Kansas City is the no. 4 team in the league by Football Outsiders’ DVOA with the top-ranked offense, 14th-ranked defense, and 22nd-ranked special teams. The teams ahead of the Chiefs are no. 1 New Orleans, no. 2 Tampa Bay, and no. 3 Pittsburgh. But the Saints are going to be without Drew Brees for at least a couple of weeks after the quarterback suffered broken ribs and a collapsed lung against San Francisco, and either New Orleans’s or Tampa Bay’s playoff path is going to have to start in the wild-card game. Pittsburgh has a legitimate shot at staying ahead of Kansas City for the top seed in the AFC with the 12th-easiest schedule remaining by opponent winning percentage—the Steelers have the Jaguars, Ravens, Washington Football Team, Bills, Bengals, Colts, and Browns left on their slate. The Chiefs have the sixth-hardest schedule, with the Raiders, Buccaneers, Broncos, Dolphins, Saints, Falcons, and Chargers left to go.
Given their schedule and the Steelers’ strength, the Chiefs may have to wait until the playoffs to make their biggest mark, though that’s not so different from what they did last season.
Last year, when the Chiefs won the Super Bowl, they finished second overall by DVOA, third on offense, 14th on defense, and second on special teams. In 2018, when Mahomes won MVP and Kansas City made it to overtime in the AFC Championship game, they were first overall, with the top offense and second-ranked special teams units compensating for the no. 26 defense.
Marc Ross: The ”ready to go” Chiefs destroy the Raiders and become the first team to score 50 points this season. With extra motivation to exact revenge for the team’s only loss of the year, Kansas City takes advantage of a Las Vegas defense that’s been forced to practice all week without a host of starters due to COVID-19 protocols. Then, with the game already out of hand, they take a victory lap on a garbage-time touchdown to reach the half-century mark.
1 - Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · Year 4
Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 1 | Blair: 1 | Filice: 1 | Parr: 1
2020 stats: 9 games | 66.9 pct | 2,687 pass yds | 8.2 ypa | 25 pass TD | 1 INT | 171 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost
S&BP: We all saw the drama with PFF saying Tom Brady was having a better year than Patrick Mahomes, and if you didn’t, google it. That being said, was there an equal uproar to readers and local fans as there was on the national stage, or were they indifferent to the whole ‘analytics’ community?
AP: I can’t imagine that PFF are doing too well in the Kansas City area right now. If there’s one thing you don’t want to do, then it’s say something bad or downplay Patrick Mahomes - because Chiefs Twitter WILL come after you, especially when you’re blatantly wrong. I honestly believe I could spend an entire day with the PFF crew (as nice as they all seem), and they would never be able to convince me that Tom Brady is playing better or as good as Patrick Mahomes in 2020. If they’re going to die on that hill, then they need to change their grading system because it’s clearly not working.
Chiefs (8-1) at Raiders (6-3)
OK in this instance the Raiders run the ball better than the Chiefs but it’s not going to matter. I can understand Las Vegas taking a victory lap after beating Kansas City earlier this year at Arrowhead but they ain’t sweeping the Chiefs. The Chiefs are better on special teams, the Chiefs are better on defense and the Chiefs are better on offense. There’s plenty of motivation for Kansas City and it already got its mulligan out of the way and is catching the Raiders on a week in which they basically had no defensive players in the building at all due to COVID-19. I’m sorry, that matters. Beating the Chiefs twice when you have no pass rush to speak of just isn’t going to happen and you also aren’t going to keep the game close that way either. The Raiders have just 11 sacks on the season they don’t have anyone you have to worry about in that regard really besides Maxx Crosby and even he is a try-hard guy. Kansas City’s offensive line is as healthy as it has been in a long time and I think this is going to be a bloodbath.
My pick: Chiefs -8
Stat to know: Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has a 94 QBR against the blitz this season, which ranks second behind Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes (98). The Chiefs have blitzed on 34% of opposing QB dropbacks this season, the seventh-highest rate in the NFL.
Injuries: Chiefs | Raiders
What to know for fantasy: Prior to the bye, Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill had consecutive 25-plus-point games for the third time in his career. He now faces a defense that Mahomes has gashed throughout his career (26.2 fantasy points per game against the Raiders). See Week 11 rankings.
Betting nugget: Las Vegas is 5-0 ATS in its past five games against AFC West opponents. Read more.
