The football world has been waiting for the game’s Next Great Quarterbacks to emerge for some time, and Mahomes is the vanguard of a new generation that includes Jackson and Deshaun Watson. But for as much as Mahomes means to the NFL, what he means to Kansas City is incalculable.
This might be Kelce’s most important season in terms of his value to the Chiefs. Starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes missed two-and-a-half games because of a knee injury. One starting wide receiver, Tyreek Hill, missed all of four games and most of two others because of injuries. The other starting wideout, Sammy Watkins, teased the Chiefs with a 198-yard, three-touchdown game in the season opener but has produced little of significance since.
Little else changed in the AFC standings aside from New England’s loss; the Patriots were the only AFC team with at least seven wins entering Week 13 to lose. Last week’s games did however provide a demarcation point in the AFC wild-card race. Four teams were tied at 6-5 entering Week 13 (Steelers, Titans, Raiders, Colts), all of whom are gunning for the sixth seed. Tennessee’s win over Indianapolis sent the Colts further down the standings and elevated the Titans, while Pittsburgh’s victory over Cleveland and Oakland’s blowout loss in Kansas City further stratified the conference’s no man’s land. The one-game gulf could shrink if the Raiders top the Titans this week, but more on that later.
As mentioned above, the Ravens and Chiefs can clinch their respective divisions in Week 14 with wins and cooperation from their rivals (translation: losses from the Steelers and Raiders). Though given those two teams’ run of play, it’s not a matter of if they secure home games in January but when.
17. Juan Thornhill
Thornhill has displayed an outstanding mix of speed, instincts and playmaking skills. He keeps getting better every week.
13. Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins: $22.7 million
Watkins was the biggest beneficiary of wide receiver salaries unexpectedly exploding during 2018 free agency. He received a three-year, $48 million contract with $30 million fully guaranteed after drawing considerable interest from teams despite performances more consistent with a No. 2 wide receiver than a primary receiving threat. Half of Watkins’ $21 million signing bonus wasn’t paid until this past April.
Chiefs at Patriots
Point spread: Patriots -3
A rematch of last year’s AFC Championship is set to go down in Foxborough this weekend. This time around, it feels like the Chiefs are starting to peak at the right time, while New England is on a downward spiral. Deshaun Watson was able to have his way with the typically stout Patriots defense and Patrick Mahomes can do a lot of the same things that he brings to the table. As for the New England offense, it doesn’t appear like Tom Brady and his weapons will be able to keep up. Utilizing Sony Michel in the running game would certainly be an interesting strategy to attack the questionable run defense of the Chiefs, but the Patriots haven’t really committed to him throughout a full game.
The pick: Chiefs 23-17 over Patriots
It was simply an unforgettable afternoon, from Pro Football Hall of Famer Bobby Bell congratulating Allred on his football career at Smith-Cotton to Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes - who Allred was hoping to meet – running over to the sideline specifically to meet his biggest fan.
“He was just grinning from ear-to-ear taking it all in,” Valerie said. “When I saw Mahomes hug him and give him a ball, his face was just unforgettable.”
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“Those accolades, those things matter, those things are real, those things are great, but the thing that matters the most is trying to take your team all the way to the finish line and trying to win. I’ve been fortunate to win one Super Bowl, been to two. That’s what I really care about is getting another ring hopefully.”
“The NFL had to make a statement, and rightfully so,” the Steelers center said of league-imposed discipline that followed the altercation. “At the end of the day, the fight didn’t look good, but the fight was worth it.”
Ryan’s comments came during his weekly appearance on KNBR’s Murph and Mac radio show as he was discussing Jackson’s performance in the Ravens’ Week 13 win over the 49ers. Jackson threw for 105 yards and a touchdown and added another 101 yards and a score on the ground.
”He’s really good at that fake, Lamar Jackson, but when you consider his dark skin color with a dark football with a dark uniform, you could not see that thing,” Ryan said of Jackson’s success running a zone-read attack, per The San Francisco Chronicle. “I mean you literally could not see when he was in and out of the mesh point and if you’re a half-step slow on him in terms of your vision forget about it, he’s out of the gate.”
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Steve Spagnuolo came in with a good game plan to force mistakes from the Raiders offense. The adjustments in coverage allowed the strength of the Chiefs defense — their safeties — to be featured as playmakers. Those players turned the tide early and allowed the Chiefs to build a three-score lead before halftime and complete three scoreless quarters.
On a day in which the Chiefs defensive line and linebackers were hit and miss, Spagnuolo’s excellent calls allowed the defense’s best playmakers to ruin the Raiders plans for the day. Going into an important matchup against an AFC powerhouse, a quality game plan may make all the difference moving forward.
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