4. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)
FPI chances to make playoffs: 80%
FPI chances to win division: 56%
The Chiefs will return from their bye week with their playoff positioning unchanged. But they now have a full game lead in the AFC West, where the other three teams are all 6-5. With that said, the division remains very much in play. Four of the Chiefs’ final six games will be against AFC West foes, including two against the Broncos and one each against the Raiders and Chargers.
Next up: vs. Broncos
4. PATRICK MAHOMES, QB, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
A former winner of this award, Mahomes is making a late charge to be in the mix once again. Mahomes struggled a lot early in the season with putting up big numbers and holding onto the ball. But in his last three games, Mahomes has more than 800 passing yards, six touchdowns and just one interception. It might be too late for him to make a real run at the award, but a few more outstanding performances and Mahomes could be right in the mix.
“Curley Culp was a terrific football player. Our center, Jack Rudnay, said that all centers in the Ieague should have to practice at least one week against Curley,” said Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson, who spoke about Culp in a 2013 65TPT feature. “I guess he’d be small today at 265 pounds, but he wasn’t small back then, and he understood leverages.”
Culp played 14 seasons in the NFL, earning five Pro Bowl nods and Defensive Player of the Year honors in 1975. He spent the first six seasons of his career with Kansas City – racking up 37 sacks across 78 games – before joining the Houston Oilers midway through the 1974 campaign.
Wherever he played, whether it be on the Chiefs’ championship defense or for legendary coach Bum Phillips in Houston, the man absolutely dominated while setting the standard for what a nose tackle could be in the NFL.
“He loved to win. I used to tell him, ‘Curley, these guys are saying they’re going to knock you all over the field.’ He’d just laugh and tell me to check on [the opponent] after the game,” said Pro Football Hall of Famer Bobby Bell in the 65TPT feature. “You could put him over the center, over the tackle or in the gap. You could put him all over the place, [and he’d dominate].”
The running back was called for taunting after pointing his finger on a touchdown run that seemed pretty tame for a five-digit fine. His penalty moved Kansas City’s extra point back 15 yards, which was no problem for Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker who converted the try from 48 yards.
There is an irony in everything that has transpired since the play in question, as the league used images of Edwards-Helaire’s actions in hype pictures for the primetime matchup on social media. Whether their actions constitute an egregious lack of sportsmanship or not, both players will need to be mindful of their behavior moving forward to avoid putting Kansas City in jeopardy should they be forced to miss time.
5. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4): The Chiefs exit the bye to face the Broncos, Raiders, and Chargers in the span of 11 days. They can put the AFC West away in quick order if they are indeed back.
Vikings cornerback Bashaud Breeland was shown looking towards someone off camera. That was when he pointed at his left ring finger. Of course, that is in reference to the Super Bowl 54 ring he received with the Kansas City Chiefs after they defeated the 49ers.
Breeland petty AF pointing out he got a ring against us pic.twitter.com/s44mgDgjJ3— ChefMikey (@MikeyMurda) November 28, 2021
Around the NFL
Why the Browns lost
Cleveland just failed to capitalize on three first-half interceptions by Jackson, leading to just three points in an opening 30 minutes that were full of mistakes on both ends. The Browns had two fumbles in the midst of Jackson throwing an interception on three consecutive possession — as Mayfield finished with just a 48.6% completion rate.
The Browns were ineffective running the ball, being held to just 40 yards rushing and 2.4 yards per carry on 17 attempts. That’s not the Cleveland offense as Baltimore took away the identity from the Browns early and often.
For the second time in three games, the Broncos entered as underdogs but used a strong defense to set the tone early on. Just as the Broncos did in Dallas, they had a momentum-shifting stop on fourth down to catalyze the unit in the first half. From there, consistent pressure (three sacks for 18 yards) and Surtain’s interceptions kept Herbert from settling in with his array of weapons.
Vic Fangio on Surtain’s interceptions: “Pat has great hands and great ball anticipation, and both of them came in handy right there… the first one probably saves three points, and the next one, they’re in field goal range again and it becomes seven points for us. Those were two big swings (of momentum).”
The Rams left Green Bay on Sunday night with a 36-28 loss.
That’s now three straight defeats for a Los Angeles team that started 7-1 and what’s most troubling is who those losses have come against. The Tennessee Titans and the San Francisco 49ers took turns pummeling the Rams in their two previous games. The Packers took advantage of them in a different way, by dominating the time of possession and maximizing on the Rams’ self-inflicted wounds.
There were plenty of highlights to be seen in this game, but when it comes to which was the turning point, there can only be one. That award goes to Barrett, whose sack-fumble-recovery in the third quarter arrived with the Colts standing with first down on the Bucs 20-yard line and threatening to make it a 17-point game. Instead, Barrett’s takeaway led to a touchdown that shrank the Bucs deficit to only three points — likely saving the day for Tampa Bay.
The former MVP struggled mightily Sunday, in his third appearance since rejoining the Panthers in early November. Newton completed just 5 of 21 passes with a touchdown and interception before being substituted for P.J. Walker in a 33-10 loss to the Dolphins.
Afterward, Panthers coach Matt Rhule said the decision to swap quarterbacks was driven by poor pass blocking and Walker having a better handle on the two-minute offense.
“I’m not making any changes right now,” Rhule said. “At the end of the day, we weren’t protecting the quarterback.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
The Kansas City Chiefs (-9.5) come off of their Week 12 bye to host the Denver Broncos (+9.5) on Sunday Night Football in Week 13 at Arrowhead Stadium. The game was initially scheduled for a Noon kick before being flexed to primetime. The Chiefs have opened as 9.5-point favorites in the matchup, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
The spread is a little surprising considering the Broncos’ recent stretch, in which they have won three of their last four games. Denver beat the Washington Football Team (+1)
28-13 on Sunday. The Broncos’ win over the Chargers kept the Chiefs in sole possession of first place in the AFC West.
The Chiefs enter the game against the Broncos having won four games in a row. Kansas City was a 2.5-point favorite in its last game against the Dallas Cowboys, and it won 19-9, covering the spread. The Chiefs are 7-4, and every other team in the AFC West stands a game back at 6-5.
A tweet to make you think
Being a dad is cool!— Patrick Mahomes II (@PatrickMahomes) November 28, 2021