While the NBA, WNBA and NHL are playing in bubbles and regularly getting negative test results, the NFL wasn’t sure what its results would be once travel and full contact between teams began.
One Tier 3 person, a groundskeeper, did test positive, but he was nowhere near players, the source told Schefter.
QB: Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs ($5,354,058)
Mahomes is the youngest player to ever win both NFL MVP and Super Bowl MVP. He is the only quarterback besides Peyton Manning to ever throw for at least 50 touchdowns and 5,000 or more yards in the same season, which he accomplished in 2018 as a first year starter. Mahomes becoming the NFL’s highest paid player was expected. Landing the most lucrative contract in American team sports history at $450 million over 10 years (worth up to $500 million with incentives) took practically everybody by surprise. Mahomes’ 2020 salary cap number remained practically the same after signing his blockbuster contract extension.
2. The Chargers limited Patrick Mahomes to less than 200 passing yards twice last season, something that only happened three times total in 2019. Why do you think the Bolts’ defense was able to accomplish this rare feat last year?
It would be easy to sit here and put it down to familiarity but I think the answer is probably far more complex than that. Firstly, there is a reason the Chargers are always seen as a potential dark-horse and that’s the personnel on defense. Generally the Chargers defense matches up well man-for-man with the Chiefs offense. Secondly, even without Derwin James, the Chargers cover 3 defense has forced the Chiefs and more specifically Patrick Mahomes to show even more patience than usual. The 49ers had similar success with that scheme in the Super Bowl – that was until the Chiefs had time to run wasp. Despite the success of the Chargers pass defense last year, it must be added that despite the fact the Chiefs didn’t do their usual amount of damage through the air, the Chiefs did average 146 rushing yards per game against the Chargers - a figure that was 45 yards a game above their 2019 average.
Kansas City Chiefs 27, Los Angeles Chargers 17
4:25 p.m. ET (CBS) | SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, Calif.)
After jettisoning Philip Rivers, Chargers coach Anthony Lynn is running the offense of his dreams. The Bolts ran the ball in Week 1 at the third-highest rate of Lynn’s Chargers tenure with plenty of three-tight end looks, often setting up for long field goals despite trailing most of the game in Cincinnati. That can work against a rookie quarterback. Despite rookie runner Joshua Kelley adding some juice to the Bolts’ attack, that will not work while trying to keep up with Patrick Maholmes. The Chiefs’ young cornerbacks are worth attacking all day, but the Chargers don’t have the mindset — or the schematic diversity — to pull it off.
Chiefs at Chargers
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)
Point spread: Chiefs -8.5
Right now Vegas can’t make the spreads high enough for the truly elite teams in the NFL, and the Chiefs absolutely qualify. This over/under is way too high for a pair of teams that want to run the ball a bunch — the Chargers are a stout defensive team but are not necessarily great against the run. I think Andy Reid gets his grind on and we see a lot of Clyde Edwards-Helaire. The Chargers are not built to come back from a double-digit lead and they won’t in this one.
Pick: Chiefs 28, Chargers 10
What you need to know: The Chiefs weren’t even close to their best against Houston but still won in emphatic, convincing fashion, which should terrify 31 other teams. Clyde Edwards-Helaire paid immediate dividends in the backfield, and gives Kansas City a dimension they didn’t really have with Damien Williams. It feels silly to sound any alarms with the Chiefs, because they proved in Week 1 that they’re the clear best team in the NFL. The Chargers were lucky to escape Cincinnati with a win. They did a pretty good job on Joe Burrow, but the rookie did lead a drive in the last three minutes that would have won or tied the game, but for an offensive pass interference and a missed chip shot field goal. Los Angeles’ only chance is to try and take the air out of the football, and hope that they at least play Kansas City tough like they have tended to for the past three seasons.
On the spot: Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill . Again, it’s absurd to say anyone on Kansas City is on the spot, but Hill, despite his touchdown catch, was relatively quiet against Houston, with just 46 yards on five catches.
