The Ravens (7-5), who won at Atlanta on Sunday, have a one-game lead for the sixth spot in the AFC Wild Card race. They’ve won their last three games with rookie Lamar Jackson at quarterback.
On Dec. 13, a Thursday, the Chiefs play host to the Los Angeles Chargers (9-3), who won at Pittsburgh on Sunday night and are in the top Wild Card position.
The Chiefs’ next game is at Seattle (7-5), a winner of three straight and the top Wild Card team in the NFC playoff picture. The Chiefs close the season against the Raiders (2-10) at Arrowhead.
And while the Chiefs figure to have money in 2019 — upwards of $44 million at this point, with even more available with some big-money cuts — those are resources better spent elsewhere, like franchising 27-year-old outside linebacker Dee Ford, who has 10 and a half sacks and six forced fumbles, and re-signing defensive end Chris Jones and Hill, both of whom will be free agents after 2019.
The sentimental journey of Andy Reid trying to finally win a Super Bowl and Patrick Mahomes’ MVP race continues, but it’s now a different journey. The Chiefs’ first rushing attempt Sunday in Oakland was given to Tyreek Hill, with Spencer Ware and Damien Williamssplitting the halfback snaps. The Chiefsare bringing back veteran Charcandrick West (who had been with the team from 2014 until August, when he was cut) to help, but an offense that was already pass-heavy is only going to be more reliant on Mahomes’ wild throws and Reid’s game plans.
Lacking one of his top weapons, the league’s most prolific touchdown thrower increased his gaudy season total to 41 while passing for 295 yards and running for a team-high 52.
“Patrick’s such a gamer. I’ve said this from Day 1 when I’ve seen him make some of those plays,’’ said receiver Chris Conley, who caught a 2-yard TD pass with 1:57 left to secure the victory against the stubborn Raiders.
3. Jon Gruden strikes again
With seven seconds left in the first half, the Chiefs had just scored a touchdown, a 6-yard catch by Travis Kelce that, in fairness, did look slightly questionable. Gruden challenged it.
The problem with that is two-fold. First, coaches can’t challenge scoring plays called on the field. Second, they can’t challenge anything inside the two-minute mark of the first or second half.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Steve Wyche and Michael Silver discuss the new-look Kansas City Chiefs’ offense without running back Kareem Hunt.
“You look back at it and obviously you see some similarities between what happened in my situation,” Rice said Saturday in an exclusive interview with NFL.com. “I’m never going to call myself an expert. I’ve [publicly] discussed the remorse I have for survivors of domestic violence, but knowing what I know now the top priority is learning that it comes down to those split-second decisions, which come at the most hostile times. And that’s where this could be a teaching tool.”
Around the league
But Tomlin certainly had every right Sunday night to be frustrated, albeit privately, especially when considering officials failed to penalize the Chargersin the first quarter when right tackle Sam Tevi appeared to get an early jump before the snap. The Chargerscapitalized on the no-call with a 46-yard score.
The list of players skipping their college football bowl games to start preparing for the NFL draft is growing by the day. Here’s a look at who already have their sights set on the next level:
Redskins QB Colt McCoy went to the locker room after suffering a lower leg injury in the second quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles. The quarterback was ruled out by the team before the second half began.
Mark Sanchez is replacing McCoy under center. Sanchez has not played in a regular-season game since January 2017.
Looking for a new coach
Fired: Mike McCarthy on Dec. 2.
Despite having a generational talent at quarterback in Aaron Rodgers, the Packers have gone just 4-10-1 in their past 15 games dating to last season and 18-18-1 in Rodgers’s last 37 starts dating to Christmas Day 2015. The final straw came Sunday in a listless 24-17 loss at home to the Cardinals. Shortly afterward, the team fired McCarthy, who is more or less the only NFL head coach Rodgers has ever played under (Mike Sherman was in his final year as the team’s coach when Green Bay drafted Rogers in 2005, but he threw only 16 passes while backing up Brett Favre as a rookie).
Green is expected to have surgery but will have a doctor’s appointment Tuesday morning to determine whether to do so. Green would have a roughly four-month recovery if he does have surgery and would be ready for training camp at the very latest, with appearances in OTAs and minicamp likely, Rapoport added.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
On Monday, Ian Rapoport — who was one of those who reported the Chiefs’ interest in both players on Sunday — reported that the Chiefs are “expected” to sign West.
Here were the snap counts for the Chiefs:
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and some Chiefs players spoke to the media following the team’s 40-33 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, and Reid spoke to the media again on Monday. Here are some of the key takeaways from what they said:
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