The Las Vegas Raiders take on the vaunted Kansas City Chiefs offense once more in the 2022 season finale. The earlier matchup in this year’s series proved that the Raiders’ defense could slow down their rivals’ NFL-best passing offense. Ultimately, they held Patrick Mahomes and Co. to a bottom-five passing performance on the year, with just 265 yards allowed through the air. Unfortunately, the Silver and Black had no answer for Travis Kelce’s four touchdowns. With playoff seeding on the line, Patrick Graham’s defensive unit has a prime opportunity to avenge Kelce’s nightmare performance against them. The Chiefs’ offense has changed slightly since October, so it’s time to look at what works for Andy Reid and what doesn’t.
The Good of the Chiefs’ Offense
Many know that Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce are having All-Pro seasons. However, other “lesser-known” players still contribute to the offensive attack. One of those individuals is running back Jerick McKinnon. McKinnon and rookie Isiah Pacheco have split carries in the backfield; however, this season, McKinnon has been Mahomes’ top target, not named Travis Kelce. The talented back has nine total touchdowns, with only one coming from the traditional rushing variety.
7th TD in Jerick McKinnonâ€™s last 5 games #leaguewinner pic.twitter.com/unYNU6Q1mA
— NFL Fantasy Football (@NFLFantasy) January 1, 2023
Speaking of rushing the football, that is one area that leaves much to be desired for the Raiders’ rival.
Unlike the Las Vegas Raiders, the Kansas City Chiefs do not have a power-rushing attack. Specifically, the Chiefs’ rushing attack is lacking and has been struggling to find consistency all season. From the benching of former first-round draft pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire to rolling with 2022 7th-round draft pick Pacheco as the lead back, it’s been a coin flip on who leads the team with carries each week. As a result, the AFC West champions rank in the bottom third of the NFL in both attempts per game and total yardage for the season. However, Patrick Mahomes has rushed for a career-high four touchdowns this year. Even the NFL’s best pocket quarterback uses his legs to make a play, similar to new Raiders starter – Jarrett Stidham.
The Chiefs have not been able to replicate Tyreek Hill’s production at receiver since his departure last offseason. Hill on the Dolphins has doubled the output of the Chiefs’ top two receivers in multiple essential statistics.
- Tyreek Hill
- 117 receptions
- 1,687 yards
- 7 touchdowns
- JuJu Smith-Schuster & Marquez Valdes-Scantling combined:
- 115 receptions
- 1,558 yards
- 5 touchdowns
It is safe to say that Andy Reid’s wide receiver room leaves much to be desired. In addition, Smith-Schuster’s three fumbles on the season do not make matters any better.
In KC vs HST, KC was penalized for a blind side block. The ruling on the field was the runnerâ€™s forward progress was stopped. However, the ball was loose immediately upon contact by the defender, making the play reviewable. pic.twitter.com/HfMDLWbOe1
— NFL Officiating (@NFLOfficiating) December 18, 2022
However, this bodes well for the Raiders, as their secondary has struggled late in games. Most importantly, it will give Raiders defensive coordinator Patrick Graham more ways to stop Travis Kelce and Jerick McKinnon from passing.
*Top Photo by Getty Images