Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes answers questions during a news conference at the end of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. Kansas City won the game 28-10. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) yells before a play during the first half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, left, celebrates with head coach John Harbaugh after an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Baltimore. Baltimore won 23-17. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, left, rushes past Arizona Cardinals strong safety Budda Baker in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Patrick Mahomes and the high-flying Kansas City Chiefs have been the talk of the NFL for months, their innovation and points-a-plenty style making them one of the league's most entertaining offenses.
They might not even be the best one on the field Sunday.
That's because for all the gaudy numbers the Chiefs hung on Jacksonville and Oakland in roaring to a 2-0 start, Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens have been even more prolific.
They lead the league in total offense and points; Kansas City is merely third and fourth. They also lead in time of possession and rushing, they're fourth in passing and third-down percentage rate, and like the Chiefs they have yet to turn over the ball this season.
So what is making it all click for Jackson and the Ravens?
''He's does a lot of things well,'' Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. ''Everyone kind of goes to his run game but he can throw the football. He's doing it with accuracy and he can do it all different levels, whether that's rolling out or in the pocket.
''He has talent around him for sure,'' Reid added, ''but the way it's slowed down for him, his reads are great and all those little things end up being big things.''
Just ask Mahomes, who mastered so many of those little things while rolling to league MVP in his first season as the Chiefs' starter. And all he's done for an encore is throw for 821 yards and seven TDs without an interception through the first two weeks of his season.
In other words, Mahomes vs Jackson should be a compelling game-within-a-game on Sunday.
Just like it was last year.
The Chiefs rallied downfield in the final minute of regulation, Mahomes converting a fourth down with an audacious throw to Tyreek Hill before finding Damien Williams for the tying touchdown. Harrison Butker added the winning field goal in overtime in a crucial December matchup.
''Of course we'll watch last year's game,'' Ravens coach John Harbaugh said, ''but teams change so much, and they watch the game, too. So it's always a new game. ... You try to predict something and all of a sudden it gets blown up in your face. That, to me, is the beauty of this league.''
As two of the AFC's top teams prepare to meet at Arrowhead Stadium, here are things to know:
The Chiefs, already missing Hill to a broken collarbone, are without left tackle Eric Fisher after he underwent core muscle surgery earlier this week. They also could play without Williams (knee) and fellow running back LeSean McCoy (ankle), who have been hobbled by injuries.
Yet nobody on the Kansas City sideline sounds too concerned.
''We have depth everywhere,'' Mahomes said. ''We have guys that can come in and do the job.''
Ravens tight end Mark Andrews leads the team with 16 catches, has a pair of 100-yard games, has scored twice and has a knack for making a big play on third down.
''He knows how to get open,'' Harbaugh said. ''Mark has really showed up the last two weeks.''
There are times when Andrews will even alter the pattern to get open. If there was a lamppost and a car on the field, Andrews would find the seam between them - ''I tell Mark all the time, `We're going to play street ball,' and that's what the case is,'' Jackson said.
Punter Dustin Colquitt is accustomed to the old-man jokes as the 37-year-old elder-statesman in the locker room, and he's heard plenty of jokes about never having to work given the way Kansas City has piled up points the past couple seasons.
In fact, Colquitt didn't get to punt at all during a Week 1 win over the Jaguars, though the two-time Pro Bowl selection held for plenty of field goals and extra points.
You might think that would make for an easy life, but Colquitt said it's the total opposite.
''Any time you're not working so much, every kick, snap, hold is more under the microscope,'' he explained. ''It's fun watching that offense, but you can't get too caught up in it.''
After starting his NFL career with Baltimore, outside linebacker Pernell McPhee played 60 games over four seasons with the Ravens before spending three years in Chicago and another with the Redskins.
Now he's back where he started after signing as a free agent in May.
''It feels great. I'm back home in Baltimore,'' said McPhee, who won a Super Bowl ring with the Ravens in 2012, and who has five tackles the first two games this season. ''This is the team that raised me. I'm trying to get back to the playoffs and win it all, that's it.''
