The Eagles hold the top spot despite losing a Christmas Eve shootout to the Cowboys without MVP candidate Jalen Hurts. The Chiefs, Bills and Bengals remain in hot pursuit, while an upstart makes its way onto the list.After Week 16, here’s my take on the league’s top 10 teams.1. Philadelphia Eagles (13-2)If the Eagles can nearly knock off an NFC heavyweight with backup quarterback Garner Minshew, the rest of the league should be on notice for when Jalen Hurts returns to the lineup. The Eagles have an A-plus collection of playmakers, pass rushers and cover men, enabling them to match with any opponent in any environment. What everyone is overlooking after Cowboys defeat Eagles
Craig Carton argues that the story of the Cowboys’ 40-34 win over the Eagles was not Dak Prescott, who struggled most of the game. The story was that Gardner Minshew, who performed admirably with Jalen Hurts sidelined with a sprained shoulder, exposed Dallas’ defense.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (12-3) After winning the AFC West for the seventh straight time, the Chiefs are peaking heading into the playoffs. With an offense capable of hitting the 40-point mark against any opponent and a defense starting to heat up, the Chiefs are primed to make another run at the Lombardi Trophy. 3. Buffalo Bills (12-3) Josh Allen & Co. are an explosive outfit with big-play potential and an emerging running game. If Devin Singletary and James Cook continue to complement Allen as a competent 1-2 punch in the backfield, the Bills will be able to switch up styles to defeat opponents utilizing various approaches. 4. Cincinnati Bengals (11-4) The defending AFC champs might be the best team in football by the time the postseason starts. Joe Burrow is on a hot streak that has put him squarely in the MVP conversation. If the third-year pro continues to torch opponents with his pinpoint passing, it will be hard to keep the Bengals from making another appearance in the AFC Championship Game. 5. San Francisco 49ers (11-4) Kyle Shanahan is starting to whip the 49ers offense into shape with a QB3 (Brock Purdy) at the helm. With Christian McCaffrey settling into his role as the 49ers’ No. 1 offensive weapon and George Kittle reemerging as a dominant force in the passing game, the NFC West champs are poised to make a run at the title. 6. Minnesota Vikings (12-3) It is hard to dismiss a 12-win squad with 11 one-score victories, but the Vikings’ roller-coaster ride makes the team a bit of an enigma heading into the playoffs. Minnesota’s resilience and never say die attitude is admirable, but the Vikings’ vulnerabilities make it hard to count on them as a heavyweight contender in the NFC. Vikings pull out another close win
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins threw for 299 yards and three touchdowns in a 27-24 victory over the New York Giants.
7. Dallas Cowboys (11-4) The ultra-talented Cowboys have enough pieces to form a championship puzzle if they play to their potential. However, Dallas often plays up or down to its level of competition, and the coaches occasionally forget the team’s identity. Mike McCarthy’s experience as a Super Bowl winner could come in handy as the Cowboys look to make a run in the tournament. 8. Baltimore Ravens (10-5) With or without Lamar Jackson, the Ravens’ unorthodox offense gives them a puncher’s chance against any opponent. With run-centric game plans that feature power runs, various option plays and RPOs, the Ravens’ “ground and pound” approach could make them a hard out in the postseason. Tyler Huntley leads Ravens to victory over Falcons
QB Tyler Huntley started in place of the injured Lamar Jackson and led the Ravens to a 17-9 win over the Falcons.
9. Los Angeles Chargers (8-6) Brandon Staley is pushing the right buttons for a team playing its best down the stretch. The return of Mike Williams and Keenan Allen has given the offense a spark as QB Justin Herbert gets reacquainted with his top playmakers on the perimeter. The defense has played better recently, and the highly anticipated return of Joey Bosa in the next few weeks could make the Chargers downright scary in the postseason. 10. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-8) Doug Pederson has the Jaguars believing in their chances as a potential playoff squad. The improved play of Trevor Lawrence has ignited a multifaceted offense that features a smorgasbord of playmakers. With an opportunistic defense specializing in creating turnovers, the Jaguars have become a problem in the AFC. Top stories from FOX Sports:Bucky Brooks is an NFL analyst for FOX Sports. He regularly appears on “Speak For Yourself” and also breaks down the game for NFL Network and as a cohost of the “Moving the Sticks” podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BuckyBrooks. Get more from National Football League Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more