The Las Vegas Raiders host the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 11. This may be the most important regular-season game the Silver and Black have played in the last twenty years. These two squads met earlier this season in Arrowhead, and the Raiders came out with the ‘W’. The offense shined that afternoon, scoring 40 points against Tyrann Mathieu’s defense at home. For them to pull off the sweep, something they haven’t done since 2012, their offense needs to show up again. They’ll need these three players to bring their A-game and here’s why.
1. The Raiders offense runs through Josh Jacobs
Running back Josh Jacobs is the heart of this team. When the sophomore scores a touchdown, this squad undefeated, and this year, he’s done quite a bit of scoring. He has eight touchdowns in nine games and is currently fourth in the league in rushing yards. Only the Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys, and Houston Texans have given up more rushing yards per game than Kansas City.
The last time these two met, Jacobs racked up 85 total yards and two scores. The Raiders will have to repeat that success on the ground on Sunday night. Devontae Booker also had 62 rushes on seven attempts, he’ll need to bring the pain with ’28’ too.
2. Henry Ruggs III needs to have another big game against the Chiefs
Speaking of players that broke out in Kansas City, what about the very first player this team selected after relocating to Las Vegas? Henry Ruggs III exploded against the Chiefs, winning a 46-yard 50/50 ball in the first half and breaking away on a 72-yard bomb a few drives later for a score. In arguably his best game as a pro, ’11’ might’ve been the difference for Las Vegas in round one.
While the development of Nelson Agholor has been nice, and Hunter Renfrow is always reliable, the Raiders need “their Tyreek Hill” to show up in his primetime debut. Head coach Jon Gruden has been tinkering with the offense. He’s trying to find ways to get the Alabama standout going, and if he has any tricks up his sleeve, they’ll probably come out in Week 11.
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1. Derek Carr needs to bring an encore to Allegiant Stadium
For a long time, Derek Carr’s woes against the Chiefs have been the fight song of his critics. Nobody has been better against Carr than Kansas City. But that changed on October, 11th. Not only did Carr win at Arrowhead, he thrived.
After cornerback Bashaud Breeland picked off a wayward pass intended for Darren Waller, Raider Nation shifted into “doom and gloom” mode. It wouldn’t be the first time ‘4’ had a bad throw that turned into a Kansas City barbeque. However, this time would be different. Carr started heaving bombs, with three plays going over 40 yards, including deep touchdowns to Agholor and Ruggs.
After his pick, Carr completed 18 of 25 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns. He absolutely dominated the Chiefs’ defense. It was easily the biggest win of Carr’s career to this point, and something that made many Raiders fans believe in this year’s squad.
However, the Raiders don’t have the element of surprise anymore. The Chiefs knows what ‘DC4’ is capable of doing in 2020. They’re ready for the deep bomb, they’re ready for “third and Renfrow,” and they’re probably even ready for Carr’s newest hobby, running for first downs.
Carr’s biggest win came the first time these two teams met in Arrowhead, but now, under the bright lights in Allegiant Stadium, he’ll have to bring an encore. A loss won’t be devastating, in fact, it’s probably expected. But a win? A win puts the pressure on Kansas City and makes an AFC West Championship a very tangible reality for a franchise that hasn’t won it in almost 20 years.
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Top Photo: Jeff Roberson/Jeff Roberson