The last time the Las Vegas Raiders defeated the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead before last season, the year was 2012. Will the Raiders have a chance to knock off the AFC West favorites at home in back to back seasons?
The year is 2012, the Chiefs are fresh off a bye week and sit at 1-6. The then Oakland Raiders defeated the Chiefs 26-16 in the midst of a lost season. Kansas City would go on to win one game the remainder of the season. They would be awarded the top overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft. That was the scene for Chiefs’ fans the last time the Raiders defeated Kansas City in back-to-back seasons at home.
Flash forward to 2021, the Chiefs are a whole new franchise. They’ve hoisted the Lombardi trophy and they now have a man by the name of Patrick Mahomes leading the ship. The last time the Chiefs’ played the Raiders at home in the month of December, they won with ease 40-9. That happened to be the same season they would watch the confetti fall in Miami.
Patrick Mahomes has not played badly this season, but he has not reached the full potential that everybody knows he can. The Texas Tech product still has thrown for 3,384 yards and 25 touchdowns, which are respectable stats, both being in the top-five across the NFL. Any other quarterback putting up these numbers would be drawing quite a bit of attention. But people are not satisfied with his season so far.
Arguably one of Mahomes best outings this season came against the Raiders. When he threw for 406 yards and five touchdowns, as the Chiefs’ marched in and out of “Arrowhead West”. The offense started off slow at the beginning of the season. But they seem to be hitting their stride at the right time.
After defeating the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day, it looked like the Raiders were going to use that momentum to get rolling at the perfect time. That was not up to par last week, as they lost to the Washington Football Team on a Brian Johnson 48 yard field goal with 37 seconds to play.
Derek Carr is second in the league with 3,663 passing yards and he leads in the league in plays that go for 20+ yards with 60. Carr is not the problem in the Las Vegas offense. He has been sacked 27 times so far this season.
The injury bug has also hit this offense pretty heavily this season. Josh Jacobs missed several games at the beginning of the season. Darren Waller has also missed a couple of games throughout the course of the season. Kenyan Drake suffered a season-ending ankle injury in the loss last Sunday. Hunter Renfrow has been Carr’s “go-to-man” within this offense.
This side of the ball has been the biggest bright spot for Kansas City in the past five games. They have held their last five opponents all to under 17 points. In three of the five games, they’ve held them under nine points. The offense has been managing, but the defense has been getting it DONE!!
The midseason accusation of Melvin Ingram III is looking better than ever. He is showing the league that he still has gas left in the tank. Playing a key role lined up next to Chris Jones and opposite of Frank Clark. The turnover margin has been something to keep a close watch on. In the past three games, the defense has forced eight turnovers. They’re playing fired up right now. Expect them to be even more motivated in this divisional rivalry at home as they look to improve their win streak to six games.
Since swapping AFC West rival jerseys, Denzel Perryman has been on a tear this season. The former Charger leads the league in solo tackles and he’s in the top three in total tackles. He has shown his ability to fly across the field as a key member of the Las Vegas linebacker core. But he went down with an injury in their loss to the WFT. Missing the key drive at the end of the game that would end up being the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter.
Maxx Crosby has been doing his best to fill the pass-rush gap left by Khalil Mack on the Raiders’ front seven. As a team, they do not force a ton of turnovers. But their offense also does not give the ball away enough for it to matter.
If the Raiders are going to have a chance to knock off the Chiefs at home, they need to come out fast and force Kansas City to make mistakes. The Raiders have gotten off to several slow starts this season in their games. Including the last time, these two teams faced off. If they’re able to slow down the Kansas City offense, Derek Carr might be able to put enough points on the board to come out on top.
In order for Kansas City to get one step closer to the AFC West crown, they need to take care of business Sunday. The defense has been excellent and they should continue to be able to pressure Carr. Especially if they continue to turn takeaways into points. If the offense gets rolling, watch out folks, this thing could get ugly quick in Kansas City.