Tuesday, December 27, 2011
NFL Power Rankings: AFC East
By James Walker
The NFL regular season is wrapping up soon. Here is how the AFC East fared in ESPN.com's Power Rankings:
New England Patriots (12-3)
Results: W, 27-24 against Dolphins
Power Ranking: No. 4 (same)
Walker's ranking: No. 3 (same)
Analysis: A come-from-behind win over the Dolphins didn't do anything for New England's power ranking. The Patriots stayed the same after overcoming a 17-point halftime deficit to improve to 12-3. The NFL has a bevy of strong teams at the top, and the Patriots may have to settle for the No. 4 spot the rest of the regular season. More importantly, New England just has to win its final game against Buffalo to secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
New York Jets (8-7)
Results: L, 29-14 against New York Giants
Power Ranking: No. 16 (down four spots)
Walker's ranking: No. 16 (down two spots)
Analysis: The Jets were one of the biggest flops this week. The Jets dropped four spots to No. 16, and it was deserved after losing by 15 points to the Giants. Simply put, the Jets are a mediocre team. On paper, this group should be much better. The Jets have 11-win talent. But the Jets have zero consistency and now could end the year with a .500 record if they can't beat Dolphins on Sunday.
Miami Dolphins (5-10)
Results: L, 27-24 against Patriots
Power Ranking: No. 24 (down one spot)
Walker’s ranking: No. 23 (down one spot)
Analysis: Miami only dropped one spot after a respectable loss to the Patriots. The Dolphins probably could have beat most teams last week with a 17-point lead. But Patriots quarterback Tom Brady wouldn't allow New England to fold. The Dolphins are 5-3 in their last eight games. They're probably better than several teams rated ahead of them, but the 0-7 start will keep Miami in the 20s.
Buffalo Bills (6-9)
Results: W, 40-14 against Denver Broncos
Power Ranking: No. 25 (up one spot)
Walker’s ranking: No. 24 (up two spots)
Analysis: Buffalo finally broke its seven-game losing streak and upended the Broncos. It was one of the Bills' most impressive victories of the season, despite the game being meaningless. The Bills couldn't handle injuries or increased expectations after getting off to the fast start. The biggest bright spot is former first-round draft pick C.J. Spiller is proving that he can be a featured running back in the NFL. Buffalo is expected to drop this week's game at New England and finish with another double-digit losing season.