22. 2018 Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes’ star turn electrified the NFL. The Chiefs traded up 17 spots to land him, and after a year behind Alex Smith, the 2018 MVP threw 50 TD passes for the third-highest-scoring offense ever. All-Pros Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce provided elite support, and Damien Williams scored four playoff TDs after replacing Kareem Hunt. Regular-season losses to the Rams (a 54-51 all-timer) and Patriots (43-40 in Foxborough) provided an unfortunate prelude. Kansas City’s leaky defense again could not deter New England in the rematch, though some notable calls went the Pats’ way, and Dee Ford’s penalty led to another crushing playoff loss.
RT: Mitchell Schwartz, Chiefs ($6.43 million)Schwartz has never made a Pro Bowl because a distinction of the tackle positions isn’t made in the selection process. He is a good bet to earn All-Pro honors for a fourth straight year because the Associated Press differentiates between left and right tackles.
3. Chiefs (11-4): Not sure if you Bears fans have heard this or not, but Chicago could have drafted Patrick Mahomes.
3 Patrick Mahomes
I realize the Chicago Bears’ defense isn’t the same unit it was last season, but Mahomes moved the ball at will from the start and built a 17-0 lead at the half on Sunday night. Based on his performance at Soldier Field (251 pass yards, two pass TDs, one rush TD), you’d have no idea he dislocated his kneecap earlier this season.
Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (-8)
The Chiefs are still playing for a seed, so the game matters. The Chargers have long been eliminated. The Chargers had a chance against the Chiefs in Mexico City, but this will be different. This will be ugly. The Chiefs defense is much improved. Chiefs roll.
Pick: Chiefs 27, Chargers 15
Patrick Mahomes - QB
Chiefs general manager Brett Veach told me on SiriusXM Radio last summer that Kansas City began budgeting for a long-term extension for Mahomes shortly after he was drafted. Such planning is prudent, with the 2018 MVP heading toward a contract that will surely make him the highest paid player in NFL history.
Verdict: WORK ON EXTENSION.
Kenneth Murray LB
The Chiefs defense has improved as the season has progressed, but they’ve struggled at times to find consistency from their linebackers. Murray changes that. He is undersized but he flies all over the field, and has sideline-to-sideline speed, the ability to make plays in the backfield and the athleticism to cover RBs and TEs.
Around the NFL
“I feel extremely excited about being able to be back on the practice field with the guys,” Watt said. “The medical team here has done a great job. There’s obviously an element of risk involved as well. I understand. But to me, the opportunity to play in the playoffs, the opportunity to try and help this team win football games ... there’s nothing that I want more.”
Harris has recorded 54 tackles, six passes defended, one interception and one forced fumble in 2019. But he ranks 40th in coverage grade, per Pro Football Focus, which places him near the midpoint of all starting corners in the NFL. That grade is still solid, of course, yet ranks as his worst in his career. Last season he posted an 84.4, and three seasons ago, he broke 90 for the third time in his nine-year career.
“We’re hoping and wishing again, like last year,” linebacker Bud Dupree said, via ESPN. “Waiting on guys to lose. We just shouldn’t be in that situation. We had opportunities early in the season. Early and now, today, to go out and win games, to take ourselves out of that position. Even with all the adversity we’ve been through the whole year, we still had control of our own destiny. And we failed that.”
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
2) Reid was impressed with what he saw from defensive tackle Terrell Suggs in his Kansas City debut.
The 17-year NFL veteran played 17 snaps against the Chicago Bears.
“I kind of liked what I saw,” said Reid. “He’s got a good energy about him, and you saw it on the first couple rushes... guys get upset if they don’t get a sack that first rush, and he was in that first third down. He chased the quarterback (Mitch Trubisky) from the pocket, was right there to take it and 55 (Frank Clark) got the sack.”
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