AFC East: 2010 Week 17 Power Rankings

NFL Power Rankings: AFC East

December, 27, 2011
12/27/11
2:00
PM ET
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.

AFC East loses Power Rankings supremacy

December, 29, 2010
12/29/10
2:10
PM ET
The NFC South has knocked the AFC East out of the divisional top spot in this week's installment of ESPN.com's Power Rankings.

The AFC East had a rough Week 16. Only one team won, and that was a division-on-division battery, causing the average poll position to drop and opening the door for the dynamic NFC South to regain supremacy entering the last weekend.

The New England Patriots crushed the Buffalo Bills but couldn't move up in the poll because they already were No. 1. The New York Jets and Miami Dolphins lost nonconference games.

The new divisional Power Rankings:
  1. NFC South
  2. AFC East
  3. NFC North
  4. AFC North
  5. NFC East
  6. AFC South
  7. AFC West
  8. NFC West

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

1. New England Patriots

Previous rank: 1

My take: No reason to debate this one. They own the NFL's best record, were No. 1 last week and dominated the otherwise plucky Bills in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

8. New York Jets

Previous rank: 5

My take: The Jets fell three spots without much quarrel from me. They were passed in the poll by the New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears, the team that beat them Sunday. The Jets are limping into the playoffs with three losses in their past four games.

18. Miami Dolphins

Previous rank: 17

My take: With the way the Dolphins have floundered, No. 18 seems generous. They finished their home schedule at 1-7. The last three home losses were to the No. 25 Cleveland Browns, No. 28 Bills and No. 24 Detroit Lions.

28. Buffalo Bills

Previous rank: 27

My take: The Bills had been gaining momentum for their first full offseason under the current front office. They'd won four out of six games, with one of the defeats against the Steelers in overtime. Then they walked into a Patriots buzz saw Sunday. I still think the Bills deserve to be higher than 27, though. They've beaten Nos. 18, 24 and 25.

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