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National Football League
Oct. 30, 2023 9:05 a.m. ET
Remember when the Chiefs and 49ers looked like the clear class of the league? That was only a couple of weeks ago. Now the Chiefs struggle to score and the 49ers struggle to hold down the score. Filling the void at No. 1 are the Eagles, who had to score three fourth-quarter touchdowns on the road to put away the Commanders on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Jaguars, winners of five straight, and the Ravens move up in the middle and the Seahawks, who just entered my top 10 last week, take control of the NFC West. The Cowboys continue to lurk and the inconsistent Bills reenter the rankings.
1. Philadelphia EaglesRecord: 7-1; Last Week: 3
Jalen Hurts‘ reemergence as an MVP-caliber playmaker makes the Eagles nearly unbeatable. Despite dealing with a knee injury, the fourth-year pro shredded the Washington Commanders from the pocket on his way to a 300-yard passing day that included four touchdown tosses. With Hurts showing the football world that he can win with or without utilizing his legs, the Eagles’ unstoppable offense can carry them to wins even when the defense has an off day.
2. Kansas City ChiefsRecord: 6-2; Last Week: 1
The Chiefs’ offensive woes finally caught up with them in a surprising loss to the Denver Broncos on the road. Patrick Mahomes‘ turnovers and a lack of explosive passing plays undermined a solid defensive effort. Given the offense’s current struggles, the Chiefs look vulnerable as a defending champ attempting to make a back-to-back title run.
3. Miami Dolphins Record: 6-2; Last Week: 4
The return of cornerback Jalen Ramsey gives the Dolphins a chance to surge up the charts as the defense becomes a more disruptive unit due to the All-Pro’s playmaking skills. The 6-foot-1, 208-pounder can play inside or outside to erase premier pass-catchers. In addition, Ramsey’s presence and swagger gives the Dolphins defense the edginess that is essential to playing at an elite level.
4. Jacksonville JaguarsRecord: 6-2; Last Week: 5
The Jaguars’ five-game winning streak has put them in a position to join the conversation as an AFC contender. An opportunistic defense that specializes in creating turnovers (18 takeaways lead the NFL) and big hits has changed the identity of the team with its “Bully Ball” mentality. The Jaguars’ toughness and tenacity have helped the team chalk up wins despite inconsistent play from a talented offense that was expected to light up scoreboards around the league.
5. Baltimore RavensRecord: 6-2; Last Week: 6
John Harbaugh has the Ravens are rounding into form as a title contender behind a destructive defense and an electric offense paced by Lamar Jackson. Although the team struggled against the plucky Arizona Cardinals on the road, the Ravens’ resilience, toughness and competitive spirit makes them a tough out each week. With a few pivotal matchups on the horizon for Baltimore, the football world will quickly discover if the Ravens are heavyweights in the AFC.
6. San Francisco 49ers Record: 5-3; Last Week: 2
A three-game losing streak has put Kyle Shanahan, Steve Wilks and Brock Purdy under the microscope due to their individual and collective struggles. The offense has failed to score more than 20 points in three straight games, with Purdy struggling with his accuracy and turnovers. Wilks has added some tweaks and adjustments that have backfired in a few games, but the savvy defensive coordinator will eventually figure it out and get the unit back on track.
7. Seattle SeahawksRecord: 5-2; Last Week: 10
The Seahawks’ success is directly tied to Geno Smith‘s play within the pocket. When the veteran QB is on his game, the offense zips up and down the field utilizing a balanced approach that keeps opponents guessing at the line of scrimmage. If the defense can continue to keep scores down (17 points or fewer) while generating a few turnovers, the Seahawks will swipe a division title and secure a top seed in the playoffs.
8. Detroit LionsRecord: 5-2; Last Week: 7
The football world will get a chance to check out Dan Campbell’s squad in a primetime game against the Raiders on Monday night. If the script goes according to plan, the Lions’ physicality and toughness could break their opponent’s will and help them bounce back from a blowout loss to the Ravens in Week 7.
9. Dallas Cowboys Record: 5-2; Last Week: 8
As demonstrated in a 43-20 blowout of the Rams on Sunday, “America’s Team” knows how to take care of business against overmatched opponents. The defense, in particular, will relentlessly harass quarterbacks into mistakes and miscues with constant pressure. If Micah Parsons & Co. continue to set up Dak Prescott with prime scoring opportunities on short fields, the Cowboys will keep stacking wins against the lightweights on their schedule.
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10. Buffalo BillsRecord: 5-3; Last Week: NR
Sean McDermott has instructed Josh Allen to put on his Superman cape to save the Bills’ season with his “one-man show” heroics. The electric playmaker can dazzle as a runner and thrower, and the Bills need his big-play potential to produce points for a streaky offense that lacks a clear identity. Although the Bills will need to monitor his usage, the Pro Bowl quarterback’s superhero powers makes this team a top-10 squad despite its flaws on offense and defense.
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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