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Arrowheadlines: Bills focused on Chiefs matchup — but AFC title bruises remain

Chiefs headlines for Friday, October 8.

NFL: AFC Championship Game-Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The latest

Bills’ Diggs, Allen not focused on redemption ahead of Chiefs rematch: ‘It’s Week 5’ | NFL.com

“It’s Week 5,” quarterback Josh Allen said, via NewYorkUpstate.com. “Everybody wants to make this big deal about the AFC Championship rematch, and I get that’s what it is. But it’s a new year and this team’s different than last year, and their team’s different than last year.

“But they’re the gold standard what you would want to be as an AFC team, being to the AFC Championship the last three years and competing for Super Bowls is what they’ve been doing. So that’s what every team wants to be and until somebody knocks them off in the playoffs, that won’t change.”

Emmanuel Sanders on Buffalo Bills’ AFC title game loss to Chiefs: ‘The bruises are definitely there’ | Syracuse.com

“Just hearing everybody kind of speak up about, I could have been better here or been better there. And (now) trying to correct it and trying to go out here and get a win again in a hostile environment.”

Sanders wasn’t a part of that game because he was a member of the New Orleans Saints. One of reasons the Bills signed him in free agency was to bring his championship pedigree to an offense that was missing something last year against the Chiefs.

Ideally, here’s how new receiver Josh Gordon fits into the Kansas City Chiefs’ offense | The Kansas City Star

Gordon has been a big-play threat in the past. So was Watkins before his arrival. The Kansas City Chiefs don’t necessarily need that — though, let’s be honest, they won’t complain if he provides that, too. Where they need him is the less sexy role, the one with fewer eye-popping numbers.

That role could allow the stars — Hill and Kelce — more space with which to operate. The Chiefs remain lacking in their production behind those two. Last week, Hardman, Robinson, Byron Pringle and Marcus Kemp combined for 4 catches for 39 yards. Those aren’t exactly attention-seeking numbers.

Gordon, however, can seek some attention.

In an ideal world, of course.

Week 5 NFL game picks: Rams beat Seahawks in Seattle; Chiefs top Bills on Sunday night | NFL.com

The Bills were one of the first teams to slow down the Chiefs offense’ last regular season, albeit unsuccessfully. Kansas City now embraces long drives if defenses are determined to give up short throws, and the team’s young offensive line is getting better by the week. The Ravens finally slayed their Chiefs demons earlier this season on Sunday night, and the Bills have unquestionably looked like a more complete team this year. But when push comes to shove, I believe Josh Allen is the quarterback more likely to make a game-changing turnover in a game where possessions are so valuable. Buffalo’s QB ranks third-worst in football when it comes to turnover-worthy plays, according to Pro Football Focus, ahead of just Zach Wilson and Trevor Lawrence.

This is what NBC Sports has planned as part of coverage for Chiefs-Bills game | The Kansas City Star

NBC also will set up a set outside Arrowhead for its Football Night in America studio show with Jac Collinsworth and Rodney Harrison. That show begins at 6 p.m., and kickoff for the is at 7:15 p.m.

Because Super Bowl LVI will air on NBC, the network is asking local artists in the city it visits each week “to create a 5-yard long mural inspired by fan input that epitomizes the fanbase’s love for their team.”

NBC Sports will put the 20 murals together ahead of the Super Bowl and create a 100-yard painting.

Atlanta Falcons add a pair of former Chiefs players to their 53-man roster | The Kansas City Star

Colquitt, who punted for the Chiefs from 2005-19, was promoted to the Falcons’ 53-man roster, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Colquitt, 39, played last season for the Steelers and Falcons.

A spot on the roster opened up for Colquitt because the Falcons placed punter Cameron Nizialek on injured reserve after he hurt his right hamstring Sunday in a loss to Washington.

Atlanta also added Colquitt’s former teammate, defensive tackle Mike Pennel, to their roster. Pennel, who played for the Chiefs in 2019-20, was signed to the Falcons practice squad on Sept. 15.

Chiefs fan meets Tyreek Hill, credited with saving his life after stroke | FOX 4 News Kansas City

Tyreek Hill’s 186-yard, three-touchdown performance Sunday was the kind of performance that Louie Brewer was always raving about on a group chat with fellow Kansas City-area bounty hunters.

Until there was no text from him after Hill’s biggest regular season game last year vs. Tampa Bay.

The bounty hunters found their friend had a stroke and was lying nearly lifeless in his home for five days.

Brewer hasn’t been able to speak since, but said his first word last week was “Chiefs.”

On Tuesday, shortly after returning from Kansas City’s road win at Philadelphia, Hill came to visit Brewer in the Overland Park facility where he’s now recovering in a bed and room covered in Chiefs gear.

Around the NFL

Atlanta Falcons’ Calvin Ridley won’t travel to London for NFL game vs. New York Jets due to personal matter | ESPN

Atlanta Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley will not travel to London for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets because of an undisclosed personal matter, the team announced Thursday afternoon in a statement.

“We are in support of Calvin during this time and will respect his privacy on the matter,” coach Arthur Smith said.

Jaylon Smith agrees to terms with Packers following surprise release from Cowboys, per report | CBS Sports

Jaylon Smith did not have to wait too long to find a new home in the NFL. Following his surprise release from the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday, the veteran linebacker has reportedly agreed to terms with the Green Bay Packers, according to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network. There were several teams in the hunt for Smith following his release from the Cowboys, but the the former Pro Bowler indicated that Green Bay is where he wanted to play and the Packers now get to beef up their linebacker corps.

Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield playing with partially torn labrum, source says | ESPN

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has been playing with a partially torn labrum in his left shoulder, a source confirmed to ESPN on Thursday.

