The Kansas City Chiefs haven’t won a game by more than a one-score margin since Week 8, but our correspondents believe they’re finally due to win in convincing fashion at home Sunday against the 4-10 Atlanta Falcons.
The entire gang is taking Kansas City as a 10.5-point fave at Arrowhead.
“At this point, there’s no reason to believe in the Falcons at all,” Sobleski said. “Sure, they can put up points and look like they can win games... until they don’t. The Chiefs can secure the AFC’s No. 1 overall playoff seed, a first-round bye and much-needed rest in Week 17 by winning this game. Bet on Patrick Mahomes and Co. to come out flying high and put this one away early.”
The Falcons haven’t lost a game by more than five points since Week 11, but their three one-sided defeats this season have come against current division leaders New Orleans, the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers.
Don’t be surprised if the Chiefs are next, especially with center Alex Mack joining receiver Julio Jones on the injury report this week.
Davenport: Kansas City
Gagnon: Kansas City
Kahler: Kansas City
Sobleski: Kansas City
Consensus: Kansas City -10.5
Score Prediction: Chiefs 37, Falcons 20
Kansas City Chiefs 34, Atlanta Falcons 20
1 p.m. ET (FOX) | Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City, Mo.)
The Chiefs haven’t posted a two-score win since they stomped the Jets in Week 8. The Falcons have been competitive in every Raheem Morris-coached game this season. These streaks are long overdue to end.
Atlanta Falcons (4-10) @ Kansas City Chiefs (13-1)
Time: 1 p.m. ET
Opening point spread: Chiefs -12.5
1 - Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · Year 4
Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 1 | Blair: 1 | Filice: 1 | Parr: 1
2020 stats: 14 games | 67.3 pct | 4,462 pass yds | 8.2 ypa | 36 pass TD | 5 INT | 287 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 2 fumbles lost
Filice: Last weekend, we all witnessed something extraordinary: Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers looking ordinary. Low-90s passer ratings, barf-green PFF grades, Roethlisbergerian yards-per-attempt figures — jarring stuff! Granted, Mahomes’ ordinary still beat one of the NFL’s best defenses for three touchdown passes — including this fadeaway magic trick that left Jim Nantz and Tony Romo gleefully gobsmacked — but that’s why he’s the unanimous No. 1 quarterback on this list.
Round 1 - Pick 32
Creed Humphrey OL
What’s wild about the Chiefs is that they actually have evident needs, but the play of Patrick Mahomes supersedes all. They are a Super Bowl contender because of the strength of the offense. It is scary to think what they could become if they plug some of those deficiencies.
Around the NFL
“He looked great this week,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “Just talked to him, he said he felt good here after practice so I’m expecting him to go.”
That conversation, apparently, wasn’t a long one, as Kittle made it clear he wanted to return despite the 5-9 Niners having little to play for in the final two weeks.
“He asked me if I wanted to play and I said ‘Hell yes,’” Kittle said. “And he said, ‘Sounds good.’ That was our conversation.”
Ben’s surgically repaired right arm is by no means shot, but it is fatigued. Some in the know refer to the condition as dead arm. It can be caused by repetitive actions, leading to an overworked extremity desperately in need of rest. This happens quite frequently with pitchers in baseball; who after being granted some well deserved time off, rediscover the three or four mph they had lost from their fastball.
However, overuse is not the only culprit capable of causing dead arm. Poor throwing mechanics are the guilty party just as often, particularly when a lower body injury or discomfort hinders or restricts the athlete’s ability to fully utilize said lower body. That is exactly what I believe is going on with Ben Roethlisberger ever since the Cowboys game. He has been dealing with discomfort in his plant leg, restricting his ability to create his usual leg drive, causing him to have to rely too greatly on his strong right throwing arm to generate torque. This has resulted in a fatigued (dead) arm.
“But, again, these groins are funny. You saw what happened last Thursday night. I mean, he’s running to his right and I didn’t see him the rest of the game. So, I’m not going to say anything other than I’m optimistic. But I’m not a mind-reader. I just know that he had an injury that caused him to miss the game last week and I’m respectful of that. He’s a tough guy, man. But I’m optimistic he’ll be ready to go, yes.”
In terms of a timeline, Gruden said, “We’ll see what happens here [Friday] in terms of which way we go, but we’ll have two quarterbacks prepared to play.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
“He’s smart,” said Bieniemy. “He’s intelligent. He takes the game home. He’s a football junkie. He just gets it. And that’s the thing that I love about him: just his football intellect. And on top of that, he’s always asking questions — because he wants to know exactly what to do and how to do it the right way.”
The offensive coordinator said that Bell is among those who have been taking full advantage of the new technology (whose use in the NFL has been jump-started by the coronavirus pandemic), saying that it was useful not only for the players, but for the coaches, too.
“In this day and age, these guys get to take their iPads home,” he explained, “so they can study film on their iPads and be in constant communication with the coaches. So that’s huge.
“When you’ve got guys taking work home — obviously, you want all your players to do so — but on top of that, you can sit and observe, watch tape and have a conversation with someone — which just goes to show you how important it is to him. That just lets us know that, ‘This guy is in.’”