Sunday’s matchup will be crucial for the Las Vegas Raiders as they attempt to slow down these three Kansas City Chiefs players.
The Raiders must slow down the Chiefs offense in Week 5
The Chiefs have a high-powered offense and the Raiders have a pass defense that isn’t stopping anyone right now. That is a recipe for potential disaster, something the Silver and Black cannot afford.Â Unless of course, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther was able to get his defense to finally gel after four weeks of playing.
The issue is whether he can put his players in positions to succeed instead of trying to force his scheme. Safety Erik Harris has been a liability but there’s no one else to turn to at the moment. Guenther’s cornerbacks are also short-handed at the moment. Losing Damon Arnette was big, and Guenther has Trayvon Mullen holding down one side and the other is being defended by committee.
The following three Chiefs will be a daunting task for this Raiders defense in its current state. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes might end up carving up this defense worse than any opposing signal-caller has in 2020. Nonetheless, we will take a look at these three playmakers.
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Tyreek Hill, Wide Receiver
Was there any doubt about Tyreek Hill getting named here? The wide receiver is nursing a heel injury but practiced all week and is ready to go for Sunday. The speedster is going to undoubtedly be a nightmare for this Raiders defense. Pro Football Focus has given Hill a 72.7 overall in four games this season. Mahomes has targeted him 29 times with he has come down with 19 of those passes. He continues to be a speedster averaging 15.1 yards per reception, hauling in four touchdowns. Moreover, Hill’s longest reception this season has been one for 54 yards.
Travis Kelce, Tight End
The Chiefs’ tight end has been a thorn on the Raiders’ side for years. A trademark mediocre linebacker corps didn’t do the Silver and Black any favors during that span. This season was supposed to be different thanks to the addition of free agent Cory Littleton. The safe bet would be that Kelce will have another big game considering Littleton’s struggles. In fact, PFF currently grades Littleton at 40.7 in coverage while Kelce averages 12.4 yards per catch. Also, he leads the Chiefs in targets from Mahomes with 34. Given the state of the Raiders defense, expect this to continue on Sunday.
Sammy Watkins, Wide Receiver
Watkins continues to be a steady force with the Chiefs since his arrival. According to Pro Football Reference, Watkins is third in targets with 27 and has notched 19 passes of his own. PFF currently grades him at 65.4 overall so far for this season. Watkins is currently averaging 10.4 yards per reception with a touchdown to his credit in 2020. While he is not the deep threat that Hill is, Watkins can more than hold his own and he will be a tough matchup for any of the Raiders defensive backs.
The one advantage the Raiders have
One advantage that the Raiders have is that the Chiefs will be coming off short rest after Monday Night Football. Assuming that Derek Carr can exorcise his demons and have a good offensive outing, the pressure will be on the Raiders defense. The question is whether Guenther can finally help deliver a good defensive performance, who better than to start than the Super Bowl champions.
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*Top Photo: Peter Aiken/Getty Images