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Arrowheadlines: Former Chiefs’ running back Peyton Hillis is in hospital after saving his children from drowning

Chiefs headlines for Saturday, January 7

Carolina Panthers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

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Former Chiefs running back, Peyton Hillis is in hospital after saving his children from drowning | SI

Hillis, 36, was involved in an apparent “swimming accident” in Pensacola, Fla., and was airlifted to a nearby hospital, according to KNWA Fox24. He was unconscious in the ICU as of Thursday night, according to KNWA’s Alyssa Orange.

Greg Hillis, Peyton’s uncle, posted on Facebook on Thursday that Peyton was improving but remains in intensive care.

“I just wanted to let everyone know on Razorback Nation that Peyton is doing better,” Greg Hillis wrote. “He’s still in intensive care and having some problems with his kidneys and his lungs but doctors say he is improving. I just wanted to head off any rumors that may be started. I’m sure he would want everyone to know that he appreciates all of the prayers being thrown up on his behalf!!!”

RB Jerick McKinnon has done it all for the Chiefs this season | ESPN

But McKinnon tied an NFL record for running backs in Sunday’s win over the Denver Broncos by catching a touchdown pass for the fifth straight game. He also joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk and Austin Ekeler of the Los Angeles Chargers as the only backs to catch eight touchdowns in a season in the last 30 years.

“If I would tell you I saw it coming, no,’’ said McKinnon, who is third on the Chiefs in catches with 54 and second in touchdowns with nine. “But this is what you put the work in the offseason for, so when your opportunity comes you’re ready for it.

“The preparation and everything is paying off.’’

McKinnon has been involved as a pass-catcher and pass-blocker as much as a runner since arriving in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings in 2014. He has played for coaches who valued running backs as receivers, including offensive coordinator Norv Turner with the Vikings, Kyle Shanahan with the San Francisco 49ers and Andy Reid with the Chiefs, and often flourished in the role.

“When you’re used in a certain role you get comfortable and you develop in that role,’’ he said. “It’s a credit to the coaches I’ve had.’’

NFL Week 18 picks, schedule, playoff scenarios, odds, injuries, stats | ESPN

What to watch for: Time to see if Jarrett Stidham’s first-ever NFL start against the 49ers’ top-rated defense was a one-off now that the Chiefs have game film on him. Stidham, who will be the first Raiders QB other than Derek Carr to start against Kansas City since Matt McGloin in 2013, has a pair of high-powered assets to work with. Running back Josh Jacobs has rushed for 1,608 yards and could be the Raiders’ first rushing champ since Marcus Allen in 1985, while receiver Davante Adams needs five catches for his third straight 100-reception season and is averaging a career-best 15.2 yards per catch while leading the league with 14 touchdown receptions. — Paul Gutierrez

Bold prediction: Patrick Mahomes and Stidham will combine to throw for more than 700 yards. The Chiefs and Raiders feature two of the NFL’s worst pass defenses, tied for 30th in opposing QBR (55.0). Both teams are also in the bottom 10 in opponent completion percentage and touchdown to interception ratio. — Adam Teicher

Stat to know: Travis Kelce is one receiving touchdown shy of becoming the first tight end with 10,000 receiving yards and 70 receiving TDs within their first 10 seasons.

NFL QB Index, Week 18: Tom Brady rises to No. 7; Jared Goff cracks top 10 for first time this season | NFL.com

1 - Patrick Mahomes

Kansas City Chiefs · Year 6

2022 stats: 16 games | 67 pct | 5,048 pass yds | 8.1 ypa | 40 pass TD | 12 INT | 329 rush yds | 4 rush TD | 5 fumbles

Mahomes is so above and beyond the average field general that we’re left hunting like Nancy Drew on a bender for his faults. He found his own against the Broncos, telling scribes that he spent much of Sunday’s tight win over Denver working out the kinks. “I lost my mechanics,” Mahomes said. “Whenever I get in that mode, I can struggle. I have to be better about correcting that stuff in-game. It’s hard.” Mahomes threw an end zone pick and later roamed the locker room in search of Marquez Valdes-Scantling, hoping to apologize to his wideout for whiffing on would-be huge gainers, saying: “I let him down. He had probably two touchdowns of over 50 yards that he should’ve had. I missed the throws.” Mahomes didn’t miss them all, though, tossing for 328 yards and three touchdowns — spinning new magic with Jerick McKinnon and completing a pass to himself along the way — and overcoming another funky special-teams outing that arguably cost the Chiefs 11 points off a missed field goal, a botched PAT and a Kadarius Toney fumbled punt return that set up a Broncos touchdown.

