15 Travis Kelce
Remember when Kelce held the record for most receiving yards in a season by a tight end for all of 20 minutes in 2018? Well, it seems he’s determined to reclaim that briefly held mark. Kelce is on pace for 1,560 receiving yards in 2019, which would be a record, after logging 195 through the first two weeks.
2. CHIEFS (2-0)
Previous rank: No. 3
Here were Patrick Mahomes’ final five completions of the first half against the Raiders: 42-yard TD to Mecole Hardman, 32 yards to Damien Williams, 43 yards to Demarcus Robinson, a 27-yard TD to Travis Kelce and a 39-yard TD to Robinson. Superman stuff. Mahomes threw for an astounding 278 yards and four touchdowns in the second quarter alone and finished a game with more than 350 yards and four-plus touchdowns for the fourth time in 18 career starts. Oh, and he turned 24 today. Happy birthday, MVP. Kansas City’s defense -- which Derek Carr labeled as “really good” after the game -- deserves credit after holding Oakland scoreless in the final three quarters. Answer me this: Who (besides New England) has a chance of beating this team if Mahomes stays healthy and Steve Spagnuolo’s defense develops into an above-average unit?
2. Kansas City Chiefs (2-0)
Week 2 ranking: 2
Pleasant surprise: Multiple wide receivers had huge games in Tyreek Hill’s absence in the Chiefs’ two games: Sammy Watkins in Week 1 and Demarcus Robinson against the Raiders on Sunday. Even without Hill, the Chiefs have too much receiving talent and too creative an offensive playcaller in Andy Reid to think opponents will be successful in shutting down every receiver. Look for the Chiefs to continue to be a big-play offense without Hill. -- Adam Teicher
1. New England Patriots (2-0) | Last Week’s Rank: 1
The Patriots made WR Antonio Brown a big part of their offense from the outset of the lopsided win in Miami. They must decide how much to allow themselves to depend on Brown while the league’s decision about his playing status remains pending.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) | Last Week’s Rank: 2
No Tyreek Hill in the lineup? No problem for Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, at least not against the Raiders.
Ridiculous Patrick Mahomes Award: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
This award goes to its namesake, now and perhaps forever, for doing something most of us have never seen before. Quite simply, Mahomes treated us to one of the most productive quarters in NFL history.
In the second quarter of the Chiefs’ 28-10 victory over the Oakland Raiders, Mahomes threw for 278 yards and all four of the Chiefs’ touchdowns for the game. That’s more than any quarterback has thrown in any quarter in the NFL’s past 40 years, except for one game by Brees in 2008. It’s also more than twice Trubisky’s total in four quarters Sunday against the Broncos. (OK, that’s my last shot at Trubisky today.)
In one stunning sequence, Mahomes completed five consecutive passes that traveled at least 20 yards in the air. Three went for touchdowns: 42 yards to receiver Mecole Hardman, 27 yards to tight end Travis Kelce and 39 yards to receiver Demarcus Robinson. The pass to Robinson was the sixth-most difficult completion of Week 2, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. It traveled 49.7 yards from Mahomes’ hands to Robinson’s, per NFL Next Gen Stats, and was complete despite a defender running with just 0.8 yards separation.
Robinson took advantage of them overlooking him, hauling in all six passes Mahomes threw his way for 172 yards and two of the Chiefs’ four second-quarter touchdowns. The scoring strikes covered 44 and 39 yards, and a couple of his grabs were the kind of highlight-reel stuff of superstars.
’’He’s a guy that gets lost in the shuffle of things sometimes,’’ Mahomes said after the 28-10 victory Sunday. ‘’He’s a guy that’s super talented and makes a lot of big plays happen.
’’It’s everything from catching the ball on scrambles to catching touchdowns when he’s my last read across the middle of the field,’’ Mahomes continued. ‘’He’ll make the blocks and do whatever he can to help his teammates out. When you have guys that play hard for each other and they find their time to shine, it’s always good to see that.’’
12. Matt Moore, Chiefs
Moore has been in the league since 2007. He has 45 career touchdown passes. The person he’s backing up, Patrick Mahomes, threw 50 touchdown passes just last season. So while Moore is one of the better backups on this list, the Chiefs would still have as large a drop-off in QB quality as any team in the league if something were to happen to the 2018 MVP.
