Early Super Bowl LV money flowing in on Chiefs
Kansas City is being backed by 77 percent of the spread line bets and 81 percent of the handle at DraftKings, where the Chiefs opened as 3.5-point favorites Sunday night. They are being backed by 74 percent of the bets and 85 percent of the handle at FanDuel.
However, both books are seeing more split action on the moneyline. Tampa Bay (+143) is being backed by 56 percent of the bets and 45 percent of the moneyline handle at DraftKings, with FanDuel reporting the Bucs are being backed by 59 percent of the bets and 42 percent of the spread as of Tuesday.
The Over continues to be heavily backed at both books despite being among the highest in Super Bowl history. The 56-point Over at DraftKings has received 83 percent of the bets and handle, compared to 81 percent of the bets and 79 percent of the handle at FanDuel (56.5).
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes remains the clear game MVP favorite at all books. However, Bucs counterpart Tom Brady (+200) is responsible for 21.43 percent of the bets at PointsBet compared to Mahomes (14.29 percent) at -110.
Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce (+1000) is third with 13.28 percent of the MVP bets placed on him.
Bruce Arians: Playing home Super Bowl 'huge advantage'
"It's a huge advantage," Bucs coach Bruce Arians said Monday.
It could prove an even bigger edge than normal in a season that continues to be impacted at every turn by the coronavirus pandemic.
The traditional Super Bowl media day and all other interviews throughout the week, including postgame, will be done virtually. ESPN reported before Sunday's conference championship games that the winning teams would not arrive in Tampa until at least Feb. 5.
Of course, Tampa Bay is not encumbered by those travel restrictions.
"We stay in our own beds, sleep here and just do our normal routine," Arians said Monday after the Bucs returned from their 31-26 win at Green Bay in Sunday's NFC Championship Game. "Nothing is out of the ordinary until we hit the media sessions next week.
"Just to be able to stay in your routine, sleep in your bed and all that stuff."
However, Arians also sees an advantage for the Chiefs compared to typical Super Bowls.
Kansas City will arrive to the host city without the normal distractions of media requirements and friends and family trying to come to town for the festivities.
"I think it really helps them," Arians said. "Normally, when you get to town for Super Bowl, everybody's pulling and tugging you -- trying to get everything done the week before. Then, when you hit town, you've got all the media obligations and your practice and game plans are all put in.
"I think it's a great advantage for them (because) it's just an away game. They get to do their normal prep just like we do. Nobody's going to get tied up in all that stuff."
Super Bowl LV will be held on Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium, with some 22,000 in attendance.
Chiefs LT Eric Fisher done with torn Achilles
"It doesn't look too good with the Achilles," head coach Andy Reid said Sunday night.
Mike Remmers moved from right tackle to left tackle in the Chiefs' 38-24 win over the Buffalo Bills. Andrew Wylie moved from right guard to right tackle.
Fisher, 30, appeared in 117 games (113 starts) since the Chiefs selected him No. 1 overall out of Central Michigan in 2013. He is a two-time Pro Bowl selection who started 15 games this season while protecting the blind side of Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
The loss of Fisher could create major problems for the Chiefs, who already are without right tackle Mitchell Schwartz because of a back injury. Remmers has moved into a starting role to replace Schwartz, and Martinas Rankin is likely to start in place of Fisher against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7.
Super man at Super Bowl? Can Brady do it again?
At 43, Brady is one victory away from proving his ability to win titles isn't tied to a single franchise or a sure-fire Hall of Fame coach. He's a win from proving he's strong enough to go anywhere and emerge triumphant.
After all, he has already proven he can lead fourth-quarter comebacks on the game's grandest stage, and showed that being down by 25 points late in the third quarter of a Super Bowl means next to nothing.
Brady has turned Tampa -- a professional football wasteland for decades -- into the undisputed sports capital of the U.S. today. The city in western Florida is home to the reigning Stanley Cup champion Lightning and the American League champion Rays, and is a win away from filling the streets of Ybor City with confetti.
