Yahoo! Sports’ Frank Schwab opened his power rankings with 600 words on why the Kansas City Chiefs shouldn’t be overlooked in the playoffs — even after the team “looked painfully average” during Christmas Day’s 20-14 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.
“If you want to write off the Chiefs after that loss to the Raiders, it’s fine,” wrote Schwab, “but keep in mind that they barely lost with the Raiders scoring two defensive touchdowns in seven seconds. The defense was good again. The offense wasn’t — and maybe it never will look better than it has this season. But be honest: If you’re the fan of an AFC team, do you really want to see Mahomes coming to your city for a playoff game?”
This week, the power rankings make it clear that the Chiefs are no longer considered a strong contender for the championship. That’s fair.
“And still,” wrote Schwab, “if you want to assume the Chiefs have no shot at a deep playoff run, do so at your own risk.”
Here’s this week’s sampling:
(down from 6)
This looks like a broken team in some ways. How else do you explain losing to an opponent whose quarterback had ZERO completions on 10 pass attempts after the first quarter? The defense did its job against the Raiders, but the offense flunked yet another test. Dropped passes, turnovers and ill-timed penalties have turned one of the league’s most dangerous offenses over the past five seasons into one of the league’s most mistake-prone and disappointing units. Patrick Mahomes is averaging 6.9 yards per attempt (fewer than Desmond Ridder) and has been forced to use his legs more often, just to get anything started offensively. The Chiefs have only provided a few truly explosive offensive performances the entire season, and those were back in September and October. It’s hard to imagine that magic suddenly reappearing just in time for the playoffs.
— Eric Edholm
The Athletic: 9
(down from 8)
MVP: Patrick Mahomes
Mahomes won’t win the league award this year for the same reason Michael Jordan didn’t win NBA MVP every year — it just gets too boring. It’s not because he doesn’t deserve it. Mahomes is dragging an offense with an aging (but still great, everybody stay out of the comments) Travis Kelce and only one reliable wide receiver into the playoffs — and no one wants to face him there. After Monday, he is fourth in the league with 3,938 yards.
— Josh Kendall
(down from 7)
They’re barely a top 10 team.
— Mike Florio
(down from 4)
They have major offensive issues right now. They can’t protect Patrick Mahomes and they don’t scare down the field. They have problems.
— Pete Prisco
Fox Sports: 11
(down from 9)
It’s a testament to what the Chiefs have accomplished over the years that I’m not giving up on them completely. The loss to the Raiders is the latest reminder that this just isn’t a very good team right now. Maybe Patrick Mahomes can find a way to carry them on a run, but it’s getting harder to see it.
— David Helman
(down from 7)
Again, it’s worth putting into perspective: The Chiefs lost a one-score game in which they gave up two defensive touchdowns in seven seconds. That’s fluky. You’re going to hear a lot of overreaction this week about Kansas City, and some will be justified, but also don’t buy into the notion they’re not any good.
— Frank Schwab
(down from 6)
The Chiefs haven’t had a reliable, consistent, high-scoring offense around Patrick Mahomes and now injuries are playing a bigger factor. But their defense remains a strength to keep them in every game. They need many more signs of Mahomes and Andy Reid figuring it out with more help from the running backs.
— Vinnie Iyer
USA Today: 6
(down from 5)
Even after Monday’s dreadful performance, even with near certainty QB Patrick Mahomes (career-worst six losses) will have to hit the road for the playoffs for the first time in order to win another Super Bowl, even after TE Travis Kelce momentarily lost his mind… it’s really hard to distrust this team going into January.
— Nate Davis