Hekker isn’t Australian, but he is one of punting’s new masters elevating it to an art form, along with veterans like the Ravens’ Sam Koch, the Saints’ Thomas Morstead, the Chiefs’ Dustin Colquitt...They all have strong legs, but more importantly, they are studying, measuring, tinkering, and bravely hauling out the latest additions to their arsenals onto football fields everywhere.
The game earlier this season was Rivers’ most productive yet against the Chiefs, and he’s had many of them, especially in the first half his career. His current nine-game losing streak to the Chiefs, which includes 14 interceptions and nine touchdown passes, makes him 13-13 for his career against Kansas City.
The game-worn jersey of Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes recently went to auction, where the winning bid clocked in at more than $35,000.
Previous rank: No. 4
Much of the country might see the Chiefs’ three-point overtime win against the Ravens as a stumble -- but this space sees it as a glowing positive. Kansas City has not won a defensive battle all season, and although Sunday’s affair would hardly be classified as a Neil Smith- and Albert Lewis-inspired defensive slugfest, the Chiefs’ D made some huge stops.
Coach Anthony Lynn told NFL Network’s Steve Wyche that the Chargers are not optimistic that running backs Melvin Gordon (knee) or Austin Ekeler (neck, concussion) will be available Thursday. Lynn noted that the short week does not seem like enough time for either running back to be ready.
“Are you guys ready to do some shopping?” asked Rachelle Schneider with JC Penney. The kids, of course, shouted “Yes!” When asked if they had heard of the Kansas City Chiefs, they again shouted “Yes!”
They remain dominant imposing their will in fourth-down situations (converted 12 of 14 times, second only to the Chiefs – 10/11). … Speaking of the Chiefs, how about Patrick Mahomes in the red zone this season – 53 of 79 with 31 touchdowns and just one interception? Only Drew Brees has been better. … As triumphant as Mahomes was in knocking off Baltimore kinda single-handedly, I have some questions about the Chiefs in January. Without Kareem Hunt and with Spencer Ware already kind of beat up and with Sammy Watkins again on the shelf and some offensive linemen dealing with ailments, too, the margins there are getting slimmer and slimmer.
Around the league
Officials didn’t simply step up enforcement. They threw 42 percent more offensive holding flags (94) than they had in any week since at least 2012. In searching through the ESPN Stats & Information database, I couldn’t find a week with more than 66 such calls over that time period.
The long-awaited suit against the Raiders, the National Football League and every other team in the league seeks damages for the “unlawful decision to boycott Oakland,” but does not ask for the Raiders to remain in the city.
On Tuesday, the NFL announced that the salary cap is expected to increase by at least $10 million per team for a sixth straight year. According to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, the NFL has informed teams that the 2019 salary cap is projected to range somewhere between $187 million and $191.1 million. Last season, the salary cap was set at $177.2 million, which means it’s expected to grow roughly six percent for a second straight year.
The offensive tackle, who tore both of his patellar tendons during a Houston Texans-Denver Broncosgame on Oct. 24, 2016, signed a two-year deal with the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday, per his representation. Newton’s signing comes roughly eight months after the Texans released him after he spent the entire 2017 season on the physically unable to perform list.
“They’re not all that far apart from one another. They’ve all struggled to have a high completion percentage. At times they’ve all struggled to take care of the football. But they’ve all demonstrated at times the things we liked about them in college and we’re seeing it in the NFL.”
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The Chiefs had one change from Monday, and that was that Tyreek Hill was given a “limited” designation. For the second day in a row, Chiefs safety Eric Berry was considered limited. He has yet to have the “full practice” status all season.
Some have already compared the latter — not surprisingly or incorrectly — to Joe Montana’s pass to Willie Davis against the Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium on October 17, 1994. That pass — also for five yards to the right pylon in the final moments of the game — concluded an amazing 81-second drive that gave the Montana and the Chiefs a 31-28 victory against space alien John Elway before a national Monday Night Football audience. It was the Chiefs’ first win in Mile High since 1982 and gave Chiefs head coach Marty Shottenheimer his first career win on the road against Denver — for either Kansas City or Cleveland — after seven straight losses.
NFL Power Rankings for Week 15 are in, and the Kansas City Chiefs rise two spots into second place in our aggregated pundit rankings after beating the Baltimore Ravens 27-24on Sunday.
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