Kansas City Chiefs News

Chiefs S Tyrann Mathieu (concussion) 'feels good'

Chiefs S Tyrann Mathieu (concussion) 'feels good'

Kansas City safety Tyrann Mathieu remains in the concussion protocol but felt good Monday morning, Chiefs coach Andy Reid said.

Mathieu suffered a head injury in the first quarter Sunday and was ruled out for the rest of the AFC divisional round victory over the visiting Buffalo Bills.

"He's still in the protocol and going through it, but he feels good. We'll see how that goes moving forward," Reid said.

Mathieu was injured when he took an accidental knee to the head from teammate Jarran Reed. Mathieu played just seven snaps.

Daniel Sorensen took over for Mathieu and had nine tackles in the win over the Bills. He played 92 percent of the Chiefs' defensive snaps.

Mathieu is a three-time Pro Bowler, including in 2021, and a three-time first-team All-Pro selection. He played in 16 games (all starts) in the regular season and grabbed three interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, along with three fumble recoveries and 76 tackles.

Kansas City also is releasing receiver Josh Gordon (five catches in 12 games) and hopes to sign him to the practice squad. Reid said the team is activating defensive tackle Khalen Saunders (knee) off injured reserve as his 21-day window expired.

The Chiefs are preparing to host the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday in the AFC Championship game.

Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs outlast Josh Allen-led Bills in OT thriller

Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs outlast Josh Allen-led Bills in OT thriller

Patrick Mahomes passed for 378 yards and rushed for 69 Sunday as the Kansas City Chiefs advanced to their fourth straight AFC championship game, outlasting the Buffalo Bills 42-36 at Kansas City, Mo.

Mahomes completed an 8-yard touchdown pass to Travis Kelce on the first possession of overtime, which prevented the Bills from ever getting a chance in the extra session.

Kansas City claimed its 11th win in 12 games but will host the AFC championship game next Sunday against the one opponent that beat the Chiefs during that stretch, the Cincinnati Bengals.

The teams each scored twice inside the final two minutes of regulation, generating 25 points during that span. Kansas City forced overtime on a 49-yard field goal by Harrison Butker as time expired.

Before that, Josh Allen fired touchdown strikes of 27 and 19 yards to Gabriel Davis, the last coming with 13 seconds remaining. Mahomes responded to the first score by hitting Tyreek Hill with a 64-yard TD strike before finding Hill for 19 yards and Kelce for 25 to set up Butker.

Allen played brilliantly, connecting with Davis for four touchdowns, while finishing with 329 yards passing and 68 yards rushing. Davis caught eight passes for 201 yards.

Mahomes finished 33 of 44, with 11 strikes to Hill for 150 yards.

Allen engineered a 75-yard march in 75 seconds, firing an 18-yard touchdown pass to Davis with 37 seconds remaining to forge a 14-14 halftime tie. Buffalo also scored on its first drive, converting two fourth downs, including a 1-yard touchdown rush by Devin Singletary.

Mahomes engineered touchdown drives of 11 and 12 plays in the first half. He rushed for 49 yards on the first series, including an 8-yard score, and found Byron Pringle for a 2-yard TD pass with 1:52 remaining in the second quarter.

For the half, Mahomes totaled 163 yards and Allen 158, with no turnovers.

A 50-yard field-goal attempt by Butker in the first half sailed wide right.

Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu (concussion) won't return vs. Bills

Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu (concussion) won't return vs. Bills

Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu suffered a head injury in the first quarter Sunday and was ruled out for the rest of the AFC divisional round game against the visiting Buffalo Bills.

Mathieu appeared to collide with the leg of a teammate attempting to make a tackle and was taken to the locker room to be examined by an independent physician. The Chiefs later announced he had entered concussion protocol.

Mathieu is a three-time Pro Bowler, including in 2021, and a three-time first-team All-Pro selection. He played in 16 games (all starts) in the regular season and grabbed three interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, along with three fumble recoveries and 76 tackles.

The Bills used two fourth-down conversions to score a touchdown on that first possession before the Chiefs responded with a TD drive for a 7-7 tie after one quarter.