Kansas City’s offense lacks some of yesteryear’s hammer-dropping dominance, but Mahomes — during a so-called chilly period over the past three weeks — owns a 7:1 touchdown-to-pick ratio. He also leads the league in yardage and QBR and has tossed six more scoring strikes (40) than any other passer this season. Kansas City’s spiritual center remains cemented in place as this blogger’s pick for MVP.

Breaking Down the 7 True Super Bowl LVII Contenders on the Brink of the NFL Playoffs | Bleacher Report

Kansas City Chiefs (13-3)

With Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes in tow and just one loss since mid-October, the Chiefs are once again in the mix.

Why they’ll win it all: Reid, Mahomes and a nice run for a team that features the league’s highest-scoring offense and has Super Bowl pedigree already,

Why they’ll fall short: They’re not dominating anyone. Three of their last four wins have come by six or fewer points. They had multiple turnovers in each of those affairs, including a shockingly poor Week 17 performance at home against the lowly Denver Broncos in Week 17. Chiefs teams with similar talent have fallen short in each of the last two seasons, so why should 2022 be any different?

Can Las Vegas ruin Kansas City’s Super Bowl hopes? | Silver and Black Pride (Las Vegas Raiders SB Nation site)

Q: Let’s say Kansas City ends up with the two-seed. Which potential Wild Card team do you think they match up best with, and which team worries you the most in the first round?

A: I would love to see the Steelers come to Arrowhead for the second year in a row if the Chiefs did happen to drop to the 2nd seed. However, I must say that I have serious issues with the introduction of a 7th seed into the playoffs, full stop. I strongly believe that the gap between the top of the AFC is much greater than it is in the middle to the bottom of the conference and that these games only carry injury risks for the better clubs.

Saying that I have no say in the way the league is run and only expect more playoff teams to be added as time goes by. So why not have the easiest game possible?

If the Steelers came to town then I think it would be a lot like last year: A Chiefs blowout win minus the coverage of the end of Ben Roethlisberger’s career.

Report: Indianapolis Turns Down NFL Request to Host Neutral Site AFC Title Game | Bleacher Report

The city declined to host the title game because of scheduling conflicts, per Mickey Shuey of the Indianapolis Business Journal.

“Indianapolis was approached to host the game, but the city already has an event on its calendar at Lucas Oil Stadium and that would make it nearly impossible for the NFL to host the game there,” Shuey wrote.

Colts executives said they were approached this week about possibly hosting the game on Jan. 28 or 29 after the NFL announced that Monday night’s game between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals would not be resumed.

Around the NFL

Bills GM Brandon Beane reflects on the true heroes who helped save Damar Hamlin’s life | BuffaloBills.com

“It’s real simple,” Beane said of why they should stay. “It’s what would you want someone to do for your son? And I got two boys.”

They ultimately decided it would be best for Beane to stay so McDermott could lead the players and coaching staff as they prepared for a potential next game.

“We divided it up, and I said, ‘Let me stay here, let me support here. We’ll work this out,’” Beane said of his discussion with McDermott. “That’s why I love Sean. We were able to work this through, and he did a great job there.”

“Tears Of Joy” | Brandon Beane On Damar Hamlin’s Recovery

While Beane stayed at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center to be there for Damar, his family and his medical staff, he got to witness the countless number of people who had a hand in saving Damar’s life.

“There’s a lot of people that did a lot of great things for Damar, and I just I think it would be unfair to not mention these people, a lot of heroes,” Beane said as he met with media over Zoom on Friday. “We look at sports and we all have heroes on the field, but there’s so many people that saved this young man’s life.”

NFL Week 18 by the numbers: Player and team accomplishments to watch entering last week of 2022 regular season | CBS Sports

Hill and Waddle are a combined 176 receiving yards shy of breaking the record for most by a receiver duo in a season in NFL history. Herman Moore and Brett Perriman hold the record with 3,174 for the 1995 Detroit Lions. Hill and Waddle have combined for 2,999 receiving yards.

In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride

5 things to watch as the Chiefs play the Raiders in regular season finale

3. The return of Mecole Hardman

Even though Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid told reporters he’d “be holding him back” in reference to wide receiver Mecole Hardman in his first week off the Injured Reserve, I think we can still see something productive from the speed threat.

It would be Hardman’s first game since Week 9, a game he caught six passes and turned them into 79 yards and a red-zone touchdown. In the week prior to that, he torched the San Francisco 49ers on jet-sweep plays to score three times.

I imagine Reid sees the benefit of getting Hardman some live, full-speed reps before postseason play — especially with rookie wide receiver Skyy Moore ruled out. They want to get him going on the jet sweeps or other horizontally-directed plays. Watch to see if they pull those out in the red zone; five of six touchdowns Hardman has scored this season came inside the opponents’ 20-yard line.

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