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Is It Time for Fantasy Managers To Trust Hollins?

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The quickest way to fall behind in a fantasy football league is to become complacent and rely on the team you drafted, neglecting the all-important waiver wire. As managers make numerous waiver claims for Week 13 hoping to strengthen their roster, should Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Mack Hollins be a priority addition off the waiver wire vs. the Chargers?

Mack Hollins Has Another Solid Performance Against the Seahawks

Like many, the 2022 season has been a bit of a roller coaster for Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Mack Hollins. However, the 6’4″ fifth-year receiver has quietly put together a sneaky good résumé that fantasy football managers need to pay attention to while submitting waiver wire claims for Week 13.

Playing on 96% of the Raiders’ snaps on Sunday, Hollins has a 100% route participation and sat second behind only Davante Adams amongst wide receivers in targets with five. While low in volume, he made them count. Hollins hauled in four of those passes for 63 yards and scored his third touchdown of the season to finish with just over 16 PPR points as the WR20 on the week. It’s the second game in a row as a top-36 receiver and his fourth since their Week 6 bye.

MORE: Top Week 13 Waiver Wire Targets

Do you think Hollins can ride the momentum? Well, over on Underdog Fantasy, you can take the higher or lower on Hollins’ projections as part of their Pick’em contest and win up to 20x in the process. Sign up at Underdog Fantasy today for a 100% deposit bonus of up to $100.

But things get interesting when you look at the breakdown for Hollins when acting as the Raiders’ No. 2 option. In the five games without wide receiver Hunter Renfrow this year, Hollins has averaged 7.2 targets, 4.6 receptions, and 64.8 receiving yards. That’s double-digit fantasy points before we even factor in any touchdowns.

Sunday marked Hollins’ third game with 50+ yards in his last five weeks, and his 531 yards on the season now have him tied for 36th at the position. With likely one more week without Renfrow and Darren Waller in the lineup, is Hollins a clear-cut waiver wire target or a roster clogger?

Should Mack Hollins Be a Top Waiver Wire Priority for Fantasy Managers in Week 13?

Like the on-field performances, the waiver wire each week can be up and down. Some weeks there are tons of talent, and others, there’s only a little out there. But if you need a receiver, Week 13 could treat you well.

I would undoubtedly have Hollins on this list. There is enough of a pattern in his performances as the No. 2 to warrant a certain level of security as a flex option. Although it is not the easiest of matchups, the Los Angeles Chargers are 15th in DVOA, 25th in EPA/dropback, 19th in success rate per dropback, and 28th in points allowed on the season (27.51) but 20th over the last four games (24.55).

With that said, the Chargers are No. 3 in DVOA vs. No. 2 wide receivers thanks to Asante Samuel Jr. and Brian Callahan stepping up after losing prized free agent acquisition J.C. Jackson.

As a depth option, Hollins makes sense off the waiver wire and likely won’t get you into a bidding war, as he is rostered in just 12.5% of leagues and could go a bit under the radar. Having said that, he is not the top player I would look to target.

MORE: Early Week 13 Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendations

At RB, Kyren Williams, Gus Edwards, Isiah Pacheco, Zonovan Knight, and JaMycal Hasty need to be rostered. Additionally, Benny Snell Jr. and Darrell Henderson are in the mix, too. At receiver, there is even more with Treylon Burks, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Zay Jones, Michael Gallup, Elijah Moore, Nico Collins, and Isiah McKenzie available. Even George Pickens is rostered in only 64% of leagues.

While Hollins is an intriguing player in games where the Raiders are missing depth, he’s never going to be the No. 1 and will be, at best, the No. 3 behind Davante Adams and Waller. Players like Pickens, Burks, DPJ, Jones, and Gallup all present a higher ceiling and a better rest-of-season value due to more security in their individual roles.

Hollins does carry some value, though, which makes him worth a look in deeper leagues, but there are others I prefer over him in most formats. And as always, it’s all dependent on your league’s availability.



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Who Are the Highest-Paid Quarterbacks in the NFL in 2023?

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In the past few years, we’ve seen the list of highest-paid quarterbacks change in a big way. Heading into the 2023 season, let’s take a look at the current top 10 and who sits atop the list of the highest-paid QBs in the NFL.

The Highest-Paid Quarterbacks in the NFL

When it comes to looking at the highest-paid quarterbacks, there are a number of ways with which to determine how the list shapes up. You could look at the total value of the contract or the total guarantees, but both of those can be heavily influenced by the length of the deal. Therefore, in our list, we will rank the position based on the quoted average annual value (AAV) of the contract.

10) Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings | AAV: $35 million

While he comes in at 10th on this list, Kirk Cousins’ contracts with the Minnesota Vikings have been widely discussed in the past few years. When it comes to fully guaranteed contracts, Cousins has really led the way for the QB position. Since he’s been with the Vikings, virtually all of his money has been fully guaranteed at the point of signing.

The 2023 NFL season is set to be the final year of Cousin’s current contract in Minnesota, with the deal set to void next February. His last contract was a one-year extension signed before the 2022 season, taking Cousins’ deal through the 2023 season at a value of $35 million in new money. He’s set to count for $36.25 million against the Vikings’ salary cap, and if the contract voids, he will count $12.5 million against the cap in 2024.

T-8) Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams | AAV: $40 million

Last offseason saw the Los Angeles Rams ink Matthew Stafford to a four-year contract extension worth $160 million. Coming off winning the Super Bowl, Stafford received $63 million in full guarantees, including a $60 million signing bonus. If Stafford is on the roster on the third day of the 2023 league year, a further $57 million becomes guaranteed ($26 million option bonus and $31 million base salary in 2024).

MORE: 2023 NFL Salary Cap Space by Team

The Rams could technically move on from Stafford before that, but it would leave $49.5 million in dead money on the 2023 salary cap. If the Rams keep Stafford, he will have a salary cap number of $20 million in 2023, rising to $49.5 million in 2024.

T-8) Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys | AAV: $40 million

It doesn’t seem that long ago when Dak Prescott signed a four-year contract worth $160 million, but 2023 will be the third year of the deal. The deal contained $126 million in total guarantees, which included a $66 million signing bonus. Prescott will count for $49.13 million against the cap in 2023, which is a huge jump from the $19.73 million cap number last season.

7) Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders | AAV: $40.5 million

The contract signed by Derek Carr in 2022 snuck in just above Prescott and Stafford at $40.5 million per year. However, while the AAV made Carr the seventh-highest-paid quarterback in the NFL, the sticker price is somewhat misleading.

Another $40.4 million becomes fully guaranteed if Carr is on the roster on Feb. 15, but if Las Vegas moves on before then, it would leave just $5.625 million in dead money, and Carr would not be owed any further money. This contract is a prime example of why the headline numbers on an NFL contract can often be extremely misleading.

6) Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills | AAV: $43 million

The fact that Josh Allen’s contract is only sixth on this list, with an AAV of $43 million, is indicative of how the QB landscape has changed in the past few years. When the deal was signed in 2021, Allen was second on the list but slipped down considerably last offseason.

Allen’s contract is worth $258.034 million, with $100.039 million fully guaranteed at signing and a total of $150 million in total guarantees. As it stands on Jan. 27, Allen will count for $39.772 million against the Bills’ salary cap in 2023. It’s also worth noting that Allen’s contract contains $30 million in incentives, but those are not included when considering the AAV of the overall deal.

5) Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs | AAV: $45 million

The different ways of valuing contracts are highlighted by Patrick Mahomes’ 10-year contract extension. If we ranked these deals by total value, Mahomes would be by far the highest-paid QB in the league, with a total value in excess of $450 million when you include the $1.25 million incentives for either being MVP or winning the AFC Championship Game.

The length of the deal and the structure is different from anything we’ve previously seen in the NFL. Mahomes’ contract contains rolling guarantees that make it somewhat complicated for the Chiefs to move on from him. Given how this contract moved the market in 2020, it seems incredible he’s just fifth on our list of highest-paid QBs.

4) Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans | AAV: $46 million

Deshaun Watson’s contract is another that completely changed the market. Not only did Watson’s AAV of $46 million put him fourth on this list, but all $230 million of his contract was fully guaranteed at signing. That almost doubles the next highest fully guaranteed money ($124 million) at the position.

Watson’s contract has an intriguing symmetry over the next four years, with his cap numbers currently set to be $54.993 million per year. Of course, that will likely change as the Cleveland Browns consider restructuring his contract to create cap space.

3) Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals | AAV: $46.1 million

We saw Kyler Murray sign a five-year contract extension worth $46.1 million during the 2022 NFL offseason. Initially, that deal moved him into the top two on this list before Russell Wilson pushed him down a spot. Murray’s contract contains $103.3 million fully guaranteed upon signing and a total of $189.5 million in total guarantees.

