The Chiefs Are In An Unfamiliar Place — No 1 In Our

2San Francisco114201317Jacksonville141999 Well, that didn’t take long. We’re just one week into the 2017 NFL season, and there’s already a new team atop FiveThirtyEight’s Elo ratings. The Kansas City Chiefs rose to the top slot after beating the preseason No. 1 New England Patriots 42-27 in last Thursday’s season opener, and now Elo gives them a league-best 14 percent chance of winning the Super Bowl.OK, so maybe you shouldn’t bet the farm on that Chiefs championship just yet. (The Vegas books still list K.C. in a tie for the seventh-best Super Bowl odds of any team, alongside the Atlanta Falcons.) But Kansas City occupying first place in an NFL power ranking is a pretty rare sight nonetheless. Since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger, the Chiefs have only held the No. 1 slot for eight total weeks,1Including this week. the same as the New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Compare that with the team the Chiefs beat — the Pats, who lead all post-merger franchises with 137 total weeks at No. 1 — and you start to get a sense for just how unusual a top-ranked K.C. squad is.The last time the Chiefs ranked first in Elo? Week 11 of the 2003 season, when Kansas City had just crushed the Cleveland Browns to move to 9-0 on the year. It was K.C.’s fourth consecutive week at No. 1, but the celebration wouldn’t last: Dick Vermeil’s Chiefs were upset by Cincinnati on the road the following week, part of a 4-3 stretch to close the regular season. And in the playoffs, they lost an epic shootout with Peyton Manning and the Colts in which neither team punted. K.C. fell to 7-9 the next season, and the offensive firepower briefly captured with Trent Green and Priest Holmes was never quite achieved again. CAR65CAR71CAR+1.4– 7Washington51199221Kansas City82017 13Seattle30201629Atlanta0— FiveThirtyEight vs. The CrowdLast week, we rolled out a new game in which we invite you, the readers, to make picks against our Elo algorithm — as well as each other. (The more confident you are in your choices, the more points you win.) After each week, we’ll tally up everyone’s scores, and you can see where you stand relative to Elo and your fellow players.As a side benefit of this exercise, we can also use the results of your picks to figure out which games and teams the crowd most disagreed with Elo about — and who was right. For instance, in Week 1, readers were all over the woefully high 57 percent win probability Elo gave the Andrew Luck-less Colts on the road against the L.A. Rams. (In Elo’s defense, it doesn’t factor in key injuries like Luck’s.) Los Angeles ended up crushing Indy 46-9, costing our algorithm a lot of points in the process.Here are all the games from the opening week of the season, in order of how much readers outsmarted Elo:3The Chiefs-Patriots matchup isn’t included here because our game launched last Friday, after the season opener was played. 10Minnesota42201625Buffalo41991 MIN59MIN54MIN-6.7– 6Indianapolis52200921N.Y. Jets82010 our PICKWIN PROB.READERS’ PICKWIN PROB.ACTUAL WINNERREADERS’ NET PTS 8Miami50198524New Orleans62010 9Oakland43200225Cincinnati41982 HOU74HOU75JAX-3.1– IND57%LAR53%LAR+8.2– 14L.A. Rams27200229Detroit0— 4Green Bay67201120Baltimore92009 CIN63CIN58BAL+4.6– 15Philadelphia22200429Houston0— Kansas City is far from being the franchise with the least time spent in first place. Among teams that have reached the top slot, five — New Orleans, Cincinnati, Buffalo, Carolina and Arizona — have spent fewer weeks in first than K.C. Four other teams — Detroit, Houston, Cleveland and (amazingly2Given that they’ve made two Super Bowls.) Atlanta — have never made it to No. 1 in the post-merger era.Maybe the Chiefs will have the staying power of the Patriots, whose 11-week reign at the top K.C. snapped this week. Or maybe they’ll be like last year’s Minnesota Vikings, who spent one solitary week at No. 1 (Week 6, if you’re keeping track) before fading away. DAL65DAL60DAL-6.7– Elo’s dumbest (and smartest) picks of Week 1Average difference between FiveThirtyEight reader points won and Elo points won per matchup Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com 11Chicago40198827Carolina22015 ATL72ATL80ATL+1.9– GB61GB56GB-6.6– 16Tennessee17200829Cleveland0— WSH58WSH52PHI+4.6– OAK51OAK54OAK+0.5– 12Denver37201628Arizona12015 PIT76PIT86PIT+1.9– DET54ARI52DET-8.3– The Week 1 winner is …Congratulations to Dante Sblendorio of Livermore, California, who absolutely humiliated Elo with this week’s high score of 225 points. Dante, a 25-year-old physicist, went for an extremely aggressive approach that paid off: He picked 12 of 14 games correctly, all at 100 percent confidence. Too bad he wasn’t in Vegas.Remember: You can start playing the prediction game this week, even if you didn’t get your picks in last week.Check out our latest NFL predictions. 5Pittsburgh59200921Tampa Bay82003 3Dallas108199619N.Y. Giants112008 Most weeks spent at No. 1 in NFL Elo ratings, 1970-2017 BUF64BUF71BUF+2.6– 1New England137201717L.A. Chargers142009 DEN74DEN66DEN-8.5– RKTEAMWEEKSLAST YR AT NO. 1RKTEAMWEEKSLAST YR AT NO. 1

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