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2021 Week 13 Patriots Power Rankings

Check out where the experts rank the Patriots heading into Week 13.

NFL: Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

This is more like it. The view we’re used to —top tier and looking down on the rest of the league. Six wins in a row and my memory of sitting at 2-4, only a month and a half ago, gets fuzzier by the day. And there’s no harm in fans being enthusiastically optimistic when we all know Bill Belichick has the players on more of a Jim Mora-rant diet. We can look ahead to the playoffs. They’re just trying to win a game. And what a game this will be.

Even though the goalposts have been moving and excuses made with every win — only the Jets, the lowly Texans, the depleted Titans, etc... this time the analysts are correct. The Patriots matchup vs. the Bills is a doozy. First place in the AFC East plus conference seeding hang on the outcome. The Patriots have owned the Buffalo ‘rivalry’ since 2001, but the Bills swept the Patriots in 2020. New England’s shiny new quarterback Mac Jones has a chance to start his new era of the rivalry off on a high note with a much-needed win. I predict that will happen. Bills are favored by -2.5, but the Pats board the buses with a victory — and the division lead. Nine games still won’t clinch anything in this league but it sure helps get them there.

GO PATS!

Around the AFC East:

New England Patriots (8-4) at Buffalo Bills (7-4)

Miami Dolphins (5-7) vs. New York Giants (4-7)

New York Jets (3-8) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (5-7)

AFC Matchups:

Baltimore Ravens (8-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5-1)

Kansas City Chiefs (7-4) vs. Denver Broncos (6-5)

Cincinnati Bengals (7-4) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (6-5)

Indianapolis Colts (6-6) at Houston Texans (2-9)

Las Vegas Raiders (6-5) vs. Washington Football Team (4-6)

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9) at Los Angeles Rams (7-4)

Tennessee Titans (8-4) Bye

Cleveland Browns (6-6) Bye

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2nd - Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk): So, who will they play in the Super Bowl? [nc]

3rd - Mark Maske (Washington Post): The Patriots ran their winning streak to six with Sunday’s convincing triumph over the Titans. They forced four turnovers, and rookie QB Mac Jones threw two TD passes. It would have seemed inconceivable even just a few weeks ago that the Patriots would be in the mix for the No. 1 seed in the AFC. But they’re squarely in the running now. They face the Bills twice in the next three games, with their bye coming after Monday’s first matchup. [nc]

3rd - Consensus (Bleacher Report): Calling the New England Patriots the best team in the AFC hasn’t exactly been a rarity over the last two decades. But that was with Tom Brady under center, not rookie quarterback Mac Jones. No one expected to be using those sorts of superlatives for this year’s Patriots. And yet, here we are.

Heading into Week 7, the Patriots were a 2-4 team whose only wins were over the Jets and Texans. But after obliterating a Titans team that entered Week 12 as the AFC’s top seed, the Pats have peeled off six straight victories, with the last two coming via blowout. Over that winning streak, Jones has looked like anything but a rookie quarterback. He scorched the Titans for 310 yards and two scores Sunday and is playing as well as any quarterback in the conference.

The Patriots currently occupy first place in the AFC East. A season that began with hopes of possibly vying for a wild-card spot have morphed into targeting a division title and possibly the No. 1 seed in the AFC. And that is one of the biggest surprises of the first 12 weeks of the 2021 season. [+1]

3rd - Russell S. Baxter (Fansided): Bill Belichick’s surging squad brought a five-game losing streak into Sunday’s visit from the Tennessee Titans. And the Patriots continued their solid play on both sides of the ball. While the defense was gashed for 270 yards on the ground, the team came up with four takeaways. Rookie quarterback Mac Jones threw for 310 yards and connected twice with wide receiver Kendrick Bourne for scores. And Belichick’s team has now surpassed its 2020 win total. [+3]

4th - Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News): The Patriots keep going into classic Bill Belichick mode, beating opponents by exploiting their weaknesses and changing up their own strengths. Mac Jones came through with the pass-heavy approach vs. the Titans, while the defense was OK taking their chances giving up rushing yards. Belichick is a strong candidate to win coach of the year for the first time in more than a decade. [+5]

