Welcome to the first installment this season of the NFL Power Rankings: Media Edition. We have a great group of researchers who have already released the first AP Power Rankings of the season, but this weekly segment will be devoted to how the Chiefs and their AFC West counterparts are viewed by the mainstream media, as well as other football outlets. If you haven't checked out the AP Power Rankings, I suggest you give it a look and weigh in, but for now let us see how we stack up outside of Arrowhead Pride.
How this piece will typically work (or at least this is the plan), is to list the rankings for the Chiefs from the mainstream sports sites as well as the more obscure, yet valuable football only sites. We will track them all season and see how those outside the AP community view our beloved Chiefs, as well as their AFC West Rivals. If there are major discrepancies with the AP Power Rankings, then we will examine those. Got it? Let's have ourselves a look at what's being said around the web:
ESPN : The Worldwide Leader in Sports leads off with giving the Chiefs the lowest rannking easily of any playoff team and team with a winning record as we sit at 18th in the first rankings, behind a bevy of teams that we have more talent than. They have the Chargers at 10, the Raiders at 22, and the Broncos at 27. I disagree with these rankings, and if they want to go by preseason, then why not just put us at 32?
Fox Sports : They have not updated their rankings since free agency began, but at that point we were sitting at 13th, just one spot behind the Chargers.
CBS Sports : CBS has the Chiefs at 16th, and like many, gives this ranking due to a lack of confidence in Matt Cassel. CBS also has the Chargers at 7th, which is right about where they should be if it is based on statistics and talent alone. Oakland is right on our tail at 18th and the Broncos pull up the rear at 27th. I value CBS' football content, but their rankings are what I would describe as many "guesses", lacking any true supporting details.
Pro Football Focus: This is one of my favorite sites, and we will be tracking them, but their rankings are a few weeks old. Our Chiefs are at 14th in their original rankings, while the Chargers are at 11. The Raiders come in at 22nd and last yet again are the Broncos at 28th.
SB Nation : And what good would we be if we didn't check out the SB Nation Power Rankings, composed by our own Joel Thorman? Mr. Thorman and SB Nation have the Chiefs at the number 13 position, but Thorman worries that his ranking may be too high and may be guilty of being a "homer". We will let it slide this time Joel. SB Nation has the Chargers at 9, the Raiders at 25 (the lowest I have seen the Raiders anywhere), and the Broncos at 29.
With a good amount of sites behind in their power rankings at the time of this article, it's safe to say that what we have seen so far is a pretty consistent order in the AFC West, and what I consider to be a fair and balanced judgment of where the Chiefs and their peers belong going into week 1. While the AP Power Rankings have us slightly higher than those sites that I have cited today, anywhere between 11th and 20th seems about right at the moment. That puts us in the middle third and until the team indeed proves that last year was not a fluke and not just because of an easy schedule, that is where we will stay.
But you ask, doesn't anyone think we are a top 10 team going into the season? I thought you'd never ask!
WhatifSports Computer Generated Rankings: Yes! WhatifSports utilizes its football simulation to rank all 32 NFL teams. To come up with the rankings, each team plays every other team 10,000 times. Teams are then ordered by winning percentage. The predictions use the most up-to-date stats, rosters and depth charts. The Chiefs are ranked 6th in the NFL in these rankings, although the Chargers beat us yet again as they are ranked 2nd. The Raiders once again come in at 20th and the Broncos storm all the way to 24th. Not that we needed to be reminded, but we play against 6 of the other 9 top ten teams in these rankings. But hey, 6th isn't bad.
So there you have our first edition of the NFL Power Rankings: Media Edition. I would venture to say that next week's rankings could look a lot different, so stay tuned to both the AP Power Rankings as well as the Media Edition.