Chiefs fans may have been asking this question on Tuesday: Would the release of running back Kareem Hunt affect where the Chiefs landed on the NFL power rankings from national organizations?
The answer: yes and no.
Three national pundits dropped the Chiefs in their ranking, but four kept KC in place after Sunday’s 40-33 win at Oakland. One even moved the Chiefs up a spot.
Here are where the 10-2 Chiefs landed in eight different power rankings:
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ESPN kept the Chiefs at No. 3. Adam Teicher wrote about Patrick Mahomes’ prolific number of touchdown passes: “The Chiefs have needed most of them because they’ve had to outscore their porous defense. They will need Mahomes to challenge the NFL record of 55 if they’re going to continue to do so.”
USA Today dropped the Chiefs one spot to No. 4 as the Patriots moved ahead of them. Nate Davis wrote: “Without Kareem Hunt, they ran for most yards (174) on road this season. But is committee sustainable with Pat Mahomes as leading rusher?”
SB Nation kicked the Chiefs down three spots to No. 6, behind the Rams, Chargers, Texans, Bears and Patriots. Ryan Van Bibber wrote: “The Chiefs have been a lot of fun to watch this season too. They usually are under Andy Reid, who even made Alex Smith starts watchable. I’d probably enjoy them more if I didn’t already know that they’ll suffer some heartbreaking loss to a team like the Dolphins or something in the playoffs.”
CBS Sports was the only outlet to move the Chiefs up. They’re at No. 2. Pete Prisco wrote: “They will be without Kareem Hunt the rest of the way since he’s been released, but the offense will be fine. Patrick Mahomes can score on anybody.”
The Washington Post kept the Chiefs at No. 3. Here’s a snippet of what Mark Maske wrote: “The loss of Hunt is significant, and it cannot be assumed that the Kansas City offense will maintain its level of excellence when the competition toughens.”
Frank Schwab of Yahoo Sports had the Chiefs at No. 3 for a third straight week. He wrote in part: “If we’re simply talking about the loss of Kareem Hunt in a football sense, I don’t think it’s that big of a blow to the Chiefs. Hunt is a very good player, but Spencer Ware is capable. He has a 4.6-yard career average. He looked like a pretty good back in 2016, then he got hurt and Hunt took off.”
The Sporting News knocked the Chiefs down to No. 4 and pushed the Patriots ahead of KC. Vinnie Iyer wrote in part: “Patrick Mahomes lit it up as expected against the Raiders, but the defense suddenly sprung more leaks against rivals on the road, and there was a little power and pop missing in the running game, causing this mild slide.”
Bleacher Report had the Chiefs at No. 3 again. Here’s an excerpt of what it wrote: “The Chiefs, minus one of their most dynamic offensive weapons, traveled to Oakland for an AFC West showdown with the Raiders and proceeded to put up 40 points.
“New lead back Spencer Ware was quiet in the game (14 carries for 47 yards and a score), and that gaudy score carries a caveat given that it was put up on one of the league’s worst teams. But if Week 13 was any indication, the Chiefs offense will be fine.”