Chiefs beat the Chargers Sunday and that’s a wrap on the AFC West right? That would make the LA 2-4 and the Chiefs 6-1 with two other miserable teams bottom of the division— Cody Tapp (@codybtapp) October 17, 2023
Kansas City Chiefs: Lean into the Traditional Ground Game
The Kansas City Chiefs keep finding ways to win games, thanks in no small part to an impressive defense. The Chiefs also rank fifth in total offense and ninth in scoring, but Patrick Mahomes and the passing attack haven’t been as potent as they were a year ago.
Mahomes’ passer rating is down from 105.2 to 95.7, and the Chiefs rank seventh in net yards per attempt after ranking first in 2022. Kansas City’s red-zone touchdown percentage is also down from 69.4 to 54.2.
Drops have been part of the issue. While tight end Travis Kelce is reliable more often than not, Mahomes hasn’t been able to depend on his patchwork receiving corps regularly thus far. The Chiefs have averaged roughly 2.7 drops per game after averaging 2.0 in 2022.
While the numbers might not seem overly significant, just a little more offensive efficiency could mean the difference between another deep playoff run and another championship.
Until Mahomes fully settles in with the likes of Kadarius Toney, Rashee Rice and Richie James, head coach Andy Reid should lean a little more heavily into the ground game—and do it with his running backs.
Kansas City has a tremendous backfield trio in Isiah Pacheco, Jerick McKinnon and Clyde Edwards-Helaire. The Chiefs are averaging a solid 4.3 yards per carry but rank just 15th in rushing attempts and fourth in pass attempts.
And too often, Reid has tried augmenting the offense with jet sweeps and other non-traditional nonsense. Rice, Toney, wideout Skyy Moore and tight end Noah Gray have combined for 10 carries that have yielded 19 yards.
A bigger emphasis on the ground game and a more traditional approach could help Kansas City find its offensive rhythm before the stretch run.
Can the Chiefs sustain the way they’re playing defense? Yes. It’s no longer a small sample size. Through six games, the Chiefs were allowing the second-fewest points (14.7) per game and fifth-fewest yards (284) coming into Sunday. They will get challenged over the next few weeks with upcoming games against the Chargers, Dolphins and Eagles, but the Chiefs have shown they are capable of holding their own.
Stock up after the win: WR Rashee Rice. The rookie had four catches for 72 yards, and for the season, he leads the Chiefs’ wide receivers in receptions, yards and touchdowns.
Stock down after the win: Other than Rice, the wide receivers are failing the Chiefs. The group had five catches for 31 yards Thursday, and the season stats aren’t much more inspiring. — Adam Teicher
Budda Baker isn’t the only big-name Cardinal that could find a new home during the NFL trade deadline. Marquise Brown is one of the most electric deep threats in football, but he isn’t exactly a key piece of Arizona’s rebuilding process. With Michael Wilson flourishing, perhaps the Cardinals will decide to part ways with Brown in exchange for some serious draft compensation. If that happens, it’s hard to think of a better fit than the Kansas City Chiefs. Rashee Rice is improving, but this team still needs a proven outside receiver. Kansas City’s offense is built around speed, and Brown should be able to step in and contribute from Day 1.
The reigning MVP added to his prolific list of accomplishments against the Denver Broncos in Week 6 by setting the Chiefs’ all-time record for completed passes in franchise history.
Assuming neither Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce or Philadelphia Eagles tight end Jason Kelce are in the big game, that is.
“So Travis, if for some reason you’re not in the Super Bowl once again—which you might be—and if your brother’s not in the Super Bowl, you both come to Gronk Beach this year,” Gronkowski told TMZ Sports. “Bring Taylor Swift if you want to come as well, she can perform a song with you dancing on the stage while the two greatest tight ends are grooving together.”
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Dallas didn’t play its best against the Los Angeles Chargers under the bright lights of SoFi Stadium and, despite the stellar uniform matchup, both sides played pretty ugly. But by the end of their 20-17 win, the ‘Boys needed only one word to describe their one-week turnaround: resilience.
“Resilient, resilient,” quarterback Dak Prescott exclaimed when asked by ESPN to describe his team’s Week 6 performance. “We knew this was a really good team, record doesn’t necessarily show it, but nothing does in this league.”
“His superpower is his presence,” coach Robert Saleh said Monday. “Him being in this building, being around his teammates, being in the locker room, his positive attitude, his thoughts of manifestation and all that stuff, I think it’s powerful.”
Rodgers, only five weeks removed from surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon, stunned onlookers by showing up to MetLife Stadium on Sunday without crutches and throwing for five minutes on the field about two hours before the 20-14 upset of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Raiders are a playoff team
Overreaction or reality: Overreaction
The Raiders finally scored 20 points in a game (they scored 21) and won their second consecutive game to advance to 3-3. Las Vegas is certainly an enigma, as the Raiders have scored just 16.6 points per game and allowed 21.8. Yet they are at .500 and have the Bears, Giants and Jets in three of their next four games.
Las Vegas is in playoff position, but the Raiders need to generate more points on offense if they are to be taken seriously. Jimmy Garoppolo’s injury is also a significant blow to an offense that can’t get Josh Jacobs going through six games. They are beating bad teams and taking care of business, but the offense has to be better.
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But it’s going to take more than just getting the second-round rookie (and others) more involved. The team can also tweak how receivers are being used.
Here’s how I believe the rotation will eventually shake out:
Rice is the team’s only wideout who plays the majority of his snaps in the slot, aligning there on 62% of his passing snaps. The same percentage of his targets have come on routes that have begun there. It’s where he’s at his best — and where the team wants him the most — so he should continue to be the team’s primary slot receiver.