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AFC Update: Justin Herbert’s performance, Travis Kelce’s impact, Patrick Mahomes’ success and the latest on Chargers, Chiefs and Raiders

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For the second time this season, Chargers QB Justin Herbert suffered a broken finger. This time, however, it’s on his throwing hand which makes it a much harder injury to just tough out and play through. With just four games left in the season, there’s a chance this is it for Herbert in 2023.

“It’s something that we’ll know more [about] as the week goes on,” Herbert said via Jeff Miller of the Los Angeles Times. “If there’s any chance to play, I’ll do everything I can to be out there. I’m going to do everything I can in the treatment room to get back to 100 percent.”


Chiefs TE Travis Kelce is aware that he’s one of the most underpaid players in the NFL who’s not currently on a rookie contract. At $14 million a year, Kelce isn’t even the highest-paid tight end in the NFL, and while he’s as productive as most No. 1 wide receivers he only makes about half what the top of the market does. 

However, Kelce doesn’t seem to have any plans to force the issue like some of his teammates have. He says the Chiefs know he would play for free and he loves his current setup in Kansas City with QB Patrick Mahomes. His co-manager notes Kelce makes enough from his other ventures at this point that “the NFL is just his side hustle.”

“Nothing to be done,” Kelce told J.R. Moehringer of the Wall Street Journal. “Unfortunately, in this business, things gotta get ugly, they gotta be unpleasant [if you want more money], and I’m a pleasant son of a buck.”


The Raiders lost to the Vikings 3-0 in Week 14. The last NFL game to finish with a 3-0 score was in 2007 between the Steelers and Dolphins in Pittsburgh when the combination of a day of rain and new sod created nearly unplayable conditions. 

Neither team had that excuse in Las Vegas’ domed stadium. Both Minnesota and Las Vegas have different quarterbacks than their Week 1 starters, but the Vikings made another change Sunday to spark a struggling offense. The Raiders stuck with fourth-round QB Aidan O’Connell, who they went to ahead of veteran QB Jimmy Garoppolo because interim HC Antonio Pierce believed O’Connell gave them more of a chance to win than Garoppolo at this point. Pierce was asked if he considered benching O’Connell and instead pointed his finger in general at the overall offensive performance. 

“I think you can look at both teams how they were looking at it, right?” Pierce said via Pro Football Talk. “But for us, we were moving the ball, there was opportunities — [negated by] penalties, turnovers — for us to put points on the board. And that just wasn’t the quarterback. That’s why I said it was the offense.

“It’s easy to point the finger at the quarterback, and obviously we will look at that as we go forward. But we knew what we got when we put Aidan at quarterback, it was going to be some ups and downs, and this was not one of our better performances.”

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