The Las Vegas Raiders looked good early in the 2020 season and were at one point in the playoff hunt. However, they ended up losing five of their last eight games and missed the playoffs for the fourth straight year. For that reason, tight end Darren Waller’s recent comments were puzzling.
What exactly did Darren Waller say?
Waller told NBC Sports Area he doesn’t feel like the gap between the Raiders and the Chiefs is big. He brings up the fact they defeated Kansas City in Week 5 and were close to pulling a sweep in Week 11. ‘D-Wall’ acknowledges the Chiefs are talented but thinks ‘their best is right there with theirs.’
The tight end is right that the Raiders played at a high level against the Chiefs in 2020. In fact, they arguably had their most dominant performance of the season in Week 5, beating the Chiefs 40-32. Nevertheless, they fell short in their Week 11 rematch, losing 31-35.
Is the gap between Raiders and the Chiefs really that close?
The Chiefs are a Super Bowl contender and will continue making it to the big game as long as Patrick Mahomes is their quarterback and Andy Reid is their coach. Meanwhile, the Raiders have made the playoffs just once in the last 18 years. It’s also true Las Vegas beat Kansas City once in 2020, but that’s an outlier, as they have lost five of their last six matchups.
Also, the Raiders had one of the worst defenses in the NFL while the Chiefs had a top 10 unit last season. Moreover, the Chiefs have one of the most talented rosters in the NFL. They have a solid core and some of the best players at their respective positions. On the other hand, Las Vegas has holes at pretty much every position group, so Waller’s comments are inaccurate.
It’s good to be confident and ’83’ must’ve wanted to pump up the Raiders fan base. He’s certainly a top-three tight end and the team has a few talented players such as center Rodney Hudson and running back Josh Jacobs. However, anyone that watched both teams play in 2020 will agree his comments are hyperbolic. Objectively, the Raiders are a middle-of-the-pack team that will take on a contender but will also lose to bottom-tier teams.
While things can quickly change in the NFL, there is no indication the Raiders are close to becoming a perennial playoff team. Were they close to the Chiefs, they would be facing off in the playoffs every year. Instead, the Silver and Black have seen Kansas City play in three consecutive AFC Championships in the comfort of their homes.
You May Also Like: Raiders Watched LB Devin White Help Buccaneers Win Super Bowl 55
Top Photo: Justin Casterline Getty Images