As the New England Patriots attempt to build on their Week Twelve victory over the Tennessee Titans, a great deal of self-evaluation will be made as the team prepares for this Monday’s matchup with the Buffalo Bills.
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 Thirteen 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 4th to 5th in the league.
Here's a roundup of the 2021 power rankings heading into Week Thirteen (including the comments from each outlet), along with Patriot Maven’s analysis.
Rank: #5 (previous week: #2 in a five way tie)
“A perfectly conceived team that plays to its coaching with an efficient young quarterback, an overbearing run game and a playmaking defense.” -Albert Breer
Rank: #5 (previous week: #9)
(ESPN’s Rankings by: NFL Nation, ESPN)
“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.” --Commentary by Mike Reiss
Rank: #4 (previous week: #7)
“It was Mac Jones, not the running game, that keyed the victory over the Titans. That's big going forward.” -Pete Prisco
Rank: #5 (previous week: #6)
“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.” -Dan Hanzus
Pro Football Network
Rank: #4 (previous week: #7)
“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.” -Dalton Miller
Rank: #4 (previous week: #9)
“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.” -Vinnie Iyer
Rank: #4 (previously week: #6)
“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.” -Nate Davis
SI Patriot Maven Analysis:
Rank: #4 (previous week: #6)
“Winners of six straight, the Patriots continue to flex their muscle in the AFC. Sunday’s win over the Titans placed the Pats in the second slot in the AFC Playoff picture, with a tough test looming on Monday night against the Buffalo Bills. During their six-game winning streak, the Patriots have averaged 35 points per game (211 points scored), and allowed an average of just 11 points per game (63 points allowed). The Patriots have allowed just 13 points in the second half during that stretch. As long as this team combines great coaching with smart, complementary football on both sides of the ball, they will continue to remain among the AFC’s best teams heading into the 2021 postseason.” -Mike D’Abate