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NFL power rankings Week 8 roundup: Writers finally notice the Chiefs’ record

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

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NFL: OCT 22 Chargers at Chiefs Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A week ago, I noted that until there are no more undefeated teams, power rankings don’t tend to be honest evaluations. A week later, it seems like writers across the NFL suddenly realized there is only one team that is just one point removed from an undefeated season: the Kansas City Chiefs. It just goes to show how it takes a while for the stench of an opening-week loss to dissipate.

Here’s this week’s sampling: 1

(up from 2)

The Chiefs were a bit uneven yet again Sunday, with the offense cooling off after halftime. But other than the Nick Bolton’s wrist injury, is there anything from this game to complain about? Kansas City solidly beat a talented opponent. Yeah, the Chargers’ record (2-4) stinks, but this was still a divisional victory won by multiple TDs. Charles Omenihu came back from suspension with a sack and a tipped pass that was intercepted at the Chiefs’ 6-yard line. Old friend Mecole Hardman had a hand in the triumph, with a 50-yard punt return and a big third-down conversion late. And best friends Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce remain inseparable, despite the fact that their streak of 29 straight completions was broken Sunday. This team just knows how to win.

— Eric Edholm


(up from 3)

Young riser: CB Trent McDuffie

McDuffie, 23, is in his second NFL season and entered Week 7 as the NFL’s top-rated cornerback by Pro Football Focus. He has become a versatile player, lining up either in slot coverage or outside depending on the situation. McDuffie has no interceptions but has forced three fumbles and broken up four passes. McDuffie has also been an effective blitzer with four quarterback hits.

Adam Teicher

The Athletic: 1

(up from 5)

One question: Is the defense for real?

Kansas City won the Super Bowl last season with a defense that ranked 14th in success rate (58.3 percent). This year’s group ranks fifth (61.6). The offense seems fully engaged now. Travis Kelce caught 12 passes for 179 yards Sunday, and Patrick Mahomes had his fifth career game with 400-plus yards and four or more touchdowns. Plus, Mahomes and Kelce connected for their 50th career touchdown, the fourth-most by a quarterback-tight end duo in NFL history. If this defense is for real, the Chiefs will stay in this spot for a while.

— Josh Kendall

Sports Illustrated: 2

(unchanged from 2)

This is going to sound dumb, just like it did throughout the Tom Brady era when people would always say: “the key to beating Tom Brady is to pressure him.” You’re kidding! Alas, the key to beating Patrick Mahomes comes in situational pressure, and it seemed early on that the Chargers were in the right business, nearly forcing a bad throw and tipped interception. From there? L.A. pressured Mahomes less than any team in the NFL this year to this point; a kind of Buffalo-ian approach. The problem was that, at least in this scenario, minus any organic pressure, Mahomes can simply just exist in the pocket forever by virtue of his finesse. He will find a way no matter what. The perfect example was their scoring drive before the half. Peak Mahomes, flourishing with no pressure, or simply evading whatever minute pressure was attempted. Had the Chiefs not fumbled after the half on their opening drive, they could have been resting starters.

— Conor Orr

Pro Football Talk: 1

(up from 2)

The offense is clicking, even without a consistently viable alternative to Travis Kelce.

— Mike Florio 1

(unchanged from 1)

They are clicking now on offense, which is the scary thing for the rest of the NFL. They looked like the offense we expect from Patrick Mahomes against the Chargers, really for the first time this season.

— Pete Prisco

Yahoo! Sports: 1

(up from 3)

Travis Kelce continues to beat the aging curve at tight end. Only one other tight end has ever posted a 1,000-yard season at age 34 (Pete Retzlaff of the 1965 Eagles had 1,190 yards). Kelce has 525 yards in six games. He looks like he’s over his early season injuries and has 303 yards the last two games. It’s probably not due to Taylor Swift, but whatever Kelce is doing is working.

— Frank Schwab

The Sporting News: 1

(unchanged from 1)

Great googly moogly, it was hard to believe some were questioning whether the passing offense with Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and a wide receiver committee was regressive. The Super Bowl champs flexed in their best game so far vs. the Chargers.

— Vinnie Iyer

USA Today: 1

(up from 3)

Look who’s back on top after winning a league-high six in a row. A victory next Sunday would run K.C.’s unbeaten streak against Denver to 17 games (13-0 with QB Patrick Mahomes), which would be tied for the second-longest run of dominance by one team over another in league history. Sidebar: Harrison Butker is an unsung weapon here, converting all 15 of his FG tries in 2023 and all 19 PATs. No one else has attempted more kicks this season without a miss.

Nate Davis

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