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Arrowheadlines: All of the pressure will be on the Ravens

Chiefs headlines for Tuesday, January 23

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Kansas City Chiefs v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The latest

Tom Brady Says Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes ‘Always Seems to Play His Best’ in Big Moments | Bleacher Report

The NFL legend complimented Mahomes on his ability to compete in the biggest moments on the Let’s Go! podcast on Monday.

“He’s an incredible competitor, and I think it’s on display in the biggest moments,” Brady said. “So, everyone, I got a lot of questions before the game. ‘What do you think? It’s at Buffalo.’ I said, with a guy like Patrick...it doesn’t faze him. He doesn’t care that it’s in Buffalo. He wants to got out and play whoever’s the best to see how he matches up. And he always seems to play his best in the big moments.”

Brady also recalled taking on Mahomes and the Chiefs in the playoffs when he was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Despite a lopsided game, Brady said Mahomes kept competing and gave his team the chance to win.

“He, still in those moments, was giving his team a chance to win from his athletic ability, his tenacity, his competitiveness,” Brady said. “He’s got so many of the intangibles.”

Overreactions from NFL Sunday divisional-round games: Did Tyler Bass cost Bills game? Pressure on Ravens now? | CBS Sports

Chiefs shifted the pressure to Ravens in AFC title game

Overreaction or Reality: Reality

Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes have been in six consecutive conference championship games together, this time taking their act on the road. The Chiefs just went in Orchard Park and beat the Buffalo Bills, as Mahomes notched his first road playoff win. The Bills had the Chiefs where they wanted them — and still lost!

Mahomes has a .780 win percentage in road starts (39-11), showcasing he’s the best quarterback away from Arrowhead Stadium. He’s 3-2 in conference championship games, so Mahomes has the experience needed to go to the Super Bowl (even if this is his first conference championship on the road).

The Ravens are new to this situation during the Lamar Jackson era. They also are at home and have an NFL-record 11 wins against teams with a winning record. Baltimore is hosting a conference championship game for the first time since 1971 (when the Colts called the city home) against a team that plays at this stage every year.

There’s pressure on the Chiefs, but this is Jackson’s best chance at a Super Bowl. For Mahomes and Kansas City, they have been there and done that.

Chiefs-Ravens: Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes amid AFC title questions | USA Today

Are we seeing the old Patrick Mahomes-Travis Kelce connection reemerge and is that good enough to beat the Ravens?

Chris Bumbaca: Did it ever really go away? Kelce didn’t have a 1,000-yard year for the first time in seven seasons, but he was 16 yards away. There were certainly games it felt like Kelce disappeared. But the play of the Chiefs’ wideouts has been well-documented, and the assessment is that the room didn’t fare well for much of the regular season. Opposing defenses allocated more resources to defending the All-Pro tight end. This is a case of two all-time greats raising their game when it matters most.

Chiefs revel in road victory in front of raucous Bills fans: ‘The environment was crazy’ | The Athletic

Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, though, was the first player to execute the gesture every Chiefs player wanted to do since the team arrived at Highmark Stadium. He stood on a metal bench and waved goodbye to the 70,808 fans, most of them lusting to see the Bills end the Chiefs’ quest to become the NFL’s first repeat champion in two decades.

“It feels so good when everybody’s so loud, and you know it’s because they want that other team to succeed,” Edwards-Helaire said, smiling. “You can shut all them m—– f—– up, and it’s just us on the sideline making noise.”

10 Quick Facts About the Chiefs’ Divisional Round Victory Over Buffalo | Upon Further Review | The Mothership

7. Safety Chamarri Conner stepped up to turn in a tremendous performance.

Conner, who stepped in for the injured Mike Edwards early in the game, played a career-high 99 percent of his snaps in Sunday’s victory, logging the top Pro Football Focus grade of any Chiefs’ defender.

In terms of traditional statistics, Conner recorded 10 total tackles and a forced fumble in the contest.

What’s Holding The Buffalo Bills Back From Surpassing the Chiefs? | The 33rd Team

BILLS ARE CHASING A MOVING TARGET

It’s so hard to pinpoint what’s stopping the Bills from getting past the Chiefs. It’s not the quarterback. At least now, it’s not the inability to run the ball. Defensively, the Bills might have been outmanned, but at least they didn’t lose by rolling out as bland of a defensive formula as they had against the Chiefs in years past.

It’s something different every time, a moving target the Bills can never seem to zero in on no matter how they try to adapt and evolve.

Nobody wants to hear that. All it does is drive the knife in even further, knowing there isn’t one fix that will put an end to this recurring nightmare. There’s no solace in knowing you have an alien at quarterback or built the team the right way or made the right changes only for none of it to amount to anything different in the end.

The only thing the Bills can do is try, try again. Rejuvenate the defense with younger players, reinvest in the receiving corps and make the evolutionary changes to keep the scheme on both sides of the ball fresh. Do everything you can to give this another shot.

