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Five things to watch in the Chiefs’ home opener against the 49ers

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Five things to watch in the Chiefs’ home opener against the 49ers

Post by linchao » Thu Oct 25, 2018 7:18 am

With Patrick Mahomes under center for his first regular-season start at home Youth Chris Conley Jersey , Arrowhead Stadium is going to be rocking on Sunday. The Kansas City Chiefs will try to extend their record to 3-0 against the San Francisco 49ers.Here are five things to keep an eye on during the game:1. Can the offensive line continue to keep Patrick Mahomes clean?Denny Medley-USA TODAY SportsGoing into the regular season, left guard Cam Erving was a question mark on the offensive line.The presumption was that if Erving couldn’t hold down his position alongside Eric Fisher, we were going to see problems.So far, Erving has done a good job — even getting kudos for his play — and as a whole, the line has allowed just two sacks thus far, while Mahomes has run roughshod over opposing defenses.That’s a good sign.But the 49ers could present the Chiefs offensive line their toughest challenge yet.DeForest Buckner, Sheldon Day and Solomon Thomas are all solid pass rushers, and the 49ers have notched five sacks so far.If the Chiefs offensive line can keep the 49ers pass rush at bay, we can start to breathe a little easier about them — and Mahomes will be able do his thing.2. Can the defensive line get pressure on Jimmy Garoppolo?Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY SportsAfter being named the 49ers starting quarterback late last season, Garoppolo led the team to a 5-0 record to close out the year and then received a then-record five-year $137.5 million contract with the 49ers.But so far in 2018, he hasn’t been that impressive, with one pretty good game against the Detroit Lions and a really bad opening game against the Minnesota Vikings.Has Bill Belichick — who got a second-round draft pick in exchange for Garoppolo last year — managed to pass off another Matt Cassel to an unsuspecting team, or is it just that Garoppolo isn’t getting the protection he needs?The 49ers have given up nine sacks to start the season.So here’s an opportunity for Chris Jones and Dee Ford — who have been among the few bright spots on the Chiefs defense — to make a statement.They could use one.3. Is 49ers running back Matt Breida the real deal — or not?Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY SportsBreida — an undrafted free agent signed by the 49ers in 2017 — led the NFL in rushing after Week 2.But 138 of his 184 yards came against a suspect Detroit Lions defense in Week 2.So it will be up to the Chiefs run defense to prove (or disprove) Breida’s credentials.The Chiefs weren’t very impressive against the run in Week 1 versus the Los Angeles Chargers, but were much better against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 2 — albeit against a Steelers team that all but abandoned the ground game after the first quarter.How Breida does against the Chiefs will say a lot about how the offseason moves to shore up the run defense are shaping up.4. Can Dave Toub keep working his magic?Denny Medley-USA TODAY SportsHonestly, it’s pretty unfair to the rest of the league.During the last five seasons, not only has the Chiefs special teams coordinator managed to make quite a few teams look pretty bad, turning one unheralded player after another into a kick-return touchdown threat http://www.chiefsauthorizedshops.com/au ... lce-jersey , but during the offseason, he was instrumental in drawing up the new kickoff rules — giving him a leg up on designing plays out of the new formation.In Week 1, Tyreek Hill returned a punt for a touchdown against the Chargers.In Week 2, Toub fooled the Steelers into thinking their intentional short punt had actually gone long, resulting in a 54-yard return by De’Anthony Thomas that led to a Chiefs touchdown.What is Uncle Dave cooklng up to show the Arrowhead crowd in the home opener?5. Which record will Patrick Mahomes break next?Photo by Justin Berl/Getty ImagesAs Good Morning Football host Peter Schrager pointed out on Thursday, until Mahomes came along, only one NFL quarterback — Jeff Hostetler — had won three consecutive road games to begin his career.Since Mahomes will be playing at home, he’s going to have to settle for a tie on that one.But if Mahomes throws four touchdown passes on Sunday — which certainly doesn’t seem unthinkable —he’ll have three straight games with four.All the way back to 1920, only ONE player has ever done that: Peyton Manning.Manning did it twice — once in 2004 for the Indianapolis Colts and once in 2013 with the Denver Broncos.But Manning, of course, was well into his career for the first streak — not starting his second through fourth games as a professional!And Manning is finished with his career.If he ties Manning on Sunday, Mahomes could still extend the streak to four the following week.Against the Denver Broncos.NFL true power rankings for Week 1: Chiefs land in middle of the pack Finally!The regular season is here!And as promised, here is the first weekly roundup and aggregation of NFL Power Rankings.If you already read our explanation of how we’ll handle power rankings this season, you already have a pretty good idea of how this will go.If you didn’t, please give it a look.Before we begin, a couple of things to note: We are adding SBNation’s NFL Power Rankings to the roundup of pundit power rankings we’ll aggregate every week.SBNation didn’t do power rankings last season, but this year Dustin Colquitt Jersey , SBNation writer Rebecca Toback will be doing one each week.We’re happy to include them.The preseason MMQB power rankings are not yet published.We expect them to be available tomorrow.This is unfortunate because the MMQB and ESPN power rankings are weighted more heavily in our calculations than those of individual writers.And even worse, we have reason to believe that MMQB’s poll might favor the Chiefs more than some of the others since we already know two MMQB writers are predicting the Chiefs will win the Super Bowl, and another thinks they’ll play in the game.But because everybody else has already published their power rankings — and we know you’re anxious to see how the pundits rate the Kansas City Chiefs going into Week 1 — we’re going to go without the MMQB for this week only.When the MMQB rankings are published, we’ll load them into our model, and you’ll see them in next week’s regular pundit roundup on Tuesday. And also, this week only, the rankings in parentheses are those from each ranking going into Week 17 last year.Pundit Power Rankings for Week 1Chiefs AFC West Teams Other AFC TeamsMany Chiefs fans are convinced that Patrick Mahomes will make the difference, and the team will contend for the Super Bowl this season.But as you can see here, this view isn’t largely shared by these NFL pundits, whose comments about the Chiefs were remarkably consistent.The Chiefs have an NFL true power ranking (pundits only) of 14th heading into the 2018 season.ESPN - Chiefs ranked No. 14NFL.com (Elliot Harrison) - Chiefs ranked No. 17SBNation (Rebecca Toback) - Chiefs ranked No. 16Sporting News (Vinnie Iyer) - Chiefs ranked No. 14Yahoo! Sports (Frank Schwab) - Chiefs ranked No. 12CBS Sports (Pete Prisco) - Chiefs ranked No. 17So despite the presence of Patrick Mahomes, these pundits expect the Chiefs to drop five spots (on average) from last year.But the Chiefs are hardly the team they expect to have the biggest dropoff.The Buffalo Bills — ranked 32nd in three of the rankings — averaged a 15-place drop compared to where they were in Week 17 last year.The Seattle Seahawks averaged a drop of nine spots.On the other hand, the pundits expect both the Houston Texans and Green Bay Packers to do much better; the Texans average ranking increases by 16, and the Packers by 14.The New York Giants show an average rise of eight spots compared to 2017’s final week.From this beginning, it’s going to be fun to watch how things change after the first week’s games are played.And remember... on Wednesdays starting after Week 2 games, we’ll also add in rankings from the number crunchers and see how that changes things as the season progresses.
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