Posted on November 30, 2022
In case you don’t feel like doing the math, that leaves just one-third of the season left.
That one-third translates to six games left for each of the west teams, except for the Cardinals, who have their bye this week.
The season is still far from over, but not far enough from over to give some of the struggling teams a chance to get back into the top of these rankings.
Once again, the same four teams occupy the top four spots, although the order is slightly different.
The bottom four teams have also been reordered, but it’s essentially a crapshoot trying to rank those teams at this point.
So here are this week’s slightly shook-up west power rankings.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (9-2-0)At this point, the Chiefs’ part of these rankings can just be copied and pasted from week to week because they aren’t budging from this spot.
Even a 26-10 win over the Rams that was a bit closer than expected isn’t enough to move them off the top of the west. They shouldn’t have let the Rams stay as close as they did, but the Chiefs got the win at the end of the day, which is what matters.
Kansas City still has given no reason to doubt its status as one of the top teams in the entire league.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes is still maintaining his place as the MVP frontrunner, adding a 320-yard, one-touchdown performance to his sterling resume.
The Chiefs’ defense also showed up on Sunday, although that may have been a byproduct of a struggling Rams’ offense.
But there are several stars on that defense, most notably defensive tackle Chris Jones who is one of the best players in football and registered one of the team’s three sacks on Sunday.
By the end of the season, this game will be largely forgotten as the Chiefs continue to rack up more wins.
They’re still the cream of the crop in the west and will remain there as long as something drastic doesn’t happen.
2. San Francisco 49ers (7-4-0)The 49ers continue to impress, although in a bit of a different way.
They won with their defense this week, which is nothing new for one of the best units in the league.
The 49ers hadn’t forgotten about their defense lately, it’s just that the offense had been stealing the spotlight.
That isn’t surprising given the star power of players such as running back Christian McCaffrey and tight end Deebo Samuel.
But on Sunday San Francisco notched its first shutout of the year, blanking the Saints in a 13-0 win.
The 49ers allowed 6.8 yards per pass attempt and 2.9 yards per carry in a dominating performance. They twice stopped the Saints in the red zone, forcing one fumble and one turnover on downs, as well as forcing four punts.
It is hard to move the ball on the 49ers and even harder to move the ball all the way into the end zone. That is a good quality for a team that has legitimate Super Bowl aspirations.
If San Francisco can keep this current hot streak up then it will be quite dangerous heading into the playoffs and may even challenge Kansas City for the top spot on this list.
3. Los Angeles Chargers (6-5-0)The Chargers are one of the few teams to move up a spot this week, doing so on the back of a 25-24 win over the Cardinals.
Although beating the Cardinals isn’t necessarily the most impressive accomplishment, the fashion in which they won was rather admirable.
Los Angeles demonstrated some fortitude by leading a seven-play, 93-second touchdown drive to tie the game with 15 seconds left. Except, the Chargers didn’t just settle for overtime, they went for two, go it, and got the victory in regulation.
It’s that type of aggressive approach that has made the Chargers such a trendy pick to challenge the Chiefs heading into this year.
With a quarterback like Justin Herbert, there is no reason to play it safe. Herbert threw three touchdowns in the game, along with 274 yards, and was also the team’s leading rusher with 38 yards.
And with the presence of running back Austin Ekeler (11 catches for 60 yards and score), the return of wide receiver Keenan Allen (five catches for 49 yards and a score), and promising receivers around them such as Joshua Palmer and DeAndre Carter (12 combined catches for 129 yards and a touchdown), the offense has the potential to be elite.
The defense doesn’t always match the offense, especially in the run game. Los Angeles gave up 181 yards on the ground to Arizona, further establishing its run defense as one of the worst in the league and arguably the weakest area of the team.
Winning close games is always a good sign, so the Chargers can be proud of that. But it’s going to take more of that, plus probably a little bit more if they want to be a real threat to make the postseason.
4. Seattle Seahawks (6-5-0)It’s not all going bad for the Seahawks, but it’s certainly not going well either.
Sunday’s 40-34 overtime loss to the Raiders gave Seattle two straight losses, one on each side of the bye week. Safe to say, it was not a great look for a team that had been one of the most pleasantly surprising squads in the league.
On the bright side, the offense still looked great, although it was against a pretty bad Raiders’ defense. quarterback Geno Smith threw for 328 yards and rookie running back Kenneth Walker rushed for two touchdowns, so it was more of the same for a potent offense.
But the defense really let them down, which is not a new occurrence this year.
