ESPN's five-member panel all voted the Patriots at No. 2, one spot behind the Green Bay Packers.The Baltimore Ravens surged two spots to No. 3 and are New England's top competition in the AFC. After next week, the Patriots will have played all four of the teams currently on the back end of the Top 10 in San Diego (7), Pittsburgh (8), Oakland (9), and Buffalo (10). The following week's opponent --the New York Giants -- sit at No. 11.
Writes AFC East blogger James Walker: "The Patriots proved against Dallas that they can win ugly, too."