“Until you know for sure that Mahomes is playing, this is admittedly a big gamble,” Gagnon said. “But if he does indeed suit up, you’re getting some value out of the Chiefs. The Titans were extremely lucky to win their last two home games against the Chargers and Bucs, and thus are extremely lucky not to be on a five-game losing streak. They’re a bad team that was dominated by the Panthers, Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half of the season.
”What’s more, we can’t overlook how well the Chiefs have fared without Mahomes. They’ve scored 80 points over the last three weeks, and the steady Matt Moore has a triple-digit passer rating.”
In other words, even if Moore starts again and the line drops closer to pick’em range, the Chiefs could certainly cover four points against a limping Titans defense anyway.
“Everything that we did wrong within the game is correctable,” Chiefs linebacker Reggie Ragland said. “We just gotta go out there and communicate — that’s the biggest thing.”
“That’s been our biggest downfall this year — not communicating. As the weeks go on, we’ve been getting better at it. So I’m excited. I know this week we’re going to harp on it.”
One of the cooler moments of the NFL season came last Sunday when Chiefs running back Damien Williams broke out for a 91-yard touchdown run against the Vikings. During the run, Williams’s teammate Tyreek Hill threw a key block and then sprinted toward the endzone with Williams. Hill was nearly 10 yards behind Williams before catching him and then passing him as he scored.
Thanks to the beauty of players being mic’d up, we were treated to Williams’s great reaction to Hill’s speed while they were on the sideline after the play.
Williams accused Hill of “trying to embarrass him on TV” while Hill told Williams he was “coming for his ass.”
T-2 Patrick Mahomes
Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 3 | Blair: 5 | Filice: 2 | Parr: 2
2019 stats: 7 games | 65.1 pct | 2,180 pass yds | 9.0 ypa | 15 pass TD | 1 INT | 82 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles lost
Parr: We don’t know who will be starting at QB for the Chiefs on Sunday as of this writing, but the fact that Mahomes returned to full-participant status in practice for the first time on Wednesday is a good enough excuse for us to get the reigning MVP in the QB Index again. Welcome back, Pat! (Sorry, Matt Moore. You’ve been tremendous.) The initial belief was that Mahomes would miss at least three games after dislocating his kneecap (ouch) in Week 7 vs. the Broncos, but, of course, he’s even better than everyone else when it comes to recovering from injury and will beat that timetable by a game if he plays against the Titans on Sunday. We haven’t forgotten about Mahomes’ greatness during his two-week absence. He’s slotted at No. 2 in our rankings, right where he left off before exiting the win over Denver after that ill-fated second-quarter dive up the middle that had every Chiefs fan holding their breath. Only Russell Wilson has a higher passer rating than Kansas City’s QB1 this season. And this could be the first time since Week 1 that Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins are all active at the same time. I know I said sorry to Matt Moore, but we really should be apologizing to the Tennessee secondary, which just lost Malcolm Butler, for what it’s about to encounter.
The first, and easy, one is Mahomes. If he starts, you start him. We have yet to see him healthy this season with his full complement of weapons, yet he was still a top-four quarterback for the first six weeks of the season. Even with his difficult matchup against the Titans, you should start him over everyone but Lamar Jackson. I project Mahomes for 327 passing yards and around 2.5 touchdowns.
Tennessee Titans (4-5) over Kansas City Chiefs (6-3)
Sunday, November 10, 1:00 PM Eastern
With a head-to-head tiebreaker over Tennessee plus the Titans’ very bad AFC conference record, they don’t really present a threat to the Bills in any tiebreaker scenarios at 11-5 or 10-6. If the Chiefs continue to struggle, they might be in contention for a Wild Card instead of the AFC West crown. It’s a lot on the priority list, but we’re going with Tennessee here
The Kansas City Chiefs:
Andy Reid is the best offensive coach in football. You can have your Sean McVay’s and Kyle Shanahan’s. Andy Reid is making Matt Moore look like Patrick Mahomes on the scoresheet. They also have schemed up a great run game behind Damien Williams and LeSean never ages McCoy.
Their defense is good, not great. People will say they “proved themselves” against the Vikings, but you can’t prove yourself against Kirk Cousins. But, at the same time, they have contained opposing offenses enough to allow Matt Moore to win some games. In a couple weeks they’ll have Tyreek Hill and Patrick Mahomes back, and defenses should be very afraid.
Around the league
Cooper is as important to this Dallas offense as he’s been since he arrived at the trade deadline in 2018. Through eight games in 2019, his numbers are nearly identical to his production in Dallas’ final nine games last season: 701 receiving yards (725 in 2018), six touchdowns (six ), and 42 receptions (53). In fact, he’s been slightly better in 2019, averaging 3 more yards per reception than he did over the similar stretch last season.
But while the 2019 49ers bear some resemblance to the group that kicked off this rivalry, the Seahawks couldn’t be more different. Even with famous names like Pete Carroll, Wilson, and linebacker Bobby Wagner still in place, this Seattle team wins in a much different day than it did in the Legion of Boom days. Wilson has gone from well-placed cog in an otherwise perfect machine to the most valuable player in all of football. And in possibly the most fun twist of all, Sherman is now leading the Niners defense as it torments the NFC.
1. Philip Rivers (2004-)
Closest trip to the Super Bowl: 2007. I wrote about this postseason several times in my Brees alternate history from 2018, so this might be familiar. Everyone remembers that the Giants eventually slayed the beast and upset the 18-0 Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, but along the way, the Patriots slipped. The Chargers should have been able to take advantage, but they were prevented by a bevy of injuries.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
There may not be a player that has benefited more from the changes on the defensive coaching staff than third-year defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon.
It was obvious that defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was intrigued by his physical attributes and was excited to have the challenge of developing him. After being labeled a cut candidate, Kpassagnon flashed in the preseason and earned a spot in the defensive line rotation.
While he did play a decent amount in the first quarter of the season, the injuries to defensive ends Frank Clark and Alex Okafor forced Kpassagnon to see more playing time than he has seen in his young career; he has played at least 75% of defensive snaps in each of the last three games. The increase in opportunity has led to an increase in production; in each of the last two weeks, he has hit career highs in total pressures with five — and had two sacks against Green Bay.
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