Dec 26, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Demarcus Robinson (11) runs the ball against Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Joe Schobert (93) during the second half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers face long odds vs. Chiefs, but neither team feels assured of anything

The Super Bowl defeat suffered by the Kansas City Chiefs last season provides motivation entering the playoffs but remains a setback that can be compartmentalized.

After all, considerable work remains for the two-time reigning AFC champion before booking a Super Bowl appearance in mid-February. The path begins to unravel Sunday when the Chiefs play host to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the wild-card round at Kansas City, Mo.

“it’s in the back of my mind but for the most part it’s a new year,” Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said about the NFL’s ultimate prize. “You’ve got to focus on things that have happened this year. We’re on a goal to prove to ourselves who we think we are, and we know we are, and that’s Super Bowl champions.”

The Pittsburgh matchup will be a rematch of a Dec. 26 clash Kansas City dominated 36-10 with Kelce sidelined in COVID-19 protocol. The Chiefs went on to go 12-5 while winning nine of their last 10 games and claiming their sixth consecutive AFC West title.

Kansas City has reached the AFC championship game in each of the four seasons primarily engineered by stalwart QB Patrick Mahomes.

“When you get to that playoff game day, you have a little bit different intensity knowing that every play is critical and it could really end your season by making a mistake,” Mahomes said. “At the same time, you want to be loose, you want to have fun and you want to enjoy it.”

Mahomes passed for 258 yards and three touchdowns in the first meeting with the Steelers. The Chiefs also forced three turnovers and limited Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger to 159 yards passing.

The Chiefs’ defensive intensity that day followed a trend that began after acquiring a longtime Steeler, Melvin Ingram. Ingram proved instrumental a week ago when he crashed into the backfield to generate a bone-jarring strip the Chiefs converted into a late touchdown return in a 28-24 win at Denver.

“He’s the swag champ,” Kelce said, adding that “you saw how much more fun people were having” after Ingram joined the defensive front.

At times, Mahomes has struggled with his accuracy, but he overcame an early-season rash of mistakes to lead the Chiefs to the league’s third-best production, 396.8 yards on average.

He passed for 4,839 yards while counting on Kelce and Tyreek Hill as 1,000-yard receivers. The committee approach to the backfield could continue with Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Darrel Williams coming off injuries.

Second-seeded Kansas City, a two-time Super Bowl champion, will make its seventh consecutive postseason appearance and last faced Pittsburgh in the 2016 playoffs. The Steelers won 18-16. Pittsburgh, a six-time Super Bowl champion, reached the playoffs for the second straight season but last won a postseason game in 2016.

Roethlisberger, whose career could end with the Steelers’ next loss as he considers retiring from football, lamented the long odds his team faces after going 9-7-1 and drawing the No. 7 seed.

“I would assume, as a group, you understand that we probably aren’t supposed to be here,” said Roethlisberger, who is dealing with a strained pectoral and shoulder.

“We probably are not a very good football team. Out of 14 teams I think are in, we’re probably number 14. We’re double-digit underdogs in the playoffs. So, let’s just go play, have fun and see what happens.”

Tongue in cheek? Probably. A dose of realism? Yes, that too.

Still, Pittsburgh got in by defeating Baltimore in the season finale and getting help from Jacksonville beating Indianapolis and Las Vegas beating the Los Angeles Chargers in overtime.

RB Najee Harris (ankle) and CB Arthur Maulet (concussion) were slowed at the beginning of preparations for the Chiefs.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin gained some satisfaction getting to restrict the all-out aggression of Harris, a 1,200-yard rusher as a rookie.

“It’s a good issue and problem to have,” Tomlin said, “when you have a guy that’s wired the way that he’s wired.”

–Field Level Media

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (85) catches a pass as Baltimore Ravens cornerback Kevon Seymour (38) defends in the third quarter during a Week 16 NFL game, Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Baltimore Ravens, 41-21.

Baltimore Ravens At Cincinnati Bengals Dec 26

Star WRs abound as Chiefs, Bengals jockey for playoff positions

Playmaking receivers for the Kansas City Chiefs do not have to be named Travis Kelce or Tyreek Hill.

