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This week’s rankings continue the trend of depicting teams surging toward the postseason. Nowhere is that more evident than in the Top-10 where some six and seven-win teams are gaining significant strength down the stretch.
The Chiefs (7-5) extend their reign atop the BES Overall rankings to a second consecutive week, registering a monstrous score of 3.68, a .20 improvement over their already impressive mark of 3.48 in our Week 12 rankings. With their 34-20 win over the Raiders (5-7) in Week 12, the Chiefs completed a road sweep of the AFC West, something they haven’t done since 1995.
The BES isn’t the only metric recognizing the Chiefs as having the strongest late-season momentum. Football Outsiders also had the Chiefs No. 1 in their long-established and well-reputed Weighted DVOA ratings from Week 12. Former All-Pro defensive back Champ Bailey recently offered the Chiefs as a potential Super Bowl dark horse on The Herd with Colin Cowherd:
Joining the Chiefs in the late-season dash to January are the Seahawks (7-5) who have moved up to the No. 6 spot in this week’s rankings. The defending NFC Champions are 4-1 in their last five games and are improving on both sides of the ball, evidenced by their Top-10 ranking in both BES Offense (2.62, No. 8) and BES Defense (2.82, No. 5).
The Patriots continue their slide, landing at No. 5 in BES Overall after a 35-28 loss to the Eagles (5-7) at home. Their offense continues to decline after a rash of key injuries, primarily to All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski (knee) and receiver Julian Edelman (foot). The injury problems are further compounded by the fact that the remainder of the Patriots schedule features three road trips including a Week 14 visit to the Texans (6-6) who placed third in BES Overall this week.
The Panthers (12-0), meanwhile, remain at the No. 2 spot. However, they boast a stronger BES Overall score of 3.37 compared to their score of 3.26 last week. They narrowly escaped the Saints (4-8) in a 41-38 thriller in Week 12. Of note, the Saints were ranked No. 12 heading into that contest but have plummeted to No. 23 in the wake of the loss, their fourth in as many weeks.