Greetings from chilly New England as it is time for our weekly odyssey into the world of power rankings. What a long, strange trip it has been up to this point for the Chiefs, wouldn't you say? Starting in the top fifteen, being relegated to the worst team in football and slowly working back to and above respectability. For weeks we have seen analysts on many of the sites we analyze hammer away at our beloved Chiefs, only to have them do a complete 180 degree turn here entering Week 9.
The rankings are interesting this week, I will admit. What is most interesting though is not so much a number assigned to each team, but exactly how the Chiefs are perceived in comparison to the Chargers and Raiders (teams the Chiefs are 2-1 against). We examine eight websites each week and this week four of them have the Chiefs as the top team in the AFC West, while two have us second and two have us third. The one constant is that the Broncos are fourth in every ranking system, but as we ourselves have seen, anything can happen in this crazy game of football. But enough intro, let's find out what the "experts" have to say!
"THE CHIEFS ARE THE THIRD BEST TEAM IN THE AFC WEST"
Football Outsiders: How can you blame computerized statistical rankings? You really can't. The Chiefs are ranked 22nd by FO, just one spot behind the Chargers who are at 21 and four behind the Raiders who are at 18. Here's the good news: our first two games hurt us in this model of rankings and it will be tough for us ever to get in the 15 to 10 region. Also, despite those two games we have the best defense and special teams in the AFC West which to me is more important than a simple numerical ranking. I am content with this. Closing out the FO rankings are the Broncos who are at 28 this week.
ESPN: Nothing to see here but true sports journalism at it's finest. The good thing about ESPN is that they aren't very biased and have no impact over the way sports are run these days. ESPN still maintains that the Chargers are the best team in the AFC West by only dropping them six spots to number 15 this week. And despite losing 28-0 to the Chiefs in Week 7, the Raiders dropped another two to 17th. The Chiefs meanwhile, move up three spots to 18th, and received this: "The Chiefs deserve major props for surviving an 0-3 start and building their record back up to 4-3." Unfortunately not enough props were earned to be ahead of the two teams they most recently beat. Oh well, life goes on. Except maybe for Denver, who dropped one spot (just one?) after their spirited performance vs. Detroit to #28.
"THE CHIEFS ARE THE SECOND BEST TEAM IN THE AFC WEST"
Fox Sports with Brian Billick: Ahh, Brian Billick. You toy with us. You finally start to give the Chiefs some love but you still get your jabs in. I am shocked. Let's start with your first choice, the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers dropped six spots to #13 this week. That isn't the best part. Down six spots from the Chargers are our Chiefs who come in at number 19 this week. I had forgotten that the gap between the two squads was that big. Of the Chiefs Billick says, "For the first time this season, the fans at Arrowhead finally had something to cheer about. The Chiefs have now won four in a row to get them above .500, and find themselves in a three-way tie for the divisional lead. Rookie WR Jon Baldwin made an electrifying touchdown catch against the Chargers, but still needs to be more consistent in the KC offense". Apparently old Brian forgot that we are 2-1 at home and cheered loudly in our other home victory against the Vikings. The Raiders fell one spot to 20th (the Raiders dropped in six of the rankings without playing) and the Broncos slipped one spot to 26th. We are probably going to have to go 13-3 to get some true love from Billick, so let's keep it going. (and I feel like the sentence I bolded sounds grammatically incorrect).
Pro Football Talk: I've been a little critical of PFT during the season, but this week's rankings are awesome. Not because of where we rank, but because of some of the snarky commentary they give after each team's ranking. I laughed more than a few times to say the least. The Raiders are on top of the AFC West here at #11 and PFT says "If Broncos vs. Lions was billed as a battle of good vs. evil, what’s Broncos vs. Raiders?" That is a great question. The Chiefs, who were PFT whipping boys for weeks come in at 16th this week. " Brandon Flowers told PFT Live last week that the Chiefs are the team to beat in the AFC West. The Chargers couldn’t". Which is why those very Chargers dropped eight spots to number 18 this week. This is great: "If Philip Rivers ever gets a chance to lift the Lombardi, there’s now a good chance he’ll drop it." Love it. Last and certainly least, the Broncos fell two spots to 27th. Regarding the Broncos, "A week after "Tebowing" took the league by storm, "Teblowing" now refers to throwing passes so far over a receiver’s head that it looks like the ball was caught in a sudden gust of wind." Keep 'em coming PFT, keep 'em coming.
"THE CHIEFS ARE THE BEST TEAM IN THE AFC WEST"
National Football Post: NFP bumped the Chiefs up four spots and gave them the number 16 spot this week. Like many, NFP was particularly impressed with the performance of Jonathan Baldwin. Directly behind the Chiefs are the Chargers and Raiders who come in at 17th and 18th respectively. I like it. Playing it safe with the 1, 2, 3 AFC West combo. Let's see if that's a trend in the remaining rankings. And oh yeah, the Broncos are ranked 28th this week. I grew up despising those disgusting orange jerseys and John Elway so I really can't say I feel bad. Just saying.
Walter Football: Love Walter or hate Walter, he has been a fair grader of the Chiefs all season. He continues that trend as he gives the Chiefs his #15 spot this week and tops in the AFC West. Thanks to the victory over the Chargers, this puts them one spot over San Diego, who comes in at 16th this week. The Oakland Raiders hold tight at number 20 and the Broncos achieve a week high here coming in at 24th. More commentary from me: Walter Football is opinionated and occasionally off, but is worth a read now and then for some of the humorous "pseudo-conversations" he comes up with in his posts. I kind of enjoy the site this season.
SB Nation: Sensei Joel Thorman (of the SB Nation dojo) unveiled another edition of rankings yesterday and finally had the good sense to put our beloved Chiefs atop the AFC West. Thorman and the Nation have the Chiefs at 15th this week, up six spots after the big win over the Chargers. Those Chargers are ranked right below the Chiefs at 16 and keeping in the "1,2,3" school of thought, the Raiders come in at 17th. But what about the Broncos? The Broncos come in at a week low of 29th at SB Nation. Can't say I disagree with that one considering that I sometimes think Tebow might actually be right handed and doesn't know it.
CBS Sports: Simply amazing. Pete Prisco at CBS has been Billick-esque in his Chiefs critiques, yet this week he has the Chiefs moving up eleven spots to #13 this week. I don't get too fixated on these rankings, but that was a big surprise as far as I am concerned. Pete studied under Sensei Thorman in his younger days and decided to go with the old "1,2,3" as well as the Chargers come in at 14th and the Raiders 15th. Savvy, veteran move Prisco. As for the Broncos, CBS has them at 28th but there's still time to improve I guess. Hopefully not.
Well there you have it folks. Another week in the books and the Chiefs are sitting atop the AFC West. What will the rankings look like next week? I have no idea. But I am willing to bet we will have some more to talk about as always here at the NFL Power Rankings: Media Edition. Stay tuned for this week's Arrowhead Pride edition, and also stayed tuned for the tale of my exciting trip to Arrowhead this past weekend (and Monday). Until then, have a great night and go Chiefs!!