Posted on December 28, 2022
The three teams at the top kept up their winning ways while the other five teams combined for four losses, which was the maximum possible considering the Rams and Broncos played each other.
Every week that goes by makes it clearer that there is a divide between the teams in the west. And with 16 of the 18 weeks in the books, there is very little time to bridge that gap.
But if a team fails to make the playoffs, it doesn’t mean their season is a failure. These last few weeks are about getting ready for the postseason or next season, so some teams need to focus on the latter.
So, here are this week’s west power rankings, which give an idea of what each team should be playing for down the stretch.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (12-3-0)It’s no surprise that the Chiefs remain in the top spot. They orchestrated a totally well-rounded beatdown of the Seahawks, winning 24-10.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes continues to be incredible, and seems to have the MVP all but locked up.
But really it was the defense that impressed on Saturday. The Chiefs held a formidable Seahawks’ offense to just 10 points, and that lone touchdown didn’t come until around two minutes left in the game.
It seems like everything is clicking right now for Kansas City, and that is a scary sight for the rest of the league.
The Chiefs continue to play complete game after complete game and if they are able to keep that up, there might not be a team that can stop them.
2. San Francisco 49ers (11-4-0)Apparently, quarterback Brock Purdy has unlocked something in the 49ers because they are yet to lose with the rookie under center.
Most teams would experience some sort of drop-off if forced to slot in a seventh-round rookie, but not the 49ers. The offense continued to roll in a 37-20 win over the Commanders, their eighth in a row.
Tight end George Kittle is playing his best football of the season, putting up 120 yards and his second-straight two-touchdown performance.
And the fact that the 49ers have the league’s best defense, and the likely Defensive Player of the Year in defensive end Nick Bosa, just makes this team even more dangerous.
As long as Purdy plays as well as he has been playing, then there is seemingly no weakness in this hot San Francisco squad.
3. Los Angeles Chargers (9-6-0)Afew weeks ago, the Chargers were on the outside looking in of the playoff picture. Now, they’ve clinched a postseason berth after three straight victories, most recently a 20-3 win over the Colts on Monday night.
The offense has been the catalyst for this run, as the healthy unit has been playing well lately.
Wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams recorded 11 catches for 104 yards and four catches for 76 yards, respectively. And running back Austin Ekeler chipped in 79 total yards and two scores.
Even in what was one of the offense’s least impressive efforts recently, the Chargers were still able to get the job done because that is what playoff teams do.
Los Angeles is now looking like a very threatening team in the playoffs. If the Chargers get hot, they could make an impressive run.
4. Las Vegas Raiders (6-9-0)Unlike the postseason-bound teams on this list, the Raiders did not win this week. They lost a tightly contested 13-10 game to the Steelers on Saturday night.
Las Vegas held the lead until giving up a touchdown with 46 seconds left, so it was definitely a disappointing loss.
But the fact that the Raiders were even in this game for that long despite three interceptions from quarterback Derek Carr and 59 combined yards from running back Josh Jacobs and wide receiver Davante Adams suggests that they are still the better team.
A loss like this is never a good thing, but the Steelers were honoring the late Franco Harris during the game so they may have had an extra little something going for them.
The Raiders are still mathematically alive for the playoffs, although it would take something just short of a miracle for them to get in.
So that means they need to use these last two games to get the bad taste of this loss out of their mouths and get ready for next year.
5. Seattle Seahawks (7-8-0)It was fun while it lasted, Seattle. The Seahawks’ 24-10 loss to the Chiefs, their third in a row, might have been the most deflating yet.
The offense just failed to show up, averaging 4.6 yards per play, and even that number is inflated by a much more competitive second half.
The Seahawks were never really in this game, scoring their only touchdown with just under two-and-a-half minutes left in the game.
The defense showed up at least, holding Kansas City to one of its lowest-scoring games of the season.
But this game proved that the Seahawks are not a playoff-caliber team, which is perfectly acceptable. This is a young team that entered the season with a massive question mark at quarterback.
Seattle can use the last two games, and the whole season, to build for the future, which seems to be rather bright.
6. Los Angeles Rams (5-10-0)The Rams had by far the most shocking performance of the entire season on Sunday. They had an offensive explosion against the Broncos, beating them 51-14.
Not only was it unexpected for the Rams to score that many points in a single game, but they did it against one of the best defenses in the league.
It’s obvious that quarterback Baker Mayfield has provided this team with a spark, as they’ve nearly doubled their wins since acquiring him.
That spark extended to running back Cam Akers this week, as he rushed for 118 yards and three touchdowns.
Rookie cornerback Cobie Durant also had an incredible game, tallying two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown.
Beating the Broncos in itself is not an impressive feat, but the manner in which they did it should give the Rams some confidence for the rest of the season.
7. Arizona Cardinals (4-11-0)The Cardinals had the perfect chance to prove that they weren’t a lost cause in their primetime game against the Buccaneers on Christmas Day.
Unfortunately, losing 19-16 in overtime is not the way to do that.
In their defense, the Cardinals were down to third-string quarterback Trace McSorley, which certainly hampered their ability to win this game.
But Tampa Bay was trying to hand Arizona the game, it just wouldn’t take it.
Neither team scored a touchdown until the fourth quarter, where the Cardinals held a 16-6 lead with 10:47 left in the game.
The Cardinals proceeded to turn the ball over twice and punt twice, including once in overtime, on their way to losing this game.
This is far from the season the Cardinals were hoping for this year, so it is up to them to save face in these last two games or else they may reach the complete disaster zone.
8. Denver Broncos (4-11-0)There are no longer any words left to describe this Broncos season.
A week after beating the Cardinals and demonstrating a glimmer of hope, the Broncos lost 51-14 to the Rams in a horrendous showing.
The one thing Denver had left was its defense, but that was shredded by Mayfield, Akers, and Company. The Broncos’ previous high in points allowed was 34 to the Chiefs, which is understandable.
Allowing 51 points to one of the worst offenses in the league is unacceptable.
And the Broncos agree with that sentiment because they fired head coach Nathaniel Hackett on Monday morning.
When you fire your coach with just two games left in the season, you deserve to be at the bottom of this list.
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