The top four teams in last week’s rankings – Eagles, Chiefs, Bills and Bengals – took care of business in their final outings. But a new team has joined the top five.
After Week 15, here are my thoughts on the top 10 teams in the league.
1. Philadelphia Eagles (13-1)
The most complete team in football can hold off a two-interception effort from Jalen Hurts because of the presence of a disruptive defense that specializes in producing sacks and take aways. Although the MVP candidate posted three rushing touchdowns against the Chicago Bears, the defense produced six sacks and a sack to secure the victory.
Jalen Hurts leads the Eagles to a hard-fought 25-20 win against the Bears
Jalen Hurts had 315 passing yards and added 61 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns on the day.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (11-3)
The Chiefs quietly claimed their seventh straight division title despite breaking through a slew of new pass catchers and running backs. With Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes showing the ability to adapt, adjust and thrive with anyone on the perimeter, the Chiefs are always a threat to win with or without stars on the perimeter.
3. Buffalo Bills (11-3)
It’s not always pretty with the Bills, but they find a way to do it. Josh Allen’s ability to take over the game as a runner or passer allows the offense to counter every defensive tactic. With a “hard-nosed” defense that brings exceptional energy and effort to the field, the Bills can win with brilliance or grit in high-stakes games.
4. Cincinnati Bengals (10-4)
The defending AFC champions are being rounded up as a potential contender. Defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo hums the defense while Joe Burrow and Co. they continue to light up the league scoreboards.
5. San Francisco 49ers (10-4)
Despite playing with their QB3, the 49ers look like a title contender peaking at the right time. Brock Purdy is running the game like a seasoned vet who understands how to win by playing complementary football.
Brock Purdy and 49ers clinch NFC West with Week 15 win over Seahawks
Kyle Shanahan called Brock Purdy the “most balanced rookie I’ve ever had.” Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe react to the Niners’ win.
6. Minnesota Vikings (11-3)
Kudos to Kevin O’Connell for building a resilient team with the fortitude and self-belief to bounce back from slow starts and poor plays. The Vikings’ record-setting comeback is part of a season-long trend that suggests this team will struggle in the playoffs.
7. Dallas Cowboys (10-4)
The Cowboys’ immaturity and lack of focus is the only thing holding them back from winning a title. The ultra-talented side squandered a 17-point lead in an upset loss that should have been an easy win on paper.
Dak Prescott throws six OTs in Cowboys 40-34 loss against Jaguars
The Dallas Cowboys fell short against the Jacksonville Jaguars despite being favored on the road. Skip Bayless shares who is most to blame for Team America’s collapse.
8. Baltimore Ravens (9-5)
The Ravens will struggle to win down the stretch with a no-hitter offense that desperately misses Lamar Jackson. Without the former MVP, the Ravens can’t produce enough explosive plays to put points on the board against good teams.
9. Los Angeles Chargers (8-6)
The Chargers have a superstar quarterback and a dynamic supporting cast to throw a “40 burger” at any opponent. If the defense can control opposing running games while limiting big plays (deep balls), the Chargers could make a title run as the dark horse team in the AFC.
10. Miami Dolphins (8-6)
The weathered Dolphins have enough offensive firepower to cause problems in the playoffs, but they need to find a way to win games when the offense isn’t clicking. The play of the defense down the stretch will not only determine whether the Dolphins make the postseason tournament, but whether the roster can make noise as a wild card team.
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Bucky Brooks is an NFL analyst for FOX Sports. He appears regularly on “Speak For Yourself” and also breaks down the game for NFL Network and co-hosts the “Moving the Sticks” podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.
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