The Chiefs received seven of 12 first-place votes for 379 points in balloting Tuesday by media members who regularly cover the NFL.
Kansas City (11-2) moved up a couple of spots to No. 1 after rallying for an overtime victory over Baltimore. The Chiefs clinched a playoff berth and maintained a one-game lead over the Los Angeles Chargers in the AFC West.
“There were no gaudy stats for MVP candidate Patrick Mahomes against Baltimore’s rock-solid defense, but there were clutch plays in crunch time in an overtime win that may be the deciding factor in securing home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs,” Newsday’s Bob Glauber said.
The Saints (11-2) received the remaining five first-place votes for 376 points to stay at No. 2.
The Chargers (10-3) jumped two spots to No. 4 and travel to Arrowhead Stadium on Thursday night to face the Chiefs to open Week 15.
“Can they beat the Chiefs?” Fox Sports’ John Czarnecki asked of the Chargers.
The Rams, LA’s other team, fell from the top spot to No. 3 after Sunday night’s 15-6 loss to the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. The Rams return to Sunday night play this week when they host the Eagles.
“The Bears just proved you can shut down the Rams’ offense if you can shut down (running back) Todd Gurley,” said Ira Kaufman of Fox 13 in Tampa, Florida. “Difficult, but not impossible.”
The Bears’ win helped them move up one spot to No. 6.
The New England Patriots slipped a spot to No. 5 after their improbable 34-33 loss to Miami on the final play as the Dolphins scored on a pass and double lateral to complete a 69-yard pass .
It was the longest play from scrimmage to win a game with no time remaining in the fourth quarter since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.
Another team that fell in the poll after losing was the Houston Texans. The Texans slipped two spots to No. 7 after being defeated by the Colts 24-21 to end their nine-game winning streak.
The Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys each moved up a spot to Nos. 8 and 9 after winning at home last week. Both 8-5 teams improved their playoff position in the NFC.
The reeling Pittsburgh Steelers, who have lost three in a row, dropped two places to round out the top 10. The Steelers, who have a half-game lead in the AFC North, host the Patriots on Sunday in a key AFC showdown.
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