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Arrowheadlines: Buffalo win — won’t travel to Arrowhead should Chiefs and Bills make the AFC Championship Game

Chiefs headlines for Monday, January 9

NFL: OCT 16 Bills at Chiefs Photo by Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The latest

Bills-Chiefs neutral site AFC Championship Game in play; Bengals avoid coin toss with win over Ravens | NFL.com

Any potential AFC Championship Game between the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs would be played at a neutral site following the Bills’ 35-23 win over the Patriots on Sunday.

The Bengals’ 27-16 win over the Ravens on Sunday also negated a scenario in which a coin toss would decide home-field advantage in a Baltimore-Cincinnati wild-card matchup, which would have been in play if the Ravens won and the Chargers beat the Broncos. The third-seeded Bengals will host the sixth-seeded Ravens during Super Wild Card Weekend.

The decision to potentially play the title game at a neutral site followed the NFL’s announcement on Thursday that the Week 17 game between the Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals would be canceled. The game had initially been postponed after Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest during the game.

Raiders-Chiefs: 7 things we learned from a season-ending stinker | Silver and Black Pride (Las Vegas Raiders SB Nation site)

Lots of red, again:

Last week, Allegiant Stadium was filled by an estimated 75 percent of San Francisco 49ers fans. This week, it was a sea of red again as many Kansas City fans made the trip to Las Vegas as they did last year.

This has become a sticking point in the two seasons in which fans have been allowed into Allegiant Stadium. If a fan base travels well, the odds are they will swarm Allegiant Stadium. With home games against the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings in 2023 (both fan bases are noted for traveling well), the same trend will likely continue. Raiders’ owner Mark Davis reportedly is upset by the trend, but it’s unlikely there’s much that can be done. Las Vegas is a destination. So, this is something that Davis will likely have to get used to something that was definitely not an issue when the franchise was based in Oakland. Also, the Raiders need to learn how to win at Allegiant Stadium in general. The Raiders are 11-14 when playing in Las Vegas.

NFL Week 18: Biggest Takeaways, AFC Playoff Implications from Saturday Doubleheader | Bleacher Report

Mahomes is well on his way to winning another MVP after a record-setting performance. He did so despite three of his top four wide receivers leaving the organization after last season, including the game’s premier deep threat in Tyreek Hill, who currently ranks second overall with 1,687 receiving yards.

Hill’s departure, in particular, forced Mahomes to expand his game and become a more complete quarterback than he already was. The 2018 NFL Offensive Player of the Year redefined how everyone views the quarterback position. His ability to create and work outside of structure is now a requirement for those entering the league. Granted, Mahomes is G.O.D. tier, yet the importance of a playmaker behind center is greater than ever.

However, the efficiency with which the 27-year-old signal-caller now operates makes him better because he’s distributing the ball to whoever is open instead of consistently looking for the big play.

“I know when to turn it off,” Mahomes told ESPN’s Louis Riddick after the game when discussing the opportunity to take shots downfield or simply find the open receiver.

Because of how the quarterback is currently playing, the amount of weapons on Kansas City’s offense is staggering, and more are still appearing. Kadarius Toney is the latest example.

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ new NFL play has fans branding it ‘mad disrespectful’ | Daily Star

But there was clearly method to the Chiefs madness as Mahomes revealed at full-time that the official play was even given its own name.

“We call it ‘snow globe’ because we drew it up right before Christmas, and we actually practiced it as like kind of messing around and Coach Reid was like, ‘I like that,” Mahomes said.

“And so we put it in the game plan and it worked, but we had a holding penalty so we didn’t get a touchdown so we had to think of something else cool.”

Fans reacted in their droves to the amusing play, with user @thegoodlindo claiming the move was ‘mad disrespectful’. “This so disrespectful to the raiders, I’m loving it,” @Jayysnn agreed.

“They playing ring around the rosie,” @duragslim noted. “Nobody takes the Raiders seriously lmao,” @ChargersBias wrote, suggesting the Chiefs showed no respect at all for their opponents.

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs look complete just in time for the playoffs | ESPN

No close game against a sub-.500 opponent. No helping that opponent with turnovers, missed kicks or penalties.

Instead, the Chiefs were solid in all phases in their win over the Raiders. The Chiefs haven’t played a complete game like this since a Week 7 win over the San Francisco 49ers — and it happened just in time for the playoffs.

Buying Kadarius Toney’s breakout performance: Toney isn’t Tyreek Hill, but he’s as close a player that the Chiefs have since trading Hill. Toney, when he’s healthy, looms as an important player, much as he was against the Raiders, when the Chiefs found multiple ways to get him the ball and use his quickness in the open field. Look for the Chiefs to continue to put Toney in a similar role in the playoffs.

Under-the-radar stat that matters: The Chiefs were last in the league in field goal percentage and near the bottom in PAT percentage heading into the weekend, so it’s no small thing that Harrison Butker made all of his kicks, including a 44-yard field goal and four PATs. That may not sound like much, but it provided some confidence for Butker heading into the playoffs.

Around the NFL

2023 NFL playoff schedule, bracket: Dates, times, and TV for every round of the AFC and NFC postseason | CBS Sports

Super Wild Card Weekend

Saturday, Jan. 14

(7) Seahawks at (2) 49ers, 4:30 p.m. ET (Fox)

(5) Chargers at (4) Jaguars, 8:15 p.m. ET (NBC)

Sunday, Jan. 15

(7) Dolphins at (2) Bills, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

(6) Giants at (3) Vikings, 4:30 p.m. ET (Fox)

(6) Ravens at (3) Bengals, 8:15 p.m. ET (NBC)

Bills RB Nyheim Hines returns opening kickoff 96 yards for stunning TD in win over Patriots | NFL.com

Nyheim Hines, whom the Bills acquired at November’s trade deadline, took the opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown to give Buffalo a 7-0 lead in Sunday’s 35-23 win over the Patriots. Hines wasn’t done, as he returned a second kickoff for a score in the second half, a 101-yard return that flipped a Bills deficit to a lead and eventually to a victory.

