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Arrowheadlines: NFL.com experts predict a two-horse race for league MVP

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Chiefs headlines for Wednesday, August 28

NFL: NFL Honors-Red Carpet Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The latest

2019 NFL season award predictions: Mahomes-Wentz MVP race? | NFL.com

Most Valuable Player

T-1. Patrick Mahomes (6 votes: Baldinger, Brandt, Gbajabiamila, Jones-Drew, Rosenthal, Schein)

T-1. Carson Wentz (6 votes: Battista, Chadiha, Filice, Grant, Patra, Sessler)

T-3. Tom Brady (4 votes: Blair, Davis, Rank, Reece)

T-3. Drew Brees (4 votes: Bhanpuri, Casserly, Hall, O’Hara)

T-5. Alvin Kamara (2 votes: Bergman, Carr)

T-5. Aaron Rodgers (2 votes: Jones, Thomas)

T-5. Matt Ryan (2 votes: Cersosimo, Dameshek)

T-8. Saquon Barkley (1 vote: Mariucci)

T-8. Derek Carr (1 vote: Trotter)

T-8. Lamar Jackson (1 vote: Parr)

Why Judy Battista chose Carson Wentz: He is healthy and has an incredible array of offensive talent around him -- hello again, DeSean Jackson -- and one of the NFL’s best offensive lines protecting him. If Wentz stays on the field, we see the player he looked like in 2017, when he was on the way to the MVP before injury.

Chiefs still have positions to settle in preseason finale | Yahoo Sports

The final preseason game also could be the last chance for Carlos Hyde to prove his worth to the Chiefs. The veteran running back signed with the belief that he could back up Damien Williams. But he has struggled to produce in practice and the first few preseason games, and has been surpassed in touches - if not the depth chart - by Darrell Williams and rookie Darwin Thompson.

Meanwhile, Thompson’s star is on the rise, and he could get a long look in Green Bay as a change-up in the Chiefs’ offense. The pint-sized Utah State product has the speed, hands and underrated ability to pick up the blitz that makes him invaluable in the Chiefs’ passing game.

How I chose my jersey number, as told by current and former NFL players | SB Nation

“I look at my life as God’s plan. I came on a top-30 visit here, and I got to meet Jamaal Charles. He was actually coming back to talk about his retirement and how he wanted to do the one-day retirement thing,” Thompson said.

Charles officially retired with a one-day contract on May 1, just four days after Thompson was drafted by Kansas City.

“So when I wanted the number, I texted him,” Thompson recalled. “I just wanted to ask him, ‘You just retired. You really the GOAT. I grew up watching you at [the University of] Texas, and now Kansas City. I wanted to know if it was OK I wore it.’”

It was a matter of reverence for what Charles accomplished in his career — and what Thompson plans to accomplish in his own career.

“He put up damage behind that number. So it was a respect thing,” Thompson explained. “He said it was cool. He was glad I got to be in a system with Andy Reid and how much of a better player Andy Reid was going to make me just within his offense. And so he was happy for me, really. And it was just crazy, because I was like, ‘Man I just met you three days ago. Now I’m wearing your number.’

Chiefs Season Preview: Best And Worst Case For Kansas City In 2019 | Forbes

Best-Case Scenario

After overhauling the unit, the Chiefs finally have a solid defense to go along with their transcendent offense. And in their 60th year of existence, they win the Super Bowl for the second time in franchise history.

Worst-Case Scenario

The new defensive players never mesh with Spagnuolo’s new scheme, and the Chiefs miss Ford and Houston’s contributions more than they expected. And after an offseason for defensive coordinators to dissect Mahomes, the quarterback’s play dips slightly from last year, allowing the Los Angeles Chargers to pass Kansas City in the AFC West.

NFL Power Rankings: Colts Plummet After Andrew Luck’s Retirement | Bleacher Report

3. Kansas City Chiefs (1-2)

High: 2

Low: 4

Last Week: 3

The Kansas City Chiefs knew they couldn’t compete at a Super Bowl level with an inferior defense. The organization made extreme changes to that side of the ball this offseason, and they appear to be paying dividends.

”The Chiefs traded Dee Ford away because he wasn’t a complete edge player,” Sobleski said. “Kansas City knew it had to bring in difference-makers. Frank Clark certainly fits the bill.”

Clark registered his first sack as a member of the Chiefs on Saturday against the 49ers. Everyone knows what Andy Reid’s squad can do offensively, but the defense needed a significant boost after last year’s pitiful performance. Clark, who registered 32 sacks over the last three seasons, brings a different level of athleticism and aggressiveness to the team’s defensive front.

