Former Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman was interviewed for gambling.com about Los Angeles leading the AFC West, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson’s dazzling play, coach Jon Gruden’s departure from the Raiders and more.
One of the topics was the Chiefs’ 2-3 start to the season. Merriman was asked if there should be a concern about the Chiefs following Sunday’s 38-20 loss to the Bills at Arrowhead Stadium.
“First and foremost, Buffalo is a contender this year. It’s not like Kansas City got beat by a C-plus team or something like that. But let’s not take away the loss with how good Buffalo really is,” Merriman said.
“Second of all, Kansas City needs to get their identity back. I think they’ve become a pass-happy football team, and when you become a pass-happy football team, that team takes on your identity, on both sides of the ball, and that’s what’s happened.”
Washington’s Redzone Offense vs. Chiefs Redzone Defense
Washington’s offense last week against the New Orleans Saints scored two touchdowns on five red zone trips. While the Saints defense is the number one defense in the red zone, the Chiefs will provide Washington an opportunity to bounce back immediately, as they are the 28th ranked defense in the same category, respectfully. Scoring in the red zone is obviously essential, but teams struggle with this for various reasons. First, the field shortens dramatically - So what type of team are you? Can you run the ball effectively? Is your quarterback capable of extending plays to create voids in the defensive zone? Is your quarterback accurate and identifying the right keys? How does the offensive coordinator adjust to the short field? These are all factors used in the equation of a successful red zone, and Washington cannot afford to fail against a terrible defense when awarded the opportunity. I expect Antonio Gibson to thrive in this area.
Rivera said during a Zoom conference call with Chiefs media members that he came away with an appreciation of a rigid practice structure, which includes an up-tempo style, from his time with Reid in Philadelphia. He is also grateful that Reid gave him and others an opportunity to do their jobs.
“I appreciate the way he empowered us — we were a bunch of young coaches — he empowered us to handle our positions and he showed that he trusted us,” Rivera said. “I think that meant the world to a lot of us. Here we are getting our opportunities and we’re being trusted by him to do our jobs, and that was always cool.” Whatever Rivera has applied from his time with Reid to his own current coaching style has evolved, and the Washington coach has his mentor’s approval.
Bold prediction: Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill will go over 100 yards and catch a couple of TD passes. It has been an unusual season for Hill, who has two big games with almost 200 yards and three games in which he wasn’t much of a factor. But he’ll bounce back after last week’s poor showing against the Bills with a big game against Washington, which is allowing a generous opponent passer rating of 107.8. — Adam Teicher
Stat to know: The Chiefs are allowing nearly 7.08 yards per play, which is the second-worst rate through five games in NFL history (1950 Baltimore Colts at 7.11), according to Elias Sports Bureau research.
Both the Los Angeles Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs are the overwhelming choice of bettors at BetMGM ahead of Week 6. The Rams are the choice of 81% of bettors to cover a 9.5-point spread at the New York Giants. Those bets make up 89% of the handle.
There’s a sharps and squares split on the total. Nearly 60% of wagers think the game will end under the points total of 48.5, but those bets make up 38% of the handle.
Bettors are also liking the Chiefs to cover a 6.5-point spread at the Washington Football Team. The Chiefs are getting 77% of bets and 84% of the handle despite a 2-3 start and a defense that has had problems stopping opposing offenses. Just 58% of the moneyline bets are on the Chiefs to win straight up at -275, but those bets make up an incredible 96% of the handle.
Around the NFL
Ertz was again emotional following Philadelphia’s Thursday night loss to Tampa Bay. Now we certainly know why.
“I was crying in the locker room last night for 30 minutes. I felt bad because the guys didn’t really know, but I couldn’t help it,” Ertz told reporters Friday. “It was special. Last January against Washington, there were no fans, so it was weird. I’m glad I didn’t end it like that last January. It was special last night. Obviously we didn’t win, which sucked, but it was fun. It was fun to do what I do out there, and I felt like I played great, was myself, and I’m excited to go to Arizona.”
Chicago Bears · WR
Robinson has failed to top 70 receiving yards just 25 times in his four seasons with the Chicago Bears — but five of those instances have come this season, during one of the worst starts of Robinson’s career. Excluding 2017, when he suffered a season-ending injury in Week 1, Robinson’s put up the lowest yardage total (181) in the first five games of a season since he entered the NFL. The Bears’ team-wide offensive struggles likely have something to do with this, however, and there are surely receiver-needy squads out there that would love to add a player who has otherwise managed to produce in unfavorable conditions over his NFL tenure. Like Maye and Cam Robinson, Allen Robinson is playing on the franchise tag, and the Bears should try to get value from him rather than go into the offseason facing the chance that he’ll walk.
“You never want to see a guy like Nick go down,” Hunt said. “Definitely, what he means to this team is crazy. We’ve got a lot of good backs. We should be able to hold it down until he gets back.”
After Friday’s practice, coach Kevin Stefanski was not ready to say whether Chubb would have to go on injured reserve, which would force him to miss at least three games.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
In the game Instabreakdown from Sunday night, I chose cornerback Rashad Fenton as the Chiefs’ defensive player of the game. No, perhaps it isn’t considered a huge honor based on the unit’s overall performance.
However, Fenton earned that nod with rather solid play. The third-year defensive back from the University of South Carolina has always played with a confidence in his demeanor that I really respect.
Sorry for poor quality (thanks NFL game pass). I chose Fenton as the defense’s player of the game Sunday for good reason. Great patience, positioning on these key snaps against Diggs (bottom of screen clip 1, top of screen clip 2). He’s earned more game reps. pic.twitter.com/dZC2Ry0jtU— Bryan Stewart (@BryanStewart_) October 14, 2021
Speaking of other exciting young Kansas City defenders, it was also linebacker Willie Gay Jr.’s first regular-season game action of the 2021 season. In limited snaps, Gay did not disappoint. His impact will be felt so long as he remains in the lineup.
A tweet to make you think
Josh Gordon said a several other teams expressed interest in signing him, including Seattle, before the Chiefs came in late in the process. "This was the one that made the most sense."— Sam McDowell (@SamMcDowell11) October 15, 2021