There’s certainly reason to believe that Hill’s production in the previous matchup against the Raiders was simply a fluke. Hill logged his lowest output of the season with just one catch for 13 yards as the Chiefs scratched out a seven-point win in Oakland on Dec. 2. A combination of misfired passes, blanket coverage and a drop on a would-be third-down conversion helped account for the stat line worthy of a double take.
“You’ve got to go off of his feeling,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “He hasn’t played in two years. I’m aware of that. I just, I don’t want to take any steps backward and neither does he. So we understand that. With the extended drives, snaps came out funny.
“He had every intention of going into the fourth quarter. It was just so many snaps he can take right now. He’s easing back into it. I have full trust in him. It’s not a matter. If he could’ve gone a half, we would’ve gone a half.”
The Chiefs have needed that something extra of late from Williams, who has helped keep their season from falling apart after they lost their top two backs. Since the Chiefs started to call on Williams frequently in the last four games he has rushed for 204 yards.
Scenario 1: Chiefs travel to New England for a wild-card game
Although this would be a nightmare scenario for the Chiefs, who currently hold the top seed in the AFC, it would be a dream scenario for every other team in the AFC playoffs and that’s because it would mean that either the Patriots or the Chiefs would be eliminated in the wild-card round. It would also be a dream scenario for NFL fans, who would get to watch a rematch of the wild Week 6 game between these two teams that the Patriots won 43-40.
Best breakout: In his first season as a starter, Patrick Mahomes enters Week 17 with 48 touchdown passes. In the NFL’s previous 98 seasons, only three quarterbacks – Peyton Manning (55, 49), Tom Brady (50), Dan Marino (48) – threw for as many in a campaign.
Tyreek Hill looks set to run wild on the Raiders in Week 17, and you’ll find quite a few Buffalo Bills DSTs and Robby Anderson shares in our experts’ lineups as well:
In all seriousness, though, Thomas should’ve been traded before the draft this year. It didn’t happen. That seemed to be the time to cut the cord. With the middle-finger incident and Seattle getting back to dominant form, there’s no coming back now.
Here’s hoping Thomas will be healthy enough to still play at a high level in 2019 (signing with Dallas or Kansas City as a free agent would make sense) and that fences are eventually mended in Seattle. He was an all-time great Seahawks defender and part of a consistently great defense.
Around the league
The key to that turnaround was a personnel grouping Los Angeles rarely used prior to Sunday. On 26 of the Rams’ 41 rushing attempts against the Cardinals, the team had two tight ends on the field. In the 14 games prior to Week 16, the Rams had exactly one running back and one tight end on the field for all but six of Jared Goff’s offensive plays.
Ingram has a modest seven sacks with a game remaining, but the 29-year-old defensive co-captain has managed to make an impact in other areas of the defense. Now in his seventh season, he’s drawing double-teams from opposing offenses -- allowing other defensive linemen to get to the quarterback -- and serving as a stout run defender.
Manning, who is in his 15th professional season, has one more year on his contract, which pays a base salary of $11.5 million in 2019. The veteran quarterback said there have been no talks with the Giants to re-work the deal or discussions on an extension.
Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert was supposed to be a somewhat lukewarm No. 1 quarterback prospect in the 2019 draft. Now he won’t even be part of the 2019 draft, as he announced he’s staying in school another year. He wasn’t considered a can’t-miss prospect who was sure to go first overall (though some really liked his potential and he was sure to rise due to lack of other great quarterbacks in the class). However, it was hard to find anyone who didn’t think he was the best of the 2019 quarterback lot.
What’s the problem with lefties? No left-handed quarterback has started an NFL game since Kellen Moore for the Dallas Cowboys in 2015. No lefties threw a pass in 2016, a first in NFL history. Moore’s retirement following the 2017 season left the NFL completely right handed for 2018. How scarce are southpaws? According to a story on NFL.com this summer, the last left-handed player to throw a touchdown in the NFL was Dez Bryant, which came on a trick play to Jason Witten in 2016.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
As you’ll recall, Duvernay-Tardif broke his leg (more specifically, he suffered a fractured fibula) in Week 5 against the Jacksonville Jaguars and was placed on injured reserve. As our in-house medical expert Aaron Borgmann noted immediately afterward, it was possible that this injury might have been a Maisonneuve fracture — a spiral fracture of the upper tibia.
Watkins first injured his foot Week 9 against the Cleveland Browns and has been trying to work his way back ever since. He tried to come back against the Los Angeles Rams and only could manage five snaps, then he reportedly tried to practice back in early December but simply could not go.
It feels a little like Sutton is in “panic mode” with the decisions he made this week, though. Was it a good decision to give Ward and Smith more of a look as the corners faltered down the stretch? Sure, I can see that. But in Week 16 with a chance to wrap up the No. 1 seed? The timing of it seemed poor. With the execution and communication on the field between those players, it also seemed like they were ill-prepared.
Sorensen recorded his first two pressures of the season (one quarterback hurry and one quarterback hit). He was also in coverage on one pass, and though he allowed the reception, it went for a 1-yard loss. He finished with five tackles, including three stops, both season highs.
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