COMMENTARY | At 7-2, the New England Patriots will enter their bye week on a high note. While the Pittsburgh Steelers aren't the team they used to be, the Patriots still enjoyed a quality win where their offense looked explosive.
Where exactly do they sit in the NFL power rankings? According to Shutdown Corner, the Patriots land at number seven. Is this too high, too low, or just right?
For comparison purposes, let's look at the three teams directly above and below them.
After looking at this, the immediate reaction has to be the three teams that sit below the Patriots. The Bengals are fine, but what about the Panthers and Packers? The Panthers are extremely unproven, and the Packers just lost Aaron Rodgers to injury. Oh, not to mention, the Packers had their fair share of injury concerns even before Rodgers went down. I understand that they're the Packers, but still. All aboard the Seneca Wallace train!
Looking up, it's looks as if the NFL is pretty top heavy. The only undefeated team remaining in the NFL sits at number six, just one spot ahead of the Patriots. At number four sits the New Orleans Saints, who have looked revitalized with Sean Payton back in the mix. Don't forget, the Patriots beat the Saints just a few weeks ago. Just saying.
Injury problems on the defensive side of the ball surely aren't helping New England's cause. Aqib Talib, who has been just as good as any cornerback in the league this season, hasn't played in recent weeks. Without Talib, it's tough to believe a ton in the New England defense. The continued absence of Jerod Mayo and Vince Wilfork is surely a factor in keeping the Patriots this low.
However, it appears as if the New England offense might be taking form. Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski are healthy, for now, making Tom Brady a happy man. The rest of the receivers are good enough to play a secondary role when Amendola and Gronk are in the game. Bill Belichick still has three very capable running backs at his disposal, and will gain another good one when Shane Vereen returns from injury.
It'd be tough to put the Patriots, who have had their fair share of struggles above the undefeated Chiefs. Could you make a case that they should be higher than someone like the Saints? Sure, if you wanted to. What's clear is that, at the moment, the Patriots are clearly better than the three teams below them.
Number seven seems about right. However, as the offense improves and Aqib Talib gets back on the field, look for the Patriots to make moves up the list.
Mark lives in the Boston area and has been covering New England sports for various blogs over the past 4 years. He has been featured on Fox Sports Yardbarker, Fox Sports, and Sports Illustrated "Hot Clicks", and has been published on Celtics 24/7, Bleacher Report, and Sports-Kings.
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