Nov 7, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; New England Patriots tight end Hunter Henry (85) celebrates his touchdown during the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Our NFL Power Rankings voters know when a good thing’s going, and with this week’s rankings, they’ve acknowledged what Bill Belichick has been cooking up in New England.

Because the Patriots are starting to look like … the Patriots.

New England claimed its third straight win on Sunday — a 24-6 domination of the Panthers in Carolina — by using a very familiar recipe for success. The defense came up with big plays, and the quarterback executed the game plan to secure the victory.

Now, this is not to say Mac Jones is the second coming of Tom Brady. Far from it.

Jones obviously has a long way to go to establish himself as a reliable starting quarterback in the NFL. However, what can’t be denied is the gradual maturation of the rookie, the less celebrated of the five first-round QBs taken in last April’s draft. Jones is still susceptible to making mistakes (he threw his seventh interception of the season and lost a fumble on a strip sack in Sunday’s win), but he has mostly kept calm in pressure moments, especially on the road where he’s 4-0.

After the surprising decision to move on from Cam Newton, the Patriots weren’t supposed to be a threat in the AFC East. But here they are at 5-4, just a half-game behind the Bills.

Our rankings panel also made the obvious choice for No. 1 team in the land — the Cardinals, now 8-1 after thrashing the 49ers in Santa Clara without Kyler Murray. Be sure to scroll down for the new movement in The Bottom Five.

On to this week’s rankings …

The Top 10

1. Arizona Cardinals (8-1, Last week: 2): Their impressive road win over the 49ers (with backup QB Colt McCoy) boosted Kliff Kingsbury’s Coach of the Year resume.

2. Tennessee Titans (7-2, LW: 7): Their improving defense showed out Sunday against the Rams with a season-high five sacks to give them 23 — four more than last year’s total.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2, LW: 6): They return from their bye week to begin a three-game stretch against teams currently under .500 (Washington, Giants, Colts).

4. Green Bay Packers (7-2, LW: 1): The glimpse of life in the post-Aaron Rodgers world was not pretty with Jordan Love at QB.

5. Los Angeles Rams (7-2, LW: 3): Matthew Stafford gave his team and its fans Jared Goff flashbacks with two costly interceptions against Tennessee.

6. Baltimore Ravens (6-2, LW: 9): Their defense (ranked 23rd in yards allowed) isn’t what it used to be, but that’s OK — they have Lamar Jackson leading the NFL’s No. 2 offense.

7. Dallas Cowboys (6-2, LW: 4): Their inability to score a single point for three-plus quarters against the Broncos was arguably the biggest shock on a very surprising Sunday.

8. Buffalo Bills (5-3, LW: 5): The defense is Super Bowl-caliber, but does the offense have that level of consistency?

9. Los Angeles Chargers (5-3, LW: Not ranked): Justin Herbert continues to mask the mistakes of a defense still struggling under Brandon Staley.

10. New England Patriots (5-4, LW: NR): The coach is not dressed for success, but they’ve looked good during a three-game win streak.

FALLING DOWN: New Orleans Saints (5-3, LW: 8), Las Vegas Raiders (5-3, LW: 10).

The Bottom Five

The biggest news at the bottom is the Football Team’s ongoing slide. How much lower can Ron Rivera’s struggling squad go?

32. Detroit Lions (0-8, LW: 32): Even with their young and inexperienced receiving corps, Lions brass said no to claiming Odell Beckham Jr.

31. Houston Texans (1-8, LW: 31): Their season could be summed up by this Tyrod Taylor interception, one of three in Sunday’s loss to Miami.

30. Miami Dolphins (2-7, LW: 29): They beat Houston in the most turnover-filled game in more than five seasons.

29. Washington Football Team (2-6, LW: 28): Taylor Heinicke’s passer rating during WFT’s four-game losing streak — 68.0.

28t. New York Jets (2-6, LW: Not ranked): The QB who hasn’t performed well when given the chance is No. 2 pick Zach Wilson.

28t. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6, LW: 30): More than the Josh Allen Bowl victory, Urban Meyer now has a signature NFL win after beating the Bills.

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