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Can Chiefs keep foot on the gas?

The Kansas City Chiefs tend to play to the level of their opponent. That was never more evident than last weekend at Houston, when the Chiefs were forced to work overtime to defeat the one-win Texans 30-24 to clinch their seventh consecutive AFC West title.

So, what is there to expect from the Chiefs (11-3) when they host a .500 team in the Seattle Seahawks (7-7) on Saturday? “I mentioned it to the team — you can’t in today’s (NFL) … you can’t go by the record,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “Everything is so close, the parity … it has never been where there have been so many close games as there are now that have been determined by one score.” The Seahawks can relate, having lost four of their past five games — each of those decided by eight points or less — to go from leading the NFC West to the outer edge of the playoff picture.

The Chiefs remain tied with Buffalo for the AFC’s best record and have won seven of their past eight games — the only loss being a 27-24 setback at reigning AFC champion Cincinnati — but it hasn’t been easy. “It’s not our identity. It’s not what we want,” Chiefs running back Jerick McKinnon said of the close games. “But along the course of the season, things happen. It’s not pretty. It’s not the nicest. But we find a way to win, and that’s all that matters.” However, one constant has been the play of Patrick Mahomes, who again is putting together a potential MVP season.

Mahomes has thrown for a league-leading 4,496 yards and is on pace to surpass Peyton Manning’s NFL record of 5,477 yards set in 2013. Mahomes also has a league-leading 35 touchdown passes. His 105.0 passer rating is third in the league behind Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa (107.8) and Seattle’s Geno Smith (105.3).

“I always want to have that aggressiveness in me,” Mahomes said of throwing downfield. “That’s what got me here and who I am. But you have to find that spot where you’re still aggressive but take what you can underneath.” Against the Texans, Mahomes was 36 of 41 for 336 yards and two touchdowns. He completed his final 20 attempts, meaning he’s five shy of the league record entering Saturday’s game.

“He’s always striving to be better, no matter what type of game he has. He comes in Monday, right to the next script,” McKinnon said of Mahomes. “The thing about him, no matter what the score is, no matter how many points we are down, how many points we’re up, he wants to have his foot on the gas the whole time.” The Seahawks have had a couple of extra days to prepare after a 21-13 loss to visiting San Francisco last Thursday.

But they’ll be without one of Smith’s top targets, as Tyler Lockett suffered a broken bone in his left hand that required surgery Monday. “You don’t replace him,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Lockett, who leads the team with 964 yards receiving and eight TD catches.

Seahawks leading rusher Kenneth Walker III and fellow running back DeeJay Dallas missed practice time this week with ankle injuries, as did tight end Noah Fant (knee), safety Ryan Neal (knee), nose tackle Al Woods (Achilles) and linebacker Darrell Taylor (illness). Chiefs defensive linemen Chris Jones, Mike Danna and Khalen Saunders missed practice with illnesses, as did tight end Jody Fortson (elbow).

–Field Level Media


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