The WEEI.com Power Rankings are out and the Patriots -- fresh off a 39-26 road win over the Steelers -- have moved back to the No. 1 spot. The Ravens fall from No. 1 to No. 5 after losing to the Falcons, while the Jets inch up to No. 2 after escaping Cleveland with an OT victory. For the complete list of rankings click here.

Report Card time and a shocking return to the written lap dance. 

How can it not be? Simply a dominant performance on Sunday night (I'm still stunned), and the grades have to reflect that. So the red pen goes on hiatus and everyone gets the "GREAT JOB!" sticker. 

To the card we go …

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QUARTERBACK -- A



KIRK MINIHANE

BIO | ARCHIVE


With Sunday’s win over the Steelers, the Patriots have started to take the first steps toward separating themselves from the rest of the contenders in the AFC playoff picture, but the next three weeks are key for



Patriots coach Bill Belichick, in his weekly appearance on The Big Show, discussed his team's victory on Sunday night over the Steelers as well as the challenge of having a short week to prepare for the Colts. He acknowledged that, in an effort to leave behind the Steelers game and start preparing for Indianapolis, it was a "short night," but that such a challenge would "feel a lot worse if you had fewer points [against Pittsburgh]."

 

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick and the rest of the Patriots had seen it before from Tom Brady. Fired up and ticked off about the lack of execution. But Belichick also pointed out, as was more readily apparent in the second half Sunday night, that there’s a good side to Brady’s emotion.

 

FOXBORO -- Patriots coach Bill Belichick wasn't prepared to pour extra gas on the fire Monday afternoon when asked if the officials had control of the game when the Steelers took extra liberties with rough tackles after the whistle. 

 

"Look, you've got two physical teams playing in a big game," Belichick said. "Emotions run high. I don't think that's uncommon."

 

Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork called in to the Dale & Holley show Monday afternoon to take part in his weekly conversation as part of WEEI's Patriots Monday. Following the bad week of practice leading into the Browns game, the Patriots rebounded last week with better preparation leading into Sunday night's game vs. the Steelers, and it paid off.

 

Patriots defensive back Brandon Meriweather made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Monday morning, and he said a fast start was one of the keys to a 39-26 victory over the Steelers. "We came out, we started fast,"  Meriweather said. "We started early. We didn't wait to see how the game was going to go."

 

CBS Sports NFL analyst Boomer Esiason made his weekly Monday morning appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show to dissect the Patriots' impressive victory over the Steelers on Sunday night.

 

Esiason commended the performances of Tom Brady, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead for their efforts in piling up points against the vaunted Pittsburgh defense. "That was startling, because that was supposed to be one of the best — if not the best — defenses in football," Esiason said.

 

PITTSBURGH — You heard him before you saw him.