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Conference Championship NFL power rankings: It’s still Mahomes’ league

The Arrowhead Pride team ranks what’s left of the league from top to bottom.

AFC Divisional Playoffs - Kansas City Chiefs v Buffalo Bills Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

This shouldn’t be happening this season.

The Chiefs shouldn’t be returning to the AFC Championship game. We’ve all watched this season, right? Sometimes, the Kansas City offense has been flat-out unwatchable. Dare I say that being a Chiefs fan hasn’t exactly been fun this year?

But here we are: playing for a chance to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. And yes... fans do have the right to say “us” or “we” when referring to their team.

It’s crazy to think that in every season in which Patrick Mahomes has led the offense, Kansas City has played for the Lamar Hunt Trophy. This historic run of success is just mind-boggling.

Soak it in, Chiefs Kingdom.

Anyway, let’s get on with the final rankings of the 2023 season.

This week’s voters were Rocky Magana, Ron Kopp Jr, Stephen Serda, Jared Sapp, Maurice Elston, Nate Christensen, Dakota Johnson, Matt Stagner and myself.

1. Baltimore Ravens

Do you remember being a child and having your parents tell you to stop playing with your food? That’s what I imagine the Ravens’ halftime team talk would have been like on Saturday afternoon.

For too long during the first half of their Divisional Round matchup against the Texans, the Ravens wouldn’t go up a gear. Despite comfortably outgaining the Texans in offensive yardage, the game was square at the break.

Fearing another playoff letdown, head coach John Harbaugh must have given his squad the full-on hairdryer treatment.

Quick side note: I’m excited that executive editor John Dixon will be Googling ‘hairdryer treatment’ to learn what it means.

Editor’s note: Straight fire! I wish I had a sawbuck for every time I’ve had to slide into Tom’s DMs so he could explain some wack phrase! Word.

Whatever Harbaugh said at halftime, it certainly worked. Baltimore coasted to victory over a massively overmatched opponent.

They're Super Bowl favorites for a reason.

2. Kansas City Chiefs

No apologies for this one. We’ve promoted the Chiefs from fourth to second, which we think is richly deserved after they achieved the impossible by beating Josh Allen and the Bills in that stadium. What a tremendous — dare I say, Herculean — effort by Kansas City.

Oh, the Bengals did the same last year? No biggie.

Honestly, with the way some have carried on, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was the same as the Giants beating the Patriots in the 2007 Super Bowl.

Let’s look at the facts:

  • The Chiefs have the better defense
  • The Chiefs have the better coaches
  • The Chiefs have the better kicker
  • The Chiefs have the better pass-catchers
  • Oh... and the Chiefs have Patrick Mahomes

Why did the Chiefs beating the Bills surprise anyone? Sure... this team hasn’t been great of late — but we all knew what version of Patrick Mahomes we were getting after the Wild Card win over the Dolphins. The dude is a fiend who goes from demigod to full-on Zeus as soon as the playoffs start.

Year after year, people look for his equivalent. I’m sorry, people, but that person doesn’t exist. Mahomes is Michael Jordan. He’s Lionel Messi. He’s the Beatles. If the NFL was Disney, Mahomes would be Mickey Mouse. Allen? WALL-E... at best.

The fact of the matter is that regardless of what happens this weekend against the Ravens, the NFL is still very much Patrick Mahomes’ league. This version of the Chiefs making the AFC Championship must terrify their rivals. It also puts a ton of pressure on the Ravens — because they know this may be their only genuine shot at the King for quite some time.

3. San Francisco 49ers

Is it homerism that the 49ers are behind the Chiefs? Or is it just because San Francisco hasn’t been overly impressive in recent weeks?

I think it’s probably a combination of the two. But it has to be said: the 49ers are not making football look particularly easy right now.

At one point on Saturday, it looked as if the Packers were finally going to beat their playoff bogey team. However, with a late 49ers score (and a stop on defense), San Francisco is now just one game away from a chance for revenge on one of the two teams that defeated them in their previous two Super Bowl appearances.

But with Deebo Samuel potentially out — and with a fearless Lions team heading into town — 49ers fans shouldn’t be too quick to plan their trips to Vegas.

4. Detroit Lions

The Lions are ‘Merica’s team. At this point, that cannot be denied. I don’t think there is a football fan in the world who doesn’t want to see the Lombardi Trophy heading to Ford Field in a few weeks.

Well... maybe not the remaining teams — and the rest of the NFC North, of course.

Their game against the Buccaneers was boring for most of the first half — but then it seemed like both teams remembered that the NFL’s Divisional Round is the best weekend in all of sports. It was time to live up to the event.

The Baker Mayfield story is cool and everything — but let’s face it: the Lions’ story is far more intriguing.

I honestly believe that the NFL scriptwriters (sorry, bosses) want an Eminem/Swift Bowl. The new ‘Merica’s team vs. the Swifties. It would be the first time that a season has opened and ended with the same matchup. I don’t know if that last bit is true (Editor’s Note: It is true) but I am too lazy to look it up. You guys don’t read these rankings for analysis and stats, right?

Anyway, that’s me signing off for another year of Arrowhead Pride Power Rankings. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them.

And remember: football isn’t that serious. It’s just a children's game that we all decide to keep in our lives during adulthood.

It's Game Time.

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