All World Cup games would be played at Arrowhead Stadium — officially now known as GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium — and the delegation toured that venue on Thursday afternoon. If Kansas City lands the right to host some games during the roughly month-long international tournament, it’s likely that some seats at Arrowhead would have to be temporarily removed from the corners of the stadium to accommodate a soccer field’s dimensions.
Also important in Kansas City’s bid are local training facilities, and the FIFA officials on Thursday checked out the Compass Minerals National Performance Center (the soccer facility in Kansas City, Kan.), the Chiefs’ training facility at Arrowhead and KU’s Rock Chalk Park in Lawrence.
Can the Chiefs prevail in a “prove it” week?
This has unquestionably been a disappointing year for the Chiefs who have seen the wheels fall off their defense to such a level that their offense can’t keep up. That said, the team is still at 3-3, so it’s not like the season is over.
However, we could be warming up the band unless Kansas City can get back on track. Unexpectedly the AFC West has become one of the most contentious divisions in the NFL, and the Chiefs can’t afford to drop many games.
That raises the stakes of Week 7 against the Titans even more, with Tennessee appearing poised to take the next step and become major players in the AFC. So with both teams needing to make a statement and keep their playoffs hopes on course, who will come out on top?
ML: +190 · 4-2
WHERE: Nissan Stadium (Nashville, Tenn.)
WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
SPREAD: Chiefs -4.5 | O/U: 57.5
The league’s top-ranked offense in yards per drive and points per drive is going to be just fine. I am encouraged by how the Chiefs’ offensive line is improving in short-yardage situations and that Patrick Mahomes finally came out hunting big plays last week. A short-handed Titans secondary should be no match, and I’m still trusting a great passing game over a great running game when both defenses have little going for them. Keep an eye on the availability of Tyreek Hill and/or Julio Jones, however, impacting this score prediction.
Kansas City Chiefs
3-3 · T-3rd in AFC West
Make a trade? NO.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire is on IR with an MCL sprain, but Darrel Williams has fit the bill in relief, with veteran Jerick McKinnon also chipping in sparingly. While Williams hasn’t been quite as productive as CEH, the Chiefs are obviously a pass-heavy squad with Patrick Mahomes slinging it all over the yard. There’s no need to trade for a running back. If anything, this squad needs defensive help.
After winning the MVP award unanimously in 2019, Jackson has continued to increase his impact on the gridiron. His MVP honors came after he passed for 3,127 yards, 36 touchdowns and 66.1 percent completion rate. Through six games, Jackson is on pace to record his most passing yards ever at a higher percentage than in any of the previous three years.
Steinberg, who represents 2018 MVP and Super Bowl champion Patrick Mahomes, is no stranger to large deals. It is Mahomes’ 10-year, $450 million extension, about $141.5 million of which is guaranteed, signed in 2020 that holds the current record for largest contract in the NFL. Steinberg believes Jackson’s impending contract could rival that of the Chiefs superstar.
“That $40-50 million [pet year] range is the new standard. You saw that Deshaun Watson signed something similar, Dak Prescott signed something similar,” Steinberg said. “You’ve got someone who is arguably, along with Patrick and Aaron Rodgers, the most valuable player in the game, and that will command that superstar package with some guarantees and long-term compensation in the $40-50 million range.”
2 Travis Kelce
Kansas City Chiefs · Age: 32 · Year 9
It might be a bit of a shocker to see Kelce outside of the No. 1 spot. That’s fine — but we’re ranking these players on 2021 performance, and Kelce gets slightly dinged by Kansas City’s recent tendency to make mistakes. Whereas Andrews is exceeding expectation, Kelce is catching targets at a rate that is slightly less than expected (-0.3%). Meanwhile, Patrick Mahomes has been picked four times when throwing at his star tight end, hurting Kelce’s passer-rating-when-targeted figure, and though that stands at a solid 92.3, it’s far behind the marks of Andrews and others on this list. Kelce still ranks second, though, because of his yardage output (468), his four receiving touchdowns and his 38 receptions (on 53 targets). As usual, Kelce has been a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses, scoring all four of his touchdowns out of the slot — he’s tied for first in the league in that category, with Rams receiver Cooper Kupp and Kelce’s Chiefs teammate, Tyreek Hill. He’s just fallen victim to Kansas City’s minor struggles (relative to the extremely high expectations for that team), even if those struggles haven’t been a product of his own actions.
