clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Week 15 NFL power rankings: Chiefs rise to second place

New, comments

The national writers gave a boost to the Chiefs after they beat the Ravens on Sunday — but perhaps not as much as they should have.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Power Rankings for Week 15 are in, and the Kansas City Chiefs rise two spots into second place in our aggregated pundit rankings after beating the Baltimore Ravens 27-24 on Sunday.

Pundit Power Rankings for Week 15

Chiefs AFC West Teams Other AFC Teams

Rank Team ESPN MMQB NFL SpNws Yahoo CBS USA
1
(2)
Saints
11-2
1
(2)
1
(1)
1
(1)
1
(2)
1
(2)
2
(4)
1
(2)
2
(4)
Chiefs
11-2
2
(3)
2
(4)
2
(4)
2
(4)
3
(3)
1
(2)
3
(4)
3
(1)
Rams
11-2
3
(1)
3
(1)
3
(2)
3
(1)
2
(1)
3
(1)
2
(1)
4
(3)
Patriots
9-4
5
(4)
4
(3)
4
(3)
6
(3)
6
(4)
4
(3)
5
(3)
5
(5)
Chargers
10-3
4
(5)
6
(5)
5
(5)
4
(5)
4
(5)
8
(9)
4
(5)
6
(8)
Bears
9-4
6
(8)
5
(10)
6
(8)
5
(7)
5
(7)
6
(8)
6
(9)
7
(9)
Cowboys
8-5
8
(11)
7
(7)
9
(10)
9
(10)
8
(9)
5
(6)
8
(7)
8
(6)
Texans
9-4
7
(6)
10
(8)
7
(6)
7
(6)
7
(6)
9
(5)
7
(6)
Rank Team ESPN MMQB NFL SpNws Yahoo CBS USA
9
(10)
Seahawks
8-5
9
(9)
8
(11)
8
(9)
8
(9)
10
(10)
7
(7)
9
(11)
10
(7)
Steelers
7-5-1
10
(7)
9
(5)
12
(7)
10
(8)
9
(8)
11
(10)
11
(8)
11
(12)
Ravens
7-6
11
(10)
13
(13)
10
(11)
11
(11)
11
(11)
12
(11)
10
(13)
12
(13)
Colts
7-6
12
(13)
14
(15)
11
(13)
12
(15)
13
(15)
10
(12)
12
(15)
13
(11)
Vikings
6-6-1
13
(12)
11
(9)
13
(12)
15
(12)
16
(12)
14
(13)
15
(12)
14
(17)
Titans
7-6
14
(16)
15
(16)
14
(17)
14
(18)
12
(14)
15
(19)
14
(18)
15
(19)
Dolphins
7-6
17
(20)
16
(20)
16
(20)
13
(17)
14
(18)
13
(17)
13
(17)
16
(15)
Eagles
6-7
15
(17)
12
(12)
18
(15)
19
(19)
17
(13)
17
(15)
19
(14)
Rank Team ESPN MMQB NFL SpNws Yahoo CBS USA
17
(14)
Panthers
6-7
16
(14)
18
(14)
22
(16)
16
(14)
18
(16)
20
(16)
18
(16)
18
(16)
Broncos
6-7
18
(15)
20
(17)
17
(14)
20
(16)
19
(17)
16
(14)
16
(10)
18
(20)
Packers
5-7-1
19
(19)
17
(18)
15
(19)
17
(20)
20
(19)
21
(20)
20
(25)
20
(21)
Browns
5-7-1
20
(22)
19
(26)
19
(21)
18
(21)
15
(20)
18
(22)
17
(20)
21
(24)
Giants
5-8
22
(26)
21
(24)
20
(24)
22
(23)
22
(26)
19
(24)
22
(22)
22
(25)
Lions
5-8
25
(27)
23
(23)
21
(22)
23
(26)
23
(24)
23
(26)
24
(24)
23
(23)
Buccaneers
5-8
24
(23)
24
(25)
24
(26)
25
(24)
21
(21)
26
(21)
23
(23)
24
(21)
Falcons
4-9
23
(21)
22
(21)
26
(25)
26
(25)
27
(23)
28
(25)
21
(21)
Rank Team ESPN MMQB NFL SpNws Yahoo CBS USA
25
(18)
Redskins
6-7
21
(18)
31
(19)
23
(18)
21
(13)
26
(22)
24
(18)
25
(19)
26
(27)
Bengals
5-8
27
(25)
27
(30)
28
(28)
24
(22)
28
(28)
22
(23)
26
(26)
27
(28)
Bills
4-9
28
(28)
27
(27)
25
(23)
28
(27)
25
(25)
25
(27)
30
(27)
28
(26)
Jaguars
4-9
26
(24)
25
(22)
30
(27)
29
(28)
29
(27)
29
(28)
31
(28)
29
(30)
Jets
4-9
29
(29)
26
(29)
31
(32)
27
(30)
24
(29)
31
(32)
28
(29)
30
(31)
Raiders
3-10
31
(32)
29
(31)
27
(29)
31
(32)
31
(32)
27
(30)
29
(30)
31
(32)
49ers
3-10
30
(31)
30
(32)
29
(31)
30
(31)
30
(31)
30
(31)
27
(32)
32
(29)
Cardinals
3-10
32
(30)
32
(28)
32
(30)
32
(29)
32
(30)
32
(29)
32
(31)
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 have had to say about the Chiefs so far this week:

