Kansas City Chiefs · RB
Replacing: Clyde Edwards-Helaire (ankle/hip)
With the rookie expected to miss the rest of the regular season, Bell slides in as the featured bell cow. Bell has just 224 rushing yards and a pair of rushing TDs thus far in eight games with the Chiefs, but his production should see an increase as he fits seamlessly into his expanded role as a runner and pass catcher. The veteran running back is a very instinctive runner, not only behind the line of scrimmage but at the second level, and while he’s better than Edwards-Helaire in this area, the latter is more explosive and, thus, capable of making bigger plays. Bell is a patient rusher and slow to the hole, which helps him set up his blocks, and though he’s not going to give the Chiefs the explosive plays they’re accustomed to, Bell does show burst through the hole and to the corner.
Bell will be the effective runner we’ve seen in the past with the Pittsburgh Steelers, along with being a big asset for Patrick Mahomes in the passing game, with the potential to make big plays after the catch.
What to know for fantasy: It’s been said that a name can tell you a lot about a person, so you shouldn’t be surprised that Patrick MaHOMEs is averaging 361.5 passing yards over his past four games at Arrowhead.
Betting nugget: Kansas City is 1-5 ATS in its past six games, covering last week’s game by half a point.
Rothstein’s pick: Chiefs 38, Falcons 23
Teicher’s pick: Chiefs 33, Falcons 20
FPI prediction: KC, 79.3% (by an average of 10.8 points)
Sometimes, you just get beat. You can do everything right, make no mistakes and play a near-perfect game, and still just get beat. When you’re playing Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, you just get beat a lot. No fault of your own, that dude is damn good at football and can do magical things with the pigskin in his hand, as the Saints defense learned firsthand this past Sunday during their 32-29 defeat at home to the defending Super Bowl Champions. It’s easy to say that the Saints defense struggled and while they weren’t faultless, there was more good than bad, so let’s look at some of the key plays from Sunday’s contest.
Eric Bieniemy has been linked with Houston for some time
This matches up with what fellow Pro Football Network Insider Tony Pauline has said in the past. Pauline has mentioned that the smart money has been on Bieniemy landing in Houston just a couple of weeks ago.
This week on the Draft Insiders podcast, Pauline informed listeners that if Bieniemy doesn’t land in Houston, the Texans would consider a defensive-minded coach. One such name they would be interested in is Don “Wink” Martindale from the Baltimore Ravens.
Under normal circumstances, the Texans could have a long wait to sign Eric Bieniemy
Allbright mentioned on this week’s show that the head coaching search process has changed this year. This week, teams looking to hire may begin to request virtual interviews with head coaching candidates employed by other teams.
Teams may deny the request, and these are for head coaching jobs only. This goes away from the older rule where teams had to wait until these candidates were through playing before requesting an interview. Under the old rule, the Texans would not be able to talk to Bieniemy until the Chiefs were on a bye in the playoffs.
Around the NFL
The Saints star tied an NFL record with six rushing touchdowns in a 52-33 win over the Vikings on Christmas Day.
The historic performance, which helped New Orleans claim its fourth consecutive NFC South title and might decide some fantasy football championships as well, offered several reasons to celebrate.
Kamara’s epic rushing output matched Hall of Famer Ernie Nevers of the Chicago Cardinals in 1929. He’s only the third player to ever tally six TDs from scrimmage (the Browns’ Dub Jones did it in 1951) and the fourth to log six in any manner (the Bears’ Gale Sayers did it in 1965).
Friday was the first of those games in the Super Bowl era and, incidentally, the only one to not involve the Bears.
“He’s the best running back in the league,” Saints center Erik McCoy said of Kamara afterward. “There’s not much else to say about it.”
The New York Giants and safety Logan Ryan agreed to a new three-year extension that will tie him to the team through 2023, a source confirmed to ESPN.
The deal is worth $30 million with $20 million guaranteed, according to the source. Terms of the agreement were first reported by NFL Network.
The two sides, led by Giants assistant general manager Kevin Abrams and agent Joel Segal, worked through Christmas Eve to get the deal done, per the source. It’s now a nice gift for all having been finalized on Christmas Day.
Maurice Jones-Drew: Those of you ready to crown Aaron Rodgers the league MVP should think again. In a spectacular Sunday Night Football performance, Ryan Tannehill steals the the show by throwing for 350 yards and three touchdowns in a statement victory for the Titans.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
For the 13th consecutive season, Matt Ryan leads the Falcons offense. He’s been a lock for 4,000-plus yards and 20-plus touchdowns for over a decade now, and this season is no different. He’s unafraid to throw volume passes at his excellent offensive weapons and will attack all levels of the field. Ryan does have the sixth-longest time to throw in the league, so he will sit in the pocket longer than a lot of the quarterbacks the Chiefs have seen lately.
Todd Gurley was one of the most significant additions to this Falcons offense this offseason, but he hasn’t had the impact this team may have been counting on in 2020. He’s averaging just 3.5 yards per carry — the second-lowest of his career — and a paltry 5.4 yards per reception. He’s still shown the ability to convert short-yardage situations. Brian Hill mixes into the rotation as more of a third-down back, and he’s averaging almost seven yards per reception. Ito Smith will also slot into the Falcons’ offense as a do-it-all back, spelling Gurley.
The Falcons have an excellent top-end wide receiver duo of Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. Jones has missed the last two contests with a hamstring injury, and his status for this weekend is in question. Ridley is having a career year in his third season, already posting a career-high in yardage and catches. He’s just one touchdown from tying his career-high, and has really stepped up with Jones missing time. Ridley will operate largely from the slot, and his elite route-running ability makes him a dangerous player there. Russell Gage has filled in for Jones this season and has 59 catches for 672 yards. Christian Blake, Laquon Treadwel, and Brandon Powell will rotate into the offense as well.