Kansas City Chiefs

Report: Chiefs Signing RB Melvin Gordon

Report: Chiefs Signing RB Melvin Gordon

The Chiefs are reportedly expected to sign former Pro Bowl running back Melvin Gordon following a messy end in Denver.

The Kansas City Chiefs are reportedly expected to sign former Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon to their practice squad. Gordon was waived by the Broncos on November 21, marking the end of his tumultuous tenure in Denver.

First reported by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, the two-time Pro Bowler will be joining his third AFC West team in his eight-year NFL career which began as a member of the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers before joining the Broncos ahead of the 2020 season.

Gordon's final year with the Broncos was plagued by ball-security issues, as he recorded five fumbles on 90 carries in 2022. In 2021, Gordon suffered just three fumbles on 203 carries.

After being waived by the Broncos, Gordon posted an O.J. Simpson-inspired goodbye to Denver, writing, "Hahaha boy y'all fans was hell lmfaooo. Thank y'all too broncos country. Let's at least laugh on the way out."

Why are the Chiefs signing Melvin Gordon?

The Chiefs' running back depth was depleted when former first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire was placed on injured reserve, opening the door for Ronald Jones to make his Chiefs debut in KC's Week 12 matchup with the Los Angeles Rams. Now led by rookie seventh-round pick Isiah Pacheco, the Chiefs seem perfectly content to let Pacheco handle the bulk of the running work while veteran Jerick McKinnon is the team's clear favorite in passing-down scenarios, both for his pass-catching and pass-blocking ability.

When running back injuries are perpetually one play away, having four NFL-caliber backs is a good thing for any roster, and particularly for one relying heavily on a lead back in his first NFL season and a veteran who has spent much of the year with multiple ailments on the injury report.

After a change of scenery and with two games against the Broncos remaining on the Chiefs' schedule this season, Gordon projects to be a well-rounded depth piece for Kansas City's practice squad if the group were to suffer injuries to Pacheco, McKinnon or Jones.

However, if Gordon's goodbye to Denver is any hint, it seems like the veteran running back would bring some extra Juice to KC's matchups with his old team. 

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Chiefs Week 12 Snap Counts: Shaking Things Up

Chiefs Week 12 Snap Counts: Shaking Things Up

Kansas City divvied up playing time in an interesting way against the Rams in Week 12.

The Kansas City Chiefs' ninth win of the season was a blowout victory against the visiting Los Angeles Rams, and plenty of players on both sides contributed to the win.

Offensively, Kansas City recorded 29 first downs to Los Angeles' 13. The Chiefs' 437 total yards more than doubled the Rams' 198, serving as a true testament to how lopsided the game was. On defense, Steve Spagnuolo's unit surrendered an average of just 3.6 yards per play and was dominant against a shorthanded passing attack. The Chiefs didn't bring their A-game against a struggling opponent, but it was still more than enough to win comfortably at home.  

Now that snap counts have been released, what jumped off the page? Let's take a look at three notable takeaways from another week of Chiefs football.

1. JuJu Smith-Schuster was on a pitch count

After missing one game due to a concussion suffered in Week 10, JuJu Smith-Schuster returned to practice last week for the Chiefs and cleared concussion protocol in time to play on Sunday. He wasn't terribly effective against the Rams, however, hauling in three passes for just 38 yards on the afternoon. It became obvious throughout the game that the veteran was on a pitch count of sorts, and his snap share (29 snaps, 38% of available reps) reflects that. Kansas City eased him back into the swing of things, allowing others to have more opportunities to shine in a game that wasn't all that competitive.

For the second week in a row, Justin Watson led all Chiefs wideouts in total snaps. He was on the field for 84% of Kansas City's offensive plays, followed by Marquez Valdes-Scantling at 58%. The underlying story of the game, though, was rookie Skyy Moore. The second-round pick was targeted six times and had five catches for the second straight week, also seeing his snap count jump from 27 against the Los Angeles Chargers to a career-high 35 against the Rams. Moore's special teams shortcomings are very real in the early stages of his Chiefs tenure, but his contributions on offense are becoming more and more legitimate as time passes. 

2. An message on the Joshua Williams-Jaylen Watson dynamic

One of the biggest developments of the Chiefs' 2022 campaign has been their reliance on young cornerbacks. Outside of third-year man L'Jarius Sneed, Spagnuolo has fielded the likes of rookies Trent McDuffie, Jaylen Watson and Joshua Williams for large stretches of time this year. It was Watson who came on strong earlier in the year and even had a game-changing play back in Week 2, but his role has been diminished in recent weeks. Williams, on the other hand, continues to get plenty of chances to showcase his talent.

In every game following Kansas City's Week 8 bye, Williams has out-snapped Watson. On Sunday, he played all 54 defensive snaps while Watson was on the field for just five of them. Williams's results have been mixed — his 44.8 Pro Football Focus coverage grade in Week 12 was the worst of his rookie year thus far — but the team is showing with its actions how he's viewed. Perhaps a less-than-stellar game from Williams could put Watson back into the lineup more often moving forward but right now, there's a clear preference.

3. Finding time for a new-look running back room

Speaking of clear preferences, seventh-round rookie Isiah Pacheco once again paced all Chiefs running backs in snaps played with 39. Pacheco not only got work early in the game as the starter, but Kansas City also leaned on him to close things out late. His yards-per-carry average was far from ideal, although his reps on tape showed a runner who brought physicality, short-area burst and a general attitude to the group. Without Clyde Edwards-Helaire, the two running backs behind him also made their marks on the game.

Continuing to serve as the third-down back and a player who logs the second-most snaps at the position every week, Jerick McKinnon was in for 26 snaps (34%) on Sunday. Targeted six times in the passing game, the 30-year-old hauled in three passes for 26 yards. Veteran Ronald Jones saw his first in-game action of the year, getting 11 snaps and touching the ball five times. Jones amassed just 12 rushing yards on his four carries, but a 22-yard reception may have kept the door open for him to continue getting reps until Edwards-Helaire is back. Tasked with fitting Jones in their plans with Pacheco and McKinnon already entrenched against the Rams, Andy Reid and Eric Bieniemy did an admirable job.

Read More: Chiefs Reign Supreme in AFC Playoff Picture for Another Week

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Chiefs Reign Supreme in AFC Playoff Picture for Another Week

Chiefs Reign Supreme in AFC Playoff Picture for Another Week

Kansas City's Week 12 win helped keep them atop the conference playoff standings.

Although the Kansas City Chiefs' Sunday victory over the Los Angeles Rams was of the out-of-conference variety, it still had an impact on the club's standing compared to other AFC teams.

By getting their ninth win of the 2022 campaign, the Chiefs maintained their stronghold on the conference's top playoff seed. No other club has a nine in the win column, allowing Andy Reid's squad to control its own destiny for the rest of the season. The AFC playoff picture can be shaken up as soon as this coming week when Kansas City and the Cincinnati Bengals square off, though, so let's take a look at where things stand with the top six teams as of Monday.  

1. Kansas City Chiefs (9-2)

As mentioned, the Chiefs are the current top dogs in the AFC. A Week 6 loss to the Buffalo Bills could loom large should Josh Allen and company catch up in wins and losses, but they also have plenty to worry about within their own division at the moment. Kansas City's margin for error isn't incredibly wide and things could start to go south as early as next week, but having that No. 1 seed is never a bad thing. The goal for the Chiefs now — no longer just winning the AFC West — is to keep ahold of that spot heading into the postseason. 

