Kansas City Chiefs Schedule Notes:
The Super Bowl Champion Chiefs have a net rest edge of negative-13, the third-worst in the NFL this year.
But for the Chiefs, it’s not just that they have less rest in general. They have less rest than their opponent for six straight weeks, from Week 12 through Week 17:
Week 12 they are off a Monday Night Football game when they play the Raiders, so one day less rest.
Week 13 they play the Packers who played on Thanksgiving the week prior, so three days less rest.
Week 14 they play the Bills who are off a bye, so seven days less rest.
Week 15 they play the Patriots who are off a Thursday Night game, so three days less rest.
Week 16 they play the Raiders who are off a Thursday Night game, but because KC is off a Monday Night game, it is four days less rest for the Chiefs.
Week 17 they play the Bengals who are off a Saturday game, but because KC is off another Monday Night game, it is two days less rest for the Chiefs.
Jones, meanwhile, is the Chiefs’ longest-tenured defender.
“I’m so grateful just to be in the Chiefs organization, to be in this position,” Jones said in February following the team’s comeback win in Super Bowl LVII over the Philadelphia Eagles. “Just a kid from Houston, Mississippi, coming out of Mississippi State. I didn’t think I had a chance of going to Kansas City (in the 2016 draft).
“(Director of college scouting) Ryne Nutt visited me. We (went) to a Houston restaurant, and I ordered two pineapple steaks. I’ll never forget it. He asked me, ‘Why do I think the Chiefs should draft you?’ At the time, I was like, ‘It’ll be the best decision they ever made. Seven years later, man, two Super Bowl rings, five AFC Championship (Games) and we’re still going.”
3) AFC West
Denver Broncos: Russell Wilson
Kansas City Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes
Las Vegas Raiders: Jimmy Garoppolo
Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert
What more can be said about Mahomes? Prior to last season, he lost one of the most explosive weapons in league history (Tyreek Hill). In the playoffs, he suffered one of the more dreaded lingering ailments (high ankle sprain). And yet, when all was said and done, he emerged with a second MVP and second Lombardi Trophy. In five seasons as Kansas City’s starter, Mahomes has made five Pro Bowls and played in five AFC Championship Games, winning three of them to advance to the Super Bowl. He’s a majestic, wildly unique all-timer who makes the impossible possible. No wonder he wins 80 percent of his games (79-19 NFL record, including the playoffs).
Kansas City Chiefs
2020 Grade: B
The Skinny: They had six picks and two are definite starters in second-round linebacker Willie Gay Jr., and fourth-round corner L’Jarius Sneed. Both were big parts of their Super Bowl-winning defense from last season. First-round running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire flashed as a rookie, but injuries have limited him to 16 games the past two seasons and he’s now considered the backup to Isiah Pacheco. Third-round tackle Lucas Niang has been a backup and has missed time with injuries, while fifth-round defensive lineman Mike Danna has been a good rotational player on their defense.
How I did: I thought Gay could be a major steal, and he has proven to be that for the Chiefs. I mentioned taking Edwards-Helaire in the first was high for a back, even though I thought he fit the offense. I also said to keep an eye on Sneed, which proved to be right.
New Grade: B-
Management of Chiefs’ schedule: In addition to their Christmas duty against the Raiders and first soiree with Hill, a year after he was traded, occurring in Europe, it’s hard to square aspects of the Chiefs’ docket. In theory, sure, their Week 17 AFC championship game(s) rematch with the Cincinnati Bengals could be a battle for home-field advantage. But a lot of things have to break in that direction − including the overall performance and health of both teams − to match the hype of starting the season with Cincy coming back to “Burrowhead.” Kicking off the 2023 campaign with the reigning champions hosting the Detroit Lions − and, sure, they’ll probably start out as NFC North front-runners − is nice, but it feels like the Chiefs will be favored by a touchdown. Wouldn’t we all be better off by flipping the Lions’ visit to Week 17, a game still likely to have significant playoff ramifications for both sides, while raising the curtain with the Bengals (in their all-white uniforms) in barbecue country? (And, admittedly, it’s not as simple as a one-for-one switch for a league constantly seeking an optimal schedule. The Bengals going to K.C. in Week 1 would mean they’d end the season with consecutive games against the Cleveland Browns, while moving Detroit’s Week 17 game with Dallas onto opening weekend would force the Cowboys to finish with four straight road games.)
Around the NFL
Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins
Not far behind Jones in terms of receptions and yardage is DeAndre Hopkins, who was a first-team All-Pro three years a row in his prime but has been held to 10 or fewer appearances in each of his last two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals.
Hopkins is still just 30, but his best season on paper took place when he was with the Houston Texans back in 2018 and he’s stuck on a Cardinals roster that is far from Super Bowl-worthy at the moment.
It also doesn’t look as though that’ll change anytime soon, so Hopkins’ chances of landing a much-deserved ring are dwindling by the day. It’s a shame. One day, we might wonder how much better he could have been with better offenses around him.
Amid all the comings and going for the Philadelphia Eagles roster this offseason, one sizable loss has gone somewhat unheralded.
Not in the eyes of center Jason Kelce, however, as he doesn’t believe there’s any replacing guard Isaac Seumalo, who signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason following seven seasons in Philly.
“I think he’s one of the best guards in the NFL, and I think he has been,” Kelce told reporters Wednesday. “I think he’s one of the most consistent players I’ve ever been around, one of the most consistent people I’ve ever been around. So we’re not going to replace Isaac, there’s going to be someone new in there, and they’re going to have their attributes that they’re going to excel with, and I’m looking forward to seeing who does a really good job with that.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Super Bowl LV
Injuries throughout the 2020 season forced many changes to the line. In Super Bowl LV, Kansas City played without starting tackles Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher, so backups Mike Remmers and Andrew Wylie played outside as Stefen Wisniewski, Nick Allegretti and Austin Reiter handled the interior. The unit allowed 3.0 sacks and nine quarterback hurries as Patrick Mahomes scrambled 497 yards behind the line of scrimmage in a 31-9 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In response, general manager Brett Veach made it a priority to revamp the offensive line that offseason. Veach hit a home run on drafting Creed Humphrey in the second round, and Trey Smith was highly considered the steal of the draft when the Chiefs took him taken in the sixth round. In free agency, Joe Thuney proved to be worth every penny.
Orlando Brown Jr. struggled early in the year as he adjusted to the change in the scheme from the Baltimore Ravens to the Chiefs, but he had a better second half. Lucas Niang had an average year as he returned from an opt-out season. In Week 17, Niang ruptured his patella tendon, ending his season as Wylie stepped back in.
Veach placed the franchise tag on Brown before offering a six-year contract worth $139 million — with an average salary of $23.16 million per year and a $30.25 million signing bonus. The contract paid $95 million in the first five years. Brown’s agent would eventually reject the offer, sign the tag and play the 2022 season on a one-year commitment.