30 Matt Moore
Bhanpuri: With Patrick Mahomes sidelined for at least three weeks due to a dislocated kneecap, Moore will have some MVP-sized shoes to fill. He acquitted himself well in spot duty on Sunday, leading two scoring drives without a giveaway in 2.5 quarters of work. He demonstrated savvy pocket awareness on his 57-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill, stepping up to avoid pressure and then delivering a perfect rainbow right into Hill’s basket. But despite his best Mahomes impression last week, don’t expect sustained excellence from the Chiefs’ QB2 going forward. The veteran hasn’t had a passer rating north of 100 as a starter since Week 15 of 2016 -- one of six such efforts in 30 starts over 12 NFL seasons. Mahomes has produced a 100-plus passer rating in 17 of his 24 career starts. Get well soon, Pat!
8:20 p.m. ET (NBC) | Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City, Mo.)
This prediction hinges on Patrick Mahomes’ availability. Green Bay’s continued offensive assent in this new era of Peak Aaron Rodgers does not. I don’t believe the Chiefs defense is fixed because of one great night in Denver, although the return to practice of defensive tackle Chris Jones this week is promising. Blitzing Rodgers every snap like the Chiefs did to Joe Flacco last week won’t work, but Andy Reid relying on his three-headed rushing attack against a Packers defense that is increasingly porous on the ground could give Matt Moore a fighting chance. To put it another way: The NFL should allow games to be flexed into future weeks just to avoid missing the only Mahomes-Rodgers matchup on schedule until 2023.
Arrowhead Stadium returns to the national stage on Sunday night as the Kansas City Chiefs take on the Green Bay Packers, and for the second time this season, every fan in the stands can directly contribute to the growing excitement prior to kickoff by participating in an interactive light show using their phones.
“The way (Spagnuolo) used Reggie, moving him to the Sam linebacker position, I thought Reggie really responded well,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “He really was a bigger factor, more than people know. You saw Hitchens make a lot of tackles, but Reggie was part of that by working the different gaps and getting in there. It allowed Hitch to play off of him a little bit.”
The State of the Defense
This is a hard defense to diagnose. Right now, they’re 13th in total defense. They’re 14th against the pass, but 25th in average yards allowed per game. Here is some food for thought: The Chiefs defense leads the league in total plays run, with 482 total plays. They are 10 plays ahead of the second-place Bengals and 15 ahead of the third-place Washington Redskins. They haven’t been helped by an offense that, the two games before Thursday, couldn’t stay on the field, but that should be something that is included in conversations about this defense.
Potential trade: Cornerback Josh Norman to the Kansas City Chiefs
Two veteran players who might draw interest from opposing teams are cornerback Josh Norman and outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan. Norman, who missed Sunday’s loss to the 49ers due to injury and is questionable for Thursday’s game at Minnesota, would be an interesting fit for a Chiefs team that still needs help at corner.
It makes sense. Starter Lamar Miller was done for the year with a torn ACL after the third preseason game. However, it was the Chiefs who approached the Texans about trading Hyde, not the other way around, according to Houston coach Bill O’Brien.
“Lamar was injured in the preseason,” O’Brien recalled Wednesday in his presser. “We had some guys on our team already, and then Kansas City approached us about that trade, so we thought about it.”
Around the league
Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley: There may not be a more coveted candidate anywhere than Riley, 36, an offensive guru who has coached two straight Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks (both taken No. 1 overall) and now has Jalen Hurts on pace to break some NCAA records for the unbeaten Sooners. But it’d have to be a really good NFL job with a blue-blood franchise to lure him away. The phone will keep ringing until someone does.
“I mean listen, it’s not fully healed I think until three months. But that internal brace obviously provides some stability and support, as does the splint,” Brees said of both an internal brace that was installed when he had surgery to repair the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb on Sept. 18 and an external splint that he is likely to wear when he returns.
When asked what would prevent him from playing, Brees said, “If I felt like, you know, hey, the ball is not coming out the way it needs to, right? Not as comfortable, not as confident, not as accurate. Those things will be factored.”
Jaguars trade CB Jalen Ramsey to the Rams
The 25-year-old, two-time Pro Bowl cornerback demanded a trade from the Jaguars in September. After Ramsey sat out a few games citing a back injury, Jacksonville gave in to the request and sent him to the Rams for first-round picks in 2020 and 2021, along with a fourth-round pick in 2021.
Jaguars grade: B+
In a perfect world, the Jaguars would’ve never found themselves in that position in the first place. Ramsey’s an elite cornerback and should’ve been a franchise cornerstone for years to come. But their hand was forced and a trade was inevitable, so getting a pair of first-round picks and a little more was good value.
“I will say this: The most important thing for a young quarterback is not to put him out there before he’s ready,” Elway said, via Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic. “So that is the most important thing and if he’s not ready, we’re not going to put him out there. That is the key thing. And as you know dealing with quarterbacks, it’s a very tough thing because if you don’t put him in a situation where he has a chance to be successful and he’s not successful, the whole roof will cave in. So we have to make sure that Drew is ready when he does get in there, if he does get in there.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
Drafted in the first round (sixth overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft, the 6-foot-5, 302-pound defensive lineman has been more than solid — if not especially spectacular — for the Jets, notching 17 sacks, 236 tackles (120 solo), 32 tackles for loss and 90 quarterback hits in 70 games over four and a half seasons; it’s not hard to imagine that Williams could provide some help not only with the interior pass rush, but also with the run defense.
Since he is only 25 years old, the Chiefs could make a new deal with Williams that would keep him with the team for a sustained period — which the Chiefs would need to do. He is only under contract with the Jets through the current season, in which his guaranteed salary is $14.2 million.
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