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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 16 roundup for the Patriots in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 5

How hot is Bill Belichick's seat: 1. Cold seat

Prior to the Week 15 loss at Indianapolis, Belichick was a leading candidate for NFL Coach of the Year honors as a result of having the Patriots among AFC playoff contenders in a season with rookie quarterback Mac Jones leading the way. Few saw that coming. A major offseason overhaul with a huge free-agent spending spree has sparked the turnaround, and as a result, Belichick's job is as secure as it's ever been in his 22nd season. -- Mike Reiss

NFL.com -- Rank: 7

The seven-game winning streak is a memory after multiple uncharacteristic mistakes and breakdowns in fundamentals led to a 27-17 loss to the Colts on Saturday night. The defense failed to capitalize on turnover opportunities, the punt unit gave up a block and a touchdown and Mac Jones threw two interceptions, including one in the red zone. It was ugly, but there's something to say about the fourth-quarter reboot that produced 17 points and put a serious scare into the home team. Jones made several money throws in the final 15 minutes, and the defense took over the game ... until Jonathan Taylor bailed out Indy with a breakaway TD to clinch it. The AFC East lead will be up for grabs on Sunday against the Bills.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 6

They rallied to make it interesting at Indianapolis. They now essentially play for the AFC East crown against Buffalo.

USA Today -- Rank: 7

It must be the Holidays when Bill Belichick is apologizing to the media for curt answers to postgame questions. But maybe QB Mac Jones and Co. owe BB a mea culpa after Saturday's setback, when Jones looked every bit a rookie.

The Athletic -- Rank: 6

Our gift to you: A beneficial learning experience for Mac Jones. The rookie quarterback threw two costly interceptions to the Colts, the first loss for New England since a narrow Oct. 29 defeat at the hands of the Cowboys. New England has to hope that playoff-type atmosphere will actually benefit Jones should the Patriots end up in the postseason next month. So much about evaluating a young quarterback's potential in the NFL comes down to assessing how he handles adversity. In that regard, Jones is facing the biggest test of his young career when the Patriots host the Bills on Sunday with the AFC East lead on the line.

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