Patrick Mahomes insists “any game can be anybody’s week” and proved his point last week when Kelce was among several Chiefs sidelined by COVID-19 and Hill just coming off the virus.

Each is expected to be at full strength Sunday when Kansas City (11-4) carries an eight-game win streak into Cincinnati for an AFC showdown against the Bengals (9-6).

The Chiefs look to close in on the No. 1 seed in the AFC for the third time in the four seasons since Mahomes has engineered their attack.

Kansas City holds a one-game advantage over Tennessee in the chase for the first-round bye and homefield advantage that goes to the top seed.

When asked how the Chiefs overcame a 3-4 start, Mahomes said, “nobody held their head down. We knew there was a lot of season left and everything we wanted was right in front of us.

“Our guys came in with the right mentality every single day to get better and we’re sitting where we’re at right now, but the job’s not finished.”

Kansas City’s resolve has rarely been more evident than during last week’s 36-10 dismantling of Pittsburgh, when Byron Pringle rose up to catch six passes for 75 yards and two touchdowns. The Chiefs also relied on multiple rushing threats, though starter Clyde Edwards-Helaire suffered a shoulder injury and will miss the Cincinnati game.

A significant challenge awaits from the Bengals, who need only a win to clinch their first AFC North title since 2015. Joe Burrow is coming off a franchise-record 525 yards passing in a rout of Baltimore, going 37 of 46 with four touchdowns.

“He’s a smooth operator,” said the Chiefs’ Andy Reid, who will observe his 400th game as an NFL head coach Sunday.

Tee Higgins has been surging, posting 583 yards receiving in the last five games. Both he and rookie Ja’Marr Chase have more than 1,000 receiving yards on the season, a feat also achieved by the Chiefs’ Kelce and Hill.

The Bengals’ Joe Mixon ranks second among NFL rushers with 1,159 yards.

Kansas City counters with an offense ranked third in the NFL, while its defense has allowed an average of 11.4 points during the nine-game win streak.

“We’re going in expecting to score a lot of points and we’ll have to adapt accordingly,” Burrow said.

Cincinnati has won its last two but has yet to win more than two straight this season. The Bengals’ convincing win over the Ravens, however, is potentially part of a season-ending uptick.

“No moment is too big for our guys right now. They’ve risen to the occasion in a lot of different games,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. “Our guys have had the right mentality, an aggressive mentality.”

Cincinnati’s Germaine Pratt has been placed on the COVID-19 reserve list. Another defender, D.J. Reader (COVID-19), could remain out after missing the Baltimore game. Mike D. Thomas has been reinstated to the active roster and taken off the COVID-19 list. Cam Sample (hamstring) and Jalen Davis (ankle) did not practice Wednesday.

After a rash of COVID-19 infections riddled Kansas City’s two-deep a week ago, everyone on the 53-man active roster was free of the virus when preparations for the Bengals began Wednesday. The Chiefs return their leading receiver (Kelce), leading tackler (Nick Bolton) and leading scorer (Harrison Butker).

–Field Level Media

Dec 16, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) catches a pass against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Tyreek Hill clears COVID protocols

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill has cleared the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols, per an announcement from the team Saturday.

Hill, 27, was added to the the reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday along with six other Chiefs players, joining tight end Travis Kelce as potential casualties for Sunday’s game with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Hill will now be available for that game.

The status of Kelce remains up in the air. He has been activated but not cleared to play, giving him the opportunity to play with a second negative test on game day.

On a negative note for Kansas City, the team also announced several coaches would not be available Sunday: quarterbacks coach Mike Kafka, running backs coach Greg Lewis and assistant offensive line coach Corey Matthaei.

The players added to the list Tuesday in addition to Hill were starting linebacker Nick Bolton, cornerbacks Rashad Fenton and Armani Watts, starting offensive linemen Lucas Niang and Kyle Long, and tight end Blake Bell. All reportedly tested positive.

Bolton and Niang were listed as questionable to play on the team’s latest injury report Saturday, along with Kelce.

Hill leads Kansas City with 102 receptions while Kelce is second on the team with 83 receptions. Both are over 1,000 yards receiving.

