After last Sunday’s 35-31 victory by the Chiefs in Las Vegas, a last-minute comeback by Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense, the Chiefs revealed an overall weakness when matched up against Jon Gruden and the Raiders. This really showed in the two times the Chiefs faced the Raiders this year, losing to them earlier in the season at Arrowhead and then needing a final TD from MVP Patrick Mahomes to win last Sunday. It showed that the Raiders and Gruden seem to have the Chiefs number, as much as anyone in the recent past does at least. This is something that will hopefully not come down to a final deciding game for the Chiefs and should be avoided if they can help it.
It took the Chiefs until 28 seconds were left in the game on Sunday to take the lead that would end up being final. It had been a somewhat back and forth game until that point, with most things it seemed going the Raiders way, which is exactly what happened the last time the two teams played this season. Except that time, the Chiefs’ let the game get out of hand.
Luckily, we were able to keep this game from getting away from us, keeping it within a score for the lead throughout. The Raiders obviously have a system that works against the Chiefs, and it has proven effective, as effective as anyone has been since the inception of the Patrick Mahomes era, and giving the Chiefs their only loss in over a calendar year.
The Raiders hold the final 7th playoff spot in the AFC as of week 11 and look primed to make a run similar to how the Titans did last year. Just like the Titans of last season, the Raiders seem to be getting hot late, and if they can keep up their current pace (which is likely, they play the Jets next week, and the Colts are the only team remaining on their schedule with a winning record) it looks like they will.
The Raiders looks primed to make somewhat of a run heading into the end of the year here, with a cupcake of a schedule, and saying they only lose to the remaining Colts (assuming they don’t take a Sunday off and crap down their leg in an AFC West matchup against the Broncos or Chargers, both of which remain on their schedule) puts them at 11-5, which is a perfectly respectable record heading into the postseason. That is actually two games better than the 2019 Titans when they made their playoff run heading into the postseason with a 9-7 record, barely sneaking in, but getting hot at the right time.
The Chiefs needed that win on Sunday badly for breathing room in the AFC West standings, but also for some breathing room between them and the Raiders in the overall NFL playoff picture. If the Chiefs want to avoid them this postseason, and I think that would be the best route for us to make a second straight Super Bowl appearance.
The Raiders know us and our in’s and out’s, they’re a division opponent who we play twice a season, every season, and playing them a third time doesn’t do my blood pressure any favors. The fact of the matter is that the Chiefs need to put as much room between them and the Raiders as possible so that we don’t see them again until 2021, when hopefully we can get out of the rut that the year of 2020 has seemed to put on everything.