The Raiders and Chiefs renew their rivalry on Monday Night Football to close out Week 5 of the NFL season. And there’s good news and bad news for the Raiders heading into this matchup. The bad news is that no one expects much out of Las Vegas in this game. That’s also the good news: the Raiders have nothing to lose and should go out and play freely.
Since 2013, Kansas City has beaten the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders in 15 of their last 18 meetings. All three Raiders wins came in years where they missed the postseason. Right now, it looks like the Raiders are going to miss the playoffs again, so… maybe they will pull off the upset over KC?
But based on how the season has played out thus far, it’ll take a miracle to get it done in Kansas City. The Raiders enter this game 1-3, while the Chiefs come in 3-1, having lost unexpectedly to the Colts a couple of weeks ago. Surely, the Raiders have studied the tape of Indianapolis’ 20-17 victory over KC to see what they did to trip up the Chiefs in that game.
After making the playoffs last year, Las Vegas was expected to pick up where it left off and seriously compete in the AFC West in 2022, but that has not been the case. The Raiders began the year 0-3 before bouncing back to beat the Broncos last week. A win against the Chiefs would go a long way toward salvaging what looked like a disaster of a season until last week. Improving to 2-3 with a win over Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs would bring the Raiders within one game of KC for the division lead.
For the Chiefs, it’s simple. Andy Reid’s squad needs to keep doing what they’re doing. They’ve already scored over 40 points twice in their first four games. Mahomes and his boys put up 41 and 48 in sweeping the Raiders last season. As usual, the Chiefs are one of if not the most potent offenses in the entire NFL, averaging 32.3 points per game.
Many people thought this Chiefs offense would struggle without Tyreek Hill, but Reid and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy have figured out another way to win. Mahomes is spreading the ball around more, minus Hill. Through four games, four Chiefs receivers have recorded double-digit receptions.
Although the Raiders probably don’t want to get into a shootout with KC, they might not have much choice. David Carr and Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels should be focused on keeping the Chiefs’ offense sidelined. Ball control will be the key for Las Vegas, as it is for any team that plays the Chiefs. Run the ball and create long drives to make Mahomes less of a factor. It’s the same strategy teams used against Peyton Manning or any all-time great passer, for that matter. Keep ‘em off the field as long as possible, and you might have a chance.
Realistically, this will likely turn into a blowout. If the Raiders keep this game within two touchdowns, that would be an improvement over both games against the Chiefs last season.