One week after Reid matched wits with good buddy Jon Gruden in Oakland, he must do the same with Harbaugh, who learned the craft while coaching under him in Philadelphia. The two have remained close friends during their years apart, and Reid was giddy when Harbaugh won a Super Bowl title.
''He's a phenomenal coach,'' Reid said. ''I love playing against him because I know they're well-coached and they have good players. We do this for the challenge, that experience on Sundays. I always look forward to playing those guys.''
Chicago Bears wide receiver Taylor Gabriel caught only one pass for two yards in the Bears 36-25 loss to the Saints. The score is misleading as the Bears trailed by 26 points late in the game. Gabriel returned to the lineup after missing the Raiders game but was non-existent the entire game. After catching three first-half touchdowns against the Redskins in Week 5, Gabriel's chemistry with quarterback Mitch Trubisky was nowhere to be found. The entire Bears offense will be a shaky fantasy play heading into Week 8.
Chicago Bears tight end Trey Burton caught two passes for 11 yards in the Bears 36-25 loss to the Saints at home. Burton has been a shell of the player that was a top-12 fantasy tight end in 2018 and was targeted only four times in the game. It seems that all of the Bears offensive creativity from last season has completely evaporated. With that has gone Burton's production and the tight end has fallen off the fantasy map. Burton has no fantasy viable heading into Week 8.
Minnesota Vikings kicker Dan Bailey missed a 45-yard field goal but went a perfect 6-for-6 on extra-point attempts in Week 7's win over the Detroit Lions. This was Bailey's second missed field goal this season, but he's still hitting 80% of his attempts and nailed his lone 50-yard attempt back in Week 3. Bailey is an attractive option in Week 8 against the Washington Redskins as the Vikings are currently projected to put up 27 points.
The Chicago Bears Defense fell apart in the team's disappointing 36-25 loss to the Saints in Week 7. The vaunted unit was once again gashed on the ground, allowing 151 rushing yards. The Bears special teams was able to post a touchdown on a kickoff return but the defense registered only one sack and zero turnovers. The Bears defense is a highly talented unit but the offense can't sustain drives. The time of possession was so out of whack that the Bears defense ran out of gas in the second half. The Bears will try and bounce back next week.
Indianapolis Colts TE Eric Ebron had four grabs for 70 yards and a touchdown in Week 7 against the Houston Texans. His touchdown in the back of the end zone was initially ruled incomplete, but instant review confirmed his score.
Fantasy Spin: Ebron has alternated games with a touchdown in each of his six games. If you believe the pattern will continue, he'll get blanked next week against the Denver Broncos. He remains a solid TE1 in most fantasy leagues of 12 or more teams, although he has been quite inconsistent.
Indianapolis Colts CB Pierre Desir had seven total tackles with two passes defensed in Week 7 against the Houston Texans.
Indianapolis Colts LB Darius Leonard registered 10 more tackles with a pass defensed in Week 7 against the Houston Texans.
Indianapolis Colts LB Justin Houston had three total stops with two sacks, two tackles for loss and four quarterback hits in Week 7 against the Houston Texans.
Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery totaled only six rushing yards in the Bears 36-25 drubbing by the Saints in Week 7. Montgomery added two receptions for 13 yards but saw only two carries in the game. The Bears offense was a mess from the jump and the team totaled only seven rushing attempts in the entire game. Montgomery has talent but has struggled to get anything going behind a slumping offensive line. The rookie needs to be downgraded in fantasy heading into Week 8 until the Bears offense can prove it can produce.
San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould provided all the scoring in a 9-0 shutout against the Washington Redskins in Week 7. Gould converted three of four field goal tries, all inside the 30-yard line. Kicking with a new crew in 2019, Gould hasnt been as automatic as past years and is now 12-for-19 on the season (63 percent). Gould is still a solid fantasy kicking option.
Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen caught nine passes for only 19 yards in the Bears 36-25 letdown loss against the Saints. Cohen also carried the ball three times for 10 yards in a game that featured a stagnant Bears offense. For three quarters, the Bears couldn't move the ball and Cohen's receptions led to nowhere. The nine catches salvages Cohen's fantasy day in PPR leagues but all of the Bears offensive weapons need to be downgraded heading into Week 8's action.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Olabisi Johnson caught 4-of-8 targets for 40 yards and a touchdown in Week 7 against the Detroit Lions. Johnson was able to take advantage of some increased volume due to an early exit from Adam Thielen (hamstring). The rookie scored his first career touchdown on a one-yard play-action pass in the first quarter and worked in as the Vikings' clear second option in the passing attack with Thielen sidelined. Johnson is worth a look as a bye-week streamer with an opportunity to produce against the burnable Washington Redskins in Week 8, depending on the playing status of Thielen.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller caught five passes for 64 yards in the Bears 36-25 loss to the Saints in Week 7. Miller saw nine targets in the game but rarely generated any kind of production until the final two garbage-time drives. The second-year receiver also lost a costly fumble in the first half in a game that was dominated by the Saints. Miller now has back-to-back games of 50-plus receiving yards but the Bears offense is a mess right now. Miller lacks fantasy appeal heading into Week 8.
Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton registered six catches for 74 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets in Week 7 against the Houston Texans.
Fantasy Spin: Hilton was outshined by Zach Pascal, who had six grabs, 106 yards and two scores, but the two co-existed in this one and did nice things for their fantasy owners. It's a tougher matchup in Week 8 against the Denver Broncos, but Hilton remains a must-start in most fantasy formats.
Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky completed 34 of 54 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns in the Bears 36-25 loss to the Saints in Week 7. Practically all of the third-year quarterback's stats came in the final moments after the Bears had fallen behind 36-10. The Bears offense was abysmal for three quarters and Trubisky showed plenty of rust. He was able to salvage his outing from a fantasy perspective but will not be a viable option until he can show sustained accuracy and efficiency.
San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida handled eight totes for 44 yards and added a one-yard grab in Week 7 against the Washington Redskins. Discouragingly, Breida was thoroughly out-touched 22-9 by backfield mate Tevin Coleman, who raced for 62 yards of his own. It was an all-around team effort for the Niners in sloppy conditions and they remain undefeated. Breidas become a clear second fiddle to Coleman since the latters return from injury and should be modestly downgraded for fantasy purposes. In a run-heavy offensive scheme, Breida still has the volume to be a weekly RB3/flex option. The Carolina Panthers weak rush defense awaits in Week 8.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson tallied 10 receptions for 87 yards and one touchdown in the Bears 36-25 loss to the Saints in Week 7. Robinson's final fantasy line looks a lot better thanks to two late-game garbage drives for scores. The Bears offense is really struggling right now but the veteran receiver continues to be the only consistent source of production. Despite the Bears offensive woes, Robinson will remain a solid WR2 heading into Week 8.
Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison carried seven times for 18 yards (2.6 yards per carry) in Week 7's 42-30 win over the Detroit Lions. Mattison took a clear back seat in this one as Dalvin Cook carried 25 times for 142 yards and two touchdowns. Mattison was also not targeted in the passing game. The rookie back out of Boise State has been productive this season (5.3 yards per carry) but remains more of a high-priority handcuff than a player to consider starting in re-draft formats. However, he could be worth a look as a sneaky RB3 option with higher expected volume in Week 8 against the Washington Redskins' porous run defense.
San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman converted 20 carries into 62 yards, also recording two catches for negative one yard in Week 7 against the Washington Redskins. Coleman wasnt efficient, but continued dominating touches over backfield mate Matt Breida by a 22-9 margin. Colemans been used as a workhorse since returning from an ankle injury, giving him a solid floor in a run-heavy offense. Hell be a high-end RB2 in Week 8 against a porous Carolina Panthers run defense.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson returned a kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown in the Bears disappointing 36-25 loss to the Saints. Patterson flashed what makes him so valuable in the first quarter, taking a kick from the end zone all the way to the house. Patterson was used at times on the offensive side of the ball, racking up 23 yards on one carry and two receptions. Patterson is a threat and makes an above average fantasy defense better with his ability to produce on special teams.