Kelce, 32, landed on the list with teammates Harrison Butker and Charvarius Ward Monday.

On Saturday, the Chiefs also activated defensive back Decaprio Bootle, tight end Nakia Griffin-Stewart, defensive back Josh Jackson and punter Johnny Townsend from the practice squad via COVID replacement.

–Field Level Media

Nov 14, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) runs the ball against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Mahomes throws five TDs, Chiefs bury Raiders

Patrick Mahomes threw five touchdown passes and the Kansas City Chiefs dominated the Raiders, 41-14 on Sunday night in Las Vegas.

Mahomes had 406 passing yards and the Chiefs (6-4) won their third consecutive game to climb into first place in the AFC West over the Raiders, who are even with the Los Angeles Chargers at 5-4.

Mahomes completed 35 of 50 passes, relying on shorter patterns to produce time-consuming drives that solved the deep coverage schemes employed by the Raiders.

Running back Darrel Williams proved to be the Chiefs’ biggest weapon. His touches included 11 rushes for 43 yards and nine receptions for 101 yards. Running a wheel route, Williams made a leaping grab of a 38-yard touchdown bomb from Mahomes with 13:11 remaining to put Kansas City up 34-14.

Travis Kelce added eight catches for 119 yards, while Tyreek Hill caught seven balls for 83 yards and two touchdowns. Noah Gray and Byron Pringle also snagged TD grabs as the Chiefs gained 516 yards and revived an offense that averaged just 13 points in the previous three games.

Las Vegas committed turnovers on back-to-back third-quarter possessions after beginning the second half with a touchdown drive Derek Carr capped with a 37-yard pass to Bryan Edwards.

Minus a running game, Carr led the Raiders with 18 rushing yards. He passed for 261 yards, going 25 of 35 with two touchdowns and one interception. Las Vegas, which has lost four of six, generated just 50 rushing yards.

Mahomes found Hill for touchdown strikes of 8 and 1 yards as the Chiefs claimed a 17-7 halftime lead while producing 241 yards and 15 first downs.

The Raiders’ only score came after getting stopped, but then recovering a fumble by Chiefs punt returner Mike Hughes.

The turnover allowed Las Vegas to take over at midfield. A 6-yard pass from Carr to Hunter Renfrow forged a 7-7 tie two minutes into the second quarter. Carr began the game 8-for-8 but the Raiders managed just 82 first-half yards.

–Field Level Media

Nov 7, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) runs the ball against Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Tershawn Wharton (98) during the second quarter at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs end Packers’ seven-game winning streak

Patrick Mahomes overcame a rocky performance, passing for just 166 yards and one touchdown, but the host Kansas City Chiefs still edged the Green Bay Packers 13-7 on Sunday.

The loss of quarterback Aaron Rodgers after he tested positive for COVID-19 proved costly for the Packers (7-2), who lacked offensive consistency and had their seven-game winning streak snapped.

Packers QB Jordan Love, making his first NFL start, often got saddled with poor field position as the Chiefs (5-4) overcame their offensive ineffectiveness with well-placed punts by Tommy Townsend.

Love passed for 190 yards, going 19 of 34, though the Packers went only 2-for-12 on third-down plays. Love completed his first nine attempts of the second half, and after an interception by the Chiefs’ L’Jarius Sneed, he connected with Allen Lazard for a 20-yard touchdown pass with 4:54 remaining to make it 13-7.

The Packers could not get the ball back, however, exhausting their timeouts before Mahomes fired a 13-yard strike to Tyreek Hill on third-and-10 from the Green Bay 48 to seal the outcome.

Mahomes went just 20 of 37 as Kansas City seemed reluctant to rely on a decent run game in an effort to thaw out their passer. The Chiefs logged four three-and-outs, exceeding their season total (three).

Darrel Williams rushed for 70 yards on 19 carries. After coming in with a league-high 19 giveaways, the Chiefs committed no turnovers while totaling only 237 yards.

