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Tuesday, November 16, 2010
AFC East the Power Rankings authority

By Tim Graham

The AFC East continues to assert itself as the league's best division.

All four clubs won Sunday and improved in this week's edition of ESPN.com's Power Rankings.

The New England Patriots and New York Jets are among the top three teams in the NFL, while the Miami Dolphins crept above the median. The Buffalo Bills can't be called the worst anymore.

The AFC East has the highest average ranking at 12.6, two full spots higher than the AFC North.

ESPN.com's Power Ranking consortium includes 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: 6

My take: They shot up four spots with their compelling performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who were second in last week's poll. As I mentioned Monday, you could argue the Patriots deserved to be rated first because they won so impressively at Heinz Field, but I agree the Atlanta Falcons deserve the top spot. The Falcons were third last week and knocked off the No. 1 Baltimore Ravens.

3. New York Jets

Previous Rank: 5

My take: The Jets outlasted a spirited Cleveland Browns squad in overtime, becoming the first team in NFL history to win back-to-back road games in sudden death. The Jets have found ways to win, but they've come dangerously close to losing a few more. They've beaten the No. 2 team in this week's poll, but their next-best victories are over the No. 14 Dolphins and No. 22 Browns. The Jets have lost to Nos. 4 and 7.

14. Miami Dolphins

Previous Rank: 17

My take: The Dolphins finally scored a home victory, beating the Tennessee Titans to remain above .500. But I disagree with the concept of the Dolphins rising three spots. They're down to third-string quarterback Tyler Thigpen. They're a worse team now than they were at this point last week and their outlook is dimmer.

30. Buffalo Bills

Previous Rank: 32

My take: At last, the Bills notched a victory. They'd shown some fight in previous weeks, but as long as they remained winless they had little foundation to argue they weren't the worst team in the NFL. They beat the lowly Detroit Lions, but it was a major step toward restoring dignity.