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Week 15 NFL power rankings: Hell freezes over edition

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The Chiefs move into the top three in the unlikeliest of places

NFL: Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

After defeating the Denver Broncos 23-3 on a cold and snowy Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs are heating up, reaching the Top 5 in every one of the power rankings we’re monitoring. Even a writer with a famously cold-hearted view of the Chiefs is warming up to the idea that the Chiefs might be contenders.

Here’s what we see this week:


NFL.com: 5

(unchanged from 5)

The Chiefs look like a team ready to make a run. Sunday’s 23-3 win over the Broncos appears workmanlike on the surface, but a closer examination shows a Kansas City team humming on both sides of the ball. The steady snowfall did little to slow down Patrick Mahomes, who threw for 340 yards and two touchdowns, both to Tyreek Hill. The defense was even better. Drew Lock was held under 50 percent completions, and the Broncos had a season-low 52 rushing yards. The Chiefs have allowed 17 or fewer points in four consecutive games -- they managed that feat just four times total in 2018. One area with room for improvement? The running game, which remains missing in action on most weeks. Makes you wonder if Andy Reid and Co. have regrets about trading Carlos Hyde, who went over 1,000 yards for the Texans on Sunday. — Dan Hanzus


ESPN: 4

(unchanged from 4)

Offseason in two words: Contenders again

The Chiefs will take the look of being Super Bowl contenders into 2020 regardless of how this season finishes. That’s not to say they won’t have roster work to do. They will have to address a number of positions, including cornerback, running back and the interior of their offensive line. But they should be among the favorites to win the AFC again next season. Adam Teicher


Sports Illustrated MMQB: 4

(down from 3-T)

Snow angels for everyone after a fourth win in a row for the Chiefs, one that saw Patrick Mahomes sling it around for 340 yards, two TDs, an INT and a 115.7 rating on 27-of-34 attempts. Travis Kelce became the first tight end with over 1,000 yards in four straight seasons, and he did so in style with 11 receptions for 143 yards.


CBSSports.com: 3

(up from 4)

They are getting better by the week on defense. That will make them a real Super Bowl threat. — Pete Prisco


Yahoo! Sports: 4

(unchanged from 4)

We get used to Patrick Mahomes doing special things, and the Chiefs’ win over the Broncos didn’t get too much attention because Denver wasn’t competitive, but Mahomes made it look easy in a snowstorm. He had 340 yards passing. It was one of the more impressive bad-weather performances you’ll see. — Frank Schawb


The Sporting News: 3

(up from 5)

The Chiefs are back to health offensively and showing just how improved they are defensively. Patrick Mahomes is back in a groove, and they are peaking as a complete team at the ideal team time. They are better than last year’s version of themselves. — Vinnie Iyer


USA Today: 5

(unchanged from 5)

ICYMI, this defense has allowed 45 total points in its past four games. Better keep an eye on Kansas City, which can throw haymakers with anybody. Nate Davis


The Washington Post: 4

(up from 5)

The Chiefs had trouble getting all their players to the game in time Sunday in snowy Kansas City after having trouble getting all their equipment to the game in time in New England. But as long as Patrick Mahomes gets to the stadium before kickoff, it appears, the Chiefs will be fine. They’re playing very well as the postseason nears. — Mark Maske


Mile High Report: 4

(unchanged from 4)

If I was simply rooting for the best possible playoffs, I’d be looking for Chiefs-Ravens in the AFC Championship game. It’d be one heck of a matchup because both teams have improved since the first meeting and have the star power, coaching staff, top to bottom roster to win it all. We’ll probably wind up with yet another Brady Bowl. — Just_JoRo


Bleeding Green Nation: 2

(up from 3)

The Chiefs have four wins in a row. A first-round bye is within reach if the Pats drop a game. — Brandon Lee Gowton