Andrew Wylie, RT, Chiefs
It’s hard for many players on the Chiefs offense to be underappreciated, but Wylie grew into that sort of role during what will likely be his final season with the organization. The former guard moved into the starting lineup during the 2021 season and spent the duration as Kansas City’s right tackle. The 28-year-old allowed eight sacks, per Stats LLC, but he ranked ninth in pass block win rate, suggesting that some of those sacks were a product of Patrick Mahomes’ interpretive pocket movement and extending of plays.
Good tackles are hard to come by, and the Chiefs might not be able to afford a new deal for him. Left tackle Orlando Brown will be an unrestricted free agent, left guard Joe Thuney is one of the highest-paid interior linemen in the league and second-year linemen Creed Humphrey and right guard Trey Smith are one year away from justifying their own new deals. Wylie should hit the market, and after inking a one-year deal for $2.5 million, it would be a surprise if he didn’t land a multiyear guarantee elsewhere
“To be honest, it’s disrespectful,” Mixon told reporters Wednesday. “But, we’re not worried about that s—t. Like I said, we got a game to play Sunday, right? So, you can’t count us out.”
Ticket pre-sales for playoff games are common practice because it allows fans to prepare well in advance for the event. You can already buy tickets for a possible AFC title game matchup between the Bengals and Jacksonville Jaguars in Cincinnati, for example.
They are already selling tickets for the Bengals to host the AFCCG. So disrespectful to the Chiefs and Bills. https://t.co/G9MO8OlQug— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) January 19, 2023
1 - Patrick Mahomes
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS QB
This year’s presumptive MVP, Mahomes has never failed to advance to the AFC Championship game in his four years as Andy Reid’s starter. The numbers support him as an early-playoff machine: In his opening postseason matchups, he’s thrown a combined 11 TDs and just one INT. Although he spent Super Wild Card Weekend on a bye, he also enters having thrown two-plus TDs in four of his last five games, excelling (as usual) as the NFL’s standard for off-script, crunch-time heroics.
Kansas City Chiefs
Will the defense provide enough support?
No one should be betting against Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes at this stage: In the four seasons No. 15 has been Reid’s starting quarterback, K.C. has never failed to at least reach the AFC Championship. But when Chris Jones isn’t dominating up front to set up long downs, the back end of their “D” has proven vulnerable, notably faltering in close games with lesser opponents like the Broncos and Texans. Tackling has been an issue there, as has inexperience, with rookies Trent McDuffie, Jaylen Watson and Joshua Williams all seeing significant snaps at corner. We know they can score in a shootout, but can they cover?
1. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Chance to win conference championship: 41%
Chance to win the Super Bowl: 25%
Offense: QB Patrick Mahomes (91.3)
Defense: DI Chris Jones (92.0)
Reason for optimism: Patrick Mahomes and the passing game
Over the regular season, Mahomes ranked top-five in PFF passing grade (89.0), yards per attempt (8.1) and adjusted completion percentage (77.8%), and he finished with 500 more passing yards than the next-closest quarterback. He’s one of the best signal-callers in the NFL and leads an offense that finished first in expected points added (EPA) per pass play from Week 1 to Week 18.
“I owe a lot to coach Reid and the things he taught me not only as a player, but I think as an assistant coach” said Pederson this week. “When I became coordinator there in Kansas City, we spent so much time together in meetings and one-on-ones. Everything about him is about pouring himself into other people, and he did that with me and helped me prepare for my first job in Philadelphia, and that went a long way.”
They each have a Super Bowl victory as head coaches without the other. The obvious high point for the two together was winning a Super Bowl in January 1997 with the Packers, even though Pederson didn’t play in the game. With the Chiefs, they were 1-2 in playoff games, reaching the Divisional round together in 2015.
Around the NFL
In a statement, Hamlin’s longtime friend and business partner, Jordon Rooney, said: “Despite being out of the hospital, Damar still has a lengthy recovery. Damar still requires oxygen and is having his heart monitored regularly. He has visited with the team a few times but he still gets winded very easily.
“He’s upbeat and positive and ready to continue to overcome this.”
Bowles fired offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich on Thursday, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. The team later announced the move, along with a slew of personnel changes.
In addition to Leftwich, five assistants were dismissed, including running backs coach Todd McNair and assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust, and three others retired, including quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen.
“We appreciate the hard work and contributions that all of these coaches made to our successes over the past four seasons,” Bowles said in a statement. “As a collective group, we did not meet the high standards that had been set for this past year and my focus now is on doing what is needed to ensure a successful 2023 season. These were very difficult decisions but something that I felt was necessary for our football team going forward.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
As expected, the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots will each have a contest in Germany, while three more games will be played in the United Kingdom. The Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans will each have a matchup at London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, while the Jacksonville Jaguars will host one game in London’s Wembley Stadium.
The Chiefs and Patriots are both participants NFL’s International Home Marketing Area (IHMA) program, which secures international marketing rights for the league’s teams. Both franchises have been awarded rights in Germany. Kansas City has also been awarded marketing rights in Mexico, which will not host an International Series game in 2023.
“We could not be more excited to participate in a Germany game and introduce more of the world to Chiefs Kingdom this fall,” said Chiefs owner, chairman and CEO Clark Hunt in a statement released by the league. “Our team and our fans have had incredible experiences in London and Mexico City as part of the International Series in the past, and we look forward to helping the NFL in its effort to continue growing the game in Germany.”
A tweet to make you think
9 NFL teams currently have an offensive coordinator vacancy:— Field Yates (@FieldYates) January 19, 2023