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Arrowheadlines: The Ravens will want to avoid the Chiefs

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Chiefs headlines for Tuesday, December 17

Baltimore Ravens vs Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

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Picking fatal flaws and matchups to avoid for 2019 NFL playoff contenders | ESPN

1. Baltimore Ravens (12-2)

Team to avoid: Kansas City Chiefs

I’ll go with one of the two teams to actually topple the Ravens so far. (I’m not sure anyone is willing to acknowledge that the Browns beating the Ravens by 15 points actually happened.) The Ravens probably don’t want to see Patrick Mahomes again. The reigning MVP was 27-of-37 passing for 374 yards and three touchdowns when the Chiefs beat the Ravens in September, and he has a track record of absolutely shredding defenses who play like the Ravens. Since taking over as the starter in 2018, Mahomes has the best QBR (87.9) and second-best passer rating (120.2) in football. He was 10-of-16 for 104 yards with two touchdown passes against the blitz the last time these two played. Putting up just 6.5 yards per attempt isn’t a Mahomes-esque number, but the Ravens were only able to sack Mahomes once off a blitz, and that came on a third-and-15.

NFL power rankings for 13 teams in the playoff picture after Week 15 | SB Nation

3. Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs’ defense is good, y’all. It’s the best defense Andy Reid has had since he first got to Kansas City. This defense can help them win the AFC. Their offense was rolling against the Broncos. Patrick Mahomes was an insane 27 of 34 for 340 yards in the snow. He was crushing it. The Chiefs have the offense to compete with the Ravens. Remember, the Ravens’ formula is playing from ahead. It hasn’t been often this season, but we’ve seen when the Ravens are behind, their offense changes.

6 winners from Week 15 of the 2019 NFL season | SB Nation

Travis Kelce, who left us all with a massive, unanswerable question

Last year, Kelce totaled 1,336 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns to Kittle’s 1,377 and five. This year, Kelce’s got 1,131 yards to Kittle’s 888 thanks in part to the injuries that cost Kittle two games. On the other hand, Kittle has caught 79 percent of his targets to get there (Kelce’s at 70 percent). Per SIS, they’ve been similarly effective in run blocking as well.

So who gets the nod? There’s no wrong answer there. If you want youth and a little extra potential, Kittle’s your guy. If you want the game-changer who has put up 33 catches for 425 yards in six postseason games, then Kelce’s the right choice.

Lamar Jackson receives most 2020 Pro Bowl fan votes | NFL.com

Much like he’s treated defenders all season, Jackson blew by the nearest vote-getter, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, by over 164,000 votes. Patrick Mahomes (468,838 votes), Dalvin Cook (431,748 votes) and Christian McCaffrey (406,477 votes) held even greater gaps between them and Jackson while rounding out the top five.

NFL Week 16 early odds: Patriots favored big over Bills, Packers open as underdog to Vikings | CBS Sports

Chiefs (10-4) at Bears (7-7)

Opening line: Chiefs -4

The frozen tundra of Lambeau Field might be more famous, but the frozen tundra of Soldier Field has also turned into quite the home-field advantage. Not only have the Bears won five straight December home games, but they’ve also gone 7-1 ATS in their last eight December games at Soldier Field. As for the Chiefs, if there’s one time you should avoid betting them, it seems to be when they’re playing on the road against NFC teams. The last 10 times that’s happened, the Chiefs have gone 3-7 straight-up and just 2-7-1 ATS. They’re also 1-4 straight-up and 0-4-1 ATS in their past five road games against NFC teams. Before you bet against the Chiefs though, just remember that they’ve won and covered in four straight games this season, including Sunday’s win over the Broncos. One other thing worth mentioning is that the Bears are 4-10 ATS on the season, which is the worst mark in the NFL.

Ranking the 10 dumbest mistakes from a playoff-deciding Sunday in NFL Week 15 | SB Nation

7. Drew Lock threw awful back-to-back picks (one of which didn’t count)

The magic Lock had last week against the Texans didn’t carry over into Denver’s Week 15 game against the Chiefs. The rookie quarterback finished with just 208 yards (on 40 attempts!) and an interception.

