The Kansas City Chiefs take on the Chicago Bears in the all-important third preseason game on Saturday afternoon at Noon in Chicago. As in past years, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said he will play the team’s starters into the third quarter — including starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
The bad news? Eric Berry will be held out of the game, and miss his 14th straight day of on-the-field activity.
The good? De’Anthony Thomas, Spencer Ware, Anthony Hitchens and Reggie Ragland are all expected to make their preseason debuts.
“Me and Hitch have a chemistry, being out there on the field, we just haven’t played in a game yet,” Ragland said this week. “For the most part, whenever we get out there and get in the games, it’s going to be natural, I believe, because it’s already natural during practice and everything. If I don’t see something Hitch sees it, and when Hitch doesn’t see it, I see it. It’s very helpful. I think when the time comes, and we get out there and play, things are going to fall into place.”
Without Berry in the lineup — in addition to Daniel Sorensen, who is already expected to miss regular-season time — the eyes will once again be upon younger backups in Eric Murray, Leon McQuay and Armani Watts. Watts will try to build upon his last performance against the Atlanta Falcons, when he was the highest-graded Chiefs player (92.7), according to Pro Football Focus.
Saturday marks the first game for Mahomes after “The Throw,” which captured the attention of the nation last week. Mahomes’ pass to Tyreek Hill traveled more than 68 yards in the air, longer than any pass thrown by any quarterback during all of last year’s regular season.
Mahomes will be seeking to work in wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who has yet to record a catch this preseason in two games.
“I know a lot of people are speculating and saying ‘Oh, he’s not getting the targets,’” Watkins said this week. “Not to say it’s preseason, but there’s a lot of other things I’ve got to learn in the offense and get used to.
“That’s what coach does a great job of being able to let me do.”
The Chiefs look forward to seeing an old friend in offensive coordinator Matt Nagy, who is now the head coach of the Bears.
“I am proud of him for having the opportunity,” Reid said this week. “I’ve watched [Nagy’s] tape and he has done some good things with the team. He had a nice win the other night.”
Nagy coached Mahomes throughout his first season, when he backed up now-Redskins quarterback Alex Smith.
“I think he relates to quarterbacks so well, especially the young guys,” Mahomes said of Nagy. “He’s been through the process. He’s tried to make a career of his own as a quarterback then moved over to coaching. Just having someone that has been through that process and knows how to relate to the young guys and especially the quarterback position will help you really understand the offense and really understand what the defenses are trying to get.”
Nagy is now working to develop quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, whom the Bears organization selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft — eight selections ahead of Mahomes.
If Reid sticks to his usual tendencies, this will be the last time the Chiefs starters play prior to Week 1 of the regular season against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Nuts and bolts
Location: Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois
Game time: Saturday, August 25, 2018 | Noon Arrowhead Time
TV channel: KCTV5 | NFL Network
Online Stream: NFL Gamepass
Replay: NFL Network and NFL Gamepass
Pregame show: Arrowhead Pride Tailgate, 10 a.m. on 610 Sports Radio in Kansas City | Presented by Albright Buick GMC Cadillac
Radio: 101.1 The Fox (Mitch Holthus and Kendall Gammon) | Spanish Radio Broadcast: La Mega 1160 AM (Tico Sports)
Matchup history: Bears lead 7-5 (regular season)
Odds: Bears -2.0
Prediction: Chiefs 28, Bears 21
Announcers: Carter Blackburn (play-by-play), Trent Green (analyst), Todd McShay (analyst), BJ Kissel (sideline)
Enemy blog: Windy City Gridiron
Twitter: Arrowhead Pride
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Chiefs 2018 preseason schedule
Week 1 | Thursday, 8/9 | 7:30 p.m. CT | vs. Houston Texans Week 2 | Friday, 8/17 | 6:00 p.m. CT | at Atlanta Falcons
Week 3 | Saturday, 8/25 | 12:00 p.m. CT | at Chicago Bears
Week 4 | Thursday, 8/30 | 7:30 p.m. CT | vs. Green Bay Packers