Raiders News: Kansas City Chiefs, Maxx Crosby, Patrick Mahomes

Chiefs vs. Raiders: Biggest Concerns Ahead Of Pivotal Matchup For The Silver And Black

It may be a little late in the year, but finally the point has arrived in the season where the Las Vegas Raiders are taking on their bitter rival, the Kansas City Chiefs. Here we go; it’s rivalry week—a classic feud.

Obviously, the rivalry has been a bit one-sided as of late. There’s reason for hope, though, as the Raiders have looked better as of late. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the biggest obstacles that the Silver and Black will have to overcome to pull off the upset.

We’ll start with a certain coach who haunted the last Raiders quarterback to wear No. 4.

The Defensive Genius: Kansas City Chiefs DC Steve Spagnuolo

The Chiefs defensive coordinator always has something cooked up for the Raiders. His disguised coverages have frustrated the Raiders’ quarterbacks to no end. Since Spagnuolo took over the defense in 2019, the Raiders have averaged just over 19 points per game against the Chiefs. They will have to find a way to improve upon that to win this matchup.

Another huge factor during this era has been the turnovers.

Under Spagnuolo, the Chiefs have forced the Raiders to turn the ball over twice per game on average. With a turnover-prone rookie in Aidan O’Connell at the helm, keeping the turnovers down to one or less could take a miracle. O’Connell is similar to Derek Carr in two ways: anticipation on throws and an inability to escape pressure. Those were both things that Spagnuolo took advantage of in the past.

Since 2019, the Raiders have only beaten the Chiefs once. In that matchup, Las Vegas managed to hang 40 on Spagnuolo’s defense. It will likely take a similar performance once again this week if the Raiders want to have a chance of winning. Kansas City is very capable of scoring against anyone, thanks to a certain duo.

The Patrick Mahomes & Travis Kelce Connection

This is obviously the main concern for anyone playing the Chiefs. You have to find a way to slow down the league’s best quarterback, throwing to the league’s best tight end.

In other news, water is wet.

The Raiders have had mixed results against Kelce in the past. In last season’s meetings, the Chiefs tight end was held to less than 65 receiving yards combined. However, in one of those matchups, Kelce still single-handedly won the game for Kansas City with four touchdowns, despite only catching seven passes.

This duo always finds a way to give the Raiders fits. Maxx Crosby and Co. can chase Mahomes around in the backfield all day, but it doesn’t usually matter. The Chiefs quarterback finds a way to get the ball to his safety blanket, Kelce, just enough to decide the game. The pair are 9-1 against the Raiders since Mahomes took over as the Chiefs starting quarterback.

Fortunately for the Raiders, Kelce is the only dangerous target that Mahomes seems to have this year. Regrettably, the Chiefs offense has added a new dimension this year.

Can the Las Vegas Raiders stop Isiah Pacheco?

This is akin to Happy Gilmore learning how to putt. After years of going with a committee, the Chiefs finally have a lead again. Isiah Pacheco is currently 14th in the league in rushing yards per game. The last time Kansas City had a running back in the top 15 in that category was Kareem Hunt (seventh) in 2018.

That could be bad news for a Raiders team that boasts one of the league’s worst run defenses. As well as Patrick Graham’s unit has played this year, they have struggled to get off the field. An inability to bottle up opposing running backs has been a big reason why.

For the Las Vegas Raiders to win this game, they have to force the Kansas City Chiefs to be one-dimensional. Monday night was a perfect example of why the Chiefs do not want to put the game in the hands of their wide receivers. Las Vegas has to find a way to do just that. A key component will be bottling up Pacheco.

*Top Photo: Associated Press

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