2. Miami Dolphins (8-3)

If there's one team that deserves a bit more love in the contender conversation as far as the AFC is concerned, it's the Miami Dolphins. Under first-year head coach Mike McDaniel, they boast one of the NFL's most dangerous offensive attacks headlined by wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is performing at a high level as well, and Miami's defense is slowly becoming less and less of a crippling eyesore. Big-time tests against teams like the San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Chargers and others remain, so the Dolphins will soon show their true colors for better or worse. 

3. Tennessee Titans (7-4)

Mike Vrabel's Tennessee Titans are tough to get a read on, as they're certainly a formidable team with a stout defense and good running game. That formula can win in ugly postseason outings. On the other hand, quarterback Ryan Tannehill remains suspect and the Titans have question marks in the secondary and in their wide receiver room. This squad doesn't appear to have enough to hang with the AFC's premier teams, yet Tennessee is third in the AFC standings through 12 weeks. Can one of the NFL's worst scoring offenses end the year on a high note? Time will tell, but the Chiefs have a tiebreaker over them already due to a head-to-head victory in Week 9.

4. Baltimore Ravens (7-4)

The Baltimore Ravens were a legit threat to the Chiefs in the race for the AFC's top playoff seed as recently as Sunday morning but following an upset loss at the hands of the Jacksonville Jaguars, things aren't looking as peachy for John Harbaugh's team. Fourth-quarter collapses are becoming commonplace in Baltimore, as are injuries. Former MVP winner Lamar Jackson is always dangerous, and a favorable rest-of-season schedule makes winning out a real possibility, but the Ravens haven't shown enough consistency to expect that. They remain in the middle for now. 

5. Buffalo Bills (8-3)

Don't let the Bills' No. 5 spot in the standings fool you: Buffalo can be as good as any team in the conference. Sean McDermott's bunch has been going through a rough patch over the past month after getting off to such a hot start to begin the year, but the ceiling with this team still exists and is very real. That, combined with recent success against the Chiefs and a quarterback who is the only player who can remotely make a case as Patrick Mahomes's equal, makes Buffalo serious. They will likely be back in the thick of things before too long.

6. Cincinnati Bengals (7-4)

Another team that is overlooked by many but is showing some signs of potentially rounding into form, the Cincinnati Bengals have their biggest game of the season coming up when they host the Chiefs on Sunday. In a rematch of last season's AFC Championship Game, a win would cement the Bengals as contenders once again in the conference and would put Kansas City on notice for the second year in a row. Joe Burrow has engineered a productive offensive attack and is getting Ja'Marr Chase back, and Lou Anarumo's defense is tough. The football world will learn a lot about Cincy very soon.

Read More: Mahomes Focused on Improvement Following Win Against Rams

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Mahomes Focused on Improvement Following Win Against Rams

Mahomes Focused on Improvement Following Win Against Rams

Mahomes was critical of his play on Sunday while also shifting his focus to next week.

The Kansas City Chiefs' Week 12 win over the Los Angeles Rams saw the home team put up 26 points and allow just 10, yet it was still viewed as an underwhelming performance by many. As things turn out, quarterback Patrick Mahomes was one of those people as far as the offense was concerned.

On the afternoon, Mahomes completed 27 of his 42 pass attempts for 320 yards and a touchdown while not being sacked even once. On the flip side, he did throw an ugly interception in the fourth quarter and missed a few throws over the course of the game. It didn't matter a ton in the grand scheme of things but after the game, Mahomes praised his defense while adding that he needs to be better in order for the offense to run smoother. 

"I thought the defense played well," Mahomes said. "Obviously, some special teams and some offense [things] we've got to clean up. The defense kept us in the game, got some turnovers for us and got some big stops after some turnovers that we made. Especially in the red zone, we've got to execute at a higher level — I've got to execute at a higher level. I need to take out the one dumb play I make every game, it seems like. If I can take that out, I think we'll be alright."

Despite now being on a five-game losing streak, the Rams' defense captained by defensive coordinator Raheem Morris is still a formidable unit. Star talents like Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald remain, as does a solid supporting cast amidst some injuries. The group did a decent job of holding Mahomes and company to 13 points in each half, as well as being just 1-for-6 in the red zone. When asked about why things went south in an area the Chiefs have normally thrived in this year, Mahomes tipped his cap to the opposition. 

"I mean, they did a good job," Mahomes said. "At the end of the day, they've got great players. They still have a great defense over there. They did a great job of kind of passing off crossers down there. They were in the right spots where I wanted to go. They had a good game plan. I have to find ways to execute at a higher level, get it to those guys in space and when we do have chances, we have to make sure we get in the end zone." 

The Chiefs don't have a ton of time to get back to the drawing board, and recent history is both on their side and also working against them at the same time. On one hand, Andy Reid and Eric Bieniemy's offense entered Week 12 with one of the best red zone offenses in the NFL and still has two of the best playmakers in the entire sport. They should figure things out. On the other hand, a Week 13 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals — a team the Chiefs lost to twice last season — looms large. Emotions and stakes are riding high, and the margin for error is slim. 

When asked about Kansas City's January AFC Championship Game collapse, Mahomes admitted that he "played terribly in the second half" and contributed to costing the team a game that "could've sent" them to the Super Bowl. He reiterated that he and his teammates will be ready for the rematch, which seems to be a foregone conclusion at this juncture. Every week presents a series of learning moments, and every win or loss brings a new set of lessons. After a win on Sunday, Mahomes still has the things he learned several months ago fresh in his mind. 

"We learned that you've just got to continue to push," Mahomes said. "You can't be satisfied with where you're at. We scored a lot of points in that first half and went in thinking we were just kind of going to coast to the Super Bowl, but they're a team that's going to fight. They're going to fight until the very end, and that's why they were in the Super Bowl. We have to make sure that we go in with two great halves of football and however long it takes."

Read More: Four Takeaways From the Chiefs' 26-10 Win Over the Rams

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Andy Reid: Nick Bolton Is Having an ‘All-Pro’ Type Season

Andy Reid: Nick Bolton Is Having an ‘All-Pro’ Type Season

Kansas City's head coach spoke highly of his top linebacker following Sunday's win.

The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Los Angeles Rams by their third-widest margin of the 2022 campaign, and their defense played a massive role in that dominant victory. Steve Spagnuolo's unit surrendered just 10 points to Sean McVay's struggling offense, with multiple players' performances contributing to the win.

In addition to cornerback L'Jarius Sneed and defensive end Frank Clark having quality afternoons, it was linebacker Nick Bolton who set the tone for the Chiefs on the less glorious side of the ball. The second-year man amassed 11 tackles against Los Angeles, with one of those being for a loss. Additionally, he had a pass broken up and an interception to boot. After the game, head coach Andy Reid praised Bolton's outing and used a very important designation in the process: All-Pro.

"His instincts," Reid said when asked what helped Bolton to such a big game. "Spags (Spagnuolo) has mentioned that, too. His instincts, his ability to tackle in tight areas and then also in the field, I think, is big. He'll tell you that it helps to have a good defensive line, too, but he's definitely having an All-Pro-type season. He's a heck of a football player."

Sunday's game against the Rams marked the fourth time in six games that Bolton had at least 10 tackles, and he's recorded an interception in back-to-back weeks. The 2021 second-round pick is dangerously close to surpassing his tackle and tackle-for-loss totals from his rookie season, and he's already improved in sacks and quarterback hits. The Rams game was yet another example of him showing off his ability to make plays in the middle of Spagnuolo's defense.