ESPN (2nd from 3rd)

Top wish list item: A win over the Chargers on Thursday night. That would get the Chiefs one of their goals -- they would clinch the AFC West title -- and get them close to another, which is home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. If they lose to the Chargers, the Chiefs would have to expend plenty of energy over the final two games to reach both goals.

NFL.com (Elliot Harrison - 2nd from 4th)

Much of the country might see the Chiefs' three-point overtime win against the Ravens as a stumble -- but this space sees it as a glowing positive. Kansas City has not won a defensive battle all season, and although Sunday's affair would hardly be classified as a Neil Smith- and Albert Lewis-inspired defensive slugfest, the Chiefs defense made some huge stops. Justin Houston's strip-sack darn near won the day in regulation. Then Bob Sutton's group held the fort on the second possession of overtime. Ultimately, the Chiefs might be asked to win this style of contest in the postseason -- think about last year's playoff match with the Titans. Then again, don't think about it.

Sporting News (Vinnie Iyer - 2nd from 4th)

Patrick Mahomes' latest magic gave him a big boost in his MVP campaign, and more important, it gave his team some cushion for home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs. He'll need to go back where this season's tricks started: against the Chargers.

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

I don’t even know what to say about Patrick Mahomes anymore. His 48-yard pass to Tyreek Hill on fourth down to keep the Chiefs alive on Sunday was as good as you’ll ever see. If he wins MVP, that throw will be one of the main reasons.

CBS Sports (Pete Prisco - 1st from 2nd)

They are the best team in the league right now. But they have to be careful or they could end up as a wild-card team if they don't beat the Chargers on Thursday.

USA Today (Nate Davis - 3rd from 4th)

We're tired of those touting how hard it will be for visitors to win at Arrowhead in January. KC has lost six straight home playoff games.

Other power rankings we noticed this week:

Bleeding Green Nation (Brandon Lee Gowton — 1st from 2nd) Pat Mahomes is ridiculous. He’s the NFL MVP.

Washington Post (Mark Maske — 1st from 3rd) Patrick Mahomes probably reclaimed front-runner status in the league MVP chase with his crunch-time exploits in Sunday’s victory over the Ravens. The Chiefs now are in very good position to secure the AFC’s top postseason seed, even if they stumble Thursday night against the Chargers. The potential return of safety Eric Berry would be a major boost for the defense.

NJ.com (Joe Giglio — 2nd from 3rd) Patrick Mahomes isn’t a product of Andy Reid’s system. He’s that good.

