Win AFC: 38.2%
AFC NO. 1 SEED | 14-3
Odds to win Super Bowl: +340
Odds to win conference: +160
Previously known as more of a big-game hunter with the electric Tyreek Hill at his disposal, Patrick Mahomes has diced up defenses with the short game this season. In fact, on passes that travel fewer than 10 air yards, Mahomes leads the NFL with a 115.4 passer rating and 31 touchdowns — that latter figure set a record for the Next Gen Stats era (since 2016). Mahomes also produced six passing touchdowns off scrambles, two more than any other QB. The MVP front-runner set a single-season record with 5,614 total offensive yards. Of his league-high 41 passing touchdowns, 28 were thrown to running backs and tight ends, tying an NFL record. Much of the credit here goes to TE Travis Kelce, who moved all over the formation in 2022. The Pro Bowler had 28 receptions for 342 yards and six touc
The other quandary for the Chiefs is that their pass defense simply hasn’t been very good. They rank 22nd in QBR allowed and 26th against the shotgun formation, where Allen will spend plenty of time. They’re the league’s best pass defense when they blitz and create pressure, but they have the NFL’s worst QBR when they don’t pressure the opposing quarterback. Buffalo’s offensive line has been inconsistent this season, but the team did get back center Mitch Morse from a concussion for the win over the Patriots in Week 18.
I don’t think either of these teams will have trouble moving the ball, which turns this into a battle of how each performs in the red zone. The variance of what happens in three or four trips there in a single game is incredibly high, but while the Bills rank in the top 10 in conversion rate on both offense and defense inside the 20, the Chiefs have the second-worst red zone defense in football. I don’t think the Chiefs can make Allen pay for his occasional transgressions near the goal line, and that will end up being the difference. Prediction: Bills 35, Chiefs 27.
The Chiefs are the favorites to sign or trade for DeAndre Hopkins this offseason
The Kansas City Chiefs are narrowly the betting favorites as DeAndre Hopkins team next NFL season over the New England Patriots per https://t.co/kLhzyq99K1:— Bo Brack (@BoBrack) January 12, 2023
1 - Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · Year 6
2022 stats: 17 games | 67.1 pct | 5,250 pass yds | 8.1 ypa | 41 pass TD | 12 INT | 358 rush yds | 4 rush TD | 5 fumbles
Mahomes found new ways to thrive in a post-Tyreek Hill universe. With defenses angling to erase the deep ball, Kansas City’s wonderboy lobbed 28 of his league-leading 41 touchdown strikes to runners and tight ends. Travis Kelce’s helping hand isn’t news, but Mahomes feasted off red-zone lobs to the underrated Jerick McKinnon and meshed well with JuJu Smith-Schuster. When it mattered most, Mahomes’ running ability felt like an added weapon inside a Chiefs attack that veered toward balanced, longer marches. To the eye, a less colorful feast, but Kansas City’s polestar still wound up carving out the most single-season yardage (5,614) in league history. Hill was missed — his titanic presence in Miami says it all — but Andy Reid and his prized passer stayed one step ahead of the enemy at every turn. Say hello to your MVP.
Around the NFL
The Bills safety, who went into cardiac arrest on the field in Buffalo’s Week 17 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, edged out teammate Josh Allen and Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence on the list for the final week of the regular season.
The @NFL Playoffs are kicking off – one of the best times of the year! Always fun to see how unpredictable jersey sales are throughout the season. The best was ending the season with incredible support for @HamlinIsland #3strong pic.twitter.com/u60LqZIqut— Fanatics (@Fanatics) January 12, 2023
It’s official. The Derek Carr era at the Raiders is over.
It seemed inevitable after his benching for the last two weeks of the season that Carr would never wear a Raiders jersey again, and on Thursday morning the quarterback officially said goodby to Las Vegas and Raider Nation.
After a season marked by profound struggles on offense and the regression of quarterback Zach Wilson, the New York Jets and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur parted ways.
The speculation about LaFleur’s job status had prompted teams to inquire about his availability and the Jets allowed him to pursue those opportunities. The search for a replacement begins Thursday.
“He’s going to be fine,” Jets coach Robert Saleh said Thursday.
The move came as no surprise, as the Jets showed no statistical improvement under LaFleur, 36, one of the first to join Saleh’s staff in 2021.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
For winning the Charity Challenge, Nationwide will fund a $25,000 contribution to Mahomes’ charity of choice.
This was the eighth iteration of the social media contest. Chiefs players have now won it for three consecutive years. In 2021, then-Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu won — and the year before that, tight end Travis Kelce won the online voting. Former Kansas City safety Eric Berry won the first one in back in 2015.
Simply for being nominated to become the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, Mahomes (and the 31 other nominees) will receive a $40,000 donation to their favorite charity. The winner — who will be announced during the NFL Honors program on the Thursday before Super Bowl LVII — will receive a $250,000 donation to their designated charity. Click here for a full list of NFL nominees.
“I mean obviously, [it’s] a tremendous honor,” Mahomes said of his nomination. “Not only [for me] to be the Walter Payton nominee for the NFL, but for the Chiefs — who have the most Walter Payton Man of the Year [Awards].”
A tweet to make you think
Of the playoff teams, when you evaluate which teams have the ability to significantly improve their roster and take another jump/sustain high level success in ‘23 because of draft assets and cap flex, the #Chiefs, #Seahawks, #Bengals, and #Giants are in very good position.— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) January 13, 2023