Coming off back-to-back divisional wins, the Las Vegas Raiders have all the momentum they could possibly need. Yet, the Silver and Black will need more than just momentum to defeat the juggernaut of the Kansas City Chiefs. Following head coach Andy Reid’s press conference on Monday, the Raiders should expect everything the Chiefs have to offer.
Add the revenge game to Reid’s 18-3 record coming off a bye, this squad will have their hands full on Sunday Night Football. The task of defeating the Chiefs may seem insurmountable. However, the Raiders have shown their ability to slay this beast and will have another shot to do so on primetime. Here are three keys to dethroning the mighty Kansas City Chiefs (again).
Win the turnover battle and create yards after the catch
As we saw in Week 10, a Raiders defense who can force turnovers is one can keep beat any opponent. While we should not expect a dominant performance week in and week out, we can see the unit coming together as a whole to produce turnovers. The Raiders’ defense needs the bring their A-game against the Chiefs, but that’s not it. It will be crucial for them to take the ball out of his hands.
Rewinding to the first meeting in Week 5, the Raiders’ offense unloaded on the Chief’s secondary. That day, quarterback Derek Carr took deep shots to both Henry Ruggs and Nelson Agholor in their 40-32 week five win. This game also equated to a monstrous performance from ‘4’, putting up 347 yards and three touchdowns. We can attribute this to the Chiefs safeties creeping closer to the line of scrimmage to take away short-intermediate throws, Carr’s favorites. The Chiefs will likely enter Sunday with a different plan for their secondary.
By keeping their safeties deep this time around, the Chiefs won’t allow many deep shots this time. This will likely revert the Raiders’ offense to short-intermediate routes. This is not a bad thing, but this type of offense will require more plays by the individual ball carriers.
The Raiders must focus on forcing missed tackles and playing effectively in the open field. This will create opportunities to create chunk plays without throwing the ball downfield. The players themselves must make plays, but don’t be surprised if Gruden employs some trickery to create space for effective chunks of yards.
Raiders must dominate the line of scrimmage
When discussing the Raiders’ offense, the conversation mainly focuses on the run game. Josh Jacobs has thrived despite injuries to the offensive line. Looking at their recent performances, it’s safe to say both units are seeing new life following the Week 6 bye week.
Even without three starters across the line, the Raiders ‘Hog Mollies’ have had solid showings versus very effective defense lines the past three weeks. If this Las Vegas team wants to beat the Chiefs, they must continue their dominance upfront and open lanes for Jacobs and Booker.
Also, if the Raiders want to have success, they must keep Mahomes off the field. While forcing turnovers will help, it will be up to their rushing attack to control the game and load up on the time of possession. Without this “keep away” style of football, the Chiefs may flex their scoring ability and hang many points up. That is why this rushing attack, along with the offensive line, will be so crucial in Week 11.
Score Prediction: KC 34 – LV 33
While the Raiders will give their all and make for a very close game, the Chiefs’ firepower will probably be too much for the Raiders to handle. Nonetheless, look for the Silver and Black to close the season matchup strong and hopefully set up a “Round 3” between these two AFC West rivals in the playoffs.
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*Top Photo: Charlie Riedel/Associated Press