1. Philadelphia Eagles (11-1)
Week 13 ranking: 2
We’re No. 1 in … turnover margin.
The Eagles are an NFL-best 13-plus in that department — a major reason they have the league’s best record. The defense is top in takeaways with 23, while the offense has turned the ball over just nine times, which ranks second. Quarterback Jalen Hurts deserves much of the credit, having thrown three interceptions to 20 touchdowns on the year.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (9-3)
Week 13 ranking: 1
We’re No. 1 in … scoring.
The Chiefs remain No. 1 offensively with an average of 29.2 points per game. Their lead was built on the strength of three 40-plus-point games in their first seven. Since then, the Chiefs have topped their average only once in five games, that being a 30-point performance in a win over the Chargers in Week 11. The Chiefs scored 17, 20 and 24 in their three losses.
3. Buffalo Bills (9-3)
Week 13 ranking: 3
We’re No. 1 in … the AFC.
After beating the Patriots on Thursday, the Bills sat on their couches Sunday and watched the Dolphins and Chiefs lose, moving Buffalo to the top spot in the AFC with five weeks to go. Wins over the Chiefs (with whom they share the same record), Ravens and Titans could prove to be key for the Bills as the three teams are behind them in the standings. Securing home-field advantage has been a priority after consecutive trips to Kansas City in the playoffs. With the Bills in charge of their own destiny, back-to-back home games against the Jets and Dolphins will be crucial, along with “Monday Night Football” at Cincinnati.
4. Dallas Cowboys (9-3)
Week 13 ranking: 4
We’re No. 1 in … point differential.
Even though the Cowboys are 9-3 and don’t lead their division, they are 127-plus on the season with 333 points for and 206 against. That’s a sign of how dominant they can be. In the past three games they are 80-plus, which would be tied for fifth best in the NFL over the course of the season. In their past five games, they have scored 25 offensive touchdowns and two defensive touchdowns.
5. Minnesota Vikings (10-2)
Week 13 ranking: 6
We’re No. 1 in … wins by one possession.
Nine of the Vikings’ 10 victories this season have been decided by one possession (eight points or fewer). In fact, they are the first team in NFL history to start a season with a 9-0 record in such games. (Their other victory, in Week 1 against the Packers, came by a margin of 16 points.) One interpretation here is that the Vikings are quite fortunate to have won as many games as they have. Another is that they’re primed for the postseason, where games are often competed into the final minute.
6. Miami Dolphins (8-4)
Week 13 ranking: 5
We’re No. 1 in … the percentage of offensive plays going for 10-plus yards.
A ridiculous 25% of the Dolphins’ offensive plays this season have gained at least 10 yards, which highlights the explosive nature of this offense. It’s the reason this team is hard to count out, even when it’s down multiple scores — as the Baltimore Ravens found out in dramatic fashion in Week 2. Miami is not totally reliant on big plays, but arguably, no other offense is more capable of providing them.
7. San Francisco 49ers (8-4)
Week 13 ranking: 7
We’re No. 1 in … scoring defense.
The 49ers’ defense leads the league in plenty of categories, but none matter more than this one. San Francisco has yielded just 15.8 points per game. Having lost two starting quarterbacks (Trey Lance, Jimmy Garoppolo) to season-ending injuries, even more onus will fall on the defense. If that unit can keep playing at this level, rookie Brock Purdy & Co. won’t have to do much to keep the Niners rolling toward the postseason.
8. Cincinnati Bengals (8-4)
Week 13 ranking: 8
We’re No. 1 in … defensive completion percentage.
Bengals coordinator Lou Anarumo has stymied opposing quarterbacks this season. Cincinnati leads the NFL in opposing completion percentage at 59%, according to ESPN Stats & Information. It’s an impressive feat given the Bengals are without top cornerback Chidobe Awuzie, who went down in Week 8 with a torn ACL. The Bengals have held eight opponents under the 60% mark. That includes Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes, who completed 59.3% of his passes in the team’s Week 13 loss in Cincinnati.
