Most Valuable Player
Kansas City Chiefs · QB
Mahomes (16 votes) easily outdistanced the runner-up, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (6.5).
So, why does Mahomes get the nod?
“Why not? He’s the best quarterback in the league,” said an AFC executive. “Hurts is having a great year. [But Mahomes] has got 35 touchdown [passes]. They win. They’ve got a lot of weapons, but he’s just so different.”
Mahomes leads the NFL in passing yards (4,496) and passing touchdowns, putting him well on pace to record the eighth season in NFL history with 5,000 yards and 40 TDs — something he also did in 2018, when he won the MVP. The Chiefs have the NFL’s No. 1 scoring offense (29.6 points per game) and total offense (429.4 yards per game), with an NFL high in third-down percentage (51.2) and yards per play (6.5) despite the shocking trade that sent star receiver Tyreek Hill to Miami back in March.
“The games when he is really on it, they’re unbeatable. And it’s him,” another AFC exec said. “You could argue Hurts and Allen, but whatever receivers they roll into K.C., he makes it work.”
Meanwhile, Hurts has 35 total touchdowns — 22 passing, 13 rushing — and just seven giveaways, the best ratio in the NFL. He’s also the youngest quarterback (24) in NFL history to lead his team to 13 wins in its first 14 games. A sprained throwing shoulder clouds his status in the short term, which could impact his MVP candidacy but shouldn’t detract from what he has accomplished.
Bills quarterback Josh Allen (2 votes), Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (1) and Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson (0.5) also received votes.
Kansas City Chiefs
First-round offensive tackle: Orlando Brown has taken a step back in his contract year and keeping Patrick Mahomes upright is always a top priority. Securing a talented and affordable offensive tackle is exactly what the Chiefs need to stay in contention for a long time.
For the second time this season, a player has been fined for an unnecessary roughness penalty on Kansas City Chiefs WR JuJu Smith-Schuster. This time around, the penalty was actually called on the opponent on the field.
According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the league has levied a $21,218 fine for unnecessary roughness against Houston Texans S Jalen Pitre. The fine stems from a big hit in the third quarter from Pitre, it came just a few plays before Smith-Schuster fumbled, which ended the drive and led to a Houston touchdown. Pitre was hit with a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness on the play.
Around the NFL
The NFL suspended New York Jets wide receivers coach Miles Austin for violating the league’s gambling policy, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Rich Cimini. Schefter added the suspension was for at least one year.
Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported that there’s no confirmation Austin bet on NFL games and that he might have wagered on other sporting events, which is also prohibited.
Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 Houston shared a statement from Austin’s lawyer, Bill Deni, who said his client “[wagered] from a legal mobile account on table games and non-NFL professional sports.” Austin is appealing the punishment:
This is the second notable suspension within the last year for a gambling-related offense. Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley was banned through at least the 2022 season after he bet on games during the 2021 campaign.
Cowboys exact revenge for loss as script flips for backup QBs
Earlier this season, the Cowboys went into Philadelphia with their backup quarterback and played a relatively close game, but still came out of it with a loss. A big factor in that loss was Cooper Rush throwing three interceptions, two of which led to scores. This time around, the Eagles come into Dallas with their backup quarterback, as Gardner Minshew will start in place of the injured Jalen Hurts. The bet here is that the Cowboys get the win this time, with Minshew struggling to get untracked against a Dallas defense that has been excellent for most of the season but vulnerable of late.
The Titans’ starting quarterback, who is out for Saturday’s game against the Texans after suffering an ankle injury last week in a loss to the Chargers, is doing everything he can to play in what could end up being a win-or-go-home game against the Jaguars in Week 18, sources say. While various reports have considered him done for the season, Tannehill is pushing to try to make that not the case.
To that point, sources say Tannehill traveled to Birmingham, Ala. this week to undergo a tightrope surgical procedure on his injured ankle to give himself at least a chance at being on the field to help fight for Tennessee’s playoff lives. Tannehill was at the Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopedic Center, where Dr. Norman Waldrop, the foot-and-ankle specialist who is one of the nation’s experts on the procedure, operated on his high ankle sprain.
While the recovery time for this type of procedure can vary, a best-case scenario can have a player back on the field in about three weeks, which is what gives Tannehill hope he can return for Week 18.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
3. A record-breaking start to the game
Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes completed the final 20 passes he attempted in the Week 15 win over the Houston Texans (+3.5). With that in mind, a good start to Saturday’s game could land him with another all-time record.
Only three quarterbacks have ever completed 25 consecutive pass attempts — which is the NFL record. It was last done by former Philadelphia Eagles (+4)’ quarterback Nick Foles in 2018;he tied marks by Phillip Rivers and Ryan Tannehill.
So if the opening script can produce six completions without any hiccups in between, it could become a record-breaking game quickly. It also would be nice; the Chiefs’ offense has sputtered in the first quarter in each of its last two games.
They have not scored a first-quarter touchdown since Week 12 against the Los Angeles Rams (+3), an uncharacteristic stat for the Chiefs and head coach Andy Reid.