Kansas City Chiefs: Positioned
Injuries aren’t helping a defense that’s consistently been the Chiefs’ weaker unit. It hasn’t mattered much during the regular season, though, because Patrick Mahomes and the offense are doing that “nah-nah-nah can’t stop us” thing again. Kansas City tops the league in third-down conversion percentage, red-zone touchdown rate and points per game. Throw in a favorable slate to come, and the 5-2 Chiefs are likely bound for the playoffs.
Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are fresh off their bye week, which means we’re likely in for a show on Sunday night, when the Chiefs host the Titans at Arrowhead. The star quarterback continues to build his case for a second MVP with a BIG outing against last year’s top seed in the AFC. Mahomes finishes with five touchdown passes to five different targets. And I’ll do you one better by guessing those five guys: Travis Kelce (obviously), Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Mecole Hardman, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and new addition Kadarius Toney, who’s expected to make his debut for Kansas City.
What to know for fantasy: You’re not benching him, especially after last week. But it is worth noting that the Titans are significant underdogs and that Henry hasn’t finished better than RB30 in either of their losses this season.
Betting nugget: Tennessee is 5-0 outright and ATS in its last five games. The last four Tennessee games have gone under the total. Kansas City is 0-3 ATS at home this season.
Moody’s pick: Chiefs 30, Titans 20
Walder’s pick: Chiefs 33, Titans 13
The top dogs
Interestingly enough, I have the teams that currently lead their respective divisions in the AFC winning them. However, I do have the Titans dropping down to the four seed.
Most will probably agree that the Bills, Chiefs and Titans win their divisions. As for the Ravens, it’s true that their defense has struggled, but I really like the Roquan Smith addition. Per Tankathon, the Ravens have the easiest remaining schedule in the NFL.
JuJu Smith-Schuster should be the No. 1 receiver for the Chiefs. But Valdes-Scantling and Hardman are each playing well coming off Kansas City’s bye in Week 8. Prior to the bye, Valdes-Scantling had two games with at least 14 PPR points in his past three outings. In Week 7, he had three catches for 111 yards on four targets.
Hardman has scored at least 11 PPR points in three games in a row, and he had a dominant outing in Week 7 at San Francisco with four catches for 32 yards and a touchdown, along with two carries for 28 yards and two touchdowns. He hasn’t had more than four catches in any game this season, but the Chiefs are finding a way to manufacture touches for him, especially near the end zone.
Around the NFL
4. Ravens earn No. 1 seed in the AFC
Don’t look now, but the Baltimore Ravens are in a position to go on a run. After beating the Buccaneers last Thursday to begin Week 8, they now sit at 5-3 on the season and in sole possession of first place in the AFC North. Not only is this team positioned to win its division, but the Ravens have a ceiling that stops with them sitting as the top seed in the entire AFC.
Baltimore has the easiest remaining schedule in the NFL as each of their remaining opponents is currently either at or below .500 on the year.
On top of that, they are currently in the midst of a soft cushion in their schedule, which allows them to get healthy. After playing the Bucs on “Thursday Night Football,” they had their mini-bye extended, thanks to playing the Saints on “Monday Night Football” to end Week 9 and will then have their actual bye week in Week 10. So, that means between after the Bucs game and before they host the Panthers in Week 11, the Ravens will have played just one game over the span of 24 days.
Stripping the defense of captains, leaders and playmakers left questions in the Bears’ locker room.
“Your thoughts start to go through your head like, ‘What are we playing for?’” safety Eddie Jackson said Wednesday. “Is their vision (in the front office) still the same as the players? We’re trying to make it to a Super Bowl, get to the playoffs, things like that. Like I said, I’m not upstairs. I get it. I understand it. But it just hits different.”
The big fish floating out there that hadn’t been directly linked to interest in the team after yesterday’s massive announcement is Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. He has been interested in owning an NFL team for years, and is already working with the league through his company’s deal to broadcast Thursday Night Football games on Amazon Prime this season. Bezos also personally owns the Washington Post, which has been a continuous thorn in Snyder’s side since long before Bezos bought it.
People is reporting that Bezos is in fact interested in purchasing the Washington franchise. Bezos has a net worth of at least $125 billion and is more than comfortable paying the projected $6+ billion price that the sale of the team is expected to command. He also has the wealth to build a stadium without the help of local or state governments. There has been plenty of speculation that once Dan Snyder is out of the picture, the RFK Stadium site will be back on the table as the next home for the team.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
About five weeks after Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Shaq Barrett laughed about the Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive line ahead of their Week 4 matchup, Simmons made some eye-catching comments when he spoke to SiriusXM Radio.
“I know especially that our front four, when we go out there… I watch tape,” started Simmons, according to NFL.com. “So I’m looking at the offensive linemen that we have to play against, and I’m very confident that we can go out there and dominate them… Like I said, they know us, we know them. I’m looking forward to the matchup up front. Whoever it may be. [Joe] Thuney or Trey Smith at the guard position. But I’m very confident in our defense going out there and having a great day.”
To be fair, he was also complimentary of the Chiefs during the same interview.
“They have a good team. We know them. They know us,” Simmons said. “They haven’t changed. And honestly, we might be missing a couple pieces, but we haven’t changed, and the same with them. They still got Mahomes, they still got Travis Kelce. They want to get the ball to Travis Kelce a lot, and I mean, they got Mahomes back there, who is really a good player. Man, I live for games like this where no one expects us to go in and get a big win. I’m juiced up every game, but games like this just mean a little more to me, because I know what type of team I have, we have here in Tennessee.”
In Week 4, Barrett told reporters that he didn’t see much difference between the Chiefs’ current offensive line and the one from Super Bowl LV (yes, that offensive line), adding that he felt his Bucs defense could “impose its will” and have a “coming-out party.” That resulted in the Chiefs’ O-line arguably playing its best game of the season to the tune of a 41-31 win.