The New England Patriots have taken an NFL-best seven-game win streak into their Week 14 bye.
As a result, the Patriots sit atop the AFC East standings and occupy the No. 1 seed in the conference for the first time since 2019.
The hype around the Patriots being a Super Bowl contender has been building for several weeks, but it recently reached another level after their Monday night win over the rival Buffalo Bills on the road.
People across the football landscape, including some former players, are calling the Patriots the best team in the AFC.
ESPN's Stephen A. Smith largely echoed that sentiment Tuesday during a segment on "First Take".
"When I look at New England, I look at them as the most complete team in the AFC," Smith said. "We know what Kansas City can do based on history. What we haven't seen enough of from them is doing it this year.
"Earlier in the year, their defense was a problem. As the season has (progressed), the offense has become more of a problem. ... The way (the Chiefs are) winning now can't beat New England. I think what we've seen from Kansas City over the previous three years, I think that team is different. This Kansas City team I see losing to New England in Foxboro."
The Patriots are the only team with a top-three offense and defense in Pro Football Focus' grades through 13 games. New England's defense ranks No. 3 in yards allowed per game and gives up the fewest points per game.
The offense is led by an excellent rushing attack, one that dominated the Bills for 222 yards and a touchdown in Week 13. The passing attack is spearheaded by a rookie quarterback in Mac Jones who ranks among the most accurate passers in the league.
Add in elite coaching and it's easy to see why many people view the Patriots as the most complete team in the AFC.