Tampa Bay is hosting the Super Bowl, the first one where a team will be playing for the Lombardi Trophy on its own home field.
Brady turned New England, which had never won a Super Bowl, from a mediocre franchise when he arrived in 2000 into a six-time champion worth $4.4 billion, second in the NFL behind the Cowboys, when he left, according to Forbes.
Now, he has taken a Buccaneers franchise that had gone 267-424-1 for a .387 winning percentage -- the worst among North American pro sports teams -- in the 44 seasons before he arrived to just their second Super Bowl and first since winning it in 2003. Since then, the Buccaneers didn't win a playoff game -- until their savior arrived.
Speaking after Sunday's NFC title game, Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians referred to the "belief (Brady) gave everybody in this organization that it could be done. It only took one man."
But standing in Tampa Bay's way is a quarterback who has won a Super Bowl more recently than Brady -- Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes. He's looking to become the first quarterback to lead his team to back-to-back Super Bowl titles since you-know-who did it with the Patriots in Super Bowls XXXVIII and XXXIX in 2004 and 2005.
"We just have to be ourselves," Mahomes said after beating Buffalo. "I trust my guys over everybody."
The Super Bowl odds opened with Kansas City as a 3.5-point favorite and an over/under of 57.5 points at FanDuel, which has set money lines for Kansas City at -186 and Tampa at +145.
Between now and kickoff, expect a blitz of storylines and statistics to sift through before deciding where to focus your wagers.
Here are two things you need to know.
Any list of potential history-makers at Super Bowl LV must have Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill near the top, so take a close look at his over/under for receptions and yards for prop bets.
Hill will take the field at Raymond James Stadium seeking to become just the ninth receiver in league history to be named to The Associated Press' All-Pro First Team and win the Super Bowl in the same season. It's a feat that hasn't been accomplished since Indianapolis' Marvin Harrison in 2006.
Of the eight players who have done it, five -- Jerry Rice (1988, 1989, 1994), John Stallworth (1979), Lynn Swann (1978), Paul Warfield (1973) and Harrison -- are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, while Gary Clark (1987), Drew Pearson (1977) and Cliff Branch (1976) had very, very good careers.
Tampa Bay gave up 346 passing yards to Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers in its win in the NFC title game.
Hill torched Tampa Bay for 13 catches for 269 yards and three touchdowns on 15 targets in the teams' regular-season meeting less than two months ago.
Hill made seven catches for 203 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter alone, joining Qadry Ismail (210 in the third quarter on Dec. 12, 1999) and Lee Evans (205 in the first quarter on Nov. 19, 2006) as the only NFL receivers since 1980 to have 200 receiving yards in a quarter.
What does Kansas City's 27-24 win at Tampa Bay in late November really mean as it relates to Super Bowl LV? Everything? Or nothing?
On four occasions, the eventual AFC and NFC champions met during the regular season.
In 1990, the Bills beat the Giants, 17-13, in Week 15, but then Scott Norwood happened in Super Bowl XXV.
In 1993, the Bills went to Dallas and won, 13-10, in Week 2, only to see the Cowboys crush Buffalo in the Super Bowl for the second straight season, 30-13.
And then there's the Brady factor, of course.
In 2007, his undefeated Patriots beat the Giants, 38-35, in Week 17. A few weeks later, David Tyree's catch happened and the Giants won Super Bowl XLII.
In 2011, Brady's Patriots lost at home to the Giants, 24-20, in the regular season and fell to New York again, 21-17, in Super Bowl XLVI.
Chiefs installed as 3.5-point favorites in Super Bowl LV
DraftKings and PointsBet were among the sportsbooks to set the early line at Kansas City -3.5 points despite the fact that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be the first team in the 55-year history of the Super Bowl to play in their home stadium.
The Buccaneers upset the Green Bay Packers, 31-26, earlier in the day in the NFC Championship Game at Lambeau Field. Tampa Bay has won three consecutive road games in the playoffs to reach the Super Bowl.
