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Arrowheadlines: Chiefs begin playoffs as favorites to win AFC Championship

Chiefs headlines for Monday, January 10.

Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

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Super Bowl odds 2022: Packers, Chiefs open playoffs as favorites to win Super Bowl 56 | Sporting News

The Chiefs, who were the favorites during most of the offseason and before the season, have climbed back up to the No. 2 spot. They began the year slowly, posting a 4-4 record in their first eight games, but they won eight straight games after that and finished the season with a 12-5 record.

Kansas City is the AFC favorite, but they aren’t the No. 1 seed in the conference. That right belongs to the Titans, who also finished the year with a 12-5 record. Despite their perch atop the AFC, Tennessee’s Super Bowl odds are only +850 compared to Kansas City’s +500.

Watch Chiefs’ Harrison Butker keep eating it trying to kick | FanSided

Though it’s a hilarious scene to watch someone try to do arguably the most routine part of their job and keep, quite literally, falling flat on their back, it should be noted that this could be a bit dangerous.

With those types of slick conditions, it could be easy for Butker or any kicker to potentially injure themselves by planting their leg hard and having it slide out from under them in a bad way.

Thankfully, that didn’t seem to be the case with Butker, which means we can all keep chuckling at the Chiefs kicker making the kicking game just a little bit more physically taxing than it normally is.

Chiefs Defensive Tackle Chris Jones Must Be Sick After Barely Falling Short Of $1.25 Million Bonus | BroBible

Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones fell gut-wrenchingly short of one of his incentives. He must be really bent out of shape this morning.

The 2016 second-round NFL Draft pick signed a 4 year, $80,000,000 contract with the Kansas City Chiefs, including $60,000,000 guaranteed in 2020. Of the $20,000,000 that is not guaranteed, $1.25 million is paid out based on his total sacks in a single season.

If Jones reached 10 sacks in the 2021/22 season, he would get paid out the money. He even had an extra game to get there and got really, really close.

Through the first 16 games of the year, Jones recorded nine sacks. Entering Saturday’s game against the Broncos, he needed just one more sack to earn an additional $1.25 million.

He didn’t get there. Jones had two total tackles and two pass defenses, but no sacks.

Raiders very likely to conduct GM search; former Browns, Chiefs GM John Dorsey a top candidate | CBS Sports

General manager Mike Mayock has had a difficult run of draft selections, with many top picks playing sparingly or out of the league entirely already, and the Raiders are looking to make changes on that side of the building, sources said. Two first round picks, Henry Ruggs III and Damon Arnette, were let go during the season for violations of the personal conduct policy. (Ruggs is facing criminal DUI charges from an accident in which the driver of another vehicle was killed.) Sources said Mayock was nearly let go a year ago when Jon Gruden was still overseeing the organization.

John Dorsey, former general manager of the Chiefs and the Browns, is someone expected to get strong consideration for the job, according to several general mangers who are keeping close tabs on that situation. Should the Raiders opt to make a head coaching move, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh and Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles are among those expected to merit serious consideration.

2022 NFL regular-season opponents for every team | ESPN

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Home: Broncos, Raiders, Chargers, Jaguars, Titans, Rams, Seahawks and Bills

Away: Broncos, Raiders, Chargers, Texans, Colts, 49ers, Cardinals, Bengals and Buccaneers

Patrick Mahomes trolls New York Giants’ Daniel Jones in interview | FanSided

The Chiefs took down the Broncos to secure home-field advantage through the playoffs in Week 18. Kansas City won in large part to their rookie linebacker Nick Bolton’s scoop and score touchdown from inside the Chiefs’ 10-yard line to win the game. Bolton ran the length of the entire field and kept his composure to stay up and find the end zone.

When interviewed after the game, Patrick Mahomes joked with ESPN’s Laura Rutledge about how “I thought he was gonna go down… He almost went forward. No offense to Daniel Jones, but he almost gave ‘em one of those.”

Around the NFL

Resilient Raiders pushed to limit, but find a way to make playoffs with OT win over Chargers | Yahoo! Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders had been through everything by the time they got to overtime on Sunday night. Long before their winner-take-all game against the Los Angeles Chargers. Definitely in the final five minutes of regulation and overtime against the Chargers.