”He’s physical, he’s fast, he’s kind of a complete player,” Kansas City right tackle Mitchell Schwartz said, per Kansas.com’s Vahe Gregorian. “You’ve got to be prepared for everything.”

Clark along with the additions of fellow defensive end Alex Okafor, safety Tyrann Mathieu, linebacker Darron Lee and cornerback Bashaud Breeland add punch to a once-listless defense.

Patrick Mahomes on Patriots? Survey reveals Boston fans’ most desired players | Yahoo Sports

Specifically, the question was, “What one player would you like the New England Patriots/Boston Celtics/Boston Red Sox/Boston Bruins to acquire the most?” And the results were ... interesting.

Here are the top five responses for every team, with our reaction to each:

Patriots

- Patrick Mahomes (20 percent)

- Khalil Mack (17 percent)

- Travis Kelce (16 percent)

- Aaron Donald (14 percent)

- Julio Jones (13 percent)

Reaction: It’s worth noting this survey was conducted prior to last season’s AFC Championship Game, after which Kelce didn’t make many friends in New England with his gripe about the NFL overtime rules. But it’s interesting that Patriots fans wouldn’t mind adding talent from a major AFC rival in the Kansas City Chiefs -- especially at quarterback, where Mahomes somehow would play second fiddle to Tom Brady.

Falcons’ Kaleb McGary planning to play vs. Jaguars | NFL.com

The Kansas City Chiefs signed quarterback Matt Moore and placed fullback John Lovett on injured reserve. Coach Andy Reid said Moore won’t play in the final preseason game vs. the Packers, according to the Kansas City Star. He’ll let Chase Litton and Kyle Shurmur each take a half.

Kansas City Chiefs: A few observations after preseason game three | Pro Football Network

At the moment, the most significant area of concern seems to be when the linebackers drop back in coverage. The defense still has not shown the ability to stop the pass on third and long situations. If not fixed, it could come back to haunt the team down the road as it did in the AFC championship game.

Overall, the Chiefs look improved on both ends of the ball, but the secondary has a lot to prove. In my opinion, the AFC is Kansas City’s to lose, and last year the defense showed it could do just that. Come September 8th; we will get a first glimpse at how much the team has learned from its past mistakes.

Around the league

WR Antonio Brown to Big Ben: We were ‘never friends’ | NFL.com

Roethlisberger told NBC Sports reporter Michele Tafoya that he wishes he wouldn’t have called out Antonio Brown after he threw an interception at the end of a Week 12 loss to the Broncos last season.

”It ruined a friendship,” he explained during the broadcast.

Fast forward to Tuesday and A.B., now with the Oakland Raiders, decided to let folks know his side of the story.

In response to the clip of Roethlisberger’s comment, Brown tweeted Tuesday, “Never friends just had to get my ends.......shut up already.” The Raiders receiver later deleted the tweet.

Which NFL players are holding out in 2019, and why? | SB Nation

His contract demand was a little surprising, but it makes sense. Gordon comes into 2019 with some leverage after making a leap in 2018; his yards-per-carry average rose from a career mark of 3.8 to 5.1 as Los Angeles rose from the outside of the postseason picture and into a spot in the Divisional Round last January. He also contributed a career-high 4.2 catches per game, playing a massive role as headache-reliever for his aging quarterback.

The Chargers have an estimated $39 million in cap space to spend next spring, but a chunk of that will likely be devoted to Rivers, whose contract is up at the end of the year. Players like Joey Bosa and Keenan Allen will also need to be dealt with soon. If the club thinks Gordon’s jump in efficiency last fall isn’t sustainable, it may hold strong against Gordon’s holdout threat.

Los Angeles is reportedly holding firm at a $10 million per year offer — well behind the $14.375 million average of Todd Gurley — and that led to a trade request.

In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride

Four storylines to take in during Thursday’s final Chiefs preseason game

Carlos Hyde’s last stand

The veteran running back had high expectations at the start of the offseason — and some even expected him to compete to become the starting running back. But now, Hyde appears to be at his lowest level since training camp started, getting just one measly rushing attempt for a single yard in the San Francisco game.

To make matters worse, the three other running backs against whom he was competing — Damien Williams, Darwin Thompson and Darrel Williams — all got rushing attempts with the first team, while Hyde’s lone attempt was with the backups.

It’s possible that Hyde could make it in by a toenail; the Chiefs could decide to take four or five running backs on the final 53-man roster. But otherwise it looks like he may be on the outs. So on Thursday, we should see Hyde make a desperate, all-out performance to try and make the final roster.

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