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NFL power rankings Week 7 roundup: 2023’s first truly honest rankings

It seems like every season, there are some power rankings that don’t look quite right until there are no undefeated teams remaining. Before then, any writer who puts a team with at least one loss above a team with no losses risks having Bill Parcells quoted to them (“You are what your record says you are”) by random people on the Internet.

With that obstacle finally out of the way, two of the outlets we’re tracking have listed the Kansas City Chiefs in first place. And I am taking back every bad thing I ever said about Pete Prisco.

Here’s this week’s sampling: 2

(up from 3)

The Chiefs have won five straight, but four of those contests were grinders, and the offense remains hamstrung a bit by middling red-zone production and too many turnovers. They would rather be in the position they are now than where they were in 2021, when the defense struggled early before getting back on track. Don’t forget that that team opened the season at 3-4, yet still made the AFC Championship Game (and led 21-3 before ultimately falling to the Bengals). The most concerning part about this team is its inability to slam the door shut. The Chiefs have only 12 fourth-quarter points this season — all Harrison Butker field goals. There’s no reason to freak out, but the lack of crunch-time production is out of character, and if it continues, it will come back to bite them against better opponents.

— Eric Edholm


(up from 3)

Lesson learned: The Chiefs have a top-10 defense.

Through six games, the Chiefs are second in points allowed per game (14.7), sixth in yards allowed per game (284) and fifth in defensive efficiency (74.3), according to ESPN Analytics’ Football Power Index. The schedule gets more difficult from here as the Chiefs will face five teams currently in the top seven in scoring. But what they’ve accomplished when Patrick Mahomes is not on the field doesn’t look like a mirage.

Adam Teicher

The Athletic: 5

(unchanged from 5)

Thanks to losses by the Eagles and 49ers, the Chiefs now have the longest active winning streak in the league. Still, everything just feels harder than usual on offense. Patrick Mahomes is 31st in the league in air yards per attempt (6.4), and the Chiefs are 29th in air yards per reception (4.6). Kansas City’s explosive play percentage (9.7) is 19th in the league, the worst of the Andy Reid era, and the Chiefs have only one win against a team with a winning record.

— Josh Kendall

Sports Illustrated: 2

(up from 3)

The Chiefs flicked the Broncos off their shoulders on Thursday Night Football with a defensive effort so convincing that we spent the majority of the night trying to decipher Sean Payton’s play call sheet. I think defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has been fantastic so far this year. If I were ranking some of the top coordinators in the league right now, he’d be in the conversation. Kansas City’s defense will face stiffer tests down the road, with the most high-octane offenses (Chargers, Eagles, Bengals, Bills) remaining on the schedule.

— Conor Orr

Pro Football Talk: 2

(up from 3)

They’re winning, but something is off.

— Mike Florio 1

(up from 3)

They haven’t clicked on offense, but that defense is playing well. The offense will get there, but it does need to quit being so cute with its play-calling at times.

— Pete Prisco

Fox Sports: 3

(up from 4)

Keep tinkering, Chiefs. I don’t care how many trick plays you try or how unconvincing you look in these wins. It would take a lot to convince me that Kansas City won’t be one of the last teams standing in January. It is worth pointing out, though, that the five teams the Chiefs have beaten have a combined record of 11-19. The level of play we’ve seen recently might get them beaten when they step up the level of competition.

— David Helman

Yahoo! Sports: 3

(unchanged from 3)

The Chiefs need a receiver to step forward, and the one who keeps popping up is rookie Rashee Rice. He had 72 yards on Thursday night. The Chiefs’ passing game hasn’t been great yet. KC needs to expand Rice’s role and see where it leads.

— Frank Schwab

The Sporting News: 1

(up from 3)

The Chiefs are fighting through some offensive issues beyond Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, but they are more than alleviated by Chris Jones and the defense balling out everywhere, every week. This is a more complete, dangerous team when Mahomes eventually gets hot again.

— Vinnie Iyer

USA Today: 3

(up from 4)

Including postseason, QB Patrick Mahomes has now started 100 NFL games … and won 80 of them. Crazy. Fifteen percent of his career victories, or 12, have come against Denver – a team that will be back in Kansas City’s crosshairs in Week 8.

Nate Davis

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