2024 NFL playoffs: AFC, NFC Championship times, odds, TV, streaming, predictions for conference finales | CBS Sports

Early prediction: Plenty of fans will be pulling for Baltimore just for the sake of watching someone other than the Chiefs fight for the Lombardi Trophy, and certainly the Ravens defense has the tools to keep things tight. But even with Lamar Jackson, Baltimore was uneven with the ball to open its game against Houston, and K.C.’s “D” under Steve Spagnuolo has been far stingier. Jackson’s play-making rivals that of Mahomes, but like Tom Brady in his prime, No. 15 can’t be written off. Pick: Chiefs 24, Ravens 20

Mike Evans’ Best Landing Spots in 2024 NFL Free Agency After Buccaneers’ Playoff Loss | Bleacher Report

Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs may be the defending Super Bowl champs and gearing up for a sixth consecutive AFC title clash, but even they aren’t immune to stretches of poor offensive play. Kansas City managed to overcome the loss of superstar wideout Tyreek Hill in 2022 to raise another banner, but there were times this past season where a lack of elite receivers have come back to haunt the club.

After the Chiefs finished outside the top five in passing yards for the first time since 2017 and only put up a middling 21.8 points this season—over a touchdown less than their league-leading 29.2-point average in 2022—it’s clear this offense could use a shot in the arm. Bringing in Mike Evans, one of the very best wide receivers of this generation, would patch over the holes in Kansas City’s passing attack to make it borderline unstoppable.

While Rashee Rice has done extremely well for a second-round rookie—finishing his first NFL campaign with 938 yards and seven scores on 79 receptions—he’s one of the only reliable pass-catchers quarterback Patrick Mahomes has left to lean on. Travis Kelce remains the top target in Kansas City, but even the future Hall of Famer took another step back in 2023. Kelce failed to breech the 1,000-yard mark for the first time since 2015 and posted a new low in yards per reception (just 10.6 compared to a career average of 12.5).

Evans is the type of savvy veteran who the Chiefs need to remain atop the league’s hierarchy for several more seasons, especially after he showed he can still play at a Pro Bowl level at the age of 30.

With a projected $51.7 million in cap space available, Kansas City will have the means to get a deal done with Evans. It remains to be seen if the club will want to bring in an aging talent with nearly half of their 53-man roster set to hit free agency, but the venerable wideout may be willing to take less than his market value to compete for another ring to close out a storied career.

Bucky Brooks 2024 NFL mock draft 1.0: Rams pick QB; Bengals, Giants among 5 teams to select WRs | NFL.com

29 - Kansas City Chiefs

Kris Jenkins

Michigan · DT · Junior (RS)

The Chiefs’ surging defense has thrived with a collection of young players slotted into prominent roles. Jenkins is an intriguing prospect with the bloodlines — his father, Kris Sr., was a four-time Pro Bowler — and physical tools to blossom into a star.

Around the NFL

Sources: Titans near deal with Brian Callahan to be coach | ESPN

The Tennessee Titans are working to finalize a deal with Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan as their next head coach, league sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Monday night.

Callahan, replacing Mike Vrabel, would become the sixth coach in Titans franchise history who was let go after the regular season ended.

In five seasons as the Bengals’ offensive coordinator, Callahan helped establish an offense that fueled Cincinnati to two AFC North division championships and a Super Bowl appearance in 2021. The Bengals’ offense was seventh in the NFL in points per game (26.1), eighth in total yards (360.5 per game) and fifth in passing yards (265.0). The Bengals also finished fourth in the NFL in offensive DVOA in 2022.

Panthers hire Dan Morgan as new general manager/president of football operations | NFL.com

Carolina has hired Dan Morgan as the team’s new president of football operations and general manager on Monday, making the move official via an early evening announcement.

Morgan is intimately familiar with all things Panthers, having joined the club as a first-round selection out of the University of Miami in 2001 and spending seven seasons with the team as a Pro Bowl-caliber linebacker who played a key role on the 2003 NFC championship squad, tallying 18 tackles in Super Bowl XXXVIII. A player personnel-focused career saw him return to the Panthers in 2021 as assistant GM under Scott Fitterer, preceding his Monday promotion to the top job.

“Dan has a thorough knowledge of our football personnel and a clear vision to take us where we all want to go,” Panthers owner David Tepper said, via a statement released by the team Monday. “We know he will attack this opportunity with the same intensity he did as a Panthers player.”

In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride

Chiefs-Bills: 9 things overheard during 27-24 Divisional Round win

“How do they expect us to play in this sweltering 25-degree heat?”

“He ripped off his shirt and started flailing his arms. The next thing you know, Taylor Swift had hired Jason Kelce to go on tour as one of her backup dancers.”

“Andy Reid combined Mecole Hardman’s incompetence, his own failed red zone trickery and the NFL’s most ridiculous rule to create the perfect postseason storm!”

“Isn’t that sweet? Tyler Bass got a ‘Thank You’ gift basket from Scott Norwood.”

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