National Football League
NFL top-10 rankings: 49ers hold top spot; Cowboys climb; Eagles, Chiefs, Jaguars fall
National Football League

NFL top-10 rankings: 49ers hold top spot; Cowboys climb; Eagles, Chiefs, Jaguars fall

Updated Dec. 11, 2023 10:12 a.m. ET

After 14 weeks of NFL football, it almost feels like we're starting over. 

On a Sunday of surprises, the Eagles, Lions and Texans were defeated soundly, and the Chiefs and Jaguars lost close games. The Ravens had to go to overtime to pull out a victory over the Rams

So who can we believe in down the stretch? That's easy: The 49ers, who dispatched the Seahawks for their fifth straight win. San Francisco looks like a juggernaut; a team on a Super Bowl mission.

But don't overlook the Cowboys, who have been lurking all season, mainly beating lesser opponents. On Sunday night, Dallas made a primetime statement with its 33-13 blowout of the Eagles, who were looking to become the first team to qualify for the 2023 postseason. And don't sleep on the Broncos, who started the season 1-5 but are 6-1 since, with wins over the Chiefs, Bills and Browns along the way. 


So there's another big shakeup this week, with the Dolphins and Cowboys climbing and the Eagles, Chiefs and Jaguars fading. 

With Titans-Dolphins and Packers-Giants still on the Week 14 docket, here is my NFL top 10.

1. San Francisco 49ers 
Record: 10-3; Last Week: 1

With Brock Purdy leading the way, the 49ers look like an unstoppable force. The second-year pro has completed at least 70% of his passes in seven straight games while directing a high-octane offense that reminds 49ers fans of the Joe Montana-led units of the 1980s.

Trent Williams on people doubting Brock Purdy: "Turn on the film"

2. Miami Dolphins 
Record: 9-3; Last Week: 3

The MVP buzz is growing, with Tyreek Hill torching defensive backfields across the league on the way to a potential 2,000-yard receiving season. Although the All-Pro is the headliner of a team making a push for the AFC's top seed, the emerging defense could be the catalyst for the Dolphins' Super Bowl run.

3. Baltimore Ravens
Record: 10-3; Last Week: 2

It is never pretty with the Ravens, but their knack for grinding out gritty wins separates them from the rest of the pack. John Harbaugh's squad knows how to win. The Ravens are capable of getting to the winner's circle relying on their offense, defense or special teams units to make the necessary plays to get it done.

4. Dallas Cowboys 
Record: 10-3; Last Week: 7

Despite suffering through some early-season knockouts, the Cowboys have quietly developed into one of the biggest bullies on the block. Mike McCarthy has tweaked the offense to better complement an opportunistic defense that specializes in producing takeaways. With Dak Prescott playing at an MVP level, the Cowboys are rounding into form as a legitimate title contender.

Dave Helman, Ralph Vacchiano break down Cowboys' win

5. Philadelphia Eagles
Record: 10-3; Last Week: 4

After suffering back-to-back losses, the Eagles are fading fast in the NFC. The offense's turnover woes and the defense's inability to get stops have routinely put Nick Sirianni's squad behind the eight-ball. Although the Eagles have a month to fix their problems before the playoffs, their inconsistency from Week 1 suggests the team has been unable to kick the Super Bowl hangover.

6. Kansas City Chiefs
Record: 8-5; Last Week: 5

As defeats pile up, the defending Super Bowl champs have lost some of the mystique that has made them a powerhouse in the AFC. The offense, in particular, has been maddeningly inconsistent, with drops and mental miscues disrupting Patrick Mahomes' rhythm as a playmaker. Given their struggles, the Chiefs could be a one-and-done squad in the playoffs.

Did Josh Allen and the Bills save their season?

7. Detroit Lions
Record: 9-4; Last Week: 8

Dan Campbell's squad is adjusting to life as the hunted after a sizzling start catapulted the Lions to the top of the NFC. Opponents are bringing their A-games to the party, and the Lions haven't consistently matched their energy or execution. With the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers creeping back into the division race, the Lions must reestablish their brand (tough, hard-nosed and gritty) and clean up their self-inflicted mistakes to finish the season with a bang.

8. Cleveland Browns
Record: 8-5; Last Week: NR

Joe Flacco has sparked an offense that has lacked consistent quarterback play this season. The 38-year-old gunslinger has efficiently attacked down the field to add more sizzle to Kevin Stefanski's ground-and-pound machine. With the offense showing the capacity to put up 30-plus points, Myles Garrett & Co. can overwhelm quarterbacks forced to chase points against an ultra-aggressive defense that attacks from every angle.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars
Record: 8-5; Last Week: 6

Injuries and inconsistent play have halted the Jaguars' early-season momentum. The team has dropped back-to-back games to opponents playing with backup quarterbacks, and the upsets have exposed the team's fatal flaws (poor tackling, miscommunication issues and turnover woes). With the self-inflicted errors routinely showing up each week, Doug Pederson must figure out a way to simplify the plan to help his team play better down the stretch.

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10. Denver Broncos
Record: 7-6; Last Week: NR

Sean Payton might earn Coach of the Year honors for his impressive work with this squad. The Broncos have bounced back from a disappointing start to climb back into the AFC playoff picture behind a rejuvenated quarterback and a resurgent defense. As Payton has tinkered with the game plan to accentuate the team's strengths while minimizing their weaknesses, he has found a formula that works for a team that looked nothing like a playoff contender at the beginning of the season.

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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