Welcome to a fresh set of Power Rankings for 2015 and the start of sixteen more regular-season weeks with your New England Patriots as defending XLIX Champions.
What a difference a year makes, and what a ride Patriots fans have been on since this time last season. Beginning with a Week 1 loss to Miami, the experts and analysts slotted the Pats between 4th and 10th heading into Week 2. Pats were still planning to contain Adrian Peterson before the Vikings did it for them, the team wasn't 'On to...' anywhere, and no one had any inkling of even half of the twists and turns that lay ahead.
Best 2014 Premonition Award goes to:
Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) The last time the Pats looked that bad in Week One, they won the Super Bowl.
Amen, brother. Bet he never figured he'd find himself backing Brady and the Patriots as staunchly as he did against the league, but good for him. It's anyone's guess what this team will face this year, but I'm putting in an order for whatever puts them in San Francisco in February. Oh, and please, please, please hold the drama.
Around the AFC East:
Miami (1-0) at Jacksonville (0-1)
NY Jets (1-0) at Indianapolis (0-1)
Notable AFC Matchups:
Denver (1-0) at Kansas City (1-0)
San Diego (1-0) at Cincinnati (1-0)
Houston (0-1) at Carolina (1-0)
Baltimore (0-1) at Oakland (0-1)
Pittsburgh (0-1) vs. San Francisco (1-0)
Tennessee (1-0) at Cleveland (0-1)
Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) ranks them 1st: If the plan for covering Rob Gronkowski is to not cover Rob Gronkowski, the Pats will be in this spot for a while.
Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News) ranks them 1st: With Tom Brady, New England's offense didn't waste time to return to full Gronkosity. Now the Pats will look to spike the rising AFC East competition in Gronk's hometown, Buffalo.
Mark Maske (Washington Post) ranks them 1st: QB Tom Brady has two capable TEs at his disposal in Rob Gronkowski and Scott Chandler. Brady and the New England offense have fared well with similar arrangements in the past. Next up is a trip to Buffalo.
The AP Pro32 ranks them 1st.
Chris Burke (SI) ranks then 1st: Mark McGwire once showed up on an episode of "The Simpsons," right after Bart discovered that Major League Baseball was spying on everyone. Bart asked him why MLB would do this and McGwire responded, "Do you want to know the terrifying truth, or do you want to see me sock a few dingers?" The gathered crowd of Springfielders answers in unison, "Dingers! Dingers!" Similar choice for Patriots fans here: Shall we talk about how the Vince Wilfork-less defensive line looked quite leaky against the run, or would you rather watch highlights of Tom Brady lighting up Pittsburgh's defense? ("Brady! "Brady!")
Danny Kelly (SB Nation) ranks them 1st: Tom Brady celebrated getting his suspension overturned by beating the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Patriots confused the Steelers defense with their tight ends. A big Week 1 win moves New England to the top of the mountain.
Dan Schneier (Fox Sports) ranks them 1st: It’s a shame that so many are so quick to point to foul play when it comes to the Patriots’ winning ways. In Week 1, the Patriots did what they always do -- stay one step ahead of the competition when it comes to scheme and play-calling on both sides of the ball.
Dan Parzych (Rant Sports) ranks them 1st: When you make Tom Brady angry, he tends to take his game to a whole new level. So after everything that happened with the Deflategate scandal, it really shouldn't come as a surprise to see Brady open the season with a four-touchdown performance as he appears determined to have another MVP season.
Elliot Harrison (NFL.com) ranks the Patriots 2nd: I think Tom Brady was kind of pissed off the last few weeks, don't you? Goodness gracious, the Pats' opponents have to try to gameplan to stop Brady and a healthy Rob Gronkowski. Those seam routes in particular, right up the hash, are so difficult to defend. Oh, and way to go, Dion Lewis. I like Dion. He didn't wander ... The back settled down in zones enough to catch four balls last Thursday.
Brent Sobleski (Bleacher Report) ranks them 2nd: ... What's Next?: A ferocious Bills defense awaits the Patriots. In the never-ending quest to usurp the Patriots' rule over the AFC East, the Bills may finally be in position to do so. As well as both teams played in Week 1, this Week 2 meeting will set the tone early in the division.
Lorenzo Reyes (USA Today) ranks them 2nd: Concerns about depleted defense look valid so far. But so do Pats' chances to contend for fifth Lombardi.
Pete Prisco (CBS Sports) ranks them 2nd: So much for the idea that the Deflategate mess would impact Tom Brady's play. Not going to happen. One concern: The defense wasn't very good against the Steelers.
Frank Schwab (Shutdown Corner) ranks them 2nd: The Patriots probably shouldn't feel great about giving up 464 yards in the opener, even if it was to the Steelers' explosive offense. But they did so while winning fairly easily, so no need for concern yet.
Hank Gola (NY Daily News) ranks them 2nd: The Islamist regime in Iraq is trusted more, at least by Democrats. Least trustworthy is the Pats D without Revis and Wilfork. Should make things interesting in Buffalo.
Peter King (The MMQB) ranks the Patriots 3rd: No shame in giving the Steelers 464 offensive yards, I suppose. But this is what I’d be concerned about if I were offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels this week, entering game two at Buffalo: three rookies—guard, center, guard—blocking Marcel Dareus and Kyle Williams.
AVERAGE RANK: 1.5