Kansas City Chiefs: Can Travis Kelce Carry the Passing Attack?
Super Bowl Odds: +475
There are two answers to this question that could result in a repeat title for the Chiefs. Either Kelce can still be the No. 1 receiver on a Super Bowl-winning team, or it’s not going to matter because the Chiefs young group of receivers are going to step up over the final stretch.
Right now, Kelce hasn’t been productive enough to carry the passing attack and the other receivers on the roster have let down the offense.
Teams have devoted a lot of resources to stopping Kelce. The tight end was limited to just 44 yards on seven catches in the 21-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Mahomes talked to reporters after the game about the extra attention he’s gotten from opposing defenses.
“They’re putting two (or) three guys on him. They understand how much of a threat he is and how well he’s played for a long time now, and so they’re trying to take him away the best they can. It’s my job to get it to the right guy, so we can execute and if we hit some of these deep passes that we’re missing it’s going to take teams out of those double teams and triple teams.”
As noted with the Eagles, Marquez Valdes-Scantling was open for a go-ahead touchdown late in the game but the ball went right through his hands. It was one of five drops for the Chiefs offense in that game alone.
The Chiefs defense is the best they’ve had in the Mahomes era. But Kelce has just two games with more than 100 receiving yards this season and none of the receivers have stepped up to this point.
Stat to know: Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has 11 career touchdown catches against the Raiders, his most against any team. Only Antonio Gates (13) and Steve Largent (12) have more against the Raiders, and the only active player with more TD catches against any single opponent is Davante Adams (13 against the Vikings).
Matchup X factor: Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed. Last week, he traveled with A.J. Brown, so there’s a decent chance he’ll do the same for Adams. If so, that could be tough news for the Raiders: Sneed is allowing just 1.0 yards per coverage snap, per NFL Next Gen Stats (better than average for outside corners), and Brown finished last week’s game against the Chiefs with just one catch. — Walder
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: JUSTIN WATSON (67.4)
Week 11 ended with a highly anticipated rematch between Kansas City and Philadelphia. Philly shut Kansas City out in the second half, handing the Chiefs their second loss in three weeks. Justin Watson led the Chiefs in receiving and recorded his first five-catch game of the season. He dropped two passes but also hauled in three third-down catches for 50 yards.
Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs made franchise history last week by surpassing Marcus Allen for the most rushing yards through the first five seasons of their careers, and Jacobs has a chance to put himself in the record books again in Week 12 against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Jacobs needs just 74 yards from scrimmage to record over 1,000 total yards in the first five years of his career which would make him only the second running back in the Raiders’ history to cross that threshold.
Allen is the other back to accomplish that feat with the franchise, having eclipsed the mark almost 40 years ago in 1986. League-wide, the 2022 rushing champ would also be just the ninth player at the position since 2000 to accomplish the feat.
So, now the question becomes; can he do it this Sunday?
Kansas City Chiefs · RB
Pacheco’s had a rough stretch of fantasy performances over the last few weeks. He hasn’t found the end zone since Week 7 and has seen just two targets over the Chiefs’ last two games combined. However, he has looked very impressive as a runner and has been given 15-plus carries in six games this season, tied for the third-most such games among all players. I’m willing to bet on the volume and Pacheco’s talent turning into significant fantasy points sooner rather than later, especially considering how favorable the Chiefs’ upcoming schedule is for fantasy running backs. They face the Raiders (twice), Packers, Bills and Bengals in five of their final six games of the fantasy season — all of those teams are very suspect when it comes to stopping the run this year.
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Jevon Holland wiped away Tagovailoa’s errors with one magnificent play.
With two seconds remaining in the first half in a sudden-change situation (thanks to a D.J. Reed interception), new Jets starter Tim Boyle navigated the pocket before firing a rainbow of a prayer toward the end zone. Holland caught it just in front of the goal line, embarking on a winding journey down the field in the opposite direction, running through a handful of would-be Jets tacklers, picking up a few key blocks and fooling the last remaining opponent, Boyle, on his way to the end to the end zone.
Washington also fired defensive backs coach Brent Vieselmeyer, NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero added.
The Commanders later confirmed the moves.
“This morning, I spoke with Coach (Ron) Rivera and he recommended that the team make changes at defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach. I accepted those recommendations and want to thank Jack and Brent for their contributions to the Commanders. We wish them and their families well moving forward,” Commanders owner Josh Harris said in a statement on Friday.
“I feel exactly how our fans feel today: disappointed and frustrated. It’s how our players and staff feel as well. I knew our first season of ownership would include challenges along the way, and we will not shy away from hard work, nor will we be deterred by adversity. As Coach Rivera and I discussed, all of our energy for the remainder of the season will be focused on playing better, more consistent football and developing our players while intently evaluating the areas in which we need to improve this offseason. Our fans deserve a team that can complete with the NFL’s best and win sustainably over the long-term. I will not waver from that mission. Thank you to our fans for the ways in which you’ve breathed new life into our franchise. We have not been good enough this season, but our resolve for the future is unbroken.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
It's the latest challenge for Chiefs’ cornerback L’Jarius Sneed, who has been used more directly against No. 1 receivers this season. He limited the Eagles’ Brown to only 8 yards on 1 reception during the Week 11 loss while also intercepting a pass headed his direction.
With Adams on one side, the Raiders can use the focus on him for wide receiver Jakobi Meyers to find space; the duo have combined for 1,257 yards and nine scores through 10 games.
The Chiefs are as prepared as any defense is to take on Adams and company — because of Sneed and second-year cornerback Trent McDuffie. That’s what safety Justin Reid believes, expressing confidence when asked about the matchup in the locker room on Wednesday.