Despite two interceptions from safety Quandre Diggs, the Seahawks still couldn’t stop the Raiders from having their best scoring performance of the entire season.
This was the third time Seattle had allowed over 30 points, and the second time it did so in a loss.
For as fun and entertaining as Smith and the offense have been, it hasn’t been good enough to make up for the defense at times.
There was a period where it looked like the Seahawks had improved enough on defense to turn it around, but that came crashing down on Sunday.
The Seahawks are still a good team, one that may very likely end up in the playoffs. But if they want to truly compete, there are still a few areas, on both sides of the ball, that need to be addressed before they can move any higher up these rankings.
5. Arizona Cardinals (4-8-0)The Cardinals maintain their status as the best of the rest, topping the bottom half of this list. Fifth seems like an apt placement for them, given their 4-8 record and frustrating play on both offense and defense.
If moral victories counted for anything tangible, then Arizona could at least be happy with its 25-24 loss to the Chargers on Sunday.
Playing a potential playoff team close is no small feat, but allowing that team to cakewalk down the field and win the game with a two-point conversion is not the most favorable result.
But there were some positives to come out of that loss.
Running back James Conner continued to look good, rushing for 120 yards. The connection between quarterback Kyler Murray and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins still works, resulting in 87 yards and a score.
And the defense notched four sacks, which shows some necessary improvement in the front seven.
But things are not going as expected in Arizona, and it’s unlikely that is going to change.
A respectable record is still in play with a strong finish, but this season is clearly one that the Cardinals are going to try to forget as soon as it is over.
6. Las Vegas Raiders (4-7-0)As running back Josh Jacobs was sprinting for the game-winning 86-yard touchdown in overtime against the Seahawks, the Raiders were also distancing themselves from the bottom two teams on this list.
At one point, the Raiders were at the bottom of this ranking, and rightfully so after a horrendous start. But things have started to come together for them, as evidenced by Sunday’s 40-34 win over the Seahawks.
Jacobs had one of the best individual performances of the season, totaling 303 yards and two touchdowns. His return to dominant form was a nice reminder of what this team is capable of when everything is clicking.
Jacobs likely isn’t going to put up 300 yards every week, so the Raiders will have to win games in other ways. And considering the defense just allowed 34 points, they may not be capable of shouldering the load.
Don’t get it twisted, Las Vegas is still not a good team. It is behind Arizo a for a reason. But the Raiders do have a ceiling that is significantly higher than the season they are having.
If the Raiders hit that ceiling more consistently, they may have a shot at moving up these rankings.
7. Los Angeles Rams (3-8-0)Rams fans, thank quarterback Bryce Perkins for the seventh-place ranking this week. The third-stringer was not great on Sunday but he did somehow manage to lose just 26-10 to the Chiefs.
Honestly, it’s not fair to call this team by the same name as last year’s Super Bowl champs.
They were without quarterback Matthew Stafford, wide receiver Cooper Kupp, left tackle Joseph Noteboom, and plenty of others for that game and now lost wide receiver Allen Robinson for the season as well.
But even with all those injuries, there is no reason for Los Angeles to be this bad.
The Rams managed 198 yards on Sunday on a terrible 3.6 yards per play.
They miraculously made it into the end zone courtesy of a Perkins touchdown pass to wide receiver Tutu Atwell that would have anybody actually watching the game wondering if they accidentally switched over to the XFL.
It has been a bad year for the Rams but the good news is that one year only lasts 365 days (thankfully it’s not a leap year). Hopefully, things will be better for them next year, or at the very least healthier.
8. Denver Broncos (3-8-0)It’s hard to be embarrassed when everyone knows that the team is still comprised of the top .01 percent of athletes in the world.
But when the Broncos lost 23-10 to a Panthers team led by quarterback Sam Darnold, it was embarrassing.
The Broncos, like plenty of other teams in the west, are having a bad season. But the Broncos are having one of the most disastrous seasons in recent memory.
The offense seems physically unable of scoring, hence the 10 points against Carolina, and is squandering a very good defense.
Unfortunately for Denver, it doesn’t seem like there is a light at the end of the tunnel, at least not this season.
Quarterback Russell Wilson has certainly not been the player they paid for, but unfortunately, the NFL has a no-returns policy on blockbuster trades.
All hope is not lost for the Broncos. They can make some changes and try to turn things around for next year. The last six games can be a trial run to figure out which players are worthy of keeping around for 2023.
But Broncos fans should probably just lie to themselves and say that this season is over because just like the pause after the steep climb of a roller coaster, it’s all downhill from here.
—More from Cody Schoeler—
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