Mayfield suffered the injury to the non-throwing shoulder on Sept. 19 while trying to make a tackle against the Houston Texans, and has been wearing a shoulder harness since.

Report: NFLPA Executive Director’s Job in Jeopardy | Sports Illustrated

NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith’s tenure could be nearing its conclusion, according to ESPN’s Dan Graziano.

On Tuesday night, the NFLPA’s executive committee took a vote to determine whether Smith should remain in his position. According to the NFLPA’s constitution, a unanimous approval vote by the 14-person committee would have kept Smith in the job. But the vote was evenly split at 7-7, according to ESPN.

Mystery surrounding raid on Washington team facility deepens as union says an active NFL player has spoken to the DEA | Yahoo! Sports

As the NFL awaits developments tied to Friday’s federal raid on the Washington Football Team’s practice facility and townhome of head trainer Ryan Vermillion, the players union reached out to a swath of player agents Thursday seeking information on an apparent DEA investigation.

The NFLPA sent a letter to player agents on Thursday morning, alerting them to an investigation the union has opened into the raid — in response to what the union believes is a potential issue of player health and safety. In the letter, which was reviewed by Yahoo Sports, the union said at least one active player has been contacted by federal agents in response to a DEA investigation. However, a source familiar with the letter and also the union’s efforts to gather information said federal investigators have sought out more than one active player, although the source declined to give any further specifics.

Ravens’ Odafe Oweh: ‘No ill intent’ on hit that gave Broncos’ Teddy Bridgewater a concussion in Week 4 | NFL.com

Bridgewater sustained a concussion on a third-down play just before halftime of Denver’s 23-7 loss to Baltimore. Facing third-and-10, Oweh charged through a clear path directly into the chest of Bridgewater and delivered a blow to his upper torso and head just as the quarterback released a pass that landed incomplete.

The impact dislodged Bridgewater’s helmet and forced him out of the game. Broncos backup Drew Lock replaced Bridgewater in the second half.

“There was no ill intent,” Oweh said, via ESPN. “Our mentality is to bring physicality and do everything that we got to do safely, no penalties. I wish Teddy prosperity. I wasn’t trying to do anything dirty.”

Tom Brady reveals the NFL team he loves beating the most and it’s exactly who you think | Yahoo! Sports

Brady has made plenty of rivals since joining the NFL in 2000. The Miami Dolphins have always given him trouble, the Kansas City Chiefs were responsible for his torn ACL, and the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning always provided must-see television.

Beating those teams was likely satisfying, but there’s one team Brady enjoys beating even more. If you think about Brady’s career for a few seconds, you can probably guess which one.

Yeah, it’s the New York Giants.

NFL to play 29th and 30th London games, has still never matched two winning teams | Pro Football Talk

The NFL wants to establish a significant fan base in London. But it has never given the fans the opportunity to see a great matchup of two top teams.

In fact, after the 1-3 Jets play the 1-3 Falcons in London on Sunday, and the 1-3 Dolphins play the 0-4 Jaguars next week, the NFL will have played 30 games in London, and there still hasn’t been a single game between two teams with winning records.

The NFL’s ratings are up. Here’s why. | CNN Business

One month into the 2021 season, the NFL’s viewership is up around 17% compared to this time last year. The league is attracting an average of roughly 17 million viewers across its various network partners, according to Nielsen data.

Those numbers are not only pretty good, but also represent a turnaround from last year. Patrick Crakes, a former Fox Sports executive turned media consultant, is not surprised.

“It’s defied every trend inside media for a decade,” Crakes told CNN Business. “Why wouldn’t it continue to?”

The NFL is the the most reliable ratings driver on TV. This is why NBC, CBS, ESPN/ABC, Fox and Amazon paid more than $100 billion to renew their media contracts with the league earlier this year.

In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride

Chiefs vs. Bills Thursday injury report: Chris Jones misses second practice in a row

The Chiefs are making an effort to get defensive lineman Chris Jones’ wrist healed by holding him out of practice entirely on Wednesday and Thursday. He has now missed the first two practices of the week.

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid on Jones (from Wednesday): “I think it’s a distraction for him, so we’re trying to give him time to let it go [Wednesday]. He’s not going to practice [Wednesday]. So, we’ll see how he does, but that’s kind of where we’re at, just take it day by day and see how he does.”

Spagnuolo speaks on defensive miscues — and getting Willie Gay back

“Gotta get it done better,” he acknowledged. “We practice it. We get a bunch of fourth downs. We take the last play of one or two or three periods every week where we go right to the line and we make a call.”

Patrick Mahomes sees player on the rise in Bills’ Josh Allen

“I think what you see with Josh as he gets better and better every single year, is he’s not satisfied with where he’s at,” said Mahomes. “He works through his throwing motion, he works on his feet, he does different types of stuff to give himself an edge — and I think that’s what all the best quarterbacks do. It’s something I know I do is look back every offseason, I find one thing I can get better at and try to continue to get better and better. You’ve seen that with Josh, they put a lot on him, they make a lot of checks at the line of scrimmage to make all the right decisions, throw the ball, run the ball, do all that different types of stuff.”

Opponent Scout: Bills’ defense will pounce on Chiefs’ mistakes

When defending the run, the Bills have allowed 3.2 yards per attempt — the fourth-lowest rate among NFL defenses. They’ve also seen the fifth-fewest attempts; over the last three weeks, they’ve gotten big leads on opponents, so teams have abandoned their running games.

Forcing teams to play from behind, the Bills’ defense has seen a lot of passes thrown their way — and has intercepted seven of them, which is second-most in the league. Their group of off-ball defenders includes plenty of ballhawks who look for takeaways and excel at attacking the ball in the air. They will pounce on every mistake an offense makes.

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