A weekly examination of the Patriots' ESPN.com Power Ranking:
Preseason: 6 | Last Week: 7 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002
All of ESPN.com's voters slotted the Patriots at No. 5, except one, who had them at No. 6 and put the Cardinals in the No. 5 spot.
The Patriots finish the regular season against the No. 23 Bills, and as we've discussed in this space throughout the second half of the season, they are capable of beating anyone in the NFL ... and also losing to anyone in the NFL.
That's part of what has created such a wild ride for the team in 2013.
But as has been the case over the past decade-plus, the bottom line is this: They're in the mix to be No. 1 when it truly counts.