The race for the AFC hottens up.

The race for the AFC West takes centre stage tonight as the Los Angeles Chargers (10-3) visit Arrowhead Stadium to take on the Kansas City Chiefs (11-2). It marks the 118th meeting between the two teams (including the postseason) with Kansas City leading the all-time series 61-55-1. On Kickoff Weekend, Chiefs wide receiver-punt returner TYREEK HILL had seven catches for 169 yards with two touchdowns and added a 91-yard punt-return touchdown and quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES threw four touchdown passes in the Chiefs’ 38-28 victory at the Chargers.

Last week, Chargers quarterback PHILIP RIVERS threw a touchdown pass, running back AUSTIN EKELER rushed for a score and kicker MICHAEL BADGLEY converted all four of his field-goal attempts in the team’s 26-21 victory over Cincinnati. Rivers ranks second in the AFC with a 114.5 passer rating this season (minimum 300 attempts), trailing only Mahomes (115.2). Los Angeles rookie safety DERWIN JAMES, who was selected by the Chargers with the 17th overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, is the only player with at least 85 tackles (88), three sacks (3.5) and three interceptions (three) this season.

In Week 14, Mahomes completed 35 of 53 attempts (66.0 percent) for 377 yards with two touchdowns, including a game-tying five-yard pass to running back DAMIEN WILLIAMS with 53 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, and kicker HARRISON BUTKER converted a go-ahead 35-yard field goal in overtime in the Chiefs’ 27-24 victory over Baltimore. Mahomes leads the NFL with 4,300 pass yards and 43 touchdown passes and joined Pro Football Hall of Famers DAN MARINO (1984) and KURT WARNER (1999) as the only first-or-second year quarterbacks with 4,000+ passing yards and 40+ touchdown passes in a single season. Chiefs defensive lineman CHRIS JONES has recorded at least one sack in nine consecutive games, the longest single-season streak since the individual sack became an official statistic in 1982.

Thursday Night Football play-by-play announcer Joe Buck and analyst Troy Aikman, along with reporters Erin Andrews and Kristina Pink call the action from Arrowhead Stadium. Additionally, FOX’s NFL Rules expert Mike Pereira joins to give explanations on officiating and rules throughout the game.

At 11pm on NFL Network, NFL GameDay Kickoff previews the Chargers-Chiefs matchup with host Colleen Wolfe and analysts Michael Irvin, LaDainian Tomlinson and Joe Thomas live from outside Arrowhead Stadium.

At half past midnight on FOX, NFL Network and Amazon Prime Video, FOX NFL Thursday with Michael Strahan, Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and Jay Glazer airs live from New York City, providing the final say leading up to Chargers-Chiefs.

At halftime on FOX, NFL Network and Amazon Prime Video, Strahan, Bradshaw and Long break down the first half. Immediately following the game, Bradshaw and Long recap Chargers-Chiefs.

Exclusively on NFL Network, Wolfe, Irvin, Tomlinson and Thomas host the postgame show from the field at Arrowhead Stadium and are joined by a star of the game live on-set.

Additional postgame coverage continues at 5am with Scott Hanson, Lindsay Rhodes, James Jones and Reggie Bush on NFL Total Access.

Through Amazon Prime Video and Twitch, Amazon will provide viewers in over 200 countries and territories a unique Thursday Night Football viewing experience complete with interactive features that bring fans closer to the game.

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Hall of Fame quarterback explains why Tom Brady’s decline is likely coming soon

If Tom Brady has proven one thing over the past few years, it’s that he knows how to fend off Father Time. At an age when most NFL players are long retired, Brady only seems to be getting better.

Despite the fact that Brady has been playing at a high level this year, at least one former NFL quarterback says he can already see a decline in Brady, and it’s someone who would know exactly what to look for: Warren Moon.

Not only is Moon a Pro Football Hall of Famer, but he played in the NFL until age 44. As a matter of fact, Moon is one of just three players in NFL history to throw for more than 3,500 yards and 20 touchdown passes in a season after turning 40. The short list includes Moon, Brady and Brett Favre.

With Brady now 41, Moon says an eventual decline is unavoidable.

“Age is something none of us can avoid. Things are going to start to slow down,” Moon told Bleacher Report in a recent interview. “How fast? We really don’t know. You can start to see some decline in Tom.”

As someone who went through an age-related decline, Moon believes the first ability that Brady will lose are his reflexes.

“The numbers are starting to show that there’s a deterioration coming,” Moon said. “Especially when you talk about the blitzing because that’s something he used to really excel at. You do start to lose some of your reflexes and responses. I started to figure that out later on in my career, too. Even though your mind knows where you should be going, sometimes your body just doesn’t react as fast. You’re starting to see some of that with him.”

Of course, the good news for Patriots fans is that Moon doesn’t think Brady is suddenly going to hit rock-bottom. Due to Brady’s intense offseason training, Moon thinks the decline will be gradual for the Patriots quarterback, who will turn 42 before the start of the 2019 season.

