4 issues to observe for in Raiders-Chiefs sport on ‘Monday Night time Soccer’

October 10, 2022

Two acquainted foes enter Monday night time in acquainted territory. 

For all of the seemingly seismic, franchise-shifting strikes within the AFC West over summer time — specifically the Raiders buying and selling for an All-Professional vast receiver and the Chiefs transport theirs away — little has modified come fall.

Kansas Metropolis sits alone atop a division it has gained for the final six years, ranked second in factors scored and fourth in whole yards due to a restructured plan of assault absent now-Dolphin Tyreek Hill. The Chiefs made an announcement within the first quarter of the season that the West stays theirs, they usually’re in place to construct on it by working Andy Reid’s document to 16-3 towards the Silver and Black since his arrival in 2013.

The Raiders journey to Arrowhead in final place, having misplaced three contests by a complete of 13 factors and watching the opportunity of falling three video games behind Kansas Metropolis earlier than an early Week 6 bye.

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This can be a close to must-win for Las Vegas to remain afloat within the division after stumbling out of the gate.

Listed below are 4 issues to observe for when the Chiefs host the Raiders on Monday Night time Soccer:

  1. The Patrick Mahomes Present. The previous MVP has sliced and diced Raiders defenses since getting into the league, and there’s been scant proof this season to counsel Las Vegas can cease it from occurring once more. In eight profession video games, Mahomes has 318.3 yards per sport, 2.8 passing touchdowns per sport and a 112.4 passer score towards the Raiders, all of which rank first by any opponent in Raiders historical past, per NFL Analysis (minimal six video games performed). The Chiefs have did not put up 30 factors solely as soon as towards Las Vegas throughout Mahomes’ tenure as starter and have averaged 37.4 factors per sport since 2018. Precisely how Mahomes places factors on the board this time round might look barely totally different. Fairly than counting on gargantuan performs as in earlier years, Mahomes has tailored a extra deliberate aerial assault this season, dotting tight finish Travis Kelce and his working backs for brief pickups and on red-zone possessions. 9 of Mahomes’ 11 TD passes have gone to non-wide receivers, and his seven landing passes underneath 10 air yards lead the NFL although 4 weeks. It is perhaps extra methodical, however the scoring will present up once more regardless.
  2. Derek versus Goliath. This isn’t to pile on, but when the bits about Andy Reid and Mahomes’ head-to-head accomplishments don’t make it clear, Derek Carr has not loved a ton of success on this rivalry. Carr, who signed a three-year extension in April, has struggled within the early going this season. He at present has his lowest completion proportion (61.0), move yards per try (6.7) and passer score (83.2) since his rookie marketing campaign, and he’s throwing interceptions at the next clip (2.6%) than ever earlier than. That’s to not say he cannot upend the Chiefs on Monday night time. Carr’s management type appears to flourish underneath adversity, corresponding to when Las Vegas broke a five-year playoff drought final yr regardless of the midseason firing of its head coach. But when he does pull off the upset, it’s going to solely come on the heels of a complete group effort. Kansas Metropolis is certain to key on eradicating Davante Adams, whose 47 targets have contributed to tight finish Darren Waller solely having 175 yards and one rating by 4 weeks. Carr should unfold it round successfully, particularly if Las Vegas needs to open issues up for Josh Jacobs, who had a career-high 144 speeding yards towards Denver final week. 
  3. Purple-zone matchups might resolve it. There are two totally different equations in play. First, Kansas Metropolis’s offense throughout the 20-yard line versus Las Vegas’ protection in the identical area seems to be of the unstoppable power meets moveable object selection. The Chiefs ranks fourth within the NFL with a 73.7 red-zone landing proportion. The Raiders rank twenty ninth with a 76.9 landing proportion allowed within the pink zone. That might get ugly if Las Vegas cannot stall Mahomes and Co. between the 20s or show large enchancment as soon as the sphere shortens. The matchup between the Raiders’ red-zone offense and Chiefs’ red-zone protection might show rather more unpredictable. The Raiders have at present transformed red-zone journeys into TDs on solely 44.4% of possibilities (tied for twenty eighth), however the Chiefs are permitting a landing 80% of the time an opponent reaches the pink zone (tied for thirtieth) — whichever a type of items outperforms its bottom-five rating would probably be the distinction if the sport stays shut.  
  4. Raiders D must be greater than Maxx Crosby. Las Vegas’ star defensive finish has performed out of his thoughts the final two seasons. He’s first within the league with 96 quarterback pressures since 2021, and he at present leads the Raiders with 4 sacks, seven QB hits and eight tackles for loss in 2022. Sadly, the remainder of the protection has one sack between them — and a cornerback, Nate Hobbs, contributed it. That spells hassle for a gaggle that led the NFL in pressures (215) and strain proportion (33.6) final season. The D has additionally managed solely three takeaways, a byproduct of a move rush gone lacking. Las Vegas has dialed up blitzes on 27.1% of dropbacks with nothing main to point out for it, and free-agent prize Chandler Jones has carried out little in means of disruption. It’s crucial that Jones and the remainder of the protection begin discovering avenues to complement Crosby’s one-man present. Permitting Mahomes all day to peruse the menu is not any solution to save your season.