RB Darrel Williams, CB Rashad Fenton inactive for Chiefs vs. Bills

RB Darrel Williams, CB Rashad Fenton inactive for Chiefs vs. Bills

Running back Darrel Williams and cornerback Rashad Fenton are among the Kansas City Chiefs' inactives for Sunday night's home playoff game against the Buffalo Bills.

Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (shoulder) was active for Kansas City after missing the final two games of the regular season and last week's wild-card victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Williams (toe) missed two practices this week before being a limited participant on Friday. Williams ran for a team-high 558 yards with six touchdowns while playing in all 17 regular-season games.

Edwards-Helaire played in just 10 games but rushed for 517 yards and four touchdowns.

Fenton (back) didn't practice all week. Fenton had 49 tackles in 14 regular-season contests.

Backup running back Matt Breida is one of Buffalo's inactives. He had 125 yards on 26 regular-season carries.

Playoff parlay play: Bills at Chiefs

Playoff parlay play: Bills at Chiefs

The finale of the four-game divisional playoff round might be the most anticipated, a rematch of the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs featuring two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.

In a rematch of last year's AFC Championship game, the Bills are back at Arrowhead Stadium, where Buffalo scored a win over the Chiefs earlier this season.

To help with our viewing pleasure, we have a Same Game Parlay for your consideration. This parlay was constructed on DraftKings.

Bills vs Chiefs SGP: +260 on DK

Before we explain the three-leg parlay for Bills-Chiefs, here is an overview of the entire SGP.

The SGP:

Devin Singletary TD

Josh Allen over 34.5 rushing yards

Patrick Mahomes under 329.5 passing yards

--Devin Singletary TD

Singletary scored a touchdown in five straight games, with eight total in that span. That's elite production and consistency for the top back in Buffalo.

Singletary has 22 total red zone looks in just the past three weeks. He's heavily involved when this offense gets near the goal line.

Kansas City's run defense has been reasonably sturdy of late. It remains the weakness of the Chiefs.

Buffalo has been efficient running the football, and should be able to get Singletary in the end zone if they sustain drives.

--Josh Allen over 34.5 rushing yards

I would feel comfortable bumping this as high as 54.5 if you wanted a SGP with higher odds.

Allen has been decimating teams with his legs lately, finishing with 60+ rushing yards in four straight games and five of 6.

At just 34.5 yards, this should be easy for the Bills QB. For context, he had 41 on the first drive of the Patriots game last week.

Allen has gone over this alternate total in seven of the last eight games and each of the last three times he's played Kansas City.

What we have going for us with this leg is flexibility on how it hits. The Bills have shown they aren't shy about designed runs for their quarterback, but Allen is also prone to tuck it and run when pressure pushes him out of the pocket.

The Chiefs have a significant advantage with their star DT Chris Jones rushing up the middle against an average Buffalo interior offensive line.

All that should do is flush Allen out of the pocket and get him running.

--Patrick Mahomes under 329.5 passing yards

It seems crazy to bet a Mahomes under, but there are so many numbers that suggest it's the right play.

We've selected the highest passing yardage total available on DraftKings to give us some breathing room (Mahomes' over is currently set at 284.5).

Mahomes has gone over 329.5 just six times this season, and only twice in the past eight games.

On the year, there isn't a secondary playing better football than Buffalo. Only two quarterbacks have gone over their passing yards against this defense. Mahomes didn't, finishing with 272 when they met earlier this season.

On average, the Bills surrender a measly 163 passing yards per game. It's an elite secondary, and while Mahomes should be able to overcome that to a degree, I don't think he gets 330 or over.

Chiefs LB Willie Gay to play Sunday despite misdemeanor charges

Chiefs LB Willie Gay to play Sunday despite misdemeanor charges

Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Willie Gay will play Sunday night in the AFC divisional playoff game despite being charged with a misdemeanor earlier this week.

Head coach Andy Reid said Gay took part in practice on Friday and that it was Reid's decision to have him play on Sunday when the Buffalo Bills (12-6) visit the Chiefs (13-5).

"I decided that after just hearing some of the information there," Reid said.

Gay was charged with misdemeanor criminal damage after his arrest Wednesday night in Overland Park, Kan.

