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Week 12 NFL Pundit Power Rankings: Chiefs drop to third

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The Chiefs’ 54-51 loss to the Rams on Monday dropped the Chiefs back into third place in our weekly aggregation of power rankings.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Rams Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Following the Chiefs’ 54-51 loss to the Rams on Monday night, it would have been reasonable to expect the national pundits to swap the Rams and Chiefs in their Week 12 power rankings. And that’s pretty much what happened.

Pundit Power Rankings for Week 12

Chiefs AFC West Teams Other AFC Teams

Rank Team ESPN MMQB NFL SBN SpNws Yahoo CBS USA
1
(1)
Saints
9-1
1
(1)
1
(1)
1
(1)
1
(1)
1
(1)
1
(2)
1
(1)
1
(1)
2
(3)
Rams
10-1
2
(3)
2
(2)
2
(3)
2
(3)
2
(3)
2
(3)
2
(2)
2
(3)
3
(2)
Chiefs
9-2
3
(2)
3
(2)
3
(2)
3
(2)
3
(2)
3
(1)
3
(3)
3
(2)
4
(4)
Steelers
7-2-1
4
(5)
4
(4)
4
(6)
4
(5)
4
(4)
4
(5)
5
(6)
4
(4)
5
(6)
Patriots
7-3
5
(6)
5
(5)
5
(5)
5
(6)
5
(6)
5
(6)
4
(5)
5
(6)
6
(9)
Bears
7-3
6
(7)
6
(13)
7
(9)
6
(7)
6
(10)
6
(8)
6
(8)
7
(8)
7
(5)
Chargers
7-3
7
(4)
7
(7)
6
(4)
8
(4)
8
(5)
7
(4)
7
(4)
6
(5)
8
(10)
Texans
7-3
8
(10)
9
(12)
8
(10)
7
(8)
7
(9)
8
(10)
8
(9)
8
(12)
Rank Team ESPN MMQB NFL SBN SpNws Yahoo CBS USA
9
(7)
Vikings
5-4-1
9
(8)
7
(6)
10
(8)
13
(11)
10
(7)
10
(7)
11
(7)
9
(7)
10
(8)
Panthers
6-4
10
(9)
11
(9)
9
(7)
12
(10)
9
(8)
9
(9)
9
(10)
10
(10)
11
(16)
Seahawks
5-5
11
(15)
12
(17)
12
(15)
14
(20)
14
(20)
13
(16)
13
(21)
13
(15)
12
(20)
Colts
5-5
15
(20)
14
(19)
14
(18)
9
(15)
13
(19)
15
(18)
10
(15)
11
(21)
13
(19)
Ravens
5-5
13
(16)
16
(18)
11
(12)
10
(17)
15
(21)
14
(17)
15
(20)
14
(20)
14
(15)
Cowboys
5-5
16
(19)
13
(15)
13
(17)
16
(19)
12
(17)
11
(14)
12
(16)
16
(16)
15
(11)
Packers
4-5-1
12
(11)
10
(8)
15
(11)
17
(12)
16
(13)
17
(11)
17
(13)
20
(13)
16
(12)
Redskins
6-4
14
(12)
19
(15)
16
(13)
11
(9)
11
(11)
12
(12)
14
(11)
12
(9)
Rank Team ESPN MMQB NFL SBN SpNws Yahoo CBS USA
17
(13)
Titans
5-5
17
(14)
18
(11)
19
(14)
15
(13)
17
(12)
16
(13)
16
(12)
15
(11)
18
(14)
Eagles
-6
18
(13)
15
(10)
24
(19)
20
(16)
20
(15)
18
(15)
18
(17)
22
(17)
19
(18)
Bengals
5-5
19
(17)
22
(21)
21
(21)
18
(14)
18
(14)
19
(19)
20
(14)
17
(14)
20
(17)
Falcons
4-6
20
(18)
17
(14)
17
(16)
24
(21)
21
(16)
20
(20)
21
(18)
24
(19)
21
(21)
Dolphins
5-5
21
(21)
23
(23)
23
(23)
19
(18)
19
(18)
22
(21)
19
(19)
19
(22)
22
(25)
Lions
4-6
24
(24)
20
(22)
20
(24)
22
(24)
22
(24)
21
(23)
23
(27)
18
(28)
23
(24)
Broncos
4-6
22
(23)
23
(24)
18
(20)
21
(22)
23
(26)
23
(26)
22
(22)
21
(27)
24
(22)
Jaguars
3-7
23
(22)
21
(20)
25
(25)
26
(25)
26
(23)
25
(22)
26
(26)
25
(24)
Rank Team ESPN MMQB NFL SBN SpNws Yahoo CBS USA
25
(23)
Browns
3-6-1
25
(25)
27
(25)
22
(22)
23
(23)
24
(22)
24
(24)
24
(23)
23
(18)
26
(28)
Giants
-7
26
(29)
25
(27)
26
(27)
25
(29)
25
(30)
26
(27)
25
(28)
26
(29)
27
(26)
Buccaneers
3-7
27
(26)
26
(26)
27
(26)
27
(26)
29
(25)
27
(25)
28
(25)
27
(23)
28
(27)
Bills
3-7
28
(27)
28
(30)
28
(28)
28
(27)
27
(27)
28
(28)
27
(24)
28
(25)
29
(29)
Jets
3-7
29
(28)
30
(31)
31
(31)
29
(28)
28
(28)
30
(30)
32
(31)
29
(26)
29
(31)
49ers
2-8
30
(30)
29
(29)
29
(30)
30
(31)
30
(31)
29
(29)
31
(30)
30
(31)
31
(32)
Raiders
2-8
31
(32)
31
(32)
30
(32)
31
(32)
31
(32)
31
(32)
29
(32)
31
(32)
32
(30)
Cardinals
2-8
32
(31)
32
(28)
32
(29)
32
(30)
32
(29)
32
(31)
30
(29)
32
(30)
Numbers in parentheses are the previous week's ranking.
The left-hand column is the aggregate of all rankings.
ESPN and MMQB rankings are weighted 2.5 times all others.
Other questions?
Read the True Power Rankings Methodology

Here's what the pundits we're tracking said about the Chiefs this week:

ESPN (3rd from 2nd)

Thankful for: A home-grown quarterback. For most of their first 58 seasons, the Chiefs went almost exclusively with another team's discard at the game's most important position. They finally committed to making it work with one of their own and they were rewarded with Patrick Mahomes. Even though he's in his first season as the starter, Mahomes looks like he's going to be one of the best for many years to come.

