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Week 16 True Power Rankings: Chiefs fall to third

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With Thursday’s loss to the Chargers, the Chiefs stayed in second place with the crunchers, but fell to third overall.

On Tuesday, the Kansas City Chiefs fell to third place in our summary of NFL power rankings. After mixing in the data from the number-crunchers, the Chiefs also fall to third place in the Week 16 True Power Rankings — but only by the barest of margins.

Following Week 15, the crunchers still have the Chiefs in second place.

Cruncher Power Rankings for Week 16

Chiefs AFC West Teams Other AFC Teams

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

Even with their 29-28 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday, the Chiefs again held steady — or improved — in all of the data-based models and held steady in second place with the crunchers.

The same was true for the Chargers. They also held steady or improved in all the data-based models — but none of them have a requirement that when one team that beats another that the winner must be ranked higher! So the Chargers traded places with the Los Angeles Rams, moving into third place.

Interestingly — as Aaron Schatz noted in his analysis of Football Outsiders’ DVOA rankings this week — despite losing the game, the Chiefs actually had a better DVOA score than the Chargers did in the game, thereby strengthening their lead on the Chargers in DVOA’s rankings.

In fact, the Chiefs have consistently been DVOA’s favorite for most of the season, as we see in this chart.

Despite being ranked so poorly on the defensive side, the Chiefs have been at the top of the DVOA rankings since Week 7. That’s because the Chiefs have been the top team on offense — and at least very near the top in special teams — ever since then. That’s just the way the math works out.

And while the Chiefs have indeed been ranked poorly in defensive DVOA during all of this time — they’re currently 27th — you shouldn’t conclude that DVOA says the Chiefs have a terrible defense. In fact, by DVOA’s reckoning, it’s just a bit below average — and has been for most of the season.

Don’t believe me? Look at what happens when we convert the current DVOA defensive values into standard deviations from average and represent those values with letter grades.

Defensive DVOA Grades After Week 15

Team Def DVOA Grade
Bears -25.60% A+
Ravens -12.90% B
Bills -10.80% B-
Broncos -10.50% B-
Jaguars -8.60% C+
Vikings -8.60% C+
Texans -5.30% C+
Saints -5.00% C+
Cowboys -4.90% C+
Browns -4.70% C+
Colts -4.50% C+
Chargers -4.00% C+
Titans -1.80% C
Rams -1.00% C
Cardinals 0.10% C
Jets 0.30% C
Steelers 0.50% C
Redskins 0.80% C
Seahawks 1.60% C
Eagles 2.40% C
Patriots 3.20% C-
Giants 3.30% C-
49ers 3.70% C-
Packers 6.30% C-
Panthers 6.40% C-
Dolphins 6.40% C-
Chiefs 7.50% C-
Bengals 7.80% C-
Buccaneers 13.80% D
Raiders 13.90% D
Lions 14.20% D
Falcons 15.10% D-

As so often happens, looking at rankings alone can be misleading. The truly bad NFL defenses belong to the four teams below the Chiefs and Bengals.

Is that ideal? Of course not. We all want the Chiefs defense to be better. We need the Chiefs defense to be better. But it’s not helpful to misrepresent what it is now: a somewhat below-average NFL defense.

Now we’ll roll what the crunchers say into Tuesday’s pundit rankings to create the Week 16 True Power Rankings.

True Power Rankings for Week 16

Chiefs AFC West Teams Other AFC Teams

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

While the Chiefs held steady with the crunchers, the drop to third place with the pundits was too much of a blow, dropping the team to third place in the combined rankings — but it is by the barest of margins. The Chargers edged out the Chiefs by just 0.05 ranking points.

While we still see some shuffling in the top tier, the crunchers provided a bit of a calming influence on the final rankings for the week; there isn’t as much bedlam as we saw in the pundit rankings, and the eight teams at the top remained the same.

Here’s your weekly reality-check: the Week 16 cruncher grades.

