As the New England Patriots attempt to build on their Week Five victory over the Houston Texans, a great deal of self-evaluation will be made as the team prepares for a tough matchup with the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. 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 Six of the 2021 NFL Season, the Pats are in need of improvement 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 19th to 26th in the league.
Here's a roundup of the 2021 power rankings heading into Week Six (including the comments from each outlet), along with Patriot Maven’s analysis.
Rank: #21 (previous week : #18)
“The Patriots roster simply isn’t all that, and the reworked front-office needs another draft class to get it back up to the old standard. The silver lining is that it should allow New England to push Mac Jones as the year goes on.” -Albert Breer
Rank: #19 (previous week: #20)
(ESPN’s Rankings by: NFL Nation, ESPN)
“ [Jakobi] Meyers has been targeted a team-high 47 times and has totaled 31 receptions for 302 yards. While he had one regrettable drop in Sunday's win over the Texans in which he was wide open, Meyers' leap forward is reflected in that through the first five games of last season, he had just one catch for seven yards. The third-year receiver is still looking for his first touchdown reception, though.”-Commentary by Mike Reiss
Rank: #21 (previous week: #19)
“They didn't look good against the Texans, but they found a way to win at Houston. Mac Jones made the plays when they were needed. Now they get a tough one against Dallas.” -Pete Prisco
Rank: #22 (previous week: #22)
“Generally speaking, a scenario that combines a rookie QB making his fifth start and an offensive line missing four starters is -- well -- not ideal. It's the stuff blowout losses are made of, and perhaps that would have been the Patriots' fate had they not been playing the hapless Texans on Sunday. But perhaps not, considering Mac Jones is showing us on a weekly basis that he's not your typical rookie quarterback. Jones engineered a pair of fourth-quarter scoring marches on Sunday, including his first classified as a game-winning drive, in a 25-22 win. Jones isn't as flashy as the other rookie QBs, but on balance, he's been the most impressive.” -Dan Hanzus
Pro Football Network
Rank: #23 (previous week: #19)
“The Patriots looked bad today, but they fought their way back and beat a team that they should defeat on most Sundays. The offense did a good job moving the chains on third down, but they struggled in the red zone and in goal-to-go situations.
New England feels painfully average. Their defense ranks just outside the top 10 in efficiency, but their offense is still a massive struggle. With most of the Patriots’ offensive line injured and a lack of offensive weapons, things aren’t easy for rookie Mac Jones, who is already limited as an athlete.” -Dalton Miller
Rank: #22 (previous week: #22)
“The Patriots had a bit of a Brady hangover in Houston defensively but rookie Mac Jones continued to inspire the offense with good second-half play. They two-step into a next-level challenge next week against that other team from Texas, the Cowboys.” -Vinnie Iyer
Rank: #26 (previously week: #21)
“They were wholly unimpressive Sunday against downtrodden Houston, a performance at least partially explained by New England missing 80% of its starting offensive line. But that doesn't explain Texans rookie QB Davis Mills carving up Belichick's defense.” -Nate Davis
SI Patriot Maven Analysis:
Rank: #20 (previous week: #19)
“The Patriots may be heading into Week Six of the 2021 NFL season with a 2-3 record. However, there is still plenty of work to do as they prepare for a tough matchup with the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. Mac Jones completed 23 of 30 passes for 231 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The rookie showed tremendous poise in leading the team on what would be his first game-winning drive as the Pats would come from behind to defeat the Texans. Still there were still some questionable throws, as well as significant concerns regarding ball security from the Pats’ running backs. Defensively, the Pats’ breakdowns in coverage in the first half need to be cleaned up. Heading into Week Six, the Pats should feel grateful for the win, but need to be prepared to work in practice this week.” -Mike D’Abate