Patriots pegged at 5

Through seven weeks of the NFL season, opinions vary on a lot of things. But not, it seems, on this: The Patriots are the fifth-best team in the NFL.

I’ll introduce my own objective set of power rankings later this week, based on a formula I was once taught by a coach at a powerhouse college program. But for now, here’s the subjective Top 5s of some other NFL writers, all of whom see the Patriots the same way, with each guy’s comment on New England attached:

Peter King, Sports Illustrated — Saints, Colts, Broncos, Steelers, Patriots … Pats 94, TitanBucs 7 over the past two weeks, on two continents.

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Mike Silver, Yahoo! Sports — Saints, Colts, Broncos, Vikings, Patriots … Yo, Victoria Beckham – are you aware that according to the Times of London, Tom Brady is “The Real Golden Balls”?

ESPN.com (various writers voting) — Colts, Saints, Broncos, Vikings, Patriots … The Titans and Bucs gave the Patriots two nice exhibition games before the bye week.

Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com — Colts, Saints, Broncos, Vikings, Patriots … Nothing like getting the Tennessee Titans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in successive weeks to help fix all that ails you. Tom Brady has come alive.

(Update: 4:12 p.m.): Make that 5-for-5, as my buddy Don Banks of SI.com has the Pats fifth, just behind the Saints, Colts, Broncos and Vikings, and says: “It feels utterly weird to write this, but the Patriots actually feel like an under-the-radar team these days. The road losses to the Jets and Broncos made them look downright vulnerable, and the blowouts against the winless Titans and Bucs haven’t really earned them much respect. In other words, Bill Belichick and the boys have us exactly where they want us. Not paying close enough attention.”

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