Teicher’s pick: Chiefs 33, Raiders 28
It was around one o’clock when lifelong Chiefs’ fan Roger McCush entered the Zoom call. Joined by his wife, two brothers and his sister-in-law, McCush was under the impression that this was a virtual meet and greet with franchise legend Christian Okoye provided to a handful of lucky fans. Clad in red from head-to-toe, the group was dressed the part.
But unbeknownst to McCush, this call – announcing him as the Chiefs’ 2020 “NFL Fan of the Year” nominee – was the only one they’d be making.
Around the NFL
Gilmore, who a source said was involved in a collision in practice on Oct. 29, has been listed with a knee injury ever since, and he’s officially listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against Houston.
The timing of the injury, with the trade deadline just a few days later, had sparked speculation that perhaps there was more to Gilmore’s absence than just a physical ailment.
In his first remarks to reporters in about a month, Gilmore pushed back on that.
“I wasn’t physically ready to play these last couple of weeks. Things happen. You have to adjust to it,” Gilmore said. “Nothing would keep me off the field from playing with my teammates. That is one thing that stuck with me.”
He added later: “You really appreciate being out there with your teammates, so that’s one thing I thought about these last couple weeks. I’m happy that I’m back healthy and looking forward to this week.”
The pass rusher had been kept away from the facilities after feeling sick earlier this week. Erring on the side of caution saved the Browns from other players potentially contracting the virus or being considered close contacts of Garrett and needing to self-isolate.
“This morning the Cleveland Browns were informed that a player has tested positive for COVID-19,” the team said in a statement. “Contact tracing has been conducted and the individual has self-isolated. He has not been in the facility all week and zero high-risk contacts have been identified. Our facility remains open and our practice time for today remains as scheduled. As part of the NFL-NFLPA intensive protocols, all meetings this morning will take place remotely. The team will continue to consult with the league and medical experts on any appropriate next steps as the health and safety of our players, coaches, staff and the entire community remains our highest priority.”
Takk McKinley, who was claimed off waivers by the 49ers on Wednesday, was waived by the team on Friday after he failed a physical. It marked the second time it happened to McKinley this week. On Tuesday, McKinley, a veteran pass rusher and former first-round pick, was waived by the Bengals after a failed physical.
McKinley, who was waived by the Falcons on Nov. 11, has been dealing with a groin injury that has limited him to four games this season. The 26th overall pick in the 2017 draft, McKinley shed 20 pounds this offseason after the Falcons declined to pick up his fifth-year option.
Murray’s team filed the application on Monday, a day after the play, when it also filed a trademark application for “Murray Magic.” That application is also “awaiting examination.”
According to the application, Murray is hoping to use the trademark for “Apparel, namely, hats, visors being headwear, caps in the nature of baseball caps, knitted caps, beanie caps and caps being headwear, beanies, hoodies, shirts, shorts, sweatpants, sweatbands, tank tops, athletic shorts, graphic T-shirts, gym shorts, long-sleeved shirts, and short-sleeved or long-sleeved T-shirts,” as well as “Entertainment services, namely, personal appearances by a sports celebrity; entertainment in the nature of competitions in the field of football; instruction in the field of football; providing a website featuring information relating to the sport of football and information about appearances, accomplishments, exploits and biography of a professional football player.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
1) Is the rivalry back?
I would say yes — just because it’s fun to have competitive games in a rivalry. Plus, since the Raiders moved to Vegas, the Chiefs are winless against them. When you have the ability to stretch the field and win in the ways that the Raiders are winning this year, it’s always going to be a fun game against the defending world champs — and for that reason alone, even if it lasts just this year, the rivalry is back. 2020 needs a win. Let this be back. (Can you tell I’m willing it back or what?)
2) What would a series sweep do for the Raiders’ confidence?
Honestly, I am afraid of what it would do to the team. Letting recency bias slip in, the Raiders had a huge letdown after beating the Chiefs the last time around and got absolutely creamed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There were no redeemable qualities in the loss to the Bucs — at home, mind you — and it seemed like the team never got to the stadium in that one. I fear that the confidence from beating Kansas City twice in one calendar year would make this team susceptible to another letdown — but of even bigger proportions.
Ready to take down the house pic.twitter.com/gHUpWivMfx— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) November 20, 2020