The club’s best defensive performance of the season against a decaying Washington team shouldn’t stop K.C. from adding much-needed help to a unit that’s been waxed regularly to open the season. The back end has been a mess, and upgrading the corner position feels vital if the Chiefs are to avoid the defense being a playoff-imploding Achilles’ heel against better teams. Juan Thornhill played well moving into the starting safety position last week, but it’s another area GM Brett Veach could look to upgrade. And pass-rush consistency has been a concern in part due to injuries. Could Veach pry DE Emmanuel Ogbah out of Miami? Like basically every team on this list, the salary cap (Chiefs sit $2.8 million under the cap) could impede upgrading a downtrodden unit. Still, somehow, someway, the Chiefs need to find an upgrade, or they could be sitting at home come the middle of January.
While his addition hasn’t changed much in terms of the unit’s performance, he has individually managed to make an outsized impact for the Chiefs so far this season. Bolton has started in every game for Kansas City so far and he now leads all NFL rookies with 40 combined tackles according to Stat Muse. He has nine more combined tackles than the next closest rookie, Las Vegas Raiders CB Nate Hobbs. His 30 unassisted tackles is 10 more than the next closest rookie, New Orleans Saints CB Paulson Adebo.
Chiefs Acquire Marcus Maye from Jets
Chiefs receive S Marcus Maye, Jets receive 2022 third-round pick
If Kansas City is willing and able to generate the cap space, trading for Maye would make a ton of sense. The New York Jets safety was given the franchise tag in the offseason, but “would welcome” a trade to a contender, according to Fowler.
Maye has been sidelined with an ankle injury but could return in Week 7, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN. Last season, he started all 16 games and finished with 88 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions and an opposing passer rating of only 80.4.
Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen, meanwhile, has allowed an opposing passer rating of 152.1 this season.
Again, cap constraints would make a move like this one difficult for Kansas City. However, if the Chiefs can make it happen, they should—presumably also locking up Maye long term. Kansas City has allowed the third-most passing yards per attempt (7.8) in the NFL this season.
Adding Maye would give the Chiefs better support on the back end.
Kansas City Chiefs (-5.5) at Tennessee Titans
Tennessee Titans +5.5
The Titans impressed with their home victory over the Bills on Monday night, but now face another tough challenge in Patrick Mahomes. With all the injuries in the secondary for the Titans, Mahomes should have a big game. The Chiefs defense was better last week, but that’s not saying a lot. Look for a lot of points in this game. But the Chiefs will find a way.
Pick: Chiefs 37, Titans 30
Second-year defensive lineman Tershawn Wharton was still awestruck Wednesday by his fourth-quarter interception during the Chiefs’ 31-13 win over the Washington Football Team. The play was so good that it made SportsCenter Top 10.
“It’s probably something that will never be seen or done again, “ Wharton said. “But, I mean, it’s always good to get one in and make a place in the Top 10.”
6 - Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · Year 5
2021 stats: 6 games | 69.0 pct | 1,887 pass yds | 7.8 ypa | 18 pass TD | 8 INT | 184 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 2 fumbles
Anyone tweeting recklessly about Mahomes should probably wait until after halftime — or better yet, wait until never. Reactions like that are a reminder that there will always be someone rooting for greatness to fail.
Two things can be simultaneously true: Mahomes is finding more obstacles and making more mistakes than in previous years and he’s still been ridiculously productive and unlucky with some fluky turnovers. The Chiefs continue to lead the NFL in yards per drive and points per drive. Rather than dialing it back, Mahomes went big-play hunting against Washington with five gains of 20 yards or more after recording 15 in the previous five weeks combined. He hit WFT with a jump pass, a shovel pass against his body and a sidearm whip that has to be seen to be believed. No one in history has routinely made throws like these.
4 - Patrick Mahomes
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS QB
His off-script acrobatics are still second to none, but his recklessness has reared its head several times this year. He needs to clean it up for the big games. (-1)
Kansas City Chiefs
C Austin Blythe
Blythe has been inactive for each of the first six games, and the prospects of him getting into a game aren’t good with rookie Creed Humphrey playing so well. But he might be of interest to a team that needs help at an interior line position. He also can play guard. — Adam Teicher
Around the NFL
I’m not kidding. If you have that ticket, send me a screenshot. The second-year corner, who was far from a rookie sensation, was posted at odds longer than +15000 for the Defensive Player of the Year Award. Six weeks through the season, he’s hot on Myles Garrett’s heels at +450. That’s the bet of a lifetime.
Diggs is in that conversation because his early-season production has been nearly unprecedented. He has seven interceptions in six games, and has recorded at least one pick in each contest. Only Barry Wilburn, Brian Russell, and ex-Cowboys coach Tom Landry have ever started the season with an interception in each of their first six games; no player has done it for seven. If he records an interception against the Vikings in Week 8 (the Cowboys have a bye in Week 7), Diggs will stand alone in the record books. He also shares the record for most interceptions (seven) through six games in the Super Bowl era with Rod Woodson—good company to share.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Case Keenum will get the start Thursday against the Denver Broncos in place of Baker Mayfield, who is battling a torn labrum in his left, non-throwing shoulder and has officially been ruled out.
A limited participant in Tuesday’s practice, Mayfield said earlier that day that he planned to start and that it would ultimately be his decision. But Mayfield added that he would play only if he felt that his injury wouldn’t hamper the team or his own performance.
“Only I know how my body feels,” Mayfield said Tuesday. “If anyone questions whether I am hindering the team and going out there injured, that’s just not right. It’s my decision. I get to say whether I am able to play or not, and that’s just how it is.”
A three-year effort will include in-game messaging, social media outreach, broadcast, print and in-stadium messaging. Some of it will target people who are too young to legally gamble but may feel tempted to do so.
More than 45 million Americans say they plan to bet on NFL games this year, according to the American Gaming Association, the casino industry’s national trade group. That’s an increase of 36% from last year.
“Sports betting is supposed to be fun,” said Christopher Halpin, the NFL’s executive vice president, chief strategy and growth officer. “We feel it is critical that the NFL uses the power of our voice to educate and encourage fans who choose to gamble to do so in a safe and responsible way. We also recognize that responsible betting programs across the country are under-resourced, especially as legalization spreads nationwide.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
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On a day in which 11 Chiefs either did not practice or were limited, let’s start with the good news: defensive lineman Chris Jones (wrist) and cornerback Charvarius Ward (quad) returned to practice (more on that here).
Tight end Travis Kelce (neck) and safety Tyrann Mathieu (thumb/toe) were also limited, though based upon head coach Andy Reid’s post-game comments, we expected those statuses. The limited statuses for both defensive tackle Jarran Reed (back) and right guard Trey Smith (ankle) are new and worth monitoring this week.
The Chiefs listed as non-participants were all to be expected. Tight end Jody Fortson had surgery on his Achilles on Wednesday and linebacker Anthony Hitchens (triceps) is unlikely to play given the team’s roster moves. Fullback Michael Burton (pec) also did not practice.
My expectation is the other two non-participants — wide receiver Tyreek Hill (quad) and left guard Joe Thuney (hand) — will play against the Titans, as they missed practice to start the week leading into the Washington Football Team matchup and went on to play.
A tweet to make you think
Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes says everybody started laughing in the film room when watching his interception against Washington. #ChiefsKingdom— Rob Collins (@RCFOX4KC) October 20, 2021