According to Johnson County authorities, Gay was charged with one count of criminal damage of less than $1,000 for damage to property that included a vacuum cleaner, a door frame and a wall.

Gay, 23, appeared in court Thursday afternoon and was released from detention on a $1,000 bond.

A representative for Gay told NFL Network that "no one was touched" during an argument between Gay and the mother of his son that resulted in the broken vacuum.

Gay, a second-round pick in 2020, started 11 of his 12 games in 2021 and registered 48 tackles, a half-sack and two interceptions.

Reid also said there's a chance running backs Clyde Edwards-Helaire (left collarbone) and Darrel Williams (toe) will be available for Sunday's game.

Both players took part in practice on Friday.

On the season, Williams ran for 558 yards with six touchdowns in 17 games. Edwards-Hilaire played in just 10 games but rushed for 517 yards and four touchdowns.

Chiefs LB Willie Gay arrested on criminal damage charges

Chiefs LB Willie Gay arrested on criminal damage charges

Kansas City Chiefs starting linebacker Willie Gay faces a misdemeanor charge of criminal damage after his arrest Wednesday night in Overland Park, Kan.

According to Johnson County authorities, Gay was charged with one count of criminal damage of less than $1,000 for damage to property including a vacuum cleaner, a door frame and a wall.

A representative for Gay told NFL Network that "no one was touched" during an argument that led to the veteran player's arrest.

Gay, 23, has a court appearance scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

The Chiefs said they were aware of the situation but did comment on Gay's status for Sunday's AFC divisional playoff game against the visiting Buffalo Bills.

Gay, a second-round pick in 2020, started 11 of his 12 games in 2021 and registered 48 tackles, a half-sack and two interceptions.

Back in October, Gay missed a practice for personal reasons and posted on social media that he was struggling with his mental health.

"I love you all just know my mental health is F'd up," he wrote on Twitter on Oct. 8.

Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs look to settle score vs. Josh Allen, Bills

Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs look to settle score vs. Josh Allen, Bills

The debate about who is the better AFC quarterback, Josh Allen or Patrick Mahomes, plays out Sunday with another duel in the divisional round of the playoffs.

The Buffalo Bills claimed a convincing 38-20 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 5 and return to the scene Sunday at Kansas City, Mo., where the Chiefs have won five straight postseason games.

Mahomes ascended quickly to elite status by leading the Chiefs into the AFC championship game each of his first three seasons as a starter and split two Super Bowl outcomes the last two years.

His motivation surfaced in the wild-card round last week when Mahomes directed Kansas City on six straight touchdown drives, including five scoring strikes, in toppling Pittsburgh 42-21.

"I really like winning," Mahomes said when asked if he can summon a special gear. "That's the end of it."

His 404-yard passing performance was tops for any NFL quarterback in the wild-card round but now he faces a talented Buffalo back end that features Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer.

"They've done everything that we've asked and they've gone above and beyond, really," Buffalo coach Sean McDermott said of his talented safeties.

Allen also fired five scoring strikes and drove Buffalo to touchdowns on all seven of its non-kneeling possessions as it walloped New England 47-17. Yet Allen, despite the victory in Kansas City in Week 5, knows what's at stake in another showdown against Mahomes and the Chiefs.

"They're what we aspire to be," Allen said, mindful the Bills fell to the Chiefs, 38-24, in last year's AFC championship game at Kansas City.

The Kansas City defense Allen opposes has improved dramatically since the Week 5 mismatch, when the Chiefs played without starters Chris Jones and Charvarius Ward and had not nabbed key midseason acquisition Melvin Ingram. Since then, the defense has sparkled.

"I wouldn't say we owe them one," Ingram said. "We're just going to try to win a playoff game and I'm only trying to be a piece to the puzzle."

After an abysmal start that found the Chiefs ranked 30th or worse against the run and pass during a 3-4 start, they transformed to win 10 of their last 11. They have not been as careless with the ball, though they did allow the Steelers a touchdown return last week by fumbling a sloppy handoff.

Allen poses a complete threat whether throwing the football or taking on tacklers, either by design or improvisation. He completed 21 of 25 passes in the rout of the Patriots while adding 66 yards on just six carries. Yet he understands the Chiefs will offer wrinkles different from Week 5.

