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Arrowheadlines: Improvements in run game could lead to Mahomes’ personal stats taking a hit

Chiefs headlines for Wednesday, August 11.

Kansas City Chiefs v Buffalo Bills Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

The latest

Why Patrick Mahomes will go under on passing yards, TD prop bets for 2021 NFL season | DraftKings Nation

Patrick Mahomes player props for 2021 NFL season

5,050 passing yds (Under -115, Over -115)

Our pick: Under

While Mahomes is clearly one of the best QBs of our generation, 5,050 is a big number. Even throughout his short but illustrious career, he’s only thrown for over 5,000 yards once back in 2018. He lost one of his wideouts in Sammy Watkins as well. While he wasn’t a primary option, he still provided solid depth that isn’t there anymore. The KC run game is expected to take a step forward with Clyde Edwards Helaire entering his second season in the NFL.

Mahomes will still get a ton of yards passing, but it won’t be this much.

39.5 passing TDs (Under-140, Over+110)

Our pick: Under

Again, here’s an example of those high expectations showing themselves. This one is a bit more realistic, though. While he’s only gone over 39.5 once in his career, back in 2018, he came close last season with 38. Mahomes isn’t going to turn the ball over a lot, so he’ll have plenty of TD chances, but they need a true No. 3 pass catcher behind Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill if he’s going to eclipse 40 TDs. Right now, they don’t have that.

Chiefs CB L’Jarius Sneed confident in expanded role as a starter | Chiefs Wire

“I feel great,” Sneed told reporters, “I learned a lot (last season), what to do and what not to do now. I’ve been working all offseason, so it’s going to be a great year for me.”

Another quality season from Sneed could be what puts Kansas City’s overhauled defense over the top, and expectations are high from coaches and fans alike. Between his personal contributions and the greater success of his team on the cusp of another championship, Sneed seems unperturbed by the mounting anticipation of the upcoming season.

“There’s a lot of pressure on me,” he told the media, “but (I) tend not to pay attention to it. (I) just do what I do and play football.”

Overall, he says the team’s defense is starting to take form, too.

“We’re coming along, we’re coming together,” he said. “We’re building every day, and I think we get better day by day.”

Top 10 offensive tackles entering 2021 NFL season | NFL.com

7 - Orlando Brown

Kansas City Chiefs · LT

Brown replaces the departed Eric Fisher at left tackle for a Chiefs front that’s looking to improve from its last on-field performance, in Super Bowl LV. He primarily played right tackle in Baltimore but switched to Lamar Jackson’s blindside midway through last season after Ronnie Stanley went down with an ankle injury — and he proved he was up for the task, not allowing a single sack or QB hit at left tackle in Weeks 9-17, according to PFF. Brown’s size (6-foot-8, 345 pounds) makes it look like he’s barely trying at everything he does. The only way to beat him is to run around him — and he knows it! He uses patient technique to force rushers around the edge, then leans on his good short-area quickness to accelerate and push the rusher past the quarterback. Brown should be a great addition in Kansas City.

Twitter map shows much of the U.S. picks Kansas City Chiefs to win Super Bowl LVI | Kansas City Star

In the past two weeks, the NFL writers at sportsinsider.com tracked geotagged Twitter data from all 50 states. All told, 190,000 tweets were examined.

They looked for “tweets, hashtags, and direct keyword phrases about Super Bowl 56 (LVI) and the team most associated with those tweets in every state. For example, #SuperBowlLVI, Super Bowl LVI prediction, Super Bowl 56 winner, etc.,” according to a news release.

It’s not the most scientific method, of course, but these Twitter maps are fun if for no other reason than to see the New England area has more faith that quarterback Tom Brady and the Buccaneers will win the Super Bowl than the Patriots.

Chiefs: 18 states

Ranking the NFL’s most likely worst-to-first teams in 2021: Barnwell on the 49ers, Jaguars, Eagles, Broncos and more | ESPN

5. Denver Broncos

Chances of winning the AFC West, per FPI: 12.9%

Speaking of things standing in the way of an unlikely title, any conversation about the Broncos winning the AFC West would seemingly start and end with Patrick Mahomes, who has gone 38-8 as a starter and led the Chiefs to three consecutive division titles. Kansas City is projected to win this division 71.8% of the time, the highest rate of any team.

Stranger things have happened, though. I’ll repeat the story of the most unlikely division title in league history: In 2007, the Patriots went 16-0, finishing 15 games ahead of the Dolphins. The Patriots were lucky in close games and the Dolphins were unlucky, but that wasn’t going to make up a 15-game difference. You might remember what happened next: The Patriots lost Tom Brady to a torn left ACL in the 2008 opener, while the Dolphins rode salary-cap casualty Chad Pennington to one of just two 16-game seasons. Miami ended New England’s 21-game regular-season winning streak when it introduced the wildcat formation in Week 3 and eventually won a three-way tiebreaker at 11-5 to claim the AFC East.

