It might be our top 2 choices that meet in the Super Bowl. There’s still much grind left on the gridiron.
1. Philadelphia Eagles (8-1)
The Eagles now have the best record in the NFL, but it’s fair to wonder if they’re the best team. Their defense continues to struggle, as they allowed Sam Howell to look like Joe Montana two weeks ago. They were also outgained by a decent margin versus the Cowboys. They may have lost if it wasn’t for some terrible Dallas variance at the goal line. The Cowboys had 1st and goal at the six yard line. (Go figure how they lost). The Eagles were in a classic tough NFC East battle with the Cowboys but their offense struck the right balance and their pass rush and run defense up front saved their secondary. Jalen Hurts and Philadelphia keep flexing as reigning NFC champions. After a bye this week, the Eagles face the Chiefs, Bills, 49ers, Cowboys and Seahawks over the next five weeks.
2. Baltimore Ravens (7-2)
The Ravens have destroyed both the Lions and Seahawks in two of the past three weeks, and now they have a dynamic speed threat coming out of their backfield in Keaton Mitchell. It’s fair to argue that the Ravens are the best team in the NFL. It’s currently between the Eagles and Ravens this week. The Ravens are doing their best to prove they're the new team beat in the AFC with dominant defense and running game, not even needing too much from Lamar Jackson to roll opponents. John Harbaugh has done a great job meshing the team's new versatile identity with the old-school successful foundation.They just defeated and dominated the Seahawks winning 37-3. How dominant were the Ravens on Sunday? They gained 515 yards … and gave up 151. They outgained and crushed the Seahawks on the ground, 298-28. Cleveland is up next.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (7-2)
They went to Germany to sneak out with a win over the Dolphins, 21-14. Following that trip, the Chiefs have a bye this week and then face the Eagles on Monday Night Football in Week 11. The Chiefs offense has been underwhelming recently, but they have the ability to hit the on switch at any given time. Their defense has been impressive, limiting Miami to just 14 points. It’s somewhat unbelievable that their defense is carrying them. The Chiefs' offense isn't a well-oiled machine between Patrick Mahomes' passing and inconsistent running, especially when Travis Kelce is contained. But luckily, Chris Jones and the defense keep taking care of business.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-2)
The number 1 question is that everyone is wondering if the Jags blew their momentum by having last week’s bye. The Jaguars enjoyed a bye, the only thing that could completely keep them from building on their five-game winning streak. Jacksonville also is proving to be a complete NFC contender with Trevor Lawrence not totally in the groove yet. The Jaguars suddenly have the longest winning streak in the conference. They’re also tied with the Chiefs, Ravens, and Dolphins for the best record in the conference. Heading into Week 8, they were just one of four teams that could claim to be in the top 10 of both offense and defense EPA. We’ll see how their bye worked out as San Francisco comes to Jacksonville.
5. Detroit Lions (6-2)
The Lions are the other felines off a bye and can feel great about their chances to compete with the other NFC heavyweights in the second half and into the playoffs. But first they have work to do as the Vikings won't go away. The Lions are heading to So Cal to take on a talented but inconsistent Chargers team. The Lions had a nice bounce-back win last Monday night, albeit against the terrible Raiders. Still, the Lions were missing 40 percent of their offensive line, and Amon-Ra St. Brown may not have been 100 percent, so the victory must be seen as a positive. However, they are coming off their week off as a favorite. We shall see if the oddsmakers know something or trapping someone.
6. Cincinnati Bengals (5-3)
The Bengals defeated the Bills, 24-18 last week. The sharps bet against Joe Burrow, but Burrow proved them wrong against the Bills. It’s not out of the question that the Bengals could run the table and finish with one of the best records in the NFL. The only thing in their way is their entire division. Everyone is qualified for the playoffs at this time. The Bengals once again owned the Bills offensively and defensively with a fully healthy Joe Burrow at the helm and great scheming vs. Josh Allen. They're all the way back as a Super Bowl threat. This team has won four straight games and looked very good in the process. They better not look past quarterback CJ and the Texans to their showdown with the Ravens, however.
7. Dallas Cowboys (5-3)
Dallas lost to Philadelphia, 28-23 last week in a key division game. Many say the play calling along with mistakes cost them as the couldn’t get in having it 1st and goal from the six yard line. The Cowboys were the better team in their battle against the Eagles. They outgained Philadelphia, 406-292, and they averaged nearly one more yard per play. They were just inches shy of the goal line twice. Variance was not their friend in Week 9. The Cowboys went toe-to-toe with the Eagles and Dak Prescott was up to the challenge to duel with Hurts. But unfortunately, they had defensive breakdowns at the wrong time and that may continue to haunt them against the NFC powers.
Dallas has looked unbeatable at home this season, but the Cowboys are 2-3 away from home. Fortunately, they’re at home this Sunday playing the NY Giants.
8. Miami Dolphins (6-3)
In another big game and another big loss for the Dolphins, who were down 21-0 before a late charge, they lost to Kansas City 21-14. Now the word is out that it’s hard to take Miami seriously until it wins a big game. The Dolphins' defense hung in there well to keep Mahomes and Kelce in check in Frankfurt, but the offense didn't travel to Germany beyond Raheem Mostert and the running game. Tua Tagovailoa is still searching for that big win vs. a big team. In any “big game”, maybe containing Tyreek Hill is the key to beating the Dolphins? He "only" had eight catches for 62 yards on Sunday. Or maybe it doesn’t take much to defeat the fish. They get a bye this week.
9. Seattle Seahawks (5-3)
The Seahawks ran into a buzzsaw against angrier birds in Baltimore. They're still strong in terms of the weaker NFC playoff picture, but they simply don't have the firepower with Geno Smith to hang when their defense wilts. It’s certainly not 2022 for their current quarterback. We thought that the Seahawks would lose to the Ravens, but we didn't think they wouldn't show up. They’re obviously not out of playoff contention after the 49ers blanked the past three weeks. They looked pitiful trying to contend with the Ravens. Geno Smith was a complete disaster, failing to complete half of his passes and committing multiple turnovers. Is it time to go to their backup? They play host on Sunday to the Commanders.
10. San Francisco 49ers (5-3)
San Francisco entered the bye week in NFL Week 9 coming off three losses. It’s hard to penalize the 49ers for these recent losses, given that Trent Williams and Deebo Samuel will return soon. They won’t be dropping from our Top 10 because of the short-term injury circumstances. In fact, maybe the should be moved up in anticipation of Williams and Samuel returning. Plus, the Chase Young addition helps. The 49ers needed to regroup during their bye with the three-game losing streak caused by their pass rush not helping their offense and Brock Purdy making too many mistakes. They will hope Chase Young provides a Christian McCaffrey-like spark. They’re playing the hottest team in the NFL and the oddsmakers opened them up as a small favorite in Jacksonville. Discussing “why” is proprietary of course at this time.