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Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Power Rankings: AFC East still influential

By Tim Graham

After much jumbling in recent editions of the Power Rankings, the AFC East still has three clubs among the top 10. No other division can claim that.

The Miami Dolphins shot up eight spots, the second-biggest climb of the week. The New York Jets recovered from last week's slide and improved five spots by beating the New England Patriots, who dropped five.

For the first time, the Buffalo Bills are rated the worst team in the NFL.

The Power Rankings panel consists of ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton, AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky, AFC North blogger James Walker and NFC West blogger Mike Sando.

6. New York Jets

Previous rank: 11

My take: The Jets showed how difficult of a matchup they can be when their offense is clicking. Mark Sanchez looked every bit the part of a leading man. He shredded the Patriots' defense and threw touchdown passes to three targets. Without cornerback Darrelle Revis, they shut out the Patriots in the second half.

7. Miami Dolphins

Previous rank: 15

My take: The Dolphins are 2-0, but this ranking seems a little lofty. Their defense has looked impressive, especially linebacker Karlos Dansby and cornerback Vontae Davis. But I need to see more than two offensive touchdowns before I'm ready to consider them as great as the Power Rankings panel does. Chad Henne and Brandon Marshall have been quiet.

9. New England Patriots

Previous rank: 4

My take: Too many people got excited by the Patriots' decisive victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1. Sando had them rated second only to the New Orleans Saints. Now they've drifted back to a more reasonable place, in my mind. The holes in their pass defense were exposed. The loss of running back Kevin Faulk will hurt.

32. Buffalo Bills

Previous rank: 30

My take: The Bills have stated a convincing case for being the worst team in the league. Although they did hang tough against the No. 7 Dolphins on opening day, their game at Green Bay was an abomination. The Bills already have switched quarterbacks, and I don't think Ryan Fitzpatrick will ignite a hot streak.