Entering Week 12, Bolton ranks favorably compared to his peers. Among all 85 linebackers with at least 20% of available run defense snaps this year, he ranks 14th with a 76.9 Pro Football Focus' run defense grade and is 12th in stop percentage. That isn't all, though. While Bolton's tape still doesn't show a player who thrives in coverage, his PFF data shows otherwise. Using that same 20% threshold for linebackers, the former University of Missouri standout's 79.0 PFF coverage grade through 10 games is the sixth-best. His 78.6 defense grade? Tied for ninth. It remains to be seen how much those numbers will change but given how good Bolton was against the Rams, the answer may not be much.

Moving forward, Kansas City has a Week 13 outing against the Cincinnati Bengals on the docket. This AFC Championship Game rematch presents an opportunity for the Chiefs to avenge their loss at least a bit, and Bolton said that the January game stung as he went into the offseason. With his eyes now set on next week, Bolton admitted after one of his best games of 2022 that he's playing so well right now partially because that crushing loss fueled him to do so. 

"I don't think I played very good, personally," Bolton said. "I felt like this year, I had to come in and be better for our defense to be where it needs to be. I spent a lot of time on that in the offseason." 

Read More: Four Takeaways From the Chiefs' 26-10 Win Over the Rams

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Four Takeaways From the Chiefs' 26-10 Win Over the Rams

Four Takeaways From the Chiefs' 26-10 Win Over the Rams

Here are four takeaways from the Chiefs' Week 12 home matchup against the Rams.

The Kansas City Chiefs came into Week 12 favored by more than two touchdowns, setting the scene for a potentially non-competitive afternoon game against the Los Angeles Rams. That's exactly what happened, as the visitors simply couldn't get enough done offensively to keep up with a Kansas City team that didn't do anything crazy but still won by multiple scores. The Chiefs rose to 9-2 on the year with their 26-10 win, and the Rams are now 3-8 and on a five-game losing streak. 

Here are four takeaways from Sunday's game.

1. Running backs managed without Clyde Edwards-Helaire

With Clyde Edwards-Helaire on the injured reserve list, the dynamic of the Chiefs' running back room was slated to change at least somewhat on Sunday. Rookie Isiah Pacheco was coming off his first career 100-yard game, and he remained the lead running back with veteran Jerick McKinnon serving as the team's third-down back of choice. Someone who got a bit more work than expected, though, was Ronald Jones. In his season debut, the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers halfback toted the ball four times for 12 yards but also had an impressive 22-yard reception. This appears to be a formidable rotation for the Chiefs moving forward, even without their former first-round pick. 

2. It was once again a group effort for wide receivers

Mecole Hardman remained out due to being on IR, but the addition of JuJu Smith-Schuster back into the lineup helped pave the way for a quietly efficient game from the Chiefs' wide receiver room. Marquez Valdes-Scantling led the way with four receptions for 56 yards, with Smith-Schuster adding 38 yards of his own and both Skyy Moore and Justin Watson making plays throughout the game. Before the season, quarterback Patrick Mahomes mentioned a different player having his "game" every week and there being more group-intensive efforts in 2022. The latter happened on Sunday, and it was more than enough to secure the win. 

3. Steve Spagnuolo's defense did its job

Facing a Rams offense without Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp doesn't exactly pose a serious threat to the opposition, and facing a Rams offense with a makeshift offensive line makes matters even worse. Still, though, Kansas City's defense deserves credit for putting together a quality afternoon. Spagnuolo's front four got solid pressure on Bryce Perkins, with the likes of Chris Jones and George Karlaftis recording sacks. Additionally, Nick Bolton and L'Jarius Sneed each had an interception in the second half. The Chiefs will undoubtedly face much more intimidating offenses down the stretch, but all they could do on Sunday was handle their business. They did just that, allowing just 10 points at home.

4. A much bigger test looms next Sunday

The blowout victory on Sunday secured the Chiefs their fifth win in a row, and that ninth win allowed them to maintain their grasp on the AFC's top seed. With a minimal margin for error, every game is an important one. Week 13's contest against the Cincinnati Bengals, however, could prove to be one of Kansas City's biggest games of the year. The Rams deserve respect, but this was more of a lower-stakes outing sandwiched between two big-time matchups against premier conference foes. The Chiefs escaped Week 12 with a favorable outcome, and now they'll hit the road looking to keep that momentum going against Joe Burrow and company.

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L'Jarius Sneed Exits Game vs. Rams With Injury

L'Jarius Sneed Exits Game vs. Rams With Injury

Sneed visited the medical tent and then went to the locker room in the second quarter.

UPDATE: L'Jarius Sneed re-entered the game following the halftime break. 

The Kansas City Chiefs held a halftime lead against the visiting Los Angeles Rams, but they weren't able to stay completely healthy in their Week 12 game. After contributing on a play in the second quarter, cornerback L'Jarius Sneed briefly remained on the field before walking off and making a visit to the on-site blue medical tent. 

Sneed went back to the locker room shortly after being in the tent and, according to the team's official announcement, was being evaluated for a concussion.

The Chiefs' secondary was already shorthanded against the Rams, as safety Juan Thornhill was limited in practice with a calf injury that ended up holding him out of the game. Steve Spagnuolo's cornerback group was at full strength, however, as special teams ace Chris Lammons exited concussion protocol in time for the game and Sneed was a full participant throughout the week with a knee injury that's been lingering for him. 

Entering Week 12, Sneed had been far and away the Chiefs' most productive cornerback. The third-year man and former fourth-round pick had started 10 games for Kansas City, recording 69 tackles with six passes broken up and a career-high 3.5 sacks. In a room that is relying on rookies such as Trent McDuffie, Joshua Williams and Jaylen Watson to perform this year, Sneed's ability to serve as a versatile and reliable piece has been a major benefit.

With a pivotal Week 13 game against the Cincinnati Bengals on the horizon, the hope for both Sneed and the Chiefs is that the young cornerback can avoid missing serious time stemming from this apparent injury. Kansas City is no stranger to going through the NFL's concussion protocol, as the aforementioned Lammons just got out of it and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster also made his return this week from a concussion.

Read More: Harrison Butker May Never Be 100% This Season

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Chiefs vs. Rams Inactives: Who's In, Who's Out?

Chiefs vs. Rams Inactives: Who's In, Who's Out?

Kansas City and Los Angeles have finalized who they'll head into their Week 12 game without.

The Kansas City Chiefs enter Sunday's matchup against the Los Angeles Rams on the heels of a four-game winning streak, and their opponents have dropped their last four contests.

This is truly a matchup of teams whose seasons are trending in opposite directions, as Kansas City enters Sunday as the top overall seed in the AFC despite a few injuries in recent weeks. Los Angeles, the reigning Super Bowl champions, has a season-long injury list that would make some grocery store receipts jealous. Sean McVay's group has witnessed its 2022 campaign spiral down the drain. There's still a chance that the spoiler role is enough to get the Rams to upset the Chiefs, but those odds remain quite low. 

With that in mind, ahead of their Week 12 game at home, the Chiefs' list of inactive players has been released:

The Chiefs already knew they'd be without wide receiver Mecole Hardman (abdomen) and running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (high-ankle sprain) due to them being on the injured reserve list, as well as wideout Kadarius Toney (hamstring) missing this week. The trio of left guard Joe Thuney, cornerback Chris Lammons and safety Juan Thornhill was questionable heading into Sunday's game with respective ankle, concussion and calf designations. Lammons is the only member of the group who will play, as both Thuney and Thornhill are officially inactive. 

