Thursday, December 16, 2021

New England Patriots Week 15 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the New England Patriots rank in terms of average, best and worst:

  • Average ranking: 4.2 (5th)
  • Best ranking: 3 (Multiple)
  • Worst ranking: 5 (Multiple)

Below you will find a Week 15 roundup for the Patriots in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 5

Bill Belichick often talks about playing complementary football, with the three phases of the game weaved together to help produce wins. The FPI numbers show how the Patriots have mostly done that, with strong defense and special teams aiding an offense that has brought rookie quarterback Mac Jones along masterfully as he learns on the job. -- Mike Reiss -- Rank: 5

Bill Belichick was roundly lionized for his decision to put Mac Jones on ice in Orchard Park and turn to his running game in extreme weather conditions, but the Pats took out the Bills before a Week 14 bye because the defense again delivered in the clutch. New England has the NFL's No. 1 scoring defense (allowing just 15.4 points per game) and the No. 3 total defense (310.0 yards per game allowed). The numbers are even better during the team's seven-game winning streak: Opponents have averaged just over 10 points per game, with the Pats forcing at least one turnover in every one of those contests. Come January, Belichick might be in possession of the only defense in football that counts as a true difference-maker. This could prove to be advantageous.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 3

They come off their bye as the top seed in the AFC facing a tough road game at Indianapolis against the Colts. Bill Belichick for NFL Coach of the Year.

USA Today -- Rank: 3

The last time they lost to Indianapolis was 2009, when Bill Belichick's failed gamble on fourth-and-2 led to Peyton Manning's game-winning TD. Sunday, New England will try to run its streak over the Horseshoes to nine in its first encounter with the Jonathan Taylor-Carson Wentz tandem.

The Athletic -- Rank: 5

Worst-case scenario: Their two-game lead in the AFC East standings fades over the next two weeks and Mac Jones' postseason career begins on the road, in the wild-card round, instead of at home as the No. 1 seed coming off a bye. Buffalo trails the Patriots by two games and appears to be in a bit of a tailspin, but the Bills get the struggling Panthers at home in Week 15. The Patriots, meanwhile, travel to Indianapolis to play the Colts, who are currently the AFC's No. 6 seed. A Bills win and Patriots loss would set up a pivotal Buffalo-New England game in Foxboro in Week 16. Both teams are 3-1 within their division.

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