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Arrowheadlines: Travis Kelce, the cheat code

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Chiefs headlines for Friday, January 17

Divisional Round - Houston Texans v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

The latest

Travis Kelce Is the Engine of the Chiefs Offense—and Its Ultimate Cheat Code | The Ringer

The Chiefs’ All-Pro tight end finished with 97 catches for 1,229 yards and five touchdowns this season. There have been only four such seasons by a tight end in NFL history. Kelce has two of them (2018 and 2019); Tony Gonzalez (2004) and Jimmy Graham (2011) have the others. Only four tight ends have ever amassed four seasons of 1,000-plus yards: Kelce, Gonzalez, Rob Gronkowski, and Jason Witten. Kelce is the only one to do it four years in a row, with a chance for a fifth next season. Mahomes may be the driver of Kansas City’s high-speed offense, but Kelce is its engine—one that’s helped propel the Chiefs to back-to-back AFC championship games.

QB Index, Championship Sunday: Who needs SB LIV the most? | NFL.com

4 Patrick Mahomes

Bhanpuri: While Rodgers, Garoppolo and Tannehill are fighting to either secure their NFL legacies, change a fair but nagging narrative or earn a major payday, the 24-year-old Mahomes has already proven he’s the current gold standard at the position — and will almost certainly be compensated for it this offseason. So why do I have the guy who’s destined for long-term greatness and financial prosperity third on my list, and not last? Because he has generations of Kansas Citians and a Hall of Fame hopeful head coach depending on him to stop multiple decades-long dry spells. With a win on Super Bowl Sunday, Mahomes could end the Chiefs50-year title drought AND guarantee that Andy Reid — the winningest head coach in NFL history without a championship — finishes his venerable career with a bronze bust in Canton. That’s a lot to put on a second-year starter. Fortunately, I can’t think of another quarterback I trust more to deliver on such shoulder-crushing expectations.

How the Chiefs can win the 2020 Super Bowl: Andy Reid can’t be conservative, Mahomes plays like Mahomes | CBS Sports

Let Mahomes be Mahomes

The Chiefs have the most unstoppable weapon in football. For the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl, it’s likely as simple letting Mahomes do what he almost always does. The Chiefs don’t need to overcomplicate this. Let Mahomes be Mahomes and more often than not, the Chiefs will win, evidenced by their 26-8 record with Mahomes as their starting quarterback (including the playoffs). That’s good enough for a winning percentage of 76.5. For the sake of comparison, the Patriots have a 76.8 winning percentage with Tom Brady at quarterback (again, including the postseason).

Ranking the best possible Super Bowl 54 matchups for every kind of NFL fan | SB Nation

For the “I want to watch something historic” fan | SB Nation

Could there be a more poetic ending to the NFL’s 100th season than a rematch of Super Bowl I? Way back on Jan. 15, 1967, the Packers and Chiefs traveled to Los Angeles for the AFL-NFL World Championship Game (which retroactively renamed Super Bowl I).

Green Bay cruised to a 35-10 win, and then won again a year later when they played the Raiders in Super Bowl II. The Chiefs got their moment in the spotlight by beating the Vikings in Super Bowl IV — and Kansas City hasn’t won another AFC Championship since. If the Chiefs finally make their return to the Super Bowl, it’d be perfect if it were a rematch 53 years in the making.

Ranking NFL trades that most impacted the 2019 season: 30 deals, from worst to best | ESPN

7. The Chiefs get a new edge rusher

Clark’s numbers weren’t wildly impressive, as the former Seahawks end finished with eight sacks and 14 knockdowns, but he was unblockable for stretches of a three-sack, four-knockdown performance against the Texans in the divisional round. Some of those pressures came at the end of plays in which Deshaun Watson had scrambled for approximately 35 seconds. But the Chiefs had someone who could tackle Watson at the end of those plays — and the Texans didn’t have that guy who could stop Patrick Mahomes.

NFL Championship Sunday picks: Chiefs, 49ers on to Super Bowl | NFL.com

Kansas City Chiefs 37, Tennessee Titans 27

The Chiefs were weak against the run all year, even when Chris Jones was in the lineup, so the expectation will be that Henry rushes over 30 times again. Don’t be so certain. Tennessee’s defense couldn’t get off the field the first time these two teams met in November, and Titans coach Mike Vrabel is unlikely to play to his defense like in the team’s first two playoff matchups because no one plays to their defense against Kansas City. Ryan Tannehill didn’t luck into averaging a league-best 9.6 yards per attempt on the season, and Tennessee’s play-action game could use Tyrann Mathieu and Daniel Sorensen’s aggressiveness against them like the Titans did to Earl Thomas in Baltimore.

Around the NFL

New Orleans police issue arrest warrant for Browns’ Odell Beckham Jr. | ESPN

Louisiana statute defines simple battery as battery committed without the consent of the victim. Punishment in Louisiana can include a fine of no more than $1,000 and imprisonment for no more than six months, or both.

”We are aware of the incident and have been in touch with Odell and his representatives on the matter,” the Browns said in a statement issued Thursday. “They are cooperating with the proper authorities to appropriately address the situation.”

Beckham was also captured on video passing out money to several LSU players immediately after the Tigers’ 42-25 victory.

49ers coach expects George Kittle to play vs. Packers | NFL.com

“You mentioned the whole WWE superstar, so, he likes his theatrics, he likes to get the media going. Keep people on edge,” Juszczyk said. “I don’t think we have to worry about George not being out there. I really don’t think there is anything that could keep him from playing.”

Bengals coaches: Joe Burrow ‘checks off a lot of boxes’ | NFL.com

“He definitely checks off a lot of boxes early on in the evaluation process,” quarterbacks coach Andy Van Pelt told the team’s official website. “He obviously looks like a very intriguing guy.”

NFLPA’s DeMaurice Smith outlines issues in CBA negotiations | ESPN

If players and owners can resolve their differences to the point where the union feels it can recommend a proposed new CBA to its members, the deal would still have to be ratified by a majority of NFL players. There remains some hope that a deal could be reached in time for this year’s Super Bowl or the start of the 2020 league year, but more face-to-face owner/player negotiating sessions are necessary to make that happen, and none are scheduled.

In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride

Why a $200 million contract for Patrick Mahomes could be just around the corner

“Pay him this offseason and get it done with,” an NFC executive said. “Highest paid.” The only thing preventing that move would be team policy. Some teams simply don’t do contracts until a player has one left year on his deal. The Pittsburgh Steelers are known for that, and conventional teams are not likely to change their ways. Another AFC executive understands that philosophy because “too much can happen in that time,” such as injury or a change in team dynamics.

SB Nation’s Fan Pulse (after the Divisional Round)

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