"They're throwing so many looks at quarterbacks right now and bringing pressure from everywhere imaginable," Allen said.

Allen noted the difficulty in playing on the road before a Kansas City fan base accustomed to postseason success, but the taste of falling short of a Super Bowl bid a year ago remains bitter.

"We don't want to have that feeling that we had there last year," Allen said. "We know our season ended there last year and now we have to do everything in our power to put our foot forward and make sure it doesn't end there this year."

Buffalo finished as the NFL's top-rated pass defense while also securing 30 takeaways. Yet the Bills are without Tre'Davious White, who has been out since Week 12. Mario Addison is dealing with a shoulder strain suffered against the Patriots.

Kansas City continues to assess Clyde Edwards-Helaire (shoulder), though he is practicing. Jerick McKinnon stepped up against Pittsburgh and provided 142 yards on 18 touches. McKinnon's impact could be critical again with Darrel Williams nursing a sore toe.

Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire returns to practice

Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire returns to practice

Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire took a positive step forward in his bid to return for this weekend's AFC divisional-round clash against the visiting Buffalo Bills.

Edwards-Helaire was listed as a full participant in Wednesday's practice. A shoulder injury has sidelined Edwards-Helaire for the team's final two games of the regular season and last week's wild-card victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"He moved around well. We'll see how he does tomorrow as we go forward," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said.

Edwards-Helaire, 22, rushed for 517 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games this season.

Edwards-Helaire has rushed for 1,320 yards and eight touchdowns in 23 career games. He also has 55 career receptions for 426 yards and three more scores since being selected by the Chiefs with the 32nd overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Wide receiver Tyreek Hill (heel) and cornerback L'Jarius Sneed (knees) were listed as full participants on Wednesday, however running back Darrel Williams (toe) and cornerback Rashad Fenton (back) did not practice.

Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs smash Steelers in Big Ben's likely finale

Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs smash Steelers in Big Ben's likely finale

Patrick Mahomes passed for 404 yards and five touchdowns Sunday as the Kansas City Chiefs began their bid for a third straight conference title by downing the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers 42-21 in the AFC wild-card round.

The loss likely will be the last NFL game for the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger, who is expected to announce his retirement. The 39-year-old quarterback started slowly before finishing with 215 yards passing, going 29 of 44 with two touchdowns.

Kansas City, seeded No. 2 after winning nine of its last 10 regular-season games, will play at home again next Sunday in the divisional round, hosting the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo won at Kansas City 38-20 in Week 5.

The Chiefs scored touchdowns on six straight possessions bridging the two halves. A 1-yard lob to tackle-eligible Nick Allegretti and a 31-yard strike to Tyreek Hill boosted the lead to 35-7 before six minutes had elapsed in the second half.

Mahomes, who was intercepted once, went 30 of 39 on the night and reached 400 yards passing before the end of third period.

Jerick McKinnon, who has battled injuries and played sparingly, had 18 touches for 142 yards and a TD reception. Travis Kelce gained 108 yards on five catches and threw a short TD pass, one of two caught by Byron Pringle.

The seventh-seeded Steelers did not crack Kansas City territory until the second half when Roethlisberger connected for scores to Diontae Johnson and James Washington.

The Chiefs gained 302 first-half yards and Mahomes fired three touchdowns, all in the second quarter, including a 45-yarder to Kelce with 13 seconds remaining for a 21-7 halftime margin.

McKinnon and Pringle caught first-half TDs of 4 and 12 yards, though the Chiefs had trouble getting untracked. On their first five possessions, they punted three times, Mahomes threw an interception and Darrel Williams lost a fumble.

T.J. Watt returned the fumble 24 yards to provide a 7-0 lead for the Steelers with 10:41 left in the half. However, Pittsburgh finished the half with just 45 yards, two first downs and punts on each of its seven series.

Steelers face long odds to keep season alive at K.C.

Steelers face long odds to keep season alive at K.C.

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 host the Pittsburgh Steelers in the wild-card round at Kansas City, Mo.