The Cardinals will not see Murray’s salary cap number jump until 2024. In 2023, he is due to count for $16.007 million against the cap. A $36 million option bonus in 2023 and rolling guarantees make it hard to see how the Cardinals can move on from Murray until 2026 unless they can find a willing trade partner.

2) Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos | AAV: $49 million

After being traded to the Denver Broncos, Wilson signed a five-year contract extension worth $49 million a year. That shot him up to second on this list, from just inside the top 10 highest-paid NFL QBs previously. The contract contains $124 million fully guaranteed and $161 million in total guarantees.

MORE: Worst NFL Contracts 2023 — Russell Wilson, Kenny Golladay, and Matthew Stafford Have Awful Contracts

The good news for the Broncos is that Wilson will count just $22 million against their salary cap in 2023. However, with that cap hit jumping to $35.4 million in 2024 and then over $50 million from 2025 onwards, Denver will be hoping for a marked improvement in Wilson’s performances than we saw in 2022.

1) Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers | AAV: $50.3 million

Aaron Rodgers’ contract feels like one we talk about every single year. After much debate regarding his future in Green Bay last offseason, he agreed to a three-year extension worth a massive $150.815 million. That made Rodgers the first player to top the $50 million per year AAV mark.

What we know right now is that Rodgers is the highest-paid QB in the league based on AAV and that he is likely to play in 2023. Beyond that, things are uncertain.

The Packers have little wiggle room, with Rodgers still owed close to $60 million in guaranteed money in 2023. They could trade him, and if they can do it before they exercise his option bonus in 2023, the price to do so is not all that extortionate ($40.314 million in dead money).



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Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game

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We have the definitive guide to the numbers behind the AFC Championship Game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs. We explore nearly every analytical angle to the game and dive deep into the unique features of each offense and how they relate to the opposing defense.

With the Super Bowl on the line, the AFC Championship Game has produced two of the most exciting offenses in the NFL in the Bengals and Chiefs, both of whom have big-play weapons they use with discretion. How these quarterbacks and defenses handle the multi-capable nature of their opponents will define the matchup.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs Behind the Numbers

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs Team-Level Statistics

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These various team-level statistics take the net result of each performance — offensive expected points per play is subtracted from defensive expected points per play, and so on. Given how efficient these offenses are and how effective the defenses have been over the season, we end up with two of the best teams in the NFL.

The first three statistics are per play, and two are indexed off of expected points. Expected points looks at the average points scored from a particular down, distance, and field position, and subtracts the difference between two plays to determine how many expected points were added between those plays.

It does a great job predicting NFL outcomes and can help us explain which teams have helped themselves the most with particular types of plays — like how some interceptions hurt more than others because they occurred deep downfield on third-and-long, instead of in the flat on 1st-and-10.

Success rate evaluates what percentage of plays gained expected points. Any play that added to the total counts as a success, while plays that reduce expected points are not. This is a good proxy for consistency, because it tells us whether or not a team can, from play to play, accomplish their goals instead of relying on fluke plays like a busted coverage or tipped interception.

MORE: NFL Power Rankings Championship Round

EPA per play takes the average expected points gained over the course of a game and divides it by the number of plays.

Explosion rate looks at how often a team creates an explosive play, which is defined as 16 or more yards through the air or 12 or more yards on the ground.

In per-play statistics, the Chiefs are far and away the best team in the NFL. Not only do they demonstrate consistent play-to-play performance better than any other team in the NFL, they find a way to create big plays more often than every other team, too. Their ability to keep the team on track while still finding big plays is mesmerizing, all while preventing other teams from doing the same thing.

That said, that doesn’t mean their drive-level performances are up to the same level. It’s still a series of high-level results, but they don’t generate and stop first downs at the same rate as other teams — and that might be more important.

Drive-level statistics in many ways are more useful than play-level statistics. It is not the goal of any offense to score on every single play, but it is the goal of offenses to finish their drives with a score. Not only that, drives represent true opportunities.

Four touchdowns in a five-drive performance is exceedingly efficient. Those 28 points are much more meaningful and likely to win the game than four touchdowns in a 15-drive performance, where the opponent had 15 opportunities to match or beat that number.

“Drive Success Rate” refers to the ability of an offense to generate first downs (or for a defense to stop them). It takes the number of first downs (and touchdowns) generated on a drive and divides it by the number of down series an offense had.

A team that generated two first downs and then kicks a field goal would have a success rate of 66.7 percent, while a team that generates one first down and then scores a touchdown would have a success rate of 100 percent.

