Power Rankings: Patriots still not No. 1?

December, 7, 2010
12/07/10
2:07
PM ET
The New England Patriots couldn't have done much more to separate themselves from the rest of the AFC East, pulverizing the New York Jets 45-3 on Monday night.

"We were trying everything," Jets head coach Rex Ryan said. "I mean, shoot, they got the job done. ... We'll fight another day. As bad as this game is, it counts for one loss. It may feel like three losses, but it counts as one loss."

In the process of slapping the Jets like an annoying mosquito, you'd think the Patriots would move up from No. 2 and take over the top spot in this week's ESPN.com Power Rankings.

That didn't happen, strangely enough. Don't blame me. I'm just the messenger.

The Patriots' victory also made the AFC East look that much less competitive as we enter the second round of intra-divisional games over the remaining few weeks. The AFC East had the conference's top two teams in last week's poll, but now the AFC North has two of the top three.

The Patriots were the only AFC East club that didn't suffer a demoralizing loss in Week 13. The Miami Dolphins lost a groaner at home, while the Buffalo Bills were thumped for the first time in a long while.

ESPN.com's Power Rankings staff is senior writer John Clayton, AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky, AFC North blogger James Walker and NFC West blogger Mike Sando.

2. New England Patriots

Previous rank: 2

My take: The Patriots technically didn't move up, but they did gain ground on the top spot. They generated the same score as the No. 1 Atlanta Falcons, but were edged out on the fourth tiebreaker (previous week's ranking). The Patriots, to me, must be considered the NFL's best team. They have the league's best record and utterly annihilated the team that was ranked third a week ago. The Falcons beat the 13th team by four points.

6. New York Jets

Previous rank: 3

My take: I'm unsure how the Jets can be rated in the top 10 after what we saw Monday night. They were blown out by 42 points and weren't in the game after the national anthem. The Jets own one victory over a team with a winning record. That was the Patriots more than two months ago. Aside from that triumph, the Jets have been outscored 64-12 against teams with winning records. They were shut out at home by the Green Bay Packers, this week's No. 7 team.

18. Miami Dolphins

Previous rank: 15

My take: Commensurate with their performances, the Dolphins have fluctuated wildly in the Power Rankings each week. They climbed four spots last week. They dropped three spots this week, same as the Jets. Only the Washington Redskins fell farther down the ladder. Clayton ranked them 14th, while Sando pegged them for 23rd, the largest discrepancy between two voters for any team. But the system works here because 18th is proper.

27. Buffalo Bills

Previous rank: 27

My take: For the first time in four weeks, the Bills didn't move up the chart, but they didn't slip either despite a lopsided loss to the Minnesota Vikings. If the Bills can navigate their mounting injury list, then they'll have a decent chance to improve their standing again versus the No. 21 Cleveland Browns.

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