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NFL power rankings: Patriots end season slotted 4th overall

An AFC East Division crown and a 12-4 overall record helped the Patriots end the regular season as SB Nation's fourth-best team.

USA TODAY Sports

SB Nation released its final NFL power rankings Tuesday, and the New England Patriots ended 2012 as the No. 4 team in the league, according to NFL Editor Joel Thorman.

On Sunday, the Patriots (12-4) polished off their regular season with a 28-0 victory over the Miami Dolphins. The record helped New England earn the AFC East Division title and first-round bye in the 2013 NFL playoffs.

Here's what Thorman had to say about the Patriots, who finished the season winning nine of their last 11 games.

4. New England Patriots (LW: 4, 12-4): The same position every year. Best offense in the NFL, 10-plus wins and a first-round bye. I'm going to copy and paste this for next season's power rankings.

Overall, the Patriots were bested by the No. 1-ranked Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks (No. 2) and Atlanta Falcons (No. 3). The Green Bay Packers rounded out the top 5.

The Patriots finished as the highest-ranked AFC East team, as the Miami Dolphins (No. 20), Buffalo Bills (No. 25) and New York Jets (No. 26) were all ranked behind them.

New England will play the highest remaining seed in the playoffs on Jan. 13 (4:30 p.m. ET on CBS).