Chiefs’ momentum: When the season started, the Chiefs, who just missed going to the Super Bowl last season, appeared to be a top AFC contender. Their 4-0 start didn’t do anything to change that perception. However, some close losses, bad defense and a scary knee injury to MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes knocked the Chiefs off course a bit. But there is no denying Kansas City is a legitimate Super Bowl contender again.
The Chiefs have won three straight games. The defense has made huge strides and while Mahomes is still dealing with nagging injuries, the offense should be extremely dangerous in January.
4. Kansas City Chiefs
Mahomes’s watchability rating, like his overall rating as a player, will be through the roof for the next decade. He will provide mind-boggling excitement for the remainder of his career, even when banged up. The Chiefs are fourth this year due only to the glut of watchable teams in an unusually watchable season.
2 Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs QB
It certainly wasn’t perfect against the Patriots. His second throw of the game was to a Patriots defender. But Mahomes led the Chiefs into New England against the league’s best defense and emerged with a win thanks to a second-quarter outburst of points. His touchdown -- off his back foot with a pass-rusher in his face -- was one of those plays that only he can make. He’s now the league-leader in DVOA and he’s second in both DYAR and total QBR. If not for that injury, he’d be in the MVP conversation with the quarterbacks preceding and following him on this list.
Last week: 3
RANK 4 Patrick Mahomes
Filice: Another week, another ailment for the reigning MVP. Mahomes suffered the dreaded high ankle sprain in the season opener, missed two games at midseason due to a kneecap dislocation and just injured his throwing hand in Sunday’s win at New England. While the latest setback affected Mahomes’ grip (and, apparently, the Chiefs’ game plan) against the Patriots, Andy Reid reported Monday that his quarterback’s hand is “bruised up pretty good, but there’s no break.” And Mahomes was a full practice participant on Wednesday, telling reporters afterward “today was the first day I was able to really grip the ball, throw it and drive it down the field a little bit.” This is good. But I’m still left with a bad feeling -- a feeling that we might be deprived of Peak Pat until his battered body has time to fully recover (i.e., during the offseason). With Kansas City finishing the regular season against the Broncos, Bears and Chargers, any chance Von Miller, Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa go a little easy on No. 15? You know, in the interest of football watchers who enjoy elite quarterbacking?
Tamarick Vanover, who played for the Chiefs from 1995 to 1999, is among the defendants alleged to have submitted false claims to a plan created to help former players pay for legitimate, out-of-pocket medical expenses, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
“One of the things that makes Patrick Mahomes so good is he grew up as the son of a Major League Baseball player.
“So big games, all these athletes, all these stars - it doesn’t phase him. He’s seen that since he was a little kid.
”Jimmy Burrow, Joe’s father, has been a great coach in college football for a number of years. This kid grew up that way, he’s not enthralled by it all.”
All that said, regression to the mean is a much more likely outcome for any outlier performance, as we are seeing this season with Mahomes. Yes, he’s been hurt and so has Tyreek Hill, but still. Whatever the reason, Mahomes has not been as good fantasy-wise this year as he was last year. And, of course, the idea is to wait on the QB position (as those who have Jackson this year can attest).
Which brings us back to our question: Where do you draft Lamar Jackson next year?
Around the NFL
Asked if New England’s side of the latest story is believable, Goodell said, “One of the things I’ve learned is you don’t draw conclusions until you have all the information. Once we have all the information, then we draw conclusions. We’re not going to draw conclusions along the way.’’
Goodell said the previous incident does affect the current situation, “but I think the key things are the new information that we have. I think the issue is what information do we have from this incident?’’
“Every day, in cities and towns across America, NFL players give of themselves to make our communities better,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a press release. “The 32 nominees for this year’s award are the best of the best and truly embody the spirit of Walter and his legacy of leaving the world better than he found it.”
Chicago Bears (7-6)
Chicago biffed games against the Chargers, Raiders, and Eagles en route to a 4-6 start that’s only been corrected by a recent three-game winning streak. Like a less hopeful version of the Rams, that recent upswing looks like too little, too late. The Bears will likely have to win out to have a chance at breaking into the playoff bracket. That means beating three teams with a combined 28-11 record currently.
Jackson’s record-breaking run was his third carry of the opening drive, which ended a play later with a six-yard touchdown run by Mark Ingram. Jackson’s first run and the second play of the drive was a 20-yard scamper and he later tallied a two-yard gain that briefly tied him with Vick. Following the run, Jackson stood at 1,044 for the season. By game’s end, Jackson has 86 rushing yards on eight carries and 1,103 yards on the year.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
26. IOL Nick Harris, Washington
This probably isn’t the route I would hope for, but so goes draft roulette. There are a few centers that will likely hear their names called in the first two rounds, and Harris certainly has a chance to be one of them. Harris is a three-year starter that has the athleticism to succeed in the Chiefs’ zone-blocking scheme. Patrick Mahomes would have a steady presence in the middle of the offensive line for years to come.
58. LB Akeem Davis-Gaither, Appalachian State
It’s not even the turn of the year yet, but the AP draft team already has a massive crush at the linebacker position. Davis-Gaither is an athletic, dynamic linebacker who provides traits the second level of the Chiefs defense desperately needs. He would slide in as a WILL linebacker and give Steve Spagnuolo speed, cover skills and ability in space.
SB Nation’s Fan Pulse (after Week 14)
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