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2021 NFL Power Rankings: New England Patriots

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the New England Patriots rank in terms of average, best and worst:

Below you will find a Week 1 roundup for the Patriots in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 17

Person on the hot seat: QB Cam Newton

Since the Patriots selected Mac Jones No. 15 overall, it has been more a matter of when rather than if Jones becomes the starting QB. If Newton can turn a full offseason in the Patriots' system into better on-field results during the regular season, he could hold off the passing of the torch until 2022. The pressure is on. -- Mike Reiss

NFL.com -- Rank: 13

Mac Jones delivered a fine training camp and preseason, and he was rewarded with the No. 1 job in a quarterbacks room that became less crowded with the stunning release of erstwhile starter Cam Newton. It's a showing of supreme confidence by Bill Belichick, who has a win-now roster he feels can be led by a 23-year-old passer straight out of college. It's not unfair to question why Belichick chose to leave himself so vulnerable in the event Jones underperforms or gets injured, but the answer might be more about the big picture for the Patriots. Belichick seems to see Jones as New England's true successor to Tom Brady: Give the kid a clear runway and let him develop without any unnecessary distractions.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 11

Mac Jones will be a rookie starter, which can be challenging - no matter how good he looked in the preseason. Bill Belichick again has the talent to get this team back into the postseason.

USA Today -- Rank: 13

Questions on both sides of ball with rookie QB Mac Jones in and 2019 defensive player of the year Stephon Gilmore out (for now). But reloaded Pats appear ready to contend anew.

The Athletic -- Rank: 18

Why they're ranked here: Our panelists submitted their ballots after Mac Jones was named the Patriots' starting quarterback and the result was … no movement from before training camp. Bill Belichick might have decided Jones was a better fit for what the Patriots want to do now, but our voters aren't yet convinced. No. 18 says: Good team, not terrible; playoff potential, but only if everything goes right.

One big question: Was this the right quarterback decision? By all accounts, Jones earned this job over Cam Newton. He played better in training camp and preseason games and took advantage of his opportunities when he got them. But now that he's the starter, what will the Patriots' offense look like, and will Jones be able to thrive?

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