Can you believe it? The 18th-and-final week of [regular season] football is upon us already, with the Las Vegas Raiders’ ’22 schedule saving the toughest for last: Patrick Mahomes, and the Kansas City Chiefs.
This will be the second-of-two contests between the two clubs this year, with the first ending in a 30-29 victory by Kansas City, after the Raiders went into the half enjoying a double-digit lead. For the Chiefs, this Week 5 matchup was a spirited 17-point comeback win against their division rivals in Las Vegas. For the Silver and Black, this was just another loss following a double-digit halftime lead, which the team would later total a higher amount of in a single-season than any club throughout league history.
Now officially eliminated from the ’22 postseason, the Raiders have nothing to lose. Second-half play calling should remain aggressive, and points should be put up consistently through the ball game – just as they were last week vs. San Francisco. However, even with the increased aggression in Week 17, Las Vegas once again managed to throw away a double-digit lead down the stretch. If Raider Nation is lucky, some quick adjustments from head coach Josh McDaniels can fix that, should the team get an early lead against the Chiefs like they did in their first meeting this season.
That said, if a Brock Purdy-led team can score 37 points on your defense, there’s no telling what a Patrick Mahomes will do.
Patrick Mahomes heads into Week 18 contest against Raiders enjoying MVP campaign
After 17 weeks of football, the MVP race has become a sprint between two players: Eagles’ signal-caller Jalen Hurts, and Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes. Currently, the latter remains the favorite for the award heading into the regular season’s final week.
It’s not hard to see why Mahomes is the favorite, either. The 27-year-old has the second-highest QB rating league-wide among quarterbacks who have appeared in at least six contests (105.2), with the most passing yards in the NFL (5,049) – over 400 more than Tom Brady, who has the second-most with 4,619. Furthermore, Mahomes’ 91.0 PFF grade leads all quarterbacks this season.
Raider Nation knows exactly how deadly Mahomes can be
Now five years into being the Chiefs’ QB1, Patrick Mahomes has battled the Raiders nine times, with his tenth duel coming this afternoon. In these games, Kansas City has a record of 8-1.
When the Chiefs and Raiders met up earlier in the year, the five-time Pro Bowler was magical. Mahomes tossed four touchdowns with zero interceptions, completing 67.44% of his passes for a QB rating of 117.6. At one point in the contest, Las Vegas was up by three possessions; that didn’t faze the man under center in Kansas City, though.
The Texas Tech alum wrapped up the week by tying with Josh Allen for most touchdowns thrown in Week 5, although Allen logged an interception while Mahomes was flawless. In fact, of the seven quarterbacks who totaled at least 40 passing attempts, Patrick Mahomes was the only player who had a goose egg in the “turnover-worthy plays” column.
If Kansas City’s signal-caller can repeat his earlier success against the Raiders, it’ll be a long game. Hopefully Patrick Graham is more prepared this time around.
*Top photo: David Eulitt/Getty Images