Projected highest-scoring teams
1. Kansas City Chiefs: 479 points
The Chiefs top this category for the fourth consecutive season. In 2019, they were projected for 469 and scored 451. In 2020, they were projected for 470 and scored 473. Last season, I had them at 477 points and they scored 480. Yes, Hill is gone, but the offensive line is elite, Mahomes is throwing the passes (often to Travis Kelce) and Reid is calling the shots. That’s promising.
Kansas City Chiefs (2021 record: 12-5)
Ceiling: 13-4, win Super Bowl
The Chiefs have Andy Reid as their head coach and Patrick Mahomes at quarterback. They’ve won 12 games and advanced to the conference championship game in every year the pair have been together. Why aren’t the Chiefs the team to beat in the AFC with this duo?
Losing Tyreek Hill is a significant loss, but the Chiefs are deeper at wide receiver than last year with JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Mecole Hardman, and Skyy Moore. They also have Travis Kelce at tight end — in case fans forgot. The offensive line is a top-10 unit as well. Kansas City will score points.
The defense has also improved with George Karlaftis aiding Frank Clark and Chris Jones — who is back at defensive tackle. Nick Bolton is a rising star and Trent McDuffie has a lot of potential at cornerback. This unit seems prepared to give the offense short fields by creating turnovers.
The Chiefs are talented once again. Seeing them play in February wouldn’t be a surprise.
Floor: 10-7, lose in divisional round
The Chiefs may have found a long-term starter to play opposite of Frank Clark this year in Karlaftis. He’s generated a lot of buzz over the past two weeks with a sack in back-to-back exhibition games. Kansas City signed defensive end Carlos Dunlap, but the 13th-year veteran could see his snap count drop as the rookie’s workload rises through the season.
Leo Chenal only played in two exhibition games but led the Chiefs in tackles with 10. He’ll round a young promising linebacker corps with Nick Bolton and Willie Gay in the lead spots.
The Chiefs’ pass-catching group features a deep wide receiver unit, so Moore isn’t under immense pressure to contribute right away. He only caught three passes for 23 yards in the preseason and may need a few weeks to adjust on the pro level.
As a seventh-rounder out of Rutgers, Pacheco made the 53-man roster and could take on a decent role. He flashed his playmaking ability with a team-leading 66 rushing yards on 16 carries along with three receptions for 21 yards and three kick returns for 77 yards.
Kansas City should see solid production from this group on both sides of the ball.
2) Patrick Mahomes - Kansas City Chiefs
Simms: ”Already a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer and, to me, one of the greats of the game - he’s already there.
“He is the coolest quarterback in the NFL, and probably the most fun to watch. His creativity and the way he plays is unlike anybody else in the sport. You can watch 10 throws in a row of his and he won’t throw any the same way - side-arm flick, across his body, left-handed, his legs all over the place. But it doesn’t matter.
“And when you have Mahomes, you could be down by a touchdown with only 4.2 seconds left on the clock and yet you’d still feel like you have a chance. It’s Mahomes.”
LB Elijah Lee
Lee was excited about the opening play for his Wildcats. Kansas State WR Malik Knowles took a jet sweep 75 yards for a touchdown to get the game started.
WR Mecole Hardman
Mecole Hardman actually went to the Oregon vs. Georgia game, where he was hanging out on the sideline with Quavo, D’Andre Swift, Richard LeCounte and John Fitzpatrick ahead of the game. It also seems he brought a little Kansas City spirit with him.
Around the NFL
Joining The Rich Eisen Show on Friday, Kupp provided some details on what he’s looking to fine tune in order to maintain that extraordinary success.
“It’s real simple. The name of the game is being bigger, stronger, faster than you were the year before, and then all the stuff you can do cognitively to be able to slow the game down,” Kupp told NFL Network’s Rich Eisen on The Rich Eisen Show Friday. “I feel like that’s the big thing that I built up over these last few months is being able to get to this place where the game is continuing to slow down and you’re able to play of the quieted mind.
“There’s little things, little details here and there within our offense that you want to improve on; angles off the line, the way you’re reading, understanding where guys fit on the second level, and then the run game, being able to take angles off the line of scrimmage to cut off guys appropriately; get a feel for how guys are going to play certain motions and runs based on actions from the front. All that little stuff that’s just the nuanced details you see in there as you play longer and longer you just get a better feel for. At the end of the day, just being a better football player than you were the year before. You get to that place and understand that it’s not about the production. It’s not about what the paper says at the end of the day, it’s what the film says. And I want to go look at film and say I was a better football player than I was in 2021.”
The Bills are trending towards having their first team All Pro S Jordan Poyer on the field Thursday night against the Rams... https://t.co/6gmtcL4ZgF— Field Yates (@FieldYates) September 4, 2022
The Arizona Cardinals extended safety Jalen Thompson on Friday, giving the former supplemental draft pick a long-term deal that will keep him under contract through the 2025 season.
His new deal is worth up to $40 million, including $24.5 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of $10 million, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
Thompson, who was taken out of Washington State in the 2019 supplemental draft, has started 25 of the 37 games he’s played in over the past three seasons. He has become a key part of the Cardinals’ secondary alongside Pro Bowler Budda Baker.
Thompson set career highs with 121 tackles and three interceptions last season.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Armed with 10 draft picks, Veach set out to reinforce his roster with young, inexpensive, athletic players. Last season, the average age of a Chiefs player was 26.1. This year, it’s 25.6.
That may not seem like that much of a change. But it’s the difference between a top 10 oldest and a top 10 youngest roster.
“I think it’s one of those things,” Veach said of the team’s new youth during his press appearance on Wednesday. “I think it’s at the forefront [for] every GM.”
Veach noted that in the NFL, the makeup of the players on the field can change quickly.
“I mean obviously if you have an older roster, it’s on your mind,” he said. “But even if you have a younger roster, it’s on your mind. You’re always a few injuries away from having to bring in vets.”
“I think the ability to have young talent to grow and develop is at the forefront [for] every GM.”
Veach also pointed out that even if you have healthy young players on your team, you always have to be planning for the future.
“You’re always a few good seasons from players signing somewhere else. I think the ability to have young talent to grow and develop is at the forefront [for] every GM — and we were no different.”
A tweet to make you think
If there was an NFL draft right now and every current player was available do you think Mahomes is going 8th? I don’t think so https://t.co/5sdNngRavU— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) September 2, 2022