In that sense, the Chiefs’ incredible lead in play-level performance may not mean much. The Bengals do a much better job moving the chains and preventing chains from being moved. They don’t finish drives at the same rate as the chiefs, but the ability to manage first-down production projects better than any other drive-level statistic. And it tells us a lot about the overall value a team brings to the table.

The next four are per-game statistics, and three of them are adjusted for strength of competition. Those changes help the Bengals a little bit in that they close the gap between the two. Here, the Bengals pull ahead of the Chiefs in Pro Football Reference’s “SRS” statistic, which stands for Simple Rating System (an opponent-adjusted point differential).

It takes point differential and compares it to the average expected point differential based on a team’s schedule. And then for each team, it does that again using the new average value. And again, and so on, until the changes from run to run are small.

The Game Script measure here is also opponent-adjusted. Game Script takes a look at the score for every second of every game, taking the average point differential across all time played. That produces a more granular measure that accounts for garbage time. It rewards teams for dominating early and throughout the game and captures back-and-forth games that end up looking less like the close games they were.

This does account for the fact that the Chiefs will sometimes come out to a lead and sit on it a bit, or they let opponents back into games that they don’t need to. But the differences all wash out. The DVOA measure, which also favors the Chiefs in this matchup, is interesting but mostly notable in that there is a surprisingly large difference between the fourth-place Chiefs and fifth-place Bengals.

When the Chiefs Have the Ball

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The Chiefs’ offense is inevitable. They are consistent. They make first downs. They score points. They create big plays.

It’s hard to ignore how effective this team is on offense, and the gap between them and the second-best offensive team by most metrics can be fairly large. Even when adjusting for opponent, they come out ahead of the group. After all, they put 44 points on the best defense in the NFL earlier in the season.

Finding offenses that can both create big plays and be consistent from play to play is difficult, even with an elite quarterback. But the combination of skill talent, offensive line ability, Patrick Mahomes’ incredible level of play, and Andy Reid’s play-calling has created the perfect storm of offensive football.

What’s interesting about the Bengals’ defense is that they’ve been good at preventing offenses from getting first downs and scoring a lot of points, but they still tend to end their drives in scores. Unsurprisingly, that bears out in tertiary numbers — the Bengals force the sixth-highest rate of opponent drives into field goal kicks and allow the fifth-fewest touchdowns per opponent drive.

They don’t force many punts, and a decent chunk of their defensive success also comes from the ability to generate turnovers, where they’re among the top in the NFL. The Bengals also have a pretty good red-zone defense, but they’ll be up against the second-most-efficient red-zone offense in the NFL.

The Chiefs’ Passing Offense vs. the Bengals’ Passing Defense

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Naturally, the driver of the Chiefs’ offensive success is their passing game. They lead the league in yards per dropback, a combination of the fact that they complete intermediate passes at an extremely high rate and avoid sacks. Two other teams have a higher yards per passing attempt — the Dolphins and Eagles — but fall behind in yards per dropback because neither Tua Tagovailoa nor Jalen Hurts do as excellent a job as Mahomes in avoiding sacks.

Ball movement is defined both by stacking up successes and by avoiding big negatives. More often than not, a bad play for the Chiefs’ passing game is an incompletion. For other teams, it’s a sack, penalty, or interception.

That’s one reason why the Chiefs have one of the highest success rates in the NFL — Mahomes’ field sense doesn’t just extend to his ability to out-leverage defenders in coverage but feel when pressure is arriving and get rid of the ball.

Knowing that, the Chiefs often invite pressure. They rank 14th in the league in allowed pressure rate, and that’s been close to their performance in that category every year since Mahomes took over. What a better offensive line has allowed the Chiefs to do is not prevent pressure but rather allow Mahomes to wait longer until pressure arrives. That gives him more time not just to survey the field but allow routes to develop.

It’s no coincidence that this year is his longest time to throw in the NFL. And despite not having a Tyreek Hill-type deep threat, he’s been able to pick and choose open receivers. Instead of replacing Hill with a deep threat, they’ve replaced Hill with a better offensive line that creates more opportunities in the middle of the field.

His depth of target is the lowest it’s ever been, but his efficiency in EPA per dropback is the second-highest it’s ever been.

For the Bengals, this creates an issue. They aren’t bad at creating pressure, but they generally do not create it quickly enough to move Mahomes off his spot or hurry his throw. They have the seventh-lowest time to pressure in the league and primarily rely on their secondary to give their defensive linemen time to impact the quarterback. ESPN’s Pass Rush Win Rate metric bears this out.