NBCSports.com (Cam Ellis — 2nd from 3rd) Beating one of the NFL’s top-3 defenses in a close game is almost more impressive to me than their shootout against the Rams.

Chicago Tribune (Brad Biggs — 1st from 3rd) Left-handed passes. No-look passes. What’s next for Patrick Mahomes?

NESN.com (Joshua Schrock — 3rd from 4th) Patrick Mahomes pulled a few rabbits out his hat during KC’s overtime win against the Baltimore Ravens and now the Chiefs are in the driver’s seat for the AFC’s No. 1 seed. Have you ever seen anything like this?!

Houston Chronicle (John McClain — 1st from 2nd) They pulled out an overtime victory over Baltimore. They host the Chargers in a Thursday night game that affects the AFC West race.

AtlantaFalcons.com (Matt Tabeek — 1st from 2nd) They’re not only the most exciting team to watch, but they’re my new No. 1 team.


As a few of the early commenters have already noted, USA Today’s Nate Davis doesn’t have a smart take on the Chiefs this week.

Not only do the Chiefs — with Patrick Mahomes — have an entirely different team character than any of the Chiefs teams that lost those six postseason games at home, I’m not even aware that anybody is even arguing that the Chiefs will be hard to beat in Arrowhead Stadium come January. Because... you know... the Chiefs have lost six consecutive postseason games there. But hey... at least he didn’t rank the Chiefs behind the Ra... oh, wait. Never mind.

However, we should at least give some kudos to CBS Sports writer — and longtime Chiefs-abuser — Pete Prisco, who even had the Chiefs ranked first last week.

For what it’s worth, I largely agree with Elliot Harrison’s take on NFL.com — although I do think he erred by not backing up his words with a number one ranking for the Chiefs; it’s not as if Harrison’s comments about the New Orleans Saints this week were an unqualified endorsement!

Here’s why I agree with Harrison: ever since about the the third week of the season, I had been worried about the game against the Ravens — largely because I have been compiling this data, and knew that while the pundits didn’t necessarily see the Ravens as a tough team, the number-crunchers did.

This chart is similar to the ones I have showed you during the last couple of weeks in Wednesday True Power Rankings articles. This one compares the average cruncher rankings (the black line) to the individual pundit rankings — instead of the other way around.

Here we see that while there was reason to believe the Ravens have been a pretty good team, most of the pundits weren’t seeing it. Harrison, to his credit (NFL.com is the green line), tended to give the Ravens more credit than some others — especially when Joe Flacco was injured.

So I would conclude that if the pundits were looking at it with a less-biased eye, they might see that the Chiefs’ victory was indeed significant — not only because the Ravens are a pretty good team, but also because it was just the kind of matchup the Chiefs needed to prove they could win. After all... the Los Angeles Rams had just such a game in Week 14, too... and they couldn’t handle it.

How about one more — just for fun?

Here we see another team about which the pundits and crunchers disagree — but this one has generally been overvalued by the pundits — some way more than others.


Snark of the week

It’s not every week that the pundits gang up on a team that they have spent decades praising. But that happened this week, and it’s too much fun not to share. Please enjoy these takes about the Patriots-Dolphins game:

Chicago Tribune, Brad Biggs

It’s time to rethink Rob Gronkowski in the Hail Mary defense.

NBCSports.com, Cam Ellis

Like the Patriots cannot play in Miami, the Steelers cannot play in Oakland. I don’t know why, either. Those are just the rules.

Washington Post, Mark Maske

The Dolphins executed that play so well, they now should make a minimum of two laterals on each offensive play.

And just because it made me laugh out loud, another from Maske:

What’s your favorite memory of the Mark Sanchez era as the Redskins’ starting quarterback? Didn’t it seem like it just started yesterday?

That’s it for this week. We’ll flip over to the number-cruncher view of the NFL on Wednesday, and give you the Week 15 True Power Rankings — be sure to check it out!