The Chiefs are heading into the season finale against a division foe. They are riding a bull market that is most certainly peaking at the right time. The last few games have been great for the health and confidence of this team, as they are putting complete games together each week. Most importantly, the leaders on both sides (Mahomes, Kelce, Mathieu, Clark) are playing some of their best ball of the season and elevating the play of those around them.
Here’s a final quick look at the movers and some predictions for the season finale.
This week’s Bulls:
- Terrell Suggs: When the Chiefs claimed him, we weren’t sure he’d report. When he did report, some questioned what he had left. In his debut last week, he didn’t wait long to answer. Sizzle brings hustle, power and leadership across from Frank Clark, forming a nasty duo. Players like these guys elevate their game when it matters most, so it’s going to be fun to watch in the playoffs.
- Kendall Fuller: A very interesting development over the last couple of weeks has been the role of Fuller. Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has found a way to use his defensive backs in multiple ways. Fuller has been lining up at safety... and has been pretty damn good back there, allowing Mathieu to be the wild card he was meant to be. Always a solid tackler who can close on the ball, Fuller may just have carved out a role with some staying power.
- Reggie Ragland: Spagnuolo also deserves credit for finding a use for Reggie Ragland. Once thought a bad fit for the defense, Ragland has moved around the front and has been able to get after running backs and quarterbacks. All of a sudden, Ragland is an aggressive, versatile attacking piece of this defensive resurgence.
This week’s Bears:
- LeSean McCoy: Until proven otherwise, McCoy is the odd man out in the Chiefs backfield. Perhaps that starts to change this week after Spencer Ware went to IR, but the conspicuous absence of the team’s best runner has continued for long enough that it can’t really just be about load management.
- Rashad Fenton: Fenton was a (presumably) healthy scratch last week in favor of former practice squad CB, Alex Brown. If that continues this week, it’ll be clear that the coaches are not as high on the rookie as we once thought. Fenton has made some plays this season and appeared to be trending upward before his injury. Watch to see if he’s just easing back into the mix, or if he’s been passed over on the depth chart.
- Mecole Hardman: Maybe there was a reason Hardman made the Pro Bowl as a returner? He sure hasn’t been very active as a receiver lately. Blanked against the Bears for the second time in four weeks (he had one reception in each of the other two games), even with the highest snap count he’s had since week 13. The kid can make plays, but the team needs to find a way to get him the ball, especially when good teams take away the primary target. Watch to see if he can get back on track against the Chargers, and hopefully contribute in the playoffs.
Predictions for the regular-season finale:
- Rivers will pout. He’ll have good reason to, as the Chiefs front seven will pressure him relentlessly. Watch Clark against a backup tackle, but also Jones from the inside. Both guys can assert their will against Phil. We could see another 5+ sack performance for this defense.
- Hardman will get on the board. The rookie is past due for another long touchdown, and the Chiefs might want to get him the ball a bit more this week. Whether on a return, rushing or receiving, Mecole could get at least one big play this week to give him some confidence for his first postseason game.
- The offense will be otherwise vanilla. Andy Reid is likely sitting on a handful of plays that he’s saving for the postseason. Against a Chargers team that doesn’t have much to play for, they shouldn’t need to bring out their best stuff to win. In the season finale, we should be rooting for good, clean execution and rhythm from Mahomes and the offense. But, they might shut it down, figuratively or literally, in order to save their A-Game for the playoffs.
- I’m on record for a 35-17 Chiefs win. At least one touchdown will come from defense or special teams, and some starters may rest in the second half.
If you want a complete look behind the curtain, here’s a link to the full Market Movers database.