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Analysis

Las Vegas Raiders are proving that they are a real threat in the AFC West

Dec 15, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) throws a pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the Raiders final game at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum before relocating to Las Vegas for the 2020 season. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After two losses, the Raiders decided to come to Arrowhead to upset the Kansas City Chiefs, their rivals in the AFC West. And boy they did…

They actually opened up the division race, giving a glimpse of hope to the other teams. Kansas City is not unbeatable.

We all knew it was going to happen sometime during the season facing the first Chiefs loss, but falling to the Bills would have felt a little bit better though.

It should not have happened on paper, and it was quite unexpected.

Derek Carr and the whole Raiders team led the reigning Super Bowl champions on Sunday with 40 points and 490 total yards in an eight-point victory. It was quite a performance. It was actually the best performance Derek Carr has h in a while. Before going to Kansas City, Carr had been completing 73-percent of his passes and had yet to throw an interception.

The Raiders deserved the win. They controlled the Chiefs defense and blocked Patrick Mahomes’ magic. On Sunday against the NFL’s top passer, Derek Carr answered the call.

Carr’s performance against the Chiefs was clear: 22 of 31, 347 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. Above all, as most of the best quarterbacks of the league, he successfully deep passed against a very good defense throughout the first four games of the season.

The franchise hasn’t won a division title since 2002, the year the Raiders went to Super Bowl XXXVII. Perhaps the league will get a better idea if this team is a legitimate threat in the AFC West in a few weeks when they will travel to Los Angeles to face the Chargers, followed by home games with the Broncos and the Chiefs.

With an exceptional game against the Chiefs scoring 40 points, that could be a turning point for the Raiders this season. Before this weekend, Derek Carr and Co reached the end zone 17 times but their defense allowed the same amount of touchdowns. At Arrowhead, he threw deep many times including a 59-yard to Nelson Agholor and a 72-yard bomb to Henry Ruggs.

The Chiefs secondary was just nonexistent, unfortunately. Tyrann Mathieu was one of the Chiefs players who took the blame for the loss this weekend.

Andy Reid walked into a losing locker room Sunday for the first time in 11 months. Two big mistakes came out: Penalties from the offense and the allowance of big plays from the defense.

So are the Raiders legitimate AFC West contenders? They are right behind the Chiefs with a 3-2 record, but the season is just beginning and their performance actually made the division a lot more interesting to watch. Derek Carr looks a lot more at ease with this year’s offense but they also give up a lot of touchdowns along the way.

However, in five games, they actually won against the Saints and the Chiefs, two Superbowl contenders! That is not bad at all.

Let’s hope the rivalry will fire up again this season. This is going to be a wild ride. In what could have been his toughest test of the regular season, Carr stepped up and had a career performance. Will it be the start of a new Raiders offense for the rest of the year?

Let’s wait and see.

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