Here is how things look this week:
New England Patriots (5-1)
Power ranking: No. 2 (same)
Walker's vote: No. 2 (same)
Analysis: The Patriots remain in their usual spot at No. 2. They still trail the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, who are roaring with a 7-0 start. New England has its toughest game of the season to date this weekend. The Patriots will play on the road against the Steelers at Heinz Field. It will be a good measuring stick for both teams.
Buffalo Bills (4-2)
Power ranking: No. 7 (up three spots)
Walker's vote: No. 9 (up one spot)
Analysis: Here's the beauty of the bye week: Sometimes we forget how poorly teams played in the last game. The Bills were not a top seven team the last time they took the field against the New York Giants. The defense isn't stopping anyone and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has cooled off from his hot start. But so many teams in the top 10 lost that Buffalo moved up three spots. This week's game against the Redskins (3-3) is bigger than it looks on paper. If the Bills are truly a playoff contender, these are the games they should win. If Buffalo loses and falls to 4-3, it will be in the mix of many teams battling for the wild card.
New York Jets (4-3)
Power ranking: No. 13 (up three spots)
Walker's vote: No. 12 (up one spot)
Analysis: I have been holding firm on the Jets for several weeks, even when they weren't playing good football. Now, after a quality win over the Chargers, the panel is finally warming up to New York. The team moved up three spots this week. The Jets have the talent to match up with anyone. But sometimes distractions and not staying together or playing together gets in the way. The Jets are on a two-game winning streak going into their bye. They are finally playing the quality football most expected at the beginning of the season.
Miami Dolphins (0-6)
Power Ranking: No. 31 (down one spot)
Walker's vote: No. 31 (down one spot)
Analysis: The Dolphins are awful. There's no way around it. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Miami became the first team since the merger to blow a 15-0 point lead in the final four minutes. On top of that, the Dolphins became a punch line by blowing the game to Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, who struugled for three-plus quarters. I don't see any easy wins left on Miami's schedule. The Dolphins may catch someone by surprise and steal a game or two. But this team will remain at or near the bottom of our rankings the rest of the season.