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Arrowheadlines: Kansas City Chiefs News 12/31

Good morning! Before we get to today's Kansas City Chiefs news, a couple of things... First, today is the last day to vote for Eric Berry in the Walter Payton Man of the Year Challenge. Votes are placed by using the hashtag #BerryWPMOYChallenge on any social media platform. Do your job APers and stuff the ballot box. Note, this is not to decide who wins the WPMOTY award, but the charity challenge. The winner has $20,000 donated to his charity of his choice. This is a link to the original article on the award and Mr Berry's nomination. The 2nd item is to be safe tonight. Don't drink and drive. Happy New Year, friends!!!

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

What We Learned from Wednesday's Media Availability from The Mothership

Q: With Justin Houston, is this just precautionary more than anything else or is he still trying to get back?

REID: "He's still working to get back. That's what he's doing. He's making a lot of progress. When I tell you it's day-by-day, this one's day-by-day. A little bit of Tamba's is just working on the indoor surface here, but he's making progress, so it's all good."

Q: What inspired you to bust that move in the locker room and where'd you learn that?

REID: "It just comes natural."

Q: So Mike DeVito didn't teach you that?

REID: "No, no."

Chiefs vs. Raiders: 10 Stats to Know from The Mothership

9. Key milestones within reach for several players

Cairo Santos needs just one more 50-plus-yard field goal to give him 5 for the season, which would break the current franchise record. Santos is currently tied with Nick Lowery (1980) with 4.

Tamba Hali (86) needs just 1 more sack to pass Neil Smith (86.5) for second on the franchise's all-time sacks list.

Ron Parker (6) is just 1 sack shy of breaking the franchise's all-time sacks record by a defensive back. The record is currently held by Reggie Tongue (6.5).

Chiefs Help Local Girl Scouts Earn Play 60 Badge from The Mothership

Jeff AllenZach FultonMitch MorseJah Reid and the rest of the Kansas City Chiefs offensive line went to the Arrowhead Stadium Sports Lab Tuesday afternoon to assist local Girl Scouts in their quest to attain a Play 60 patch.

"This was a great opportunity to bring the Girl Scouts to Arrowhead today," said Gina Garvon, the Girl Scouts chief brand and marketing officer. "It's perfect between the holiday break and a great way for them to learn more about health and nutrition."

QB Series Conclusion Part One: Reflections I from The Mothership

The quarterback occupies center stage in the grand drama that has become America's preeminent sport.

The nature of quarterback play, however, is a mystery, a fascinating compound of talent and mystique that makes a team and a city of fans want to follow a specific individual.

It is not a single quality, or even a single style.

It can last a game, a season or an entire career.

Some of it is through oratory, expounding through inspirational rhetoric on the field and sideline or before the cameras, others by patient, workmanlike translation of a coach's game plan, some of it the ability to crate magic out of chaos, and most of all by physical skill.

Chiefs receiver De'Anthony Thomas misses practice again for unknown reason from The Kansas City Star

Reid was asked if Thomas, who has missed the Chiefs' last five games, was in the building.

"I don't know that, I don't know exactly where he is," Reid said. "Like I said, Dorsey is kind of handling that."

Thomas had been a full participant in practice all of last week and was listed as probable on Friday's injury report, a classification the league describes as a "virtual certainty" to play. But prior to the game, the Chiefs declared he would not play because of a non-football related reason.

Week 17: Wednesday injury report from Chiefs Digest

"Still making progress in the right direction," coach Andy Reid said of Hali and Houston.

Hali did not play in Week 16 after undergoing surgery on his right thumb early last week, while Houston has missed four straight games since suffering a hyperextended knee in Week 12.

Safety Husain Abduallh, who did not practice as he continues to recover from a concussion sustained on Dec. 3, is "getting closer," Reid said.

Chiefs' Jah Reid misses practice Wednesday from The Kansas City Star

If Reid is unable to play in the regular-season finale against the Oakland Raiders, the Chiefs could turn to left guard Jeff Allen, who has started a game at the position this year, or Donald Stephenson, who has made six starts this year, all at left tackle.

"I'll be prepared," Stephenson said. "I've played right tackle in the past. I'm ready. ... I've had a lot of practice at it."

Alex Smith will start season finale for first time in a long time from ESPN

He'll start at quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium, the first time he's started a season finale since 2011.

He was benched late in the season in 2012, his last season with the San Francisco 49ers, in favor of Colin Kaepernick. Along with some other starts, he sat out the final game in San Diego in 2013, his first season in Kansas City, because the Chiefs were locked into their playoff seed.

He then missed the final regular-season game in 2014, also against the Chargers, because of a lacerated spleen. That's the only game he's missed because of injury since he joined the Chiefs.

