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Week 14 NFL Pundit Power Rankings: Chiefs drop to fourth

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The Chiefs won and the Saints lost. So that means the Chiefs fall to fourth? Go figure.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs returned to their winning ways on Sunday, defeating the Oakland Raiders 40-33 on the road. Meanwhile, the New Orleans Saints scored just 10 points against the Dallas Cowboys — 11 points less than their previous low for the season — and lost the game 13-10. Using logic that escapes me, the pundits have decided this means the Saints should fall to second, the Patriots — with less win than the Chiefs — should rise to third, and the Chiefs should fall to fourth.

Pundit Power Rankings for Week 14

Chiefs AFC West Teams Other AFC Teams

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

The Chiefs are #1 in passing TDs. Patrick Mahomes has 41. The Chiefs have needed most of them because they've had to outscore their porous defense. They will need Mahomes to challenge the NFL record of 55 if they're going to continue to do so.

NFL.com (Elliot Harrison - 4th from 3rd)

Small move down for Kansas City, despite the win in Oakland. The Kareem Hunt situation is what it is; the Chiefs made their decision on Hunt, and now former starter Spencer Ware's the guy again going forward. Ware started at tailback, with little-to-no effect -- the Chiefs still scored 40. The concern here is how poorly the defense fared. Patrick Mahomes converted a third-and-goal to Chris Conley late in the fourth quarter, taking the onus off the defense by pushing the K.C. lead to 40-30 with less than two minutes to go. Had Mahomes faltered in the goal-to-go situation, leaving the Chiefs to settle for a field goal, we could be talking about Houston overtaking this group for home-field advantage in the AFC. Allowing 442 yards and 6.4 yards per play to that Raiders offense defies explanation.

SBNation (Ryan Van Bibber - 6th from 3rd)

The Chiefs have been a lot of fun to watch this season too. They usually are under Andy Reid, who even made Alex Smith starts watchable. I’d probably enjoy them more if I didn’t already know that they’ll suffer some heartbreaking loss to a team like the Dolphins or something in the playoffs.

Sporting News (Vinnie Iyer - 4th from 3rd)

Patrick Mahomes lit it up as expected against the Raiders, but the defense suddenly sprung more leaks against rivals on the road, and there was a little power and pop missing in the running game, causing this mild slide.

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

If we’re simply talking about the loss of Kareem Hunt in a football sense, I don’t think it’s that big of a blow to the Chiefs. Hunt is a very good player, but Spencer Ware is capable. He has a 4.6-yard career average. He looked like a pretty good back in 2016, then he got hurt and Hunt took off. Depth is now an issue at tailback for the Chiefs, and it’s not ideal to go forward without Hunt, but I don’t think it’s a loss that fundamentally changes the Chiefs’ chances to win it all. However, Ware has to stay healthy.

CBS Sports (Pete Prisco - 2nd from 3rd)

They will be without Kareem Hunt the rest of the way since he's been released, but the offense will be fine. Patrick Mahomes can score on anybody.

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

Without Kareem Hunt, they ran for most yards (174) on road this season. But is committee sustainable with Pat Mahomes as leading rusher?

Other power rankings we noticed this week:

Bleeding Green Nation (Brandon Lee Gowton — 2nd from 3rd) Losing Kareem Hunt unquestionably hurts this team’s ceiling. With Pat Mahomes around, though, the Chiefs are still in pretty good shape.

Washington Post (Mark Maske — 3rd from 3rd) The Chiefs managed to endure the turbulence of Friday’s release of running back Kareem Hunt to win Sunday in Oakland. That wasn’t much of a test, given the state of the Raiders. The loss of Hunt is significant, and it cannot be assumed that the Kansas City offense will maintain its level of excellence when the competition toughens.

Mile High Report (Pete Baron — 3rd from 3rd) You let the Raiders hang with you. You might want to shore that defense up some as the playoffs loom large.

Chicago Tribune (Brad Biggs — 3rd from 3rd) Kareem Hunt’s ugly exit should be overcome from a football standpoint, as QB Patrick Mahomes is enjoying an amazing season.

NBCSports.com (Scott Bair — 3rd from 3rd) These Chiefs don’t need Kareem Hunt to win it all.

Houston Chronicle (John McClain — 2nd from 3rd) The Chiefs have a tough schedule. They host the Ravens and Chargers and visit the Seahawks before closing at home against the Raiders.


Based on the comments most of them made, the pundits thought the Chiefs should drop in the rankings because Kareem Hunt is no longer on the team — and because they didn’t beat the Raiders by 40 points.

Trouble is, I’d bet that in ten minutes, I could locate an article by every one of these writers about how the NFL is a passing-oriented league, and running backs are a dime a dozen.

Certainly Kareem Hunt is a special player, and he will be missed in the Chiefs offense. But I have $100 that says the writers wouldn’t have made such a big deal about Hunt’s loss if he had ruptured an Achilles in practice on Wednesday. They just presumed the team would collapse after Hunt’s release, and figured the seven-point win proved their point.

With regard to the Raiders... what did these (theoretically) seasoned writers think was going to happen in an AFC West road game between two teams that have been body-slamming each other for six decades? To be sure, the Raiders have been buried alive by a few teams on the way to 3-10 — but none of those teams were in the AFC West.

Don’t misunderstand: I didn’t expect a seven-point win over the Raiders would push the Chiefs to the top of the heap again. But I sure didn’t expect for the Chiefs to fall.

But there is one silver lining: this week, we don’t have CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco to kick around.

In lieu of the usual analysis, I’ll point out that this week’s SBNation rankings have been removed from the final calculation. As a number of commenters pointed out before all the rankings were in, not only were this week’s rankings written by someone other than Rebecca Toback — the usual author — but it wasn’t really even a power ranking. Instead, it was more like a tongue-in-check poke at power rankings. Nobody seriously thinks the Los Angeles Chargers should be ranked second and the Washington Redskins last — even with Mark Sanchez at quarterback.

And yes... I realize that to use the term “power rankings” as if there is some stringently regulated standard for them is — to say the least — ironic.

So we’ll put SBNation in time-out this week, and see if they return to their usual routine next week.

Snark of the week

Lots of good snark this week, so it was a tough decision. But I finally settled on a a pair of consecutive comments from Bleeding Green Nation’s Brandon Lee Gowton about two teams that are separated by a certain bay:

31. Oakland Raiders - Officially eliminated from playoff contention.

32. San Francisco 49ers - Same deal as Oakland. Bay Area football? More like Bad Area football. Nailed it.

Check with us on Wednesday, and we’ll go through the data from the number-crunchers, throw it in the barrel and give you Arrowhead Pride’s True Power Rankings!