“Most players are competitive, but he has competitive greatness,” Mathieu said recently in explanation. “What I mean by that is in tough situations, critical moments, only a few people can make certain plays. He’s one of those players.
”The only way you can cover him is to have that competitive greatness yourself. You have to know the ball is coming to him and in your mind you believe you can make the play. You just have to match his energy, his attitude and that’s hard to do. He’s on another level most of the time.”
4. Kansas City Chiefs (6-4)
There is no more wiggle room for the Chiefs in a division race that many of us assumed would be a runaway. The Chiefs need a victory over the Chargers south of the border to preserve their spot atop the AFC West. The Raiders’ three-game winning streak has pulled them to 6-4, meaning the Chiefs are in first place only because of their Week 2 win in Oakland. FPI still is giving the Chiefs an 88.7% chance to win the division, but it’s gotten tighter than expected.
Next up: vs. L.A. Chargers (Monday night)
If you want to see an NFL team get out-coached, just watch any AFC West team play against Reid. Since 2015, the Chiefs are 23-2 against the AFC West, which includes beating the Chargers nine of the past 10 times that these two teams have met. As if having Reid and Mahomes isn’t enough of an advantage, Philip Rivers has been playing like he wants to retire early, which means there’s no way I can take the Chargers here, and to keep with the tradition of the Chargers losing every game this season by one score, I am picking them to lose by one score.
Heading into their clash Monday night in Mexico City against AFC West rival the Los Angeles Chargers (8:15 p.m. EST, TSN via ESPN), the Chiefs plan to start more of their top players on both sides of the ball since early September.
For starters, the offensive line has been an ever-changing patchwork of combinations for most of the season. But No. 1 left tackle Eric Fisher returns after missing the last eight games with a groin injury and No. 1 right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (of Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Que.) is back after sitting out the last two games with an ankle injury. That duo practised without limitation all week.
The change in venue interrupted schedules for many of the 25 teams that were scheduled to watch Kaepernick at the original site, but Kaepernick still threw in front of representatives from eight teams, according to Nalley, among them the Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets, Washington Redskins, San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Lions and Tennessee Titans.
Around the NFL
Chants of “MVP, MVP, MVP” rained down from a giddy M&T Bank Stadium crowd as Lamar Jackson bedeviled the Texans’ defense time and time again. The QB began the game with a sleepy start, going 1-of-6 passing in a scoreless first quarter. Jackson then woke up, and the Texans D with no pass rush had zero answers for the MVP candidate. The second-year passer completed 13 straight passes with three TDs during a stretch that ran from the opening of the second quarter through three minutes left in the third. After several early deep shots were off the mark, the Ravens rode a diverse ground game and a gaggle of Jackson short shots to dice up an injury-riddled Texans defense. Jackson once again fired precision BBs between the numbers to a bevy of targets -- nine different Ravens players caught passes. The deep splash shots were absent today, but Baltimore didn’t need them. The QB got through his reads with aplomb, letting his targets do the work in space. Jackson added another highlight-reel run looking like a Mike Vick redux, dashing through and around Texans defenders for a 39-yard scamper that put a stamp on the blowout. The MVP candidate generated 308 total yards (222 passing with four TD tosses; 86 rushing), before sitting out the final 7:05. Once more, Jackson and the Ravens’ offense showed they’re a bewildering force that stupefies defenses.
Ryan entered the game with 49,072 passing yards, behind Moon’s 49,325. He finished the game with 311 yards and a touchdown on 21-of-31 passing.
Ryan, 34, is expected to become the 10th player to reach 50,000 yards at some point this season. John Elway is above Ryan on the all-time list at ninth with 51,475 yards.
The Vikings move to 8-3 on the season, and match their win total from the entire 2018 season. They’ll now take their actual bye week, and then have a tough Monday Night Football matchup against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 13. The Broncos fall to 3-7 on the season, and will travel next Sunday to take on the Buffalo Bills.
The Minnesota Vikings complete the greatest comeback of the Mike Zimmer era, coming back from a 20-point deficit to take down the Denver Broncos, 27-23, in Week 11 action at U.S. Bank Stadium.
As it stands, it’s remains possible he’ll be healthy enough to return before December concludes, but the Lions will also undoubtedly take into account their record when and if he is. If they can’t string together wins over the next few games, it would be unwise to risk Stafford in a mathematically dead playoff hunt.
Following Houston’s 41-7 loss, the Texans skipper expressed dismay at the non-call and the state of pass interference, in general.
”I don’t know,” O’Brien sighed to reporters when asked about the call after the game. “I have no idea. I have no idea what pass interference is anymore. No idea.”
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
Frank Clark: Clark has been solid all year, believe it or not. Playing through a pinched nerve issue, he hasn’t been as dominant yet... but hopefully it’s coming. Frank notched his fourth sack of the season last week but will be depended on more heavily now with Ogbah out for the season. The bull market for Clark may just be beginning.
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