AFC East Power Rankings preview

December, 26, 2011
12/26/11
2:11
PM ET
The AFC East went 2-2 in Week 16. Here is how those games could impact this week's ESPN.com Power Rankings:

New England Patriots (12-3)

Last week: No. 4

Result: W, against Miami 27-24

Analysis: It wasn't pretty, but the Patriots picked up a key win against the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins traditionally play New England tough. But it was unacceptable for Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Co. to fall behind 17-0 at home in the first half. The Patriots got it together in the second half and overcame their biggest deficit of the season. Style points do not matter this time of year. It's all about victories. New England is one win shy of securing home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Projected vote: No. 2-4

New York Jets (8-7)

Last week: No. 12

Result: L, 29-14

Analysis: Stick a fork in the Jets. They are done. They did more talking than playing the past couple of weeks, and it most likely will keep the Jets out the playoffs. The Giants outplayed the Jets and showed why they are the best team in the New York City area. The Jets still have a small chance to make the playoffs, but they need a miracle. The Jets need to start evaluating their roster for next season.

Projected vote: No. 15-17

Miami Dolphins (5-10)

Last week: No. 23

Result: L, 27-24 against New England

Analysis: The Dolphins deserve a lot of credit for taking the Patriots to the limit. They gave the Patriots their strongest test in weeks despite having nothing to play for. Miami is proving to be a good destination for a potential head coach. This team is not far away from contending. The Dolphins also will have a top-10 draft pick next April.

Projected vote: No. 22-24

Buffalo Bills (6-9)

Last week: No. 26

Result: W, 40-14 against Denver

Analysis: Where was this effort and performance the past two months? Buffalo suddenly went through a time warp and reverted back to the team we saw in the first month of the season. The Bills soundly beat Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos for four quarters. That should move the Bills up a few spots. They have a lot of holes to fix, but this game showed they are not without talent.

Projected vote: No. 23-25

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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