Ahead of their Week 13 bout on Sunday, Bengals receiver Tyler Boyd sees shades of the Peyton Manning-Tom Brady rivalry that dominated the early 2000s.
“It’s going back to that quarterback fight. I look at it like Manning and Brady,” Boyd said Monday, via the team’s official website. “You can’t stop them. It comes down to whoever excels and takes advantage of their opportunities in drives and scores points. These are the types of games that we have to take care of the football and not turn it over.”
Since Manning retired, many combinations have been dubbed the next Manning-Brady (most involving Mahomes). However, we’re still far from an annual rivalry reaching those lofty heights.
Burrow’s Bengals are 2-0 against Mahomes’ Chiefs in the infancy stage of their head-to-head competition.
Boyd smirked when asked which one was Brady and which might be Manning in this comparison.
“It’s Burrow and Mahomes. I wouldn’t compare them,” Boyd said. “Those are two guys with records for fastest two quarterbacks to reach 10,000 yards. It’s hard to stop Burrow and hard to stop Mahomes. At the end of the day, Burrow is two up. Whichever one you want to pick, whoever got the most wins, there you go.”
Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs (-160)
Patrick Mahomes already has one MVP in his trophy case and currently has the inside track to a second.
The 27-year-old has guided the Kansas City Chiefs to a 9-2 record—the best in the AFC heading into Week 13—while completing 66.1 percent of his passes for 3,585 yards and 29 touchdowns against eight interceptions.
It’s arguably Mahomes’ most impressive campaign yet, given the challenges the Kansas City offense had to face after trading Tyreek Hill early in the offseason.
If the Chiefs keep winning and Mahomes can continue his current pace for the remainder of the season, his team will earn the top seed in the conference, and he’ll finish with a record-setting 5,540 yards in addition to a whopping 45 touchdowns.
Those numbers should lock up the MVP hardware, but he does have some close competition over the final third of the campaign.
The Bengals will wear orange jerseys and black pants with orange stripes on Sunday against the Chiefs.
The Bengals wore orange last season when they hosted the Chiefs at Paycor Stadium in Week 17. They beat Kansas City to clinch their first AFC North Championship since 2015. They’re hoping for similar results on Sunday.
3. Ten different players caught a pass for the Chiefs on Sunday.
Mahomes spread the football around to 10 different targets on Sunday, those being Travis Kelce (4 catches for 57 yards), wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling (4 catches for 56 yards), wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (3 catches for 38 yards), wide receiver Skyy Moore (5 catches for 36 yards), tailback Jerick McKinnon (3 catches for 26 yards), wide receiver Justin Watson (2 catches for 26 yards), tight end Jody Fortson (2 catches for 26 yards), tailback Ronald Jones (1 catch for 22 yards), tailback Isiah Pacheco (1 catch for 17 yards) and tight end Noah Gray (2 catches for 16 yards).
Jones’ reception – a 22-yard catch-and-run – made him the 12th player to catch a pass of at least 20 yards for Kansas City this season. No other team has a higher tally.
The Miami Dolphins’ Tyreek Hill, who Smith-Schuster has helped replace on the Chiefs, leads all NFL wide receivers with a contract that averages $30 million. The top 14 highest-paid receivers all make at least $20 million a year.
Smith-Schuster is a good receiver but not in that top tier.
But with the way wide receiver salaries are skyrocketing, including record-setting deals by Hill and Davante Adams last year, one would think that Smith-Schuster could get at least $15 million on the open market.
The Chiefs have struggled to stop the pass this year, which is why Burrow could be in for a big day. The Chiefs are one of 12 teams that have surrendered more than 230 yards per game through the air this year and of those 12 teams, Burrow has faced five of them. In those games, Burrow has averaged 324.7 yards and 2.2 touchdown passes per game. Basically, if your defense struggles to stop the pass, Burrow will find a way to exploit it.