DraftKings is offering Chiefs with a -165 moneyline and the Bucs at +135. Kansas City's early moneyline at PointsBet was -180 with Tampa Bay at +150.
PointsBet has set the early Over/Under at 57.0 points while DraftKings was a tick higher at 57.5 points.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has the shortest odds to win game MVP honors at +110 by DraftKings, followed by counterpart Tom Brady at +250.
Kansas City wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce have the third-shortest MVP odds at +900 apiece.
Chiefs lose OT Eric Fisher to Achilles injury
Fisher, 30, has appeared in 117 games (113 starts) since the Chiefs selected him No. 1 overall out of Central Michigan in 2013. He is a two-time Pro Bowl selection who started 15 games this season while protecting the blind side of Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
The loss of Fisher could create major problems for the Chiefs, who already are without right tackle Mitchell Schwartz because of a back injury. Mike Remmers has moved into a starting role to replace Schwartz, and Martinas Rankin is likely to start in place of Fisher if needed.
Rankin, 26, started one game during the regular season in his second campaign with the Chiefs. Overall, he has appeared in 23 games, starting 10, in three seasons since the Houston Texans selected him in the third round out of Mississippi State in 2018.
The Chiefs also lost safety L'Jarius Sneed, who was placed in concussion protocol and ruled out for the rest of the game.
Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs defeat Bills, return to Super Bowl
After getting cleared from concussion protocol Friday, Mahomes still played with turf toe on his left foot but completed 29 of 38 attempts as the Chiefs gained an opportunity for a title defense.
Kansas City will attempt to become the first back-to-back NFL champion since the 2003-04 seasons (New England Patriots) when it meets the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Feb. 7 in Super Bowl LV.
The Bucs beat the Green Packers 31-26 for the NFC title and will get to stage Super Bowl LV at home. Tom Brady will make his 10th Super Bowl appearance against a Chiefs team that went undefeated on the road this season.
The Chiefs went three-and-out on their opening possession, then overturned a 9-0 deficit with second-quarter touchdown drives of 82, 80 and 77 yards.
Taking away a one-play kneel down to end the first half, Kansas City scored on six straight possessions while going 5-for-5 on touchdowns in the red zone.
Tyreek Hill raced 172 yards on nine receptions, including a 71-yard gain. Travis Kelce added 13 catches for 118 yards and two scores as the Chiefs amassed 439 yards.
Buffalo's Josh Allen completed 28 of 48 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 88 yards, but fourth-quarter interceptions by Rashad Fenton and Bashaud Breeland (on a two-point conversion attempt) proved disastrous.
The Bills converted just 2 of 5 red zone opportunities into touchdowns and settled for four field goals from Tyler Bass. Cole Beasley grabbed a team-high seven catches for 88 yards.
The game ended with chippy altercations that drew offsetting penalties.
The Bills converted Taiwan Jones' recovery of a muffed punt by Mecole Hardman into a 3-yard touchdown pass from Allen to Dawson Knox for their 9-0 lead.
The Chiefs recovered to build a 21-12 halftime margin as Hardman atoned for his mishandled punt. He grabbed a 3-yard touchdown from Mahomes with 14:16 left in the half before beginning Kansas City's next drive with a 50-yard end around.
The Chiefs tacked on touchdown runs of 6 and 1 yards from Darrel Williams and Clyde Edwards-Helaire for a 21-9 lead.
Reports: Chiefs' Clyde Edwards-Helaire likely to play vs. Bills
Fellow running back Le'Veon Bell and wide receiver Sammy Watkins are not expected to compete for the Chiefs, per reports.
Edwards-Helaire is questionable with hip and ankle injuries. He sat out the final two games of the regular season as well as Kansas City's 22-17 divisional round victory over the Cleveland Browns last Sunday.
Darrel Williams led the Chiefs by rushing 13 times for 78 yards against the Browns.
