We are entering week 10 of the NFL season, and with the Chiefs on their bye week. This gives them time to focus and prepare for the Raiders, something they seemingly failed to do when these two teams crossed paths earlier in the year. This Raiders team gave the Chiefs more than they bargained for earlier in the year, coming away with a victory. If the Chiefs want to prevent a replay of what happened earlier this season and keep a commanding grip on the AFC West standings, they need to focus and prepare for the Raiders with a conviction that seemed to be missing in their first matchup.
This bye week couldn’t have come at a more opportune time in the season for the Chiefs. Between Mecole Hardman being placed on the COVID list earlier this week, a nagging back injury to the rock of the offensive line Mitchell Schwartz, and number two wide receiver Sammy Watkins and his hamstring, the bye week gives the Chiefs much needed time to rest, recuperate, and come into week 11 in Las Vegas at full health.
This will be huge for the Chiefs, whose offense has certainly noticed the absence of Schwartz and Watkins, between having to focus on Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce as primary receivers, to even giving Patrick Mahomes enough time to even get these passes off before pressure from the defensive line closes in.
In years past, players were allowed to travel during the bye week to their offseason houses or take a midseason vacation, however, due to the NFL’s league-wide daily mandatory COVID testing, Chiefs players were required to report to the stadium every day to be tested, making these trips impossible and requiring players stay in Kansas City area.
When asked about how he was spending the bye, Patrick Mahomes was quoted “the bye week for me is I’ll probably take a day off tomorrow maybe come in and watch some film, and then I’ll probably work out the next few days and then watch The Masters on the weekend. I’ll be pretty in tune; I mean we have a pretty big one (referencing the Raiders game) coming up after the bye week, so I’ll be ready to go for that one for sure.”
That seems to be the sentiment from the entire Chiefs organization; thankful for the extra time to rest and heal up, and evaluate and make adjustments, or even develop plays that could make a difference in the late-season run.
The week 5, 40-32 loss to the Raiders at Arrowhead seemed to be an anomaly, the rare occurrence that the Chiefs let their guard down and failed to make the usual halftime adjustments that Andy Reid and this Chiefs squad has become so great at. It seems as though the upcoming week 11 game will be the opposite of that, the Chiefs will be almost overprepared when they land in Las Vegas.
Andy Reid wouldn’t have it any other way. Andy is known for bringing the heat after bye weeks, with the extra time to prepare for the game his teams have a record of 18-3 in games after a bye week, and a record of 4-2 in the playoffs after securing the bye, even when the competition is a lot stiffer and the stakes higher.
I doubt we see a repeat of what happened in week 5; the Chiefs had extra time to prepare for anything Jon Gruden can throw at them, and time to rest up and get everyone fully healthy for the upcoming rematch. Andy will have the boys prepared well for this AFC West showdown, now all that remains is to execute his plans.
With Sammy coming back, Mitchell Schwartz securing the right side of the offensive line, and Mecole Hardman off the COVID list, the Chiefs seemed locked and loaded to give the Raiders the thrashing they deserve after taking victory laps around Arrowhead after their week 5 victory. Hopefully, the Chiefs get the opportunity to break in Allegiant Stadium, although I doubt Andy takes any victory laps. He is classier than that, victory laps are saved for Super Bowls in Kansas City.