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Game Preview: Raiders vs. Chiefs – Week 11

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Las Vegas Raiders (6-4)  |  Kansas City Chiefs (9-1)

 

 

The Las Vegas Raiders came into Sunday night’s game against their most bitter rival, the Kansas City Chiefs, with a lot on the line and for the nation to see. The Chiefs came in with revenge on their minds after the Raiders gave them their only loss of the 2020 season.

 

 

Raiders vs Chiefs
Photo Credit: Las Vegas Raiders

The Chiefs were also pissed off at the Raiders for doing a victory lap around Arrowhead Stadium after their Week 5 40-32 win. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said it upset his team after the story came out that the Raiders got an extra spin after the win, while Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said it was because the bus driver was a smart ass. While each coach has their own truth to the story, one thing is certain; the rivalry is alive and well between these two playoff contenders.

Sunday night at Allegiant Stadium, the Raiders once again showed that they could hang with the defending Super Bowl champs. Gruden has his Raiders playing with no fear, going toe-to-toe with Reid’s Chiefs and pretty much everyone else on the schedule thus far. Former MVP Patrick Mahomes threw his lone interception against the Raiders back in their Week 5 match-up.

This week’s match-up had an extra bit of drama after more than half of the Las Vegas defense had to be put on the COVID-19 list, including Clelin Ferrall and LaMarcus Joyner, who missed the game. Ferrell and Joyner missed the game, but the rest of the players on the list missed the week’s practices, which is far from ideal when you’re facing the potent Chiefs offense on primetime TV.

But this game was also important since, with a win, the Raiders would then own the tie-breaker against the Chiefs and put them just a game back of the AFC West division lead. The Chiefs were just a game back of the Pittsburgh Steelers for the top seed in the AFC. There was a lot on the line for both teams, to say the least.

 

In this heavyweight fight filled with haymakers on Sunday night, Derek Carr continued to show why he is an MVP candidate with his play against the Chiefs. 

 

Raiders vs Chiefs
Photo Credit: Arrowhead Pride

It seems like Carr has had his best games against the Chiefs in 2020. He has played with confidence, making big throw after big throw and showing the type of talent that gave Raider Nation hope that they found their franchise signal-caller. Carr threw darts to his wide receivers, running backs, and tight end’s Jason Witten and Darren Waller, who also showed why he might be the NFL’s best tight end. Carr has thrown six balls over 20-yards against the Chiefs in 2020, which is more than he had thrown against them in his entire career before this season.

Josh Jacobs was also out there running with authority and with purpose. The second-year back has been everything the Raiders expected and more since they drafted him in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Jacobs rushed for 56 tough yards filled with big boy, attitude runs, and a touchdown. For his part, Carr finished the night 23/30, for 270 yards and three touchdowns.

 

After being a unit that left much to be desired, the Raiders defense seems to have turned the corner and once again played well. In the final series is was up to them to win the game.  

 

 

Raiders vs Chiefs
Photo Credit: NFL

For most of the game, the Raiders’ defense was up to the challenge once again. In the fourth quarter’s final series, the Raiders put constant pressure on Mahomes and didn’t allow him to get comfortable. This was similar to how they played them in Week 5 when the Raiders’ defense was super aggressive. But Mahomes found tight end Travis Kelsey wide open in the endzone with 28 seconds left to give the Chiefs a 35-31 lead. That drive took just 1:15, and the Raiders had to go 75 yards in 28 seconds to try and salvage a miracle win.

But on the Silver and Black’s first play, Carr threw an interception to secure the Chiefs win. The Raiders record fell to 6-4, while the Chiefs move to 9-1. The Raiders have the easiest schedule in the AFC (based on opponents winning percentage) the rest of the way and look to be in the driver’s seat to make the playoffs. The Chiefs got their revenge, but the Raiders have made it known that they will not be a pushover for Kansas City, and the Chiefs will no longer have a cakewalk when they play Las Vegas.

One thing that is for sure is the Raiders, under Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock’s direction, are heading in the right direction. Built on toughness, grit, and in the image of the Raiders’ brain trust, the Silver and Black won’t be an easy win for anyone, and they will be a team to watch as the NFL playoffs get started. There are no moral victories for this team, but this reporter has played, coached, and been around the game of football for 40 years…

The Las Vegas Raiders are coming.

 

You can watch next week’s game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta, Georgia with kick off scheduled for 10:00 AM PT.

 

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Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media

Twitter: @JoeArrigo

 

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Raiders vs. Chiefs