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AFC East Power Rankings preview

10/3/2011

It was another rough week for the AFC East. Here is how this weekend's games could impact our latest NFL Power Rankings:

New England Patriots (3-1)

Last week: No. 3

Result: W, 31-19 against Oakland

Analysis: Most expected the Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady to bounce back after their tough loss to Buffalo. New England controlled the game against Oakland on the road with a balanced offense and some improvements on defense. The loss of linebacker Jerod Mayo (knee) hurts. Patriots coach Bill Belichick didn't offer a timetable, but reports indicate he could miss up to a month. New England should be fine as long as the offense continues to score 30 points every week.

Projected ranking: No. 2-4

Buffalo Bills (3-1)

Last week: No. 6

Result: L, 23-20 against Cincinnati

Analysis: Here is where things get interesting for Buffalo. Are the Bills the team that beat the Patriots in Week 3? Or is Buffalo the young, inconsistent team that blew a 14-point lead Sunday to the Bengals? Our panel (myself included) overreacted last week by making the Bills a top-six team. They're fun to watch and their 3-0 record stood out. But I still believe the Bills have something to prove before considering them with the best of the best. We will know a lot more about the Bills following back-to-back games against the Philadelphia Eagles (1-3) and New York Giants (3-1).

Projected ranking: No. 10-12

New York Jets (2-2)

Last week: No. 7

Result: L, 34-17 against Baltimore

Analysis: There is no shame in losing to the Ravens. I wrote months ago they would be the class of the AFC North, and that’s clearly the case through one month of the regular season. But it's the way the Jets are losing games the past two weeks that should cause concern. Last week against Oakland, New York's defense was uncharacteristically run over. This week against Baltimore, Mark Sanchez was pummeled into four turnovers. Add in the fact that New York hasn't run the ball well all seasons, and leaks are springing up at various places for Jets head coach Rex Ryan.

Projected ranking: No. 10-12

Miami Dolphins (0-4)

Last week: No. 29

Result: L, 26-16 against San Diego

Analysis: The Dolphins play badly on the road (0-2) and even worse at home (0-2). Therefore, I don't see much hope for a sudden turnaround in Miami. The Dolphins now have to deal with a coach on the hot seat and a starting quarterback with an injured shoulder. Talent alone should win Miami a few games this year. But already it appears 2011 could be a lost season.

Projected ranking: No. 28-30