It’s that time again. The NFL playoffs are heating up as the Kansas City Chiefs, seek their third title. And 13 other teams compete to hoist the Lombardi trophy.
The stakes are high for both the players and the teams. Perhaps even more so for the players as remarkable performances are bound to get noticed. And with Super Bowl LVI upon us, the eyes of football fans around the nation are also on them.
As chance may have it, a player could have gotten off to a wrong start during the regular season and is now anxious to improve his circumstance. Perhaps a minor injury or some other small setback. Whatever the case be, the post-season can bestow an opportunity at redemption and more.
A glance at the Chiefs roster will highlight several players who fall into this category. Fortunately, the new playoff format which has the Chiefs playing only four post-season games will come to their advantage.
In reality, the odds couldn’t be better for the following three Chiefs players to prove their mettle. Even though sports betting in Kansas is not legal yet, these are the players sports betting fans will have their eye on.
Frank Clark, makes the list of “players with a point to prove” almost every year. Kind of like Grandma’s pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. The defensive end had a flaky start to the season, suffering a series of hamstring injuries. However, a fortuitous stretch halfway in the season saw him slowly win his way back into the hearts of fans. Well, at least into some.
Although many fans considered this to be a make-or-break year for Clark, his performance left much to be desired. He sat out a handful of games and injuries left him ineffectual during the few he did play. That brief spell of success in the midseason wasn’t enough to warrant it as a rebound season.
Even with more games to play, Clark managed a career-low 4.5 sacks a tote.
Still, we shouldn’t write him off yet since it’s during the pressure of the playoffs that Clark tends to come into his own. But given the defensive end’s incredulous high salary cap of $25.8 million, his performance during these playoffs will be closely monitored. Unless he wants to find himself elsewhere next season, he better put on a superior show.
And even if the Chiefs do decide to let him go, it would be in Clark’s best interest to showcase all his skills. After all, there will surely be teams watching who might be interested in him should he become a free agent again.
Why did Tyrann Mathieu not get his contractual extension before the start of the season? This is the question many fans are asking themselves about the All-Pro safety, who’s in the last year of his deal.
As one of the finest secondary defenders of his era, and undeniable leaders of the Chiefs, his performances have proven pivotal to the team’s rise.
Some have pointed to Mathieu’s penchant for tweeting, particularly when the team is losing, as perhaps one of the reasons. But while the Chiefs are doing as well as they have been, no one seems to mind his online antics.
Frankly, this should be a nonissue. Brett Veach, the team’s General Manager, however, acknowledges that although they would like to get a deal done the money is tight. Managers don’t usually utter the words “strapped for cash”. Even though it could be true, it leads fans to believe there may be other hidden reasons.
The Chiefs would have saved money this year had they signed Mathieu early on. This makes the whole matter even more dubious.
Perhaps the real underlying issue here is whether the Chiefs are prepared to pay the money Mathieu is demanding. They both know this might be his last big contract given his age. And he’ll probably try to milk it for all it’s worth.
Despite a decline in his stats this past season, the playoffs can provide him with an excellent opportunity to do the hard yards. That’s if he wants to convince the Chiefs he is the best free agent they ever signed. And, more importantly, that they still need him. A stellar show would also increase the likelihood of his financial demands being met.
One of the recurring discussion points this year across online sports media platforms has been, who is the Chief’s best running back? The Chiefs coach, Andy Reid, seems to think Clyde Edwards-Helaire is certainly one of them – at least when he’s healthy and available.
So long as CEH is in good shape, he’ll always be the coach’s go-to guy. Some fans, however, would prefer to see the carries split up more evenly among the other running backs. Darell Williams, for instance, who has been a key piece to Kansas City’s recent resurgence ought to see more play.
It may be argued that Edwards-Helaire is the Chiefs best running back. That is a matter of personal opinion. Be that as it may, it is quite evident that he has done little to set himself apart from the rest of the pack. Many of his woes, however, can be attributed to the injuries that plagued him throughout the season.
This much however is clear – Edwards-Helaire’s accomplishments during the postseason will prove essential for the Chiefs if they want to run the ball successfully. But the first-round pick from LSU has yet to bring home the bacon by demonstrating his full potential.
A sharp contrast to his college days when he made a big splash playing in a national championship and putting on a great show against Alabama. Fans of the Chiefs have long longed for this type of explosive display from CEH.
With a career-long run of 31 yards and a whopping 17 yards in 2021, it’s not asking a lot of him to exert maximum effort now. Besides, the analytics website Pro Focus Football rates the Chiefs offensive line among the best in the league. What more do you need, Clyde?