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Monday open thread: Who is the best team in the NFL?

The playoffs are closing in. Which team is the best in the league?

NFL: NOV 08 Saints at Buccaneers Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The holiday season is supposed to be a time of joy. Sadly, as a Detroit Lions fan, there is very little joy to be had from this pitiful football season.

You know what? I don’t want to talk about the Lions today. Let’s talk about good teams instead.

The playoff picture is coming into clarity with just a week (and a Monday Night Football game) left in the regular season. With an expanded playoff format this season, we will see more teams than usual square off on their quest for the Lombardi Trophy, and that means more storylines to follow.

In the AFC, the Kansas City Chiefs are in a prime position to repeat as Super Bowl champions, sitting at a league-best 14-1. However, despite winning ten games in a row, the wins have been getting narrower and narrower for Kansas City. They have failed to cover the spread in six straight games, including narrow victories over the Broncos in (22-16) and Falcons (17-14). Will the Chiefs finally end up on the wrong end of a close game?

There has been a changing of the guard in the AFC East. The Buffalo Bills have surpassed the New England Patriots as the team to beat in the division, thanks in part to Josh Allen’s improvement. The Miami Dolphins aren’t too far behind either, hoping to snag a Wild Card spot or the division if Buffalo falters. Miami might have a short leash on Tua Tagovailoa, but they are a team on the rise.

Elsewhere, the Steelers, Ravens, and Browns are all threats in the AFC North, each team hitting double digit wins. Though Pittsburgh and Baltimore have rebounded after some hiccups, the Browns recently lost to the Jets, a loss that could prove costly in the playoff race.

The Titans and Colts, both 10-5, could win the AFC South or miss the playoffs outright. The final week of the season will prove to be critical. Tennessee plays the Texans, while the Colts play the Jaguars, both of which are winnable games.

The NFC playoff picture is a bit more settled than the AFC, although there are a few surprises to be had in the final week.

The Packers, fresh off stomping the Titans on Sunday Night Football, sit at 12-3 atop the conference and look primed for the bye. The Seahawks and Saints lag behind at 11-4 each with their divisions clinched. The NFC East is an absolute mess, and unless the Washington Football Team wins next week, we could see a 6-10 team in the playoffs. Yuck.

The Wild Card is where things get interesting. The Buccaneers have secured a spot, but the Rams, Bears, and Cardinals are fighting for the remaining two spots. Chicago, a team on the rise thanks to Mitchell Trubisky facing the Texans, Vikings, and Jaguars, are somehow challenging for a playoff spot despite a quarterback carousel. The Cardinals started off hot, but inconsistent play could doom them. The Rams, meanwhile, also fell victim to the Jets. The New York Jets, killer of dreams.

That’s how the playoffs are looking, but which team has the edge going forward?

Today’s Question of the Day is:

Who is the best team in the NFL?

My answer: I think the Buccaneers are the best team in the NFL. It might be surprising to list a Wild Card team as the top team, but as we witnessed with their demolition of the Detroit Lions, they are a team with an explosive offense and a stout defense.

They will have to overcome the Saints, a team they have lost to twice this season, but I think things could be different in the playoffs. Alvin Kamara has been great for New Orleans, but without Michael Thomas, I think the lack of a top wide receiver could hurt their chances. The Buccaneers have no shortage of talent on offense.

Green Bay, Buffalo, and Kansas City are up there as contenders, all of them boasts top tier offenses, but I am not sold on their defenses. Tampa Bay looks like a complete, well-rounded team going forward.

Plus, it’s hard to count out Touchdown Tom.

Your turn.