Edwards-Helaire, 21, has team-leading totals in carries (181), rushing yards (803) and rushing touchdowns (four) since being selected by Kansas City with the 32nd overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. He also has 36 catches for 297 yards and a score.
Edwards-Helaire rushed for 161 yards on 26 carries in a 26-17 win over the Bills in Week 6.
Bell (knee) and Watkins (calf) are questionable for Sunday's game with their respective injuries.
Bell rushed for 254 yards and two touchdowns in nine games with the Chiefs.
Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman likely will see more snaps in place of Watkins, who had 37 receptions for 421 yards and two touchdowns this season. Hardman had four catches for 58 yards versus Cleveland while Robinson had one reception for 14 yards.
Chiefs CB Bashaud Breeland out of concussion protocol
The team made the announcement Saturday.
Breeland, who was originally listed as questionable, was a limited participant in all three practices this week for the defending Super Bowl champions.
His presence is welcome news for a Kansas City secondary preparing for Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen and wide receiver Stefon Diggs. Diggs led the NFL in receptions (127) and receiving yards (1,535) this season.
Breeland, who turns 29 next week, had 38 tackles, nine passes defensed and two interceptions in 11 starts for the Chiefs in the 2020 regular season. He made six tackles in the 22-17 divisional-round win over the Cleveland Browns last Sunday before leaving in the fourth quarter with a concussion.
He missed the season's first four games serving an NFL suspension for violating the league's policy on substance abuse.
A fourth-round draft pick by Washington in 2014, Breeland has tallied 14 interceptions, eight forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries in 94 career games (88 starts) with Washington (2014-17), Green Bay (2018) and Kansas City.
AFC Championship Game splitting bettors
The Chiefs are 3.5-point favorites against the Buffalo Bills by DraftKings, where Kansas City is being backed by 63 percent of the spread handle and 52 percent of the bets. However, Buffalo's +155 moneyline is being backed by 59 percent of the handle and 61 percent of the bets.
Kansas City is favored by 3.0 points at BetRivers.com. The Chiefs are backed by 58 percent of the spread handle, but 56 percent of the total bets had been placed on Buffalo as of Friday. The Bills' +145 moneyline has also been backed by 58 percent of the moneyline handle
BetRivers.com is offering the Over/Under at 54.5 points, with the public nearly split evenly with 51 percent of the bets and handle on the Under.
The Bills enter the game riding an eight-game winning streak and have covered the spread in four of their past five games at BetRivers.com, while the Chiefs have not covered since the first day in November.
Mahomes announced Friday that he had cleared the concussion protocol and also said the toe injury that was bothering him against the Cleveland Browns in the divisional round was "feeling a lot better."
Meanwhile, the Bills' Josh Allen is playing at a level equal to any quarterback still competing in the postseason.
Ever since a 26-17 loss to the Chiefs in Week 6, the Bills have rolled to 11 wins in 12 games, including eight straight, to gain their first AFC Championship appearance since the 1993 season.
Allen's steady improvement with the Bills rode a huge uptick this season when he recorded eight 300-yard passing performances.
"He's poised. I've never seen him overly excited," said wide receiver Stefon Diggs, whose All-Pro season included NFL highs of 1,535 yards and 127 catches. "For him putting his head down and gaining actual (rushing) yards, things like that go far with us."
If the matchup comes down to key defensive stops, consider that Buffalo has allowed touchdowns on just two of eight red-zone situations in the playoffs. Taron Johnson converted one into a 101-yard pick-six in the divisional-round win against Baltimore.
As for Kansas City, it ranked last in the NFL in red-zone defense, allowing a touchdown rate of 76.6 percent. Yet the Chiefs have held nine opponents to 20 or fewer points.
Two Chiefs playmakers, wideout Sammy Watkins (calf) and running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (ankle), appear to be back after missing the divisional round. Both players are listed as questionable, as are running back Le'Veon Bell (knee), and cornerbacks Bashaud Breeland (concussion/shoulder) and Rashad Fenton (foot).
