1. Patrick Mahomes (+180)
How it’s going: Mahomes finally supplanted Russell Wilson for the first time since the MVP Watch series launched on Oct. 14. It’s well-deserved recognition, too. The 2018 MVP has been on an absolute tear with a combined nine touchdowns and 788 passing yards in his two games prior to a Week 10 bye. He has just one — that’s right, one! — interception so far this season.
What’s up next: Fresh off a bye, the red-hot Chiefs will aim to extend their winning streak to five games in a tasty rematch against the Las Vegas Raiders. Jon Gruden’s team is responsible for the lone interception, and loss, on Mahomes’ record this season, a 40-32 encounter in Week 5. Mahomes and the Chiefs will look the return the hospitality as they visit Vegas’ state of the art stadium Sunday night.
What people are saying: ”Right now, it’s a lot of drama for who’s going to get the honor of finishing second to Patrick Mahomes in the MVP race.” — Nick Wright
5 - Travis Kelce
Kansas City Chiefs · TE
Travis Kelce’s size, craftiness and spatial awareness are perfect for the jump ball. He’s one of those players who could make the clean catch himself, tip the ball to give a teammate a chance or react off a tipped ball to catch it.
Lock of the Week
Kansas City (8-1) at Las Vegas (6-3)
8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
Like the Seattle Seahawks, the “Lock of the Week” has hit a midseason rut. Four week ago, the “Lock of the Week” was so hot that I started looking at timeshares in St. Lucia, but now, I’ve missed four straight weeks against the spread and I can’t even afford to buy things off the dollar menu at McDonald’s. Life comes at you fast.
Due to all of this, I’ve decided not to overthink the “Lock” this week. I’m going with one of the pick that’s almost always a lock: Picking Andy Reid to win off the bye. Giving Andy Reid a bye week to prepare for a game is such an unfair advantage that the Chiefs really shouldn’t even get a bye as long as he’s their coach. In his 21-year career, Reid has gone 18-3 after the bye week and this includes last season, when the Chiefs absolutely destroyed the Raiders 40-9 off the bye.
Kansas City Chiefs: A-
The reigning champs really can’t complain about a 8-1 start, even as their lone loss to the Raiders was severely disappointing. The team ranks second in points scored and sixth in points allowed through eight games, but the offense hasn’t always clicked with injuries on the offensive line. KC still has time to progress, and remain the favorites to win the Super Bowl.
15 Clyde Edwards-Helaire
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS RB
D’Andre Swift received the first start of his NFL career and looked impressive. It will be difficult to catch Clyde Edwards-Helaire in cumulative rankings but it is not impossible. Kansas City has done a great job of not overworking Edwards-Helaire since that Week 1 game against Houston. The team was on a bye this week.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Dylan Moses LB
Moses has been tentative at times this season as he recovers from an ACL injury that kept him on the sidelines for 2019. But when he returns to form he’s one of the best defensive players in this class.
Around the NFL
Coming just four days before a Thanksgiving rematch with the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday’s meeting has all the makings of a trap game, but coach Mike Tomlin isn’t buying in to that narrative.
“We are not a Big Ten team playing a MAC opponent this week,” Tomlin said Tuesday. “Every time we step into a stadium, we’re playing professionals, players and coaches. We’ve got a ridiculous level of respect for that. Write your story, follow your storylines about trap games and things of that nature. We understand what we’re going into in Jacksonville, that that’s a group that’s trying to kick our butt. A professional group, capable group, and we’re preparing with that understanding.”
“This historic Week 11 crew is a testament to the countless and immeasurable contributions of Black officials to the game, their exemplary performance, and to the power of inclusion that is the hallmark of this great game,” NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said.
The crew will be led by referee Jerome Boger and includes four members of his 2020 crew. Monday night’s group will include umpire Barry Anderson, down judge Julian Mapp, line judge Carl Johnson, side judge Dale Shaw, field judge Anthony Jeffries and back judge Greg Steed.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
After restructuring his contract for 2020, wide receiver Sammy Watkins had a lot of reason to put up big numbers this year. The new part of the deal was incentives for statistical season totals, up to $7 million in addition to his $5 million base salary.
Through four games, Watkins was on pace for 76 catches, 792 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Those totals would not hit his incentive requirement, for what it’s worth. He did manage to score his second touchdown of the season in Week 5 before limping off the field with a hamstring injury. He was never placed on injured reserve but has not been active for a game since.
The offense hasn’t experienced any noticeable drop-off in performance with Watkins out of the lineup. They also haven’t played any challenging defenses in that stretch. In the final seven games of the regular season, they will need all hands on deck offensively, so it will be significant to see when he returns after the bye week.
If he comes back and plays like he did in the final games of the 2019 championship run, there’s every reason in the world to make another short-term, incentivized deal work.