NFL Power Rankings, Week 15: New Engand Patriots fall behind rising Chiefs

New England Patriots (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
New England Patriots (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) /

While the New England Patriots rested on a bye week, the team got to watch Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sink the Buffalo Bills further down in the AFC East and playoff picture with an overtime 33-27 victory.

With the GOAT doing his thing, the Patriots have a nice two game lead in the division as they prepare for a Week 16 battle with the Indianapolis Colts.  But, while things look good in the division, the Kansas City Chiefs are hot on their heels for that No. 1 seed in the AFC and leaped over them in the Week 15 NFL power rankings as the Pats fall to No. 5 on a bye week.

New England Patriots have a Kansas City Chiefs problem

As both teams are tied with a 9-4 record, the Chiefs, like the Patriots, have been getting it done on defense.  In their 38-9 thrashing of the Las Vegas Raiders, Patrick Mahomes and the offense looked just as dominant as their defense which went a long way in moving the Chiefs ahead of the Patriots.

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In his NFL Power Rankings, Week 15 column, Dan Hanzus lauded Bill Belichick and the Patriots defense.  So, the drop in the rankings was more about how the Chiefs looked on the field while the Pats sat at home resting.

"“ Bill Belichick was roundly lionized for his decision to put Mac Jones on ice in Orchard Park and turn to his running game in extreme weather conditions, but the Pats took out the Bills before a Week 14 bye because the defense again delivered in the clutch. New England has the NFL’s No. 1 scoring defense (allowing just 15.4 points per game) and the No. 3 total defense (310.0 yards per game allowed). The numbers are even better during the team’s seven-game winning streak: Opponents have averaged just over 10 points per game, with the Pats forcing at least one turnover in every one of those contests. Come January, Belichick might be in possession of the only defense in football that counts as a true difference-maker. This could prove to be advantageous.”"

Belichick and that Patriots’ defense is in for a big challenge against Jonathan Taylor and the Colts Saturday night in Indy.

Where the New England Patriots stand following Week 15

The New England Patriots have already exceeded expectations by being in the position they are in after they started the 2021 NFL season with a 2-4 record.

Like Aaron Rodgers once said, Patriots fans and the media only needed to R-E-L-A-X, but no one seen a seven-game winning streak coming after the team lost an overtime thriller to the Dallas Cowboys, giving up over 500 yards of offense in the process.

But, since then, Belichick has his defense playing the way Belichick defenses are known to play.  With a stout running game lead by Damien Harris and upstart rookie Rhamondre Stevenson, the Patriots have the perfect team to surround a rookie quarterback in Mac Jones who is simply doing whatever the team asks him to do.

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In landing by the Green Bay Packers (No. 1), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 2), Arizona Cardinals (No.3) and the Chiefs (No. 4), the New England Patriots are in a great spot as far as the remainder of this season goes and into the future.

Patriots fans, everything is going Belichick’s way once again.