Tuesday, September 20, 2011
AFC East Power Rankings analysis
By James Walker
The AFC East went 3-1 in Week 2 and improved to 6-2 overall. Here is how the fast start impacted ESPN.com's Power Rankings:
New England Patriots (2-0)
Result: W, 35-21 vs. San Diego
Power ranking: No. 2 (same)
Walker's vote: No. 1 (same)
Analysis: The Patriots held firm at No. 2. For weeks, I've been the only voter to rank New England No. 1. But NFC West blogger Mike Sando has joined the fray and also voted the Patriots No. 1 for the first time this week. The Patriots have been dominant, in large part, due to quarterback Tom Brady. The defense still has things to work on. But New England should get a good test this week on the road against undefeated Buffalo.
New York Jets (2-0)
Result: W, 32-3 vs. Jacksonville
Power ranking: No. 3 (up two spots)
Walker's vote: No. 4 (up one spot)
Analysis: The AFC East has two teams in the top three, making the division one of the strongest in the NFL. New York was dominant in a 32-3 win over Jacksonville. The Jets' defense was tremendous and the offense was solid in some areas. I liked how New York got tight end Dustin Keller involved. I think the Jets have a great chance to win every time Keller has a big game in the middle. The running game still baffles me. Is it the offensive line, the running backs or both? I'm still trying to figure that out. But a solid, 2-0 start for New York is what matters most.
Buffalo Bills (2-0)
Result: W, 38-35 vs. Oakland
Power ranking: No. 16 (up 11 spots)
Walker's vote: No. 17 (up four spots)
Analysis: I mentioned last week that Buffalo was rated too low after its Week 1 blowout of the Kansas City Chiefs. The Bills were No. 27, six spots lower than Kansas City. But an exciting win over the Oakland Raiders gave Buffalo its just due. The Bills were the biggest risers this week, jumping 11 spots to No. 16. The Bills have a chance to make another jump if they pull the upset at home against New England. The AFC East blog will be in Buffalo to cover that game.
Miami Dolphins (0-2)
Result: L, 23-13 vs. Houston
Power ranking: No. 25 (up one spot)
Walker's vote: No. 24 (down four spots)
Analysis: It's funny how Miami's second straight loss moved the Dolphins up one spot. Sometimes that happens. Miami is getting respect for losing to two of the top teams in the AFC (New England and Houston). I've covered both games, and the Dolphins certainly are not a team without talent. They're a team that can't execute and put it all together at key moments. I'm curious to see how Miami performs this week against the Cleveland Browns (1-1). For one, it's a road game. Miami usually plays with a lot of confidence away from home. Second, it's a must-win game if Miami plans to get back in the AFC East race.