The Kansas City Chiefs had a dominant performance Sunday night against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Now with the Raiders coming to town on Monday Night Football, the Chiefs look to take full control of the division. Here are three players to look out for in this upcoming matchup against Las Vegas
Clyde Edwards-Helaire was the leading rusher for Kansas City last week, totaling 92 yards on 19 carries. Although he was the leading rusher, rookie Isiah Pacheco contributed just as much having 63 yards on just 11 carries. His contribution in the backfield is as a change-of-pace back, he hits the hole as hard as any back in the league and gives Edwards-Helaire a break in this offense. The more carries Pacheco and Edwards-Helaire share, the better the offense is able to move.
Going up against a tough Raiders front four, Pacheco’s willingness to lower his shoulder on pass protection will help to eliminate the pass rush of Pro Bowlers Max Crosby and Chandler Jones. The reason the Chiefs were able to dominate the Bucs front four is that the offensive linemen were able to go upfield and use the great Running back tandem we have in KC.
Mahomes stated that when Pacheco runs the ball it looks like he is hurting the ground. Having that energy coming out of the backfield allows the entire offense to flourish and get the ball in everyone’s hands to make plays. Expect Pacheco to have a similar performance to last Sunday, getting around 10-12 carries for 60 or more yards.
The rookie defensive end hasn’t had a sack this season but is looking to change that on Monday Night. Karlaftis has been making contributions besides getting to the quarterback, he’s had plenty of tackles for loss, pass deflections, and heads-up plays you wouldn’t expect out of a rookie. But now he’s going up against a depleted Raiders offensive line and has the advantage to capitalize and dominate up front. Derek Carr is not a mobile quarterback and with the motor Karlaftis possess, it seems like it might be the time for “Furious” George to strike.
A rivalry game on Monday Night Football has the chance for the rookie to have a big game and finally get out of his funk and get to the quarterback. The projection for Karlaftis on Monday night is to have one sack, 3 QB pressures, and a tackle for a loss, making it his best performance of the regular season.
JuJu’s best game this season was against the Indianapolis Colts, which was a loss but he was able to put up 80-plus yards in that game. He has not been able to score a touchdown this season, but each game you see a glimpse of what will soon break out at some time this season. The connection with Mahomes is starting to become consistent and Mahomes is making sure to establish Smith-Schuster in this offense.
The Raiders game will be a good chance for JuJu to establish himself as the number one receiver in this offense that has been having a new go-to guy week by week distributing the ball all across the offense. Division games are always tough in the NFL, however, Smith-Schuster can have a coming-out party against the Raider’s defensive backs. The projection for JuJu this Monday night is 9 catches for 111 yards and two touchdowns as he will elevate this Chiefs offense to the next level.
These three players are heading in the right direction, but with a big game in the division, anything is possible.