Dec 15, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) takes the field before a game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Power Rankings countdown: 4. New England Patriots

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2014 NFL Power Rankings Countdown

4.  New England Patriots (AFC East)

2013 Record:  12-4

Head coach:  Bill Belechick - No, the Patriots haven’t won a Super Bowl in nine years, but the fact that Bill Belichick has had 13 straight winning seasons is absolutely amazing.  And the Patriots will no doubt have a 14th straight as they are still the class of the AFC East, and they have made upgrades to their team that more than likely make them even better than they were last season.

Best offensive player:  Tom Brady, quarterback - Brady had a bit of a down season in 2013, as he struggled getting in sync with new receivers, and the loss of Wes Welker didn’t help matters any.  However, Brady still managed to have a pretty decent season, and with more time to work with his young receivers, the passing game should improve in 2014 as well.   NFL Power Rankings

Best defensive player:  Darrelle Revis, cornerback - Revis came off of a serious knee injury to have a solid season for the Tampa Buccaneers last season.  However, his time in Tampa didn’t work out as he clashed coach Greg Schiano and his performance didn’t really match with what the Bucs were paying him.  But now that Revis is working with a great defensive mind like Bill Belichick he may be in store for a very good season, and get back to the form that made him the best cover corner in the NFL.

Rising Star:  Chandler Jones, defensive end - Jones emerged in his second season as the top pass rusher for the Patriots and he led the team with 11.5 sacks.  With better coverage in the secondary from Revis and Brandon Browner, Jones may be able to increase his sack total from last season.

Best new addition:  Darrelle Revis, cornerback - The Patriots lost their top corner from last season Aqib Talib in free agency,  However, they didn’t really have a drop off as they were able to acquire Revis after he was released by the Buccaneers.  And if Revis can return to the form he had a few seasons ago with the Jets the Patriots defense will be that much better for it.       NFL Power Rankings

Biggest offseason loss: LeGarrette Blount, running back - Blount was second on the Patriots in rushing with 772 yards rushing and he averaged 5 yards per carry on the season.  The Patriots have other running backs they can turn to like Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen, but Blount come on strong last season for the Patriots and helped light a spark in their offense with his power running, and that might be a trait the Patriots will miss this season.

Biggest strength:  The Patriots biggest strength is Tom Brady. I’ve always said that as long as the Patriots have Tom Brady they will be a threat to win the Super Bowl.  And that still remains true.  Brady is still one of the top quarterbacks in the league and even though the Patriots weren’t very good in certain aspects of the game last season, Brady kept them in the fight.          NFL Power Rankings

Biggest weakness:  The Patriots biggest weakness is their rushing defense. The patriots have made some obvious improvements in their defensive secondary, but it remains to be seen if their run defense will be significantly better.  Middle linebacker Jerod Mayo staying healthy for the whole season might help but we’ll have to see.

32. Houston Texans

31. Cleveland Browns

30.  Minnesota Vikings

29. Jacksonville Jaguars

28.  Oakland Raiders

27.  Washington Redskins

26.  Atlanta Falcons

25.  Buffalo Bills

24.  Tennessee Titans

23.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers

22.  Detroit Lions

21.  Miami Dolphins

20.  St. Louis Rams

19.  New York Jets

18.  Dallas Cowboys

17.  New York Giants

16.  Pittsburgh Steelers

15.  Philadelphia Eagles

14.  Chicago Bears

13.  Baltimore Ravens

12.  Cincinnati Bengals

11.  Arizona Cardinals

10.  Carolina Panthers

9.  Green Bay Packers

8.  Kansas City Chiefs

7.  San Diego Chargers

6.  Indianapolis Colts

5.  New Orleans Saints

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Tags: 2014 NFL Power Rankings Bill Belichick Darrelle Revis NFL Power Rankings Tom Brady Washington Redskins

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