Rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes will start for the Chiefs in Week 17, as Kansas City (9-6) has already locked up an AFC West title. Mahomes hasn’t taken a snap all season, but the Chiefs drafted him tenth overall for a reason. In fact, Mahomes is the first quarterback drafted by the Chiefs in the first round since Todd Blackledge – in 1983.
All of which is to say the Chiefs think highly of the Texas Tech product.
Alex Smith hasn’t been benched, of course, but what if Mahomes lights up the Broncos (5-10) in Denver? Would the Chiefs consider turning to him in the playoffs? Especially if Smith struggles?
“Well, I guarantee you that if (Mahomes) goes out and lights it up and plays well, that will be a consideration that Andy Reid will have to make depending on the course of (the game),” former NFL quarterback and current CBS Sports Network host Steve Beuerlein said on The DA Show. “Andy Reid would never admit that right now. Nobody would ever admit that at this point because Alex Smith, for the most part, has done a fantastic job this whole season.”
Smith was an MVP candidate – if not the MVP frontrunner – through Week 5. He had completed 76.6 percent of his passes (121-of-158) for 1,391 yards (278.2 yards per game), and 11 touchdowns – and the Chiefs were 5-0 with wins over the Patriots (12-3) and Eagles (13-2).
Kansas City, however, dropped six of its next seven games before winning three straight home games against the Raiders (6-9), Chargers (8-7), and Dolphins (6-9) to claim the 4-seed in the AFC.
“Alex Smith is the starting quarterback,” Beuerlein said. “But if Patrick Mahomes goes out there and really looks comfortable and plays well and shows the attributes and the skill sets that they drafted him for and that he’s ready and has a comfort factor with the offense, (he could play). He’s not going to be able to run the full offense at the level of Alex Smith. But if they can put a game-plan package together for him that they’re comfortable with, they definitely would not hesitate to go to him if they felt that they were in jeopardy of losing a football game at this point in the season. So I think there’s definitely a dual purpose for this whole thing: to keep Alex Smith healthy, but also to see if Patrick Mahomes is ready.”
Kickoff from Denver is slated for 4:25 p.m. ET.