Jody Fortson impressing Kansas City Chiefs coaches with switch to tight end | Hutchinson News

“Jody has really stepped up,” Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub said. “He put on like 20 pounds of muscle and you can see it in his play.

“He’s playing a lot bigger, he’s playing with a lot more confidence, and the same thing is going on special teams. He’s holding up guys stronger. He doesn’t look like a wide receiver anymore; he looks like a tight end.”

Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy agreed.

“Jody is doing a heck of a job,” Bieniemy said. “Obviously, he’s benefiting because he’s had an offseason where he can go out there and work. And then, on top of that, he has an opportunity to come back after going through that process of having the offseason, the OTAs (organized team activities) and going out here for training camp.”

ESPN’s Mike Greenberg: Titans will win AFC if Chiefs don’t | Titans Wire

Greenberg was back at it showing his support for the Titans in an episode of ESPN’s “Get Up,” saying Tennessee will win the AFC if the Kansas City Chiefs don’t.

Of course, he was met with objection from two of the analysts, but that didn’t stop him from going in on his take, and he did get some backing from former NFL executive Mike Tannenbaum, who likes what the Titans did on defense.

Around the NFL

Drew Lock to start Broncos’ preseason opener; Teddy Bridgewater will open second game | NFL.com

Vic Fangio told reporters Tuesday that Lock will start Saturday’s preseason opener against Minnesota. The coach added Bridgewater would start the following week against Seattle.

Throughout camp, little has separated the two signal-callers, with each reportedly having their ups and downs amid the heated battle. Fangio added that Lock received the first start of the preseason because he’s been with the team longer.

The coach noted that each would get reps with the first team during joint practices with the Vikings ahead of this week’s preseason tilt.

Fangio said that both Bridgewater and Lock would play more than a quarter in their starts due to the preseason lasting only three games this season, per Troy Renck of Denver7.

Green Bay Packers’ preseason to be Jordan Love’s show as Aaron Rodgers likely to sit out | ESPN

Coach Matt LaFleur said Tuesday that quarterback Aaron Rodgers will “most likely not” play at all in the preseason. That likely has little or nothing to do with Rodgers’ offseason, in which he voiced concerns about the organization and skipped the entire spring program. Rodgers simply hasn’t played much at all in recent preseasons.

In 2019, when LaFleur took over, Rodgers was slated to play in the third preseason game only, but that was the game in which there were concerns over the field conditions in Winnipeg and the Packers ended up not playing him. There were no preseason games last year.

Indianapolis Colts’ Sam Ehlinger now splitting QB reps with Jacob Eason | ESPN

Indianapolis Colts rookie Sam Ehlinger has closed the gap against Jacob Eason to be the team’s starting quarterback if Carson Wentz is not ready for the start of the regular season.

Ehlinger, who was selected in the sixth round of this year’s draft, split first-team practice snaps with Eason in practice Tuesday, and will continue to do so in Thursday and Friday’s joint practices against the Carolina Panthers.

“Against the Panthers in the game [on Sunday], I won’t try to split like that,” coach Frank Reich said. “We’ll just let one guy go. Jacob will probably start and Sam will probably come in whenever.”

Ravens first-round pick Rashod Bateman leaves practice with limp and apparent injury, per report | CBS Sports

The injury occurred in one-on-one drills against veteran cornerback Marcus Peters, when Bateman made a cut on a route and then went down in noticeable pain. It’s a cause for very real concern as he undergoes evaluation, and especially with the Ravens having drafted him to help upgrade their mostly unimpressive WR corps.

In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride

Back for another season, Marcus Kemp just wants to help the Chiefs succeed

“Having him back is great,” said Chiefs head coach Andy Reid at the time. “He’s a great kid. I’m so glad that he’s back now because he was playing the best football he had ever played since we’d had him here when he got hurt. It was a shame that that happened, and now he’s getting a chance to come back — it looks like he’s worked his tail off.”

Unfortunately for Kemp, the Chiefs were short on roster spots in 2020. He played in just 10 games — in several cases, by being elevated from the practice squad — and getting only 37% of the special-teams snaps. After a late-season stint with the Miami Dolphins, he returned to the Chiefs for the postseason — and played in his first Super Bowl.

Now back for his fifth season with the team, he talked about that experience as he spoke to reporters after Tuesday’s training camp practice in St. Joseph, Missouri.

“It’s a dream, obviously. I’ve been dreaming about it since I was a kid,” he said. “So I enjoy the moment. You learn how tough it is to get there. The game is just a game, really; you’re just playing football. But when you look back on the process it took to get there — and how tough it was to go through the season and then go through the playoffs and then you’re finally there — that’s more what I learned about it: about how tough (and how much work) it really takes to get to that point.”

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