Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Dolphins take a Power Rankings plunge
By Tim Graham
Three AFC East teams were triumphant in Week 11, but only one of them moved up in this installment of ESPN.com's Power Rankings.
The New England Patriots held steady at No. 2 because last week's leaders, the Atlanta Falcons, also won.
The New York Jets slipped one spot despite their harrowing victory over the Houston Texans. The Miami Dolphins plummeted more than any other team.
So for the first time all season, the Buffalo Bills were the lone AFC East team to gain ground in the Power Rankings.
How about that?
ESPN.com's Power Rankings pundits include 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 look like a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Their offense has remained potent and diverse, while their young defense continues to mature every week. The Patriots' defense looked a little lost for much of the second half Sunday, letting the Indianapolis Colts get back into the game. But the Patriots sealed a mammoth victory in the fleeting seconds by picking off Peyton Manning for a third time.
4. New York Jets
Previous rank: 3
My take: The Jets mean different things to different voters. Kuharsky had them ranked first on his ballot. Walker had them ranked eighth. I don't agree with either of them, but I lean more Kuharsky's way. What the Jets did could be dismissed as luck if it happened once or twice, but not this many times. They are an elite team with enough playmakers to bail them out. And the Jets are the only team still undefeated on the road.
19. Miami Dolphins
Previous rank: 14
My take: No team dropped farther in the Power Rankings. Given all of their injuries and the fact they were down to their third-string quarterback, the Dolphins were rated too highly last week. They were shut out at home by the Chicago Bears, sending the Dolphins five spots back down the ladder and closer to the bottom third of the order.
28. Buffalo Bills
Previous rank: 30
My take: The Bills are proving they're not the NFL's worst team. A two-point victory over the Detroit Lions was nice, but to score 35 straight points in the second half to win on the road was a compelling statement. After nearly two months rated at rock bottom, the Bills moved up two spots for the second straight week. They leapfrogged the Cincinnati Bengals and Arizona Cardinals and look like they could pull past the No. 27 Denver Broncos and No. 26 San Francisco 49ers soon enough.