Running backs I love in Week 2
Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers, vs. Chiefs
ESPN projected points: 14.8
If the Panthers are done letting the panic button score, could they send it over to everyone with Austin Ekeler on their team? Everyone except me, that is. While fantasy managers have been freaking out about Ekeler’s lack of passing-game usage in Week 1 and reports of Anthony Lynn saying QB checkdowns will be less a part of the Chargers’ game plan, I’m choosing to focus on the fact that Ekeler GOT 19 CARRIES in Week 1 (19!). I’m sorry, but I don’t believe the Chargers will say, you know, we have one of the best pass-catching running backs in football, you know what we should do? Fewer passes to him. The receptions will come. And I think it starts this week against a Chiefs defense that, since the start of last season, has given up the most receiving yards to running backs and the fourth-most catches, while coughing up 4.95 yards per carry last week to Houston. The Chargers are 8.5-point underdogs in this one, so expect lots of passing for them to catch up and Ekeler returning to PPR monster status in Week 2.
Around the NFL
1) Anyone who has followed the Browns or professional football in general knows how good Nick Chubb is, but Thursday night felt like the nation’s collective introduction to his excellence. After posting six yards per carry in Week 1’s blowout loss, Chubb followed it up with a 22-carry, 124-yard, two-touchdown outing on national television that included plenty of broken tackles and enough extra yards earned to make those watching at home repeatedly tweet in amazement. Their amazement was warranted. In typical Chubb fashion, the running back burst through open holes and barreled through defenders, fighting his way to the two scores and gradually demoralizing Cincinnati’s defense. Then, the Browns pulled out their closer, a fresh Kareem Hunt, who gained 76 of his 86 yards in the fourth quarter, capped by a touchdown drive powered almost exclusively by Hunt rushes. His longest tote went for 33 yards, putting the Browns in position to hand it to Hunt three more times, with the final carry producing Hunt’s second score of the night. Oh yeah, Hunt caught a touchdown pass earlier, too. The Browns might have the best backfield in the NFL.
Aaron Donald, he’s a monster,” Wentz said. “Everyone knows it. Everyone around the league knows the type of player he is and how he can really disrupt an offensive game plan. And so for us, we’re aware of that. Somebody we’ve got to always know where he is, but at the same time, we’ve got to execute, not play afraid, not play timid. . . . He is a game wrecker.”
Their second home bout, against the Steelers on Oct. 4, will be open to 10 percent of Nissan’s full capacity (69, 143). Those numbers will increase to 12.5 percent for the Oct. 11 game against the Bills and 15 percent for Oct. 18 against the Texans. Season-ticket holders will be prioritized and will be seated in the lower bowl and club levels.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
While the Texans’ second drive of the game may stick out in the minds of many fans, the Chiefs defense actually played fairly well while the game was within three scores. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s adjustments after the Texans’ first touchdown drive resulted in a 64% defensive success rate while the Chiefs offense built a lead in the second quarter. Alex Okafor was particularly effective through the second quarter, tallying two pressures and half a sack en route to a 37.5% pressure rate on the day. That led the Chiefs defense — albeit in limited snaps — while Chris Jones (14.7%) and Frank Clark (13.2%) followed.
The defense ended up in a version of its dime defense for over 63% of the game — largely because the Texans needed to throw the ball. While the traditional dime defense from 2019 — with four defensive linemen and one linebacker — was the most prevalent, Spagnuolo sprinkled in a dime package with three linemen and two linebackers; Dorian O’Daniel was used as a quarterback spy alongside Ben Niemann and a three-man pass rush.
The run defense struggled from its Buffalo package — particularly from an over front. The Texans had a staggering 83% success rate against that over front — and a whopping 6.8 yards per attempt with 11 personnel. It’s little surprise that the Chiefs run defense was at its most effective when Derrick Nnadi was on the field, holding the offense to only 3.5 yards per attempt and a 50% success rate.
Live look inside the QB room pic.twitter.com/w2KdAvF6WU— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) September 17, 2020