For the first time since Week 7, we have a new No. 1 in the rankings.
In a highly anticipated matchup in Philadelphia, the 49ers rolled over the Eagles 42-19, with Brock Purdy, Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel leading the way. The Eagles still hold the No. 1 seed in the NFC, but the 49ers showed that they are the team to beat.
In another underwhelming performance by a top team, the Chiefs lost to the Packers in Green Bay. It has not been pretty for Patrick Mahomes & Co. for much of the season, and their offensive struggles have caught up to them. Meanwhile, the Dolphins kept rolling with a blowout of the Commanders in Washington. After a late-season fade last season, the 2023 Dolphins look like they’re only getting stronger, reaching 9-3 for the first time since 2001.
So there’s a big shakeup in the top five this week. The Jaguars, Cowboys and Lions hold steady in the middle, and two new teams enter the fray.
With Bengals-Jaguars still on the Week 13 docket, here is my NFL top 10.
1. San Francisco 49ers
Record: 9-3; Last Week: 2
After going on the road and bullying the defending NFC champs in a 42-19 drubbing that was not as close as the score indicated, the 49ers sit atop the charts as the league’s No. 1 team. Kyle Shanahan has the offense clicking with Brock Purdy at the controls. With CMC, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle flourishing as Purdy’s primary targets, the 49ers offense looks like a juggernaut heading down the stretch.
2. Baltimore Ravens
Record: 9-3; Last Week: 4
Their bye week gave the Ravens a chance to rest and recover while getting ready for several marquee matchups on the horizon, including games against the Jaguars, 49ers and Dolphins. The Ravens control their destiny to be the potential front-runner in the AFC.
3. Miami Dolphins
Record: 9-3; Last Week: 5
Tyreek Hill is not a one-man show, but he is the straw that stirs the drink for a high-powered offense capable of busting the clock on any opponent. As the Dolphins continue to show explosive potential with the offense, the Vic Fangio-led defense is quietly becoming a destructive force under his tutelage. Considering how well the Dolphins are playing, the road to Super Bowl LVIII could run through South Florida in the AFC.
Can Tyreek Hill become the first NFL receiver to hit 2,000 yards?
4. Philadelphia Eagles
Record: 10-2; Last Week: 1
After flirting with disaster for most of the season, the Eagles finally faltered against a team that would not allow them to dictate the terms. Jalen Hurts & Co. could not get going against the 49ers, and opponents will attempt to copy the blueprint in the future. Given the defense’s struggles against the 49ers’ misdirection, deception and physicality, Nick Sirianni must clean up the team’s issues on both sides of the ball to get the Eagles back on track down the stretch.
Dave Helman, Ralph Vacchiano react to 49ers shutting down Eagles
5. Kansas City Chiefs
Record: 8-4; Last Week: 3
It is just about time to hit the panic button on the Chiefs offense after watching the unit struggle against the Packers. Patrick Mahomes’ lack of chemistry with his wideouts is problematic for an offense that lives and dies with its passing game. If Andy Reid fails to fix the aerial attack, the Chiefs could be one-and-done in the playoffs despite bringing an elite defense to the party.
Jordan Love, Packers shock Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
6. Jacksonville Jaguars
Record: 8-3; Last Week: 6
All eyes will be on the Jaguars during a Monday night game against the Bengals. Trevor Lawrence could treat the viewing public to a spectacular offense that features a plethora of playmakers with big-play ability on the perimeter. If the offense continues to sizzle with the former No. 1 overall pick dropping dimes, the Jaguars could make a Super Bowl run as a dark-horse contender in the AFC. Their defense has more than held up its end of the bargain.
7. Dallas Cowboys
Record: 9-3; Last Week: 7
Mike McCarthy has the Cowboys smashing overmatched opponents with an efficient offense complementing a turnover-obsessed defense. The savvy playcaller has unlocked Dak Prescott’s potential as an MVP candidate, utilizing a creative playbook to help the quarterback stack completions on low-risk throws to a group of dynamic pass-catchers on the perimeter. With the quarterback playing the best ball of his career, the Cowboys are a legitimate contender in the NFC.
8. Detroit Lions
Record: 9-3; Last Week: 8
Credit Dan Campbell for getting the Lions back on track by utilizing a creative game plan to put the ball in the hands of the most dangerous playmakers early and often in a hard-fought win over the Saints. The aggressive approach helped Jared Goff rediscover his rhythm as the Lions offense sizzled in Week 13. Given the explosive potential routinely displayed by the Lions this season, the NFC North leaders could make some noise in the postseason tournament.
9. Indianapolis Colts
Record: 7-5; Last Week: NR
The scrappy Colts have worked their way into the playoff picture behind the efforts of their streaky quarterback and an opportunistic defense and special-teams unit. Gardner Minshew makes enough plays as a fearless gunslinger to keep the Colts in the mix until their defense or special teams flips the field or creates a prime scoring opportunity. Although the Colts do not earn style points for their wins, the team’s persistence and grittiness make them a tough out against any opponent.
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10. Houston Texans
Record: 7-5; Last Week: NR
C.J. Stroud continues to impress as a franchise quarterback with a mature game beyond his years. The rookie carves up opponents with surgical precision as he routinely finds the open receiver against any coverage. With Stroud also displaying the poise, confidence and swagger of a winner, the Texans have quickly emerged as one of the league’s most dangerous teams in his first season on the job.
Bucky Brooks is an NFL analyst for FOX Sports. He also breaks down the game for NFL Network and as a cohost of the “Moving the Sticks” podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.
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