In the first 2.5 seconds of a play, the Bengals’ pass rushers beat their opponents at a 37 percent clip, ranked 21st in the NFL. And they don’t finish — they rank 29th in sack rate and are up against one of the best sack-avoidance quarterbacks in the NFL.

By contrast, the Chiefs’ offense ranks first in the NFL in pass block win rate. Mahomes chooses to invite pressure because of the opportunities it creates. That’s why the Chiefs had the fewest tight-window throws in the NFL (as defined by NFL’s Next Gen Stats).

That doesn’t mean the Bengals are doomed to a death of a thousand cuts. They create a difficult throwing environment for opposing quarterbacks and rank sixth in the NFL in forced tight-window rate, meaning only five defenses do a better job making sure quarterbacks target players within a yard of the defender.

The Bengals are not particularly great at forcing interceptions, but neither are they bad at it. The Chiefs avoid them at a decent clip but can put the ball in danger. This might be one of the better opportunities the Bengals will see, especially if a ball clatters off of the hands of the cobbled-together receiving corps.

The Chiefs’ Running Offense vs. the Bengals’ Running Defense

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Neither of the teams comes out ahead in this matchup. The Chiefs are marginally better at running the ball than the Bengals are at stopping the run, but it doesn’t move the needle substantially for either team. Certainly, the Chiefs seem to have been much better off since Isaiah Pacheco took on a bigger role. Still, the changes in their approach and running game hasn’t meant much — the Chiefs are simply not that far behind when they choose to run the ball.

For what it’s worth, the Bengals are the fifth-best team in the NFL at avoiding missed tackles, taking down ballcarriers securely. The key for the Bengals will be their ability to get off blocks and actually make the tackle attempt.

They have allowed teams to get the better of them in that capacity and have primarily relied on Germaine Pratt and Logan Wilson to make plays from the second level. That’s why, outside of D.J. Reader, they do a poor job of stopping the run at the line of scrimmage. In fact, ESPN’s Run Stop Win Rate statistic ranks them 30th in this capacity. The Chiefs rank third-best in Run Block Win Rate.

In short, we can expect a pretty successful Chiefs running game but only one or two explosive plays.

When the Bengals Have the Ball

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While the Chiefs’ offense was great and up against a good Bengals defense, the Bengals’ offense is good and up against an average defense. The net mathematical result is a small edge in favor of the Chiefs, but we know that the Bengals have a strong record against Kansas City — which matchup you’d prefer to have says more about your feelings that day than it does on concrete, mathematical reality.

Ranking third in play success rate and sixth in EPA per play, but Cincy doesn’t have a high rate of explosive plays. For those familiar with the skill position players that the Bengals have, that’s a bit of a surprise. For those who have followed the team the whole year and are aware of changes in the offense, it’s a frustrating reality.

But it’s a credit to the Bengals and head coach Zac Taylor that they were able to craft an efficient offense that picks and chooses when it’s going to fire off an explosive play attempt. And often, they’re successful.

MORE: 3 Kansas City Chiefs Keys to Victory vs. the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game

That approach has allowed the Bengals to more efficiently march down the field and get in scoring range, which is why they score at such a high rate despite avoiding big plays.

The Chiefs aren’t built to stop any particular style of offense and have been average all year in a number of respects. However, they have improved lately with the return of Trent McDuffie from injury and the emergence of Jaylen Watson. These two rookie defensive backs have improved the back end for the Chiefs.

Since Week 10, when they were able to field their preferred secondary, they’ve improved in every one of these metrics, moving up to eighth in play success rate, 13th in EPA per play, third in explosion rate, 19th in drive success rate, 14th in points per drive, 10th in scoring rate, 10th in points per game, and third in DVOA.

Whether it’s fair to put those rookies up as matchup wins over Tee Higgins, Ja’Marr Chase, and Tyler Boyd is another discussion. But the fact remains that the Chiefs have moved from an average or below-average defense to one that’s solidly above average or even good in several key categories.

The Bengals’ Pass Offense vs. Chiefs’ Pass Defense

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The Bengals have a good passing game, but in the aggregate it hasn’t been great. Burrow’s phenomenal pocket management has allowed them to adapt to their worrisome offensive line, but it’s come at the cost of a consistently explosive passing game. With a low average depth of target and an intent to target short and intermediate throws, the Bengals have allowed their big-play, contested-catch receiving corps to turn into first-down machines.

