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Fact or Fiction: Keys & predictions for MNF


The crew is presented with four statements and must decide whether they are Fact or Fiction.

Travis Kelce is the most dangerous skill player on the Chiefs.

John Schmeelk: Fiction - If you want to use the word "dangerous", the conversation begins and ends with Tyreek Hill. Kelce might be the better overall player, but Hill's speed and ability to score from anywhere on the field is game-changing. You might not find a more dangerous player in the entire NFL. Big plays win football games and stress defenses. Few are better at making them than Tyreek Hill.

Dan Salomone: Fact – Logan Ryan said, "In order to beat the Chiefs, you've got to take care of Travis Kelce or make him have a frustrating day, which you've got to hit him at the line of scrimmage. It's going to take all three levels to really affect Travis Kelce." There you have it.

Lance Medow: Fiction - Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill deserve heavy consideration but, no matter how much you analyze the Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes is by far the most dangerous skill player on the Kansas City roster. He has the ball in his hands on every play, can extend plays with ease, has the ability to throw across his body and off the run, and can consistently produce game-changing plays. Mahomes is what makes that offense click.

Matt Citak: Fiction – Travis Kelce is incredibly talented and undoubtedly the best tight end in all of football. He's been one of the most consistent players in the NFL over the last 5+ years, and yet he isn't the most dangerous skill player on the Chiefs. That honor belongs to Tyreek Hill. The 5-foot-10 receiver has true breakaway speed that we don't see often, and is the perfect complement to Patrick Mahomes' strong arm. Hill caught 15 touchdown passes last season, and through seven games has already accounted for 52 receptions and 641 yards, both of which are top five in the NFL.

Turnovers are the key to victory for both the Chiefs and Giants.

John Schmeelk: Fact - The Chiefs are 3-4 because they have turned the ball over. You can also argue their defensive struggles have played a part, but the team's turnovers put that unit in a hole with poor field position too. The Giants need to continue the Chiefs' trend of turnovers (17 to lead the league) if they want to win a game on the road against a team that made the Super Bowl last year. Taking the ball away from Mahomes is only part of this equation. The Giants offense must also protect the ball against the Chiefs defense that blitzes a lot and shows different looks to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks to make mistakes. The Chiefs are tied for dead-last in in turnover ratio at -10, while the Giants are right in the middle of the league with a net zero ratio.

Dan Salomone: Fact – If there's one weakness to exploit on the Chiefs, it's turnovers. Patrick Mahomes already has more losses (four), interceptions (nine) and total giveaways (11) in seven games in 2021 than he did in either of the last two seasons.

Lance Medow: Fiction - I think turnovers are a key to victory for the Giants but that also depends on what they do with them. Case in point, New York has nine takeaways on the season but has scored just 11 points off those opportunistic plays. Although the Chiefs lead the NFL in turnovers (17) and are tied with the Jaguars for the worst differential (-10) in the NFL, the bigger question is can the Giants capitalize if Kansas City makes mistakes. Collecting takeaways is just half the battle. While the Chiefs have been plagued by turnovers and only have seven takeaways on the season, I don't think they're as dependent on those types of plays against the Giants given their ability to score in the blink of an eye.

Matt Citak: Fiction – This one is more of a half fact, half fiction. Turnovers are certainly a big key to victory for the Giants on Monday, as the offense will need to be clicking on all cylinders to keep up with Mahomes and the Chiefs offense. But the Chiefs have turned the ball over a league-high 17 times, five more than any other team, and have still managed to win three games this season. Despite some struggles, their offense is still one of the very best in the NFL, and more than capable of overcoming a turnover or two. Kansas City's key to victory will be getting the defense off the field on third downs, as they enter this game ranked 30th in that department.

The most impressive part of Patrick Mahomes' game is his ability to extend plays.

John Schmeelk: Fiction - This is part of my answer but not the whole enchilada. What makes Mahomes so impressive to me is the versatility of his arm. His ability to be accurate with velocity from a variety of arm angles and even throwing across his body sets him apart from most quarterbacks. You have to constantly be covering the entire field, and cornerbacks can't relax for a moment. His ability to throw no-look passes is another part of this equation. If defensive backs lose their assignments, the defense will pay with seven points.

Dan Salomone: Fact – The back end can only cover for so long, which is why quarterbacks who can extend plays give nightmares to defensive coordinators like Patrick Graham. Mahomes' ability to do that and throw from any platform make him a generational talent.

Lance Medow: Fact - As I stated in my response to statement one, Patrick Mahomes has many attractive facets to his game but atop the list is his ability to keep plays alive because of his mobility and elusiveness. Just when you think a play may be over, Mahomes can escape trouble and all of a sudden do damage down the field. You have to be well disciplined when going up against Mahomes or else he'll catch you off guard and make you pay for being out of position.

Matt Citak: Fact – Mahomes is on pace to be one of the best quarterbacks of this generation, and it's his ability to extend plays that really supports this notion. The 26-year-old is the poster child for the scramble drill. He evades defenders in the backfield, runs 30 yards behind the line of scrimmage and accurately finds Hill or one of his other talented wide receivers breaking free 50 yards down the field. There really is no other quarterback that is able to extend plays quite like Mahomes, and it's this ability that has helped the Chiefs find so much success converting on third down. Even with their so-called offensive struggles, Kansas City is converting on a league-best 57.0 percent of their third down attempts.

Azeez Ojulari will win Defensive Rookie of the Year.

John Schmeelk: Fiction - A strong argument can be made for "fact" here given he already has 5.5 sacks to lead all rookies. I think when all is said and done, however, that his play could be over-shadowed by overall team performance. Voters might be more apt to vote for someone like Micah Parsons, who is a bigger name and plays on a more high profile team with a better record, even if Ojulari is more deserving.

Dan Salomone: Fact – Either way, he's a steal in the second round. He leads all NFL rookies in sacks and has already tied the franchise rookie record since sacks became an official category in 1982. He has 10 games to go and potentially take his season to another level.

Lance Medow: Fiction - Azeez Ojulari has certainly been impressive with 5.5 sacks in the first seven games of the season but let's not overlook the fact that he has plenty of competition. Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons has been very active within the Dallas defense. He's third on the team in tackles (31), tied for second in tackles for loss (3) and second in sacks (2.5). You also can't overlook the early impact of Bills defensive end Greg Rousseau. He has a team-high three sacks, is second in tackles for loss with four and has an interception off his own deflection of a Patrick Mahomes pass. Another player worth mentioning is Ravens linebacker Odafe Oweh, who leads the team with three sacks to go along with three tackles for loss, a team-high two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery.

Matt Citak: Fiction – This was a tough one, as Ojulari's 5.5 sacks currently lead the rookie class. If he is able to even keep up this pace and finish in the 10-12 sack range, then I do believe he will take home the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award. Even if he doesn't, the young linebacker should still be in the discussion for the honor come the end of the season. But at the end of the day, Dallas' Micah Parsons is the frontrunner for DROY and for good reason. Parsons has been a force as a pass rusher, as his 90.2 pass rush grade is the highest among linebackers with more than 10 pass rush attempts and one of the best all-around marks in the league. It would take a big decline in play for Parsons to not finish the year with the award.

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