4th - Danny Kelly (The Ringer):The Top Shelf’ category. There aren’t any truly elite teams this season, but Green Bay showed its strength against the Rams. Meanwhile, the Patriots are also rounding into form and the Ravens can win ugly. [+1]

4th - Nate Davis (USA Today): Turnover machine J.C. Jackson leads the AFC in interceptions (7) and tops the NFL charts with 16 pass breakups. He also forced a fumble Sunday for good measure. Put him on the short list of defensive player of the year candidates – right on time as the pending free agent awaits a blockbuster contract. [+2]

4th - Ryan Dunleavy (NY Post): The Patriots have won six straight (with a plus-148 point differential) and are 6-1 against the AFC (Week 1 loss to the Dolphins) after beating the Titans. Mac Jones threw for 310 yards and a pair of touchdowns to Kendrick Bourne for an offense that scored on nine of its first 10 possessions. The defense pitched a second-half shutout. [-1].

4th - Pete Prisco (CBS Sports): It was Mac Jones, not the running game, that keyed the victory over the Titans. That’s big going forward. [+3]

4th - Dalton Miller (ProFootballNetwork): Whew, buddy, if Mac Jones is going to be hitting intermediate passes at the rate he was today on top of his usual efficiency, this offense could be legitimately dangerous down the stretch.

The Patriots have always been a slow team in September and October. As we near November, New England is playing football at a more dominant level than anyone in the league. They’ve won their last four games by an average of 26 points! They lost four contests early, so it wouldn’t be fair to put them at the top of the NFL Power Rankings. But in their current form, there aren’t four teams I think would beat the Patriots if they lined up next Sunday. [+3]

5th - Dan Hanzus (NFL.com): The win streak has reached six games for the Patriots after a wipeout of the undermanned Titans. Mac Jones fared well in his first cold-weather outing at Foxborough, but it was the defense that once again played the starring role for New England. The Pats forced four turnovers, including an end-zone pick by cornerback J.C. Jackson, who also had a crucial forced fumble when the game remained in doubt. Said Bill Belichick after the win: “You leave any trash laying around, he’s going to pick it up.” The Pats have announced themselves as a player in the AFC, but a challenging three-game stretch that includes two matchups against the Bills will give us a greater understanding of where this team stands. [+1]

5th - Karen Guregian (Boston Herald): What’s the Patriots identity after going unbeaten in November? Bill Belichick didn’t hesitate with an answer — “Winning.” [+2]

5th - Frank Schwab (Yahoo! Sports): We find out exactly where the Patriots stand next Monday when they play at Buffalo. If the Patriots win, they will exit that game as AFC East favorites and maybe favorites in the AFC period. And they have been the better team than Buffalo lately. [+1]

5th - NFL Nation (ESPN): Week 6 confidence rating: 5.0; How it’s going now: 6.6. New England has won six straight games. Bill Belichick often says that no stat correlates more to winning than turnovers, so consider this: After Week 6, when the Patriots were 2-4, they were minus-3 in the turnover differential; now, they are plus-10 on the season — the second best in the NFL. That’s a good place to start when considering how the Patriots have turned their season around and why my confidence rating has gone up. [+4]

5th - Albert Breer (SI): A perfectly conceived team that plays to its coaching with an efficient young quarterback, an overbearing run game and a playmaking defense. [-3]

5th - Nick Wojton (TouchdownWire): The Patriots whooped a depleted Titans team, 36-13. Rookie QB Mac Jones tossed two touchdown passes. A couple of top teams losing help the Pats move up in this week’s rankings, but their biggest game to date vs. the Bills next week looms. [+3]

5th - Harris Ahmadzai, Dylan Fraychineaud (New Arena): The Patriots are good again. In other news, time is a flat circle. The more things change, the more they stay the same. After a down year in 2020, the Pats are back with a vengeance in ’21. New England has now won six in a row, capped with a dominating victory over the previous No. 1 seed in the AFC — the Tennessee Titans. Sure, the Titans were down a handful of notable starters, but the Patriots have been ascending for weeks now. They haven’t played a close game in a month, and now have all the confidence in the world leading up to a marquee matchup versus the Buffalo Bills on Monday. [+4]

AVG RANK: 4.1 [+1.7]