Another roster-related storyline to watch on Sunday is the season debut of running back Ronald Jones. While it remains to be seen exactly how many in-game opportunities he will receive, head coach Andy Reid was optimistic during the week about the chances of Jones getting his first snaps of the year. With Edwards-Helaire on the shelf for at least the next four games, Jones is set to join the rotation of rookie Isiah Pacheco and veteran Jerick McKinnon and will look to contribute on the ground when his name is called.

The Rams' inactives have also been released:

In advance of Sunday, the Rams ruled out four players. Center Brian Allen, linebacker Travin Howard, defensive lineman A'Shawn Robinson and quarterback Matthew Stafford will all miss Week 12 with various respective injuries. Players like offensive tackle Ty Nsekhe, wide receiver Allen Robinson and tight end Tyler Higbee were all questionable, and only Higbee will give it a go against Kansas City.

Read More: How to Watch Kansas City Chiefs vs. Los Angeles Rams

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Chiefs vs. Rams: Week 12 Preview and Predictions

Chiefs vs. Rams: Week 12 Preview and Predictions

The Arrowhead Report crew predicts whether the Chiefs will rise to 9-2 on the season.

The Kansas City Chiefs are riding high following a Week 11 win over the Los Angeles Chargers, and they're keeping their battles within the LA area for Week 12. On Sunday afternoon, the Los Angeles Rams come into town looking to steal a win on GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Rams, 3-7 on the season, have won a Super Bowl and seen their title defense unfold about as poorly as possible all within the same calendar year. A multitude of injuries, as well as some free agent losses and general struggles, have contributed to a very poor 2022 campaign. On the other side of the field, the Chiefs will be looking to secure a win on Sunday and get to 9-2 on the year. Although this is an inter-conference matchup, a Kansas City victory keeps Andy Reid's squad atop the AFC standings. 

How will today's game unfold? The Arrowhead Report crew makes their predictions.

Joshua Brisco: The Rams are a lot of things no NFL team wants to be; they’re injured, not very deep, and aging so quickly that you’d assume they drank from the wrong chalice while searching for the Holy Grail. The Chiefs shouldn’t have to play their best game to beat LA convincingly, but if they do, it could get ugly at Arrowhead. Even if the Chiefs struggle at times, it’s hard to see how the Rams hang around for the full 60 minutes.

Prediction: Chiefs 30, Rams 17

Jordan Foote: This is nothing close to the same Rams team that took the field back in February for the Super Bowl, and it shows. Los Angeles has seemingly countless injuries on both sides of the ball and has struggled to put points up all season. That, combined with Bryce Perkins being in line to make his first NFL start, can serve as a perfect storm for a comfortable Chiefs win. I don't expect Kansas City to score a ton in this one and while the Rams may be able to cover, the final box score will still paint the picture of a pretty lopsided contest that seemed out of reach early on.

Prediction: Chiefs 24, Rams 10

Mark Van Sickle: Before the season, no one would have anticipated there being such a lack of hype leading up to this game. It’s one of the highest point spreads of the season. Unfortunately for the Rams, they are without Matthew Stafford and their backup, John Wolford, is also dealing with an injury. Now, Bryce Perkins will make his NFL debut at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. The Rams are also without Cooper Kupp, who is on injured reserve. Things could get ugly.

The Chiefs are dealing with a few injuries of their own, but JuJu Smith-Schuster will be back in the mix. The team is likely also hoping to see more positive contributions from Skyy Moore this week after an excellent Week 11 against the Chargers. Patrick Mahomes continues to play at an MVP level, and the defensive front is getting after opposing quarterbacks. The Chiefs should win and win big.

Prediction: Chiefs 38, Rams 20

Conner Christopherson: Everything is going right for the Chiefs and everything is going wrong for the Rams. With Matthew Stafford potentially out for the year and Cooper Kupp also out, the Rams' already bad season has devolved into a nightmare. The thing to watch in this game is how the Chiefs handle a bad team and whether they can easily coast to a win. Games against bad teams this year have had mixed results, with a comfortable win over the Jaguars and a loss to the Colts. One player to watch is Isiah Pacheco. He might get a lot of carries if the Chiefs go up big early.

Prediction: Chiefs 30, Rams 17

Zack Eisen: Coming into the season, this game projected as one of the best of the season, with the defending Super Bowl champions traveling to play the Chiefs. However, the Rams are not the team they were last year. Between losing key players in the offseason and injuries, the Rams come into this game with one of the worst records in the league and a backup quarterback making his first career start. They still have defensive stars in Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey, so they can’t be taken lightly. The most important thing for the Chiefs is to win the game and come out clean on the injury side of things.

Prediction: Chiefs 35, Rams 17

Marlow Ferguson Jr.: With each passing week, it feels like the Chiefs enter Sunday’s game with some sort of incredible streak. This week, they are sporting a 13-game regular-season winning streak against NFC teams. They’ve officially reached Undertaker at WrestleMania status, and with a chance to add to a narrow lead in the AFC standings, this should be no different. The battles within the games, such as Aaron Donald vs. Joe Thuney should be more intriguing than the actual result. The Rams could keep this close for a short time, though this feels like one of those games for the defense to flex their muscles and get their DVOA and statistical rankings up, as they prep for a revenge tour next week.

Prediction: Chiefs 38, Rams 16

Read More: How to Watch Kansas City Chiefs vs. Los Angeles Rams

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How to Watch Kansas City Chiefs vs. Los Angeles Rams

How to Watch Kansas City Chiefs vs. Los Angeles Rams

Here's how you can follow along as the Chiefs look for their ninth win of the 2022 campaign.

The Kansas City Chiefs are coming off a Week 11 win that marked their fourth victory in a row, and they'll be looking to keep the momentum going back on their home field in Week 12.

Coming into town are the 3-7 Los Angeles Rams, a team that won last season's Super Bowl but has taken a historic fall from grace ever since. Sean McVay's squad has been decimated by injuries this year and is currently on a four-game losing streak. This week's matchup is shaping up to be a very far cry from the 54-51 thriller these two clubs put on display back in 2018, as Kansas City is heavily favored and Los Angeles may struggle to score points due to having a skeleton crew on offense.

With a win, the Chiefs would keep sole possession of the AFC's top seed with six games left to play. It would also secure a sixth win in seven games for Andy Reid's team, as only a 24-20 Week 6 loss to the Buffalo Bills has been a recent blemish on Kansas City's record. A loss outside the conference wouldn't be the end of the world but considering how badly Sunday's opponent has struggled as of late, dropping a game to the Rams would be an unnecessary roadblock on the Chiefs' path to getting home-field advantage come playoff time. 

Here's how you can follow along with the Chiefs as they play today.

Time: 3:25 p.m. CST

TV Channel: FOX (WDAF-TV in local markets)

Live Stream: fuboTV (start your free trial)

Listen: WDAF (106.5 FM) Chiefs Radio Network

Line: Chiefs -15.5 per SI Sportsbook

The Sunday afternoon broadcast will feature the duo of Kevin Burkhardt (play-by-play) and Greg Olsen (color analyst) in the booth with Erin Andrews working the sidelines. Adrian Hill and crew will officiate the matchup.

For updates throughout the game and after the action has concluded, including plenty of postgame content, keep it locked in right here at Arrowhead Report and follow us on Twitter @ArrowheadReport for additional coverage, commentary and more.

Read More: Chiefs Injury Updates Ahead of Game vs. Rams

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Chiefs Injury Updates Ahead of Game vs. Rams

Chiefs Injury Updates Ahead of Game vs. Rams

Kansas City's end-of-week practice sheds some new light on the team's injured players.

