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Patriots Power Rankings Roundup Heading Into Week Eight

Will the Pats’ improvement to 3-4, following a 54-13 dismantling of the New York Jets on Sunday have a significant impact New England’s place in the national rankings?

As the New England Patriots attempt to build on their Week Seven victory over the New York Jets, a great deal of self-evaluation will be made as the team prepares for this Sunday’s matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers. While head coach Bill Belichick and his coaching staff do not place great value on assessments from outside sources, weekly NFL Power Rankings may provide a glimpse into the Pats place in the League’s grand scheme.

Heading into Week Eight of the 2021 NFL Season, the Pats will continue to make improvements in all three phases of the game.

Using seven prominent national outlets for our power rankings roundup — Sports Illustrated, NFL.com, ESPN, CBS Sports, Pro Football Network, Sporting News and USA Today — the Patriots ranged from 16th to 21st in the league.

Here's a roundup of the 2021 power rankings heading into Week Eight (including the comments from each outlet), along with Patriot Maven’s analysis.

Sports Illustrated

Rank: #16 (previous week : #21)

“While the Patriots are beating up on their inferior opponents like certain BCS schools trying to make their way back into the tournament, I predicted a week ago that they were a club on the rise. I still believe it. Mac Jones has been the best rookie QB so far by a mile.” -Connor Orr

ESPN

Rank: #18 (previous week: #21)

(ESPN’s Rankings by: NFL Nation, ESPN)

“With a rookie quarterback in Mac Jones, the projection was that he would be more of a game manager to complement a defense and special teams that spearhead the club, somewhat similar to the early years of Tom Brady's Patriots tenure. But the defense and special teams have been up-and-down, especially in the clutch. The secondary currently looks undermanned, especially after trading recovering CB Stephon Gilmore to the Panthers.” -Commentary by Mike Reiss

CBS Sports

Rank: #18 (previous week: #24)

“It's too bad they can't play the Jets every week. They own them and they usually make them look like a playoff team. It's a big step up in competition this week with a road trip to play the Chargers.” -Pete Prisco

NFL.com

Rank: #18 (previous week: #21)

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“He'll never acknowledge it publicly, but nothing brings Bill Belichick more pure joy than embarrassing the New York Jets. His Patriots did it again on Sunday, pouring it on Robert Saleh's team in a 54-13 win that ended a four-game losing streak at Gillette Stadium. Led by the already ever-steady Mac Jones, the Patriots scored on nine of their 10 possessions, not counting kneel-downs. "We finally kind of saw a little bit of a result that was good, and we've just got to stick to the formula and stick to the process," said Jones, now a fully programmed and operational soldier of Patriot Way.” -Dan Hanzus

Pro Football Network

Rank: #16 (previous week: #18)

“The New England Patriots have heard everybody talk about their offense lacking big-play potential, and they decided they’d take it out on the Jets.

They’re still not an explosive offense. They don’t have the playmakers or the quarterback to consistently pick up chunk plays. But boy, did they show the Jets that they’re the superior team!

They were a perfect 6-for-6 in the red zone and 5-for-5 in goal-to-go situations. Damien Harris had a big game on the ground, and Mac Jones looked like an MVP candidate against New York’s defense.

Let’s see what they can do against the Chargers before we claim their offense has turned a corner.” -Dalton Miller

Sporting News

Rank: #17 (previous week: #23)

“The Patriots are all for whacking opponents with limited offenses and weak run defenses. That takes a lot of pressure off Mac Jones and lets him relax and do what's needed to win games. It just needs to happen more often against better teams that aren't the Jets.” -Vinnie Iyer

USA Today

Rank: #21 (previously week: #23)

“Before you get overly excited about their 41-point shellacking of the Jets, understand New England is the first team in the Super Bowl era to notch its first three wins against rookie QBs. If the pattern holds, the Pats' next victory will come in Week 17 against Trevor Lawrence's Jags.” -Nate Davis

SI Patriot Maven Analysis:

Rank: #17 (previous week: #19)

While the national narrative (see directly above...eyeroll optional, but recommended) will try to lessen the significance of the Patriots 54-13 dismantling of the New York Jets on Sunday, putting 50-plus points on the scoreboard against an NFL team is something for which any team should be excited. The Pats victory over the Jets did not magically vault them into layoff contention. However, it provided the necessary foundation for both the offensive and defensive blueprint for the remainder of the season. Mac Jones (a rookie himself) continues to demonstrate accuracy, poise and command of his offense, much more so than that of his peers. The Pats are utilizing their multiple-receiver/tight end sets out of play action to their advantage, coupled with a strong running game led by Damien Harris. The defensive front, along with a stout linebacking corps, helps to pace what has the potential to be among the league’s most formidable front sevens. The depth at outside corner continues to be a concern, and the Pats face a tough task in replacing the versatility and productivity of slot corner Jonathan Jones. Overall, there are still miles to keep in New England. Still, Sunday’s victory is no mere footnote…the ‘It’s only the Jets” argument is purely driven by biased agenda, nothing more.” -Mike D’Abate