Linebacker Willie Gay (ankle) will miss the game.
Defensive tackle Vernon Butler (quad) and rookie receiver Gabriel Davis (ankle) are questionable for Buffalo.
Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes out of concussion protocol
"I'll be able to go out there and be myself," said Mahomes, who practiced for the third consecutive day on Friday.
The defending Super Bowl champion exited last Sunday's divisional playoff against the Cleveland Browns in the third quarter and was replaced by Chad Henne, who finished out the 22-17 victory.
Mahomes told reporters Friday he had been evaluated by three doctors this week as he made his way through the concussion protocol.
Mahomes, 25, also said the toe injury that was bothering him against the Browns was "feeling a lot better."
"The next day was very sore ... every day from then has gotten a lot better," he said. "It wasn't as bad as it looked and it felt that day and the day after."
The 2018 league MVP completed 21 of 30 passes for 255 yards and one touchdown against the Browns before sustaining the concussion on a tackle by linebacker Mack Wilson.
Mahomes and the Chiefs defeated the Bills earlier this season. He completed 21 of 26 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns in a 26-17 victory at Buffalo in Week 6.
Patrick Mahomes practices, remains in concussion protocol
Head coach Andy Reid specified Mahomes is still in the no-contact phase of concussion protocol until further notice, leaving the Chiefs' quarterback situation unsettled for the AFC Championship game Sunday.
Typically players who haven't been cleared from NFL concussion protocol are not allowed to wear helmets at practice. In the portion of Thursday's workout open to media, Mahomes held his helmet and observed from the sideline.
But later in the workout Mahomes donned a helmet and ran plays with the starting offense, which included rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Edwards-Helaire missed the divisional playoff game last week due to hip and ankle injuries.
"Pat looked good out there," Reid said. "He's moving around well. He feels good. It's just important we follow the protocol, and that's what we're doing."
If Mahomes doesn't receive full medical clearance, Reid said the Chiefs would turn back to Chad Henne. Henne entered last week's game in the third quarter after Mahomes was helped off the field at the end of an option running play. Henne also started Week 17 with the Chiefs resting key personnel.
Wide receiver Sammy Watkins (calf) and cornerback Bashaud Breeland (concussion protocol) were also on the practice field Thursday.
Running back Le'Veon Bell (knee) and cornerback Willie Gay (ankle) didn't practice, Reid said.
AFC Notebook: Andy Reid and Sean McDermott share long history
Coach-speak, perhaps? Maybe, but the connection between the Buffalo Bills' Sean McDermott and the Kansas City Chiefs' Andy Reid dates back to a lengthy period in Philadelphia, from 1999-2010. McDermott eventually rose to become defensive coordinator under Reid.
"Andy will be a Hall of Fame coach here in the future down the road," McDermott said. "I've learned, and I've said this time and time again, I've learned a lot from Andy Reid in my time with him in Philadelphia."
Reid went as far as to trace McDermott's exploits as a high school wrestler and later a standout safety at William & Mary, emphasizing his protege's intelligence and toughness. He also proclaimed that McDermott should be named the NFL's Coach of the Year for guiding the Bills to the brink of their first Super Bowl appearance since the 1993 season.
"He's taken a franchise there, both he and his general manager have put this thing together with some bold moves and production here now, so I think he's done tremendous," Reid said. "What a great thing for the NFL and for Buffalo."
--When television cameras caught Kansas City standout wide receiver Tyreek Hill shoving his position coach, Greg Lewis, during the Chiefs' divisional round victory, it appeared a sideline altercation might be brewing.
"That's me and my personality," Hill said. "A lot of people see me as being a hothead on the sideline or a diva, but it was nothing like that. Just me being fired up and just trying to give the guys energy."
His dependability showed against Cleveland when Reid called a stunning fourth-down pass in which backup quarterback Chad Henne rolled right and lobbed the ball to Hill to seal the 22-17 outcome.
