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Patriots Power Rankings Roundup Heading Into Week Twelve

Will the Pats’ improvement to 7-4, following a dominant victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday, allow New England to continue its meteoric rise in the national rankings?

As the New England Patriots attempt to build on their Week Eleven victory over the Atlanta Falcons, a great deal of self-evaluation will be made as the team prepares for this Sunday’s matchup with the Tennessee Titans. 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 Twelve 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 2nd (albeit in a five-way tie) to 9th in the league.

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

Sports Illustrated

Rank: #2, tied with Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys Arizona Cardinals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (previous week : #10)

“This team suddenly smells a lot like the 2018 edition: power run game, efficient quarterback, dominant defense, one of those vanilla-scented car air fresheners. There’s a narrative that the five-game winning streak has come against a soft part of the schedule, but while the Chargers, Browns and Panthers aren’t elite, they’re all quality teams, and the Patriots outclassed all three.” -Gary Gramling

ESPN

Rank: #9 (previous week: #10)

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

“The Butt Fumble. Does any more need to be said? A dominant performance at the Meadowlands was highlighted by a single play -- Jets QB Mark Sanchez losing the football after running into the butt of his own offensive lineman who had been thrust back and the Patriots scoring on the recovery -- that remains famous to this day.” -Commentary by Mike Reiss, on the team’s ‘Most memorable’ Thanksgiving game: Scoring on the "Butt Fumble" in a 49-19 rout of the Jets on Nov. 22, 2012

CBS Sports

Rank: #7 (previous week: #9)

“They've moved to the top of the AFC East with their five-game winning streak. Now comes a tough one with the Titans.” -Pete Prisco

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NFL.com

Rank: #6 (previous week: #8)

“Mac Jones has been an upgrade over Cam Newton, but the Patriots' biggest difference is a defense that has surged during the team's five-game winning streak. In that stretch, the Patriots have allowed just 10 points per game and have intercepted 12 passes while allowing only four touchdown passes. The 2021 version of Matt Ryan was a sitting duck against New England's relentless pass rush, which turned Atlanta's offensive linemen into sentient turnstiles on the way to four sacks and 12 QB hits. Matt Judon stands tall as the leader of this group: The ace free-agent signing is up to 10.5 sacks in what's been an All-Pro worthy season. The Patriots matched their 2020 win total by Thanksgiving and have found themselves in first place as a result.” -Dan Hanzus

Pro Football Network

Rank: #7 (previous week: #9)

“The Patriots might not be the best team in the AFC, but they’ve played like it over the past few weeks. They’ve rattled off five wins in a row, and their only loss came to the Dallas Cowboys in a one-score battle.

Mac Jones has been outstanding in his rookie campaign. He’s doing everything he needs to within the offense and is showing more ability to use his legs to pick up first downs than he ever did at Alabama.

I don’t believe the Patriots are a team that’s built to come from behind. But if you allow them to dictate the game flow, you’re going to have a bad time. Obviously, New England is disciplined defensively, and their backs and tight ends harken back to football’s past. They continue their meteoric rise in the NFL Power Rankings for Week 12.” -Dalton Miller

Sporting News

Rank: #9 (previous week: #10)

“The Patriots have used their consistent coaching, defensive foundation and rushing prowess to take advantage of the attrition in the AFC. They're displaying a lot of familiar winning elements under Bill Belichick, only Mac Jones is at the controls now instead of Brady.” -Vinnie Iyer

USA Today

Rank: #8 (previously week: #8)

“You can question how many quality wins they have, but when you're beating NFL competition by an aggregate 94-13 score over a three-week period, that speaks volumes. Their next four games are against Tennessee, Buffalo (twice) and Indianapolis, a stretch that should put New England into clearer perspective.” -Nate Davis

SI Patriot Maven Analysis:

Rank: #6 (previous week: #8)

The Patriots have returned to their winning ways with a familiar formula. On offense, the ingredients are a strong running game with an efficient, accurate passing game, led by a stellar performance by quarterback Mac Jones. Still, the predominant flavor in this ‘victory stew’ is their defense. Throughout their current streak of five straight wins, the Pats have outscored their opponents by a margin of 175-50, yielding just 13 points in their last three games. On average, New England is allowing 16.1 points per game (ppg) in 2021, second only to the Buffalo Bills with an average of 15 ppg. Still, the Patriots ability to be productive at all three levels is what makes their 2021 defense so fearsome. The team has vastly improved in setting the edge, and therefore stopping the run. New England also remains quite competent in taking the ball from their opponents. The Pats face a tough stretch, with four of their last six games coming against Tennessee, Indianapolis and two-matchups with Buffalo. However, with New England playing solid football in all three phases, there is every reason to believe that this team can hang with anyone in the NFL.” -Mike D’Abate