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Arrowheadlines: Referee assigned to AFC title has ties to “Deflategate”

Chiefs headlines for Wednesday, January 16.

NFL: AFC Divisional Playoff-Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The latest

Bill Belichick Will Need a Master-Class Coaching Performance to Beat Patrick Mahomes II and Andy Reid | The Ringer

Mahomes is on a short list of the most talented players they’ve faced in that span, and Reid is one of the few coaches who has innovated as consistently as Belichick has. He’s also, incredibly, been responsible for three of the seven instances in which Belichick has given up 40 or more points.

Patriots-Chiefs: Ref tabbed for AFC Championship has Deflategate ties and Patriots fans are irate | CBS Sports

Way back in January 2015, Blakeman was working the AFC title game between the Colts and the Patriots as an alternate official, which usually isn’t a very exciting job. However, after accusations started to fly that the Patriots were letting air out of their footballs, Blakeman’s job suddenly became very important: He was one of the officials in charge of measuring the air pressure in each football.

Eight key individual matchups for the conference title games | The Comeback

Chris Jones vs. Shaq Mason

The Pats won’t likely be able to double-team the second-team All-Pro defensive tackle often while their tackles worry about elite edge-rushers Justin Houston and Dee Ford, leaving Mason — one of the best right guards in football — and fellow interior offensive linemen Joe Thuney and David Andrews with their hands full.

Tyreek Hill vs. Jason McCourty

McCourty will almost certainly get plenty of help, but how he fares early on in Hill’s routes could determine how much damage the Chiefs are able to do on offense. In their regular-season meeting, Hill was actually limited to just two catches for 16 yards on five targets against McCourty.

Trey Flowers vs. Mitchell Schwartz

The Chiefs want to give young Patrick Mahomes plenty of time to work. Flowers, who takes most of his snaps on the left side of the defense, has been quietly fantastic all season, but he’ll be matched by Schwartz — the All-Pro Chiefs right tackle. This should be a lot of fun to watch, especially because the dynamic Flowers is also a strong run defender.

Trent Brown vs. Justin Houston

After all, Brown will be charged with protecting Brady’s blind side. And while he did a fine job at that against the Chargers, he did not have a particularly good season altogether. Will he come back to earth against one of the best pass-rushes in football?

Bill Belichick Offers Sarcasm, Eventual Lengthy Answer On Tyreek Hill’s Speed | NESN

“Yeah, look, we’ve seen it,” Belichick said. “A lot of our players have dealt with it and, as you said, have to make those subtle adjustments in terms of angles and leverage and so forth. Every situation is a little bit different. Who’s where and how fast everybody is moving and what direction we’re going in and the opponent is going in and so forth. Yeah, certainly there has to be an awareness of that. It’s a little bit different with him than everybody else; no question.”

Chiefs RB Damien Williams a threat to Patriots |

“They’re different, but they’re similar in a way as far as they both get downhill, they can both run low behind their pads and definitely very physical,” said Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers, who had seven tackles in the first meeting. “Damien Williams, he’s able to get to the edge, able to cut the ball into the defense and lower his pads.”

The Well in Waldo offers towering burger of Patrick Mahomes’ favorites | KMBC News 9

The towering meal features many of the Chiefs quarterback’s favorites, such as fried mac and cheese, ribeye, Swiss cheese, house-made jumbo tater tots, onion rings, cheese curds and Sriracha ketchup.

Championship Sunday: Ranking head coaches based on trust | NFL

4) Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs:

That said, all four of these coaches have a chance to win the Lombardi in February. Even though he’s the coach I trust the least from this group, Reid has the X-factor with Patrick Mahomes, who possesses qualities defenses can’t account for (SEE: no-look throw). The young passer can flip the script with one play.

Who you calling old? Saints’ Brees latest to excel at 40 and beyond | ESPN

If Brees can lead the Saints to a Super Bowl title on Feb. 3 in Atlanta, he would be the first quarterback at 40 or over to do it. But Brees isn’t the only quarterback in his 40s seeking a Super Bowl berth this coming weekend. While his Saints play host to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, Tom Brady and the Patriots will be taking on the Chiefs for the AFC crown.

Around the league

Rams-Saints: NFC Championship referee named and the Rams have an ugly record with him | CBS Sports

One reason the Rams might not be thrilled to see Vinocvich is because they always seem to struggle when he’s officiating. Of the Rams’ three losses in 2018, Vinovich was the referee in two of them, including that Saints game. They also have an ugly record over the past six year with him, which you’ll see below.

Saints signing Tyrunn Walker to help replace Rankins | NFL

Walker entered the NFL with New Orleans as an undrafted free agent in 2012. In three seasons with the Saints, he compiled 3.5 sacks and 28 tackles. After two years in Detroit, Walker spent 2017 with the Rams, totaling 22 tackles, a sack and four passes defended. The 28-year-old signed with the Bills last offseason but was cut after training camp and remained a free agent.

Ndamukong Suh finally makes his presence felt with the Rams | ESPN

Suh was given the highest grade on the Rams’ defense by Pro Football Focus, which had him with four pressures in 30 pass-rush snaps and a run-stop percentage of 11.8.

Despite Nick Foles’ success, Eagles committed to Carson Wentz | ESPN

“Yes, Carson Wentz is the quarterback going forward,” coach Doug Pederson said at a joint news conference with executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman on Tuesday. “And in Nick’s case, listen, we’d love to have everybody back throughout the roster, but as I’ve said many, many times, it’s not about one guy, it’s about the team, and we’re going to do what’s best for the team.”

Antonio Brown Has ‘Too Much Diva,’ Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians Says | Bleacher Report

“There’s too much miscommunication, too much...diva,” Arians said. “I’ve heard so many stories—I like Antonio; he plays as hard as anybody on Sunday, and he practices hard. He’s just gotta make better decisions off the field, be on time, do some of those little things.”

The Browns’ new coaching staff is looking pretty good. Pretty, prettttty, pret-ttttay good. | SB Nation

Hiring Monken and Wilks isn’t just a hedge; it’s good business. Kitchens has a talented, proven pairing at his coordinator positions, and that’s got the Browns in position for their first playoff berth since 2002. Or, in other words, for the Browns to stop being the Browns — at least for the foreseeable future.

In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride

Chiefs activate offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, cut Ron Parker

The Kansas City Chiefs have activated right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif from injured reserve, waiving safety Ron Parker to make room, the team announced via its official Twitter account on Tuesday.

If Tom Brady wants to play underdog... well, let him.

But I also think it’s fair to ask this: what happens if you use this strategy... and it doesn’t work?What if you work hard to install this underdog mentality in your teammates, and suddenly — maybe even for no other reason than a couple of bad bounces of the ball — you are suddenly down a couple of scores early in the game? Do players suddenly remember all the negative press that’s being stirred up right now, and falter from lack of confidence?

The Moon will turn red over Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday night

Late on Sunday evening, there will be a total lunar eclipse that will be visible over most of North and South America, Europe and western Africa. This particular lunar eclipse will also happen to occur during a supermoon or wolf moon — that is, when the Moon’s slightly elliptical orbit brings it closest to Earth and it appears a bit larger in the sky.

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