Chiefs news for 10 January 2020
The Buffalo Bills have defeated the Indianapolis Colts 27-24 in the first AFC game of wild-card weekend. It’s the first time that the Bills have won a playoff game since the 1995 wild-card round. The Colts were the No. 7 seed in the AFC and had they won the game, they would have been the team that Kansas City would have faced in the divisional round. That means former Los Angeles Chargers QB Philip Rivers won’t be coming to Kansas City for the playoffs, at least not this year.
The Chiefs will play the lowest remaining seed of either the Cleveland Browns (No. 6), Baltimore Ravens (No. 5) or Tennessee Titans (No. 4). The Ravens are the only team out of this group to be favored to win their game. They’re listed as three-point favorites over the Titans according to BetMGM. That’d make them the likeliest opponents for the K.C. in the divisional round.
According to a new report from NFL Network’s Steve Wyche, Bieniemy had a “strong” interview with the Atlanta Falcons on Monday. The Kansas City offensive coordinator remains very much “in the mix” for the head-coaching job in Atlanta. This comes amid rumors that Bieniemy hadn’t been interviewing well during the course of the head-coaching interview process.
“I’m going to be honest, very transparent. Eric is not interviewing very well with other teams, and (the Texans) haven’t been interested in Eric through the entire process,” Wilson said. “The information that they have is that he’s just not the guy they want. They’re not interested. And I know that sounds really strange with people, but (Chiefs quarterbacks coach) Mike Kafka has more to do with some of the stuff wit Patrick Mahomes than Eric Bieniemy. And the thing is, well how can everybody write all this good stuff about him? The fact of the matter is, that’s the agenda. That’s what’s being pushed because people want him to get a job. Andy Reid wants him to get a job. But he hasn’t interviewed well, and it’s just a lack of stuff with the offense. And EB, he can do better in selling himself more. And I don’t think it has anything to do with race, or anything like that. I think it’s just these teams, they don’t want him.”
“I think with the Atlanta interview, they literally want to hire a Black coach. They would love for him to have crushed the interview. He did not crush the interview. And teams really care about these interviews… And it’s not like, any smoking gun, or skeletons in the closet… He’s a good family man, he’s a good guy, and he’s a good coach. But the teams have the right to hire whomever they want.”
The thing that’s so appalling here is that there appears to have been no attempt to get a comment from the Falcons. I spoke this morning to a Falcons official involved in the interview process, who said of the story: “Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Bieniemy, who is considered one of the top head-coaching candidates and who has interviewed for multiple head-coaching openings, “prepared, knew everything about the team, had a great plan and is a bona fide candidate,” the source said.
The source said Falcons officials are furious about reports that Bieniemy, 51, did not interview well and “absolutely refute” those reports.
4,740 Quarterback Patrick Mahomes led the league in passing yards until Week 17, when he was overtaken by Deshaun Watson. The Houston Texans’ quarterback played all four quarters in his season finale and finished with 4,823 passing yards. Hopefully, history will remember that Mahomes was only surpassed by Watson because the former was a healthy scratch in Week 17.
2 and 3 Tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill finished 2nd and 3rd in the AFC in receiving yardage. Kelce set an NFL record for tight ends this season with 1,406 yards, and Hill racked up 1,211 yards. The pair also finished 1st and 2nd in the conference in touchdowns. Hill scored 15, Kelce scored 11. Kelce also led the NFL in receptions that went for first downs with 79.
6 Safety Tyrann Mathieu led all NFL safeties with 6 interceptions in 2020. It was another banner year for the 5’9″, 190-lb. safety, who finished third in the league in that category among all defenders. Only Xavien Howard of Miami and J.C. Jackson of New England (both cornerbacks) had more picks this year.
First up, we have the team that the Chiefs beat in last year’s AFC Championship Game, the Tennessee Titans. The Titans are led on offense by quarterback Ryan Tannehill, running back Derrick Henry and wide receiver A.J. Brown, three players who are truly some of the better players at their respective positions. They are joined by tight end Jonnu Smith and wide receiver Corey Davis, who are also having good seasons, combining for 1,432 yards and 13 touchdowns.
It has been a wild season for the Ravens. They started the season as expected, with a 4-1 record and a +73 point differential in their first five games with their lone loss coming to the Chiefs. After that, things went south quickly with a two-point win against the Eagles, a loss to the Steelers and a three-game losing streak to the Patriots, Titans and Steelers over a six-game span. At that point, they had dug themselves into a 6-5 hole and had a wildly uncertain future ahead.
What a time to be alive! The Cleveland Browns are in the playoffs for the first time since 2002! Unfortunately for them, they are already dealing with some difficulties in advance of their playoff game in Pittsburgh against the Steelers, losing head coach Kevin Stefanski for the game due to a positive COVID-19 test, but Stefanski himself seems to believe that his absence won’t be too damaging for the team’s performance.
Earlier this week, Pro Football Focus released its list of top 100 free agents for 2021 based on its own player evaluations and positional value. In an interesting look-ahead exercise, the football data and analytics site predicted that the Chiefs would lose both Watkins and Bell to AFC contenders, but retain Breeland on a new multi-year contract.
At 28 years old entering next season, Watkins can still bring value to an NFL club when healthy, however, it’s unlikely the cap-strapped Chiefs will be that team again. Instead, PFF predicts the Baltimore Ravens will sign the wideout to a three-year, $30 million contract with $21 million in total guarantees.
PFF sees Bell moving on after a playoff run (and potential Super Bowl ring) with the Chiefs, heading south to Miami on a two-year, $10 million deal with the up-and-coming Dolphins. This might have some legs as Miami was one of three finalists in the running to sign Bell after his breakup in the Big Apple in October.