The Kansas City Chiefs' Week 12 injury report contains a laundry list of names, with some situations being more significant than others.

For example, players such as linebacker Nick Bolton (hamstring) and cornerback L'Jarius Sneed (knee) are listed with respective injuries but were full participants throughout the week. The returns of wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (concussion) and offensive tackle Lucas Niang (knee) to practice also boded well for Kansas City on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Left guard Joe Thuney, who missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday with an ankle injury, returned on Friday.

On the flip side, the Chiefs are dealing with their fair share of more serious injuries. Running back Clyde Edwards Helaire and wide receiver Mecole Hardman are both on the injured reserve list, leaving Andy Reid's squad without two weapons on offense for the foreseeable future. Elsewhere, wideout Kadarius Toney left Week 11's victory against the Los Angeles Chargers early with a hamstring issue that rendered him a non-participant in practice during the week. Safety Juan Thornhill, who hurt his calf in the same game, is also being watched with very cautious eyes by Kansas City.

With plenty left to sort out, Reid took the podium on Friday afternoon to address his team's injury situation. A Sunday afternoon outing on GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium against the Los Angeles Rams awaits, and there's now a bit clearer of a picture as to some players who will and won't be active once game day rolls around.

Reid elaborated on Toney's hamstring injury, saying that the second-year receiver felt his previous ailment from his time with the New York Giants "coming back" during Week 11's victory in Los Angeles. At the time of his presser, Reid said that Toney wasn't ruled out in regard to his playing status. On the flip side, Smith-Schuster's official return will provide a boost to a Chiefs offense that leaned on the likes of Skyy Moore and Justin Watson to get the job done last week and Toney the week before.

On defense, tackle Chris Jones had a personal day but is expected to play on Sunday. Thornhill is the situation to monitor, as the fourth-year defensive back was limited in Wednesday and Thursday's practices. The fact that he didn't participate at all on Friday doesn't inspire a great deal of hope that he'll be able to go on Sunday, but Reid also didn't close the door on that possibility. 

UPDATE: The Chiefs' official injury report update on Friday afternoon ruled Toney out for Sunday's game against the Rams. The trio of Toney, Thornhill and Chris Lammons will carry a questionable designation into the game. 

Read More: Don’t Expect Too Much From Ronald Jones if He Plays Sunday

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Don’t Expect Too Much From Ronald Jones if He Plays Sunday

Don’t Expect Too Much From Ronald Jones if He Plays Sunday

Even if he's active, Jones may not receive enough opportunities to contribute in a major way.

The Ronald Jones era with the Kansas City Chiefs has taken some interesting turns over the past several months. 

Back in March when the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers standout signed with Kansas City, he was coming off a semi-productive tenure covering the span of his rookie contract. The 25-year-old inked a one-year deal worth $1.5 million that has the potential to grow significantly higher via incentives. At the time, it appeared quite possible that the Chiefs brought in some true competition for incumbent starter Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Jones was viewed by many as the second half of a potential one-two punch in the backfield.

In this year's NFL Draft, general manager Brett Veach added Isiah Pacheco into the fold. During the summer, he re-signed Jerick McKinnon to a one-year deal. Once training camp got going and the skill sets of the running back room became evident, Jones was suddenly the odd man out. Thus far in the 2022 campaign, he's been a healthy scratch on a weekly basis and even hinted at presumably wanting to part ways with the Chiefs back in late October. In a matter of months, he went from someone who could be a part of the solution to someone who was a mere afterthought.

With Edwards-Helaire now on the injured reserve list with a high-ankle sprain, though, the Chiefs need a third running back. Their Week 12 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams is quickly approaching, and Jones makes sense to elevate to the game-day roster for the outing. When asked about those chances this week, head coach Andy Reid was optimistic. 

“Yeah, just it’s an opportunity to get in and work, literally. And there’s a chance, he has a chance to play — a legitimate chance. But within that, he’s got to make sure he has all the protections down and the timing of the runs. Those are things we’ll look at, but he’s been working at it and I don’t think he should have a problem with that.”

If "a legitimate chance" turns into an active designation by Sunday afternoon, Jones could be in line to receive his first snaps of the season. With that said, given the current state of affairs above him on the depth chart, expecting Jones to do too much could prove to be an erroneous decision. Here's how the Chiefs have implemented the running back with the third-most snaps in each game this season: 

  • Week 1: Pacheco (16 snaps, 12 carries, 0 targets)
  • Week 2: Pacheco (5 snaps, 2 carries, 0 targets)
  • Week 3: Pacheco (5 snaps, 3 carries, 0 targets)
  • Week 4: Pacheco (17 snaps, 11 carries, 0 targets)
  • Week 5: Pacheco (2 snaps, 1 carry, 0 targets)
  • Week 6: Pacheco (10 snaps, 2 carries, 2 targets)
  • Week 7: Edwards-Helaire (17 snaps, 6 carries, 1 target)
  • Week 9: Edwards-Helaire (17 snaps, 4 carries, 2 targets)
  • Week 10: Edwards-Helaire (4 snaps, 0 carries, 2 targets)
  • Week 11: Edwards-Helaire (5 snaps, 2 carries, 0 targets before getting injured)

Every week is different, but that's an average of about 10 snaps, four carries and less than one target per game. Outside of a Week 1 blowout that saw Pacheco get highlighted in the fourth quarter and another anomaly or two elsewhere, the Chiefs simply don't go to the third man at running back very often. The recent dynamic of Pacheco and McKinnon must also be taken into account here. 

Pacheco is the clear starter and had his first career 100-yard rushing performance last week, so Reid and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy likely won't shy away from giving him either the same or more opportunities in Week 12. On early downs, he's the man for the job. McKinnon is the club's preferred choice on third downs, as his pass-blocking and pass-catching abilities are the best on the team. Jones struggles in both of those areas, so heavy third-down snaps are a no-go for him.

Is it possible that Kansas City gives Jones some first- or second-down reps in order to keep Pacheco fresh? Absolutely, but he probably won't get a heavy workload pending a blowout or injury. The fifth-year running back is far from a bad player, despite what certain parts of Twitter will argue, but he is a limited one whose shortcomings led to him getting surpassed on the depth chart earlier this year. Even if he receives an opportunity to showcase his talents this week or over the next few weeks, he'll be a complementary piece rather than a driving force. The Chiefs won't interrupt a good thing in their backfield. 

Read More: Chiefs Injury Updates on Clyde Edwards-Helaire, JuJu Smith-Schuster

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Chiefs Flashed New Dimensions on Offense Against Chargers

Chiefs Flashed New Dimensions on Offense Against Chargers

KC may have the best offense in the league, but a few tweaks could make it even better.

With all the personnel changes that the Kansas City Chiefs had on offense this offseason, it was expected that it would take time to develop their identity on that side of the ball. With that in mind, earlier in the season, they ran much of the same stuff the football world has seen over the last few years. 

While the offense hasn't drastically changed from what it usually looks like, some tweaks and improvements were made against the Los Angeles Chargers that Kansas City should continue to implement during the rest of the season.

Utilizing Skyy Moore

Against the Chargers, Skyy Moore played his most snaps of the season so far. The second-round rookie had been underwhelming up to that point during his young NFL career. However, due to injuries to JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kadarius Toney and Mecole Hardman, Moore saw the field and showed why the Chiefs drafted him.

Moore logged at least double the catches, yards and targets on Sunday than any other game in his rookie season. Yet, his first catch looked like most of the plays he has been in on this year. He was on the backside of a 3x1 formation, supposed to occupy a defender. Instead, on this third down, Patrick Mahomes got to his final progression in Moore and trusted him on a big down to come up with the grab.

