NFL Power Rankings, Week 2: Patriots fumble away golden opportunity

Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots opening day loss to the Miami Dolphins does come with some optimism as rookie quarterback Mac Jones looked like he is ready for the pressure of the NFL.  But a loss is a loss and a couple key turner overs caused the team to slip a couple of spots in the Week 2 NFL Power Rankings.

As Damien Harris kneeled with his face in his hands after a crucial fumble deep in Dolphins’ territory, it became apparent at that moment that Bill Belichick and his team fumbled away a golden opportunity to take early command of the AFC East after the Buffalo Bills lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Jets took an L to Sam Darnold and the Carolina Panthers.

With Jones showcasing his accuracy by completing over 74 percent of his passes, the potential surrounding the Patriots and their new look offense and defense didn’t drop them too far in the rankings.  Going from No. 13 to No. 15, writer Dan Hanzus highlights the performance of Mac Jones as the bright spot of that potential:

"“Bill Belichick is notoriously fickle with his running backs, so you can only imagine the sleepless nights Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson suffered after each lost fumbles in a one-point loss to the Dolphins. Harris’ fumble, which occurred late in the fourth quarter with the Pats in field-goal range, is the type of miscue that could cost him his hard-earned bell-cow role. The biggest positive came at quarterback, where Mac Jones looked fully capable of leading Josh McDaniels’ offense going forward. The first-round pick settled into a nice groove as the game progressed and showed off impressive touch and accuracy on several throws. It will be a long week of practice for Pats players, but this team has significant potential for improvement.”"

Where the New England Patriots stand

Taking a look at the top 10 teams in the Week 2 NFL Rankings, Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers hold the No. 1 spot followed by the Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Pittsburgh Steelers, Bills, Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints to round out the top 10.

A few spots ahead of the Patriots are the Dolphins who rose a few spots after their win in Foxborough followed by the Arizona Cardinals who destroyed the Tennessee Titans behind the defensive dominance of former Patriots’ sack master Chandler Jones.

At No. 15 is where Mac Jones and the Patriots should be considering they pretty much won that game on Sunday in every way that it counted except the score board.  With a win over the Jets in Week 2, Belichick’s crew does have a chance to rise up depending on how good they look beating the AFC East Rivals.

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There are certainly a few things to work on the week leading up to the game.  Ball security and energy on defense top that list, as well as being more efficient in the red zone.

If the New England Patriots improve in those areas and Jones continues to look like an efficient, smart quarterback, the team could easily leapfrog a few of the teams ahead of them.