The New England Patriots continued their climb back up ESPN’s NFL Power Rankings with a dominating Week 5 performance.
Two weeks ago, the New England Patriots were being written off again. In the past, this was something that proved foolish. People would say the Patriots run would be coming to an end, and every time it was premature. This year, it was premature once again.
Coming off back-to-back disappointing performances against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2 and Detroit Lions in Week 3, people questioned whether the Patriots were still the class of the AFC East and AFC. Here we are two weeks later, and the answer is still a resounding yes.
In the two games since New England has rolled. They put an end to the Miami Dolphins hot start with a 38-7 throttling. This past week, on Thursday Night Football, the Patriots easily handled the Indianapolis Colts, 38-24.
New England looks to finally be figuring things out offensively. They are getting personnel back, as Julian Edelman returned from his suspension against the Colts and didn’t miss a beat. Josh Gordon is becoming more acclimated to his new team, catching his first touchdown pass, in impressive fashion, against the Colts.
In the backfield, Sony Michel and James White are combining to be a dominant duo. Michel has 210 yards in his last two games on 43 carries, averaging 4.9 yards per rush and scoring a touchdown in each game. White has been great with 18 receptions for 145 yards and two touchdowns. He has also added 44 yards on the ground and another score.
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With the offense humming, they are able to help keep pressure off of a defense still looking to gain their bearings. If they are able to perform more closely to how they did against the Dolphins, the Patriots will once again be the team everyone else in the AFC looks to catch.
With their demise predicted early once again, New England tumbled down some NFL Power Rankings. This week, after a second straight win, the arrow is point upwards once again.
The Patriots have moved up to the No. 3 spot in ESPN’s NFL Power Rankings. They are behind only the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs, who are No. 1 and No. 2 respectively.
In this week’s edition of their power rankings, ESPN broke down the remaining schedules for each team. With the quarter mark of the season already passed, people will begin taking a look at the future schedules to see if their team can make a late run.
If New England’s rest of season outlook is any indication, they will be remaining near the top of the NFL Power Rankings for the remainder of the season.
Here is what they had to say about the Patriots’ rest of season strength of schedule.
"Rest-of-season SOS ranking: 29th. The Patriots’ toughest remaining game will be in Week 15 in Pittsburgh, where FPI gives them a 45 percent chance to beat the Steelers. Tom Brady is 11-2 in his career against the Steelers, including the playoffs. That is the best record by a starting quarterback against the Steelers in the Super Bowl era (minimum 10 starts). — Matt Williams"
The perks of playing in arguably the worst division in football, New England has one of the easiest schedules remaining in the league. The Pittsburgh Steelers have had some issues of their own and given their history, that isn’t a game that New England will lack confidence going into.
An argument could be made that the Week 6 matchup with the Chiefs is actually the toughest remaining for New England. Playing that game at home at Gillette Stadium, compared to on the road at Arrowhead Stadium, is a positive for the Patriots and probably why it ranks behind the Steelers game.
The other games that were thought to be tough for New England, such as the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings, don’t look nearly as daunting now as they did a few weeks ago. Both of those games are also at home, as the schedule is greatly in favor of New England.
Going to Soldier Field in two weeks to face the upstart Chicago Bears could present another challenge for New England with their new-look defense led by Khalil Mack.
However, with five divisional games remaining, the Patriots are in good shape to keep the momentum going. It would not be shocking if they remain in the top-5 of the power rankings the remainder of the season.