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Patriots No. 9 In WEEI NFL Power Rankings

NFL Power Rankings are starting to be released with the beginning of training camp quickly approaching, and there is an emerging trend regarding the AFC East. On Monday, Bob Neumeier on WEEI predicted the Patriots to finish third in the Division. And now, the first WEEI NFL Power Rankings have the Patriots ranked ninth and the Jets seventh.

The key to the Patriots success in 2010 will be whether the defense has improved since 2009. Rushing the passer will be essential for New England to be successful this year. It will be interesting to see if rookies Jermaine Cunningham and Brandon Spikes will be able to make valuable contributions to the front seven.

WEEI has the Saints on top, followed by the Colts, Ravens and Packers.

Ahead of New England is the Cowboys, Vikings, Jets and Chargers.

The Patriots have many question marks on both sides of the ball, likely resulting in their placement at the bottom of the top-10. They will probably rely on many young players on defense. On offense, until Wes Welker returns, there will be uncertainty with that side of the ball.

However, I am banking on two men. They are Belichick and Brady. I have confidence that Bill Belichick will put the Pats in position to win every week. And Tom Brady should be fully recovered from his injuries. I expect him to have an MVP type season

Maybe it's a good thing that the Pats are being overlooked by many pundits. Every time the experts have gone against them, the Patriots have proved them wrong in the Belichick era. They still should be considered a top-five team in the NFL.