After defeating the Green Bay Packers 13-7 on Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs got more of a bump than they received for their Week 8 win over the New York Giants. With just one exception, every publication we’re tracking moved Kansas City up in the rankings; half of them now have the team ranked in the top 10. For Week 10 — the first double-digit week of the season — the Chiefs even managed one single-digit ranking.
Here’s this week’s sampling:
(up from 13)
The good news is obvious: Even without style points, the Chiefs won consecutive nail-biters over a seven-day period and enter the back half of their schedule just a game out in the loss column in the AFC West. The bad news is equally obvious: The offense is still puzzlingly, profoundly broken. Fixing it will be a titanic in-season challenge for Andy Reid and his staff, but let’s give credit to a Kansas City defense that has kept the reigning conference champs afloat in tense times. Steve Spagnuolo’s D dialed up the pressure on Jordan Love (seven hits) and took a shutout deep into the fourth quarter. The Chiefs exist in a strange upside-down world where the defense is being asked to carry the offense. None of this feels sustainable.
— Dan Hanzus
(up from 15)
Bold second-half prediction: The Chiefs will not make the playoffs.
The Chiefs’ streak will end at six straight postseason appearances and five consecutive AFC West titles. The finishing schedule, which features all eight opponents with a current record of .500 or better, is too difficult to think that a team with an offense stuck in a slump like no other in Patrick Mahomes’ career can realistically do what it takes to get to the playoffs. It would be like Mahomes to suddenly turn things around and lift the Chiefs into the postseason. Just don’t count on it.
— Adam Teicher
(down from 12*)
Every week seems to be an effort to recapture past magic, even though we’re ignoring the more important point: This team can still win games even when it is utterly unspectacular. The Chiefs are one offensive breakthrough away from still winning their division somewhat handily. It’s awfully hard to bet against Andy Reid and Eric Bieniemy.
— Conor Orr
*NOTE: Sports Illustrated began its 2021 power rankings series with a preseason poll of its writers that put the Chiefs in first place. Since then, individual writers have taken turns creating the weekly list — which is why the SI rankings have often varied so much from one week to the next. In the Week 10 “midseason edition,” the ranking is once again based on a poll of the writers. For Week 11, the publication will return to the rotating format.
(up from 12)
The offense still isn’t clicking, but the defense is getting better. It’s only a matter of time before Patrick Mahomes gets it cranked up.
— Pete Prisco
(up from 12)
Patrick Mahomes was 20-of-37 for 166 yards. Mahomes has averaged fewer than six yards per attempt in four of Kansas City’s last five games. If you keep expecting that this is the week the Chiefs explode for 45 points, you might be waiting a while. This is a real slump.
— Frank Schwab
(up from 11)
The Chiefs focused on the fundamentals of cutting out the turnovers and the costly penalties, and it worked, even though their offense didn’t go back to its old explosive ways with Patrick Mahomes. A grinding victory may have been just what they needed to raise the defensive pop, knowing bigger offense will come soon.
— Vinnie Iyer
USA Today: 11
(up from 14)
The good news? They notched franchise’s 500th win by improving to 4-0 this season against NFC. The bad news? Kansas City is 1-4 against the AFC, which will serve up seven of their final eight regular-season opponents.
— Nate Davis
(up from 14)
The Chiefs’ issues on offense continued even as they nudged their record above .500 with the relatively unimpressive victory over the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers. They could reach the end zone only once and managed a mere 13 points. But at least QB Patrick Mahomes went turnover-free and made a Mahomes-ian play with that throw to WR Tyreek Hill for the outcome-sealing first down. These Chiefs are still not the Chiefs as we know them. But the first two-game winning streak of the season is a modest step in the proper direction.
— Mark Maske
Mile High Report: 15
(unchanged from 15)
There is a logjam of 5-3 and 5-4 teams behind the Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens. A total of nine teams are fighting it out down there, with the 4-5 Indianapolis Colts a dangerous team as well. The AFC is going to have a crazy final push to the playoffs down the stretch.
— Tim Lynch
(up from 13)
Kansas City’s defense turned in their best performance of the season ... against Jordan Love making his first career start. The Chiefs will live with winning ugly if it means it buys the time to get hot and go on a run late in the season. Can’t rule that out from happening ... but it’s not guaranteed.
— Brandon Lee Gowton