9. Baltimore Ravens (8-4)
Week 13 ranking: 10
We’re No. 1 in … run block win rate.
Even though Lamar Jackson grabs most of the attention for his highlight-making runs, the success of the Ravens’ ground game starts up front. Baltimore’s run block win rate is 75.7%, which is the best in the league. The Ravens have four offensive linemen who rank sixth or higher in run blocking at their positions: offensive tackles Patrick Mekari (fourth) and Ronnie Stanley (sixth), guard Ben Powers (sixth) and center Tyler Linderbaum (sixth). This isn’t a surprise considering Baltimore ranked in the top five in run block win rate the past four years, including No. 1 in 2018 and 2019.
10. Seattle Seahawks (7-5)
Week 13 ranking: 14
We’re No. 1 in … completion percentage.
The Seahawks are tops by a sizable margin at 72.5%, more than 3 percentage points higher than the second-ranked team. It’s a reflection of how efficient their passing game has been as a whole, with an offensive line that’s been good in pass protection, receivers who are creating separation and — more than anything — the most accurate quarterback in the NFL. And it’s not as though Geno Smith has merely been feasting on short, high-percentage throws. He leads the league completion percentage above expected (a Next Gen Stat that factors in the difficulty of each throw) and adjusted completion rate (a similar stat that’s weighted by air yards and excludes drops and throwaways).
11. Tennessee Titans (7-5)
Week 13 ranking: 9
We’re No. 1 in … gross punt yards per game.
The Titans are No. 1 in gross punt yards per game at 294.4. Rookie punter Ryan Stonehouse has been a bright spot on special teams for Tennessee. Stonehouse is averaging 53.5 gross yards per punt and has downed opponents inside the 20 a total of 24 times. The rookie has surpassed 400 punting yards three times this season.
12. New York Jets (7-5)
Week 13 ranking: 11
We’re No. 1 in … fourth-quarter point differential.
The Jets have outscored opponents 94-40 — an impressive plus-54 point margin. This is one of the key reasons for the team’s 7-5 record, as strong finishes have proved critical in five of their victories. Reasons: Excellent defense (40 points is a league low), timely offense, sound coaching adjustments and good roster depth.
13. Washington Commanders (7-5-1)
Week 13 ranking: 12
We’re No. 1 in … time of possession.
The Commanders lead the NFL by averaging 32:59 time of possession each week. They’ve been good in this area all season, but it’s been pronounced in the past eight weeks when they’ve gone 6-1-1, in part by keeping the ball for an average of 33:48. Their renewed commitment to the run game has helped a lot — they averaged 89 yards and 3.87 yards per carry in the first five games; it’s 146.6 and 4.10 in the past eight. Finally, the result has been the defense playing five fewer plays per game since Week 5, keeping it fresh.
14. New York Giants (7-4-1)
Week 13 ranking: 13
We’re No. 1 in … fumble recoveries.
OK, so the Giants are actually tied for first in this category with the Cowboys, each with 11 fumble recoveries. But man, it was tough to find something the Giants were the best at. Not surprisingly, eight of the 11 fumble recoveries have come in their seven wins. A ninth came in their tie to Washington. Cornerback Adoree’ Jackson and safety Dane Belton are tied for the team lead with two fumble recoveries apiece.
15. New England Patriots (6-6)
Week 13 ranking: 15
We’re No. 1 in … opposition net-punt average.
Opponents have a 37-yard net-punting average against the Patriots, which ranks New England best in that category. A big part of that has been the emergence of rookie punt returner Marcus Jones (20 returns, 294 yards, 14.7 avg.), who has received some solid blocking in front of him, with longtime veteran Matthew Slater and up-and-coming rookie Brenden Schooler playing leading roles.
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6)
Week 13 ranking: 16
We’re No. 1 in … fewest interceptions.
Quarterback Tom Brady has thrown only three interceptions this season — tied for the fewest in the NFL with Jalen Hurts, and the fewest in his career in a season through 12 games. That’s not necessarily a good thing, however, as he is taking far fewer chances with the ball, and he has thrown only 14 touchdown passes for the season. The Bucs are averaging just 17.5 offensive points per game, which ranks 26th in the league.
