3. (AFC West champion) Chiefs
The Chiefs didn’t even play in Week 12 and somehow, they still came out as one of the biggest winners of the week in the NFL. The reason it was a good week for the Chiefs -- their main competition in the AFC West (The Raiders) fell flat on their face in a loss to the Jets. Due to that loss, the Chiefs now have a 92.8% chance of winning the division, which will go up to nearly 99.9% if Kansas City beats Oakland on Sunday.
What to watch: Patrick Mahomes get back on track
When these teams played in Week 2, Patrick Mahomes threw four passing touchdowns in the second quarter. All four went for 20-plus yards, they were the only points Kansas City scored in the whole game, and the Chiefs won 28-10. Mahomes has not been nearly as sharp in recent weeks. He’s coming off of perhaps his worst game as a pro last week against the Chargers in Mexico City, when he threw for just 182 yards on 32 pass attempts (5.7 yards per attempt) and his second interception of the season. Luckily for Mahomes, the Raiders pass defense is just as bad as it was in Week 2. Oakland has allowed the fifth most passing yards and is tied for the second most passing touchdowns allowed. Last week they were shredded by Sam Darnold’s Jets in a 34-3 loss. Two weeks ago the Raiders barely beat the 0-11 Bengals and allowed 115 passing yards to Ryan Finley. This week, Mahomes may once again have four touchdowns by halftime, but the Chiefs might have more than 28 points by the end of the game.
“When you play the Raiders, it’s going to be a battle,” Reid said. “It should be a great game, and I know Arrowhead will be rocking here on this Thanksgiving weekend.”
The Chiefs have rolled over the Oakland Raiders of late, having won nine of their last 10 against them. And as the Chiefs’ head coach, Reid is 11-2 against them.
On the other side, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden went 3-5 against the Chiefs in his first stint with Raiders, but he is now 0-3 in his second stint as Raiders coach.
3 Patrick Mahomes
Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 3 | Blair: 3 | Filice: 3 | Parr: 3
2019 stats: 9 games | 65.6 pct | 2,808 pass yds | 8.7 ypa | 19 pass TD | 2 INT | 141 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles lost
Bhanpuri: This year’s MVP race feels a lot like the college football season in that one poor game, particularly late in the season, can eliminate a contender. Mahomes’ sub-par showing against the Chargers in Week 11 feels like the death knell signaling the end of his repeat effort. His chances had already dimmed significantly after he missed two games because of a dislocated knee cap. But when you look at his numbers this season -- he ranks first in yards per attempt (8.7), third in passing yards per game (312) and fourth in passer rating (110.0) among the 30 QBs with at least 200 attempts -- it’s hard not to wonder what might’ve been. With five games left, and coming off a much-needed bye, there’s still an outside chance Mahomes could overtake Russell and Lamar to reclaim his spot atop the league’s player hierarchy and these QB rankings. Beating up the division-rival Raiders at home this Sunday before lighting up the Patriots at Foxborough in Week 14 would surely help his case.
The best player in the NFL is ...
Out: Tom Brady is the GOAT
So last year: Patrick Mahomes is the GOAT
In: Lamar Jackson is the GOAT
Yes, technically Brady is still the GOAT, but he’s lost his fastball, even if the Patriots are still the Patriots. Jackson is officially the most exciting player in the league, supplanting Mahomes and leading the red-hot Ravens to a 9-2 start.
Jackson has been every bit the dynamic force he was while winning a Heisman Trophy at Louisville — except now he’s doing it against NFL defenses. He’s beaten both teams that played in Super Bowl 53 this season, racking up eight total touchdowns (six passing, two rushing) against them in the process.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes, tight end Travis Kelce and rookie quarterback Kyle Shurmur all stopped by for the event to show off their skills, sign some autographs and thank our Servicemembers for what they do.
“I have unbelievable respect for people that sacrifice for this country, and when you throw in Madden, it makes it a fun time for everybody,” Kelce said. “It’s a cool opportunity, not only to get involved with the community, but to also show some respect to the people that certainly deserve it.”
Top Super Bowl Odds, Week 13
New England Patriots 7-2
Baltimore Ravens: 7-2
San Francisco 49ers 5-1
Kansas City Chiefs 10-1
Around the NFL
“He brought that vision since he got drafted,” Snead said. “If the guys around him ain’t got that vision, it’s like we got the wrong guys in he huddle. I feel like everybody in the huddle has that same vision - all 11 guys see the Super Bowl in our near future, and it starts with Lamar.”
Buffalo Bills (8-3) at Dallas Cowboys (6-5)
Chasing the Patriots in the AFC East and following their lead after New England confounded Dallas a week ago, the Bills defense will aim to shut down the Cowboys offense a week after it was held to nine points. Ranked third in total defense, Buffalo’s strength is on that side of the ball, but its offense continues to improve. Second-season quarterback Josh Allen’s betterment continues to be fun to watch and he’s produced 22 total touchdowns so far (team-high seven rushing scores). But it’s truly the running game, which Allen’s a huge part of, that’s settling in and complimenting the defense so well. With 1,531 yards rushing, the Bills have the fifth-ranked rushing attack and boast three players - Frank Gore (541 yards), Devin Singletary (490) and Allen (387) with more than 300 yards rushing. Singletary set career-highs with 21 carries and 106 rushing yards in his team’s win over Denver last. And, of course, as the Bills travel to face the Cowboys, another wrinkle is Buffalo receiver Cole Beasley, who will be playing his former team after seven seasons in Dallas. It’s not just defense that’s leading to wins in Buffalo.
Key starters Patrick Chung (safety), Jamie Collins Sr. (linebacker), Stephon Gilmore (cornerback), Dont’a Hightower (linebacker) and Isaiah Wynn (left tackle) were among the eight players who missed practice. A ninth player, offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, was limited in practice due to illness.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
Last year, the 9-1 record the Chiefs had was followed by a 3-3 end to the year. That squad was able to overcome the underwhelming finish to the regular season and host the AFC championship game — but the 2019 team does not have the same luxury. Their 7-4 record has given them a small margin for error in the last five games. If the Chiefs want to achieve their ultimate goal of winning a championship, they must go down the path of building momentum and look the part of a contender starting in Week 13 against the Oakland Raiders.
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