Andy Reid says Chiefs' starters will play versus Raiders from The Kansas City Star

"I just know we have to play this one and everybody's getting ready to do that, and that's how we're focused," Reid said. "We haven't really gone beyond that."

Chiefs' starters set to roll against Raiders with AFC West on the line from Chiefs Digest

The AFC West division is on the line between the Denver Broncos (11-4) and Chiefs (10-5), and with that a potential No. 3 seed and the right to host a playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium.

But for that to happen, the Broncos have to lose to the visiting San Diego Chargers and the Chiefs have to take care of business against the Raiders to force the tiebreaker, which the Chiefs own.

The Broncos and Chiefs will kick off their respective games at 3:25 p.m. CT, so there could be a chance to monitor each other on the scoreboard.

Reid, however, indicated that wouldn't be the case, at least at Arrowhead Stadium.

Andy Reid says Chiefs will play to win against Raiders from ESPN

So Reid has some things to consider. If the Jets lose and the Broncos are blowing out the Chargers, Reid may want to take quarterback Alex Smith and some other starters out of the game.

"I'm not even sure of all the scenarios,'' Reid said. "I just know we've got to play this one and everybody's getting ready to do that. That's how we're focused and I haven't really gone beyond that.''

The Chiefs could probably benefit from giving a break to as many players as possible, if that's possible, on Sunday. They've had to expend a lot of energy to win nine straight games after beginning the season 1-5 to clinch a playoff spot with one game remaining.

Jackson County taxpayers get first crack at possible Chiefs playoff tickets from The Kansas City Star

At 6 years old, Addysun Merit of Kansas City was the youngest fan there in the early part of the day.

"She had no choice," said David Lucas, Addysun's grandfather. "Grandpa is baby-sitting and said, ‘Let's go.' "

While being at the stadium might have taken a nudge, Addysun is a Chiefs fan and watches the games with her grandfather.

She also had a simple answer when asked why she likes the Chiefs.

"They win games," she said.

Chiefs' trio pulling hard for Oklahoma against Clemson in CFP semifinal showdown from Chiefs Digest

The Chiefs are busy preparing for a Week 17 contest with the AFC West division on the line.

But not too engaged that Chiefs offensive lineman Donald Stephenson, long snapper James Winchester and defensive lineman David King will ignore the College Football Playoff semifinals airing Thursday afternoon.

And this is especially true when considering their alma mater, No. 4 Oklahoma (11-1), squares off against No. 1 Clemson (13-0) in the Capital One Orange Bowl.

Andy Reid better off for having come to Kansas City from ESPN

"I haven't followed it that close since we're hunkered down here," said Reid, who was fired by the Eagles in 2013 after 14 seasons to make room for Kelly. "I wish both sides well."

Nothing good could come from comments any more expansive than that, so it's difficult to blame Reid if he did not say what he was really thinking. What he was probably thinking: I'm glad I'm not in Philly anymore.

Nobody knows how things would have gone had Reid stayed on with the Eagles. But they probably wouldn't be the mess they seem to be now.

Chiefs look to avoid contact with Raiders' Khalil Mack from The Kansas City Star

No matter Sunday's outcome, the Raiders have made progress. But finishing without a losing record and denying a rival an accomplishment — while bidding farewell to retiring safety Charles Woodson, who is making Sunday's game the last in his 18-year career — gives Mack and the Raiders more motivation than what might be expected from a nonplayoff team.

"It's a huge difference, man," Mack said of the difference between finishing 7-9 and 8-8. "We're playing for the pride of the program, for the growth of the program, and it would be a great testament to how hard we've been working if we finish this last game out with a win."

Kansas City Chiefs looking like legitimate Super Bowl contenders from NFL.com

1) Alex Smith has evolved into a championship-caliber quarterback.

Skeptics might question whether Smith is elite based on his production and reputation as a conservative game manager, but there's no disputing his ability to win games as an opportunistic playmaker for the Chiefs. The 11th-year pro has guided the team to 29 wins in three seasons as the starter, displaying outstanding management skills as the director of Reid's quick-rhythm offense. Smith is an ideal point man for the scheme due to his high football IQ and athleticism. He efficiently works through his progressions to hit the open receiver based on the reaction of the coverage. Although his penchant for taking the checkdown has drawn criticism, Smith's reluctance to put the ball in harm's way has been critical to the team's success...

...Smith's numbers during the Chefs' nine-game winning streak (68.6 percent completion rate, 12 passing touchdowns, two picks, 26 attempts per game) are pedestrian in a fantasy football sense, but a quick study of the All-22 Coaches Film reveals a quarterback with a keen understanding of how to play the game based on his own individual talents. Smith is a deadly accurate intermediate passer with a terrific feel for throwing the ball between multiple defenders on passes directed between the numbers. He displays nice anticipation and timing on seam routes, short and intermediate crossers and spot routes near the hashes.