On the play before the pick, Lock threw a ball off his back foot that was easily intercepted by Tyrann Mathieu. However, it was wiped out for defensive holding. On the very next snap, Lock threw an even worse interception to Juan Thornhill in the end zone.

NFL power rankings for 13 teams in the playoff picture after Week 15 | SB Nation

3. Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs’ defense is good, y’all. It’s the best defense Andy Reid has had since he first got to Kansas City. This defense can help them win the AFC. Their offense was rolling against the Broncos. Patrick Mahomes was an insane 27 of 34 for 340 yards in the snow. He was crushing it. The Chiefs have the offense to compete with the Ravens. Remember, the Ravens’ formula is playing from ahead. It hasn’t been often this season, but we’ve seen when the Ravens are behind, their offense changes.

Upon Further Review: 10 Quick Facts Following Sunday’s Victory Over Denver | The Mothership

8. The Chiefs notched double-digit victories once again

Kansas City secured at least 10 victories for the season on Sunday for a fifth-straight year under Head Coach Andy Reid, passing the streak held by Marty Schottenheimer (1990-93) for the longest stretch of double-digit victories by a head coach in franchise history.

Around the NFL

Jon Gruden apologizes to fans for losing Oakland finale | NFL.com

“I’d like to say we could have sent the Raiders fans off with a lot better finish than that,” Gruden said after the loss, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “I think, most importantly, before we talk about the game, I’d like to thank the fans. I’d like to thank the city of Oakland for supporting the Raiders and being faithful in all kinds of seasons. I’ll miss them. I love them and I’m sorry about the outcome today, but I think that’s something that needs to be said. An exclamation point.

Bears coach Matt Nagy denies rift exists with QB Mitchell Trubisky | ESPN

“You guys are always catching us right after the game,” Nagy said Monday. “And so there’s a lot of emotions that go through. Here we are losing a game like that and knowing we could’ve played better. So I don’t know exactly what the question was that was asked, but I’m saying if you sensed a frustration, I think I know Mitch better than anybody in this building except maybe [quarterbacks coach] Dave Ragone.

Fitzgerald ‘not going to lose any sleep’ over retirement | NFL.com

“I’ve got a lot of great things ahead of me ... everybody’s replaceable,” Fitzgerald said. “There’ll be another number 11 here in a couple months after I leave. He might not be as handsome as I am though.”

Drew Brees passes Peyton for most career TD passes | NFL.com

The New Orleans Saints quarterback moved up in the record books yet again on Monday evening, passing Peyton Manning for most career touchdown passes (541) in NFL history with four scores in a 34-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts, Manning’s former team.

The quarterback’s first TD pass of the evening, a 15-yard toss to Michael Thomas (who else?), came on New Orleans’ second drive of the game with 12:43 left in the second quarter. Brees’ second -- a 21-yard strike to Tre’Quan Smith -- came six minutes later, tying him with Manning.

Brees’ record-breaker came on a five-yard pass to backup tight end Josh Hill on New Orleans’ first drive of the third quarter. Brees said after the game that Hill was a “fitting” recipient, as he has been New Orleans’ “unsung hero” since joining the club as a UDFA in 2013.

In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride

The adversity the Chiefs have faced could mean a sweeter result

Early in the season, Clark was a target for criticism for his lack of production. During a struggling start for a defense that didn’t look particularly in sync, the team’s $105 million man wasn’t showing the statistical impact some hoped he would.

But as it turns out, Clark has been fighting through a litany of issues — from neck and nerve pain to illness. He missed every practice preparing for the Patriots — and then played in the game. He was in the hospital last week as the team readied itself for the Broncos — and then played in the game.

The character he’s shown is part of what has turned this defense around; he’s helping build a new standard for the unit. And despite all the adversity, he’s stayed with it — and is playing his best football at the right time.

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