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NFL power rankings Week 15 roundup: Chiefs hold steady after Bills loss

Let’s see where Kansas City lands in this week’s lists.

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Buffalo Bills v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

After listening to the Kansas City Chiefs’ fans go ballistic after the team turned in its third back-to-back losses of the Patrick Mahomes era — and after watching those fans set a new two-day world record for playing back NFL film clips in which offside penalties are not called — we might have expected the team to plunge in the power rankings following Sunday’s 20-17 loss to the Buffalo Bills. But most writers remembered that Kansas City was just a 1.5-point favorite at kickoff; while there were postseason implications, a three-point loss wasn’t all that unexpected. In all but two of the rankings we’re monitoring, the Chiefs are unchanged after Week 14.

Here’s this week’s sampling: 6

(unchanged from 6)

When was the last time you heard Patrick Mahomes or Andy Reid challenge an official’s (correct) call after a loss like they did on Sunday? It felt strange, seeing two of the NFL’s best competitors say that the referee needed to warn Reid about Kadarius Toney lining up offside when, really, the onus was on Toney to check with the line judge on that one. You want to gripe about the lack of a call late against the Green Bay Packers? Be my guest. Have at it. But Sunday’s grievance felt desperate and petty for a team that has been the league’s preeminent organization over the past five years. To Reid’s credit, he reversed course on Monday, saying it was indeed Toney’s responsibility to check with the official. The bottom line is that Kansas City’s problems go far beyond a few unfavorable calls here and there. Mahomes’ opening-drive pick killed a promising march, and the reigning MVP’s just not playing great ball right now. Neither is a defense that had carried this club for much of the season. The way things are trending, Mahomes might be staring at his first road playoff game.

— Eric Edholm


(unchanged from 7)

Biggest improvement: WR Rashee Rice

The rookie went from a part-timer who was in the lineup for only a third of the snaps in Week 1 to the Chiefs’ only consistently productive wideout. Rice has 23 catches for 243 yards and two touchdowns in the past three games. The other wide receivers have 16 catches for 147 yards and one touchdown combined in that same span. The Chiefs have gone to Rice in some big situations, including a big third down in the fourth quarter of a Week 12 game against the Raiders while holding a slim lead — he scored on a 39-yard touchdown to break the game open.

Adam Teicher

The Athletic: 6

(up from 7)

Fantasy spotlight: Kadarius Toney

All the NFL’s focus is on Toney this week after his offside penalty wiped out what would have been his game-winning touchdown against the Bills on Sunday night, and all the Chiefs freaked out about it. This is not what Kansas City expected when it traded a third- and a sixth-round pick for Toney last season. He is 106th among wide receivers in fantasy points (25.5) this season. In 22 games with the Chiefs, he has only two games with more than 50 receiving yards. This season, he has none with more than 35.

— Josh Kendall

Sports Illustrated: 5

(unchanged from 5)

The Chiefs still had three plays to get 15 yards at the end of the day. What happened after Toney’s offsides penalty? Patrick Mahomes was nearly sacked as the pocket collapsed around him and somehow Madden-glitched the football out for an incompletion. Then Mahomes had a ball batted down (on a play that, in fairness to the Chiefs, featured Von Miller jumping offsides, though it would not have had an effect on Ed Oliver making a great play). Then, Mahomes barely got the ball away and lobbed a pass to nowhere. I think there is probably a situation where this could have been attacked with a little more composition, though the frustration with the officiating crew was obviously palpable.

— Conor Orr

Pro Football Talk: 7

(unchanged from 7)

Can they win on the road in the playoffs? They haven’t had to try in a long, long time.

— Mike Florio

Editor’s Note: For the record, the Chiefs haven’t played a road playoff game since 2015’s postseason — and under Andy Reid (with Alex Smith at quarterback) the team is 1-2 in those matchups. But while they go into the stat book as “neutral site” games, most teams are playing on the road when they’re in the Super Bowl. Under Reid (and with Mahomes), the Chiefs are 2-1 in that kind of a playoff road game. 6

(unchanged from 6)

The offense isn’t right. When they struggle to get to 20 points, it’s just not working. They might be heading out on the road for the playoffs.

— Pete Prisco

Fox Sports: 9

(down from 7)

He might have been mad about a flag in the moment, but Patrick Mahomes’ outburst felt like something that had been building for a long time. I get it. The Chiefs have failed to score 20 points in three of their four games since the bye. The defense is good, but the Chiefs’ offense can’t keep asking them to pick up the slack.

— David Helman

Yahoo! Sports: 7

(unchanged from 7)

Here’s the funny thing: Have you heard the Chiefs say Kadarius Toney wasn’t offsides? No. Just that a penalty shouldn’t have been called for whatever reason. It’s a bad look to have a complete meltdown over a penalty being called a penalty.

— Frank Schwab

The Sporting News: 6

(unchanged from 6)

The Chiefs’ offense just can’t get everyone not named Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce on the same page. The good news is that their defense keeps them in every game and there’s hope for unlocking the running game in the final month to get back on track.

— Vinnie Iyer

USA Today: 5

(unchanged from 5)

Is QB Patrick Mahomes really that mad at the officials? Or are they a convenient outlet to vent for his underperforming receivers? Or the fact he’s in the midst of a career-worst six-game string without exceeding 300 passing yards? Or same ball of wax? The franchise’s first road playoff game in eight years looks increasingly likely.

Nate Davis

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