Chiefs lead AP Pro32 poll; Packers at No. 2, Bills at No. 3

Sports

Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Ben Niemann (56) and defensive tackle Chris Jones (95) celebrate after Jones sacked Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in the enzone for a safety, during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

NEW YORK (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs know how to avoid any late-season stumbles.

The Chiefs took a 30-10 lead against Miami and held on for a 33-27 victory. They’re 12-1 on the season and on pace for the top seed in the AFC.

The Chiefs clinched their fifth straight AFC West title with the victory and are the unanimous No. 1 in the latest AP Pro32 poll.

The defending champs received all 12 first-place votes for 384 points in balloting Tuesday by media members who regularly cover the NFL.

The Green Bay Packers gained two spots to move to No. 2.

“The Packers just keep rolling,” said Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk. “Is there anybody in the NFC that can beat them?”

And the surging Buffalo Bills also moved up two places to No. 3.

“Josh Allen’s emergence continues, and Buffalo has planted the flag as a potential threat to defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City,” Newsday’s Bob Glauber said.

“Allen got the best of Ben Roethlisberger in an important AFC showdown in Buffalo and showed a national audience why the Bills are to be taken very seriously heading into January.”

Both the Packers and Bills will play on Saturday in Week 15. The Packers, who have clinched the NFC North, will host the Carolina Panthers and the Bills will head to Denver to take on the Broncos.

The New Orleans Saints dropped two places to No. 4 after losing to Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles. The Saints will try to avoid a two-game skid as they host the Chiefs on Sunday. That matchup is the first of two home games in five days for the Saints as they also host Minnesota on Christmas Day.

After their second straight loss, the Pittsburgh Steelers again dropped two spots to No. 5. The Steelers are scheduled to close out Week 15 as they head to Cincinnati to take on the lowly Bengals on Monday night.

“The Steelers are officially playoff-bound, but I’ve got serious questions about how long they’re going to last in the postseason with the defense reeling from linebacker injuries and the running game going nowhere with a paltry 54.3-yard average the past seven games,” said Alex Marvez of SiriusXM.

The Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks, tied for first in the NFC West, grabbed the next two spots. The Rams stayed at No. 6 and will host the winless New York Jets on Sunday and the Seahawks, who routed the Jets last week, gained a spot to No. 7 and will face the surging Washington Football Team.

The Tennessee Titans and the Indianapolis Colts, tied for first in the AFC South, are tied at No. 8 in the poll.

And the Cleveland Browns, who lost a thrilling 47-42 gameto the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night, dropped three spots to round out the top 10. Baltimore moved up two places to No. 11.

“In what was the wildest game of this season, the Ravens let the rest of the league know not to count them out,” said Jenny Vrentas of The Monday Morning Quarterback.

“Lamar Jackson looked like the reigning MVP again, culminating in his late-game heroics to pull out the win that Baltimore had to have for its postseason push.”

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