It took five straight wins and a slip up from the San Francisco 49ers for the New England Patriots to earn their way back into the top five of ESPN.com's NFL Power Rankings. New England moved up one spot after beating the Washington Redskins this week.
The AFC East went 2-2 overall. Here is how the results impacted their ratings:
New England Patriots (10-3)
Results: W, 34-27 against Washington
Power Ranking: No. 5 (up one spot)
Walker’s vote: No. 5 (up one spot)
Analysis: The Patriots had a tougher-than-expected game against Washington. It was mainly because New England’s defense couldn’t find a way to stop Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman. That is concerning. The Patriots will face much better teams and quarterbacks in the playoffs. If they can’t stop Washington, who can they stop? But a win moved New England into the top five. The Patriots have an interesting matchup on Sunday against Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos.
New York Jets (8-5)
Results: W, 37-10 against Kansas City
Power Ranking: No. 10 (up one spot)
Walker’s vote: No. 10 (up two spots)
Analysis: The Jets continue to climb up ESPN.com’s Power Rankings. New York is back in the top 10 for the first time in a long time. The Jets have won three straight and are playing like a playoff team. They control their own destiny and currently hold the final wild card in the AFC. We will find out where New York really stands in the next two weeks when they travel to play the Philadelphia Eagles and host the New York Giants.
Buffalo Bills (5-8)
Results: L, 37-10 against San Diego
Power Ranking: No. 22 (down two spots)
Walker’s vote: No. 23 (down one spot)
Analysis: The Bills lost their sixth straight game. They were blown out by the San Diego Chargers. Buffalo is hurting and doesn’t have much left in the tank. The good news is Buffalo has a winnable game against Miami this week. Former Bills draft pick J.P. Losman could get the start for Miami. That should make the Bills the favorite at home.
Miami Dolphins (4-9)
Results: L, 26-10 against Philadelphia
Power Ranking: No. 23 (down one spot)
Walker’s vote: No. 22 (down two spots)
Analysis: The Dolphins finally let go of head coach Tony Sparano after losing to the Philadelphia Eagles. They were planning to do it at some point and rightfully got the head start on 2012. Miami will go with interim coach Todd Bowles. The Dolphins have a lot of injured players to keep an eye on this week, such as quarterback Matt Moore (head), left tackle Jake Long (back) and cornerback Vontae Davis (neck).