Around the NFL
Here’s Staley in the locker room after a postgame victory speech back on Oct. 4, after a win over the Raiders: “I loved our fourth-down conversions. I loved how aggressive we were. We were smart. But we’re going to push the pace because we believe in you.” Google “Brandon Staley + Fourth Down + Trust” and you’ll come up with enough hits to get the picture. This was not just one quote in isolation.
For good measure, here’s Lions coach Dan Campbell, who has gone for it on fourth down more than any other coach in 2021, save for the Browns’ Kevin Stefanski, and made a near-identical decision to McDermott in a loss to the Vikings back on Oct. 10: “I trusted us to score a touchdown. And, there again, if I’m going to continue to trust, then we have to start working it much better and be better because we’re not efficient enough right now.”
In a Week 2 win over the Chiefs, Ravens coach John Harbaugh made a public display out of asking Lamar Jackson if he wanted to go for a consequential fourth down (even though, as he told our Albert Breer afterward, he had already made the decision to go for it).
Johnson, playing because stars Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt were both out with calf injuries, had the best game of his young career. He scored on a 4-yard run in the first half and picked up 52 yards on seven carries as the Browns chewed up the final 5:17 after the Broncos pulled within three.
Once he reached the end zone, Johnson wasn’t sure how to react.
“It’s unexplainable,” he said. “I wanted to celebrate but I didn’t know what to do. It’s been a long journey.”
The Broncos couldn’t stop Johnson and now they can’t stop losing, either.
“The last drive was very frustrating,” Denver coach Vic Fangio said. “We loaded up against the run and we couldn’t stop them.”
“They know I want to be here,” Maye said. “They know I’m 100% with my guys.”
The NFL trading deadline is Nov. 2, and Maye’s name is floating in the rumor mill. The Jets (1-4) are on the verge of falling out of contention, and there’s some question as to whether they want to sign him to a long-term contract extension. Maye, 28, is playing on a $10.6 million franchise tag.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
If that felt like a one-game substitute, it didn’t after offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy spoke to reporters on Thursday. He was asked what the team gains with Remmers at right tackle.
“You gain a veteran who has been in the league for a number of years,” Bieniemy began. “On top of that, Remmers has been with us now for a few years — and he understands the system. Up front, those guys have to do a great job of overcommunicating with one another. With Remmers in there, he’s going to help (right guard) Trey [Smith] get better — because he’s communicating the necessary information back and forth to each other.”
Remmers started at right tackle for the majority of the 2020 season, admirably filling in for the injured starter, Mitchell Schwartz. He held that starting position as training camp opened this season — but had to be sidelined due to an injury, and Niang stepped in and didn’t look back through five games.
In that fifth game, Niang struggled to contain Buffalo Bills’ edge rushers; he allowed eight quarterback hurries, per PFF. Through five weeks, Niang was tied for the eighth-most pressures allowed by any NFL offensive lineman.
“Probably us as coaches,” said offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy on Thursday. “We just need to make sure we’re putting him out there and getting him comfortable out there as a player and making sure that he’s understanding exactly what’s going on. The only way he’s going to learn is to go out there and make a mistake every now and then. And that’s OK because if he does make a mistake, I guarantee you he won’t repeat that mistake. But that kid has been working his tail off.
“The thing is, I’ll say this again, we just need to make sure we’re getting him more involved. (Wide receivers coach) Joe (Bleymaier) has done a great job with him, he’s been practicing his tail off and it’s just up to us to make sure we’re getting him the necessary reps that he needs on game day.”