“I don’t think you fall off a cliff, but it is gradual, and once that gradual [decline] starts, there’s no turning back from it,” Moon said. “It’s not like you’re going to recapture what you had before.”

Even if the decline doesn’t happen quickly, Moon doesn’t see any situation where Brady is going to actually improve his game if he decides to keep playing over the next two or three seasons.

“I don’t think he’ll be able to go back and have another offseason where he can get back to the form he was two years ago,” Moon said. “It’s going to continue to keep sliding, and you just have to continue adjusting your game, and hopefully your offense and your offensive coaches will adjust and not have to rely on you as much to carry the football team as you have in the past.”

Brady might not be having the best season of his career, but he’s still been impressive in 2018. The Patriots quarterback is on pace for 4,554 passing yards and 28.3 touchdown passes, which is just slightly behind the numbers he put during his MVP season in 2017 (4,577 passing yards, 32 touchdowns).

Giants select QB Dwayne Haskins in Todd McShay’s first 2019 mock draft

The 2018 regular season is still three weeks removed from its end, but already experts from across the football world are beginning to gear up for the 2019 NFL Draft.

One such expert is ESPN’s Todd McShay, who released his very first 2019 NFL mock draft on Wednesday. And in said mock, the New York Giants select Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins at No. 10 overall.

10. New York Giants

Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State**

The more I watch this kid, the more I think he’s a legitimate first-round talent. The Eli Manning era is nearing an end in New York, and Haskins addresses Big Blue’s most glaring need. You have to feel pretty good about an offense featuring Haskins, Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley. Now the Giants just need him to declare for the draft.

Haskins, of course, has not yet declared for the 2019 NFL Draft and has given no indication that that’s going to change. However, earlier this week, he did acknowledge that he’d love to play for the Giants, who were his favorite team as a child.

“It would be pretty nice,” Haskins told the New York Post. “I played ‘Madden’ a lot, and was really good running the football. The whole offense was nice. Plaxico , Jeremy Shockey, Eli , Ahmad Bradshaw. I was basically the stats guy from my family. I would know everybody’s height and weight, what college they went to.

“I’ve been a Giants fan for a long time.”

The New Jersey native would be an interesting potential option for the Giants, particularly if he’s available in the middle of the first round. They appear serious about finding Eli Manning’s eventual successor, and a player like Haskins would allow Manning to stick around to groom him for another year or two.

City of Oakland sues the Raiders, team’s 2019 home uncertain

The city of Oakland sued the Raiders and the NFL on Tuesday, in a move that had been expected. Where the club will play its home games in 2019 is now officially in doubt.

Here’s a tweet from Libby Schaaf, Oakland’s mayor, announcing the legal action.

Oakland is suing for lost revenue from the ‘illegal’ move and also seeking reimbursement for taxpayer funds already spent on the Coliseum site, according to ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez. Raiders owner Mark Davis has previously said his team won’t play in Oakland if sued by the city.

But in his most recent interview, he professed his desire to play there one more year before moving to Las Vegas in 2020. The Raiders have not yet agreed to a lease agreement for what was supposed to be their last year in Oakland.

The city isn’t trying to keep the Raiders from moving, and the club may have to do just that a bit earlier than planned. San Diego, Santa Clara even Reno, Nevada are options for the Raiders, per Gutierrez. The team may even move to Las Vegas a year early and play at UNLV’s Sam Boyd Stadium.

Oakland is still an option, however. Davis has obvious ties to the franchises’ original home and still may overlook the unwanted legal action that’s been thrust upon him.

Thursday Night Capsule – Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs

THURSDAY NIGHT PREVIEW:

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS AT KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

DECEMBER 13, 2018

The race for the AFC West takes center stage in Week 15 on Thursday, December 13 (8:20 PM ET, FOX/NFL Network/Amazon Prime) as the Los Angeles Chargers (10-3) visit Arrowhead Stadium to take on the Kansas City Chiefs (11-2). Thursday marks the 118th meeting between the two teams (including the postseason) with Kansas City leading the all-time series 61-55-1. On Kickoff Weekend, Chiefs wide receiver-punt returner TYREEK HILL had seven catches for 169 yards with two touchdowns and added a 91-yard punt-return touchdown and quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES threw four touchdown passes in the Chiefs’ 38-28 victory at the Chargers.

Last week, Chargers quarterback PHILIP RIVERS threw a touchdown pass, running back AUSTIN EKELER rushed for a score and kicker MICHAEL BADGLEY converted all four of his field-goal attempts in the team’s 26-21 victory over Cincinnati. Rivers ranks second in the AFC with a 114.5 passer rating this season (minimum 300 attempts), trailing only Mahomes (115.2).  Los Angeles rookie safety DERWIN JAMES, who was selected by the Chargers with the 17th overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, is the only player with at least 85 tackles (88), three sacks (3.5) and three interceptions (three) this season. 

