Kanas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce isn’t bothered by New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers calling him “Mr. Pfizer.”
“I thought it was pretty good,” Kelce said when asked Friday what he thought of Rodgers’ comment. “I mean with the ‘stache right now I look like a guy named Mr. Pfizer. Who knew I’d get into the vax wars with Aaron Rodgers, man? Mr. Pfizer versus the Johnson & Johnson family over there. … I’m fully comfortable with him calling me Mr. Pfizer.” The Jets are owned by Woody Johnson, heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune.
Rodgers used the nickname to take a jab at Kelce when discussing the Jets’ loss Sunday to the Chiefs on “The Pat McAfee Show.” Rodgers, who is recovering from Achilles surgery, attended Sunday’s game and talked with Kelce and Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes beforehand.
During the latest episode of his It Needed To Be Said podcast, Hill said the Chiefs were “saved” by the referees in their 23-20 Week 4 win over the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium, specifically mentioning the defensive holding call on Sauce Gardner that resulted in a Jets interception being overturned.
Hill also said the Chiefs were “saved” in similar fashion in Super Bowl 57 against Philadelphia, referencing the controversial late defensive holding penalty against the Eagles.
“The Chiefs,” Hill said, via Pete Grathoff of the Kansas City Star, ”they got saved like that last year for real though (against) the Eagles in the Super Bowl, for real. If we’re being for real.”
“Then they come back and get saved in the Jets game, maybe because Taylor Swift was in the building,” Hill said. “I don’t know what’s going on. Hey, whatever [Travis] Kelce is doing, I know you’re helping out the NFL.”
Rashee Rice is getting more playing time and led Chiefs wide receivers with five targets against the Jets. Now he gets a Vikings team that has allowed the third-most yards to receivers. A Kansas City wideout is bound to step up soon to become the playmaker Patrick Mahomes has been searching for, and I believe it will be Rice. The rookie breaks out with 150 receiving yards and two touchdowns to lead fantasy waiver wire columns everywhere next week.
2. No team blitzes more than the Vikings.
Minnesota has blitzed at a 57 percent clip this season, which is by far the highest rate in the NFL and more than seven percentage points more than the next-closest team. The Vikings blitzed Buccaneers’ quarterback Baker Mayfield 21 times in Week 1, Eagles’ quarterback Jalen Hurts 16 times in Week 2, Chargers’ quarterback Justin Herbert a staggering 42 times in Week 3, and Panthers’ quarterback Bryce Young 18 times in Week 4.
Conversely, Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes has been blitzed the least of any quarterback in the NFL this season at a rate of just 14.8 percent. No team has blitzed Mahomes more than 10 times in a single game this year, and when looking back at last season, Mahomes threw a league-most 17 touchdowns vs. the blitz. It sets up a fascinating decision for the Vikings and Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores, who blitzed Mahomes on 59 percent of his dropbacks when Flores was the Dolphins’ head coach in 2020.
Interestingly enough, despite Minnesota’s lofty blitz rate this season, the Vikings have the fifth-fewest total pressures (57) of any team. They still feature a notable pass-rush, however, led by star edge rusher Danielle Hunter, whose five sacks rank fifth in the NFL. Additionally, Minnesota tallied a season-high five sacks vs. Carolina last week.
Stat to know: Vikings QB Kirk Cousins has 11 passing touchdowns this season, the most in the NFL. He has thrown multiple touchdown passes in every game this season, the second-longest streak by a Vikings player to start the season since the 1970 merger (Tommy Kramer, six straight in 1981).
Matchup X factor: Vikings wide receiver Jordan Addison. Shut out on just a single target in last week’s game, Addison needs to be a capable threat if the Vikings are going to keep up with the Chiefs’ offense. — Walder
Time: Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (CBS),
Open: Chiefs -6, O/U 52
“The Vikings won last week for the first time and now get a Chiefs team playing on the road in successive weeks. The Chiefs haven’t looked great on offense this season, but the Vikings defense is the perfect tonic. Look for Patrick Mahomes to light up the aggressive Brian Flores defense.”
CBS Sports Senior NFL Writer Pete Prisco is taking the Chiefs to bounce back in a big way this weekend. To read his breakdown of every game in Week 5, click here.
MOST SECURE DIVISION LEADER
Kansas City Chiefs
AFC West · 3-1
No surprise here, as Kansas City has enjoyed an uninterrupted reign over the AFC West since 2016, boasting the longest active division-title streak in the NFL. Andy Reid’s squad typically overwhelms AFC West foes with a high-powered offense and opportunistic defense.
The 2023 Chiefs have not posted eye-popping offensive numbers, but reigning league MVP Patrick Mahomes has found a way to regularly put the ball in the end zone by orchestrating a methodical approach that mixes the pass and the run. With Isiah Pacheco setting the pace as the workhorse back, Kansas City has been able to complement the always-potent Mahomes-Travis Kelce connection with a punishing ground game that anchors a revamped, ball-control offense.
Around the NFL
The Dolphins will send a 2025 sixth-round pick to the Bears for Claypool and a 2025 seventh-round pick.
The trade comes one week after the Dolphins placed wide receivers River Cracraft and Erik Ezukanma on injured reserve and the non-football injury list, respectively, although coach Mike McDaniel said the team wasn’t necessarily looking for help at the position. When Claypool was made available by the Bears, McDaniel and Dolphins general manager Chris Grier believed it provided an opportunity to improve the team.
The Denver Broncos are trading Gregory and a 2024 seventh-round pick to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for a 2024 sixth-round pick, NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported Friday, per a source.
49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed the trade Friday afternoon, adding that Gregory passed his physical in San Francisco but won’t be available to play until after Week 5.
Gregory’s trade to San Francisco comes days after it was reported Denver was releasing the 30-year-old pass rusher, who signed a five-year, $70 million contract with the Broncos ahead of the 2022 season. Gregory generated three sacks in 10 career games with the Broncos and saw his snaps greatly reduced the past two weeks, including his removal from the starting lineup in Denver’s Week 4 win over Chicago.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
While the reigning league MVP would be the first to admit he needs to play better, Kansas City’s offensive coordinator Matt Nagy believes his quarterback could easily return to his elite form by grinding the film to figure out the reasons behind his mistakes.
“He’s going to be harder on himself then anybody,” Nagy said of Mahomes during his Tuesday press conference. “Now it’s like, ‘OK, get by that point.’ Now let’s get into the plays — and why we made the decisions or throws we made. And then, how do we not do that moving forward, but still keep that aggressive attacking mentality that he’s always had?”
Although it is still early in the season, Mahomes is underperforming compared to 2022, averaging 251.5 passing yards per game with a completion percentage of 64.3%. Both are significantly lower than last season’s averages of 308.8 yards and 67.1%. While he’s thrown eight touchdowns thus far, he has also thrown four interceptions. That’s tied for the league’s sixth-most.
A tweet to make you think
.@danorlovsky7 says Josh Allen put on the Superman cape on Sunday:— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) October 2, 2023
"When he plays like that, candidly, there's no one better in the NFL. He's as good as Patrick Mahomes when he plays like that." pic.twitter.com/m30SBafOqi