The Miami Dolphins' one-point victory at Gillette Stadium in the season opener was very significant in giving them a leg up already in the AFC East, but it didn't do much in terms of impressing national football analysts.
That's the conclusion to be drawn from the Week 2 power rankings, which saw the Dolphins move up only slightly in most cases and actually drop in the rankings done by Yahoo and USA Today.
Using the same seven outlets for our power rankings roundup — Sports Illustrated, NFL.com, ESPN, CBS Sports, Pro Football Network, Yahoo Sports and USA Today — the Dolphins ranged from 12th to 15th in the league.
Here's a roundup of the 2021 power rankings heading into Week 2, with the previous ranking in parentheses and the comments from each outlet:
Ranking: No. 15 (T-18)
Analysis: "A handful of untimely Patriots errors allowed the Dolphins to escape with a Week 1 victory. Tua Tagovailoa had the worst quarterback rating of any starter on a winning team from Sunday. Miami’s 3.4 completed air yards per passing attempt must balloon if we are to take Miami as seriously as the rest of the roster begs us to. Perhaps Josh McDaniels’s plan for Mac Jones can be somewhat instructive for the Dolphins and their young starter from Alabama."
Ranking: No. 13 (14)
Analysis: "Xavien Howard proved once again why he might be the most valuable player on the Dolphins. The star cornerback jarred the ball out of the hands of Pats running back Damien Harris late in the fourth quarter, the game-deciding turnover in a 17-16 win. While Howard thrived, Tua Tagovailoa had his ups and downs in a game that's unlikely to change any perceptions of the second-year passer. It wasn't a perfect effort by the Dolphins, but victory at Foxborough is always a big deal. After one week, Miami is the only team in the AFC East in the win column."
Ranking: No. 15 (16)
Analysis on which rookie made the best first impression (Jaylen Waddle): "Waddle registered four receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown on six targets -- accounting for nearly a quarter of the targets on Tua Tagovailoa's 27 pass attempts. He flashed not only catch-and-run ability on a 17-yard reception on the Dolphins' first play of the game, but also the ability to win a jump ball during a 36-yard catch in the first half. Even with Will Fuller V joining the lineup in Week 2, Waddle should have a strong role moving forward."
Ranking: No. 14 (15)
Analysis: "It wasn't a thing of beauty beating New England, but that shouldn't matter. They found a way to get a good road victory, which is a good sign going forward."
Ranking: No. 12 (14)
Analysis: "This felt like a divisional throwdown. Both offenses played about the same level from an efficiency standpoint. The Patriots dominated the time of possession and ran 18 more plays. Nonetheless, it was an evenly fought contest overall. It makes sense, given we’ve had them close on preseason power rankings. Miami needs to find some explosion offensively if they want to contend in the AFC, though."
Ranking: No. 13 (11)
Analysis: "Tua Tagovailoa looked healthy and confident, two things that weren't necessarily the case last season. It wasn't the prettiest win, but it was a division road win. Miami is the only team that got one of those in Week 1."
Ranking: No. 12 (11)
Analysis: "Where was fourth-year TE Mike Gesicki? Two targets, no catches, while batting a ball into the air that cost QB Tua Tagovailoa a pick. Ge-sickly."