On the other hand, the Bengals have been Mahomes’ personal Kryptonite. Since the start of the 2019 season, Mahomes has a record of 33-3 in the months of November, December and January: He’s 0-2 against the Bengals and 33-1 against everyone else.
Also, Mahomes has a career record of 44-4 in any game where the Chiefs have a 14-point lead: He’s 0-2 against the Bengals and 44-2 against everyone else. Some things in life just aren’t meant to be: I can’t eat pizza with my right hand, Derek Zoolander can’t turn left and Patrick Mahomes can’t beat the Bengals.
if the Chiefs do win, I’m giving all the credit to Mahomes’ new baby.
Win or lose on Sunday, at least the Chiefs know that they’re now set at quarterback for the next four decades.
The pick: Bengals 30-27 over Chiefs
Creed Humphrey, C, Kansas City Chiefs: Humphrey’s pass block win rate of 97.6% ranks third overall in the NFL this year. He’s a nuanced technician who brings key intangibles to the middle of the Chiefs’ offensive front, and he hasn’t allowed a sack yet this season. — Bowen
Around the NFL
Speaking on the injury for the first time since it happened during Buffalo’s Thanksgiving Day game, Miller said on “The VonCast” that he did not tear his ACL and that the injury could have been better and could have been worse.
“I do have some lateral meniscus damage and it’s going to have to be addressed,” Miller said on the podcast. “But I do feel like I can, you know, play through that, so I’m just gonna wait a little bit, and let the swelling go down for about 7-10 days and, hopefully, right before the Jets game I will be back.”
The Bills host the Jets in Week 14.
Miller also shared on his podcast that free-agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., Miller’s close friend and teammate last year with the Los Angeles Rams, is coming to visit the Bills on Friday.
The NFL’s interception leader will miss time, but isn’t expected to be sidelined for the rest of the 2022 campaign.
Philadelphia Eagles safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson suffered a lacerated kidney in Sunday’s win over the Green Bay Packers, NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported Monday, per sources informed of the situation.
Pelissero added that it’s a non-surgical injury, and there is no timetable as testing continues, but it’s not expected to be season-ending for C.J.G.J.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
2. Chiefs’ passing with heavier personnel
One of the themes of this season has been the Chiefs’ usage of heavier personnel on offense. When the Chiefs traded Hill, the Chiefs pushed their offense to be less spread-oriented and more focused on putting more tight ends on the field. That shift has been reflected in the numbers.
The Chiefs have already used 75 snaps of 13 personnel (three tight ends and one running back) this year, which is around 10% of their snaps. This doubles the frequency from last year. Their 12 personnel (two tight ends and one running back) has seen an uptick in frequency this year at 27%, the highest since 2019. The Chiefs are using 11 personnel (one tight end and one running back) on only 57% of their snaps, the lowest since quarterback Patrick Mahomes has started.
When you use heavier personnel, that generally means less passing, but the Chiefs don’t follow that tendency. Their 13-personnel pass rate is 59%, and their 12-personnel pass rate is 64%. For comparison, the 2021 Las Vegas Raiders had a 49% pass rate out of 13 personnel, which was the highest in football. The 2021 Cleveland Browns had the highest 13 personnel rate in the NFL at 17% but passed only 36% of the time.
This number remains consistent with 12 personnel. Only the 2021 Atlanta Falcons had a higher passing frequency than the 2022 Chiefs out of 12 personnel. The Falcons had a pass rate of 65% out of 12 personnel, while also using it 27% of the time.
What the Chiefs are doing with heavier personnel isn’t normal for the league. They’re passing out of heavier personnel but to great success. They’re averaging .13 expected points added (EPA) per play in 12 personnel, and a staggering .36 EPA per play in 13 personnel. For reference, the Chiefs’ offense averages .196 EPA per play, the best in the NFL.
The Chiefs are forcing teams to put heavier bodies on the field to match personnel, and have shredded teams through the air when they do that.
A tweet to make you think
Bengals week is the week Trent McDuffie was drafted for— Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp) November 28, 2022