But they haven’t faced anyone quite like Tyreek Hill — because there isn’t anyone out there similar to the Chiefs’ five-time Pro Bowler.
“I would definitely say he’s a unique player in this league because of his speed, and his explosiveness, and his quickness, and the fact that he can track the ball and catch the ball downfield,” cornerback James Bradberry said as the Giants prepared to play at Kansas City on Monday night. “A lot of times, faster guys in this league have a hard time tracking the ball, so his uniqueness to be able to do all of that makes him definitely a weapon that we’ve got to keep our eyes on at all times.”
Let’s take a look at the state of the AFC as the halfway point of the season approaches: The two-win New York Jets have defeated the team that was the No. 1 seed when this week of games began, and they have defeated the team that will be the No. 1 seed when this week of games ends.
The AFC is a glorious mess, a paragon of parity that is possible largely because the Kansas City Chiefs’ struggles have swung wide open the door to the conference they have mostly lorded over for the last three seasons. The Chiefs play at home Monday night against the Giants, and they are trying to — it feels like this has to be a mistake — get out of the AFC West basement. For now, the Titans, Ravens, Raiders and Bills are atop their divisions by themselves. Write that in pencil, though.
The Chiefs invested heavily in pass rushers Frank Clark and Chris Jones, but the defense has been a big disappointment.
This has left many wondering if there is too much to overcome this season for the Chiefs to make the playoffs.
According to Hall of Famer Charles Woodson, he believes the Chiefs are “done,” and will not make the playoffs.
“What teams are doing is they are playing bend but don’t break defense.”
“They know they can get there with 4, get him (Mahomes) under pressure, and he will make some mistakes.”
“If you have an offense on the other side that you know can compete with them, you know you can score with them.”
“The Kansas City Chiefs are not gonna make the playoffs.”
Kansas City Chiefs -9.5
All is not well with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Super Bowl champions two years ago, runners-up last year and pre-season Super Bowl favourites this year, the Chiefs have lost four of their first seven games – something few would have predicted.
However, there is still plenty of time in an expanded 17-game season, and they can even up their record with a home win over the Giants on Monday night.
According to NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero, second-year Chiefs CB L’Jarius Sneed caught a $5K fine from the NFL this week. During Willie Gay Jr.’s interception, Sneed was coming after Titans QB Ryan Tannehill on the blitz, and the pressure was in part the reason that Gay was able to make the play on the ball. Sneed hit Tannehill and pushed him on the ground after the play, but no flag was thrown. The NFL determined after the fact that Sneed made contact with Tannehill’s head.
Had there been a flag thrown during the game, it would have just been more of the same for Kansas City during the loss.
Around the NFL
We had a chance to win it. It was in our hands. We were going to do whatever we had to do to go out there and win,” said P.J. Williams, whose pick-six of Brady with 1:24 to play locked up a critical 36-27 victory over the defending Super Bowl champs and NFC South rivals.
A - Jets
Mike White might have been the star of this game for the Jets, but he wouldn’t have been able to have his big day if not for an impressive performance from New York’s receiving corps. The Jets group of receivers caught nearly everything thrown their way. Michael Carter, Jamison Crowder, Ty Johnson and Elijah Moore all caught at least five passes. Carter was also impressive on the ground as the rookie running back averaged 5.13 yards per carry (77 yards on 15 carries). Although the Jets’ defense didn’t shut down the Bengals, it did make plenty of big plays. Not only did it sack Joe Burrow three times, but Shaq Lawson came up with a fourth-quarter interception that helped set up White’s game-winning touchdown pass.
Why the Patriots won
The Patriots made the clutch plays when they needed to. Naturally, the pick-six falls under that category, but so does the 14-play drive on their following possession. After forcing a three-and-out by the Chargers, the Patriots would travel 54 yards and eventually kick a 30-yard field goal to go up by two scores. What was just as important as putting up points was the Patriots’ ability to bleed the clock down roughly seven minutes to give L.A. as little time as possible to get back into the contest. Various Patriots ball carriers were making the savvy decision of sliding in-bounds to keep the clock ticking as they moved down the field. That gave the Chargers only enough time for one touchdown drive and hope to recover an onside kick just to tie the game with a late field goal.
New England’s pass rush also came up big in this game, especially Matthew Judon, who continues to be the biggest free-agent addition of the offseason. He was constantly applying pressure and finished with 1.5 sacks and two quarterback hits along with five tackles. On the day, the Patriots sacked Herbert three times and finished with a total of six quarterback hits
“I haven’t had any serious conversations with anyone,’’ Manning said Sunday. “Certainly, there’s some people who have called me and said ‘Hey, what do you think is going to happen with the Broncos? Are you going to try to own the team?’ I keep looking for that $3 billion in my pocket, I can’t find it, I think it’s in a hidden account somewhere. That’s not really on my radar.
“People are obviously interested, they’re curious,’’ Manning added. “I care because I live here and I go to the games, and I want to know what’s going to happen like everyone else. But I have no relationship or agreement with anybody.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
3. New play designs in the passing game
One way to help Mahomes’ confidence is to be effective on the ground, but there’s more to it than that. When he is asked to drop back, he needs to take what the defense gives him — but he also needs head coach Andy Reid to work his magic, scheming receivers open for big plays.
The Chiefs know what they’ll be seeing in most of this game: some version of Cover 2 — whether there is man coverage underneath the deep safeties or short zones. We need to see more route concepts that take advantage of a Cover 2. That means vertical routes to the middle of the field between the two safeties — and more route combinations that push the deep safety to one side, where he must focus on one vertical route or the other.
Mahomes needs to improve his patience, keeping himself from pushing the ball downfield unnecessarily — but if receivers were actually open, he wouldn’t have to force deep passes. It is a lot tougher to do against the soft coverages they’ve been facing — but it’s not impossible. So on Monday, watch for Reid to step up his play designs — and improve when those plays are called.