The Kansas City Chiefs meet the Oakland Raiders this Sunday for an AFC West dogfight. The Chiefs are fresh off their bye week, following a division win over the Chargers. Meanwhile, the Raiders are looking to rebound after getting embarrassed against the Jets. Kansas City enters this contest a game up on Oakland in the division. This makes for an exciting, pressure packed meeting between these two rivals that hate each other. With that said, let’s get started with our Chiefs versus Raiders preview.
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It is well documented that Arrowhead Stadium has been a dreaded house of horrors for Derek Carr. In his career, he has a record of 0-5 when playing in Kansas City. What’s more, he has averaged just 186 passing yards per game, three touchdowns and five interceptions. The Chiefs pass rush has frustrated Carr plenty of times, as he has been sacked 17 times in those contests. Finally, the Raiders have averaged just 12.2 points in those games being led by the Fresno State product.
On the other hand, Carr has enjoyed some improved results at times this season. He seems to feel more comfortable in the second go-around in Jon Gruden‘s offense. To boot, the Raiders roster is a lot stronger on the offensive line, and to a degree, at receiver. If Carr is able to find some of that confidence we have seen this year, then that could fix some of the Arrowhead horrors that have cost him in the past.
After the Chiefs offense left a lot to be desired in Mexico City, it will be interesting to see if this offense stays the course or alters plans. The bye week provided this team a chance to regroup. It is important for Kansas City to build to playing a complete game for all four quarters. So far this season, those fast starts that we saw in 2018 have been nonexistent. Elsewhere, this offense has beaten themselves more often than not in crucial moments.
With an opponent like the Raiders, the Chiefs must be able to put the pedal to the medal and keep there all game long. Oakland is a dangerous team to let hang around. This new, youthful nucleus has brought a new attitude to the Raiders. The Chiefs will need to come out and match it.
Bring the Heat
While the Chiefs offense had their struggles, the defense carried their weight last time this team played. Frank Clark looked like the 2018 version of himself and the player Kansas City traded for. The defensive backs had a collectively strong effort against the passing game of Philip Rivers. Why were they so successful? It was because of the push they got upfront against a weak Chargers offensive line.
Against the Raiders, the Chiefs know that Carr goes into a shell once he is consistently pressured. This Oakland offensive line has been improved, especially with the addition of Trent Brown. However, did anyone notice how much the Raiders struggled against the Jets and even the Bengals? We have seen Clark, Chris Jones, Mike Pennel, Tanoh Kpassagnon and even Damien Wilson thrive in pressuring the quarterback this season. That is when Steve Spagnuolo‘s defense works best. In order to shut down the Raiders, the defense will look to keep Carr’s kitchen hot.
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Legion of Zoom
We mentioned how the Chiefs would be wise to keep the pedal to the medal on offense. That all starts with matching up against the Raiders weakened defense. Injuries have hampered the defensive backs in recent weeks, including safety Lamarcus Joyner. The Chiefs have the ability to let it fly and use their dynamic skill players to their advantage.
Don’t be afraid to test Oakland downfield time and time again. Kansas City needs to make a statement to remind the rest of the NFL just how dangerous they can be. Lean on Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Mecole Hardman and Sammy Watkins to force the Raiders to quit and submit.
Matchup To Watch: Chiefs Run Defense Vs Josh Jacobs
Josh Jacobs had a few big runs against the Chiefs in their first meeting this season. Meanwhile, the Raiders abandoned the running often in that game. It felt like Jacobs hardly touched the ball in the second half. If the Raiders let Jacobs try and work his magic, then that could keep them in the game. If not, the Chiefs could create an insurmountable deficit to try and come back from. Thus, the Raiders passing game would need to be efficient.
It is evident how good Andy Reid has been off a bye week. In his career as head coach, he is 17-3. Under Reid, the Chiefs are 4-2 off the bye. Two of those Chiefs wins came against these Raiders. However, this is the first time under Reid where the Chiefs will be playing at home after the off week.
Also under Reid, the defense has allowed just 11 points per game at home against the Raiders.
Charvarius Ward has quietly put together a solid season. He is currently 8th in the NFL in passer rating against.
Kelce needs just 167 yards to hit 1,000 for the fourth straight season. Zero tight ends have ever done that before in NFL history.
That will conclude our Chiefs versus Raiders preview. The magnitude for this game is important for the NFL this late in the season. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– 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.
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