Along with a Raiders victory, the Titans and Steelers both need to lose, as well as the Colts getting a win. The three games that the Raiders will need to pay attention to all occur at 1 pm Eastern time on Sunday, so when the Raiders take the field against the Broncos at 4:25 next week, we will know how important the game is.
A - Chiefs
Instead of “Sunday Night Football,” this game could have been just called “The Patrick Mahomes Show,” because the Chiefs quarterback put on a show in Chicago. The Bears defense couldn’t figure out how to stop Mahomes, who led the Chiefs to points on all three of their first half possessions. By the time the Chiefs punted for the first time, the Chiefs were already leading 17-0. Although Mahomes was impressive (251 passing yards, two passing TDs, one rushing TD), the Chiefs defense also came up big, limiting the Bears to just three points. This marks the second straight week the Chiefs have only surrendered three points and the first time since 2015 that the Chiefs have given up three points or less twice in one season. Basically, with the playoffs right around the corner, the Chiefs defense is getting hot at the right time.
“It is fair to say Pat would still be pretty good if he went somewhere else, but I think with Andy Reid and Alex Smith and all the things that we do I think those are very important as well,” Schwartz says. “If another team had taken him, it’s not going to be the same Pat if you put him anywhere else. The situation was pretty perfect on top of his abilities. K.C. has the best version of him with the best offensive mind, and he had the best mentor possible in Alex and then all the talent we have on offense.”
As good as Mahomes was last year -- and he was MVP-caliber good -- he might be playing better football right now. He seems so calm in Andy Reid’s offense and isn’t even required to force things in a dynamic way as much as he was last year. Mahomes still can make any throw he wants on the run, but the Chiefs haven’t even had to elevate their offense to maximum levels yet.
Their offense is steady, and Patrick Mahomes has looked more like the Mahomes we have come to know and love. He’s stepping into throws again and not bailing out of the pocket. The Chiefs will be a contender in the playoffs.
12. Legion of Zoom
It seems reckless that these guys are running their 40-yard dashes on cobblestone, but virtual players running on rocks can’t be more dangerous than real players running on the field at Estadio Azteca.
5. Harrison Butker nailed a career-long kick
Butker booted a 56-yard field goal early in the second quarter, tallying not just a career-long, but also the fourth-longest kick in franchise history. Only Nick Lowery has connected on a longer field goal for the red and gold, with Butker’s kick standing as the longest since the 1985 season.
One of the most exciting players in the decade was Tyrann Mathieu, who incessantly found his way to the football. In two seasons for LSU, he collected 133 tackles with 16 for loss and six sacks, forced 11 fumbles, recovered eight and broke up 16 passes. Mathieu won the Bednarik Award in 2011.
Chargers (5-10) at Chiefs (11-4)
Opening line: Chiefs -7.5
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times: Andy Reid coaching against an AFC West team has become the closest thing to a lock that you can get in the NFL. Since 2015, the Chiefs have gone 26-2 straight up against divisional opponents and 21-7 ATS. That total includes winning 10 of their past 11 against the Chargers in games where the Chiefs have gone 8-3 ATS. As for the Chargers, they’ve been one of the worst bets on football over the past six weeks, going 1-5 both straight-up and ATS
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“He took the shot there in the first half. There is a rib that has been affected,” coach Doug Pederson said Monday. “I am waiting, from our doctors, a couple more tests. We’ll all see later today. Should have something more tomorrow or Thursday.”
3. Rivers faded overnight. I covered Rivers’ sudden decline in my piece on NFL surprises last week. Facing a porous Raiders pass defense on Sunday, Rivers went 27-of-39 for 279 yards, with a significant chunk of that production coming down two scores in the fourth quarter. He had to spend much of the game operating with a silent snap count by virtue of the Raiders fans taking over what was supposed to be a home finale for the Chargers in Carson. With a matchup that the old Rivers would have relished destroying, Sunday felt like another sign that Rivers’ time in the league might be drawing to a close.
With the victory, the red-hot Packers, winners of their last four contests, preserved their chances at sitting atop the NFC as the No. 1 seed. Should the current NFC top seed 49ers lose to the Seahawks in the final Sunday night matchup of 2019, all the Packers would need to do to usurp them is close their regular season with a win over the Lions.
Lynch last played for the Oakland Raiders in 2018, appearing in six games and rushing 90 times for 376 yards and three touchdowns before his season ended prematurely due to injury. It seemed at the time to be the last time we’d see the 33-year-old Lynch on an NFL field. That is, until Monday.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
1) Patrick Mahomes became the fastest player to reach 9,000 passing yards.
Mahomes had 251 passing yards against the Bears, giving him 9,238 yards in 30 games. That is the fewest games a player has ever needed to reach the 9,000-yard plateau.
2) Mahomes became the fastest player to reach 75 passing touchdowns.
Mahomes also had two passing touchdowns in the game, giving him 75 on his career. That is the fewest games a player has ever needed to reach the 75-touchdown plateau.
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