Where are the New England Patriots in this week’s ESPN NFL Power Rankings?
The New England Patriots are on fire. They are one of the hottest teams in the NFL, as they are riding a five-game winning streak. Only the Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints, both riding seven-game winning streaks, have longer ones. The Minnesota Vikings also are on a five-game winning streak.
New England headed into their bye in Week 9 on a hot streak and was facing a stiff test off their bye in Week 10. A visit to the Denver Broncos was on deck, which is sometimes problematic for the Patriots. The Broncos are the only team with a winning record against Tom Brady.
History did not repeat itself in Week 10, as the Patriots picked up right where they left off heading into the bye. New England rolled the reeling Broncos, 41-16. They won every facet of the game, as the once-vaunted Broncos defense was picked apart for a second consecutive week. In their last two games, the Broncos have surrendered 91 points!
While the Broncs defense is regressing, the Patriots defense is progressing. After some major struggles the first six weeks of the season, New England is picking things up on that side of the ball.
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Despite some major injuries, Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia are making things work. The secondary received a boost this week with Stephon Gilmore returning to the lineup. Kyle Van Noy continues to perform at a Pro Bowl level, helping to replace the hole left by the injuries to Dont’a Hightower and Shea McClellin.
Special teams are where the Patriots really outplayed Denver. The Broncos defense held the Patriots on their first possession of the game, but it was extended when Isaiah McKenzie fumbled the punt. Brady would make them pay, throwing a touchdown to Rex Burkhead a few plays later.
The Broncos would respond on their drive, getting a field goal. However, their special teams once again let them down. On the ensuing kickoff, Dion Lewis went 103-yards for a kickoff return touchdown.
It was a dominating performance from New England, who are tied atop the AFC with the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, it was not enough to move the Patriots up ESPN’s NFL Power Rankings.
New England came into the week as the No. 2 team in the rankings, and that is how they left it. The Patriots remained in the No. 2 spot in Week 11 of the rankings, trailing only the Eagles.
Here is what ESPN had to say about the Patriots landing in the No. 2 spot for a third consecutive week.
"The Patriots just started a stretch of five road games in six weeks and are still projected to win 12.1 games. They’ve allowed 13.4 points per game during their five-game win streak, the third-lowest average in the NFL in that span."
The 12.1 projected wins are the second most in the league, trailing only the Eagles, who are projected at 12.4. Also pointed out is that the Patriots defense has really stepped things up.
When you are giving up only 13.4 points per game, it takes a lot of pressure off the offense, which was relied upon to put up big numbers the first six games of the season as the defense looked to figure things out.
The Patriots will look to keep their winning streak going in Week 12 when they travel to Mexico City to take on the Oakland Raiders.