--Buffalo veteran Cole Beasley downplayed his two targets against Baltimore, which resulted in no receptions in the divisional round. He caught 82 passes for 967 yards in the regular season.
Beasley even mentioned that he kidded with Stefon Diggs, who caught eight passes for 106 yards after leading the NFL with 166 targets in 2020.
"A lot of people don't understand that you can make an impact in the game without catching the ball," Beasley said. "They have to worry about me underneath either way."
--Everyone remembers the option keeper that left Patrick Mahomes wobbly and still in concussion protocol. A look at the next two snaps, however, is worthwhile.
In his start, Darrel Williams gained 12 yards on fourth down and then 16 yards to put Kansas City in field goal range. Then, Williams inexplicably watched from the sideline as the drive stalled and Harrison Butker missed a 33-yard field goal.
The Chiefs could retain injured rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire (ankle), while Williams should also be fresh after gaining 78 yards on 13 rushes against Cleveland. The Chiefs rushed for 245 yards in the first meeting against Buffalo.
"If they take away the deep stuff, we've just got to take underneath routes and take our chances in the run game," Mecole Hardman said. "As far as Clyde, I just tell him everything's faster in the playoffs but still go out and play your game."
--The absence of Matt Milano could be considered one reason Kansas City was so successful running on Buffalo in their regular-season matchup, especially since Reid labeled the Bills linebacker as "the quarterback of that (defensive) group."
Milano's presence helps reinforce aggressive tendencies that have helped the Bills torment opponents while winning seven of their last eight games by double digits.
"He does a great job of doing his one-eleventh and that's important," McDermott said. "Matt's a great young man and it's been fun watching him grow. He does his job at a high level."
Chiefs set for AFC title vs. Bills, with or without Patrick Mahomes
However, Mahomes remained in concussion protocol as preparations began in earnest for Sunday's AFC Championship game pitting the reigning Super Bowl champion Chiefs against the Buffalo Bills at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.
"(Mahomes) took all the snaps and he feels good, so we're just going to follow this protocol as close as we possibly can," Chiefs coach Andy Reid told reporters Wednesday.
Last year's Super Bowl MVP suffered an injury in the third quarter of Kansas City's divisional round game against Cleveland and did not return. Backup Chad Henne and the Chiefs defense held on for a victory, in part because Henne scrambled for a big gain and then converted a game-clinching first down with a surprising completion to Tyreek Hill.
"For my preparation, it's going to stay the same: Prepare like you're the starter each and every week, no matter what happens," Henne said. "Whatever does happen, happens. I always stay ready."
Pretty sound outlook, though when Henne was named the quarterback for the Chiefs' last regular-season game after they had already clinched the AFC's No. 1 seed, the start was his first since 2014. The Los Angeles Chargers halted Kansas City's 10-game win streak, but the Chiefs raced to an early lead against the Browns despite coming off a first-round bye.
It is worth noting that Mahomes sprinted off the field for testing after first wobbling to the sideline against the Browns. Reid said later that Mahomes sustained an injury to his neck area and also, a toe injury Mahomes suffered is not causing him any problems.
"We're just leaving it the way we do," Reid said of his quarterback situation. "Chad's comfortable with it and he feels that he can handle that if need be, so I think that's gone well there."
While everyone is awaiting word on Mahomes' status, the word on the Bills' Josh Allen is he is playing at a level equal to any quarterback still competing in the postseason.
Considering that list of greats includes Mahomes, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, Allen is in select company. He doesn't get distracted by comparisons, though.
"I'm just trying to be the best version of myself," Allen said. "I'm not trying to compare to the other guys who are arguably some of the best to ever play the game, the ones who are left. I'm just focused on what I can do."
Ever since a 26-17 loss to the Chiefs in Week 6, the Bills have rolled to 11 wins in 12 games, including eight straight, to gain their first AFC Championship appearance since 1993.
