Week 18 at Denver Broncos
Opponent win total: N/A
Kansas City loses the regular-season finale, as the Chiefs start their backups with the No. 1 seed in the AFC already locked up.
Prediction: Chiefs lose 27-18
Projected final record: 14-3
22. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
The number of rookie running backs who had successful seasons takes a bit away from Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s success when he was healthy. His 77.2 overall grade was a top-20 mark at the running back position among qualifiers, and he made solid contributions as both a runner and receiver.
Jerick McKinnon gives the Chiefs the potential for a better second option if he can stay healthy, as well. McKinnon earned rushing and receiving grades above 74.0 last year in a part-time role for San Francisco — his first season back from injury since 2017. He profiles more as a receiving specialist than Edwards-Helaire does.
TIER 1: THE UNQUESTIONED
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Mahomes is the one quarterback who combines ceiling and floor, finishing as a top-five QB in points per game in each of the past three seasons. There are quarterbacks who can outscore him this season, but all have significantly more risk.
Best Free-Agent Signing: Joe Thuney
The Chiefs had one massive area to address, and they addressed it over and over and over again. And none better than with Thuney, adding arguably the best guard in football and giving up nothing but money in return. No other assets. And with Mahomes taking a paltry $62M in new money in the first three years of his team-friendly deal, well, Clark Hunt could afford it. Especially just a few years removed from his first Super Bowl. Spend on the guys to protect the QB.
Around the NFL
According to NBC Sports’ Peter King, the league would like to expand international play to Germany in either 2022 or 2023. King noted in his ”Football Morning in America” column that Germany is the NFL’s fastest-rising international market — the NFL had 2.2 million Germans tune in to watch Super Bowl LV between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs.
King writes that the first German venue would likely be Allianz Arena in Munich, a 70,000-seat venue and home to the Bayern Munich soccer club.
Los Angeles Chargers (+400): The Chargers signed Jared Cook to replace Hunter Henry this offseason, but a two-tight end set with Ertz would be beneficial — and Los Angeles has enough salary cap space to make a move. It helps that Ertz is a California native and attended college at Stanford.
But New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick is lurking in the wings with 280 wins, just 48 shy of matching Shula as the NFL’s winningest coach. It could take Belichick at least another four strong years to reach that mark.
“I hope he don’t get it,” Marino said emphatically. “I’m a Dolphin for life. Coach Shula for life. I don’t want him to get it.”
During an interview with ESPN this week, Marino promoted his return to a Nutrisystem diet and discussed a wide variety of football topics. Talking about Shula was one subject that made Marino light up with pride.
“He’s retired,” Stefanski said Wednesday. “He’s done.”
Garrett smiled when asked later about his pickup basketball career, telling reporters he’s done for now but perhaps not forever.
“I feel like it’s more of like a (Michael) Jordan retirement,” Garrett said with a smirk Wednesday. “I went to baseball for a second, slash, I went to basketball for a second. Now I’ve got to go back to what I’m good at, what I usually do, playing football, rush the passer, stopping the run. Next season, you never know. I might go back to basketball, I might go play baseball, see if I can get on a team. There’s more on the horizon but I’ve got to get back to what my main focus is.”
Ruggs isn’t adverse to doing that with his rookie season of a year ago, one in which he really never got going on a consistent basis and his flashes of promise were too few to add up to the production the Las Vegas Raiders had hoped to see after using the No. 12 pick of the 2020 NFL Draft on him.
“Last year is in the past,” Ruggs said Wednesday, via the team website’s Levi Edwards. “Yes, it was frustrating at times, but like I said, that’s in the past. We build on it; it’s a fresh start now, and we’re going to work to make it better.”
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
Ron: Tyreek Hill
When you take away the All-Pro pass-catcher from this wide receiver corps, it becomes a mostly young, unproven group with the most experience coming from Demarcus Robinson. You would have to bank on young players taking enormous steps forwards in their careers this season, but even then, it may be one of the least talented in the league.
Matt: Tyrann Mathieu
Given his contract situation, Mathieu’s agent is probably thrilled to hear us say that Mathieu is the most irreplaceable player on this defense. What he brings to the team on and off of the field, setting the tone, the leadership, the versatility — he’s the complete package. You don’t have another Mathieu on the roster or arguably anywhere in the league.
A tweet to make you think
In this Kingdom Short, we sit down with general manager Brett Veach to get his perspective on the Draft and much more!— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) June 2, 2021
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