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Monday, January 3, 2011
Power Rankings revisited: Week 17

By Mike Sando

A weekly review of how teams performed in relation to last week’s Power Rankings (with new rankings scheduled for Tuesday):

With a league-high 14 victories and a dominant performance in Week 17, the New England Patriots left little doubt.

They'll almost surely remain the No. 1 team when ESPN.com's NFL Power Rankings come out Tuesday for the final time this season. Even the Patriots' backup quarterback, Brian Hoyer, put up a triple-digit passer rating against Miami on Sunday.

The Patriots have ranked among our top six continuously since Week 6. They've been No. 1 for the past three weeks. They're the team to beat in the playoffs, but you'll have to beat them in Foxboro -- or Dallas.

And now, a closer look at what happened in Week 17 relative to the Power Rankings from last week (the chart shows how our panelists voted last week) ...

The reckoning: Eight games featured lower-ranked teams beating higher-ranked teams. Let's take a closer look at them ... Still to play: That's it. No Monday nighter this week.

My early favorite for the No. 1 spot: New England.