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HomeNFLQBs headline juicy AFC title game, but running backs will decide winner

QBs headline juicy AFC title game, but running backs will decide winner

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Pacheco has made the most of his opportunity, which spawned from 2020 first-rounder Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s ineffectiveness and injury. The tough runner gave the Chiefs’ offense more balance down the stretch, piling up the fifth-most rushing yards league-wide (633) from Week 10 through Week 18. As good as he was in the regular season, Pacheco really came through for K.C. with a stellar performance when the Chiefs needed it most: in last Saturday’s Divisional Round tilt against the Jacksonville Jaguars. With Mahomes sustaining a high ankle sprain that kept him out a majority of the second quarter, Pacheco was instrumental in a Chad Henne-led 98-yard scoring drive, accounting for 57 yards on the march, including a 39-yard lightning strike. Pacheco finished the contest with 101 scrimmage yards, his most since Week 11, while averaging a robust 7.9 yards per carry.

McKinnon had pretty quiet day against Jacksonville, rushing 11 times for 25 yards, but he played an enormous role in Kansas City’s five-game winning streak to close the regular season, which allowed the Chiefs to claim the AFC”s No. 1 seed — and consequently host this week’s game. From Week 14 through Week 18, McKinnon scored eight touchdowns, with seven coming through the air. Oh, and in last year’s AFC title bout against Cincy, McKinnon ran for 65 yards on 12 carries (5.4 yards a pop) and caught three passes for 30 yards.

Mahomes is on track to start Sunday’s game, but high ankle sprains don’t magically heal in a week’s time. The all-world quarterback is going to need help from his friends, particularly his backfield mates in Pacheco and McKinnon.

Image & Story Credit: nfl.com

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