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Chiefs headlines for Monday, February 5

NFL: JAN 21 AFC Divisional Playoffs - Jaguars at Chiefs Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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How 49ers can stop Travis Kelce in Super Bowl: Ex-NFL star reveals secret to slowing down Chiefs’ tight end | CBS Sports

Former All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly tried to answer that exact question during a recent interview on “The Up and Adams Show.” Kuechly is a former five-time All-Pro who was one of the best ever to play his position, and he had some interesting things to say about what it takes to stop Kelce.

“You try to study as much as you can, you try to anticipate routes,” Kuechly said. “He runs normal routes, he runs fades — like the back-shoulder ball he caught against Baltimore — but nothing he does is truly on script, so he can come up, find a window, move out of a window. He has the freedom to find space and sit down.”

As Kuechly notes, one reason Kelce is difficult to stop is because there’s no rhyme or reason to what he’s going to do. One of Kelce’s biggest catches against the Ravens came on a play where he RAN THE WRONG ROUTE.

Super Bowl 2024: Five burning questions for Chiefs and 49ers, including this Patrick Mahomes big-game trend | CBS Sports

3. Who wins the matchup: Travis Kelce or 49ers LBs?

Travis Kelce has come alive in these playoffs with back-to-back monster outings in the divisional round and AFC championship game. Kansas City will likely need another superstar performance from their tight end to hoist the Lombardi Trophy, which sets up one of the more fascinating matchups of Super Bowl LVIII.

San Francisco is allowing the seventh-fewest yards per reception (9.4) and second-fewest yards after catch per reception (3.9) against tight ends this season. The 49ers boast some of the best all-around linebackers in the league, headlined by Fred Warner, who’ll likely be asked to help contain Kelce in order to lower the ceiling of the Chiefs offense.

Historically, the edge has gone in favor of Mahomes and Kelce in this matchup. In the three prior career games against the 49ers, Mahomes has completed 20 of his 24 targets to Kelce for 255 yards and a touchdown.

If that trend continues, it could be a long day for the Niners. However, if they stick to their averages and play the tight end tough, they’ll put themselves in a great position. The winner of this head-to-head could very well win the game.

Best Super Bowl players ever, ranked: Where does Travis Kelce land? | USA Today

15. QB Patrick Mahomes

Yes, he’s awesome. But what a checkered Super Bowl résumé. Mahomes, 28, is about to become the first quarterback to start four times on Super Sunday before his 30th birthday. Heading into Super Bowl 58, he’s already won the game twice and come away with the MVP trophy both times. Yet he’s also thrown four INTs (against 5 TDs), played heroically (but poorly) behind a tattered line versus Brady’s Bucs in Super Bowl 55 and wasn’t the best quarterback on the field last year. His SB QB rating is 79.7.

How was the 2-3 Jet Chip Wasp play born at the Kansas City Chiefs? The Mahomes special | Marca

Would Patrick Mahomes run Wasp again at the Super Bowl?

Currently, the best receiving partner Patrick Mahomes has is Travis Kelce. Tyreek Hill is no longer at the Chiefs and that does make things a lot more complicated for Kasnsas City. However, this team already won the Super Bowl last season with no Tyreek Hill on the team. Patrick Mahomes is the player with that it factor, he can read the exact moment in which the game can turn the tide in their favor. Against the 49ers, they will get a new chance to win a third ring in six years and four Super Bowls played. With no Tyreek Hill, that play becomes incredibly more difficult to complete but they can definitely run variatons of it. No player in these Kansas City Chiefs is as fast as the ‘Cheetah’.

Ideal Landing Spots, Projected 2024 NFL Free-Agency Contracts for Top RBs on Market | Bleacher Report

Derrick Henry

Derrick Henry has arrived at a fork in the road of his career.

Given that he’s earned more than $56 million as an NFL player, landing a high-end salary might not be Henry’s primary goal. He’ll want to be fairly compensated, sure, but a chance to compete for a Super Bowl may supersede a desire to further pad his bank account.

If that indeed is the case, the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs would be two appealing low-budget destinations.

Dallas may fall in love with Henry’s name value and hope a solid offensive line boosts the 30-year-old close to exiting his prime. Green Bay fits a similar mold, especially if Aaron Jones takes another pay cut.

Cautiously, expect Henry around the $5-6 million range that fluctuates based on where the team sits on the “competitiveness” scale.

Teams to watch: Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs

Ravens WR Zay Flowers draws fine for costly taunting penalty against Chiefs | NFL.com

The Ravens wide receiver was saddled with a $10,927 unsportsmanlike fine for the infraction, the league revealed Saturday.

Flowers’ teammate, defensive tackle Travis Jones, was also fined $6,700 for a second-quarter hit on Kansas Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes that drew a roughing the passer call.

Flowers’ taunt has already gone down in infamy for the Ravens as it proved crucial in scuttling any hopes of a Baltimore comeback in a 17-10 loss to the Chiefs.

Trailing, 17-7, with 49 seconds to go in the third quarter, the Ravens were ignited by a 54-yard Flowers catch-and-run from Lamar Jackson that put Baltimore on the Kansas City 10-yard line. However, when Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed held on to Flowers’ leg after the catch, the rookie wideout responded by pushing down on Sneed’s shoulder, flipping the ball down near him and standing over him flexing. He drew a flag that pushed the Ravens back 15 yards.