That play led to Andy Reid and the coaching staff giving the rookie more opportunities throughout the rest of the game. He was able to display the talent and ability that was shown on his college tape. Moore was beating defenders off the line of scrimmage with his smooth release, creating separation with his developed route running ability and bringing some short-area quickness that the Chiefs lacked.

Hopefully, Moore showed enough on Sunday night in Los Angeles to earn more playing time. His skill set can significantly boost the Chiefs' offense as it gets later in the season.

Gap and power runs

The Chiefs' run game has been lackluster this season, to say the least. There have only been two games that Kansas City ran the ball at a high level: against Tampa Bay earlier in the season and in Week 11 against the Chargers. According to Pro Football Focus, the Chiefs had 13 gap runs against Tampa Bay and 10 a few days ago against the Chargers — the only two times they went over double digits on those types of runs.

Since the bye week, the Chiefs have made rookie Isiah Pacheco their primary running back. Now that Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been placed on injured reserve, it will be the Pacheco show moving forward. On Sunday night, the team got a glimpse of what that would look like, and the rookie had his first career 100-yard game.

Pacheco's burst and acceleration were displayed as he racked up 7.1 yards per carry against the Chargers. He is a one-cut-and-go runner. Once he sees the hole, he will cut and hit that open lane. Gap runs fit that style, and Pacheco's success with it was obvious as he ran more gap plays than zone against Los Angeles. The Chiefs must continue the trend of more gap runs than zone runs in order to have a more balanced offensive attack moving forward.

Slant and drag routes

Travis Kelce's two fourth-quarter touchdowns last week came against man coverage. Not only was that the case, but both were drag routes. Drag routes may be short, but they are perfect against man. They allow the offensive player to escape their defender and create separation. As such, Kelce could do that both times and then add yards after the catch to get into the endzone.

Another route that can accomplish the same thing is a slant route. Slants are designed to cut more upfield than drags, but both have the idea of gaining separation from a man coverage defender.

On the game's first drive, the Chiefs had Jody Fortson line up isolated in a 3x1 set. Fortson ran a quick slant, and Mahomes hit him in stride for the easy first down. Fortson is a bigger body, so his yards-after-catch ability is limited. However, putting a player like Toney or Moore on that route could lead to them breaking one for a long gain or even a touchdown.

These routes should be called more often if opposing teams continue to play man coverage at an extremely high rate against the Chiefs. Letting their skill players win off the line of scrimmage and then make a play after the catch is the way to go.

Read More: Chiefs Injury Updates on Clyde Edwards-Helaire, JuJu Smith-Schuster

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Chiefs Injury Updates on Clyde Edwards-Helaire, JuJu Smith-Schuster

Chiefs Injury Updates on Clyde Edwards-Helaire, JuJu Smith-Schuster

Kansas City has some clarity on multiple injury situations heading into Week 12.

The Kansas City Chiefs haven't been the luckiest in the durability department as of late, seeing multiple players miss varying amounts of time due to injuries. There was still plenty to sort out in that regard when head coach Andy Reid took the podium on Wednesday morning, but Reid was able to provide some additional information about some of his injured players.

Per Reid, running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire is going on the reserve/injured list following a high-ankle sprain he suffered in Sunday's 30-27 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. As a result, the third-year man will miss at least the next four weeks while on IR. He joins wide receiver Mecole Hardman on the list, although Hardman has a one-game head start on getting back on the road to returning. With Edwards-Helaire out of the picture, the Chiefs will rely on rookie Isiah Pacheco to lead the way out of the backfield and could even make veteran Ronald Jones active for the first time all year on Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams. 

Andy Reid said Joe Thuney (left ankle) & Kadarius Toney (hamstring) will not practice today. 

Clyde Edwards-Helaire (high ankle sprained) has been added to injured reserve. 

Lucas Niang is also back on the active roster.

- Nate Taylor (@ByNateTaylor) on Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 11:49 a.m.

Additionally, Reid added that wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is back at practice on Wednesday after missing Week 11 due to being in the NFL's concussion protocol. That's a major boost for Kansas City, who is without Kadarius Toney on Wednesday as he works through a hamstring injury that caused him to leave the team's last game early. If Smith-Schuster is able to return to action this week, that would help a receiver room that recently relied heavily on its depth in a grueling divisional game. 

Along the offensive line, Reid had a mixed bag of news to share. Left guard Joe Thuney is nursing an ankle injury, and he isn't practicing on Wednesday. Right tackle Lucas Niang, however, is back on the active roster after a stint on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list to begin the 2022 campaign. Niang, who suffered a serious knee injury at the end of last season, is far from guaranteed to be a starter once he's officially ready to make his return. When asked about Niang's potential role on Monday, here's what Reid had to say:

“Yeah, I’ll talk to (General Manager) Brett (Veach). I haven’t talked to Brett today, but we’ll talk on that and just see where we’re at with that. But, he’s made some nice progress over the last couple of weeks. And I’m not telling you he’d be the starter, but I think he’s ready to get in, probably, the two-deep. We’ll have to talk to the kid (Lucas Niang), too.”

Read More: Harrison Butker May Never Be 100% This Season

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Toub: Harrison Butker May Never Be 100% This Season

Toub: Harrison Butker May Never Be 100% This Season

Butker's on-field improvement doesn't necessarily mean he's fully back to health yet.

The Kansas City Chiefs have dealt with their fair share of injuries this season, but one of their major absences followed kicker Harrison Butker's Week 1 ankle sprain.

Initially viewed as something that wouldn't hold the top-shelf placekicker out for too long, Butker ended up missing Weeks 2-5 with the injury. Special teams coordinator and assistant head coach Dave Toub reiterated before the club's October 10 matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders that Kansas City wanted a "full, 100% Butker" back in the lineup, paving the way for him to pick up where he left off as one of the best players at his position. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, however, that simply hasn't been the case.

Prior to the team's Week 10 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Butker admitted that he still wasn't 100% healthy. That has been reflected in his play, as he missed two of his 13 extra point attempts and three of his seven field goal attempts in his first four games back from injury. Of all kickers with at least 10 attempted extra points this year, Butker is tied for 25th in efficiency. For field goals, he's in sole possession of 30th. That's a far cry from the player Kansas City has grown to expect consistent greatness out of, although things did improve in last week's win over the Los Angeles Chargers.

In addition to knocking in all three of his extra point attempts at SoFi Stadium, Butker went 3-for-3 on field goals as well. That marked the first time since Week 1 that he'd been able to accomplish 100% proficiency in both departments, which could be a springboard for more success in the homestretch of the 2022 campaign. Butker isn't entirely out of the woods, though, and Toub made it a point on Tuesday to emphasize that he may not ever get back to full health before the season is over.

“Yeah, he had a real good warm up, and he looked good," Toub said. "I don’t know if he’s ever going to be 100% this year, really – I told him to stop talking about it really. He was out there; he had a great warm up and he looked good, and he performed. It was good to see, and he was happy, and everybody was happy.”

The Chiefs' special teams unit has struggled at times this year, and the group's performance has fallen well short of the usual standards set out for a Toub-coached collective. Kansas City ranks 15th in Football Outsiders' Special Teams DVOA, and mistakes in both the kick and punt return games have been multiple. Kicking, while not a sore spot in Week 11, hasn't been great either. 

As the Chiefs gear up for another postseason run, they'll hope that Butker can continue to make progress and get back on track. Even if he isn't 100%, a mostly healthy Butker is usually better than almost every non-Justin Tucker kicker in the league. The question now is how close to that 100% mark he can get. 