17. Los Angeles Chargers (6-6)
Week 13 ranking: 17
We’re No. 1 in … yards allowed per carry.
This isn’t exactly the category you want to be ranked No. 1 in — allowing a league-worst 5.4 yards per carry. But after 13 weeks and despite a significant overhaul to their defensive front, that’s where the Bolts stand. It hasn’t helped that several key defensive players have been sidelined this season, including Joey Bosa, Austin Johnson, Christian Covington and Otito Ogbonnia. Head coach Brandon Staley has emphasized that it takes all 11 defensive players to stop the run. “Run defense is a team operation,” he said.
18. Las Vegas Raiders (5-7)
Week 13 ranking: 20
We’re No. 1 in … the longest rush of the season.
Josh Jacobs’ epic 86-yard walk-off run in Seattle on Nov. 27 did more than give the Raiders an overtime win — it was the longest rush of the season. And it contributes to the Raiders also leading the NFL in average yards after first contact (2.33). Jacobs, who had his fifth-year option declined by the Raiders’ new leadership this past offseason, is in line for a big payday as he leads the league with 1,303 rushing yards. Curiously enough, Las Vegas is just 13th as a team with 1,505 yards on the ground.
19. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-7)
Week 13 ranking: 26
We’re No. 1 in … field goals.
It’s a good/bad news kind of stat. The Steelers lead the league in field goal attempts (32) and field goals made (26). Their make percentage is in the bottom half of the league, but with a groin injury landing longtime kicker Chris Boswell on IR, that’s not entirely surprising. The reason the Steelers lead the league in field goal attempts, though, is their red zone efficiency is among the league’s worst, scoring touchdowns on less than half their trips inside the 20.
20. Detroit Lions (5-7)
Week 13 ranking: 23
We’re No. 1 in … red zone efficiency.
The Lions are pretty much money on the goal line thanks to the strong rushing attack spearheaded by the backfield of Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift. The Lions are scoring touchdowns in the red zone 73.9% of the time. Williams also leads the league in total rushing touchdowns with 14 on the season as the team’s preferred goal-line threat, which has become a well-oiled machine when they need points.
21. Green Bay Packers (5-8)
Week 13 ranking: 19
We’re No. 1 in … all-time NFL wins.
This season in whole might not be remembered for much in terms of success, but they are No. 1 — for now — in one thing: all-time wins. Sunday’s win over the Bears was their 787th NFL victory, one more than the Bears. It’s the first time since 1921 that anyone other than the Bears did not own at least a share of the all-time wins lead. The last team to do so before the Packers was the Buffalo All-Americans, with 18 wins in 1921.
22. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8)
Week 13 ranking: 22
We’re No. 1 in … going for it on fourth down in the third quarter.
The Jaguars have gone for it on fourth down in the third quarter nearly half the time: 43.8% (seven times out of 16 fourth downs). That’s nearly twice the percentage of the next-closest teams (Kansas City and the New York Giants at 22.2%). That’s partly because head coach Doug Pederson believes in being aggressive on fourth down, but also because the Jaguars have trailed at the half in six games.
23. Cleveland Browns (5-7)
Week 13 ranking: 24
We’re No. 1 in … a player’s rushing yards after contact.
Nick Chubb leads the NFL in yards after contact per rush (2.60), powering one of the top rushing attacks in the NFL. With Kareem Hunt ranking 16th in yards after contact per rush (2.03), Cleveland remains one of the best tackle-breaking rushing offenses in the league.
24. Atlanta Falcons (5-8)
Week 13 ranking: 18
We’re No. 1 in … Avery Williams’ 17.44 yards per punt return.
The second-year pro has bounced between defense and offense — starting his career as a corner before moving to running back this year — but his biggest contribution has been on special teams. He has 16 returns this year for 279 yards. Even though he’s tied for 17th in return numbers, he’s tied for third in yards and has been a game-changer at the position for the Falcons, who also have Cordarrelle Patterson, the all-time NFL leader in kick return touchdowns, as their kick returner.