Special teams cost Green Bay in the first half. Mason Crosby missed a field goal and had another blocked. Then, a punt that bounded off the foot of Malik Taylor was recovered by Chris Lammons, setting up Kansas City for an easy 24-yard field goal by Harrison Butker with 1:51 left.

Butker tacked on a 55-yarder with one second remaining in the half after the Packers stalled on downs and gave the Chiefs the ball at the Green Bay 38 with 27 seconds left.

Mahomes engineered a methodical 15-play touchdown drive after Love and Green Bay went three-and-out on their first possession. Williams gained 33 yards on the 64-yard march, which ended with a 1-yard strike to Travis Kelce.

The Chiefs recorded six first downs on the drive before finishing with just 14.

–Field Level Media

Sep 13, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Sammy Watkins (14) runs the ball ahead of Las Vegas Raiders inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (44) during the second half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Familiarity may give neither team edge in Chiefs-Ravens

The “heat of the moment,” as described by Kansas City tackle Orlando Brown Jr., can turn into an explosive fire when Patrick Mahomes happens to be quarterbacking your team.

That’s something Brown discovered first-hand along the reconstructed Kansas City offensive front as the Chiefs (1-0) pulled off a fourth-quarter rally to win their opener and now face a Sunday night test at Baltimore against Brown’s former team, the Ravens (0-1).

“That’s what this team is, it’s a ton of resilience, a lot of talent, and Patrick is the best ever at what he does. This is a team you should never count out,” said Brown, who insisted he must play better while continuing to gel within a line that includes three rookie starters.

To improve immediately, he must dismiss any nostalgia he feels while performing against his former team in a stadium where he also watched his father play.

“I’ll be very emotional, but I plan on letting my emotions play for themselves,” Brown said.

That and continue to trust in Mahomes, who fired three touchdown passes in the second half and finished with 337 yards executing a 33-29 comeback against the Cleveland Browns. Mahomes took two sacks. His most dazzling throw, a 75-yard scoring bomb to Tyreek Hill, came while eluding pressure.

When asked how he clicked with his new line, Mahomes accepted blame on some pressures while acknowledging he could see a variety of blitzes from the Ravens, who feature rangy linebacker Patrick Queen.

“I’ve got to work on just the depth of my drop,” Mahomes said. “It’s something I always have to work on, just not fading back too much.”

Brown won’t be the only player sharing intel with a new team. Sammy Watkins moved on to Baltimore after contributing to Super Bowl runs by Kansas City the past two seasons. Watkins had four receptions for 96 yards in the Ravens’ opener, a 33-27 overtime loss Monday at Las Vegas.

“The best thing is we get to play against one of the best teams in the NFL,” Watkins said. “We’ve just got to come out and clean things up in practice. … We get to redeem ourselves.”

Any duel between Mahomes and Lamar Jackson creates considerable attention, but the Ravens’ quarterback knows that he must exercise more caution after losing two fumbles in the opener. The second turnover launched the Raiders’ game-winning drive.

“That ticked me off. I hate any turnover,” said Jackson, adding that “we’ve got to move on quick. Everybody hates losing. It’s going to be a quick turnaround, though.”

Maybe that short timeframe enables Jackson not to dwell on memories of three defeats in three meetings against Mahomes and the Chiefs. Jackson must continue to improvise with a patchwork offense that still must cope with the loss of three running backs to injuries prior to the opener.

Against the Raiders, Ty’son Williams stepped up and recorded 65 yards and a touchdown on nine carries, while adding three receptions for 29 yards. Jackson, the first NFL quarterback to post 1,000 yards rushing in two seasons, gained 86 yards while averaging 7.2 yards per carry.

Injuries have led to eight Ravens being placed on injured reserve, including Tyre Phillips, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the opener.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid reported no injuries as the practice week began. The Chiefs’ Tyrann Mathieu should be available after he missed the opener coming off COVID-19 protocol. Frank Clark also sat out with a strained hamstring.

–Field Level Media

Nov 22, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) with tight end Travis Kelce (87) after a play against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Mahomes’ magic: Late TD pass lifts Chiefs over Raiders

Patrick Mahomes passed for 348 yards and two touchdowns, including a 22-yarder to tight end Travis Kelce with 28 seconds left, as the visiting Kansas City Chiefs rallied for a 35-31 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday night.

