The Chiefs-Raiders rivalry is one of the greatest in NFL history. This week’s matchup, will be the final time these two rivals will do battle in Oakland. With the Raiders moving to Vegas next year, there is a lot of moving parts surrounding this team. They got a big win last week. Now, the Raiders hope to play spoiler against the Chiefs. With that in mind, let’s get things going with this Chiefs-Raiders preview.
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Next Man Up
The Chiefs offense will be without Tyreek Hill this week. After suffering a rare injury, it’s next man up for the rest of the receivers. We saw Sammy Watkins have a career day last week. The loss of Hill could also open up more for Travis Kelce. However, it will be interesting to see how guys like Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson, De’Anthony Thomas and Byron Pringle perform. None of them have to be Tyreek Hill, they just need to be themselves.
This Raiders secondary looks to be improved, based off last week. They’re much faster in the open field. But, losing rookie safety Johnathan Abram to injury is a big plus for Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense. How each team reacts to these voids will be a major key on Sunday.
NASCAR vs Carr
The Chiefs defense will need to build off of Week One’s performance. The run defense showed some promise. Though, they were vanilla in trying to pressure the quarterback. They had one sack, and the opposing quarterbacks often got rid of the ball quickly. With Kansas City’s NASCAR blitz packages, they will try to force Derek Carr to stay in the pocket. Carr was threading the needle against the Broncos, and he looked very confident.
It will be up to the Chiefs pass rushers to take advantage of the Raiders inexperienced offensive line. The Raiders gameplan of quick passes last week, led to no sacks for the Broncos. Oakland has had some questions at guard. Meanwhile, Frank Clark had a monster game going up against Raiders left tackle Kolton Miller last year. Clark will be the key for the Chiefs in setting the tone on Sunday.
Best thing to happen to Carr this offseason, was how Oakland surrounded him with new weapons. Tyrell Williams capitalized on all opportunities in his Raiders debut. Darren Waller is a cool story at tight end. He caught every ball that came his way, and Waller can be sneaky fast in space. Who follows and matches up with who will be intriguing in this contest. Will it be Kendall Fuller, Bashaud Breeland or Charvarius Ward following Williams? Another element to watch here, will be how the Chiefs perform on third down. Last week, Jacksonville was five of ten on 3rd down offense. If they can continue to get off the field, the Raiders may not be able to keep up with the Chiefs offense.
Matchup To Watch: Chiefs Offensive Line vs Raiders Pass Rush
The Chiefs will need to protect Patrick Mahomes a little better this week. Jacksonville is one of the better defensive fronts, and they didn’t register a sack. On the other hand, Mahomes took a beating and suffered an ankle sprain. He obviously finished the game. This week, the Raiders pass rush will be looking to continue last week’s hot start. The speed and havoc Oakland provided against Joe Flacco was urgent and unrelenting. What tricks may they have up their sleeve in blitz packages?
This will be just the second game ever for Patrick Mahomes playing without Tyreek Hill. The other, was the QB’s debut in Week 17, 2017.
The Chiefs division prominence is well documented. In the past four seasons, the Chiefs are 20-4 against AFC West teams. ALL 4 of those losses came on Thursday nights. The last time the Chiefs lost a division game on a Sunday was November 30th, 2014.
Entering Sunday, the Chiefs hold a record of 20-19-1 all time against the Raiders in Oakland. The Raiders will move to Vegas next year. That means if they defeat the Raiders on Sunday, Kansas City will hold a winning record there forever.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.