25. New Orleans Saints (4-9)
Week 13 ranking: 21
We’re No. 1 in … negative turnover differential.
The Colts just caught up to them after Monday night’s game, but the Saints have consistently led the league this season with a bad turnover ratio. The Saints are minus-12 in turnover margin, with their defense rarely taking the ball away and their offense routinely giving it away — an issue that has caused them to lose more than one game this season.
26. Arizona Cardinals (4-8)
Week 13 ranking: 25
We’re No. 1 in … offensive penalties.
The Cardinals lead the NFL in offensive penalties and accepted offensive penalties, with 53 and 44, respectively. Penalties, especially untimely flags, end up costing Arizona in situations that aren’t ideal, and have been a problem for the Cardinals not just this year but throughout Kliff Kingsbury’s tenure.
27. Carolina Panthers (4-8)
Week 13 ranking: 28
We’re No. 1 in … run block win rate for guards.
Brady Christensen and Austin Corbett have a combined run block win rate of 75.3, which in part explains why the running game has gotten so healthy the past month. They’ve helped D’Onta Foreman rush for more than 100 yards in four of his past six games since star Christian McCaffrey was traded to the San Francisco 49ers. That’s helped interim coach Steve Wilks go 3-0 at home since taking over.
28. Indianapolis Colts (4-8-1)
Week 13 ranking: 27
We’re No. 1 in … turnovers.
The Colts lead the NFL in turnovers, and this distinction is the biggest reason they have been in shambles on offense. The Colts committed five turnovers in Sunday night’s epic loss at Dallas, with giveaways on four consecutive possessions in the Cowboys’ record 33-point fourth-quarter deluge. Between Matt Ryan’s league-leading 13 interceptions and the Colts’ league-high 12 lost fumbles, turnovers have completely undermined the Colts.
29. Los Angeles Rams (3-9)
Week 13 ranking: 30
We’re No. 1 in … offensive line combinations.
The story of the season for this Rams team has been injuries, and that started up on the offensive line. On Sunday, the Rams started their 12th different offensive line combination of the season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Rams are the only team in the Super Bowl era (since 1966) to use a different starting five-man offensive line combination in each of their first 12 games of a season.
30. Chicago Bears (3-10)
Week 13 ranking: 29
We’re No. 1 in … rushing yards by a quarterback.
Justin Fields has 905 rushing yards in 12 games thanks in part to an uptick of designed runs starting in Week 7. He’s gone six straight games with a rushing touchdown, tied for the longest streak by a quarterback since 1950, and is on pace to break the Bears’ franchise quarterback rushing record currently held by Bobby Douglass (968) in 1972. His three rushing TDs of 50-plus yards are the most by any quarterback for his career in the Super Bowl era. With four games remaining, Fields is on pace to rush for over 1,200 yards, which would be the most ever by a quarterback in a season.
31. Denver Broncos (3-9)
Week 13 ranking: 31
We’re No. 1 in … red zone defense.
Other than leading the league in soul-crushing, one-score losses — the Broncos have had seven of those this season — their defense continues to be one of the league’s best on all fronts, with top-three status in scoring defense, total defense, pass defense and on third down. And they lead the way in red zone defense, as opponents have scored touchdowns on just 32% of the trips inside Denver’s 20-yard line. That hasn’t been enough to counteract the Broncos’ lowest-scoring offense, though, which is tied for last in red zone efficiency.
32. Houston Texans (1-10-1)
Week 13 ranking: 32
We’re No. 1 in … opposing quarterbacks’ red zone completion percentage.
The Texans’ defense is holding quarterbacks to a completion of 40.4% in the red zone, the best in the NFL. It’s part of the reason they allow touchdowns on only 51.28% of opposing offenses’ trips, seventh best in the NFL. They also have two interceptions in the red zone, which is tied for third most.