AFC East: 2013 NFL Week 7 Power Rankings

A weekly examination of the Bengals' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 9 | Last Week: 8 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

A road win at Buffalo wasn't enough to push the Cincinnati Bengals up any spots in the Week 7 ESPN.com Power Rankings unveiled Tuesday afternoon. For the second straight week, they settled at No. 8.

The Bengals first reached the 8-hole after beating the New England Patriots 13-6 last week. This past weekend they edged out the Bills in overtime 27-24. Had Cincinnati closed out Buffalo in the fourth quarter like it appeared to be doing, it likely would have moved up at least one spot in the power rankings. With 10 minutes to go in regulation, the Bengals held a 14-point lead and seemed to have momentum. The Bills, directed by former practice squad quarterback Thad Lewis, though, scored twice more and knotted the game at 24 entering overtime. For now, it seems the power rankings voters aren't fully convinced the Bengals are the type of elite team they believe they are.

When Cincinnati travels to Detroit on Sunday, it has a very real opportunity to prove the voters wrong. The Lions are ranked 11th this week and hold a commanding 3-0 record at home.

Power Rankings: No. 14 Miami Dolphins

October, 15, 2013
10/15/13
2:00
PM ET
A weekly examination of the Dolphins' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 20 | Last week: 13 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

The Miami Dolphins were as high as No. 7 in ESPN.com's Power Rankings this season. However, back-to-back losses to the New Orleans Saints and Baltimore Ravens have dropped Miami closer to the middle of the pack.

The Dolphins had a bye last weekend and fell one spot. Miami (3-2) came in at No. 14 in the Power Rankings, according to ESPN.com’s voting panel.

It’s hard to argue with the results. The Dolphins had a chance to pull off two landmark wins on the road against the Saints and at home against the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens. Miami failed both times. Many are still skeptical of whether the Dolphins are pretenders or contenders, but we'll find out more about this team in the next several weeks.

The Dolphins have an easier game upcoming in Week 7 compared to their early schedule. The Dolphins will host the struggling Buffalo Bills (2-4) Sunday at Sun Life Stadium. This is a game Miami must win if the Dolphins want to be taken seriously as a contender in the AFC.

Power Rankings: No. 25 Buffalo Bills

October, 15, 2013
10/15/13
2:00
PM ET
A weekly examination of the Bills' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 30 | Last Week: 23 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

They held steady at No. 23 last week, but the Bills slid to No. 25 this week after being defeated in overtime by the Cincinnati Bengals.

It's expected, and the Bills are right where they should be. With a 2-4 record, it's hard not to place them in the bottom third of the NFL.

The voting broke down this way: four votes for No. 24, one vote for No. 25, and one vote for No. 27. However you slice it, that's the range where the Bills belong.

Buffalo faces as tough a stretch as any team in the coming weeks. The Bills travel to No. 14 Miami this weekend, then visit the No. 3 Saints, then host the No. 2 Chiefs.

Hold on, because it may be a bumpy ride.

Power Rankings: No. 5 New England

October, 15, 2013
10/15/13
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 one spot, to No. 5, after their 30-27 win over the Saints. The victory wasn't enough to leapfrog the Saints (No. 3); the top five looks this way:

1. Broncos
2. Chiefs
3. Saints
4. Seahawks
5. Patriots

Looking closer at the voters' tabulations, the Patriots had two votes for third place, two for fourth place, one for fifth place and one for sixth place. That gave the Seahawks a narrow edge over them.

Here is a big-picture thought this week as it relates to the Power Rankings: All the teams in the top tier are close enough that a matchup between them will likely come down to which club executes in the critical situations, which is reinforced by what we saw at the end of the Patriots' 30-27 win over the Saints.

From a Patriots perspective, they are riding a high in that regard.

Next up: the No. 20-ranked New York Jets.

Power Rankings: No. 20 New York Jets

October, 15, 2013
10/15/13
2:00
PM ET
A weekly examination of the Jets' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 32 | Last Week: 18 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

The Jets (3-3) dropped two spots after losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers, a rather modest dip when you consider they lost a home game to a previously winless team. Evidently, the voters don't believe the Steelers (1-4) are your typical bad team.

Except for this past Sunday, the Jets' season is playing out in alignment with the power poll. Their three wins came against teams ranked below them: the Atlanta Falcons (No. 23), Buffalo Bills (No. 25) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 30). Two losses came against opponents ranked above them: the New England Patriots (No. 5) and Tennessee Titans (No. 16).

The schedule is about to turn nasty, as the Jets face three teams in the top eight over the next three weeks: the Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals (No. 8) and New Orleans Saints (No. 3).

Good luck with that.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

AFC EAST SCOREBOARD

Sunday, 1/25