Isn’t this always your favorite divisional game, Chiefs fans? The Jon Gruden-led Raiders. That one team that everyone doubts but will somehow finish 8-8. Well, that very team comes back into Arrowhead Stadium to face the Super Bowl champions.
In a game that many are predicting will go to the Chiefs, the Raiders don’t match up well against Kansas City. There aren’t many particular strengths to this Raiders team, whereas Kansas City has almost nothing but strengths on their roster.
With this being a divisional game and due to Jon Gruden’s scheme, I expect this to be as tightly contested as ever. That being said, let’s roll into the match-ups!
Josh Jacobs vs the Kansas City Front Seven
Second year running back Josh Jacobs is looking to building upon his outstanding rookie season, and is doing so in a solid fashion. With 300 yards even on the season to go along with three scores on the ground, he’s showing yet again that he can be the focal point of the Las Vegas offense. The Chiefs will have to look to stop the dangerous Jacobs, as they’ve struggled against strong rushing attacks this season, allowing the fourth-most rushing yards in the league. With a mediocre passing attack, expect the Raiders to lean heavily on Jacobs throughout the game.
Chris Jones & Frank Clark vs the Raiders Offensive Line
The Raiders are sporting what is arguably the best offensive line in the NFL this year, headlined by Rodney Hudson, Richie Incognito, and Trent Brown. Gabe Jackson and Kolton Miller are also solid players, with both having a specialty in run-blocking. This will be pivotal, as Chris Jones is expected to make his return after missing the previous game due to a groin injury. Miller has struggled in pass protection, leading me to believe that Steve Spagnuolo will have Frank Clark rushing off the right side as much as possible. Due to the strong interior of the Raiders line, I expect Jones to absorb double teams while Mike Pennel goes to work. If the Chiefs are unable to pressure Derek Carr or stop the run game, Kansas City could be in for a long night.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire vs Cory Littleton
Cory Littleton was one of the big name acquisitions for Las Vegas this offseason, and so far he hasn’t quite performed at the same level as his 2018 Pro Bowl season. However, he just recently had his best game of the year against the Buffalo Bills with seven total tackles and a TFL. He’ll look to build upon that game when he faces the electric Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who is also coming off a great game. CEH and Littleton should be matched up plenty in coverage, which will provide for some flashes on the field. The Chiefs ability to keep defenses guessing will help open up the rest of the field, meaning this will be one of the more important match-ups of the game.
Derek Carr vs the Kansas City Secondary
Derek Carr has had a good start to his season, throwing for 1,095 yards and eight touchdowns while not throwing a single interception at this point in the season. However, that could very well change against a ball hawking Chiefs defense which has allowed the fifth-fewest passing yards this season, along with five interceptions. The Chiefs will be getting starting CB Bashaud Breeland back from suspension to start alongside CB Chavarious Ward, and stud safeties Juan Thornhill and Tyrann Mathieu prowl the defensive backfield. While Jon Gruden’s scheme doesn’t call for many risky plays, there’s a very good chance Carr throws his first pick of the year in this game.
Kansas City Chiefs vs Their Inability to Tackle
This could ultimately be the Chiefs undoing. The defense has not been able to tackle at all through four games, and it doesn’t look like it’s changing anytime soon. The team is tied for fifth in the league with 37 missed tackles through four games. Now, if the team had a better rushing defense this would be different. However, with the Chiefs being a bottom-five team against the run, all this does is paint a picture of a team who consistently gets blown over by opposing ball carriers. Yes, this will be key in a game against a physical Raiders team, but this is also a looming problem for the rest of the season. Wrap the f*** up.
Las Vegas provides some good match-ups to watch, but they are nowhere near the team that Kansas City is. I expect their scheme to do well against the Chiefs, but ultimately come out with a loss.
Final Score: 31-24 Chiefs