In Week 14, Mahomes completed 35 of 53 attempts (66.0 percent) for 377 yards with two touchdowns, including a game-tying five-yard pass to running back DAMIEN WILLIAMS with 53 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, and kicker HARRISON BUTKER converted a go-ahead 35-yard field goal in overtime in the Chiefs’ 27-24 victory over Baltimore. Mahomes leads the NFL with 4,300 pass yards and 43 touchdown passes and joined Pro Football Hall of Famers DAN MARINO (1984) and KURT WARNER (1999) as the only first-or-second year quarterbacks with 4,000+ passing yards and 40+ touchdown passes in a single season. Chiefs defensive lineman CHRIS JONES has recorded at least one sack in nine consecutive games, the longest single-season streak since the individual sack became an official statistic in 1982.

Giants, Saquon Barkley set various all-time marks in victory over Redskins

Giants, Saquon Barkley set various all-time marks in victory over Redskins

This guy is an absolute beast.

The New York Giants completely dismantled the Washington Redskins on Sunday afternoon, dropping 40 points in less than three full quarters before scaling it all the way back and walking out with a 40-16 victory.

In a game that featured such a plethora of yards and points, it should come as no surprise that several all-time records and marks were set, both by the Giants as a franchise and some of their players individually.

There was a lot to note, so here’s a look at some of those statistics, numbers and records:

With the victory, the Giants improved to 100-68-4 against the Redskins all-time, becoming the first franchise in NFL history to record 100 or more wins over another franchise. The 34-0 lead at halftime was the third-largest regular season halftime lead in Giants history. With 197 yards passing, Eli Manning increased his career total to 55,142, becoming only the seventh quarterback in NFL history to eclipse the 55,000-yard mark. Rookie quarterback Kyle Lauletta made his NFL debut when he entered the game in the fourth quarter. Saquon Barkley’s 170 rushing yards was the second-highest total for a rookie in Giants history. Barkley increased his own franchise rookie record for rushing yards (1,124). By going over 1,000 yards on the season, Barkley becomes the Giants’ first 1,000-yard rusher since Ahmad Bradshaw in 2012. Barkley’s 78-yard touchdown run was the second-longest by a rookie in Giants history. It was also the fifth-longest touchdown run in Giants history. With his touchdown, Barkley now has 13 total on the season, which sets the Giants’ all-time rookie record. Barkley’s nine touchdown runs are second-most by a rookie in franchise history (Bill Paschal, 10). Barkley’s five touchdowns of 50 yards or more are an all-time franchise record for rookies. Additionally, he also has four touchdowns runs of 50 yards or more, which is more than the team has had total in the last 10 seasons. With his four receptions, Barkley increased his season total to 78, which second-most for a rookie in franchise history. Curtis Riley’s pick-6 was the first touchdown of his career. He dedicated the score to the Father of Giants superfan, License Plate Guy, who unfortunately passed away last week.

Could a Surprise Team Work Its Way into the NFL Playoffs?

A few weeks ago, we spent some time tinkering with various playoff simulators to craft three different postseason realities based on what might happen over the remaining weeks of the NFL season. Looking back on that now, some of the strange turns have unfolded: The Steelers lost in Oakland Sunday while Miami stayed alive with a last-second lateral victory over the Patriots at home.

But there wasn’t a seismic shift to the landscape. Right now, the fields (sans seeding, in no particular order) look like this:

AFC: Kansas City, New England, Houston, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles (Chargers), Baltimore
NFC: New Orleans, Los Angeles (Rams), Chicago, Dallas, Seattle, Minnesota

Over at FiveThirtyEight, there are nine teams who have either made the playoffs or have a 90% chance or better of making the playoffs. The fun part starts with Minnesota in the NFC, and slides down the remainder of the AFC for that elusive final wildcard spot. To illustrate how interesting this thing can still be, here’s a few notes to consider:

• It won’t take much for three teams (Titans, Colts, Dolphins) to upend Baltimore for the sixth spot. Here’s the remaining schedule of all four teams:

Tennessee: @Giants, Redskins, Colts
Baltimore: Buccaneers, @Chargers, Browns
Indianapolis: Cowboys, Giants, @Titans
Miami: @Vikings, Jaguars, @Bills

All of these schedules are riddled with pitfalls (Giants on the road, Buccaneers, Bills on the road at the end of the season).

• The Chiefs, who looked wounded against Baltimore on Sunday, and take on the Chargers in Week 15 in a game that could dictate a roadmap for L.A. to host a home playoff game at their notoriously ill-attended microstadium. After Kansas City, the Chargers have Denver and Baltimore to close the season out.

• The Steelers lost to the Raiders on Sunday and despite enjoying the status that comes with a division lead, they are 7-5-1 heading into a game against the Patriots at home. After that? The Saints on the road, possibly with some high-level NFC seeding to be determined. Pittsburgh could be 7-7-1 heading into their finale against Cincinnati.

That brings us back to Baltimore, who, may not even need the sixth seed at all if this Steelers free fall continues.

While the early-season offensive explosion gave us a few obvious contenders for the Super Bowl, there are still a handful of good coaches, quarterbacks and defensive talent left fighting in the trenches. Could the surprise team of 2018 work their way into the mix?