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Patriots Power Rankings Update: Is Bill Belichick's Team The Best In The AFC?

BOSTON (CBS) -- The New England Patriots have won another football game. That's becoming a bit of a theme.

From 2-4 and looking somewhat hopeless, to 8-4 and fighting for the No. 1 seed in the conference, things have changed significantly in New England over the past six weeks.

As such, they've steadily climbed up power rankings across the internet, rising from the bottom third of the league. Here's where they stand after their Week 12 win over the Titans, who had been the top seed in the AFC prior to that loss. 5th

The Patriots moved up a spot to fifth, behind only the Chiefs (fourth) among AFC teams. That rise, though, comes with a caveat.

"The Pats have announced themselves as a player in the AFC, but a challenging three-game stretch that includes two matchups against the Bills will give us a greater understanding of where this team stands," Dan Hanzus wrote.

The Ringer: 4th

"It was striking that despite the turnover from the past few seasons, and despite taking Brady out of the equation, the Patriots just really look and feel like, well, the Patriots," Danny Kelly wrote. "They're incredibly nimble, well coached, and disciplined. They're balanced and physical. There's a whole bunch of new faces on the roster -- and by the way, they're led by a new quarterback -- but the DNA of the Patriots teams we know from the past two decades is still there. They're still annoyingly good. They still feel inevitable."

ESPN: 5th

Like, the Patriots are the second-highest AFC team, though on ESPN, it's the Ravens and not the Chiefs who sit one spot ahead of New England.

"Bill Belichick often says that no stat correlates more to winning than turnovers, so consider this: After Week 6, when the Patriots were 2-4, they were minus-3 in the turnover differential; now, they are plus-10 on the season -- the second best in the NFL," Mike Reiss wrote. "That's a good place to start when considering how the Patriots have turned their season around and why my confidence rating has gone up."

Yahoo: 5th

Fifth is a popular spot for New England. Here, they're behind the Ravens (fourth) and ahead of the Chiefs (sixth) among AFC teams.

"We find out exactly where the Patriots stand Monday when they play at Buffalo," Frank Schwab wrote. " If the Patriots win, they will exit that game as AFC East favorites and maybe favorites in the AFC period. And they have been the better team than Buffalo lately."

CBS Sports: 4th

Pete Prisco has the Patriots as the best team in the AFC, ahead of the Chiefs (fifth), Bills (sixth), and Ravens (eighth).

"It was Mac Jones, not the running game, that keyed the victory over the Titans," Prisco wrote. "That's big going forward."

Bleacher Report: 3rd

The high-water mark comes from Bleacher Report, which has the Patriots at No. 3. That's ahead of the Bucs (No. 5) and Packers (No. 4) but behind the Chiefs (No. 2) and Cardinals (No. 1).

"Calling the New England Patriots the best team in the AFC hasn't exactly been a rarity over the last two decades. But that was with Tom Brady under center, not rookie quarterback Mac Jones," the write-up said. "No one expected to be using those sorts of superlatives for this year's Patriots. And yet, here we are."

Sports Illustrated: 5th

They're behind only the Ravens (No. 4) among AFC teams here.

"A perfectly conceived team that plays to its coaching with an efficient young quarterback, an overbearing run game and a playmaking defense," Albert Breer wrote.

USA Today: 4th

The Patriots climbed up from sixth last week, leapfrogging the Chiefs to take the top spot in the AFC.

"Put [J.C. Jackson] on the short list of defensive player of the year candidates -- right on time as the pending free agent awaits a blockbuster contract," Nate Davis wrote.

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