The Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs are now co-favorites to win Super Bowl LVI with three weeks left in the 2021 NFL regular season.
The Chiefs and the Packers are now co-favorites to win the Super Bowl at +450 pic.twitter.com/2hcRXS5Uga— DraftKings Sportsbook (@DKSportsbook) December 20, 2021
Their status as the teams to beat doesn’t come as a surprise. Green Bay (11-3) sits atop the NFC standings, while Kansas City (10-4) leads the AFC. Earning the top seeds and the only bye in each conference would be a major boost to their title chances.
Kansas City Chiefs
Thursday’s win was huge for the Chiefs for a couple of reasons. It gave Kansas City a relatively firm grip on the AFC West, and it was one of the more complete games the team has played this season.
In Kansas City’s six-game winning streak heading into Thursday, defense largely carried the team. There were 41- and 48-point outbursts against the Las Vegas Raiders, but in the other five games, the Chiefs scored: 20, 13, 19 and 22 points. The defense allowed 17 or fewer points in all six games.
The Chiefs defense wasn’t dominant against L.A.—it allowed 428 yards and 28 points—but it came through when it mattered most. The aggressive Chargers were only 2-of-5 on fourth-down attempts and turned the ball over twice.
On three occasions, Los Angeles was at or inside the Kansas City 5-yard line but failed to come away with points.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs finally found their offensive rhythm against a team other than the Raiders. As Bleacher Report’s Brad Gagnon recently noted, Kansas City’s Big Three of Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce were stars of the show.
Sure, Mahomes had a few off-target throws that marred his performance, but he still finished 31-of-47 for 410 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Hill caught 12 passes for 148 yards and a score, while Kelce caught 10 for 191 and two touchdowns—including the game-winning walk-off score in overtime.
The Chiefs have now won seven games in a row. More importantly, they’re presenting opponents with problems on both sides of the ball. The defense was a disaster early in the season, and the offense was maligned during the middle portion. Now, though, Kansas City is playing like a complete team and perhaps the best in the AFC.
Single-game Divisional tickets will go on sale to the public at noon on Wednesday, Dec. 22. Single-game tickets for a potential AFC Wild Card home game are currently on sale. All tickets are being sold online at www.chiefs.com/tickets/.
In continuation of the club’s long-standing policy that honors the commitment of the residents of Jack
on County, Missouri, Jackson County taxpayers will have a presale opportunity to purchase single-game Divisional tickets from 8 to 10 a.m. on Wednesday, December 22. The Jackson County taxpayer presale will take place online only and purchasers must use a credit card with a billing zip code within Jackson County to participate.
These rivals who believe they have absolutely no margin for error when facing the Chiefs are playing right into Mahomes’ hands by frittering away golden scoring opportunities.
In the leadup to the Broncos’ trip to Kansas City on Dec, 5, Denver quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was asked about what lessons he had learned from his 33-31 loss at Arrowhead Stadium last year while he was with the Carolina Panthers.
“They didn’t punt until the fourth quarter. They had one punt that game,” Bridgewater recounted. “When you play a team like this, you have to get 7s. You have to score seven. Three isn’t enough. That’s one of the things that stood out.”
That was exactly the thinking employed by Broncos coach Vic Fangio and his embattled offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur that day in Kansas City. The Broncos lost 22-9 despite holding Hill and Kelce to fewer than 50 combined yards and limiting Mahomes to 15-of-29 passing for a mere 184 yards with no touchdowns and an interception.
On the defensive side of the ball, Kelly has set his target – per sources — on an up-and-coming NFL assistant coach Matt House, the Kansas City Chiefs’ linebackers coach who spent almost two decades coaching at the collegiate level before he exited the University of Kentucky three years ago for an opportunity with the Chiefs.
House, a Michigan native who graduated from Michigan State, has been heavily pursued in recent years for multiple college defensive coordinator positions – most notably this past winter, when the University of Tennessee and Josh Heupel made a hard push with a lucrative, multi-year contract proposal to get House away from the Chiefs and back to the collegiate game.
Bills win out
In order for the Bills to get to the top of the heap, they need to win their final three games and secure the AFC East crown. Buffalo’s final record is 11-6 in this scenario.
Chiefs lose at least twice
Buffalo wins a head-to-head tiebreaker with the Chiefs, so if both teams are 11-6, the Bills are on top if no one else is also 11-6. They have games against Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Denver. If the Chiefs lose to the Steelers and Broncos but beat the Bengals, that’s the most ideal scenario.
Around the NFL
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pro Bowl wide receiver Chris Godwin suffered a torn ACL during Sunday night’s 9-0 loss to the New Orleans Saints and will miss the remainder of the season, coach Bruce Arians announced Monday.
Godwin suffered the knee injury in the second quarter while falling awkwardly after a collision with New Orleans safety P.J. Williams.
“You feel bad for him because he was having such a great year, and the type of hit it was — totally legal but I think that’s one of the things we have to look into in the offseason,” Arians said.
Vikings go off script for win: Kirk, Dalvin and Justin were all there, but this was hardly pretty and this was hardly the dramatic nail-biter to the end that most Minnesota games have been this season. Nope, the Vikings won a rather tedious affair by a comfortable margin – it would’ve been their largest of the season, in fact, had it not been for the Bears’ score on the last play. Kirk Cousins threw for just 87 yards, but had two touchdowns. Justin Jefferson was largely held in check, but had one of those scores. And Dalvin Cook had 89 yards on 28 carries, which is hardly sexy, but his bell-cow day helped to dictate the game. Minnesota stayed alive in the race to the postseason (moving precariously into the No. 7 spot in the conference) and that’s all that matters. The Vikings gave their fans a game off from the drama and won ugly against an inferior foe. All the wins count the same and this was a crucially important one, no matter how it looked under the prime-time spotlight.
Why the Browns lost
Cleveland had less than 100 yards of total offense in the first half. It wasted a half of football by scoring zero points and, given the circumstances, did not have the offense to face a steep deficit. There was no fatal flaw but rather an accumulation of small errors from penalties to missed tackles and more. On the second to last offensive play, the Browns’ defense had tight end Foster Moreau dead to rights inbounds and short of a first down. Instead, they inexplicably did not tackle him and allowed him to squeeze out roughly an additional 5 yards. It cost them crucial time and field positioning. Cleveland made Moreau look like Tyreek Hill in open space all evening.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Like most Chiefs fans, Reid watched both Patriots-Colts and Titans-Steelers this weekend.
The Chiefs got the breaks they needed, with the Colts defeating the Patriots and the Steelers defeating the Titans.
“I watched the games,” said Reid. “They were great games to watch, so I was a viewer like everybody since we didn’t have the guys here. I enjoyed the competition, and I know how it lines up; I see that.”
Combined with the Chiefs’ win on Thursday, the results gave them control of their own fate. If Kansas City simply wins out, they will clinch the AFC bye week.
“The important [thing] is that we take care of our business now like we’ve been doing the last few weeks — and don’t count on anybody but ourselves to get that done. Therefore, you got to go back through the process: the hard work and all those things to get yourself right for the game.”