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It was there for the taking last week. The AFC West title and a first-round bye in the playoffs were among the thresholds that would have been crossed had the Chiefs held on to a late two-touchdown lead against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Poof. All gone in a matter of minutes. But those objectives remain within the Chiefs’ grasp. Win out, starting Sunday night in Seattle against the Seahawks, and the Chiefs will be the AFC’s top seed.
Pushing me further into Seattle’s corner is the fact this Seahawks team leads the NFL in rushing at 154.9 yards per game. It will be facing a Kansas City defense that’s allowing 126.9 rushing yards per game (26th in the NFL), and 161.3 rushing yards per game in the last three weeks. The best way to stop Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City offense is by keeping it off the field, and that’s precisely what Seattle can do in a favorable environment this week. The Seahawks are about to make the race for home-field advantage in the AFC a lot more interesting this weekend. Seahawks 27, Chiefs 23
Kansas City Chiefs: RB Le’Veon Bell, Free Agent
Once Bell steps on the field, he’s a threat to lead the league in yards from scrimmage because of his ability to line up on the outside like a wide receiver. After leading the NFL in touches during the 2017 term, the 26-year-old opted not to sign a franchise tender from the Pittsburgh Steelers and sat out the entire 2018 campaign.
Now on fresh legs, Bell provides Hunt-like on-field qualities and adds more potency to the Chiefs ground attack.
“You’ve got to be technique sound,” Billick said. “You’ve obviously got to account for this guy, but if you do — obviously they have some other ways to hurt you — but you know this guy can beat you, and you know you don’t have anybody who can go one on one with him, so it takes a village.”
6) Chris Jones, defensive lineman, Kansas City Chiefs
Jones has generated a sack in 10 consecutive games, the longest streak within a season since the stat became official in 1982. He and outside linebacker Dee Ford (11.5 sacks) are rivaling Denver’s Von Miller and Bradley Chubb as the most productive pass-rushing tandem in the league. Far from a one-trick pony, Jones is fourth in tackles for loss (17), seventh in QB hits (26) and third among defensive linemen with five passes defensed.
“My gloves smell like a dead animal, but I won’t change them up because I’m very superstitious,” Jones said. “I won’t change the gloves at all. My teammates hate them. You can smell me coming.”
Surprise (or not) — Kansas City Chiefs superstar Patrick Mahomes is my choice for top fantasy quarterback of the year. The second-year man from Texas Tech was sensational in every way, posting only two games with less than two touchdowns. He threw six touchdown passes in two contests, including the Week 11 slugfest versus the Rams. Before the season began, the Chiefs stated he could make all the throws while possessing an exceptional understanding of the game. They weren’t kidding. Mahomes will likely be the first fantasy quarterback off the board in 2019 redraft leagues and deservedly so.
Kansas City Chiefs at Seattle Seahawks (8:20 p.m. ET Sunday, NBC) Money line: Chiefs -135 FPI projection: Chiefs win by 0.7 points FPI doesn’t overestimate recency. So, even though the Chiefs haven’t been quite as prolific in their past few games, FPI now considers them the best offense in the league.-- Seth Walder
A teen has tickets to Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, and it`s all thanks to Kansas City Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt and Team Smile.
Around the league
“I take my mental health very seriously at this point to ensure I remain able to perform at the highest level,” Gordon wrote in a statement. “I have recently felt like I could have a better grasp on things mentally. With that said, I will be stepping away from the football field for a bit to focus on my mental health. I would like to thank Coach (Bill) Belichick, (Patriots owner) Mr. (Robert) Kraft, as well as countless others with the Patriots organization for their continued support. I want to thank my fans for their support as well as I continue down the path to getting back to 100 percent.”
Chargers (11-3): Los Angeles is already heading to the postseason for the first time since 2013, but it’s still in the race for the AFC West title. Helping the Chargers’ cause will be the anticipated return of Melvin Gordon, who missed the last three games because of a knee injury. Due to its current divisional record (3-2 vs. the Chiefs’ 4-1), Los Angeles holds the AFC’s No. 5 playoff seed. The Chargers need to win their final games against the Ravens and Denver Broncos and hope the Chiefs drop a game in order to claim the AFC’s top seed, where the conference’s last five Super Bowl teams have sprouted from.
For weeks, no team seem interested in grabbing the No. 6 seed in the NFC before the Vikings fired their offensive coordinator and stopped a 1-3 skid by routing the Dolphins. Now they’ve got to hold off the plummeting Panthers, a Washington team led by a starting quarterback with exactly one win on his record since being drafted in 2008, and the Eagles — who no one really knows what to make of — in order to see Week 17.
“It is a true honor to witness Steve Gleason become the first New Orleanian and former NFL Legend to receive the Congressional Gold Medal,” Saints owner Gayle Benson said in a statement. “Along with his wife, Michel, and everyone at Team Gleason, they have unfailingly confronted ALS with a courageous and unwavering determination. Their tireless work to provide crucial assistance and the latest in technology and services has improved countless people’s quality of living. Steve is leaving a truly indelible mark in American history and we are honored to call him a true New Orleans Saint.”
“I have to (play again). I got business and I got ball,” Bryant said, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I can’t end like this. I have to throw the X up.”
While head coach Mike Zimmer has been known to take thinly veiled shots at Pro Football Focus and other stats-based sites, the Ringer points out that the Vikings’ new facility in Eagan has a “massive analytics hub,” which GM Rick Spielman showed off to reporters during a tour around the time of the 2018 NFL draft.
The 2018 NFL season has largely been defined by a second-year quarterback. He came into the 2017 draft as a talented yet unproven commodity, but that didn’t stop his team from rolling the dice to draft him in the top 10 last spring, not knowing whether he would prove worth the risk. This year, that same quarterback has taken the reins and propelled his team to the playoffs in his first full season as a starter. I’m talking, of course, about Mitchell Trubisky.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
The Seahawks’ six losses have been by a total of 28 points. That’s just 4.7 points per game, which is the fourth-lowest point differential in losses this season. (The Chiefs, by the way, are first with a 2.3 point differential in their losses). The Seahawks’ losses have been to the Los Angeles Rams(twice — by a total of seven points), the Los Angeles Chargers, the Chicago Bears, the Denver Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers.
Chiefs right tackle Mitchell Schwartz returned to practice after missing on Wednesday. This, of course, is a big deal given his 7,000-plus-career snap streak. Schwartz has never missed a game in his career. Cornerback Kendall Fuller and wide receiver Sammy Watkins missed practice for the second consecutive day.
For the second day in a row this week, cornerback Kendall Fuller and wide receiver Sammy Watkins were held out of practice. Starting right tackle Mitch Schwartz was back in the mix after missing practice on Wednesday due to a knee injury.
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