How to exploit the Kansas City Chiefs: Limit big plays. With Patrick Mahomes running the show, the Chiefs’ offense is a threat on any down, from anywhere on the field and no matter how much time remains on the clock. The reigning MVP is so talented that he doesn’t have to be consistent in his reads, and he’ll often pass up the sure play underneath for the big one downfield to Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Mecole Hardman, Sammy Watkins or Demarcus Robinson. It almost isn’t fair, all of these guys making impressive deep plays at one time or another with Mahomes under center. That’s why the Texans’ defensive backs must stay sound and disciplined in their assignments to keep everything in front of them. The key is forcing Mahomes to check down underneath then to rally and immediately tackle. It’s nearly impossible to consistently hold the high-flying Chiefs down, but limiting the damage would give the Texans a chance.
Not only does the most talented passer with the biggest arm have the fastest receivers, but his offense is coached by Andy Reid, who has mastered spacing players on a football field. The trio of Mahomes’s talent, Reid’s mind, and the speed on Kansas City’s team has created the perfect blend, essentially a what-if that came to fruition and defied all expectations: an MVP, 50 passing touchdowns, a Madden cover, and cereal that sells for $20 a box on eBay. People pray for his health. Mahomes and the Chiefs are going to be tough to beat. The less talented better start working a lot harder.
No. 2 Kansas City Chiefs
A fire was clearly lit under the Chiefs following their Week 10, 35-32 loss to the Titans in Tennessee, as Patrick Mahomes and Co. went on to win their last six games. This group would have likely gone to the Super Bowl last season if the overtime coin flip went their way, or if Dee Ford didn’t line up offsides, and they are ready to rewrite what happened last year. We all know Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are great weapons, but keep an eye on running back Damien Williams. He’s played well over the last two games since returning from injury, and he rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries against the Los Angeles Chargers in the regular-season finale.
Everyone is picking the Chiefs to beat the Texans, and for the Ravens to beat the Titans. Kansas City dealt with injuries early in the season, but ended the year on a six-game winning streak that vaulted it into position for a first-round bye.
While Houston beat the Bills in overtime, it now has to contend with reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes. The Texans beat the Chiefs earlier in the year — and Deshaun Watson is always capable of magic — but it’ll take a lot to get another win at Arrowhead Stadium against a healthier Mahomes and company.
3. Eric Bieniemy
Maybe the most underrated candidate on the market, Bieniemy can’t get all the credit for the Chiefs offense by virtue of working under Andy Reid, but the fact is he’s been the coordinator for two of the most explosive K.C. seasons in team history. The former running back has almost 20 years of NFL coaching experience, he’s had gigs overseeing Pro Bowlers like Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles, and he’s due. Reid pupils historically fare very well, and Bieniemy has the pedigree to build both Mayfield and Nick Chubb.
This week we add Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers and Jimmy Garoppolo to our ranks. You won’t be surprised to see Jackson and Mahomes as the clear one and two quarterbacks for the Divisional round. Both get good matchups and both are matchup proof.
“There is another surge of snow just east of Kansas City” on Saturday, Ritter said. “This shoved a little bit further to the west in the last 24 hours, so we are not in the clear just yet for additional decent snow amounts on Saturday.”
The temperatures will be colder but drier in time for the NFL playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs’ and the Houston Texans Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
J.K. Dobbins RB
The Chiefs could use a bell-cow back in the Patrick Mahomes-led offense and Dobbins can undoubtedly be that featured back, as we’ve seen during his career at Ohio State.
Around the NFL
3 under-the-radar teams that can’t be overlooked
Drew Lock might be good, folks. Take out the snowy game in Kansas City, and Lock played well. He completed 70.7 percent of passes for seven touchdowns and two interceptions. The team went 4-0 in those games. It appears Lock could be the guy, but of course the work will continue in the offseason to improve his skills.
The Broncos need to upgrade their offensive line, but otherwise, the team isn’t that far off. Their defense finished 13th in DVOA as it got used to playing with Vic Fangio at the helm. I also think they started to learn how to win close games, something Denver didn’t do well early in the season. People had their pitchforks out ready to fire Fangio after an 0-4 start, and then lo and behold, the Broncos started to figure it out to finish 7-9.
In an Instagram post Wednesday morning, Brady wrote, “In both life and football, failure is inevitable. You don’t always win. You can, however, learn from that failure, pick yourself up with great enthusiasm, and place yourself in the arena again. And that’s right where you will find me. Because I know I still have more to prove.”
“He’s from Mars,” defensive lineman Jurrell Casey said of Jackson, via Jim Wyatt of the team’s official website. “He’s definitely an outer space guy. He’s unbelievable. The stuff that he’s doing so far this season, it’s unreal.”
“I remember seeing him not sleep,” Jacobs told NFL Network’s Jeffri Chadiha ahead of the draft about his father. “It’s crazy because I didn’t notice that I was sleeping in a car. I was just thinking that I was falling asleep and waking up. I didn’t think anything about it because I felt safe. He would just drive around until he found a place to sleep and then I’d get up the next day and go to school.”
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So the probability that the Chiefs will face the Ravens (in Baltimore, since the Ravens have the higher seed) equals the probability the Ravens will win their game (76%) multiplied by the chance the Chiefs will win theirs (77%). That works out to 58.5% — which we’ll round to 59%. Carrying that equation to the other three possibilities for the AFC title game, we get this:
Chiefs at Ravens: 59%
Titans at Chiefs: 18%
Texans at Ravens: 17%
Titans at Texans: 6%
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