The Los Angeles Rams have lost four consecutive games and things won’t get any easier this week against the Kansas City Chiefs. Not only will LA be without Matthew Stafford but they’ll be starting a quarterback making his first NFL start. You got this Bryce!
Perkins will need to be on his A game Sunday if the Rams have any hope in beating a Super Bowl contender on the road. For some reason, I don’t expect this matchup to end with another 54-51 final.
With LA trying to play spoiler this weekend, I spoke with Tom Childs from SB Nation’s Chiefs blog Arrowhead Pride to gain more insight into L.A.’s opposition this weekend.
Q - Going into the season, outsiders believed the Chiefs would struggle without Tyreek Hill. I wasn’t buying it and sure enough by Thanksgiving, Kansas City figures to wrap up the AFC West soon with the conference’s top seed firmly in their sights. How have the Chiefs replaced Hill’s production and what makes this offense so impossible to contain?
A - There was a moment of realization against the Chargers in which I decided that it doesn’t matter who the Chiefs roll out at receiver, they will always be productive. Jody Fortson (a tight end) ran a sweep motion which turned into a wheel route up the field. Coverage on Forston was perfect, yet Mahomes managed to make a near-impossible throw.
Now first up I need to give props to Mahomes for making a ridiculous throw. But secondly, we need to recognize Andy Reid’s brilliance. Who else would put their third-string tight end in this position?
With Reid’s playcalling madness and Mahomes’ pure brilliance, the Chiefs’ offense will always be elite.
Oh, and that guy called Travis helps too.
Q - The last part of that first question could be answered in two words: Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes leads the NFL with 28 touchdown passes and if this elite production continues, he’s a lock for his second career MVP. Obviously the guy is a once-in-a-generation talent but could you detail what all makes Mahomes so great and what could the Rams’ defense do to slow him down (assuming it’s possible)?
A - I know every sportsman or woman is competitive — they wouldn’t be where they are if they weren’t — but Patrick Mahomes is a whole different level of competitive. He has that special something that no one can really put their finger on but everyone knows it exists. Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Usain Bolt all had it and I imagine they still have it — I wouldn’t want to play them at Monopoly on Christmas Day. Patrick Mahomes is the same way. Eric Bieniemy famously called Mahomes a ‘competitive prick’. It’s hard to argue with that description.
Q - Rookie running back Isiah Pacheco went over the century mark for the first time in his young career in Sunday night’s win over the Chargers. The Chiefs seem to be featuring him more in the offense with Clyde Edwards-Helaire probably out for the near future. What kind of dynamic does he bring to the offense and how do you envision his role with the playoffs quickly approaching?
A - What I particularly like about the seventh-round running back is that he runs every play like it is the last play of his career. Whether it’s first and ten or third and one, the intensity of which that he runs never changes. With Clyde’s role slowly diminishing as the season has gone on, Pacheco has seized almost every opportunity given. Although the sample size is relatively small, it looks like the Chiefs have a player that could be lining up behind Patrick Mahomes for a very long time.
Q - The Chiefs’ defense sealed Sunday’s game with a clutch pick but their unit has been scrutinized at times all season. What is the main weakness on the defense and how could LA exploit it?
A - Dare I say it but I think the Chiefs actually have a capable defense — something rarely afforded Patrick Mahomes so far. Like Patrick Mahomes, Chris Jones is having the best year of his career to date and is probably a sneaky outside for defensive player of the year. The young guys that the Chiefs have added over the last couple of seasons look to be getting better with every game. Then you have the quiet contributors: Derrick Nnadi, Mike Danna and Khalen Saunders. None of them will get any national attention, but the contributions made by these part-time players have been the reason why the Chiefs defense has been so effective.
Despite the upturn in the Chiefs’ play, they can still be caught out by a big play or two. Rookie cornerbacks, Joshua Williams and Jaylen Watson have performed admirably, but like all rookie corners not named Sauce Gardener, they can be got from time to time.
Q - DraftKings Sportsbook has the Chiefs listed as 15.5-point favorites with an O/U of 41.5. I’m fully expecting the Rams to get the snot kicked out of them but what is your prediction for Sunday’s matchup?
A - Yeah, I don’t think we are getting another 54-51 somehow. It’s such a shame that the Rams’ season has fallen the way it has because it certainly had game-of-the-year potential just a few months back. I apologize to Rams fans but I just can’t see Los Angeles leaving Arrowhead with a win. With the two teams in contrasting form added to the injury woes of the Rams, I believe the Chiefs will run out comfortable winners, 41-19.