The Chiefs are easily the biggest favorites of Wildcard Weekend, with the line at 12.5 points at BetMGM and FanDuel. That has led to split action, with Pittsburgh backed by 55 percent of the bets and 50 percent of the spread-line money at BetMGM while Kansas City has been supported by 55 percent of both markets at FanDuel.

"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 final 10 games and claiming their sixth consecutive AFC West title.

Kansas City has reached the AFC championship game in each of the previous three seasons, primarily engineered by stalwart quarterback 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 quarterback 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 (shoulder) ruled out and Darrel Williams (toe) listed as questionable.

Second-seeded Kansas City, a two-time Super Bowl champion, will make its seventh consecutive postseason appearance and last faced Pittsburgh in the playoffs in 2016. 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.

Running back Najee Harris (elbow) was deemed good to go on Saturday. Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster also is expected to be activated from injured reserve, where he's been since sustaining a shoulder injury in October. Cornerback Arthur Maulet (concussion) also has been cleared to play against 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."

Chiefs' Tyreek Hill to play vs. Steelers, Clyde Edwards-Helaire out

Chiefs' Tyreek Hill to play vs. Steelers, Clyde Edwards-Helaire out

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill and running back Darrel Williams are expected to play in Sunday night's AFC wild-card game against the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers, coach Andy Reid announced.

Hill, who is nursing a heel injury, followed up a limited practice on Thursday by participating in Friday's session.

Williams was limited in the first two practices this week before participating on Friday. He has been hampered by an ailing toe.

While Hill and Williams are trending in the right direction, Reid announced running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been ruled out for Sunday's game.

Edwards-Helaire did not practice for the second straight day on Friday while nursing a shoulder injury. The second-year running back missed the final two games of the season after first sustaining the injury in Kansas City's 36-10 romp over Pittsburgh on Dec. 26.

Williams started Weeks 17 and 18 in place of Edwards-Helaire (517 rushing yards), with Derrick Gore and Jerick McKinnon providing depth.

Williams, 26, finished with 1,010 scrimmage yards (558 rushing, 452 receiving) and eight total touchdowns (six rushing, two receiving) in 17 games (seven starts) this season.

Hill, 27, finished the season third in the NFL with 111 catches for 1,239 yards and nine touchdowns. He earned his sixth career Pro Bowl berth.

Chiefs’ Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Tyreek Hill downgraded

Chiefs’ Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Tyreek Hill downgraded

Kansas City wide receiver Tyreek Hill and running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire both suffered setbacks Thursday ahead of the Chiefs' wild-card game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Hill (heel) was limited in Thursday's practice after being a full participant Wednesday. Edwards-Helaire (shoulder) did not participate after being limited Wednesday.

Edwards-Helaire missed the final two games of the season after first suffering the injury in Week 16, also against the Steelers.

"Clyde is going to do everything he can to be out there this weekend and we will let the people take care of what they need to take care of," Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said Thursday.

Chiefs leading rusher Darrel Williams (toe) was able to practice, albeit limited, for the second consecutive day. Williams started Weeks 17 and 18 in place of Edwards-Helaire. Derrick Gore and Jerick McKinnon provide depth.

Williams finished with 1,010 scrimmage yards and eight total touchdowns on the season in 17 games (seven starts).

Hill finished the season third in the NFL with 111 catches for 1,239 yards (seventh-best) and nine TDs.

The Chiefs host the Steelers on Sunday night. Kansas City won the first matchup 36-10 on Dec. 26.

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

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."

Chiefs open as biggest Wild Card Weekend favorite

Chiefs open as biggest Wild Card Weekend favorite

Ben Roethlisberger saw his career extended by at least one game courtesy of Daniel Carlson, but Pittsburgh's quarterback faces steep odds to keep the Steelers' season going beyond next weekend.

The Steelers opened as 13.5-point underdogs at BetMGM and 12.5-point underdogs at DraftKings ahead of Sunday night's game at the Kansas City Chiefs.

Pittsburgh only advanced to the playoffs thanks to Indianapolis' shocking loss at Jacksonville on Sunday and then Carlson's game-winning field goal on the last play of overtime in Las Vegas' victory over the Los Angeles Chargers later that night.

