The New England Patriots are below .500 and their schedule doesn't get any easier over the short term.
The Patriots dropped to 2-3 with a Week 6 loss at home to the Denver Broncos. New England failed to score a touchdown and turned the ball over three times. It's tough to win games against any team with that kind of offensive ineptitude and carelessness with the ball.
Next up on the Patriots' schedule is the defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers. Injuries have hit the 49ers hard, but they're still a very talented team and you can bet San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will be very motivated to beat his former team in their own building.
The Patriots play the AFC East-leading Buffalo Bills in Week 8 -- the final game before the Nov. 3 trade deadline. The Bills are one of four 2019 playoff teams that the Patriots will face over the next five weeks, so this is a very crucial stretch for Bill Belichick's team and its chances of returning to the postseason.
Where do the Patriots stand in the league's hierarchy entering this important five-week span?
Here's a roundup of expert 2020 NFL Power Rankings entering Week 7.
NBC Sports Boston: No. 13
ProFootballTalk, Mike Florio: No. 12
NFL.com, Dan Hanzus: No. 12
ESPN, NFL Nation: No. 14
Yahoo! Sports, Frank Schwab: No. 18
CBS Sports, Pete Prisco: No. 16
Bleacher Report, NFL Staff: No. 16
Sporting News, Vinnie Iyer: No. 21
Washington Post, Mark Maske: No. 18
Pro Football Focus, Staff: No. 11