Judging from all the commotion generated this week, it’s fair to say that the Kansas City Chiefs circled their rematch with the Las Vegas Raiders.
Tomorrow, the Las Vegas Raiders welcome another long-tenured rival, the Kansas City Chiefs. The stakes are high in this AFC West division tilt; a win for the Raiders puts them just a game back of the Chiefs in the loss column. A win for the Chiefs allows them to take a victory lap around Allegiant Stadium, which seems like that’s their largest concern recently.
But anywho, here are three Chiefs the Silver and Black will need to key in on to have any chance at winning this game.
Travis Kelce, old reliable
This should go without saying. While keeping an eye on Tyreke Hill is always a top priority, Travis Kelce has made a habit of torching the Raiders. The tight end is arguably the best tight end in the NFL and he never hesitates to prove it when facing Las Vegas. In 13 career games against the keepers of the Black Hole, Kelce has 97 catches for 953 yards and six touchdowns. That includes his eight reception for 108 yard and one-touchdown performance in their Week 5 matchup.
Shutting down a player as talented as ’87’ isn’t realistic, but the Raiders should do their best to mix up coverages and matchups to keep Kansas City guessing. Letting Kelce consistently get open is a recipe for a blowout loss.
But Yeah Raiders Fans, about Tyreek Hill…
The Chiefs receiving corps has been decimated by injury, forcing them to put even more on the speedster’s plate. Mecole Hardman won’t suit up Sunday, which means the man they call ‘Cheetah’ will be returning punts as well as stretching the field on any given down.
While safety Johnathan Abram is surely licking his chops at the thought of lighting up Tyreek Hill on a punt, this just adds an immensely explosive weapon to one of the most unpredictable portions of the game. Oh, don’t forget that the wide receiver averaged 26 yards per reception in his most current meeting with the Raiders. Putting a lid on his big-play chances will be crucial.
Le’Veon Bell, The wild card
I’m going out on a limb on this one, but you can chalk it up to paranoia and lack of true familiarity. Le’Veon Bell has been pretty quiet so far in his first five games under Andy Reid. He only has hauled in seven receptions, 128 rushing yards, and has yet to score at all. However, Reid is famous for coming out of bye weeks with a vengeance.
Bell’s the only new wrinkle to this offense the Raiders can’t say they will have properly prepared for. Will Le’Veon be used to take advantage of a still suspect Vegas run defense? Will Kansas City let him loose to exploit the flats in the passing game, something they abandoned in the first matchup?
On a side note, will they rig the stadium sound system to play Bell’s latest mixtape, driving the Las Vegas defense into a stupor over how it was even allowed to be engineered and released?
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*Top Photo: Peter Aiken/Getty Images