The Steelers are by far the biggest underdogs in the first round of the playoffs, with the next-longest odds belonging to Philadelphia against Tampa Bay. The Bucs are favored by 7.5 points at BetMGM and 8.5 points at DraftKings.

Pittsburgh is receiving some early support from the public, with BetMGM reporting Monday that the Steelers have been backed by 60 percent of the bets while the spread-line money has been evenly split.

That is not the case for the Eagles, who have been supported by only 29 percent of the bets and 14 percent of the money, making the Bucs the most one-sided bet at the sportsbook thus far.

The most evenly-wagered game has been the San Francisco 49ers receiving 49 percent of the bets and 53 percent of the money as 2.5-point underdogs at the Dallas Cowboys.

After Sunday night's dramatic close to the regular season, the Raiders play in the first playoff game at Cincinnati on Saturday afternoon. The Raiders are 6.5-point underdogs at BetMGM and 6.0-point underdogs at DraftKings on short rest, with Cincinnati backed by 59 percent of the early bets and 69 percent of the spread-line money wagered.

The second primetime game on Saturday will feature a trilogy game with the New England Patriots at the Buffalo Bills after the teams split their regular-season meetings. After the New England won 14-10 at home on Dec. 6, the Bills returned the favor with a 33-21 win at Orchard Park the day after Christmas.

Buffalo is a 6.5-point favorite at BetMGM, but New England is being backed by 53 percent of the bets and 69 percent of the spread-line money.

Wild Card Weekend will conclude with another trilogy event as the Arizona Cardinals face off against the division-rival Los Angeles Rams on Monday night. The Cardinals have already won once in L.A. this season, beating the Rams 37-20 on Oct. 3.

However, Arizona closed the regular season losing four of its final five games, beginning with a 30-22 setback at home against the Rams on Dec. 13.

The Rams are 4-point favorites at both sportsbooks. The action has been fairly split with Los Angeles being backed by 56 percent of the bets and 52 percent of the spread-line money at BetMGM.

Late defensive TD lifts Chiefs past Broncos

Late defensive TD lifts Chiefs past Broncos

Nick Bolton returned a fumble 86 yards for a touchdown to spark a comeback, and the visiting Kansas City Chiefs beat the Denver Broncos 28-24 on Saturday.

Patrick Mahomes completed 27 of 44 passes for 270 yards, two touchdowns and also ran for 54 yards. Jerick McKinnon and Travis Kelce had touchdown catches and Mecole Hardman had eight receptions for 103 yards for the Chiefs.

Kansas City (12-5) secured at least the No. 2 seed in the AFC with its 13th straight win over Denver and will be the top seed if Tennessee loses at Houston on Sunday.

Drew Lock completed 12 of 24 passes for 162 yards and ran for two scores and Melvin Gordon III ran for 110 yards and a touchdown for the Broncos (7-10), who ended the season with four straight losses.

Denver led 21-20 midway through the fourth and drove to the Kansas City 9-yard line when Melvin Ingram III knocked the ball loose from Gordon. Bolton scooped it up at the 14 and ran it back for a touchdown, and Mahomes ran in the 2-point conversion to make it 28-21 with 7:42 left.

The Broncos answered with 31-yard field goal with 4:37 left but never got the ball back after that.

The Chiefs took the early lead when Mahomes finished a 91-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown pass to Kelce to put Kansas City ahead 7-0.

Denver, aided by a roughing the punter penalty, tied it when Lock scrambled up the middle for a five-yard touchdown late in the first quarter.

After the Chiefs punted Denver again marched down the field and took a 14-7 lead when Lock ran 23 yards on a third-and-seven with 7:49 left in the second quarter.

Harrison Butker kicked a 34-yard field goal with 2:18 left in the second to make it 14-10 at halftime.

McKinnon gave Kansas City a 17-14 lead in the third with a 14-yard touchdown pass but Gordon's 47-yard touchdown put the Broncos ahead 21-17 with 9:02 left in the third.

The teams traded punts before Butker kicked a 51-yard field goal with 14:44 left in the game.

