AFC East rules Power Rankings again

The AFC East again is the top division in the latest ESPN.com Power Rankings.

For the second straight week, the AFC East went 3-1 and knocked off a couple credible opponents outside the division to overtake last week's leader, the NFC South.

The New England Patriots, New York Jets and Buffalo Bills all were victorious. The Miami Dolphins again failed to win consecutive games.

Division rankings based on average rankings in this week's poll are:

  1. AFC East

  2. NFC East

  3. NFC South

  4. AFC North

  5. AFC South

  6. AFC West

  7. NFC North

  8. NFC West

On the Power Rankings panel are senior writer John Clayton, AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky, AFC North blogger James Walker and NFC West blogger Mike Sando.

1. New England Patriots

Previous rank: 1

My take: This ranking was easy. The Patriots already were atop the list and then defeated the Green Bay Packers with a complete performance Sunday night. The Patriots outclassed the Packers on offense, scored a defensive touchdown and even got a 71-yard kickoff return from an offensive lineman. The Packers were ranked 10th last week.

5. New York Jets

Previous rank: 9

My take: No team climbed the ladder more than the Jets this week. They shot up four spots with their gritty road victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, who had been ranked No. 3 but tumbled three spaces. The panel ranks the Jets as the third-best AFC team behind the Patriots and No. 4 Baltimore Ravens. That seems a tad ambitious for the Jets. I still can't get those ugly back-to-back losses to the Patriots and Dolphins out of my head.

17. Miami Dolphins

Previous rank: 16

My take: It was an odd-numbered week on the NFL schedule. That meant it was time for another Dolphins loss. They were defeated at home by the Bills, but fell only one spot. The Dolphins have been a definition of mediocre all season, failing to win or lose two games in a row since Week 4. I suppose the middle of the Power Rankings pack is appropriate, but with as disappointing as their campaign has been, I wouldn't disagree with the lower third of the league either.

27. Buffalo Bills

Previous rank: 28

My take: Totally opposite of my feelings for the Dolphins, I'd like to see the Bills much higher than 27th. They ticked up one spot with their victory over the Dolphins after unfairly falling a spot last week for beating the Cleveland Browns, who are No. 22 this week. The Bills are better than some teams ahead of them in the poll. In their past six games, they have four wins and an overtime loss to the Steelers. Kudos to Kuharsky for ranking the Bills 22nd, well ahead of his fellow panelists.