It has led to a number of tight-window throws, but it’s been worth it given who they have catching those passes. At 51.9 percent, the Bengals have the third-highest catch rate on contested passes. That’s no surprise, but it’s a good confirmation of what the Chiefs are dealing with.

Because the Bengals have such a significant offensive line problem — they rank 30th in Pass Block Win Rate — they’ve relied on play design and Burrow’s pocket management to avoid pressure and sacks. That means few deep passes, but they do have one of the best deep passing attacks in the league when they find that opportunity.

The Bengals have the lowest rate of passes in the league over three seconds long, so their deep shots have to be within the timing of the play.

The problem is that when their offensive linemen get beat, they get beat quickly. The Bengals allow sacks at the second-fastest rate in the NFL.

This is particularly alarming given that this is a season-long measure; the Bengals will be without three of the offensive linemen they intended to start for this game. Right tackle La’el Collins, the best player on their line, is on injured reserve. Left tackle Jonah Williams and guard Alex Cappa are both likely to miss the game with their injuries and have not participated in practices.

MORE: How the Cincinnati Bengals Hold Clear Advantages Over Kansas City Chiefs

With Chris Jones — who leads the NFL in pressures among defensive tackles and is second in the NFL in pressure rate and first in pass rush win rate — that will be a big problem. Not only does Jones get pressure, he gets it quickly.

The Bengals almost can’t get rid of the ball any faster, and they still take sacks at a somewhat high rate. The fact that they may have to do that again is a big issue.

The Chiefs, for their part, are fine with a short passing game. They do a decent job deterring deep passes and have forced the sixth-shortest depth of target in the NFL. That’s a combination of their pressure rate and two-high looks.

The Chiefs run Cover 2 (zone with two safeties patrolling deep) at the third-highest rate in the NFL behind the Cowboys and Jaguars. They run Man 2 (man with two safeties patrolling deep) at the highest rate in the NFL. They also run Cover 4 (two safeties deep along with two cornerbacks deep) at a high rate as well.

In total, they run two safeties up top more than any other team in the league. This has done wonders for their ability to prevent explosive plays, though it has limited their blitz opportunities and ability to bear down in the run game.

This would mean that Burrow would have to throw against double-coverage deep downfield while pressure is bearing down on him — or throw short where there are fewer defenders.

The Bengals’ Run Offense vs. the Chiefs’ Run Defense

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The Bengals do just enough in the run game to move the chains and that’s about it. They don’t fumble the ball running the ball (one fumble on special teams, six fumbles from Joe Burrow in the pocket, and four fumbles from receivers — but none on any runners), they get first downs, and they move the chains.

They do not get explosive plays, they do not generate value down after down, and they do not prevent teams from getting into their backfield from time to time.

It’s a shame, because Joe Mixon has been playing well. But the offensive line can’t give him the room he needs to succeed. He has the speed, patience, and tackle-breaking ability to create explosive runs, but not much more than that.

They will be running into a Chiefs defense that wants teams to play exactly that way — get short yards in chunks but don’t get explosives. That’s better than a pass, at least according to Steve Spagnuolo. The Bengals’ problems with tackles for loss and limited explosiveness have resulted in a deceptively low yards per carry. Nonetheless, the success rate is at least there to keep things moving.

The Chiefs can invite that and will likely stay in two-deep coverages in order to induce more runs. While they won’t do a great job generating tackles for loss, the point of players like Nick Bolton is not that they generate tackles behind the line of scrimmage — although he’s more than talented enough to do that — it’s to prevent runs from becoming a problem. As the Chiefs direct their defensive linemen to move upfield to create pressure rather than hold gaps in the run game and clean things up for Bolton and Willie Gay, their job is closer to damage control than creating chaos.

Ultimately, these are two good-to-great offenses geared toward passing the ball and just getting by running it. Because of the differences in offensive line quality and the preternatural talent of Mahomes, the Chiefs are better at generating explosives in the air and overall have a bit of an advantage in the passing game and manage well enough everywhere else.

Then again, the Bengals have an excellent record against the Chiefs despite Kansas City entering a number of fourth quarters against Cincinnati with a lead. With quarterbacks like Burrow and Mahomes, anything is possible.



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All Workouts Leading Up To NFL Draft

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The pre-draft process is heating up ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft. As the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine nears, most universities will also host their own pro days to highlight their draft-eligible student-athletes. Here is the list of dates that teams around the league have received.

2023 NFL Pro Day Schedule

Below is the full listing of the 2023 NFL Pro Days across the country leading up to the NFL Draft. As in past years, some of these dates may change depending on the school.

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