NFL top-10 rankings: Lions, 49ers, Dolphins hold steady; Texans enter the fray

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By Samantha Rose

The 30 NFL teams that did not play a game this February did their part to make the weekend’s slate of games not merely an opening act to Monday’s Super Bowl rematch between the Eagles and Chiefs in Kansas City. 

The Lions overcame a 12-point deficit in the final three minutes to improve to 8-2, their best 10-game record since 1962. San Francisco 49ers QB Brock Purdy posted a perfect 158.3 rating. Dolphins star Tyreek Hill became the first player in 62 years with at least 1,200 receiving yards in the first 10 games of a season. Bills QB Josh Allen reached 205 combined passing and rushing touchdowns in his career, the most by a player in his first six NFL seasons. Cowboys CB DaRon Bland tied an NFL single-season record with his fourth pick-six of 2023. And Texans phenom C.J. Stroud added another 300-yard passing game to one of the best rookie campaigns for a QB in league history.

So while the Eagles and Chiefs hold the top spots this week, several other squads are rounding into form, just waiting for opportunities to overtake them down the stretch. 

Here is my NFL top 10 for Week 11.

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1. Philadelphia Eagles
Record: 8-1; Last Week: 1

The Monday Night matchup against the Chiefs will give the Eagles a chance to avenge their loss in Super Bowl LVII. Jalen Hurts & Co. have shown explosive potential utilizing a balanced approach that meshes a bruising rushing attack with a high-flying passing game. With a stout and sturdy defense at the point of attack, the Eagles can win with their offense or defense setting the tone.  

2. Kansas City Chiefs
Record: 7-2; Last Week: 2

Despite the offense sputtering through the first half of the season, the Chiefs own the best record in the AFC due to a surprisingly stingy defense that’s flourishing with a collection of young defenders thriving in their roles. If Patrick Mahomes and his playmakers find their chemistry down the stretch, it will be hard for any opponent to derail the Chiefs from making back-to-back trips to the Super Bowl. 

3. Detroit Lions
Record: 8-2; Last Week: 3

Dan Campbell’s gritty squad showed incredible resilience, overcoming a slow start to knock off the Bears. Jared Goff, in particular, bounced back from three interceptions to make a series of spectacular throws during a 17-point fourth-quarter rally that flipped the game’s momentum. With the NFC North leaders stacking wins with or without playing their A-game, the Lions are quietly rounding into form as a title contender. 

Jared Goff, Lions pull off epic comeback vs. Justin Fields, Bears

Jared Goff, Lions pull off epic comeback vs. Justin Fields, Bears

4. San Francisco 49ers 
Record: 7-3; Last Week: 4

Don’t look now, but the 49ers are beginning to play like the title contenders the football world feared when San Francisco constructed a roster loaded with blue-chip players at marquee positions on each side of the ball. As Brock Purdy continues to silence the doubters with his stellar play, the 49ers look like an unstoppable force capable of rolling through the NFC toward a Super Bowl appearance. 

Brock Purdy perfect against Bucs

Brock Purdy perfect against Bucs

5. Miami Dolphins 
Record: 7-3; Last Week: 5

The Dolphins’ high-powered offense garners headlines, but it’s the surging defense that could spark the team’s push for the AFC’s No. 1 seed. Fueled by the return of All-Pro corner Jalen Ramsey and the emergence of Bradley Chubb and Jaelan Phillips as a feared pass-rushing tandem, Miami’s defense has become a splash-play machine, creating turnovers all over the field. With defensive coordinator Vic Fangio pushing all the right buttons down the stretch, the Dolphins might be the most complete team in the AFC by season’s end. 

6. Baltimore Ravens
Record: 8-3; Last Week: 6

John Harbaugh has his team poised to play its best ball in the second half of the season. The defense continues to dominate opponents with its superior speed and physicality while befuddling opposing quarterbacks with various blitzes and simulated pressures from Mike Macdonald’s playbook. If Lamar Jackson & Co. can find a consistent rhythm under the direction of new offensive coordinator Todd Monken, the AFC North leaders can make life miserable for any opponent that faces them in the postseason tournament.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars
Record: 7-3; Last Week: 7

After laying an egg in Week 10, the Jaguars responded with their best performance of the season. Doug Pederson’s squad dominated the offensive, defensive and special teams battles against the Titans while reestablishing its brand of football as a smart, hard-nosed team with big-play potential. Though Trevor Lawrence is still attempting to polish a game that should make him a top-five quarterback, he found a way Sunday to unlock the team’s premier playmakers (Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk and Evan Engram) with pinpoint passes in key moments. 

Given the looming showdowns against elite quarterbacks on the horizon, Lawrence must step up his game to help the Jaguars make a deep playoff push.

8. Dallas Cowboys 
Record: 7-3; Last Week: 8

Credit Mike McCarthy for teaching his squad how to handle their business against overmatched opponents. The Cowboys bullied the Panthers, resulting in a lopsided win that put the team in a position to climb the ladder as a dangerous playoff team. As opponents continue to struggle to defend the Dak Prescott-to-Ceedee Lamb connection, the Cowboys’ high-powered aerial attack sets the pace for a team hitting its stride down the stretch.

Dave Helman, Greg Olsen and Kevin Burkhardt discuss Cowboys’ win

Dave Helman, Greg Olsen and Kevin Burkhardt discuss Cowboys' win

9. Cleveland Browns
Record: 6-3; Last Week: 9

Kevin Stefanski deserves the Coach of the Year award if he can guide the Browns to a division crown without the services of Deshaun Watson and Nick Chubb. The loss of the Pro Bowlers has robbed the offense of its explosiveness and consistency, and it will be the play of backups stepping into prominent roles that will determine the Browns’ playoff fate. On Sunday against the Steelers, rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson showed the confidence and composure to handle the big moments. Though the circumstances are not ideal, the team’s winning formula (strong running game and stingy defense) gives Cleveland a puncher’s chance to finish the year with a division crown.

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10. Houston Texans
Record: 6-4; Last Week: NR

No one expected the Texans to compete for a playoff spot or a division crown, but DeMeco Ryans and C.J. Stroud have breathed life into a listless franchise. The former Pro Bowl linebacker-turned-head coach has the defense outhitting and out-hustling opponents at every turn. The fanatical effort has resulted in timely stops in key moments. 

Stroud has given the Texans a little swagger with his unwavering self-belief and A-plus arm talent. The rookie does not blink in the face of adversity, including throwing three interceptions against the Cardinals, and relishes the opportunity to close out games with the ball in his hands.

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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