Considering he only has a season of high-level play under his belt, it might be tempting to pump the brakes on the Mahomes hype train. But where’s the fun in that? I prefer the NFL where Mahomes just keeps getting better and better, until he is a literal football deity and has to be forcibly removed from the sport in the interest of fairness.
In his second season and first as a starter, Mahomes completed 383 passes for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns. He was ridiculous, hitting deep passes with regularity while annihilating defenses on his way to the NFL MVP award. And he came incredibly close to making to Super Bowl 53 — his Chiefs were a coin flip and/or a penalty away from a trip to Atlanta.
Provided Mahomes continues to develop — or heck, even if his next few seasons aren’t quite as exceptional as his 2018 — then the Chiefs will be in a good place to win the Super Bowl in the next few years. What the Chiefs need is for their younger defensive players, like Breeland Speaks and Derrick Nnadi, to step up. Mahomes and the offense will be great. If the defense shows up, the Chiefs have to be a favorite to win it all next season, or very soon.
6. Andy Reid, Chiefs
The Chiefs knew they were getting a quality veteran head coach when they hired Reid in 2013, but Big Red has been even better than advertised. Kansas City has qualified for the playoffs in five of Reid’s six years at the helm, and they probably came within an overtime coin toss of reaching the Super Bowl in January. Reid is a gifted offensive mind who makes his assistant coaches better and played a huge role in Patrick Mahomes’ ascent to demigod status. There’s no breaking up this band
Forty-five writers and editors from ESPN’s NFL Nation weighed in with their predictions for the 2019 season. And they foresee another TD-packed Year of Mahomes.
Super Bowl chances (make, win):
Chiefs (27.80%, 16.00%)
Saints (26.45%, 15.74%)
Patriots (23.12%, 12.06%)
Rams (21.87%, 11.49%)
Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs Age: 23 Drafted: Round 1, 10th overall, 2017 The reigning NFL MVP is the new version of Brett Favre, with extraordinary arm talent and a gunslinger’s spirit. Mahomes joined Peyton Manning as exclusive members of the “5,000/50 Club” as a first-year starter, exhibiting outstanding touch, timing and anticipation dropping dimes to Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce on the outside. Considering Andy Reid’s reputation for developing quarterbacks and elevating their play through superb play-calling, Mahomes might go down as the GOAT when it is all said and done.
“We’ve just got a number of receivers, running back talent, a great quarterback, the same thing K.C. has, so there’s similarities,’’ he said. “Yeah, definitely. It’s a lot of big pieces to this offense. It’s hard to really find or point out a weak spot on this team, offensively and defensively.”
How fortunate is he to go from the No. 1 offense in the NFL to one that has the potential to be just that? The Chiefs rolled up a league-leading 6,810 yards of offense and Mahomes earned NFL MVP honors with 5,097 passing yards and 50 TDs. Mayfield, in 13 starts, threw for 3,725 yards and a rookie record 27 TDs.
“I’m very lucky,’’ said Hunt. “Coach [Andy] Reid does a great job of putting people in great positions to be successful, and I feel like I carried some of that over with me and learned a lot from him.’’
Sammy Watkins, Kansas City Chiefs
If you haven’t had your heart broken by Sammy Watkins, you probably haven’t been playing fantasy football very long. At this point he may be the quintessential post-hype sleeper, considering the fanfare he entered the league with. Buffalo gave up a king’s ransom to get him at fourth overall in 2014, and let’s just say neither Bills fans nor fake footballers got their money’s worth. And yet, Watkins is another hyper-talented guy with an injury history who is entering his second year with a new team.
Patrick Mahomes should enjoy excellent pass protection, so that isn’t a concern for his receivers. And you may be aware that Kansas City is a great bet to lead the league in overall fantasy production. Yes, Watkins is no better than third in the pecking order for targets, but you want to talk about pie size? This pie could feed King Kong! There’s always the chance that Tyreek Hill (or even Travis Kelce) misses games. The question for Sammy is, as always, how many games does HE miss?
The Patriots have arguably the greatest player of all time at quarterback, the ageless wonder Tom Brady, and despite losing Rob Gronkowski to retirement, Bill Belichick always seems to adapt the passing game, no matter who his targets are. I expect Sony Michel to have a breakout second season, and the Patriots’ defense, led by Dont’a Hightower and Stephon Gilmore, should once again be tough to break. The Patriots are the best overall team in the American Football Conference and can beat opponents with both their offense and their defense.
Knocking on the door are the Kansas City Chiefs, who have third-year phenom Patrick Mahomes. The offense should be even better in Mahomes’ second full season as a starter given the pairing of speedster rookie receiver Mecole Hardman with Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. The predicament with the Chiefs, as it was last year, is the defense, and despite adding safety Tyrann Mathieu and defensive end Frank Clark in the offseason, they will likely suffer from the losses of safety Eric Berry and defensive ends Dee Ford and Justin Houston. The Chiefs were second to last in terms of yards allowed per game last year, and I don’t expect to see enough of an improvement for the unit above the disaster that it was last year.
Around the league
The second-year safety was diagnosed with a stress fracture of the fifth metatarsal of his right foot and will continue to be evaluated, the team announced.
James will be out a significant amount of time, but how much remains to be determined, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source.
James injured his foot Thursday at practice.
After just one season in the NFL, James has established himself as one of the most highly regarded safeties in football.
As a rookie, he earned All-Pro and Pro Bowl distinctions, notching 105 tackles (75 solo) to go with three interceptions, 13 passes defended and 3.5 sacks, building a reputation for standout play against the run, in coverage and even rushing the quarterback.
Gordon, who was suspended Dec. 20 for violating the terms of his reinstatement under the league’s substance abuse policy, filed for reinstatement last week.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had sole discretion on Gordon’s status.
”We are all rooting for Josh to succeed, both personally and professionally,” Goodell said in a statement Friday. “Everyone shares in that hope and will continue to support him to every extent possible. But as Josh acknowledged, ultimately his success is up to him.”
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4. Herb Miller
Miller, 21, has been garnering the attention of the Chiefs staff all summer. He stood out enough during his tryout at the rookie minicamp to be signed to the 90-man roster. Now he’s one of the first cornerbacks off the bench — or at least he was against the Bengals. Once the starters came out, the cornerbacks were second-year player D’Montre Wade, rookie sixth-round pick Rashad Fenton and Miller.
He performed well overall. He gave up two receptions on four targets for 20 yards — allowing a 25.0 passer rating when targeted. He also nabbed an interception on a Hail Mary thrown right before halftime.
Miller continued to look good in practice this week. At best, he is likely destined for a practice squad spot — but watch how he performs this week against a talented young receiving corps in Pittsburgh. If he continues to impress the team, he may be able to play himself into an active roster spot.
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