The resilience the Raiders showed to make the playoffs was remarkable. Interim coach Rich Bisaccia, who might be an underrated coach of the year candidate, led the Raiders to five wins in their past seven games, including a thrilling winner-take-all matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday night. The Raiders won 35-32 in overtime with a field goal as time expired to get an AFC wild-card spot, despite multiple fourth-down conversions by Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert and a touchdown to Mike Williams with no time on the clock in regulation that forced overtime.

Starting over … again: Broncos fire coach Vic Fangio after three losing seasons | The Denver Post

And so the spinning-their-wheels Broncos go back to the drawing board to find their fifth coach in nine years. general manager George Paton will run the search, which is expected to include a mix of candidates with previous head-coaching experience and current offensive and defensive coordinators.

“You can’t keep recycling coaches and expect to sustain a winning culture,” Paton said during a video news conference. “But we’re going to get it right with this search, I can guarantee you that.”

Every coaching search is critical, but this one is of even greater importance than normal to the Broncos, who had three home games this year with at least 10,000 no-shows. They need to win back the fans who have stopped showing up.

“Frustration levels have reached an all-time high for everyone,” president/CEO Joe Ellis said.

Indianapolis Colts in disbelief after season ends with loss to Jacksonville Jaguars: ‘A bad, bad feeling’ | ESPN

“You’re tired of looking for help,” Colts linebacker Darius Leonard said. “Always looking for help when we can’t help ourselves. We go into a game, this team [Jacksonville] is 2-14, not taking anything away from them, but how do we expect to win or want to get in if we can’t even beat the team we were supposed to beat?”

The Colts used the word “shock” countless times during their postgame news conferences. That’s because they didn’t think their season would end Sunday.

They rebounded from an 0-3 and a 1-4 start to the season to become one of the hottest teams in the NFL, a team that had seven players named to the Pro Bowl and the type of team some said could go deep in the playoffs.

“Never expected to be sitting here at this moment right now, not like this,” Colts coach Frank Reich said with a look of disbelief on his face. “We just didn’t get it done, coaching or playing.”

Steelers’ T.J. Watt matches Michael Strahan’s NFL single-season sack record | CBS Sports

T.J. Watt has joined Michael Strahan in the NFL record books. The Steelers’ All-Pro pass rusher has tied Strahan’s 20-year-old record for sacks in a single season. Watt, who entered Sunday with 21.5 sacks, tied Strahan’s record after sacking Tyler Huntley with under 30 seconds left in the first half of Pittsburgh’s Week 18 showdown in Baltimore.

Watt matched Strahan’s record despite missing two games earlier this season while dealing with groin and rib injuries. Watt, who led the NFL with 15 sacks in 2020, matched Reggie White’s NFL record earlier this season after recording his fourth consecutive season with at least 13 sacks. In last week’s win over the Browns, Watt joined White and older brother J.J. Watt as the only players to have at least 70 sacks in their first five seasons.

Rams WR Cooper Kupp captures receiving triple crown | NFL.com

The Los Angeles Rams wide receiver captured the receiving triple crown, becoming the first player since 2005 to lead the NFL in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.

Kupp’s final line of statistical splendor reads: 145 receptions, 1,947 receiving yards; 16 receiving touchdowns. His marks for catches and yards are each the second-most in NFL history.

Kupp is only the fourth player since 1970 to achieve the rare feat, joining Jerry Rice (San Francisco 49ers, 1990), Sterling Sharpe (Green Bay Packers, 1992) and the last player previous to Kupp to claim a triple crown, Steve Smith (Carolina Panthers, 2005).

In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride

Mecole Hardman stepped up with Tyreek Hill limited

In his absence for much of the game, third-year wideout Mecole Hardman stepped up. Hardman caught eight balls for 103 yards, marking the first game in Hardman’s career that he reached more than 100 yards receiving.

Hardman understands there’s a different mindset you have to display when walking into the top wide receiver role.

“You definitely got to flip that switch,” he stressed. “But even when your role isn’t that high, you still want to be locked in mentally. Whenever you get a chance to catch the ball or an opportunity presents itself, you want to be ready. In that kind of situations, it’s different, so you definitely got to have an extra boost knowing that you’re going to be targeted a little bit more — and the team is going to need you a little bit more. So, it’s definitely a little bit more pressure on you going into the game. But I was ready for the challenge, and we came out with the good win today.”

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