20-0?: Kansas City Chiefs
Super Bowl odds: Chiefs +500
Wright’s thoughts: ”The 20-0 watch is officially on. If the Chiefs aren’t gonna lose that game. What game are they gonna lose?”
Kansas City Chiefs (-3.5) at Baltimore Ravens
Kansas City Chiefs -3.5
The Ravens are playing on a short week after losing Monday night to the Raiders on the road, which makes this a tougher challenge. The Chiefs beat the Browns last week, but it wasn’t easy. This won’t be either. But the Ravens love to blitz and Patrick Mahomes will carve that decision to do so to shreds. Lamar Jackson will keep it close, but in the end the Chiefs will pull away.
Pick: Chiefs 33, Ravens 28
1 - Patrick Mahomes
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS QB
Mr. Reliable. His ability to glide in and around the pocket, effortlessly slinging the ball with poise, is never not a joy to watch. It doesn’t matter if the Chiefs are down three or 23; he’s got the stuff to leave with the “W.”
9. Steve Spagnuolo, Chiefs defensive coordinator
While Spagnuolo failed as a head coach with the Rams from 2009-2011, there are few more accomplished defensive coordinators in the history of the league. He’s won the Super Bowl with two different organizations, helping halt the Patriots’ perfect season in 2007 and turning around the Chiefs defense in 2019. Spags has overseen a successful transition to the 4-3 in KC, helping the defense rank in the top 10 in points scored in consecutive seasons.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
Do the Kansas City Chiefs really need more weapons? Between Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, Patrick Mahomes is able to operate at a high level. However, it is noteworthy how much of a drop-off there is in production outside of Mahomes’ favorite two targets. Mecole Hardman has been a disappointment, while the rest of the receiving room is mediocre at best.
Gordon gives the Chiefs a nice deep threat that spreads out the field even more. Mahomes is uncanny in the pocket and would find Gordon streaking down the sideline with no problem. This would also allow for Hill and Kelce to get open more often as if they need that help. Look for Kansas City to potentially show interest, as the front office failed to sign any new receivers in the offseason.
Which team should be most worried after Week 1?
Graziano: The Baltimore Ravens don’t tend to worry, but I think it’s OK if we worry about them. John Harbaugh is the kind of coach who can steer his team through rough patches, and I’m sure he will. But the personnel losses are just getting to be too much to handle. They felt cornerback Marcus Peters’ absence on the back end of the defense when the Raiders figured out the zero-blitzes. The young running back, Ty’Son Williams (nine carries, 65 yards), ran the ball well but was a problem in pass protection. Another offensive lineman — left guard Tyre Phillips — went down with an injury. The Ravens are a deep team and a well-run organization, but that depth is being tested a lot earlier in the season than they surely expected it to be.
Around the NFL
But the Steelers stopped it on Sunday, and it may seem obvious that the dip in the Bills’ offense was the result of a dip in Allen’s play. But that wasn’t the case at all.
I can make the entire argument in just a paragraph. The Steelers blitzed the Bills once on Sunday, per Sports Info Solutions—and yet, they pressured Allen on 22 of his 51 dropbacks (39 percent). Let’s safely assume that the Bills will never surrender as much pressure to so few rushers ever again, and sail off into the sunset certain that Allen will return to his previous heights. Thanks for reading. Be sure to drop a like and smash that subscribe button.
Of course, football is never that neat. But few, if any, quarterbacks would succeed in this context. For comparison’s sake: the Buccaneers blitzed Patrick Mahomes on only three of 56 dropbacks (5 percent) in the Super Bowl, and pressured him on 25 dropbacks (45 percent). We all remember how that went. That Allen struggled under these circumstances is expected, not worrisome.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday that McCoy suffered a season-ending injury, per sources informed of the situation. The Raiders announced the DT sustained a knee injury during Monday Night Football.
It’s the latest blow to the 33-year-old former Pro Bowler. McCoy missed all of 2020 after rupturing his quad in practice with the Dallas Cowboys. McCoy played nine snaps as a reserve DT in the Raiders’ opening-game win over the Baltimore Ravens before being carted off with an injury.
The Jacksonville Jaguars coach said Wednesday that there was “no chance” he’d leave the NFL for that job, which came open when USC fired coach Clay Helton on Monday.
“I’m here and committed to try to build an organization,” Meyer said.
Earlier this month Meyer had also said he doesn’t miss recruiting.
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski avoided being coy in the lead-up to Cleveland’s second game of the season, telling reporters Wednesday that Beckham will not play Sunday against the Houston Texans.
Beckham was questionable up until the inactives list was released for Sunday’s eventual 33-29 loss to Kansas City. The star receiver ended up spending the game in street clothes on the sideline as the Browns battled with the Chiefs in a thrilling season-opening affair.
Lawrence, 29, exited practice early, landing on the Cowboys’ practice report as a limited participant with a foot injury. Further examination revealed the extent of the injury that will keep him from participating in Dallas’ Week 2 game against the Chargers and beyond, as Lawrence broke the fifth-metatarsal in his foot and it will require surgery that, if all goes well, should allow him to return in November, Rapoport added.
The injury occurred on a routine pass rush, per NFL Network’s Jane Slater, who reported “nothing remarkable” happened when Lawrence was injured, according to a source.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
To be fair, those two players typically see the lion’s share of passing targets; it’s just that their proportion was higher than usual on Sunday. Given that the offseason gave us no clear answer on how the Chiefs plan to replace the production of now-departed wideout Sammy Watkins, that raises concerns.
But according to quarterback Patrick Mahomes, it was just a matter of how the game played out.
“To me, it’s just kind of going through the reads of the game and seeing what the defense kind of gives you,” he told reporters on Wednesday, as he and his teammates prepared for this week’s matchup with the Baltimore Ravens. “This last week, they kind of left the middle of the field a little bit open, so I was able to hit Tyreek and Trav over the middle a lot.”
Mahomes said that it isn’t likely to be that way in every week of the season — particularly during this week’s Sunday Night Football game in Baltimore.
“As we get into games like this week, where they play more man coverage — I’m sure they’ll have a plan for Tyreek and Trav — that’ll give other guys more opportunities. We have play-calls for every single person. They know in every single play, they have a chance of getting the ball.”
A tweet to make you think
"There's nothing like watching a good rushing touchdown... but you know what's more fun than that? Watching Patrick Mahomes throw the football."— Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) September 15, 2021
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