NFL Power Rankings Week 12 Recap: Chiefs Nearly Consensus Pick

You might call it a “consensus with outliers” — but according to this week’s national power rankings, the Kansas City Chiefs they are the best team in the NFL. We’ll just have to wait for a couple of these people to show up.

Here’s this week’s sampling:

NFL. com: 1

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When Patrick Mahomes took the field with 1:46 to play, two timeouts and his team trailing by four points against the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday night football, NBC showed an absurd graph stating that the Chiefs had – analytically speaking – a 24% chance of winning the game. It was silly at the time and downright ridiculous after Mahomes took the field in five plays, before connecting on a third touchdown pass to Travis Kelce in a 30-27 victory at SoFi Stadium. Kelce, 33, is having one of his best seasons and has been particularly unstoppable in front of the larger crowd: Eight of his league-leading 11 TDs have come in prime time games.

—Dan Hansus


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What/who is underperformance? Special teams

The Chiefs are among the best in football year after year, but not so much this season. They struggled with returns, in particular, with a bumbling punt return that was the biggest play in one of their two losses. Harrison Butker was also inconsistent with a 72.7% field goal rate, which would be the lowest of his six-year career if the season ends today.

Adam Techer

The Athletic: 1

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Grateful for: Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes

It’s easy because it’s true. They are the reason it seemed to accomplished fact that the Chiefs would score the go-ahead touchdown when they got the ball to their own 25-yard line down by four points with 1:46 left Sunday night — and it ultimately took just six plays to do so. Kelce already tied in his career high with 11 receiving touchdowns and is on course to set a career-high in receiving yards. Although Kelce has now passed Rob Gronkowski for the no. 5 receiving among tight ends (and is 101 yards from Shannon Sharpe’s pass for No. 4), he and Mahomes are still a little ways off catching the Gronkowski-Tom Brady duo for touchdown receptions. Kelce caught 45 touchdowns off Mahomes in the regular season, 56 including the playoffs. Gronkowski had 90 regular season touchdown receptions from Brady, 105 including the playoffs.

— Bo Wulf 1

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If there’s anything to worry about, sometimes it’s pass rush and coverage on the back end. They need to improve in those areas.

— Pete Prisco

Editor’s note: Before you accuse Prisco of disliking the Chiefs, you should be aware of what he said about them in the article’s introduction: “As an 8-2, the Chiefs sit atop my power rankings and Superbowl look again. Reid is a great coach, Mahomes is a great quarterback, and tight end Travis Kelce may be the best fit to fill the position. He had three touchdown catches against the Chargers, including the game winner in the final minute.

Yahoo! Sports: 1

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Patrick Mahomes likely won his second NFL MVP award Sunday night. Leading the Chiefs in the final 1:46 for a game-winning touchdown against Travis Kelce was masterful. There’s still a long way to go, but no one is going to catch Mahomes unless something weird happens or he gets hurt.

—Frank Schwab

The sports news: 2

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The Chiefs needed a lot of Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce to survive the Chargers, but as usual they had too much offensive time late in the game to be denied. The Chiefs are looking [like] everyone’s new Super Bowl pick now.

—Vinnie Iyer

Editor’s note: To be clear, “everyone” apparently doesn’t include Iyer himself. Hey has the Philadelphia Eagles ranked no. 1.

United States today: 3

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The NFL’s high-level offense continues its fascinating evolution. Travis Kelce’s 33rd career game with at least 100 receiving yards is a new league record for tight ends, breaking Rob Gronkowski’s record. Meanwhile, rookie RB Isiah Pacheco also hit the century mark for the first time on Sunday, churning out yards with his signature hard-running style.

Nathan Davis

Editor’s note: For home score keepers: Davis has the Eagles at No. 1 and the Buffalo Bills at no. 2.

Mile height report: 1

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We can’t be too surprised that at the moment it’s the Chiefs who are looking like the Super Bowl favorites. Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce look like the most terrifying duo in the league, and the defense is doing well too, I guess.

—Ross Allen

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