The Chiefs have a lot of defensive backs who, in Parker’s words, are “trying to figure this thing out.” Of Kansas City’s 10 defensive backs, four have arrived in the past month and three in the past week. Three are rookies. Counting Parker as new, the Chiefs have seven defensive backs who’ve joined in the past six months.
Why the Chiefs can cover the spread
Kansas City finished 10-6 last season both SU and ATS and won the AFC West, before getting upset by Tennessee in a wild-card round playoff game. The Chiefs started 5-1 last year, inexplicably lost six of their next seven but won their last four to clinch their playoff spot.
Over the offseason Kansas City made a big move, trading away quarterback Alex Smith, choosing to now move forward with young slinger Patrick Mahomes.
The Chiefs averaged 375 yards per game last year on offense while allowing 365 YPG on defense. So they ranked 12th in the league in total yardage at plus-10 per game.
Finally, Kansas City swept two games from the Chargers last season by scores of 24-10 and 30-13. The Chiefs covered that first game as three-point favorites at home, then covered as one-point favorites on the road.
While Mayock believes “Deshaun Watson is the posterboy for what the NFL is getting,” (and he sees Lamar Jackson as a similar prospect), the quarterback guru also observes the college game producing more “combo guys.”
“Those are Carson Wentz, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen – these are big, athletic guys that are traditional NFL-style quarterbacks that can still extend plays in some cases like an Aaron Rodgers or in some cases like a Ben Roethlisberger – size and athletic ability,” Mayock explained.
The secret of the most anticipated Chiefs season in years is that this is not a Super Bowl contender, no matter what some in the national media are saying.
Might not even be a playoff team.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid has made a big bet that Mahomes will succeed within his West Coast offense that also features belly-option plays and trendy run-pass options. The same basic scheme as what Favre mastered, although not before Reid’s old Packers boss Mike Holmgren coached some of the swashbuckler out of him, Reid’s design demands quick reads, and precise dropbacks and throws.
“Very businesslike,” Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said. “Alex liked to have a lot of fun in the locker room as well. That’s why he’s an All-Pro in terms of one of my favorite teammates I’ve ever had. I think Pat is very similar, where he understands football but likes to go out and have fun.”
4:05 p.m. ET (CBS) | ROKiT Field at StubHub Center (Carson, Calif.)
Anticipate much offense in this AFC West classic. The Chiefs’ offense will average 28 points per game this year, but there might be a few hiccups in what will be Patrick Mahomes’ second career start. Kansas City’s offensive line will have its hands full with Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram and Co., which makes Kareem Hunt an important figure in this game. If both teams enter into a track meet, it will be an advantage for Anthony Lynn’s team. Chiefs safety Eric Berry is questionable to play for a defense that already has major secondary questions. The Bolts have Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams and sophomore Mike Williams, who is ready to make a mark after a lost rookie season. It should be too much for Mahomes to keep up with -- at least in Week 1.
Kansas City Chiefs: at Chargers, at Steelers, vs. 49ers, at Broncos
Mahomes’s career as the team’s starter kicks off with a nice, relaxing run through a gauntlet of potential top-10 defenses—all of which come on the road, no less. The 22-year-old strong-armed quarterback draws early matchups with the Chargers, Steelers, and Broncos, and while the Niners’ defense is a bit of an unknown, it’s a unit that’s added some talent (including Richard Sherman) and could be poised for a jump.
Feb. 24, Rams acquire Marcus Peters from the Kansas City Chiefs for a fourth-round draft pick in 2018 and a second-round pick in 2019. The trade could not become official until March 14.
As we embark on the 2018 season, teams such as the Cardinals, Colts and Raiders are adjusting to 4-3 schemes -- just as clubs featuring 3-4 schemes such as the Steelers, Chiefs, Rams and Giants are trying to patch holes. That goes a long way toward explaining why the Bears can skyrocket up the rankings with an early September blockbuster.
Here is how we rank the best linebacker units in the league:
Around the league
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began his protests against police violence and racial inequality two years ago, first sitting and later kneeling during the national anthem. The act sparked a years-long debate about activism on the football field, as players throughout the league joined him by kneeling, raising fists, and locking arms.
Another NFL season is upon us, and if you remain a fan of America’s most tormented sport, I want to offer advance congratulations on the 24 hours of commercials you’re going to watch this season. I’m not kidding: Chris Brantner of Streaming Observer writes that the average NFL fan watches 252 minutes of games per week during the regular season, which, multiplied by .3298 (the percentage of commercial time during an NFL game) comes to 83.1 minutes of commercial viewing. Multiply that times 17—the number of weeks in the NFL regular season—and you get 23.5 hours of ads.
While some traditions remain tried and true in the NFL, each season finds a way to dump some unexpected nonsense on the sporting world and remind us why we love this game. Every season sees contenders fade and newcomers take their place atop the food chain, though rarely for long (and never if you’re the Browns).
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry was held out once again on Thursday due to his lingering sore heel, marking 26 days since he last saw a practice or game field. With three days until the Chiefs’ first game, it is beginning to feel like Berry will be at best listed as “questionable.”
It’s not just that Berry — when he has been on the field — is a next-level contributor to defensive coordinator Bob Sutton’s defense. It’s that when Berry has been absent from the field, the Chiefs defense has been measurably less effective — as Craig Stout noted in his outstanding article about how the Chiefs value versatility in their defensive safeties:
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