The panel of so-called analysts at NFL Network seem to believe the Patriots #7 ranking is accurate, but most fans view it as an extreme lack of respect. The Patriots are ranked fairly behind super bowl champion Seattle Seahawks rightfully so, and behind their biggest AFC competition in the Denver Broncos, also super bowl runners up. The Pats should be ranked #3 on NFL Network power rankings.The Patriots power rankings before the NFL draft from this past weekend were at #4.
The issue with the NFL Network ranking is the fact that the Pats are below the lowly 8-8 Baltimore Ravens, who imploded last season, the pathetic 8-7-1 one-and-done Green Bay Packers, Saints, and San Francisco 49ers, who have not done anything significant during the free agency period or last weeks NFL Draft.
Although the Denver Broncos have made huge steps towards making their team better, the Patriots should receive more credit for doing the most with less. If Tom Brady and Peyton Manning switched teams for the 2013 season, Tom Brady probably would’ve had a better chance to defeat the Seattle Seahawks in Super bowl 48, while Manning would’ve missed the playoffs.
The Bronco’s lost super bowl 48 by 35 points, forcing them to re-evaluate their team and focus on a defense first mentality.
The Broncos’ defense is now filled with several talented, polarizing veterans on both sides of the ball, including ‘lockdown corner back’ Aqib Talib who signed a five year, 50 million dollar deal, veteran pass rusher Demarcus Ware who terrorized Eli Manning for the past ten years while in the NFC East, T.J. Ward, the hard hitting safety who intentionally hit Rob Gronkowski and tore his ACL forcing him to miss the remainder of the 2013 season. Broncos also parted ways with receiver Erik Decker and signed former Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders.
With the Patriots and Broncos set to face off on November 1st, 2014 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, the two rivals will likely be playing for the top seed and home-field advantage in the playoffs for next season.
The Patriots will be getting back a healthy Jerod Mayo, Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, Sebastian Vollmer, Rob Gronkowski, and Danny Amendola back from injury with an increased sense of urgency. The Patriots have amazing value after surviving through one of the toughest seasons during coach Bill Belichick’s 15-year tenure in Foxboro, losing several key starters on offense and defense and still leading the Pats to the AFC title game.
The Patriots realize that they have a greater chance of winning a super bowl this season after signing Darrelle Revis to a two-year contract along with, Brandon Browner, safety Patrick Chung, veteran pass rusher Will Smith, receiver Brandon Lafell and linebacker Josh Hull during free agency this year. The team is loaded on defense and looking forward to a better bounce back year for the offense, as Tom Brady enters the final chapter of his glory years. Rookies Kembrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson are likely to improve during their sophomore season and likely will form a popular receiving duo if they are healthy, consistent, and effective this upcoming season. Receiver Danny Amendola who totaled 53 receptions and just two touchdowns last season is likely to have a great bounce back year as well, working to prove his value with a full, healthy, and effective season remains high on his list of priorities. The oft injured receiver has never played a full 16 games during his five year career in the NFL and he needs to focus on staying healthy to help the team in the long run.