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NFL power rankings Week 17 roundup: Chiefs on the brink edition

Let’s take our weekly look at how Kansas City is faring in the weekly NFL power rankings.

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NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs’ shorthanded 36-10 dismantling of the Pittsburgh Steelers was enough to convince Arrowhead Pride’s writers that the team deserves Week 17’s top spot... but there are some pundits around the country who aren’t yet convinced. This week’s biggest news is Kansas City’s rise to the top spot of ESPN’s poll-based rankings — which is a good sign that it’s not going to take much to get the rest of the NFL world on board. Meanwhile... the Chiefs are on to Cincinnati.

Here’s this week’s sampling:


NFL.com: 2

(unchanged from 2)

The Chiefs certainly have the look of a team that’s peaking at just the right time. The offense continued its resurgence with a blowout of the Steelers that clinched yet another AFC West title and ran Kansas City’s winning streak to eight games. Patrick Mahomes threw three touchdown passes and received contributions from several unheralded role players on a day when Travis Kelce (COVID-19 list) was out of the lineup and Tyreek Hill was mostly a non-factor. Combine the revitalized offense with continued excellence by the defense, and the Chiefs look every bit the part of a No. 1 seed in the AFC.

— Dan Hanzus


ESPN: 1

(up from 2)

Non-QB MVP: S Tyrann Mathieu

With Patrick Mahomes out of the mix in this scenario, the Chiefs have several other candidates for this honor, but none has been a consistent presence like Mathieu. He is the first one to tell you this hasn’t been his best season, but he still leads the Chiefs in interceptions (with three) and fumble recoveries (also with three). He also is the locker room leader who wouldn’t let the Chiefs quit on themselves after the season’s rotten start.

Adam Teicher


Sports Illustrated: 1

(unchanged from 1)

The Chiefs have been the best team in the league for the last four years now. We know all about their rocky start, and plenty of people have written about their defense’s turnaround during this eight-game winning streak. What else is left to say? With their talent and playoff experience, they’ll be my favorite heading into the postseason.

— Mitch Goldich


CBSSports.com: 2

(unchanged from 2)

They are all the way back. Even without Travis Kelce on Sunday, they carved up the Steelers. They are back to being dominant.

— Pete Prisco


Yahoo! Sports: 2

(unchanged from 2)

Even without Travis Kelce, the Chiefs rolled the Steelers. The Steelers might be flawed but they’re not bad, and Kansas City had zero problems with them. It’s getting harder to talk yourself into anybody but Kansas City making the Super Bowl out of the AFC.

— Frank Schwab


The Sporting News: 2

(unchanged from 2)

Speaking of late runs toward MVP, Patrick Mahomes has played like one again the past two weeks. The defense hit a snag against the Los Angeles Chargers, but it rebounded big-time to slam down the Steelers in Week 16. The Chiefs look like a complete [team].

— Vinnie Iyer


USA Today: 2

(unchanged from 2)

Their league-best eight-game winning streak has been fueled by a dominant six-game defensive stretch at Arrowhead Stadium. AFC West champs won’t play there again until postseason and must do some work in Cincinnati and/or Denver to secure home-field advantage.

Nate Davis


The Washington Post: 1

(unchanged from 1)

Remember when the Chiefs were struggling and everyone was wondering whether they could get back to being the Chiefs as we now know them? Nope, no one else does, either. The winning streak is at eight games after Sunday’s convincing victory over the Steelers. The Chiefs put aside their coronavirus issues and the absence of TE Travis Kelce. QB Patrick Mahomes was very good again, and the defense continued to excel. The No. 1 seed is well within their grasp, but a difficult game at Cincinnati looms this weekend.

— Mark Maske


Bleeding Green Nation: 2

(unchanged from 2)

It looks like the Chiefs’ offense is back. They didn’t even have Travis Kelce but they still managed to put up 36 points. KC is averaging 39.3 points per game in their last three. They’re in a good position to finish as the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoff picture yet again. Football Outsiders gives them a 70.9% chance to clinch home field advantage.

— Brandon Lee Gowton

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