Chiefs to play it straight, not safe, at Denver

Chiefs to play it straight, not safe, at Denver

Kansas City will cruise into Denver on Saturday with a chance to finish with the top seed in the AFC while knowing a loss to the Broncos could slide the Chiefs down to the fourth spot.

While potential No. 1 seed Cincinnati -- Tennessee and New England also could climb into the home-field and first-round bye scenario -- declared a week of rest for several starters, Kansas City heads into its final game of the regular season planning to keep its foot on the gas.

The Titans have the inside track for the No. 1 seed in the AFC, needing just to beat Houston on Sunday to clinch it. The Chiefs, who currently are No. 2, can put pressure on the Titans with a win Saturday afternoon.

If both Kansas City and Tennessee win in Week 18, the Chiefs will still secure the No. 2 seed, and while it won't mean a first-round bye, it does ensure at least two home games should the Chiefs get past the wildcard round.

Kansas City (11-5) controlled its fate until a 34-31 loss at Cincinnati in Week 17. That clinched the AFC North for the Bengals kept them alive for the top seed, should the Chiefs and Titans both lose.

The loss to the Bengals - after Kansas City led 28-14 - stung and will be a motivation going into the game against the Broncos (7-9).

"After you lose a game like you lost [Sunday], it shouldn't be difficult to get ready to go again the next week," Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said. "I think guys will be ready to go. We're playing Denver, and they're a good football team. They gave us a challenge this last time we played them, like they always do, and we're playing in Denver, which is a tough place to play. We'll try to fix some things and play better football this week."

The Chiefs have won 12 straight against the Broncos, a reversal of fortunes from Peyton Manning's days as quarterback in Denver from 2012-15.

A 13th straight win looks likely with the Broncos limping toward the finish line. Denver has lost at least three straight for the second time this season and was eliminated from the postseason with a loss at the Los Angeles Chargers last week.

This week has been less about preparing for Kansas City and more about the future of the franchise. The Broncos' ownership situation is still in limbo, and the fate of head coach Vic Fangio is a big topic. Fangio is 19-29 in his three seasons as the head coach.

Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur also could be on the hot seat with the offense struggling.

"I don't think about it, I really don't worry about it," Shurmur said. "We as coaches, we are where our feet are, and we're getting ready to play this game and do everything in our power to put a winning performance on the field."

Denver's defense has been the stronger of the two units, and the revolving door of quarterbacks hasn't helped the offense. Drew Lock, last year's starter, lost the job to Teddy Bridgewater but hasn't been able to produce enough points. With Bridgewater going on injured reserve with a concussion, Lock will start his third straight game.

Safety Kareem Jackson and guard Dalton Risner also were placed on injured reserve.

The Broncos activated 12 players from the COVID-19 list, most notably receivers Jerry Jeudy and Tim Patrick, and Bradley Chubb, Baron Browning, Bryce Callahan and Mike Purcell on the defense.

Kansas City's most notable absence from Wednesday's practice was running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (shoulder injury), but coach Andy Reid won't rule him out for Saturday's game.

Packers take over as Super Bowl LVI favorites

Packers take over as Super Bowl LVI favorites

Green Bay has taken over as the new Super Bowl favorite after the Packers clinched the top seed in the NFC with a week remaining in the regular season.

The Packers (13-3) are now the +400 favorites to win Super Bowl LVI by both BetMGM and DraftKings. That is ahead of Kansas City (+500) at both sportsbooks after the Chiefs lost to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17.

Green Bay has even shorter odds at +380 by FanDuel.

The Chiefs' loss opened the door for Tennessee to claim the No. 1 seed in the AFC with a win over the 4-12 Houston Texans this weekend. The Titans and Chiefs are both 11-5, but Tennessee owns the tiebreaker even if Kansas City beats the Denver Broncos on Saturday.

The Packers opened the season at +900 at BetMGM but their odds have steadily shortened as they have gone 9-2 in the conference. The Chiefs opened at +600, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have moved from +1200 to +700 at the sportsbook while clinching the NFC South at 12-4 despite injuries to several key playmakers.

Tampa Bay has been backed by the highest ticket percentage at BetMGM at 10.2 percent along with the most money bet on an individual team at 12.5 percent. The Bucs are +900 at DraftKings, behind the Packers, Chiefs, Buffalo Bills (+750) and Los Angeles Rams (+850).

