#1 The Kansas City Chiefs could have taken this von zhangzk 09.09.2019 05:06

KANSAS CITY http://www.jaguarsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-jawaan-taylor-jersey , Mo. (AP) — assured of not only their third consecutive AFC West title but also the No. 1 seed in the playoffs before the Oakland Raiders came to town.Instead, they’ll have everything on the line Sunday.The Chiefs blew a fourth-quarter lead against the Chargers a couple weeks ago, and last week they lost a shootout in Seattle. They are now 0-2 with a chance to clinch the division, and they risk falling all the way to the No. 5 seed in the playoffs if they can’t defeat one of their longtime rivals.Article continues below ...“Last time I checked we are in a pretty good position here,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “I know it can become a woe-is-me thing and this is how it happens, it can be a negative. I feel like throughout the team, though, the guys understand where they’re at and what they need to do to fix it.“The objective is to win games,” Reid said. “We have one game left here in the regular season.”Now, the Chiefs long ago locked up a spot in the postseason, so that won’t be an issue when they kick off against Oakland at the same time the Chargers are playing the Broncos. But what happens over the ensuing hours could potentially have massive playoff ramifications.If the Chiefs (11-4) win, they get a path through Arrowhead Stadium. If they lose and the Chargers win, Los Angeles vaults to the top of the AFC West and the No. 1 seed.If both teams lose, the Patriots or Texans would have a chance to snare the top spot, and Kansas City could conceivably go from having a bye to a wild-card matchup next weekend.“It’s a very small margin between winning and losing,” Reid said.“Very, very small. The pace can change quickly. So it’s important the attitude is right, and Kansas City has had a lot of ups and downs. Are players and coaches willing to make a change? We have an opportunity to do that.”The Raiders (4-11) would like nothing more than to play spoiler. They’ve lost seven of their last eight against the Chiefs Josh Oliver Jersey , including a 40-33 shootout in Oakland earlier this season.But despite a season’s worth of turmoil with no end in sight — who knows where they will play next season? — the Raiders have quietly performed better. They beat the Steelers and Broncos in recent weeks and coach Jon Gruden believes his vast rebuilding job is making progress.“We’re trying to get some momentum for our offseason,” Gruden said. “This is our first year here. I know the expectations were high for some, but we’re laying the foundation for how we want to play.“All we can do is keep developing our team,” he said, “and fight like hell for 60 minutes.”As the Raiders and Chiefs prepare to meet, here are some key story lines:HEALTH CHECKThe Chiefs remain without wide receiver Sammy Watkins because of a sore foot, but they hope to get cornerback Kendall Fuller back from a broken hand. Their defense was shredded by the Seahawks when he decided at game time that he would be unable to go. “That’s a day-to-day thing,” Reid said, “but I think he feels a lot better.”HEALTH CHECK, PART 2Raiders left guard Kelechi Osemele returned last week against Denver and instantly upgraded the entire offense. He did not allow a pressure in 31 passing snaps and helped pave the way for Doug Martin to run for a season-best 107 yards. “It’s always good to be able to do that,” said Osemele, who’d been out with a knee injury. “It’s a great feeling, man.”CARLSON’S KICKSOne of the few bright spots for Oakland this season has been rookie kicker Daniel Carlson, who is perfect on extra points and 15 of 16 on field goals since signing in October. The fifth-round pick was cut by Minnesota after missing all three field goals in Week 2, but he could break Sebastian Janikowski’s franchise record for field-goal accuracy in a season set in 2012. “To me that’s something you enjoy later in life,” he said. “You enjoy it in the offseason a little.”STEPPING UPOakland’s rookie tackles Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker have taken plenty of heat as the offensive line has failed to protect Derek Carr much of the season. “I know Pro Football Focus has some statistics that aren’t always positive,” Gruden said, “but they played very good, and not just pass protecting but run blocking and handling the audibles. We have seen a lot of progress there.”SLOW STARTSOne common thread during the Chiefs’ late-season slide: slow starts by quarterback Patrick Mahomes http://www.jaguarsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-quincy-williams-ii-jersey , who nonetheless remains a top candidate for league MVP. He was 1 of 7 out of the gates against Seattle, though he bounced back to have another solid game.“It’s all about the next play. The next play you always have an opportunity to do better,” Mahomes said. “As long as you go out there and execute the next play, that’s the best thing you can do.” When the Jalen Ramsey vs. A.J. Green, and Aqib Talib vs. Michael Crabtree in-game tussles played out, Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive back Ronnie Lott thought back to advice he received decades ago, before his San Francisco 49ers faced the Dallas Cowboys. ”A buddy of mine, Dennis Thurman, who played for the Cowboys, called me up before we played them and said, `Do not get into a talking match with (receivers) Butch Johnson or Drew Pearson.’ So I didn’t. He was like, `Stay focused on the game,”’ Lott said. ”I’m sure that some coach or somebody said, `Don’t get caught up in that’ to the guys involved in things this season. ”Whatever the coaches said didn’t work.” Seems conflicts between cornerbacks and wideouts are simply unavoidable. It is a unique dynamic in NFL games week after week: On play after play, they match up 1-on-1, with plenty of grabbing and shoving and, yes, yapping mixed in. The tension escalates, especially if one is really outplaying the other. ”It can be like an Ali-Frazier moment Ryquell Armstead Jersey ,” said Lott, a cornerback and safety from 1981-94. ”My rookie year, I remember having confrontations. They could be around the biggest or the littlest thing.” Broncos cornerback Talib and Raiders receiver Crabtree served one-week suspensions after getting into a fight during a game – a reprise of their skirmish last season. Both times, Talib ripped a gold chain off Crabtree’s neck. In another much-discussed episode, Jacksonville’s Ramsey and Cincinnati’s Green were ejected after a clash that looked straight out of a wrestling ring. ”There’s a lot of passion and emotions out of those two positions. It happens a lot in training camp and things like that, same deal,” Minnesota Vikings receiver Adam Thielen said. ”Even when you’re going against your own teammates, it brings a lot of emotion out of you, especially when you’re a competitor and you don’t like to lose.” The two episodes this season brought to mind other high-profile dustups. Josh Norman vs. Odell Beckham Jr. Or Andre Johnson vs. Cortland Finnegan. These spats are at least in part a result of what Redskins cornerback Norman describes as a world of constant chatter, gamesmanship and one-upmanship. ”If you stop them, you come back and say something. Then they catch the ball, and they come back and say something. You play sound, fundamental defense and you get aggressive with guys. They don’t like it and they push back. You push back,” Norman said. ”And before you know it, there you go.” He was a Panthers cornerback in 2015 when he engaged in a violent back-and-forth with Giants receiver Beckham. Norman sees these CB vs. WR flare-ups through the prism of his job, which he says is made harder by the NFL’s anti-defense rules and officiating. ”They don’t want defenders to be successful. And (fans) don’t want a guy to stop their man that they put in fantasy football. When we do, we’re the `worst ever.’ We’re `trash.’ But if we let someone catch the ball, we’re `trash,’ too. It’s ridiculous http://www.jaguarsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-gardner-minshew-ii-jersey ,” Norman said. ”We can’t win as defensive backs. It’s not set up for us to. But when we do win, and there is that little success that we have for ourselves, then we need to show it. Like, `Look! Take that!'” Players on both sides of the ball say the physical and mental back-and-forth both contribute to bad feelings. ”There’s a lot that goes out there on the field that’s behind the scenes,” Raiders cornerback TJ Carrie said. ”You really don’t pay attention to it until there’s an altercation.” Whether it’s a cornerback constantly jamming a receiver off the line, or a run-blocking wideout doing the shoving, those plays add up. That’s aside from when a receiver isn’t getting his catches, or even his targets. Or a DB keeps giving up gains. It all can lead to frustration – and lashing out. ”It’s been going on for centuries,” Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. He knows some defenders will ”try to add unnecessary brutality to the game,” he said, and there’s no way to avoid that. But when it comes to trash talk, Fitzgerald said: ”I’m not about that. If you call out my name, I’m not even going to acknowledge you. I just walk away.” Certainly, these conflicts happen at other positions. Still, as Redskins cornerback-turned-safety DeAngelo Hall noted, it’s harder to notice individual matchups along the line of scrimmage. ”We are kind of out there by ourselves, so when we’re talking or battling, you can really see two guys face to face – as opposed to five vs. five, having the whole O-line and whole D-line there. I don’t know if there’s more confrontation there than a defensive end and a left tackle Christian Wilkins Jersey , for example, but it’s definitely more noticeable when receivers and DBs get to chirpin’, because we’re isolated,” Hall said. ”At the end of the day, it’s me vs. you on that island.” Hall, whose 43 career interceptions lead active players, remembers when he was with the Falcons and faced the division-rival Panthers and now-retired receiver Steve Smith. ”Me and Steve had to be separated a couple of times,” Hall said. ”It was always almost to blows. Then, after or before the game, it was all cordial. Just that competitiveness of me and him wanting to beat each other down sparked those intense exchanges.” As for some of his other past foes? ”Me and (Terrell Owens) didn’t do a lot of talking. We just tried to rip each other’s heads off. Me and Chad Johnson did a lot of talking, but it was all jokingly,” Hall said and paused, before adding with a chuckle: ”And, of course, we tried to rip each other’s heads off.” — AP Pro Football Writers Dave Campbell and Josh Dubow and Sports Writers Joe Kay and Bob Baum contributed to this report. —

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