NFL Week 12 Power Rankings: Chiefs have that Super Bowl look again; Lions surging, Vikings fall
Pete Prisco says Kansas City is not without flaws, but is the best team in the league right now
Many said this was the year the Kansas City Chiefs would look different, no longer that explosive offense that we've come to expect with Andy Reid running it and Patrick Mahomes slinging it.
Tyreek Hill, the fastest man in the NFL, was traded to the Miami Dolphins in the offseason, which surely would change the dynamic of the offense. They would lean more on the run, right? They would rely more on the short passing game, right? Mahomes would be less of a gunslinger, right?
Wrong, wrong and wrong again.
The Chiefs are the same team they've been the past few seasons. Mahomes is on pace to throw 48 touchdown passes, which would be second-best of his career to his high of 50 in 2018. He is also on pace to throw for 5,551yards, which would be his best. He also has a passer rating of 107.3.
Mahomes has 47 pass plays of 20 yards or more after having 58 all of last season. He has nine plays of 40-plus yards or more after having 11 all of last year. So much for the idea that Mahomes would be different without Hill.
The Chiefs are the same Chiefs and Mahomes is the leader in the MVP race. He took the Chiefs on a game-winning touchdown drive in the final minutes to beat the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday night, showing off his playmaking skills, and basically sewing up the AFC West title.
As 8-2, the Chiefs sit atop my Power Rankings and have that Super Bowl look again. Reid is a great coach, Mahomes is a great quarterback and tight end Travis Kelce might be the best to ever play the position. He had three touchdown catches against the Chargers, including the game-winner in the final minute.
Since becoming the Chiefs full-time starter in 2018, Mahomes has shown how great he can be at throwing the football. But he's grown by a ton as a passer. Early in his career, he was the fun, gunslinging passer who would hit the big shots and sometimes could be frustrated by off-coverage because of a lack of patience.
Now he's grown into a patient passer who can still hit the big shots down the field. Mahomes is averaging 8.2 yards per attempt, which is significantly better thanks to the 7.4 he averaged last year with Hill.
The Chiefs still have flaws on defense, such as a young secondary and a pass defense that is down near the bottom of the league, but Mahomes can cure those ills with his arm. That's why he's the leader in the MVP race. That's why the Chiefs are the best team in the NFL right now. And that's why the notion that Mahomes would be different this season is so misguided as we head to December and the real playoff push.