The Bills are +800 at BetMGM while the Rams are +900. The Arizona Cardinals (11-5) are the sportsbook's biggest liability (+1800) in the Super Bowl market according to data released Tuesday, followed by the Bucs and Packers.

The New England Patriots, whose odds shortened to +700 in mid-December, have slipped to +1800. They enter the final week of the regular season tied atop the AFC East at 10-6, but the Bills own the tiebreaker with a 4-1 record within the division.

Meanwhile, Tennessee's odds have shortened from +2000 in mid-December to +1200. An even bigger move has been made during that stretch by the Cincinnati Bengals, who have gone from +5000 longshots to +2000 while wrapping up the AFC North.

Super Bowl Odds (BetMGM)

Green Bay Packers: +400

Kansas City Chiefs: +500

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: +700

Buffalo Bills: +800

Los Angeles Rams: +900

Dallas Cowboys: +1200

Tennessee Titans: +1200

Arizona Cardinals: +1800

New England Patriots: +1800

Cincinnati Bengals: +2000

Indianapolis Colts: +2000

Los Angeles Chargers: +4000

San Francisco 49ers: +4000

Philadelphia Eagles: +6600

New Orleans Saints: +10000

Las Vegas Raiders: +15000

Baltimore Ravens: +25000

Pittsburgh Steelers: +30000

Joe Burrow, Ja'Marr Chase light it up again as Bengals topple Chiefs

Joe Burrow, Ja'Marr Chase light it up again as Bengals topple Chiefs

Joe Burrow passed for 446 yards and four touchdowns Sunday, finding Ja'Marr Chase 11 times for 266 yards and three scores, as the Cincinnati Bengals clinched the AFC North title by downing the visiting Kansas City Chiefs, 34-31.

Evan McPherson kicked a 20-yard game-winning field goal as time expired after the Bengals did not score a TD on several goal-to-go opportunities from the 1.

A Kansas City penalty for illegal use of hands gave Cincinnati a new set of downs. The Bengals kneeled the ball on first down and spiked it on second before McPherson came on.

Burrow went 30-for-39 and executed a second-half comeback after the Bengals (10-6) trailed by as many as 14. They used 17 consecutive points to gain their first lead with 11:44 remaining.

Joe Mixon added 86 yards from scrimmage on 19 touches for Cincinnati.

Kansas City (11-5) dropped to second in the chase for the top AFC playoff seed behind Tennessee, despite a 259-yard passing performance by Patrick Mahomes.

Mahomes went 26-for-35 with two touchdowns, but only guided the Chiefs to three second-half points as the Bengals capitalized with a 17-3 second-half scoring edge. Kansas City had allowed just 12.9 points on average during its eight-game win streak, which ended Sunday.

Kansas City scored four touchdowns on consecutive drives of 72, 63, 75 and 73 yards to gain a 28-17 halftime lead with 292 yards and 16 first downs. Mahomes fired for 209 yards and two scores, while Darrel Williams added two 1-yard TD carries.

The Chiefs almost closed the half with a touchdown return on a kickoff, but the runback by Byron Pringle got nullified by a holding penalty.

Kansas City played without two tackles after Orlando Brown hurt his calf in warmups and Lucas Niang suffered a knee injury on its seventh play.

Burrow completed his first eight attempts and threw for 193 yards in the first half, finding Chase for touchdowns of 72 and 18 yards before McPherson tacked on a 46-yard field goal with 41 seconds left. Chase had five first-half catches for 111 yards but the Bengals started slow, allowing critical sacks to halt their first two possessions.

Chiefs LT Orlando Brown injures calf before game

Chiefs LT Orlando Brown injures calf before game

Kansas City Chiefs left tackle Orlando Brown sustained a calf injury while warming up for Sunday's game in Cincinnati.

The team announced that Brown was questionable to play against the Bengals (9-6).

Brown, 25, had started the first 15 games in his first season with the Chiefs (11-4).

The two-time Pro Bowl selection has played in all 63 regular season games (57 starts) since being drafted in the third round by the Baltimore Ravens in 2018.

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