The Kansas City Chiefs beat an AFC powerhouse in Week 1, and yet they still aren’t getting the credit they deserve.
Connor Orr of Sports Illustrated dished out his Week 2 NFL power rankings, putting an uncharacteristic team at the top of his rankings. At No. 3 on his list is the Chiefs, No. 2 the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and No. 1 the Los Angeles Rams.
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Orr Makes His Case
Here’s what Orr said about having the Rams as his top team in the NFL after Week 1 of the 2021 season:
“The NFL’s greatest matchup generating offense now has Matthew Stafford as its pilot,” Orr wrote. “Sean McVay’s NFL fever dream has finally come to life, and while it was a somewhat muted drubbing of the middling Bears, Stafford’s ability to hit all corners of the field does not bode well for a league hoping to contain him. This is the best team in the league right now by a razor thin margin.”
Orr didn’t have anything bad to say about the Chiefs, however. He just likes the Rams more.
“Patrick Mahomes’s late touchdown to Tyreek Hill is the perfect encapsulation of why the Chiefs are still a favorite to win the AFC,” Orr wrote. “You can play the team perfectly, scheme a game flawlessly and control the clock and the team can still abandon the outer limits of what we thought was athletically possible and blindside you with a gutting backyard football play in the fourth quarter. Until you find a Tyreek Hill to guard Tyreek Hill, you’d better hope a few balls bounce your way.”
Rams’ Victory a Bit Flawed
The Rams did rack up 34 points against the Chicago Bears. But there’s more to how those points were scored than the box score tells.
Two of Los Angeles quarterback Matthew Stafford’s touchdowns came on deep passes, one of which was to second-year wide receiver Van Jefferson who fell right in front of a Bears defender and got back up and ran it in for a 67-yard touchdown, and another in which blown coverage led to a wide-open Cooper Kupp for a 56-yard touchdown. Many points were score by Los Angeles, but it was done against a Chicago defense that was 11th in the league in expected points added per play and eighth in pressure rate in 2020, per PFF.
Add on the fact that the Rams’ elite defense was playing against a Chicago offense led by mediocre quarterback Andy Dalton, who averaged 5.4 yards per attempt on Sunday Night Football, per ESPN’s box score, and the Week 1 victory for the Rams is something to be taken with a grain of salt.
Meanwhile, Kansas City was in a shootout with the Cleveland Browns in Week 1. The Chiefs did trail for a better part of the game, but two key forced turnovers by Kansas City’s defense in the fourth quarter and a bit of Patrick Mahomes magic grabbed a win against a team that could very well be in the AFC championship game this season alongside the Chiefs. Kansas City’s offense looked like an elite machine once again, and the defense held their own when it mattered the most and did so without two of their best players — safety Tyrann Mathieu and defensive end Frank Clark.
Maybe a win against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday Night Football in Week 2 will give the Chiefs the complete respect they deserve.