Last Updated: 2017-12-28
The Kansas City Chiefs (9-6) don’t have much to play for in Week 17. They clinched the AFC West title last weekend and can’t move their position in any direction. As a result, head coach Andy Reid is deciding to get the career of rookie quarterback Pat Mahomes started now.
Mahomes has not thrown a single pass in the NFL. However, there were rumblings of getting the rookie into the lineup to replace veteran Alex Smith during a mid-season swoon. Well, the Chiefs got out of the dumps and regained some of their offensive rhythm in the last two weeks. Now, Mahomes will get his chance to impress his coaching staff in a live game.
The Chiefs are visiting the Denver Broncos in the season-finale, so the conditions won’t be perfect for Mahomes. In addition to keeping Smith healthy, seeing how Mahomes handles adversity in a road game, this could be exactly what Reid wants to see out of the rookie.
The line started with the Broncos as 1.5 point favorites. It’s been fluctuating for the past few days, but the line is now at 3.5 points in favor of the Broncos. The point spread might continue to rise as the game gets closer to Sunday. Clearly, the Chiefs are more concerned with keeping their starters healthy for the home playoff game. However, something more interesting could be at play.
Is there a scenario where Mahomes becomes a key player in the postseason? What if he goes out and throws for 300 yards and four touchdowns in a road victory? The Chiefs may be more willing to pull Smith in a playoff game if the offense is struggling. This is not saying that Mahomes would become a starter. This is more like giving the opponent a change of pace in the playoffs. Remember, Travis Kelce has already taken snaps this season. We may be seeing the formulation of specialty plays brewing in the minds of the coaching staff.
However, don’t expect the Chiefs to pull a Buffalo Bills type of stunt. Back in 1999, Rob Johnson started his first game of the year in the season-finale. He played so well, the entire organization decided to start Johnson in the wild card playoff game. It was a complete disaster when he completed 10-of-22 passes for 131 yards. The Chiefs should do everything in their power to avoid that type of dilemma.
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