2024 Super Bowl LVIII betting update: ‘There has been no shift to the Niners yet’ | FOX Sports

And you’d be right — if you’re only taking into account betting on the game itself: the point spread, the moneyline, etc.

“PointsBet currently would be rooting for the Niners to win,” trader Will Radice said Friday, before reminding that there’s more than just betting on the game itself, most notably 12 months of people wagering on Super Bowl futures odds. “Factoring in the Super Bowl futures would flip that rooting interest to the Chiefs.”

It’s an interesting spot to be in, and Pointsbet/Fanatics isn’t alone in that spot. BetMGM and Caesars Sports, among others, really need Kansas City at this point.

Eric Edholm 2024 NFL mock draft 1.0: Chargers grab TE Brock Bowers at No. 5; QB J.J. McCarthy to Rams | NFL.com

31 - Kansas City Chiefs

Darius Robinson

Missouri · Edge · Senior

Yes, the Chiefs have dipped into Mizzou’s talent pool in recent years, but this isn’t geographical bias. If they’re going to let Chris Jones walk, Robinson might be the best replacement in this draft — and truthfully, he could go higher than this. At a hefty 286 pounds, Robinson would also be a different type of edge than last year’s first-rounder, Felix Anudike-Uzomah. And there’s enough WR depth in this draft for Kansas City to consider waiting on addressing that need.

Patrick Mahomes’ father, Patrick Mahomes Sr., arrested for DWI 3rd or more | CBS19

A week before the Super Bowl, Patrick Mahomes Sr. is behind bars for driving while intoxicated 3rd or more.

According to Smith County judicial records, Mahomes was taken into custody by Tyler police Saturday night. Bond is expected to be set later Sunday morning.

In 2019, Mahomes was sentenced to 40 days in jail for DWI second or more. Judicial records state he served weekends to fulfill that sentence

Around the NFL

Sources - Raiders expected to hire Luke Getsy as OC | ESPN

Getsy, 39, fired by the Chicago Bears as offensive coordinator last month, was one of at least five candidates the Raiders interviewed for the vacant offensive playcaller position. Kingsbury, former Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt, Pittsburgh Steelers receivers coach Mike Sullivan and UCLA coach Chip Kelly were among the others. Van Pelt was hired to be the New England Patriots offensive coordinator while Kingsbury has been linked to the vacant Washington Commanders offensive coordinator position.

In his reintroductory news conference last month, Raiders coach Antonio Pierce said he wanted a “minimum 24 points” out of a new offensive coordinator, after the Raiders averaged 19.5 points per game under former coach Josh McDaniels and interim offensive coordinator Bo Hardegree.

To average 24 points, the Raiders would need to score 408 points, a mark they have hit only three times since their 2002 Super Bowl season.

Niners’ D urged to up effort after ‘unacceptable’ play vs. Lions | ESPN

For all of coach Kyle Shanahan’s tenure since taking over in 2017, the Niners have prided themselves on playing at full speed all the time. But on multiple plays in the 34-31 win against the Lions, Shanahan and his staff spotted issues with effort.

It was a jarring sight.

“Collectively as a team, I can tell you as a defense it’s unacceptable,” defensive coordinator Steve Wilks said Friday. “We talked about that. I wish I could tell these guys on Play 4, on Play 27, this is what’s going to happen. You don’t know. So we’ve got to make sure that we play every down as if it’s going to be the difference in the ballgame. And you could see on those particular plays, it wasn’t to our standard. Those guys understand and know that, and quite honestly it was embarrassing.”

Shanahan pointed to two or three plays in the game that he said were “not our culture.” That culture is rooted in the ethos of past defensive coordinators such as Robert Saleh, who preached an “all gas, no brakes” mentality, and DeMeco Ryans, who insisted on “swarming” opposing ball carriers.

In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride

Chiefs News: Dave Toub says the team’s success begins with Andy Reid

After an odd scheduling quirk that gave the Chiefs less rest than their opponents for six consecutive weeks beginning in Week 11, Toub believes the team was at a crossroads.

“Just the way the season went, it was a struggle at a lot of times, you know, to be able to get to the point where we’re at,” he noted. “We knew our backs were to the wall, and we had to win on the road.”

Entering the season’s eighth week, the Chiefs had taken a firm grip on the AFC West with a 6-1 record — and then lost five of its next eight. Still, a 25-17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17 had clinched Kansas City’s eighth consecutive division title — and the AFC’s No. 3 seed.

So even though the team’s final regular-season matchup — a 13-12 road win against the Los Angeles Chargers — was meaningless in terms of postseason seeding, Toub has come to believe it was a turning point.

“A lot of people probably won’t believe this,” he cautioned, “but [in] that game — where our backups had to play, and our starters were watching — [the starters] watched how [the backups] competed on the road.

“I think it made everybody come together as a football team — because coming up to that point, we were winning a game, losing a game, winning a game, losing a game. That was the first time we won a game [and then] won a game, you know — and then we got on a streak right there.”

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