By: Emily Musella
Mahomes and Co. Secure W in Divisional Showdown Against Raiders
Welcome to Week 11 football fans! Your Sunday night just got better as the Kansas City Chiefs and Las Vegas Raiders face-off in a divisional showdown. Mahomes and Co. are coming off a bye week and are ready for their revenge game. Meanwhile, the Raiders dominated a dismal and disappointing Denver Broncos squad last week. Tonight’s matchup has potential playoff implications on the line. Will the Chiefs have their own victory bus ride at Allegiant Stadium? Or will the Raiders pull off a feat they have not done since 2012, and sweep the Chiefs? You know what time it is, the breakdown shakedown!
Odds: KC -7.5, LV +7.5
Over/Under: Over 56
Kickoff: November 22nd, 8:20 p.m. EST, Allegiant Stadium
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
In the 22 years of Andy Reid’s career of coaching in the NFL, he posts an 18-3 regular season record after a bye week. That’s right folks, Big Red boasts quite the numbers and reputation when he has extra time to strategize with his team. QB Patrick Mahomes continues to make his case for NFL MVP as he currently has 25 touchdowns and 1 interception on the season so far. Prior to their bye week, the Chiefs squeaked out a last minute W over the Panthers with a 33-31 final. In that matchup, Mahomes threw for 4 TD’s and completed 30/45 passes. The aerial attack was hitting on all cylinders while the run-game was nonexistent. Look for Clyde Edwards-Helaire to rack up over 80 yards this week though as he bounces back in the end zone as well.
Offensively, the Chiefs are ranked #1 in the league for the passing game and 14th for rushing yards. Leading the receiver aerial attack for the Chiefs is TE Travis Kelce with 769 yards on 58 receptions. Also, if we flip back to Week 5 when the Chiefs last played the Raiders, Kelce went off with 108 yards on just 8 receptions. Mahomes will be without WR Sammy Watkins this week which is a slight blow to the passing game, but I expect Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, and Demarcus Robinson to make up for that loss. As for the run-game, the Raiders are ranked 13th in run defense but I see Andy Reid utilizing the versatility of Le’veon Bell since he was not involved in the last meeting between these two division rivals. Also a staggering stat to keep in mind, the Chiefs are 50% on third down conversions.
Defensively, the Chiefs overall strength lies in the passing defense as they rank 8th in the league. The problem though in the last matchup was defending WR Henry Ruggs III who racked up splash plays of 118 yards on just two receptions. Not to mention Nelson Agholor and Darren Waller who combined for 115 yards and two TD’s last time as well. I see Tyrann Mathieu picking off Derek Carr in the red zone for this matchup. Oh and the run-game has the 4th best rusher in the league with Josh Jacobs and his 700 yards in just 9 games. Taking all of this into consideration, the Chiefs front seven will have their work cut out for them once again. Frank Clark, Anthony Hitchens, and Chris Jones will need to attack the backfield and seize splash plays from Derek Carr or Josh Jacobs.
LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
The Raiders found themselves making headlines this week between COVID-19 and taking victory laps after their Week 5 victory over their division rival Chiefs. Leave it to Head Coach Jon Gruden to keep the league on notice and his team in the spotlight. The Las Vegas team performed superb last week against the Denver Broncos with a 37-12 slaughter fest. Can the Raiders pull off the sweep against the Chiefs tonight though?
Offensively, the Raiders are led by QB Derek Carr who posts a 16 touchdown to 2 interception ratio on the season. His aerial attack is made up of Henry Ruggs III, Nelson Agholor, Darren Waller, and Hunter Renfrow. In terms of where the Raiders rank, for the passing game 20th, and the rushing game 7th. The ground-game has been spectacular this season as Josh Jacobs continues to wreck defenses and the emergence of Devontae Booker who racked up 81 rushing yards last week as well. Carr has built a trusting relationship with Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow so I would expect the dynamic duo to each find the end zone at some point in this game.
Defensively, the Raiders faced COVID-19 issues early in the week with key defensive players needing to do virtual meetings in place of on-field practice. All players have the go-ahead clearance for tonight’s game and on their mind is the most obvious task, to stop the versatility and quickness of QB Patrick Mahomes. Last time, the Raiders picked off Mahomes to record his only INT of the season, along with the only L of the season as well. This will most likely be a high flying passing game for the Chiefs which means the Raiders D will need to contain Kelce and Hill down the field. Mahomes and Andy Reid are notorious for trick plays and incorporating players into plays that make us swing our heads in disbelief. This being said, Chris Smith, Johnathan Hankins, and Maxx Crosby will need to play lights out.
ANALYSIS AND PREDICTION
Week 11 Sunday Night Football is primed to be a high-scoring contest between two explosive offenses. Andy Reid and Co. have revenge on their mind while Jon Gruden and Co. have a sweep on theirs. No doubt in my mind this game will come down to who can protect the football better. This matchup is poised for over 55 points and I believe it will come down to the final two minutes in the fourth quarter. That’s right folks, I am predicting a nail-biter at Allegiant Stadium with Patrick Mahomes finding Travis Kelce in the end zone for the game-winning touchdown. I do see the run-game for the Raiders to be over 200 yards, but Derek Carr will find himself sacked in the backfield 3 times and a pivotal interception in the 4th quarter to ultimately doom his team a chance at the sweep. Final Score: Kansas City Chiefs 38, Las Vegas Raiders 30.