Pat Mahomes dad was a former Major League pitcher. And Mahomes was a pretty good hurler until he decided to focus on football. Something tells Brock Holt of the Red Sox would not have hit a homer off him to close out his cycle in Game 3 of the ALDS. Chiefs rule once again in Tiebreaker.com’s AFC power rankings.
Kansas City Chiefs
We hate to keep harping on this, but every time Mahomes steps on the field great things happen. He already has 16 touchdowns this season (14 passing), third-most in history after five games, behind Peyton Manning (21 in 2013) and Daunte Culpepper (19 in 2004). Plus, Jacksonville hadn’t allowed 300 yards passing in 15 games, until Mahomes did it on Sunday. New England, here he comes.
Maybe this will be the year Marvin Lewis wins a playoff game. Everything seems to be lining up offensively behind Andy Dalton and his defense scored a pair of TDs last week to help erase a 17-0 third-quarter deficit to the Miami Dolphins. We will ride the Bengals until there is a reason to get off.
Even if you believed Kansas City would beat Jacksonville last week, you probably didn’t think it would be anything like 30-14. We will not over-penalize the Jags for this one transgression. Blake Bortles simply made too many mistakes (four interceptions, one fumble) and that was that. Maybe signing veteran RB Jamaal Charles will help a little until Leonard Fournette (hamstring) is better.
New England Patriots
We would like to be the first media titan to declare the Patriots champions of the AFC East. Of course, this is like predicting potatoes will grow in Idaho. Still, we can’t wait to see what Bill Belichick has in store for the 5-0 Chiefs on Sunday Night. We have no doubt Tom Brady will pierce the Chiefs defense. But what will Belichick do to stop Mahomes?
When the Ravens get into trouble, they turn to QB Joe Flacco, who is currently on pace to throw for 4,960 yards. They do this because their running attack has been substandard. Alex Collins has rushed for only 217 yards this season. But Flacco couldn’t solve the defensive dilemma presented them by the Cleveland Browns during last week’s 12-9 loss. Baltimore hasn’t scored a TD in 123 minutes.
We’re still shaking after Tennessee’s loss to the Buffalo Bills, although not as much as we were when the Bills beat the Minnesota Vikings. Afterall, the Titans had beaten Jacksonville and Philadelphia and were beginning to look like an AFC North champ. The world knows Marcus Mariota is hurt. But he has thrown four interceptions, only two TDs and had just 129 yards against the Bills.
The Steelers scored 41 against the Atlanta Falcons leaving mavens of the over-under to wonder if it was because the Falcons don’t play defense. Perhaps. But RB James Connor already has more than 300 yards receiving and 200 yards rushing and only Todd Gurley, Melvin Gordon and Shaquon Barkley can say that. They don’t need Le’Veon Bell. And they can do without Antonio Brown chucking furniture off balconies. They need Big Ben to keep ticking.
Los Angeles Chargers
Keep in mind the Bolts have only lost to the Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams, who are a combined 10-0. That should not a disqualifier when it comes to power ranking. There was just something about how they looked coming out of the gate at Oakland. And it had nothing to do with those ultra-cool John Hadl/Keith Lincoln powder blue throwbacks. It was 3-3 until Philip Rivers got loose. We need to see more.
J.J. Watt has six sacks. It’s good to see Jadeveon Clowney has finally decided to help the poor guy out. We’ve only been waiting since 2014. DeAndre Hopkins would catch 150 balls if he played with Drew Brees or Mahomes, although Deshaun Watson got it to him nine times against the Dallas Cowboys. There is a lot to like about the Texans, especially after they beat the Cowboys, which always makes us at Tiebbreaker.com smile.
Who had a better week? Baker Mayfield or the Cleveland Indians starting rotation? While you think that over, understand the Browns have finally arrived. Their win over the Ravens is proof positive. But its not only the offense we love. Cleveland’s young defense is stellar. They are second in the league in interceptions and corner Denzel Ward, from THE Ohio State, is playing great.
It’s hard to decide what it is about the Broncos that bothers us so much. Could it be Case Keenum, who looks a lot like Brock Osweiler, Trevor Siemian and – dare way say – Tim Tebow? Or is it the defensive front that turned New York Jets halfback Isaiah Crowell (219 yards) into Jim Brown. The Broncos have lost three straight. DeMarcus Ware on “Dancing With The Stars” is having a better year.
Looking for something positive about the Dolphins led us to their website. There we discovered Jakeem Grant has joined Dante Hall of the Chiefs as the only players in history to score TDs on a punt return of at least 70 yards, a kickoff return of at least 100 and a reception of at least 50 yards in the same season. The kid could have played for Shula, no doubt. So don’t say we never have anything good to say about The Fish other then they’re not fried yet.
New York Jets
Some might say the Jets deserve to be ranked higher than the Broncos because they beat them badly. You might conclude they deserve more respect because they have Sam Darnold and not Keenum. A solid talking point might be Crowell’s sudden resemblance to a Pro Bowl back. Solid reasoning. Not buying into the hype.
You know, there may be a very good reason Josh McDaniels’ feet grew cold when he finally realized he would be the coach of the Colts. No doubt, the cash the Patriots gave him to say had a lot to do with his decision. But maybe it was because he knew how restricted the Colts’ offense would be with just Andrew Luck’s injured wing to carry them forward. Can a team that throws 70 percent of the time win? No. But it can be 1-4.
We would love to move the Bills higher after their fine win over the Titans. But it simply does not make sense. Josh Allen is far too raw. His passer rating the last two weeks are 36.3 and 42.0 percent. He hasn’t completed more than 16 passes in any of his three starts. The Bills are not winning because of him. And until that changes, they will remain here.
We liked Jon Gruden on television. We don’t know how we feel about this coaching stuff. It should be interesting to see how the Silver and Black play in London on Sunday when they take on the Seahawks. Then comes their bye week. It’s hard to imagine what things will be like if Oakland drops to 1-5.