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Arrowheadlines: Lamar Jackson doesn’t like competing against Patrick Mahomes at all

Chiefs headlines for Thursday, January 25

Baltimore Ravens v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The latest

Lamar Jackson was very honest in yesterday’s press conference

Chiefs’ Key Matchups to Beat Ravens in AFC Championship 2024 | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors | Bleacher Report

Isiah Pacheco vs. Patrick Queen, Baltimore Front Seven

The Chiefs will not stray from the offensive strategy it used to reach the AFC Championship Game.

Pacheco should earn a heavy dose of carries once again to provide balance alongside Mahomes.

The Baltimore rushing defense only allowed 38 ground yards to the Houston Texans in the divisional round.

Patrick Queen and the Ravens front seven held nine opponents under 100 rushing yards this season.

If Baltimore slows down Pacheco, the Chiefs will be forced to throw the ball more, and that could mean Mahomes has to trust players in the passing attack outside of Rice and Kelce.

A strong rushing game would allow the Chiefs to assert their dominance and counter whatever Lamar Jackson and Co. throw at the Kansas City defense.

Jason Kelce’s wife wasn’t a fan of his shirtless celebration, but Taylor Swift was | FOX Sports

While many enjoyed the Eagles center’s antics, not everyone was a fan. The elder Kelce brother shared on the most recent episode of the ”New Heights” podcast that his wife, Kylie, wasn’t too happy about it, especially because of who was in the suite with them.

“I gave Kylie a heads-up the moment we got into the suite,” Kelce said. “I said, ‘I’m taking my shirt off and I’m jumping out of the suite.’ And she said, ‘Jason, don’t you dare.’ … And she was already telling me to be on my best behavior because we were meeting Taylor [Swift]. So, she’s like, ‘Be on your best behavior.’

NFL Championship Weekend Quarterback Power Rankings: Mahomes, Jackson Show Why They’re Elite | The 33rd Team

1. PATRICK MAHOMES, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Divisional Round Ranking: 1

The 2023 Kansas City Chiefs are the “worst” team of Mahomes’ career and it doesn’t seem to matter. Here they are again, moving on to the AFC Championship game for the sixth time in a row.

Mahomes was excellent vs. the Buffalo Bills. In a rare turn of events compared to most of this season, Mahomes’ efforts showed up in the box score. Mahomes went 17 of 23 for 215 yards and two touchdowns, and the Bills failed to sack him.

Mahomes himself didn’t do anything differently. The scheme and the skill players did.

Schematically, the Chiefs leaned into heavy personnel. They spent more than half their snaps with two or three tight ends on the field. Not only did that enable them to run the ball and sustain drives, but it set Mahomes up for success by allowing him to throw against more vanilla coverage looks. Mahomes, of course, took full advantage.

More than that, his skill players showed up. Everyone but Mecole Hardman was the best version of themselves.

Travis Kelce seemed rejuvenated. Rashee Rice was as explosive as ever. Even Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who has failed down the field time and time again this season, came through with two huge catches in traffic on deep routes. Those were his only two receptions, but he gained 62 yards, second-most on the team behind Kelce.

This game was the perfect marriage of Mahomes’ ability and the offense finally coming together. Mahomes’ pocket management, decision-making, and accuracy were exquisite, and the pieces around him finally made the most of it.

Prisco’s NFL conference championship picks: Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs take road to Super Bowl; Lions-49ers tight | CBS Sports

Kansas City Chiefs (+3.5) at Baltimore Ravens

This is Lamar Jackson vs. Patrick Mahomes, the likely MVP this season for a second time against a guy who has won two already. The difference is Mahomes has Super Bowl rings, while Jackson is just trying to get there.

The Chiefs won a tough road game at Buffalo on Sunday, but the defense had some issues with the Buffalo run game. If that’s a problem against Jackson and the Ravens, it will be a long day. Jackson will run it, but he will hit shots off it.

I think that Chiefs defense will play better this week, which will force Jackson to win it with his legs but mostly his right arm. He is more than capable.

As for Mahomes, he will be facing a defense that throws a lot of looks at a quarterback. But he’s seen them all — and had success against them all. I think he will be patient here as the Chiefs run it and he takes his shots off the run. The Chiefs did a nice job in protection last week, and that will carry over, thanks to the run game.

Look for both quarterbacks to play well, but I think the postseason experience for Mahomes will shine through. Look for the Chiefs to advance to another Super Bowl as Mahomes has some late-game magic to win it.

Pick: Chiefs 28, Ravens 26

2024 NFL Mock Draft: Bills add speedy WR to offense, QBs taken with top three picks as Justin Fields traded | CBS Sports

Round 1 - Pick 29

Troy Franklin WR

OREGON • JR • 6’3” / 187 LBS

Franklin is a flashy, twitched-up wideout who makes plays after the catch and down the field consistently. A needed add to the Chiefs offense.

Around the NFL

Joe Barry will not return as Packers defensive coordinator after three seasons | NFL.com

NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported on Wednesday that Joe Barry will not return as defensive coordinator, per sources informed of the situation.

The Packers later officially announced the news.

“We want to thank Joe for his commitment and contributions to our success the past three seasons,” Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said in a statement. “These decisions are extremely difficult and Joe is one of the best men I’ve had the opportunity to work with in this league.”

LaFleur declined to provide direction on Barry’s future earlier in the week. But given the contrast in definitive statements about the DC last season, it seemed apparent change was afoot.

Vic Fangio out as Dolphins DC, becomes Eagles’ top target | ESPN

Fangio will now be the top target for the Philadelphia Eagles’ vacant defensive coordinator position, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Jeremy Fowler, and a deal is expected.

Fangio, 65, joined the Dolphins as the NFL’s highest-paid defensive coordinator last year. His defensive scheme took some time to sink in, but Miami ranked seventh in the NFL in defensive expected points added from Week 8 to Week 18, coinciding with the return of All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

“I want to thank Vic for his contributions in 2023,” Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said in a statement. “When we assessed the season, it became apparent that this was the best path forward for all parties involved.

Chargers hire Jim Harbaugh as their new head coach | NFL.com

The Los Angeles Chargers have agreed to a five-year deal with Harbaugh, who led the University of Michigan to a national championship earlier this month, to become their next head coach, NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport, Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo reported on Wednesday. The team later announced Harbaugh’s hiring.

Rapoport added that Harbaugh, 60, received an offer from Michigan that would have made him the highest-paid coach in college football, but chose to helm the Chargers.

“Jim Harbaugh is football personified, and I can think of no one better to lead the Chargers forward,” Chargers owner and chairman of the board Dean Spanos said in a statement. “The son of a coach, brother of a coach and father of a coach who himself was coached by names like [Bo] Schembechler and [Mike] Ditka, for the past two decades Jim has led hundreds of men to success everywhere he’s been — as their coach. And today, Jim Harbaugh returns to the Chargers, this time as our coach. Who has it better than us?”

In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride

Chiefs-Bills Divisional Round: Kansas City’s running game dominated

Starting the fight

This heavyweight bout had just as much to do with the play in the trenches as it did with the play of the quarterbacks. Kansas City didn’t waste time throwing a wrench into the Bills’ game plan. Early on, the Chiefs kept it basic by running their typical zone and power looks.

These plays have been staples of the Chiefs’ offense all season — but in Buffalo, the offensive line asserted its dominance, creating movement off the ball and finishing plays to the whistle.

Even when the Bills had players in position to make plays, Kansas City’ physicality on the line — combined with Pacheco’s hard running — still created positive gains.

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