The process now goes from focusing on Fitzpatrick to canvassing the league for other options. Jaguars star Jalen Ramsey has reportedly asked for a trade and would be the best player available. But there are significant obstacles.
A trade would likely require two first-round picks and almost certainly have to be coupled with a long-term contract extension that would make him the highest-paid cornerback in league history.
The Chiefs created additional cap space with some administrative moves last week, but another big-ticket defender would complicate a potential contract extension for quarterback Patrick Mahomes and an extension or 2020 franchise tag for Chris Jones.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs have the best young quarterback in the league in Patrick Mahomes, an elite head coach in Andy Reid, and a ridiculous assortment of offensive weapons. However, Kansas City has one of the NFL’s worst defenses and desperately needs an upgrade in the secondary. Tyrann Mathieu cannot do it alone, and the current trio of Charvarius Ward, Bashaud Breeland, and Kendall Fuller leave a lot to be desired.
Acquiring Ramsey immediately fixes Kansas City’s biggest weakness. The Chiefs already addressed their front seven issues by acquiring Frank Clark and could fix their secondary by adding Ramsey to the mix. Patrick Mahomes is still on his rookie contract, and the reigning MVP is going to make a ridiculous amount of money when his next extension hits. The Chiefs need to go all-in before Mahomes’ inevitable payday.
Darwin Thompson, Kansas City Chiefs
All of a sudden, Thompson could be staring at a big role in a prolific offense. Thompson was drafted in the middle rounds of drafts, but once LeSean McCoy was signed and Thompson barely played in Week 1, many dropped him. Damien Williams left Week 2 with a knee contusion and McCoy left with an ankle injury. If both are out, Thompson will be a prime add. If one sits, Thompson will see snaps.
Around the league
The move sends two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning to a backup and mentor role behind the No. 6 overall pick.
”Eli and I spoke this morning,” coach Pat Shurmur said Tuesday in a statement. “I told him that we are making a change and going with Daniel as the starter. I also talked to Daniel. Eli was obviously disappointed, as you would expect, but he said he would be what he has always been, a good teammate, and continue to prepare to help this team win games. Daniel understands the challenge at hand, and he will be ready to play on Sunday.”
The news came a day after Shurmur opened the door Monday for a possible quarterback change. It didn’t take long for Big Blue to make the franchise-altering move.
The Saints quarterback will have surgery to repair a torn ligament on his throwing thumb by Dr. Steven Shin this week in L.A, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported, per a source informed. Shin is the Rams’ hand specialist, Pelissero added.
Brees’ recovery is still expected to take six to eight weeks. The Saints have not yet made any move to put Brees on injured reserve, which would keep him out at least eight weeks, Pelissero added.
Brees suffered the injury on the Saints’ second drive on Sunday against the Rams. His hand hit the hand of Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald and then his fingers smashed against his own helmet.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
With the Chiefs having a deficiency at the cornerback position, it is easy to wonder if general manager Brett Veach makes a move here. Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo uses quite a bit of zone coverage, but playing for a legitimate Super Bowl contender might change Ramsey’s tune.
Ramsey would unquestionably become the Chiefs’ best cornerback if Kansas City were to make the trade. Veach has said in the past that elite players don’t become available often, and this would certainly be one of those cases.
Head coach Andy Reid called Ramsey “a heck of a football player” leading into the Chiefs’ Week 1 matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“The KSHB/KMCI team is thrilled to be the new ‘Home of the Chiefs’ for the next six years,” said Ed Fernandez, vice president of operations for KSHB owner E.W. Scripps. “We’re proud to partner with such an iconic brand to provide avid Kansas City Chiefs fans with great content and additional opportunities across all of our broadcast and digital platforms.”
“This is an exciting time in Kansas City as the club enters its 60th season, and expectations are high throughout Chiefs Kingdom for the 2019 season,” said Chiefs President Mark Donovan. “We are thrilled to begin our new partnership with KSHB and KMCI at this time, and we look forward to next year when they will begin serving as the flagship station of our Chiefs Preseason Television Network.”
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