11 - George Karlaftis
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS DE
Chris Jones and Frank Clark should draw some eyes off the rookie until he establishes himself in the league. During the preseason, Karlaftis showed an ability to win with strength and quickness off the snap.
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury said that both would be game-day decisions.
Golden has been out since the beginning of August with a toe injury.
“We’ll continue to progress him and hopefully Wednesday he can do something,” Kingsbury told reporters Monday.
He added that, even if he doesn’t get a lot of work during the week, Golden could have at least a limited role on Sunday.
“But we’ll see how it plays out.”
Ertz is dealing with a calf strain. Kingsbury said his situation is similar to Golden’s. Kingsbury said he is “day-to-day.”
Again, Wednesday’s practice will be big for Ertz.
12 - Travis Kelce
Kansas City Chiefs · TE
Kelce is one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the game right now. Mahomes’ favorite target, the 6-foot-5, 250-pound tight end is an incredibly reliable pass catcher who always pushes for the extra yard. Kelce has had six straight seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards, and this model of consistency — while sprinkling in a flashy play here and there — is coveted by every offensive coordinator and despised by every defensive one.
The relationship between Murray and the Cardinals feels like it’s at the tipping point and a few ugly losses to start the season could lead to a full implosion and those losses might actually happen. With the Chiefs, Raiders and Rams in the first three weeks of the season, the Cardinals could be in three shootouts to start the year and they won’t have DeAndre Hopkins for any of those games.
Not only do the Cardinals have to deal with all of this, but they also have to play against Patrick Mahomes, who has never lost a regular-season opener. In four seasons as the Chiefs’ starter, he’s 4-0 in Week 1 and the Chiefs have scored an average of 36.25 points in those games. I would predict Kansas City to score 36.25 points on Sunday, but I’m told that’s not mathematically possible in the NFL, so I’ll go with 37.
The pick: Chiefs 37-27 over Cardinals
One of the best of this new era of tight ends, Rob Gronkowski, announced his retirement for a second time in June. He originally retired in 2019 but returned a year later to reunite with his quarterback in New England, Tom Brady. The tandem teamed up in Tampa Bay and won another Super Bowl.
Who knows if this latest retirement will stick. But it’s a good time to measure the accomplished career of ‘Gronk’ with another of the game’s great tight ends: the Chiefs’ Travis Kelce.
Gronkowski, 33, played in 143 NFL games over 11 years. Kelce, 32, has appeared in 127 over nine seasons. As this tale of the tape reveals, their careers to this point have run on parallel tracks (except for Super Bowl appearances).
Kelce 704, Gronk 621
Yards Kelce 9,006, Gronk 9,286
Touchdowns Kelce 57, Gronk 92
Mahomes is the star of the latest commercial from Oakley, shown reading a poem to his daughter Sterling with clips of him through the years rolling through like a slideshow. Photos and never before seen video footage are also shown of Sterling as he continues with his “To My Number One Pick” poem.
“To my number one pick. Welcome to life,” said Mahomes in the new commercial. “You’re already perfect. And here’s some advice: Love the game, whatever you play. Follow your dreams with hard work—every day. Tune out the haters, ignore the chatter, respect every player. Watch out for linebackers who dropped into coverage early, especially on a play-action. Stay focused, stay hungry, be loyal and lead. When the team feels like family, that’s all that you need. There’s only one you, you’ll shine bright as a star. Just lead with your heart in being who you are.”
Around the NFL
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback is now force-feeding that motivation to his new offensive line. Brady said Monday on the first episode of the second season of SiriusXM’s Let’s Go! with Tom Brady, Larry Fitzgerald and Jim Gray that he’s using all the negative questions about his O-line to fuel his teammates.
“I’ve showed it to them and used it as motivation,” Brady said. “Every time someone says they suck, and they can’t do anything, I’ve tried to show it to them. And say, ‘this is what they’re all saying about you. What do you guys think? What are you going to do about it?’ And make sure they know what everyone’s saying. I think that’s important. I think I’ve always used little different spites as motivation for me. And I’m a really motivated person. But it always helps when someone says something that’s not flattering.”
Trubisky, who was voted one of the Steelers’ five captains on Monday, won the job over 2022 first-round pick Kenny Pickett and longtime backup Mason Rudolph.
“We’re just really comfortable with what Mitch has shown us,” Tomlin said. “He’s a guy that came to us with franchise quarterback experience. He’s comfortable in those shoes. He’s been the focal point of a football team, in the organization before. He’s had success in doing so. Like I mentioned, when we acquired him, he took the Bears to the playoffs two out of four years. He has a winning record as a starting quarterback. Those things were attractive to us.
“His athleticism and mobility were attractive to us. He took care of the football in-stadium, all our quarterbacks did.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
The pairing of so many new faces along both sides of the ball with one of the toughest regular season schedules of the Mahomes era and an improved AFC West places Kansas City in unfamiliar territory.
“There are some new players on the team, which makes it exciting,” Reid told reporters as the Chiefs opened training camp at Missouri Western State University on June 22.
“It’s not the same group that has been here probably the last three to four years. There has been a nice influx of really good football players that we look forward to seeing as things heat up here,” he said.
KC’s new influx of free agent talent was met with 10 draftees from the 2022 class, including first rounders Trent McDuffie and George Kalaftis, who enter the upcoming season with high expectations.
Another of the rookies with high expectations is wideout Skyy Moore, who said that the newcomers are guided by the championship culture built by those before them.
“It’s a Super Bowl mentality,” Moore told reporters on one of the final days of training camp. “Every day is going to be a grind. Get better every day and we’re working to win,” he explained.
Securing a trip to the Super Bowl for the third time in four years will require plenty of work for Kansas City. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Chiefs are the first team in league history to open the season with eight straight games against teams that had a winning record in the previous season.
Before we crack on with the rankings, I just want to say that I do have to question the NFL schedulers: Why oh why, do they always schedule awesome matchups in Week 1!?
Hear me out — we’ve been starved of pro football for so long that we would all have happily sat down and watched the Geno Smith-led Seahawks against the “Washington Whatever-They’re-Calleds” this Sunday. I’ve never truly understood it.
Anyways, small rant over — let’s get on to these rankings.
This week’s voters were Ron Kopp Jr, Jared Sapp, Stephen Serda, Rocky Magana, Talon Graff, Bryan Stewart and myself.
Will this be the year Buffalo finally wins something other than the preseason-hype title?
Aaron Donald is hoping the next time he wields things in both hands, the items will be two Lombardi trophies.
A tweet to make you think
#23: The Super Bowl is also a rematch, this one of Super Bowl LIV, and it’ll have the same result. Chiefs over 49ers. The 49ers are vindicated in their faith in Trey Lance & Mahomes gets redemption after last year’s AFCCG.— nick wright (@getnickwright) September 6, 2022