“I was pretty optimistic last week,” Thielen said. “I feel good. I feel like we have progressed and I will find out more after every practice. It’s all about being close to 100 percent on game day and luckily I have three or four more days to figure that out.”
Defensive tackles Linval Joseph (knee) and Shamar Stephen (knee) were listed as full participants.
5. Kansas City Chiefs (5-3)
The Chiefs almost need an asterisk next to their ranking. Kansas City is buying time until Patrick Mahomes comes back from his knee injury, but in a watered-down AFC West, that shouldn’t be a problem. Even up against tougher competition like the excellent Packers defense his team faced last week, Andy Reid has proved that he can still devise a high-powered offense with backup QB Matt Moore at the controls. Moore used play-action on 43.6 percent of his dropbacks—the second-highest rate of any QB in Week 8—and averaged 3.9 more yards per attempt on those throws than traditional dropback passes. Reid also used a dizzying array of motions and creative route combinations to put Green Bay’s defense in a bind. When Mahomes is the field making his patented no-look and holy shit throws, it’s easy to forget just how brilliant Reid really is. If Mahomes returns sooner rather than later, the Chiefs will still be the favorite to secure the no. 2 seed in the AFC.
Please, football gods, heal this player award: Patrick Mahomes
The New England Patriots are going to run away with the AFC if Patrick Mahomes isn’t healthy. The Chiefs are the only team the Patriots would worry about in the playoffs. The Chiefs have the offensive firepower, the scheme, and the overall talent to compete against the Patriots.
The Colts and Texans, while playing well, have no chance. Do you think Jacoby Brissett scares the Patriots? Heck no. So please, get healthy, Pat, so you can guide the Chiefs into the AFC Championship Game.
Hill will score two touchdowns
According to Pro Football Focus’ grades chart, it will be Rhodes who will match up with the Chiefs’ top threat Tyreek Hill. This is not a good thing as Rhodes has had his share of issues going up against younger, faster receivers this season giving up a pair of touchdowns to Marvin Jones in Week 7 and getting burned by Darius Slayton before that.
But the ever-present “Arrowhead Chop” at home games, along with Chiefs officials’ unwillingness to disavow the cheer, are evidence that the team still has more work to do.
“The Arrowhead Chop is part of the game-day experience that is really important to our fans,” said team President Mark Donovan.
Around the league
Gordon will join a receiving corps already led by Tyler Lockett, rookie D.K. Metcalf and Jaron Brown.
”He’s a big-play guy. He’s been able to really stretch the field,” Carroll added. “Those that I know that have worked with him and coached him, they rave about his talent and his playmaking ability.”
Haskins, the 15th overall pick in the draft, has made two relief appearances this season -- the Redskins trailed by at least a touchdown in both outings when he entered. For the season, Haskins has completed 12 of 22 passes for 140 yards and four interceptions with no touchdowns.
Bill Belichick, as is tradition, shouldn’t be overlooked
D’Andrea: Of course, Belichick isn’t the flashy choice. He’s built a flashy record atop a graveyard of bad teams and benefitted greatly from some solid injury luck along that record-setting defense (the offensive line, not as much). If you’re basing your vote on growth, it’s pretty tough for the man behind the reigning champions to suggest he’s done more than a coach who has taken his team from the bottom of his division to the top.
“Kwon has been great for us this year on the field and as a leader,” Niners coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters Friday. “I mean you guys can feel (his energy). I think everyone watching it can feel it and our team feels it. That’s how he is on game day, that’s how he is on the practice field. The speed he plays with, he’s been a great addition for us. It’s going to be a tough loss.”
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The Viking pass rush is very good
Minnesota is just two sacks behind Kansas City in the yearly totals with 23 on the year as a team. Led by Danielle Hunter (8.0 sacks) and Everson Griffen (4.5 sacks), this group will get after you. The line has had its struggles this season so far, and this is another game that will present a significant challenge. It’s a talented, aggressive, physical defensive front.
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