Very rarely, do much NFL rivalries best that of the Chiefs versus the Raiders. This game means more than any other random contest in October. This week, Kansas City is looking to get back on track with their dominant offense. We will touch on that more later. Meanwhile, the Las Vegas Raiders have dropped to a 2-2 record, following two dreadful performances in consecutive losses.
How can each team emerge victorious on Sunday? Three keys or goals stick out, so let’s get it started.
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Kansas City- 3 Keys To Victory
1) Light Up The Scoreboard
Following a rather pedestrian offensive performance last week, the Chiefs seem poised to score at will this week. In a press conference, offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy talked about the offense we saw Monday night. “There’s no excuse for our lack of performance.” Bieniemy later talked about how simply “straining” to the finish was not going to be good enough against the Raiders.
This feels like a get right game for Patrick Mahomes and the weapons, as if they needed one at 4-0. For a leaky Vegas secondary, the pressure seems high going into Sunday. If the Kansas City offense is able to score in bunches like we know they can, this makes coming back extremely difficult for the Raiders, given how their offense is built.
2) Shut Down The Run
It feels like stopping the opponent’s offensive rush attack is a Chiefs key every week. But, when you have a pass defense playing as well as Kansas City’s, you have to wear them out with what they do the worst. Josh Jacobs can be one of the more difficult running backs to wrap up, standing at 5’10” and 220 pounds. His special mix of short area quickness and power could stand as a challenge for this Chiefs front seven. Overall, the tackling has improved over the last two weeks. That cannot waiver against Jacobs and this potent Vegas offensive line.
3) Force Carr To The Outside Lane
Much like the matchup with the Ravens, Steve Spagnuolo is likely hoping to force Derek Carr to have to beat them on the outside. The Raiders offense is stronger from inside-out, as Darren Waller has quickly become one of the more dangerous tight ends in the NFL. Even Foster Moreau and Jason Witten have found a great early rapport with Carr this season.
Vegas has done an encouraging job in trying to build the receiving corps through the draft. However, injuries to Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards have stunted their chances early in the season. Additionally, the question of Carr being able to consistently do damage with Hunter Renfrow, Nelson Agholor and others remains to be seen. In a tough matchup against the Chiefs defensive backs, Kansas City will attempt to force Carr into bad throws and questionable decisions.
Vegas- 3 Keys To Victory
1) Get Creative
One slight on Raider defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, is that he is too vanilla in his game plan. Last week, New England showed how constantly changing and adjusting benefits against the Chiefs offense. Guenther has to be able to alter blitz calls, especially early on. Blitzing Mahomes is not always the best move against him. Nonetheless, this pass rush led by Maxx Crosby, needs a spark to get going. They only have four sacks in four games.
On the backend, Guenther would be wise to move defensive backs around. Johnathan Abram is a game wrecker, if given the opportunity. Veteran Lamarcus Joyner also brings a sense of stability, when comfortable. If Guenther fails to change it up, this could be a long day for the Vegas defense.
2) Feed Jacobs Often
We talked about the Chiefs defense needing to stop Jacobs already. More importantly for the Raiders, they must control the clock and get the Alabama product more than an ample amount of touches. In Las Vegas’ last victory, Jon Gruden was smart to let Jacobs set the tone and do damage. His 27 rush attempts kept the opposition honest in what was possibly coming next.
It might not be a coincidence that the Raiders last two losses have come as a result of decreased rush attempts. Jacobs has barely topped those 27 carries in the last two games combined, with 16 carries and 15 carries respectively. His yardage has also suffered a big dip. Gruden must let the offense ride through Josh.
3) Play With Confidence
The Kansas City Chiefs enter Sunday having won 28 of their last 30 division games. To beat them, Las Vegas must go out with confidence, while still not making the moment too big. Too often, we have seen Carr tense up and get antsy if the pressure mounts. The Raiders have the ability to play mistake free football. Though, it seems like when things get going bad the game can avalanche out of control. Defensively, this means playing aggressive and disciplined at the same time.
Be sure to stay tuned for the Kansas City Chiefs versus Las Vegas Raiders game preview episode on the FPC Chiefs Podcast. 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.