Read More: Travis Kelce Named AFC Offensive Player of the Week

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Travis Kelce Named AFC Offensive Player of the Week

Travis Kelce Named AFC Offensive Player of the Week

The Chiefs' superstar tight end earns the honors for the second time in his career.

The Kansas City Chiefs' 30-27 Week 11 win over the Los Angeles Chargers featured multiple big-time performances, but Travis Kelce's star shined brighter than just about anyone else's. For his efforts against a bitter division rival, the Chiefs' star tight end is the AFC Offensive Player of the Week. 

In Kansas City's road victory, Kelce hauled in six passes for 115 yards and three touchdowns. The future Hall of Famer was played tough by Chargers safety Derwin James, commonly known as someone who can reduce Kelce's production a bit, but he still found a way on multiple occasions to make his mark on the game. Kelce led all Chiefs pass-catchers in targets, receiving yards and scores on the night.

Kelce has gotten off to a blazing start this season, posting 69 receptions on 94 targets (good for a 73.4 catch percentage) for 855 yards and a league-leading 11 touchdowns. Without Tyreek Hill in the fold, the seven-time Pro Bowler has been tasked with keeping the Chiefs' offense afloat and has done a masterful job of doing so thus far. Well into his 30s now, Kelce still doesn't show any signs of slowing down.

After Kansas City's Sunday night win, I wrote about Kelce's impressive performance that ultimately netted him Player of the Week honors and how his connection with quarterback Patrick Mahomes sparked it:

The Chiefs won their 25th straight game in the month of November or December, and the duo of Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce has been a massive part of that sustained success. The two superstars once again reminded the football world of their greatness in Los Angeles, with Mahomes passing for 327 yards and three touchdowns and Kelce being on the receiving end of six passes and all three of those scores.

Mahomes now has a clear advantage in the MVP race, and Kelce continues to make an open-and-shut case to be in the Hall of Fame once he retires. Arguably the best one-two punch in the sport lived up to its legacy on yet another big stage.

Read More: Chiefs Paved the Way for Another AFC West Title With Week 11 Win

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Chiefs Week 11 Snap Counts: The Tight End Game

Chiefs Week 11 Snap Counts: The Tight End Game

Implementing 13-personnel looks was one of Kansas City's keys to success in Los Angeles.

The Kansas City Chiefs entered their Sunday Night Football matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers looking for a win that would extend their lead in the AFC West, and that's exactly what they got.

After going blow-for-blow with Los Angeles for the majority of the night, Kansas City crafted a late-game drive to take the lead and got a turnover to seal the game. Multiple players factored into the win, with superstars and role players alike doing their respective parts to contribute. Andy Reid's team is now 8-2 following a Week 11 victory, and a three-game lead over the Chargers with an added tiebreaker makes the division race look like it's all but wrapped up at this juncture. 

Now that snap counts have been released, what jumped off the page? Let's take a look at three notable takeaways from another week of Chiefs football.

1. All three of the Chiefs' tight ends played important roles

The absence of Jody Fortson was painfully obvious for the Chiefs in their Week 9 overtime win against the Tennessee Titans and after a week to get back into the swing of things, Fortson was back in full force in Los Angeles. The wide receiver-turned-tight-end hauled in a pair of passes for 51 yards and was in the game for 18 snaps. Second-year tight end Noah Gray played a season-high 60% of Kansas City's offensive snaps, getting targeted three times and also chipping in as a blocker. Travis Kelce, naturally, was the star of the show and had three touchdowns. 

Not only did Kansas City average 10 yards per play when in 13-personnel (one running back and three tight ends), but their 13 plays of that kind averaged a staggering 0.73 EPA per play. Going heavy on offense forces the opposing defense to at least attempt to match that, or else they suffer the consequences. The Chiefs are in a rare spot in that they have three quality tight ends, and they made the most of all three of them in Week 11. Many factors played a role in the win and while 20% of the entire offense's snaps isn't anything crazy, the success rate was yet another example of 13-personnel looks working for the Chiefs in 2022. 

2. Justin Watson is clearly a trusted target

Already without Mecole Hardman and once JuJu Smith-Schuster went down in Week 10 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, it was Justin Watson who saw a significant increase in his workload. The veteran wideout was on the field for 46 snaps (73%), which easily cleared his previous season-high of 26 the week before. On Sunday night against Los Angeles, that number jumped to 57. Watson was on the field for a whopping 88% of the Chiefs' offensive plays, and his three receptions for a season-high 67 yards led all wide receivers on the team.

Rookie Skyy Moore got a bigger piece of the pie as well and Kadarius Toney's hamstring injury undoubtedly had an impact on how receiver snaps were divvied up, but Watson is clearly one of the most trusted pass-catchers on the Chiefs. Dating back to the offseason, the chemistry he built with quarterback Patrick Mahomes has led to him securing a roster spot and playing meaningful snaps en route to a chase for the postseason. Watson isn't some end-of-the-roster piece in the Chiefs' eyes — he's a legitimate receiving threat, and one who is distinctly a top candidate to step up when others go down. 

3. Frank Clark's return shuffled the defensive end picture

In his first game back from suspension, defensive end Frank Clark played 52 snaps against the Chargers. That was good for an 80% share, which led the defensive end room by a comfortable margin. Trailing Clark was the trio of George Karlaftis (55%), Mike Danna (48%) and Carlos Dunlap (35%). This marked the lowest snap percentage of Karlaftis' rookie campaign, which could merely be a coincidence but also might be a testament to the depth of Kansas City's defensive line.

With players like Danna having versatility along the line and even star defensive tackle Chris Jones having played some defensive end in the very recent past, Steve Spagnuolo's front is beginning to act like the sum of its parts. Everyone is contributing something in one way or another, whether it's a Karlaftis pressure or batted pass, a Danna sack, a Jones double-team or a quality edge being set by Clark. The Chiefs' defensive line is a better group than it was a season ago, and that's a plus as the home stretch of the 2022 season arrives. How much better is the end unit, specifically? That will depend on a combination of sustainability, Spagnuolo's rotations and overall health.

Read More: Chiefs Paved the Way for Another AFC West Title With Week 11 Win

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Chiefs Paved the Way for Another AFC West Title With Week 11 Win

Chiefs Paved the Way for Another AFC West Title With Week 11 Win

Kansas City's dominance of the division is likely to continue following a big victory.

Just a few short months ago, there was absolutely no shortage of hype surrounding the AFC West.

During the offseason, every single non-Kansas City Chiefs team appeared to get better on paper. The Los Angeles Chargers, a feisty young team with an aggressive head coach and one of the most talented quarterbacks in the league, added numerous defensive pieces and seemed ready to make a push for the division crown. The Las Vegas Raiders, last season's second-place team, added arguably the top wide receiver in the NFL to a team that had just won 10 games. The Denver Broncos, the "just a quarterback away" squad, invested $245 million into the position. 

All of this, combined with Kansas City trading away its most dangerous pass-catcher back in March, led many to believe that the AFC West was shaping up to be not just the best division in football, but potentially one of the best in NFL history. Just 10 games and 11 weeks into the 2022 NFL season, none of that matters. The same team is slated to finish atop the standings for the seventh year in a row, and it may not be particularly close.