The Unlikely QBs of the Likely AFC Playoffs from Sports Illustrated

Not everyone likes to hear this, but it's true: Alex Smith is the consummate game manager. He doesn't throw interceptions because he doesn't take chances. In the system Andy Reid has built for him, that's fine. The Chiefs manufacture a passing game through pre-snap motion and shifts, and intertwined route combinations that create defined reads for the quarterback, usually at the shorter intermediate levels. Here's a classic example:

Chiefs hit Oakland with franchise history, AFC West title in play from Stats Inc via FS Kansas City

"It seems like every week we look back at the film and I felt like I could have gone Jeremy's way more," quarterback Alex Smith said. "He consistently wins. Even when they try to take him away, he consistently wins. He's that type of player."

Not everything is going their way, though. Justin Houston hasn't played in the last four because of a hyperextended knee, and fellow Pro Bowl linebacker Tamba Hali missed the Browns game with a broken finger.

With both out last week, the Chiefs failed to record a sack for the first time since a Week 4 loss to Cincinnati. Houston and Hali have combined for 14 of Kansas City's 41 sacks that are tied for fourth-most in the league.

Five Takeaways From Head Coach Jack Del Rio's Wednesday Press Conference from Raiders.com

Since October, the Chiefs have done just one thing - win.

"I think what they've been able to do is win games. They've been able to win the field-position battle. They've been able to win the turnover battle and they score defensively. I think they lead the league in defensive touchdowns, if not, they're at the top. Those are ways that they've found to kind of overcome the loss of a guy like Jamaal Charles, one of the best backs in the league. They've lost him and they've been able to continue to win. That's a credit to their football team."

Five Takeaways From Derek Carr's Wednesday Press Conference from Raiders.com

The team wants to send out safety Charles Woodson the right way - with a win.

"It would be nice. Obviously, everyone knew how special last week was, the last home game for ‘Wood.' That was real special, but obviously, for the last time him putting his pads on, him putting that jersey on, that helmet on, I know it would mean a lot to him. We all know that. Hopefully, we can go out and do that, but we're playing the Chiefs, man."

Chiefs TE Travis Kelce: "You know the hype that comes along with the Chiefs and Raiders" from Raiders.com

Q: When you look at the history of the rivalry between the Raiders and Chiefs, is this a game where you throw the records out and it's a hard-nose, knock them to the ground kind of football?

Kelce: "Without a doubt. You're going to get the support from both fan bases going into that week no matter what the records are for either team. Either way it's going to be a crazy game. You know that as a player going into it, you know the hype that comes along with the Chiefs and Raiders..."

Q: What's it been like playing with Alex Smith this season? What kind of quarterback has he been for you guys?

Kelce: "He's been everything. Alex has done an amazing job taking on the role of a 1-5 football team to bring us to where we are now. He's our leader on the offensive end and as he goes, we go. That's awesome because Alex is ready to go at all times. His preparation during the week is like none other I've ever seen, and that just makes it easier to play with him because you know he's accountable on every aspect."

Prisco's NFL Week 17 Picks: Bills will stick it to Jets, Packers edge the Vikes from CBS Sports

Oakland (7-8) at Kansas City (10-5) 
Sunday, January 3, 4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)

The Chiefs have won nine straight games, but they've had some close ones at home. This one will be close, too. The Raiders will play hard against their rivals. Kansas City will win a tight game with a late score.

The Pick: Chiefs 28, Raiders 24

New Year's resolutions for every NFL team from ESPN

Win one playoff game -- if not more. The Chiefs haven't had a postseason victory since January 1994. That win was so long ago, it happened against a team no longer in existence, the Houston Oilers. The Chiefs have lost eight straight playoffs games since. It's time to end the streak. -- Adam Teicher

The 10 most important events in the NFL in 2015 from The Playoffs [translated from the original Portuguese]

2 - Cairo Santos

Who knew we would have a Brazilian doing such a success in the NFL? Yeah, it's kicker. But so what? Cairo Santos is responsible for over a third of the points of the Kansas City Chiefs, the hottest team in the NFL right now, with nine consecutive victories and vague guaranteed in the playoffs. Yes, Cairo Santos is not only the first Brazilian in the NFL, he is also the first to carry the Brazilian flag for the postseason, then in its second season.

In an exclusive interview with The Playoffs in September, Cairo traced his goal: to be among the 10 best kickers league at the end of the season. With 30 field goals converted, he overcame well and is the fourth in the category. Only in a loss to the Chicago Bears, converted seven kicks and hit the NFL record for field goals in a single match.