Kansas City Chiefs · Year 4
Williams has enjoyed his best season to date, contributing career-high production in both the Chiefs’ run and pass attacks:
123 carries, 453 rush yards and four rush TDs
41 catches on 50 targets for 403 yards and two TDs
He’s played in all 15 of Kansas City’s games this season, with Clyde Edwards-Helaire in and out of the lineup, making five starts (Chiefs are 4-1 in those games). If I was a team that needed a veteran back to pair with a young guy or rookie, Williams would be someone I would seriously look into. He’s a proven asset in the pass game and as a runner between the tackles, and has shown this season he can handle a heavier load.
THEY HAVE A GOOD CHANCE!
I admit I’m a huge mark for Jared Allen (DE, Kansas City Chiefs, 2004-07; Minnesota Vikings, 2008-2013; Chicago Bears, 2014-15; Carolina Panthers, 2015). He was a four-time All-Pro and led the NFL in sacks twice. But if you vote in Allen and Hester, you can have the Bears in next season’s Hall of Fame Game with new head coach Sean Payton going against the Chiefs with new OC Matt Nagy. I mean, look, I’m trying to make that a thing.
After the Kansas City Chiefs released left tackle Eric Fisher, who the team drafted No. 1 overall in the 2013 NFL Draft, in March, Travis Kelce became the longest-tenured Chiefs player.
The 32-year-old Kelce reflected on that earlier this month.
“With that comes the wisdom to be able to help other guys out,” Kelce exclusively shared. “I definitely take a lot of heart and a lot of ownership in that.”
Kelce remained a team leader during what has been a challenging season, one that could be considered a “down year” only if compared to his lofty and unprecedented standards.
Kansas City Chiefs vs Cincinnati Bengals
The Chiefs’ offensive line was fixed in the offseason. The Chiefs’ offense was fixed sometime after Thanksgiving. Patrick Mahomes is comfortable again in the pocket and players like Byron Pringle and Derrick Gore are now taking center stage for drives at a time. Joe Burrow and this Cincinnati offense could keep up with Kansas City if all things were equal, but they aren’t. The Chiefs’ defense, especially in the secondary, is much tougher than the Bengals’ D to consistently move the ball against.
Kansas City clinches the top seed: The Chiefs controlled their destiny for the No. 1 seed, and they took care of business. K.C. first pulled out a bizarrely defensive 10-6 win over the Bengals before blowing out the Broncos in Week 18. The Titans held the tiebreaker over the Chiefs, and they did their part to keep the pressure on, beating the Dolphins and Texans. But because the Chiefs won twice and finished 13-4, Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid earned the top seed, giving them the coveted bye. The Chiefs haven’t had to play a wild-card game since 2017 despite last missing the playoffs in 2014.
David Ojabo LB
The trade for Melvin Ingram allowed Kansas City to move Chris Jones back inside, which is where he performs best. Ingram will be 33 years old prior to the start of the season. Ojabo has great bend around the corner and will allow the Chiefs to play Jones in his natural role.
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Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Jim Nantz and Tony Romo
The Kansas City Chiefs (11-4) are winners of six straight games and hold a one-game lead in the AFC over the Titans. The Cincinnati Bengals (9-6) are fresh off beating the Ravens 41-21 to take first place in the AFC North.
Both teams know how to score a lot of points, and both have a lot on the line. The Chiefs want the first-round bye and home-field advantage while all the Bengals need to do is beat Kansas City to win their first AFC North crown in six years.
Around the NFL
No starters and only one player, running back Raymond Calais, who otherwise is on injured reserve, remain on the COVID-19 list for the Rams. Their coronavirus outbreak began 20 days ago.
Whitworth is expected to be available Sunday when the Rams (11-4) play the Baltimore Ravens (8-7) at M&T Bank Stadium.
If Pittsburgh weren’t historically averse to these kinds of blockbuster swings, it’d easily rank higher. Everything fits: Rodgers and Mike Tomlin have a deep respect for each other, the Steelers are an iconic franchise and proven winner, and Ben Roethlisberger has already indicated he’s headed to retirement. Pittsburgh has the defense to contend now, and if it were to finagle enough money to bring Davante Adams with Rodgers, that combo with Najee Harris (and a restored O-line) would be scary. Tomlin has the track record to push ownership for a quick fix at QB, and at least Green Bay would be shipping Rodgers to the AFC.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
“He’s a smooth operator,” said Chiefs head coach Andy Reid — often considered one of the game’s quarterback whisperers. “He does a real nice job. Looks like he’s smart, well-coached, and he’s accurate. He’s got some good wide receivers that he puts it up to, and they do a nice job too. But he’s great for the National Football League right now. These young quarterbacks, we’re so lucky to have them in this league — and it looks like we might have a couple more coming in this next year. It just makes the competition so great, and that’s what this is all about.”
Burrow comes into Sunday right behind Patrick Mahomes in passing yards at 4,165 (Mahomes has 4,310), slightly behind Mahomes in touchdowns at 30 (Mahomes has 33) and having thrown one more interception than Mahomes at 14.
But more significant than stats, Mahomes sees intangibles in the second-year player out of LSU.
“Not only is he a great football player, I think he’s a great leader,” said Mahomes of Burrow. “He has that special knack where he can lead anybody. No matter where he’s at, he can go out there with that swag, that mentality of ‘I’m going to win no matter what.’ It takes a lot of experience, and it takes a lot of just going out there and doing it for people to believe that. He has that as well as the physical talent to go out there and make a lot of stuff happen.”
A tweet to make you think
“I still have all his voicemails. You don’t erase a John Madden voicemail. You don’t do it, and I never will.”@NFL Head Coaches around the league remember the legendary John Madden. pic.twitter.com/uEeKsosHB3— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) December 30, 2021