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NFL power rankings Week 12 roundup: Chiefs take a surprising jump

For Week 12, we expected Kansas City to rise — but maybe not as much as at least one ranking figured.

NFL: NOV 21 Cowboys at Chiefs Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After their 19-9 defeat of the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs took a nice jump in every one of the power rankings we’re tracking. One of them was a VERY nice jump.

Here’s this week’s sampling:


NFL.com: 4

(up from 7)

We thought we were getting an epic shootout between Patrick Mahomes and Dak Prescott. Instead, it was Chris Jones and the rising Chiefs defense that played the starring role in a 19-9 victory over the NFC East leaders. Jones was a wrecking ball, piling up 3.5 sacks, with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Jones got help in the back end from Charvarius Ward and L’Jarius Sneed, who each registered crucial interceptions of Prescott. The Chiefs’ offense managed just 3 points in its final 10 possessions, but the best teams can win a game on either side of the ball. The Chiefs look like a team ready to restore order in the chaotic AFC.

— Dan Hanzus


ESPN: 7

(up from 8)

Most memorable Thanksgiving game: Beating the Broncos 19-10 in the first-ever Thanksgiving night game on Nov. 23, 2006

Franchise founder Lamar Hunt pushed for years to get the Chiefs a spot as a host team for a Thanksgiving Day game, but the NFL wouldn’t pull a game out of Detroit or Dallas. The league finally rewarded Hunt for his diligence in 2006 when it expanded its Thanksgiving lineup to include a prime-time game. The Chiefs beat a division rival to win the first Thanksgiving night game and the only Thanksgiving game ever played at Arrowhead Stadium. Hunt died three weeks later at the age of 74.

Adam Teicher


Sports Illustrated: 1

But they have four losses—outrageous! You should stop reading right now and go do something else with your day. The funny thing about the Chiefs is that they’ve been the best team in football all year, it was just a matter of the fluky turnovers drying up, which they always do. But the fluky turnovers haven’t dried up—Sunday’s win featured a chase-down fumble and an interception that bounced off Travis Kelce’s hands—and they’re still on a four-game winning streak.

(up from 9)

— Gary Gramling


CBSSports.com: 8

(up from 10)

They have turned their season around, and it’s the defense that has led the way. They have been playing well on that side of the ball the past three weeks.

— Pete Prisco


Yahoo! Sports: 8

(up from 9)

Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was under intense scrutiny as his defense struggled through its first seven games. Since then, the Chiefs have given up 17, 7, 14 and 9 points. They kept the Cowboys out of the end zone on Sunday. What a turnaround.

— Frank Schwab


The Sporting News: 7

(up from 9)

The Chiefs made it four consecutive victories, putting a bow on their impressive November reign, by roping in the Cowboys. The only thing that can slow down their momentum with Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid is their Week 12 bye.

— Vinnie Iyer


USA Today: 4

(up from 10)

A defense that’s given up 47 total points over the past four weeks (all wins) while taking the ball away eight times is what’s really ridden to the rescue of the AFC West leaders. Maybe QB Patrick Mahomes will be ready to take torch following a week off.

Nate Davis


The Washington Post: 4

(up from 7)

The defense was superb during Sunday’s triumph over the Cowboys as the recovery program continued for the Chiefs. They’ve won four straight, and suddenly they and the Patriots are back in the running for AFC supremacy. The five sacks and three turnovers generated by the defense against Dak Prescott and the Cowboys were extremely encouraging.

— Mark Maske


Bleeding Green Nation: 5

(up from 8)

The Chiefs are back … sort of? Their offense didn’t do as much damage as one would’ve expected against Dallas. But it turns out their recent defensive improvement might be real. Preventing one of the NFL’s best offenses from scoring a single touchdown is pretty good.

— Brandon Lee Gowton