It was the sixth time in his career that Mahomes, who completed 34 of 45 passes, led the Chiefs from behind in the fourth quarter or overtime for a victory.

He had plenty of help as Kansas City (9-1) won its fifth straight game. Kelce caught eight passes for 127 yards and a touchdown. Tyreek Hill had a game-high 11 receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed for 69 yards and two touchdowns.

Derek Carr completed 23 of 31 passes for 275 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, which came on a deep pass after the Chiefs’ late touchdown. Josh Jacobs rushed for 55 yards and a touchdown for Las Vegas (6-4), which had a three-game winning streak snapped.

The Raiders took a 31-28 lead with 1:43 to go on a 1-yard touchdown pass from Carr to Jason Witten, but Mahomes then drove the Chiefs 75 yards in seven plays — all passes — capped by his scrambling 22-yard TD pass to a wide-open Kelce in the middle of the end zone.

Las Vegas scored on each of its first three possessions while building a 17-14 halftime lead.

Kansas City took a 21-17 lead with a 16-play, 93-yard drive that chewed up 8:37 to open the second half. Edwards-Helaire finished the drive with his second touchdown of the game on a 14-yard run off right tackle.

Las Vegas responded with an 11-play, 75-yard drive to regain the lead at 24-21 on the first play of the fourth quarter when Carr hit a wide-open Darren Waller in the back of the end zone with a 3-yard touchdown pass.

After both teams traded three-and-outs, the Chiefs put together their second 90-plus-yard drive of the game, this one covering 91 yards in 12 plays, to go ahead 28-24. Le’Veon Bell capped the series with a 6-yard sweep around left end for his first touchdown of the season.

Kansas City coach Andy Reid improved to 19-3 after a bye week.

–Field Level Media

Super Bowl 53 Odds: Updated for Week 11

Super Bowl 53 Odds: Updated for Week 11

Key takeaways from week 10:

  • Rams Saints and Chiefs are favorites to win Super Bowl 53
  • Patriots fall from the top 3
  • Raiders have the lowest odds at 2500/1
  • Biggest jump: Cleveland Browns (+50%)
  • Biggest drop: Arizona Cardinals (-150%)
  • No change: Broncos, Bills, 49ers (0%)

Super Bowl 53 Odds

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Super Bowl 53 Odds: Updated for Week 7

Super Bowl 53 Odds: Updated for Week 7

Key takeaways from week 6:

  • Rams, Patriots, and Chiefs remain in top three spots
  • LA Chargers are 4-2, with losses only to the LA Rams, KC Chiefs
  • Biggest jump: New York Jets (+42.9%)
  • Biggest drop: New York Giants (-100.00%)
  • No change: Lions, Vikings (0%)

Super Bowl 53 Odds

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Chiefs' Kareem Hunt happy with whatever role in offense

NFL Week 6 Football Props: Chiefs vs. Patriots

The Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots have both been playing exceptional football. Following a rocky 1-2 start, the Patriots have bounced back with 2 commanding victories over the Dolphins and Colts. Aided by Josh Gordon and the return of Julian Edelman, New England seems to have found it’s offensive rhythm they lacked in the first three weeks. They Currently sit atop the AFC East. There were many who considered the Jaguars’ defense to be the only thing that could slow down the dynamics Kansas City offense. The week 5 matchup started with the Chiefs taking a 20-0 lead by halftime, with Blake Bortles having thrown a couple of interceptions. Jacksonville managed to get on the board, but there was never really any hope for a second-half comeback as the Chiefs rolled to a 30-14 victory. Sunday night we’ll get to see the Chiefs head to New England to face their potentially toughest challenge of the season, although they will travel to LA to face the Rams in November. Kansas City defeated New England 42-27 in week 1 of last season. Alternate lines are very popular in Europe and allow the sportsbook provide accelerated lines at better odds. The offering of these alternate lines often come with higher bet commission, but they opportunity for big odds on a two-sided bet can be there every game.

Alternate lines are available at Sugar House Sportsbook if you live in the state of New Jersey.

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