NFL Power Rankings, Week 3: Patriots stand pat, but optimism rising

Linebacker Dont'a Hightower #54 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Linebacker Dont'a Hightower #54 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots are coming off a Week 2 victory over the New York Jets but remains at No. 15 in’s Week 3 power rankings.

Despite the margin of victory against the Jets, the Patriots still have a lot to work on in the coming weeks.  Yes, they picked off Zach Wilson four times and allowed just 6 points, but the run defense still has some holes as the Jets rushed for 112 yards between Michael Carter and Ty Johnson.

Offensively, the Patriots did more of the same with rushing the ball and Mac Jones keeping it safe with short passes, but offensive line problems loomed large in this one as the rookie quarterback was once again abused taking a couple sacks in the game.

Overall, a better showing than against the Miami Dolphins in Week 1, but obviously there is room for improvement and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is looking at this win as something to build off:

With the next two weeks being a huge test for the team as they prepare to take on the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in back-to-back weeks, there is some steady optimism regarding Jones and the direction of the Patriots.’s Dan Hanzus highlights that in his weekly NFL Power Rankings:

"“Zach Wilson has become the latest highly touted Jets quarterback prospect to burn up spectacularly in the presence of Bill Belichick. New England intercepted Wilson four times on Sunday, dominating the rookie in a 25-6 win at the Meadowlands. While Wilson imploded, Mac Jones delivered another steady effort that should have the Patriots feeling extremely optimistic about their rookie passer. Jones wasn’t electric, but he led the offense with confidence and showed poise that clearly eluded the QB taken 13 picks ahead of him on the other side of the field. If this is Jones’ floor, the Pats are set up very well for the future.”"

Where the New England Patriots stand after Week 2

The New England Patriots could be on the brink of breaking into the top 10 had they defeated the Miami Dolphins a week ago, but that loss glares even more after the No. 5 ranked Buffalo Bills destroyed the Phins 35-0 on Sunday.

With the Buccaneers, Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Rams, Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals rounding out the top 10 in the Week 3 NFL Power Rankings, the Patriots will have to beat the Saints and upset Tom Brady and the Buccaneers to pave their way back into the top 10, but where they are currently ranked is ok for a team growing with a rookie quarterback and several new players in key positions.

It will be a work in progress for Bill Belichick, but each week the team will continue to improve on both sides of the ball.  Some key areas to watch is the front seven defensively.  Matt Judon has already proved to be a beast, but they must get more aggressive and physical in the run game.  That physicality will be challenge in the upcoming battles with the Saints and Buccaneers.

Offensively, they must get the tight end duo of Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry going in this offense.  There have been tiny glimpses the first two weeks, but neither tight end has been the threat they paid all that money for.  Once they get going, it should open things for Jakobi Meyers, Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne.

There must also be an emphasis on the offensive live.  More time for Mac Jones will allow for him to push the ball down the field more, something he really has yet to do.

Next. New England Patriots: 5 observations from soaring victory over NY Jets. dark

Overall, no problem with the No. 15 ranking with the Los Angeles Chargers one spot ahead and the Tennessee Titans one slot behind.  Hopefully, the team continues making progress and does not take a step back in Week 3 against the Saints.