Cruncher Grades for Week 16

Chiefs AFC West Teams Other AFC Teams

Team AvgGrade Elo DVOA SRS PE
Saints
12-2
B+
(B+)
A-
(A-)
B
(B-)
A-
(A-)
B+
(B+)
Chiefs
11-3
B
(B)
B
(B+)
A-
(A-)
B
(B)
B-
(B-)
Chargers
11-3
B-
(B-)
B-
(B-)
B
(B)
B-
(B-)
B-
(B-)
Rams
11-3
B-
(B)
B-
(B)
B
(B)
B
(B+)
B-
(B-)
Bears
10-4
B-
(B-)
C+
(C+)
B-
(B-)
B-
(B-)
B
(B)
Ravens
8-6
B-
(B-)
C+
(C+)
B-
(B-)
B-
(B-)
B-
(B-)
Steelers
8-5-1
C+
(C+)
B-
(C+)
C+
(C+)
C+
(C+)
C+
(C+)
Patriots
9-5
C+
(C+)
B-
(B)
C+
(C+)
C+
(C+)
C+
(C+)
Team AvgGrade Elo DVOA SRS PE
Colts
8-6
C+
(C)
C
(C)
C+
(C+)
C+
(C)
C+
(C+)
Texans
10-4
C+
(C+)
C+
(C)
C
(C)
C+
(C+)
C+
(C+)
Seahawks
8-6
C+
(C+)
C+
(C+)
D+
(D)
C+
(B-)
C+
(B-)
Vikings
7-6-1
C
(C)
C+
(C+)
C+
(C)
C
(C)
C
(C)
Broncos
6-8
C
(C)
C
(C)
C+
(C+)
C
(C+)
C
(C)
Eagles
7-7
C
(C)
C+
(C+)
C
(C)
C
(C)
C
(C)
Titans
8-6
C
(C)
C+
(C)
C
(C-)
C
(C)
C
(C)
Cowboys
8-6
C
(C+)
C+
(C+)
C
(C)
C
(C)
C
(C+)
Team AvgGrade Elo DVOA SRS PE
Panthers
6-8
C
(C)
C
(C)
C
(C)
C
(C)
C
(C)
Packers
5-8-1
C
(C)
C-
(C-)
C+
(C+)
C
(C)
C
(C)
Falcons
5-9
C
(C-)
C
(C-)
C
(C-)
C
(C-)
C
(C-)
Browns
6-7-1
C-
(C-)
C-
(C-)
C-
(C-)
C
(C)
C-
(C-)
Giants
5-9
C-
(C)
C-
(C-)
C
(C)
C-
(C)
C-
(C)
49ers
4-10
C-
(C-)
D+
(D+)
C+
(C+)
D+
(D+)
C-
(C-)
Buccaneers
5-9
C-
(C-)
C-
(C-)
C-
(C-)
C-
(C-)
C-
(C-)
Bengals
6-8
C-
(C-)
C-
(D+)
C-
(C-)
C-
(C-)
C-
(C-)
Team AvgGrade Elo DVOA SRS PE
Redskins
7-7
C-
(C-)
C-
(C-)
C-
(C-)
C-
(C-)
C-
(C-)
Jaguars
4-10
C-
(C-)
C-
(C-)
C
(C)
C-
(C-)
C-
(C-)
Lions
5-9
C-
(C-)
C-
(C-)
D+
(D+)
C-
(C-)
C-
(C-)
Dolphins
7-7
C-
(C-)
C-
(C-)
C-
(C)
D+
(D+)
C-
(C-)
Jets
4-10
D+
(D+)
D
(D)
C-
(C-)
D+
(D+)
C-
(C-)
Bills
5-9
D
(D)
D+
(D+)
D
(D)
D
(D)
D
(D-)
Raiders
3-11
D
(D)
D-
(D)
D+
(D+)
D-
(D)
D-
(D-)
Cardinals
3-11
F+
(D-)
D
(D)
F
(F+)
F+
(D-)
F+
(F+)
Grades in parentheses are the previous week's grade.
Other questions?
Read the True Power Rankings Methodology

The Chiefs stay right where they were last week — totally in the mix with the top teams in the league.

So we’re on to the Week 16 games, and all the drama of the final two weeks of the season — starting with the Baltimore Ravens game against the Chargers on Saturday night. Should the Ravens prevail — and the Chiefs follow suit against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday — how will that change what we see next week?

Join us again on Tuesday, and we’ll start figuring it out.