When the Raiders welcome the Chiefs on Sunday, this game feels rather different. Granted, the long-time rivals historically know each other. Yet, with these two franchises, helmed by long-time friends, you cannot assume anything. With the Chiefs, Andy Reid’s fingerprints and themes exist on this offense.
Throughout Andy Reid’s tenure, the pass remains the bread and butter of the Kansas City attack. However, injury could affect the playcalling this Sunday. With Tyreek Hill sidelined, Reid and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy will depend on the running game to give them the cushion that Hill provided with his speed.
Now, every opposing quarterback poses some type of problems. Yet, Mahomes brings a different set of issues to the field. First, few passers enjoy that much confidence in his arm. He will attempt every throw, from every point of the game. The Raiders must do one specific thing to give themselves a chance. Oakland needs to rush with discipline. This means Arden Key needs to continue a strong first week. That is to say, ends cannot veer too far wide, allowing for holes to open. Now, no one should use the word contain. Mahomes is not Cam Newton. He will run to extend the pocket while receivers get vertical. On top of that, all four rushers need to get upfield. Yes, four. Under no circumstance should the Raiders rush three.
When the Chiefs parted ways with Kareen Hunt, a cavernous hole opened up in the backfield. Now, LeSean McCoy leads the backfield. Despite suffering his worst season in Buffalo, McCoy rebounded in Week One, totaling 81 yards on ten carries. No matter the mileage that he has, McCoy. He will offer up the jump cut. Defenses that overpursue, will lose McCoy early. Again, the Raiders must stick to the plan of effective football. By forcing McCoy’s hand early, he will not be able to use that dreaded cutback.
As Tyreek Hill remains out, the focus turns to Sammy Watkins. Watkins flashed number-one ability over the years, but injuries prevented him from maintaining that level. However, last week, during Hill’s absence, he tallied nine catches for 198 yards and three touchdowns. With Gareon Conley’s status up in the air due to his injury, rookie Trayvon Mullen could see his first start. Daryl Worley could provide a physical aspect, but Mullen’s twitch and long speed serve as a better matchup.
During his career, the Raiders provided little to no resistance in defending Kelce. With size too big for a safety and too quick for most linebackers, Kelce feasts on the seam, torturing defenses. For the first time in a while, the Raiders could offer a silution. Nicholas Morrow still gives away 30 pounds, however, he can stay stride-for-stride. Morrow, a converted safety, is the best cover linebacker on the Raiders.
All things considered, the Raiders lucked out this week. Tyreek Hill’s absence changes this game. Instead of a one-handed destruction, Oakland can hang with the Chiefs.