Hines became the 11th player in NFL history with two kickoff return TDs in the same and the first since the Seahawks’ Leon Washington in Week 3, 2010, per NFL Research.

The stunning opening TD was the first play for the Bills since safety Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest during last Monday’s game. Hamlin, who was watching the game from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, took to Twitter to celebrate immediately after the play.

Bengals celebration mocks NFL’s coin flip decision following Joe Mixon’s touchdown vs. Ravens | CBS Sports

Joe Mixon must have seen Chad Johnson’s request. The Bengals’ former All-Pro wideout asked the team to celebrate a touchdown against Baltimore by mocking the NFL’s decision to flip a coin to determine who would host next week’s playoff game in the event the Ravens defeated the Bengals on Sunday and the two teams ended the year with the No. 3 and No. 6 seeds.

Mixon obliged after scoring the Bengals’ first touchdown. Cincinnati’s running back actually took out a coin, flipped and kicked it as the Bengals jumped out to an early 10-0 lead.

Mixon was one of the Bengals’ players who publicly voiced his displeasure with the NFL’s coin flip scenario. Bengals coach Zac Taylor argued that the NFL’s rule book clearly states that, if two teams do not play the same number of games, the team with the better winning percentage would win any possible tiebreaker. Taylor said he didn’t understand why the rule was not honored.

‘Rewarded with an opportunity’: Seahawks sneak into playoffs | ESPN

An outcome that few thought was possible after the Russell Wilson trade became a reality Sunday night when the Detroit Lions defeated the Green Bay Packers, 20-16, at Lambeau Field. The Seahawks kept their playoff hopes alive earlier in the day by beating the Los Angeles Rams, 19-16, in overtime, which left them needing a Lions win or tie to send Seattle to the playoffs as the NFC’s seventh seed.

“We’ve been through a lot and we have taken some shots and we’ve had to bounce back. The resolve has always been there. The juice that it takes to stay up and stay at your best has always been there, and it’s really been a fun year,” Carroll said Sunday night in his appearance on KING-TV in Washington. “That’s why I’m so happy that we get rewarded with an opportunity to do something here.”

The Chicago Bears are on the clock... | Windy City Gridiron (Chicago Bears SB Nation site)

With their 29 to 13 loss to the Minnesota Vikings and the Houston Texans‘ 32 to 31 win over the Indianapolis Colts, the Chicago Bears have secured the first overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft.

The Bears are sure to get a plethora of offers from quarterback-needy teams looking to move into that spot to get the signal caller of their choice.

The Draft is scheduled for Thursday, April 27, but Chicago may accept a trade package prior to that night.

There may also be some “speculation” that the Bears could stay put at number one and pick the top player on their draft board, but the smart play is trading back for more picks.

Texans fire head coach Lovie Smith after just one season | NFL.com

Texans chairman and CEO Cal McNair announced later on Sunday night that the organization was “moving in a different direction.”

“I appreciate Coach Smith and his entire family for their contributions over the last two seasons,” McNair said. “We are grateful for his leadership and character, and we wish him the best moving forward. While we understand the results have not been what we had hoped for, we are committed to building a program that produces long-term, sustainable success. Our fans and city deserve a team that they can be proud of. I will work alongside Nick Caserio throughout this process and I’m confident we will find the right leader for our football team.”

In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride

8 winners and 3 losers from the Chiefs’ win over the Raiders

Winners

Wide receiver Kadarius Toney: Mecole Hardman wasn’t quite ready this week, which might have been a blessing in disguise. Even though his best play (and the coolest huddle ever) was called back on a questionable holding call, Toney returned to the end zone on the very next play. Toney averaged nearly 11 yards per catch and 12 yards per run for the Chiefs this season, scoring three times during his seven Kansas City games. The way he starts, stops and weaves through traffic is a skill set that his new team needs — not just in the red zone, but also in the playoffs.

EDGE George Karlaftis: Furious George is on a roll — and it’s coming at the perfect time. Five of his six sacks have come in the last seven games. He’s also has recovered a fumble in each of the last two games. Along with some pretty solid all-around play, he has the league’s second-most batted passes (after Carlos Dunlap passed him this week) and is among the rookie leaders in quarterback pressures. He’s officially exceeding expectations — and might also be getting better every week.

Chiefs-Raiders: 11 things overheard during 31-13 victory

On Saturday, the Kansas City Chiefs closed out the regular season with a dominating 31-13 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders to go 14-3 and claim the AFC’s first-round bye. Here are some of the things Tom Ruprecht overheard during the victory.

“Chad, can you close this one out? Patrick has tickets to see Wayne Newton at the Flamingo.”

“I found a case of black eyeliner. Did Derek Carr leave a forwarding address?”

“Actually, the Derek Carr-Davante Adams marriage lasted about as long as most Vegas marriages.”

“This rivalry is starting to resemble the one between the Harlem Globetrotters and Washington Generals.”

“See that guy painted silver wearing a black costume covered in spikes and skulls? He’s a Raiders fan — or ChiefsAholic has found a new bank-robbing disguise.”

“Forget Josh McDaniels. The first person Mark Davis needs to fire is his barber.”

A tweet to make you think

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