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NFL power rankings Week 16 roundup: Chiefs stay steady after near-loss

Let’s see where Kansas City stands in this week’s rankings.

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Kansas City Chiefs v Houston Texans Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Many Kansas City Chiefs fans are pulling out their hair after the team came close to losing two games to bad teams in successive weeks. But those who are watching the whole league apparently don’t see those games as big problems. In Week 16, the Chiefs dropped slightly in just one ranking — and actually moved up in two others. It’s worth noting, however, that it was the poll-based ESPN ranking where the Chiefs were marked down. Those writers can rank teams without worrying about pushback from fans.

Here’s this week’s sampling: 5

(unchanged from 5)

The Chiefs continue to stack wins against lesser opponents, but their sloppiness with the football is an issue to keep an eye on. Kansas City coughed up two fumbles — the team is now up to 10 lost fumbles on the season — and the Chiefs needed overtime to turn away the 1-12-1 Texans on Sunday. Kansas City will enter Week 16 with a minus-6 turnover differential, a puzzling data point for an 11-3 Super Bowl contender. Like the Bills, the Chiefs sometimes feel like a superpower just grinding their way through the season ahead of the true test to come in January. Playing loose with the football is dangerous business, but Kansas City’s ability to hit the accelerator when necessary is an uncommon gift.

— Dan Hanzus


(down from 2)

Pleasant surprise: running back Jerick McKinnon

McKinnon has become a valuable member of the Chiefs’ offense. He plays on passing downs because he’s the team’s most trusted pass protector and is accomplished as a receiver. He is third on the team in pass receptions with 46 and is also tied for second on the Chiefs with six touchdowns.

Adam Teicher

The Athletic: 2

(unchanged from 2)

How much cause for concern should there be that Patrick Mahomes could complete 36 of 41 pass attempts for the best completion percentage of his career (87.8 percent) in a game he started and finished, and yet it still took Kansas City overtime to beat the lowly Texans? By DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average), the Chiefs might wind up having the worst defense in the playoffs. They rank 24th in defensive DVOA, with only Seattle, Jacksonville and the Giants ranked lower among potential playoff teams. And yet Mahomes and company could still earn the AFC’s No. 1 seed if they take care of business against a weak end-of-season schedule and the Bil ls lose one. Austin Mock projects the Chiefs with a 37.3 percent chance of earning the coveted first-round bye.

— Bo Wulf 3

(up from 4)

They’ve had two games where they haven’t looked great in winning against two bad teams on the road. They have to be better than that.

— Pete Prisco

Yahoo! Sports: 3

(up from 4)

That was a weird game for Kansas City. They outgained the Texans 502-219. Mahomes completed 36-of-41 passes and never turned it over. Yet the Chiefs needed overtime to win. But they did win, which is the most important thing as they chase the Bills for the No. 1 seed. The Chiefs are fine, but it was strange they needed so long to put away Houston.

— Frank Schwab

The Sporting News: 3

(unchanged from 3)

The Chiefs took their time to figure out the Texans, but then they kept getting a late-season spark from Jerick McKinnon and their backfield. Kansas City is a different kind of dangerous offense now with Patrick Mahomes as his weapons keep expanding.

— Vinnie Iyer

USA Today: 3

(unchanged from 3)

How big a weapon has running back Jerick McKinnon become? Only tight Travis Kelce has scored more touchdowns (12) than McKinnon’s half-dozen for the AFC West champs in 2022.

Nate Davis

Mile High Report: 3

(unchanged from 3)

No comment regarding the Chiefs in Week 16.

— Ross Allen

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