 yards passing and he led New England in rushing. Dont'a Hightower took a similar approach on the other side of the ball, racking up 10 tackles and recovering a fumble. He and Jamie Collins are dominating from their linebacker spots.
Danny Kelly (SB Nation) ranks them 1st: The New England Patriots hold onto the top spot in our power rankings this week with an impressive win over the Jets. The Patriots' offense abandoned all hope for an effective run game and just decided to throw the hell out of the ball (to the tune of 54 attempts), but as you'd expect with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, they managed to make it work pretty well against a tough, aggressive New York defense. The Patriots held off a spirited comeback attempt by the Jets, who bungled a potential last-ditch shot at the end zone when Brandon Marshall lined up incorrectly and New England survived what looked to be one of its biggest tests this season.
Dan Schneier (Fox Sports) ranks them 1st: Despite drops all over the field, the Patriots gutted out a win against the stingy Jets. New England reinvents itself every week -- just ask Tom Brady, who threw 55 times and was the team’s leading rusher. View season trend.
Frank Schwab (Shutdown Corner) ranks them 1st: The Jets had the Patriots on the ropes in the fourth quarter, and the Patriots rallied. If nothing else maybe that can slow down the ridiculously early talk that's sprouting up about the Patriots maybe going 16-0.
Peter King (The MMQB) ranks them 1st: Tom Brady just played one of the best games of his life. His reward: prepping for a mystery Miami team for a national TV game Thursday night.
Elliot Harrison (NFL.com) ranks them 1st: New England holds on to the top spot in the rankings, surviving a typical Jets-Patriots battle that was as hard-fought as any Foxborough entry in this series has been in recent history. Coming in, the last three Jets- Patriots games in New England were settled by three points or less. Of all the points of fact about this AFC East battle, including Rob Gronkowski's career-high 11 catches, my favorite nugget came after Tom Brady's lunging quarterback sneak ... "Tom Brady 91-for-100 on third- and fourth-and-1 as a runner during his career."
Pat Kirwan (CBS Sports) ranks them 1st: The Patriots faced their toughest test of the season and came through with flying colors. Tom Brady put up more than 300 yards on the best secondary in the NFL and is now 8-0 vs. No. 1-ranked defenses in his career in Week 7 or later.
Reddit ranks them 1st: When the going gets tough, the Patriots lean on Tom Brady. Battling an aggressive defense and a dropsy receiving corps, Benjamin Button willed his team to victory through the air and with his nimble feet. When the dust settled he accounted for all but 1 yard of the Patriots' production. The Jets came in as (and still are) one of the most formidable divisional opponents in years, this was a very important win and preserved the Patriots' perch atop the division.
Brent Sobleski (Bleacher Report) ranks them 1st: Tom Brady has already cemented his status as one of the game's greatest quarterbacks. But he's well on his way to being recognized as the greatest quarterback of all time. At 38 years old, Brady's 68.9 completion percentage is tied for a career high, which happened to come in 2007 when he threw for a then-record 50 touchdowns. Brady is currently tied for the league lead with 16 touchdown tosses, and he's only thrown one interception. The 199th overall pick in the 2000 NFL draft continues to play at a nearly incomprehensible level even though he's not receiving much help from those around him.
Lorenzo Reyes (USA Today) ranks them 1st: They're so good, they can win despite being imbalanced (86% pass plays Sunday) while Tom Brady is top rusher (15 yards).
Sean Mason (Spark Sports) ranks them 1st: For the third time in the Tom Brady era, the Patriots are 6-0. The other two times (2004 and 2007) the team went on to play in the Super Bowl era. Tom Brady is arguably playing the best football of his career. The team is extremely versatile, constantly adapting their game plans to fit their opponents. One week after running up a storm against the Colts, the Patriots ran the ball a mere nine times, five oh which were by Tom Brady. The Patriots get better and better each week. The team continues to impress me. They have yet to be 100 percent healthy, and despite this, the team is clearly the best in the NFL.
Pete Prisco (CBS Sports) ranks them 1st: The Jets pushed them, but if they beat Miami this week they have a hammer hold on the division. They are still the elite of the AFC East.
AVERAGE RANK: 1.0