Allen's steady improvement with the Bills rode a huge uptick this season when he recorded eight 300-yard passing performances.
"He's poised. I've never seen him overly excited," said Stefon Diggs, whose All-Pro season included NFL highs of 1,535 yards and 127 catches. "For him putting his head down and gaining actual (rushing) yards, things like that go far with us."
If the matchup comes down to key defensive stops, consider that Buffalo has allowed touchdowns on just two of eight red-zone situations in the playoffs. Taron Johnson converted one into a pick-six in the divisional round win against Baltimore.
As for Kansas City, it ranked last in the NFL in red-zone defense, allowing a touchdown rate of 76.6 percent. Yet the Chiefs have held nine opponents to 20 or fewer points.
Two Chiefs playmakers, Sammy Watkins (calf) and Clyde Edwards-Helaire (ankle) are practicing after missing the divisional round. Linebacker Willie Gay (ankle) did not practice Wednesday.
Vernon Butler (quad) and Gabriel Davis (ankle) did not practice Wednesday for Buffalo.
Patrick Mahomes still in protocol; Chiefs to allow practice
Mahomes is questionable for the AFC Championship Game scheduled for Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. Mahomes has no symptoms, head coach Andy Reid said. The quarterback left the divisional playoff victory over the Cleveland Browns in the third quarter.
Mahomes is expected to be on the field as the Chiefs host a third consecutive conference championship game. Veteran Chad Henne would start if Mahomes is not medically cleared.
It will be the second meeting this season between the Chiefs and Bills, who played in Week 6 in Buffalo. The Chiefs won the game 26-17.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott said Wednesday he's expecting to see Mahomes, but that's only one element of the team's preparation.
"We've got work to do to prepare," McDermott said. "Certainly have a lot of respect for Patrick and how he plays the game and what he adds to their offense," McDermott said. "They're so good with the weapons they have around Patrick. Andy does such a good job -- they're well-coached -- that we got to prepare for the system. We've got to prepare for both quarterbacks and that's why we have a lot of work to do this week."
Report: Mahomes remains in concussion protocol; status uncertain
There is optimism among the Chiefs that Mahomes will play in Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the Buffalo Bills, but the former NFL MVP's status is still uncertain.
ESPN reported Mahomes cleared "some big steps" on Monday. Mahomes is also dealing with a toe issue, per the report. Mahomes was limping in Sunday's win over the Cleveland Browns prior to leaving the game with a concussion midway through the third quarter.
Mahomes passed for 255 yards and one touchdown against the Browns. Chad Henne replaced Mahomes and completed 6 of 8 passes for 66 yards and an interception in the end zone. Henne also rushed twice for 12 yards.
Mahomes must complete a five-step process before getting the OK to return.
"Because of the protocol, it's a no-brainer from the coach's standpoint," Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said Monday. "I mean, you don't have to think about it, you just have to go forward and make sure you have an answer if he's there, have an answer if he's not there. I can't tell you from a medical standpoint where he's at. I mean, I don't know that. So, that's their decision and I just follow it."
Chiefs underdogs if Patrick Mahomes unable to face Bills
Mahomes will have to pass through the league's concussion protocol after being knocked out of Sunday's 22-17 win over the Cleveland Browns.
SportsBetting.com said the Chiefs were listed as four-point favorites in a projected matchup against the Bills before Mahomes was injured. If Mahomes is not able to play, the sportsbook said Buffalo would be a 2-point favorite. Mahomes' status also affects the Over/Under, which would be set at 56 points if he's able to play and 51 points if he's not.
Mahomes exited at the 7:47 mark of the third quarter after being tackled on an option keeper. He was first evaluated on the sideline before heading to the locker room for further tests and was later ruled out for the remainder of the game.
"He got hit in the back of the head and kind of knocked the wind out of him," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said after the game. "He's doing great right now, which is a real positive, passed all the deals that he needed to pass so we'll see where it goes from here."
