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NFL power rankings Week 12 roundup: One Chiefs catch makes all the difference

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

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NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

After the Kansas City Chiefs dropped a 21-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 11’s “Monday Night Football,” some fans are convinced all is lost in 2023. That feeling isn’t necessarily shared by the writers in our weekly sample of power rankings. While most did drop the Chiefs a couple of spots, three left Kansas City’s ranking right where it was in Week 10. All three noted that if Marquez Valdes-Scantling had made that fourth-quarter grab, the NFL might look much different than it does on Tuesday. “Despite all of that,” noted Sports Illustrated’s Conor Orr, “Kansas City wins that game eight out of every 10 times.”

Here’s this week’s sampling: 5

(down from 2)

You can’t turn the ball over twice in the red zone and drop umpteen passes — each one more crushing than the last — and expect to win against a team as good as the Eagles. The Chiefs’ defense turned in a first-class effort, even if it wore down a bit late, and Patrick Mahomes and Isiah Pacheco made enough plays. This loss is going to sting, if for no other reason than it served as a reminder that the Chiefs’ pass catchers — even Travis Kelce on Monday — have been a net disappointment this season. Kelce had a drop and a fumble. Justin Watson had at least three drops, including one on Mahomes’ final attempt. But if Marquez Valdes-Scantling just catches that late deep ball, perhaps none of the other miscues matter. The Chiefs were the better team on Monday until they weren’t.

— Eric Edholm


(down from 2)

Preseason hot seat: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Current temperature of hot seat: Hot

Edwards-Helaire’s fourth, and most likely last, season with the Chiefs has been his least productive. The 2020 first-round draft pick doesn’t play much, and he has rushed for only 129 yards, which puts him on a pace for a career low. Worse, Edwards-Helaire is averaging 3.6 yards per carry, by far the worst of his career. He will likely finish the season in Kansas City, but don’t expect the Chiefs to re-sign him when it’s over.

Adam Teicher

The Athletic: 2

(unchanged from 2)

Are they good? Yes

We know this because they are the Chiefs, and they have the best quarterback on the planet. Still, it’s worth noting this team is not at peak form despite having Patrick Mahomes at the helm. Kansas City is 14th in the league in scoring (22.5 ppg) and have scored an NFL-low 53 points in the second half this season. They were outscored 14-0 in the final two quarters Monday night, the third straight game they have been shut out in the second half. Mahomes hasn’t been the problem, of course. Marquez Valdez-Scantling dropped what probably would have been the game-winner late Monday and now has an NFL-worst six drops on targets of 30 or more yards downfield.

— Josh Kendall

Sports Illustrated: 3

(unchanged from 3)

It’s hard to punish the Chiefs too much given how well the team played, specifically on defense, for most of this game. If the lone complaint is that a speed-oriented receiver who drops a lot of balls dropped a ball in a big spot, so be it. If I’m Andy Reid or Patrick Mahomes, that is the fact I lean on. The trade deadline is over, there’s not much else they can do. And, despite all of that, Kansas City wins that game eight out of every 10 times.

— Conor Orr

Pro Football Talk: 5

(down from 3)

To paraphrase an infamous quote, Patrick Mahomes cannot throw the ball and catch it.

— Mike Florio 4

(down from 2)

The offense just isn’t good enough right now. It wasted a good defensive effort against the Eagles. That has to change.

— Pete Prisco

Fox Sports: 4

(down from 2)

You don’t have to panic about the Chiefs if you don’t want to, but can someone please step up and be dependable? The defense is great. Patrick Mahomes is still That Dude. Can someone, anyone, reliably catch a pass? I don’t blame you if you’re starting to think the answer is no.

— David Helman

Yahoo! Sports: 4

(down from 2)

You won’t find many better passes, given the situation, than the one Patrick Mahomes put on Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s hands deep downfield late in Monday night’s game. The same can be said for Mahomes’ fourth-and-25 pass to Justin Watson. Both dimes were dropped and the Chiefs lost after being shut out in the second half, a reminder that this season has been a lot more challenging than last season was for Kansas City.

— Frank Schwab

The Sporting News: 4

(down from 2)

The Chiefs did not deliver after an Andy Reid bye as usual as their offense remained dormant at wide receiver in the loss to the Eagles at home on Monday night. They slipped a little but despite what the standings show, they’re still the best overall AFC team over the Ravens.

— Vinnie Iyer

USA Today: 2

(unchanged from 2)

Of course, if WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling makes a play at game’s end – or had Taylor Swift been able to attend – Reid would be 5-0 against his former team while establishing a K.C. record with 125 regular-season wins. The defending champions will certainly be back … though work to be done to reclaim the AFC’s No. 1 seed from Baltimore. A generally forgiving cluster of games down the stretch should help to that end.

Nate Davis

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