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2021 NFL Power Rankings: New England Patriots

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:

Below you will find a Week 14 roundup for the Patriots in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 4

Player who must step up: TE Jonnu Smith

Entering Monday night's game against the Bills, the big-money free-agent signing had totaled 25 catches for 259 yards and one touchdown. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has referred to this as a foundational year for Smith and all newcomers. At the same time, when the team signed Smith to a four-year, $50 million contract in free agency -- with $31.25 million guaranteed -- it created a level of expectation that Smith is still striving to reach. -- Mike Reiss

NFL.com -- Rank: 4

The man's rare sideline smile told the story: This was the kind of night that keeps Bill Belichick in the game. With frigid cold and gusting winds, Belichick took the ball out of his quarterback's hands (three pass attempts for Mac Jones) and won with a pounding run attack and a defense that bent but did not break. The 14-10 victory over the Bills pushed the Pats' winning streak to seven games and gave them sole possession of the No. 1 seed in the AFC with five weeks in the regular season. Tom Brady might be gone, but the Pats' continued ability to win contests like this goes right back to the legend in the hoodie on the sideline.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 4

Don't look now, but they are the top seed in the AFC. What a great coaching job this year by Bill Belichick.

USA Today -- Rank: 4

With three throws in victory Monday night, rookie QB Mac Jones became the ultimate game manager! Enjoy a week at the beach, Mac, and a nice domed stadium (Indianapolis) after your break.

The Athletic -- Rank: 4

Best-case scenario: The Patriots are already living their best-case scenario. They head into their bye week on a seven-game winning streak and in first place in both the AFC East and the conference standings. Meager passing numbers in Monday's win over Buffalo aside, Mac Jones' rookie season has been a success and Bill Belichick should win the NFL's Coach of the Year award. The Patriots will be back in prime time in Week 15, and while we know their pass defense is good, the game against the Colts will be a chance to show whether they can stop the run, too.

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