AFC East: 2013 NFL Week 2 Power Rankings

Power Rankings: No. 5 New England

September, 10, 2013
9/10/13
2:00
PM ET
A weekly examination of the Patriots’ ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 6| Last Week: 6 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

The Patriots move up a spot from sixth to fifth, while Thursday's opponent, the Jets, jumps from 32nd to 27th.

The spike for the Jets was expected after an 18-17 season-opening win over the Buccaneers, while the Patriots' slight rise probably doesn't reflect public perception here in the New England region after a too-close-for-comfort 23-21 victory over the Bills.

So looking ahead to Thursday, it's a matchup of No. 5 vs. No. 27, with the higher-ranked team at home. The Patriots are the heavy favorites and they should be.

But here is one thought that came to mind this morning: If we were putting together a power ranking of top defensive coordinators/schemes in the NFL that have given Tom Brady and Co. problems, Rex Ryan and the Jets would be near the top of my list. Ryan has thrown just about everything at Brady over the years -- sometimes rushing just two and dropping nine, other times bringing overload blitz pressure -- and the Jets have had their moments.

With injuries to top playmakers Danny Amendola (groin) and Shane Vereen (wrist) in mind, that makes this 5 versus 27 matchup a tougher challenge than the rankings might suggest.

Power Rankings: No. 17 Miami Dolphins

September, 10, 2013
9/10/13
12:30
PM ET
A weekly examination of the Dolphins' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 20 | Last Week:: 17 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

Many Miami Dolphins fans were not impressed with their team's initial showing in ESPN.com's preseason Power Rankings. After spending more than $200 million in free agency and being aggressive in the draft, Miami was still No. 20 before any games were played.

The Dolphins must earn the respect of ESPN.com’s Power Rankings panel, and Sunday was a first step in the right direction by beating the Cleveland Browns on the road 23-10. As a result, Miami moved up three spots to No. 17. Still, the Dolphins failed to get into the top half of the NFL.

Miami (1-0) has a marquee AFC battle in Week 2 against the Indianapolis Colts (1-0), who are ranked No. 12 this week. If the Dolphins can pull off a road upset against the Colts, a playoff team in 2012, they have a strong chance to shoot up the rankings next week.

Power Rankings: No. 27 New York Jets

September, 10, 2013
9/10/13
12:30
PM ET
A weekly examination of the Jets' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 32 | Last Week:: 32 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

Oh, no, what will the Jets use for motivation? They rallied around last week's dead-last ranking, using it as motivation for their Week 1 encounter with the Bucs. Yes, even NFL teams use that sort of thing to build incentive. Patriots coach Bill Belichick, an all-time great, constantly uses bulletin-board fodder.

But now, after beating the Bucs (a thank-you note to Lavonte David), the Jets moved up to No. 27. Good news for Jets fans: They'll play three teams ranked below them -- the Bills (twice), Browns and Raiders -- this season.

The "us against the world" Jets might want to be careful. If they stun the Patriots on Thursday night in Foxborough, they will climb in the rankings to the point where they'd actually be, like, respectable.

Power Rankings: No. 29 Buffalo Bills

September, 10, 2013
9/10/13
12:30
PM ET
A weekly examination of the Bills' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 30 | Last Week:: 30 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

Well, it's progress.

In a slight shuffle at the bottom of ESPN.com's weekly Power Rankings, the Bills moved up one spot to No. 29. Only the Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders, and Cleveland Browns are considered worse.

Like last week, I think the ranking is a little harsh for Buffalo. While it wasn't the Bills' most convincing performance, they nearly took down the New England Patriots, ranked No. 5 this week, on Sunday.

The two teams that finished ahead of the Bills -- the New York Jets at No. 27 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 28 -- had a tight game in Week 1. The Bills will have a chance to prove they're better than the Jets in Week 3 at the Meadowlands. I think Buffalo is the better team.

But if the Bills do want to move up, they will need to win Sunday against the Carolina Panthers, who come in at No. 24 this week.

Come out of that second home game 0-2, and the Bills deserve whatever ranking they get.

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