Heading into the second matchup with the Raiders this weekend there are some pretty insane statistics about Kansas City that help make them appear invincible.
The Chiefs’ up-and-down 2021 season has been filled with some upsetting games so far but it has also shown some surprises and flashes of greatness.
Head coach Andy Reid and QB Patrick Mahomes currently have the Chiefs on a five-game win streak heading into their week 14 matchup with Las Vegas and with Raiders week part two culminating at Arrowhead Stadium there are some striking statistics that favor Kansas City.
For starters, the Chiefs’ most complete game on all three phases on the field was during their week 10 matchup in Vegas where Kansas City dominated early and won 41-14 for their third straight victory.
In that game Mahomes threw for five touchdowns, two of them landing in Tyreek Hill’s hands, and Travis Kelce hauled in eight catches for 119 yards (14.9 ypr). Almost all of Kansas City’s marquee players had their best games that day against a defense that contained DE Carl Nassib and LB Denzel Perryman (both are listed as OUT or DOUBTFUL for Sunday’s game).
This second game between the long-pitted rivals is the 125th meeting dating back to the years of the AFL when Kansas City was the Dallas Texans. In those 125 games, the Chiefs are 69-54-2 (55.2 WP%) and have won 14 of the 17 (82.3 WP%) during Reid’s tenure as head coach.
So the Chiefs have the winning side of the arguments while Raiders still like to flaunt their three NFL Championships (XI, XV, XVIII) and the fact they beat KC in stellar fashion last season in Arrowhead before taking a victory lap around the stadium on the way back to Vegas.
But this season has been a roller coaster thanks to some lousy play early by the defense and more dropped passes than any other team in the league–a record they still hold to this day (30 dropped total).
In fact, of Mahomes’ 12 interceptions over half of them have hit his receivers’ hands first–something Mahomes took responsibility for at a recent press conference:
“All I can do is have better ball placement on some of those,” Mahomes said after beating Denver 22-9 Sunday night.
Since the Chiefs’ week five loss against the Buffalo Bills the defense has done nothing but shine and improve. Players like L’Jarius Sneed (97.8 passer rating allowed) and Charvarius Ward (70.7 PRA) have vastly improved their ranks amongst the league’s best defensive backs in the league.
Ward currently ranks third on PFF’s highest-graded cornerbacks in rushing the passer which has boded well for DT Chris Jones, who ranks fifth in that same category amongst DTs, after his switch back to interior tackle after experimenting as the starting edge rusher.
Not to mention Jarran Reed has really hit his stride lately after being picked up from Seattle in the offseason. In the last three games, Reed has 1.5 sacks, three hits on the QB, and a forced fumble right as KC has become a defensive threat more than an offensive one.
On the other side of the line, the Chiefs are hitting their stride and working together as a unit more and more prolifically. Newcomer Orlando Brown Jr may have had a streaky first month in Kansas City, allowing 11 pressures over the first four weeks, has since only allowed 19 total pressures in the eight games since (2.38 pressures/game).
Rookie Creed Humphrey (+15000) also continues to excel and has even earned Offensive Rookie of the Year buzz even over the likes of Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase (+100) and Patriots QB Mac Jones (+130).
And if those advantages for the Chiefs don’t create calmness among #ChiefsKingdom then the announcement that Raiders superstar tight end Darren Waller won’t be available for Vegas’ revenge game against Mahomes and Kansas City should get soothe them a little more.
Las Vegas is 28-34 without Waller on the field, and Derek Carr has a passer rating of 92.8 without Waller catching his passes. And while Waller does catch most of Derek Carr’s total passes (34.1% since 2018) his absence will only reinforce the Hunter Renfrow explosion.
Renfrow has been targeted more than any other Vegas receiver this season (92) and leads all receivers in catches (73), touchdowns (4), and yards (760). So while Waller is the obvious big target to rival Kelce as TE1 in fantasy football it’s might actually be #13 on the Raiders’ roster that should be planned for.
No matter what Raiders receiver leads the team in catches Sunday afternoon it will be interesting to see whether they can play with more urgency than they did against Kansas City four weeks ago.
But according to statistics from recent games, overall history, and the rise of the defense, it would appear that the Chiefs are rightfully favored (-9.5) for all the major reasons.