The New England Patriots are the No. 1 seed in the AFC entering Week 14, but are they really the best team in the conference?
Some experts and fans still view the two-time defending conference champion Kansas City Chiefs as the team to beat in the AFC. It's not a bad pick, given the Chiefs' recent track record and the generational talent of superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
You could make a strong case for the Patriots as the top team in the AFC, though. They have an elite rushing attack, which was on full display Monday night when it tallied 222 yards and a touchdown in a 14-10 win over the Buffalo Bills.
The offensive line is fantastic, and rookie quarterback Mac Jones is among the most accurate passers in the league. The real strength of the Patriots is their defense, a unit that ranks No. 3 in yards allowed per game and gives up the fewest points per game (15.6).
Former NFL player and current ESPN analyst Marcus Spears is convinced the Patriots are the AFC's top team.
"I watched the Buffalo Bills get ran through time after time," Spears said Tuesday morning on ESPN show "Get Up!". "The worst feeling in football is when you know what a team is doing and you can't do a damn thing about it. Later on in the game, Sean McDermott made an adjustment and started sending Matt Milano through the gaps. I was hoping he would start to do that in the first quarter, because when teams are lining up with 10 people at the line of scrimmage, it's time to play downhill. But what this says to me is the New England Patriots are clearly the best team in the AFC. This is more of an impressive win than they've had all season long."
Check out the full segment in the video below:
The Patriots have a bye week coming up, so their next game is a Week 15 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts on the road.
It's a pretty important game for both teams. The Patriots need a win to maintain their hold atop the AFC standings. The Colts are trying to hold on to a wild card playoff berth and maybe even challenge the Tennessee Titans for the AFC South title.
After playing the Colts, the Patriots will host the Bills in Week 16 -- a game that might decide the AFC East race.
So, while the Patriots are in a pretty good spot in the AFC playoff picture, there is plenty of work remaining over the next few weeks with a couple tough games coming up on the schedule.