MMQB (3rd from 2nd)

The Chiefs put on a show in their 54-51 loss to the Rams, but ultimately fell short. We’ll see if that experience is any help to them the next time they play on a stage that big.

NFL.com (Elliot Harrison - 3rd from 2nd)

How do you quibble with anything 2018 Chiefs-related after seeing them score 51 points on the road in a game they weren't even supposed to be playing in this country? Kansas City proved, again, it can hang with any opponent in the NFL. The Chiefs are 9-2, with quality wins over the Chargers and Steelers, and one-score losses to the Patriots and Rams (both on the road, and both in games when Kansas City's offense ended up stopping itself more than anything else). Perhaps the largest oddity to emerge from that Monday night spectacle: Patrick Mahomes committed five turnovers, and the Chiefs still scored 51 points. Hate moving this group down.

SBNation (Rebecca Toback - 3rd from 2nd)

Can there be a three-way tie in the power rankings? Because after the Saints beat the Rams, and the Rams squeaked out just a three-point win over the Chiefs in Los Angeles, it’s clear all three of these teams are great. Better than great. But as incredible as the Chiefs and Rams were on Monday — and have been all season — the Saints deserve their spot atop the rankings after winning nine straight games, including a 10-point victory over the Rams.

Sporting News (Vinnie Iyer - 3rd from 2nd)

After beating the Steelers and just falling short to the Patriots, the Chiefs remain AFC favorites despite the close loss to NFC power Los Angeles on Monday night.

Yahoo! Sports (Frank Schwab - 3rd from 1st)

A leftover thought from the Monday night thriller: I wonder if Patrick Mahomes loses ground in the MVP race despite 478 yards and six touchdowns. That sounds crazy, but he did turn it over five times. The argument for Drew Brees for MVP has been his insane efficiency. Brees has turned it over one time all season. It depends if voters see the crazy production or dwell on the mistakes.

CBS Sports (Pete Prisco - 3rd from 3rd)

They were dynamic again on offense this week against the Rams, but they also have defensive issues. That has to change.

USA Today (Nate Davis - 3rd from 2nd)

It figured Patrick Mahomes would have some rookie-esque, gunslinger-esque five-turnover nights. Just didn't figure they would be more than offset by six TD passes and a near-superhuman (but not quite adequate) performance.

Other power rankings we noticed this week:

Bleeding Green Nation (Brandon Lee Gowton — 3rd from 2nd) No reason to hang their heads. Andy Reid will still get a crack at either New Orleans or LA in Super Bowl LIII.

Washington Post (Mark Maske — 4th from 2nd) There were a few too many mistakes and a few too many turnovers by QB Patrick Mahomes and the offense Monday night in L.A. But it was a memorably great game, and the Chiefs can play with anyone in this NFL season of revved-up offenses.

Chicago Tribune (Brad Biggs — 3rd from 2nd) Epic 54-51 loss at the Rams on Monday night will be talked about for decades — maybe in January, too, if the teams have a rematch in Atlanta.

Mile High Report (Pete Baron — 3rd from 2nd) Usually 51 points is enough, but not last night. Did anyone else, and I don’t care what team you root for, but did anyone else watch the Chiefs v Rams and say “Oh man, I wish we had Patrick Mahomes?” And I’m talking even Packer fans should be saying that! And yes, I realize he had 3 INTs and 2 strip sacks from Donald. Those things happen. But six touchdowns and so many clutch “how did he do that” plays? Yeah, can we hire Andy Reid to be our draft day guru when picking QBs please?


The pundits are remarkably unanimous at the top of their rankings this week. With a couple of exceptions, the top six teams are the same in every single one of the rankings we’re tracking.

This is not really surprising. We’re at the point of the season where the writers are going to care most about what just happened — if Team X defeated Team Y, then X must be ranked higher than Y — than they are about truly evaluating the quality of the teams. You can argue that this makes the rankings meaningless — you’d have a point — but it also makes some sense, too. It is, after all, how the NFL playoffs work.

Therefore, since the Rams beat the Chiefs — and since the New Orleans Saints have already beaten the Rams, and on Sunday destroyed the Philadelphia Eagles — the top three choices in everybody’s ranking are pretty much set in stone, and those immediately following show a lot of consistency, too.

In the eyes of the pundits, the Chicago Bears and Houston Texans now belong in the upper tier. The Carolina Panthers and Minnesota Vikings had to drop out to make room. Down in the bottom tier, the Detroit Lions climbed out, and the Cleveland Browns dropped in.

Snark of the week

There were many worthy jibes, but I was particularly amused by this one from USA Today’s Nate Davis about the Cleveland Browns:

If Condoleezza Rice isn’t really in the running to be Cleveland’s next coach, does this mean Hue Jackson won’t be Secretary of State?

This logic is completely irrefutable.

Join us on Wednesday, and we’ll see how this changes when we add the data from the number-crunchers to see if the Chiefs really deserve to be ranked third in the NFL.