Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes Comments on Possibly Not Playing in Week 18

Patrick Mahomes

Getty Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes at Arrowhead Stadium on December 31, 2023.

Following the Kansas City Chiefs’ 25-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, head coach Andy Reid has a few major decisions to make.

While the Chiefs (10-6) travel to Los Angeles to face the Chargers (5-11) in Week 18, the game holds no special meaning. Kansas City has punched their ticket to the playoffs and are locked in at the No. 3 seed whether or not they win.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes isn’t sure if he’ll play in Week 18. Speaking to reporters after defeating the Bengals on New Year’s Eve, the two-time Super Bowl MVP also wasn’t aware that they clinched the No. 3 seed.

“I didn’t know that, but I kind of just let Coach Reid make all those decisions,” Mahomes said. “If he wants us to build off this momentum I’ll be ready to roll. If he wants to give us some rest I’ll get that rest, prepare for whoever we’re going to play, and get ready for the playoffs.”

Reid was also indecisive on if he’ll rest his starters after the Chiefs clinched the AFC West title for the eighth straight season. “I haven’t gotten there yet,” he told reporters.

Considering how poorly the offense has performed lately, Reid might want Mahomes and Co. to get more playing time before their postseason run starts. However, putting starters at risk of getting injured in a zero-consequence game is a huge gamble.

Patrick Mahomes Is Not Predicted to Play Against the Chargers

Patrick Mahomes

GettyChiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes at Gillette Stadium on December 17, 2023.

Most signs point toward Mahomes not suiting up in Week 18. Pro Football Talk’s Michael Davis Smith wrote, “An injury to Mahomes would be so devastating to the Chiefs that it’s hard to believe they’ll risk him in a meaningless game. Mahomes has probably played his last game of the regular season, and we’ll see him next in the playoffs.”

Based on what Reid has done in the situation before, The Kansas City Star’s Jesse Newell agrees. “When the Chiefs had nothing to play for in the season’s final week, Reid has kept his main guys out,” Newell wrote. “The last instance was in the 2020 season, when KC went with its backups in a 38-21 loss to the Chargers after clinching the No. 1 seed with a 14-1 record.

“Another instance should be familiar as well. Mahomes led KC to a 27-24 win at Denver in his first NFL start during the 2017 regular-season finale, as the Chiefs had already secured the No. 4 seed with QB Alex Smith.”

The Chiefs won’t learn which team will be their first playoff opponent until Week 18 concludes. However, in the likely scenario that Miami loses to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday Night Football, the Chiefs will face the Dolphins at home in the Wild Card round.

Travis Kelce, Chris Jones, & Other Starters Have Big Incentives to Play in Week 18

Travis Kelce

GettyChiefs tight end Travis Kelce at Arrowhead Stadium on December 25, 2023.

While getting to rest before the postseason starts sounds ideal, there are several starters who may want to at least play a few snaps. Whether Reid will allow it is another story.

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is 16 yards away from notching his eighth consecutive season with over 1,000 yards. It’s unclear if there’s a financial bonus in his contract for that mark, but the future Hall-of-Famer’s historic streak will come to an end if he doesn’t play.

Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco might be itching to take some meaningful snaps, as he’s 65 yards away from recording his first season with over 1,000 yards. Wide receiver Rashee Rice only needs more 62 yards before notching 1,000 yards in his rookie season.

As for defensive tackle Chris Jones, he earns a $1.25 million bonus if he records 10 sacks, per AtoZ Sports. Thus far this season, Jones has tallied 9.5 sacks.

Despite the huge incentive, the veteran suggested he’ll be fine with whatever Reid decides. “I want to play, okay?” Jones told reporters. “I want to play. But I understand the importance. Usually, for the past few years, we’ve had a bye week… If Coach Reid decides to rest us, I’ll more than likely take the rest. I could use the week off. I’ve got a few nicks and bruises. I’m sure the team could use it.”