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

ESPN -- Rank: 18

Prediction we missed: The defense will be the strength of the team.

With a rookie quarterback in Mac Jones, the projection was that he would be more of a game manager to complement a defense and special teams that spearhead the club, somewhat similar to the early years of Tom Brady's Patriots tenure. But the defense and special teams have been up-and-down, especially in the clutch. The secondary currently looks undermanned, especially after trading recovering CB Stephon Gilmore to the Panthers. -- Mike Reiss

NFL.com -- Rank: 18

He'll never acknowledge it publicly, but nothing brings Bill Belichick more pure joy than embarrassing the New York Jets. His Patriots did it again on Sunday, pouring it on Robert Saleh's team in a 54-13 win that ended a four-game losing streak at Gillette Stadium. Led by the already ever-steady Mac Jones, the Patriots scored on nine of their 10 possessions, not counting kneel-downs. "We finally kind of saw a little bit of a result that was good, and we've just got to stick to the formula and stick to the process," said Jones, now a fully programmed and operational soldier of Patriot Way.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 18

It's too bad they can't play the Jets every week. They own them and they usually make them look like a playoff team. It's a big step up in competition this week with a road trip to play the Chargers.

USA Today -- Rank: 21

Before you get overly excited about their 41-point shellacking of the Jets, understand New England is the first team in the Super Bowl era to notch its first three wins against rookie QBs. If the pattern holds, the Pats' next victory will come in Week 17 against Trevor Lawrence's Jags.

The Athletic -- Rank: 18

Trick or treat: The Patriots have monster games vs. the Jets. Against anyone else, well, that's a work in progress. The Patriots were close to beating both the Buccaneers and the Cowboys, and the offense has shown natural and understandable growth over the last month as rookie Mac Jones has gained experience. It's hard to imagine the Patriots actually unseating the Bills in the AFC East, but the teams don't play until December. If the New England arrow keeps pointing up, perhaps things will get interesting.

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