Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Around the AFC East:
New England (8-2) vs. Miami (4-6)
Buffalo (5-5) at Kansas City (6-4)
NY Jets (4-6) vs. Carolina (7-3)
Pittsburgh (8-2) vs. Green Bay (5-5)
Jacksonville (7-3) at Arizona (4-6)
Tennessee (6-4) at Indianapolis (3-7)
Baltimore (5-5) vs. Houston (4-6)
Cincinnati (4-6) vs. Cleveland (0-10)
Oakland (4-6) vs. Denver (3-7)
1st - Chris Simms (Bleacher Report): Even if you don't agree the Patriots are the best team in the NFL, it's hard to argue they're not the hottest. They're embarrassing opponents. Tom Brady and the Patriots offense are unstoppable right now. What do you do against them? They can run it and they can throw it. They can throw it deep or underneath, outside the numbers or over the middle. There are so many different weapons and personnel sets. There are only a couple of teams that can match up with New England's offense and hope to win. Defensively, the Patriots are playing great too. The change the defense has made since the loss to Carolina is out of this world. It's hard to score on New England—the defense hasn't given up more than 17 points since that loss—and the Patriots aren't giving up big plays like they did early in the season. Can you say repeat? Look, the Eagles are awesome too, and I know a lot of people will believe they deserve to stay at No. 1. If I have to pick a quarterback to win me one game in the postseason, I'm taking Brady over Wentz. Sorry, but I'm not dumb.
2nd - Frank Schwab (Yahoo! Sports): The Raiders aren’t exactly playing great on offense, but the Patriots made them look bad on Sunday. It’s amazing how the Patriots could look like the worst defense in the NFL for the first month or so of the season, and before Thanksgiving it looks like every single issue has been solved. Bill Belichick gets a lot of credit but so should defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, who might be getting closer to a head-coaching job.
2nd - Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News): The Patriots' dynasty carries over to the south side of the border, as well. Tom Brady was having a monster season before finding his great downfield chemistry with Brandin Cooks. The defense also doesn't have the issues from earlier in the season. They're looking every bit like the heavy favorites again.
This week: vs. Dolphins, another bad pass defense for Brady.
2nd - Mark Maske (Washington Post): There’s no question now that the Patriots and Steelers are the AFC’s top two teams, and by a significant margin. For each, the rest of the regular season is all about which one will host the AFC championship game.
2nd - Pete Prisco (CBS Sports): The division is over and the schedule is soft. That means their game with the Steelers in a few weeks will likely decide the top seed in the AFC.
2nd - Elliot Harrison (NFL.com): The Patriots keep rolling, and it doesn't look they're bound to slow down any time soon. Tom Brady was damn near perfect in the first half against the Raiders. Then you look at the stats and see he was even more perfect in the second. The recurring theme of these Power Rankings: The complete turnaround of the New England defense is startling. Over the last six games, all Brady has had to do is average two touchdowns per contest to give the Pats the per-game scoring advantage. Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia's unit made the most damaging play of the day in Mexico, when the outcome was still somewhat doubt: forcing Raiders receiver Seth Roberts to fumble 3 yards from the end zone in a 14-zip game. New England is the clear No. 2.
2nd - Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk): La puerta esta abierta [The door is open] for a Super Bowl win.
2nd - Adam Stites (SB Nation).
2nd - Joshua Schrock (NESN): Tom Brady picked apart the Oakland Raiders in Mexico City on Sunday, as the Patriots won their sixth consecutive game. New England returns home in Week 12 to face an abysmal Miami Dolphins team. Since opening the season 2-2, the Patriots have dominated the opposition and are the clear-cut favorite in the AFC.
2nd - Kevin Dillon (MassLive): The Patriots had no issue with the Raiders in Mexico City, jumping out to a 30-point lead before the Raiders scored their only points in the fourth quarter. New England’s defense looks much better as of late, while the offense continues to roll. Considering the collapse of the rest of the AFC East, New England has its sights set on the No. 1 seed.
2nd - Experts (ESPN): Triumph: Remember when the Patriots opened the season 2-2 and were allowing the second-most points per game (32.0)? Well, the defense has made a triumphant return, allowing 12.5 points per game and no more than 17 points in a single game since. The lesson, as always, is to never write off the Patriots.
2nd - Mark Cannizzaro (NY Post): They just keep rolling on. Is there any quarterback you’ve ever seen who makes one of the toughest positions in sports look more easy than Tom Brady?
2nd - Manish Mehta (NY Daily News): Tom Brady is the first quarterback in NFL history with 300-yard passing games in three countries (U.S., England and Mexico)… as if he needed another record. The Evil Empire clinched a non-losing record for the 17th consecutive season after destroying the Raiders in Mexico City. The Dolphins are next on the schedule to get their butts kicked by The Hoodie, Inc.
2nd - Joe Giglio (NJ.com): This stat, per MMQB’s Peter King, sums it up for Tom Brady: In regular-season games since turning 39, Tom Brady owns a 39-to-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
2nd - Staff (USA Today): League's second-ranked offense effectively spreading wealth. Six different Patriots have more than 400 yards from scrimmage.
2nd - Staff (AP Pro32).