Mahomes passed for 255 yards and one touchdown before the injury.
Chiefs' QB Patrick Mahomes ruled out after third quarter hit
Mahomes kept the ball while running an option play on third down and 1. He faked a pitch and try to dive for first-down yardage as he was met by Browns linebacker Mack Wilson. Mahomes' head appeared to get pulled to the turf as Wilson brought him to the ground.
The reigning NFL MVP needed help getting to his feet before he was taken into the team's medical tent on the sideline. Mahomes then ran into the Chiefs locker room.
Mahomes was 21-of-30 passing for 255 yards and one touchdown when he left the game. He also had 14 rushing yards on three carries.
Backup quarterback Chad Henne entered the game as the Chiefs converted a fourth-and-1 pitch to running back Darrel Williams that gained 12 yards.
After the kick, Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill appeared to shove wide receivers coach Greg Lewis but Lewis appeared to be laughing about the incident immediately after it happened.
Chiefs lose Mahomes, defeat Browns to reach AFC title game
Henne replaced Patrick Mahomes, who appeared to come away with a head injury at the 7:47 mark of the third quarter after he was tackled by Browns linebacker Mack Wilson on an option keeper.
Mahomes, who will have to go through concussion protocol to determine his availability for the AFC title game, passed for 255 yards and one touchdown.
The defending Super Bowl champions became the first AFC team to play host to a conference championship for a third consecutive season. They will face the Buffalo Bills, a team Kansas City defeated 26-17 on Oct. 19.
Henne was intercepted by Cleveland's Karl Joseph in the end zone with 8:10 remaining but the Browns' drive to potentiallt lake the lead stalled and they were forced to punt. The Chiefs then ran out the final 4:09.
Hill and Travis Kelce each had eight receptions for 110 and 109 yards, respectively. Darrel Williams, in his first NFL start, added 78 yards on 13 carries and had four receptions.
The Chiefs scored on each of their four first-half possessions while generating 293 yards to build a 19-3 halftime margin.
Mahomes, who completed 19 of 25 passes for 233 first-half yards, rushed for a 1-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the game and hit Kelce for a 20-yard score early in the second quarter. Harrison Butker kicked field goals of 50 and 28 yards in the second quarter after missing his first PAT attempt.
Cody Parkey booted a 46-yard field goal to cap the Browns' first drive, but a costly fumble at the goal line by Rashard Higgins kept them from scoring a touchdown late in the first half.
Higgins caught a pass along the sideline from Mayfield and stretched the ball to the front of the end zone, but the Chiefs' Daniel Sorensen caused the fumble that rolled outside of the end zone for a touchback.
Kansas City took over with 1:34 left and Mahomes drove the Chiefs 70 yards for Butker's chip shot with 2 seconds left.
Injured Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire inactive vs. Browns
Edwards-Helaire is dealing with ankle and hip injuries and didn't practice on Thursday and Friday. He missed the final two games of the regular season due to the injuries.
Edwards-Helaire led the Chiefs with 803 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns during the regular season.
Darrel Williams, who started, and Le'Veon Bell will receive the bulk of the workload in Edwards-Helaire's absence.
Also inactive for the Chiefs due to injuries are receiver Sammy Watkins (calf), linebacker Willie Gay (ankle) and cornerback Rashad Fenton (foot/ankle). The team's other inactives are offensive tackle Martinas Rankin, defensive tackle Khalen Saunders and defensive end Tim Ward.
The Browns listed four players as questionable for the game on Friday and are all active for Sunday's game: right tackle Jack Conklin (hamstring/knee), linebacker B.J. Goodson (shoulder) and tight ends David Njoku (hamstring) and Stephen Carlson (groin).
Cleveland's inactives are receivers Marvin Hall and Alexander Hollins, cornerback Brian Allen, safety Jovante Moffatt, defensive end Joe Jackson, tight end Kyle Markway and offensive tackle Alex Taylor.