By defeating the Chargers on the road on Sunday, the Chiefs extended their two-game lead to three and also secured a tiebreaker over their rivals. With what's effectively a four-game advantage with that tiebreaker factored in, the odds are clearly stacked in Kansas City's favor. Per Football Outsiders, Andy Reid's bunch has a 99.5% chance of winning the AFC West. That's right — the odds of the Chiefs losing their lead in the proclaimed preseason gauntlet are half a percent. Somehow, the final gap between them and the next-best team in the division record-wise may end up being even wider than it was a year ago. 

Kansas City's dominance here is nothing new, as the Reid and Patrick Mahomes era has featured a ton of success within the division. With this week's Sunday Night Football win, Mahomes is now 14-0 on the road against AFC West opponents in his career. With 25 consecutive overall wins in the months of November and December, this is the part of the year in which Reid and company rise to the top. Dating back to 2016, it's been the same outcome time and time again.

After the Raiders defeated the Broncos in overtime earlier on Sunday, both teams sit at 3-7 on the year. That's a very far cry from the Chiefs' 8-2 record, and it's a significant step below the Chargers' 5-5 standing through Week 11. The division has quickly turned into a two-horse race, and the leader just lapped the next-closest contestant. Las Vegas and Denver are scrambling just to have a shot at saving their wild-card hopes, let alone thinking about gunning for the division crown.

With Mahomes playing MVP-level football, players like Travis Kelce working alongside him on offense and Steve Spagnuolo's defense doing just enough to chip in, the Chiefs seem to have all but booked their trip to the playoffs yet again. Instead of scrapping to win the West, they can shift their focus to the AFC's No. 1 seed and only first-round bye. Teams usually don't have that luxury after 10 games and while it's still mathematically possible that the Chargers complete a comeback, it would be a near-miracle. Despite all the noise, the same thorn in the division's side is alone at the top once again.

Read More: Chiefs Are Full of Praise Following Comeback Win in LA

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Chiefs Are Full of Praise Following Comeback Win in LA

Chiefs Are Full of Praise Following Comeback Win in LA

Kansas City's stars are all smiles after a big-time win against the Chargers.

The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Los Angeles Chargers for the second time this season and, like the first matchup between these two teams in 2022, it wasn't always easy. 

Down 27-23 with 1:46 left on the clock in the fourth quarter, Kansas City got the ball back fresh off a scoring drive from Los Angeles. In typical Chiefs fashion, quarterback Patrick Mahomes led the offense down the field for a game-winning touchdown to tight end Travis Kelce. Andy Reid's squad needed every bit of playmaking help it could get against a strong division rival, and his two best players were ultimately the ones who (deservingly) got credit for doing some heavy lifting. Despite that, neither Mahomes nor Kelce wants to make things about them. Instead, Mahomes shifted the focus elsewhere after the game. 

"Teams have plans for Travis so guys are going to have to step up," Mahomes said. "When guys go down, obviously we didn't have JuJu (Smith-Schuster) and Mecole (Hardman) and [then] KT (Kadarius Toney) goes down, Skyy stepped up and made a lot of plays happen. He stepped right into that same role."

As Mahomes mentioned, three of their more dangerous pass-catchers were either ruled out in advance of the game or got injured during it. Smith-Schuster being unable to recover from his concussion in time to practice and Hardman going on the injured reserve list were already big deals, and Toney injuring his hamstring in the first half only complicated matters. This presented a challenge for the rest of a receiver group headlined by Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Justin Watson and rookie Skyy Moore, as well as a tight end group led by Kelce. 

As is oftentimes the case, Kelce paced the rest of his teammates in targets (10), receptions (6), yards (115) and touchdowns (3). His three scores brought his season total to 11, with the next-closest player on the Chiefs (Hardman) having just four. The future Hall of Famer's star shined brighter than that of anyone else on the biggest Sunday stage in football but afterward, he echoed the same sentiment as Mahomes by deflecting praise geared towards himself and pushing it to his running mates. 

"That game was a lot more than just Mahomes to me, man," Kelce said. "That's why it was so fun. You've got a guy like Skyy Moore coming up big throughout the entire game. On top of that, Justin Watson. Even on that last drive for us, Marquez gets us going early, Pat makes a huge play with his feet — those are the best, man. Those are the best. When everybody gets a piece of the pie, that's the best."

Defensive tackle Chris Jones also spoke quite highly of his teammates, proclaiming that Kansas City has some of the best pass-rushers in the league. Additionally, the Pro Bowl interior defensive lineman couldn't help but bring the center of attention back to the duo that emphasized such a thorough team effort. Mahomes and Kelce were the driving forces behind the Chiefs' comeback and eventual win, and the self-titled CEO of 'Sack Nation' believes their amazing performances were just par for the course.

"Travis Kelce is one of the best in the league and Pat is playing at an MVP level," Jones said. "They left too much time on the clock for Pat. A minute and 45 [seconds]? We go through that throughout the week, our two-minute drills. I think it was normal for him."

Read More: Four Takeaways From the Chiefs' 30-27 Win Over the Chargers

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Four Takeaways From the Chiefs' 30-27 Win Over the Chargers

Four Takeaways From the Chiefs' 30-27 Win Over the Chargers

Here are four takeaways from the Chiefs' Week 11 road matchup against the Chargers.

The Kansas City Chiefs went into SoFi Stadium looking to secure a win over the Los Angeles Chargers in a pivotal AFC West game that will almost surely have playoff implications. After some back-and-forth throughout the game and well into the fourth quarter, Week 11's Sunday Night Football nightcap saw the Chiefs complete their second comeback against the Chargers this season and come out on top by a final score of 30-27.

Here are four takeaways from Sunday's game. 

1. Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce are special

The Chiefs won their 25th straight game in the month of November or December, and the duo of Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce has been a massive part of that sustained success. The two superstars once again reminded the football world of their greatness in Los Angeles, with Mahomes passing for 327 yards and three touchdowns and Kelce being on the receiving end of six passes and all three of those scores. Mahomes now has a clear advantage in the MVP race, and Kelce continues to make an open-and-shut case to be in the Hall of Fame once he retires. Arguably the best one-two punch in the sport lived up to its legacy on yet another big stage.

2. The AFC West race might be over

This was a clear must-win game for the home team, as Los Angeles was two wins behind Kansas City and had already dropped one outing to them earlier in the year. With this loss, the Chiefs have a three-game lead over their rivals and also have a tiebreaker with seven games left to play. Barring something that would resemble a mini-collapse, it appears that the AFC West crown could be the Chiefs' for the seventh year in a row. Considering how much hype there was about the division before the season, this development is a testament to how great the top team has been every year. 

3. Isiah Pacheco and Skyy Moore stepped up

After flashing his potential a week ago against the Jacksonville Jaguars, seventh-round pick Isiah Pacheco showed exactly why there was so much hype surrounding him way back in training camp. The Rutgers product became the Chiefs' first 100-yard rusher since Week 4 of last season, and he made numerous impressive plays out of the backfield. Additionally, wide receiver Skyy Moore had just seven catches all year before adding five more to his total and logging a career-high 63 yards in the process with multiple key receptions. Kansas City needed every bit of contribution from rookies, and two of the highest-profile ones got the job done on offense en route to a thrilling win. 

4. Injuries continued to pile up

The Chiefs already came into the game with wide receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman on the shelf, and Kadarius Toney going down in the first half didn't make matters better whatsoever. He wasn't the only offensive player to get banged up for Kansas City, as running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire suffered an ankle injury and was ruled out. On defense, safety Juan Thornhill's calf injury held him out for most of the night as well. The injury bug has paid a visit to the Chiefs as of late, and Sunday's game was no exception. With plenty of football left to play this season, the infamous game of attrition is beginning to set in. Even though they came out on the winning side, it came with some negatives.

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