Raiders Vs. Chiefs Preview: Time To See What’s Real With Defending AFC West Champions Coming To Town

The Oakland Raiders have a winning record. Take it in. Soak in it. Breathe it in.

All good? Okay cool, because now the best team in the league comes to town, and, well, we’re about to learn some things.

On Monday night, the Raiders played a complete game — a great game. They beat a team some folks pegged for a winning record and did it handily. They did it despite any “distractions” and despite about 10 different guys making their first starts as a Raider.

All in all, it was a great night. But was it for real? Like, should we count on the defense being that disruptive moving forward? Can the offensive line really hang with the best of them? Is Derek Carr really back to the 2016 model?

These are the questions that Sunday’s tilt against the Kansas Chiefs will (hopefully) answer. So, let’s take a look at how things match up.

Oakland Offense v Kansas City Defense

Last time the Chiefs came to Oakland, the Raiders actually hung around — losing a shootout 40-33 due in part to Patrick Mahomes’ four-touchdown day. The good news, of course, was that the Raiders hung 33 on someone!

We all know the Chiefs defense has been a weak point, but with the addition of Frank Clark, Emmanuel Ogbah and Tyrann Mathieu are they improved? Last week won’t give us many answers considering Nick Foles went out after just eight passes with an injury — although for Raider fans, there is some encouragement in what his backup did.

Gardner Minshew, the rookie from Washington State, completed 22 of 25 passes for 275 yards with two touchdowns and a pick. With that in mind, it’s easy to imagine Carr replicating those numbers this week and allowing the Raiders offense to hang around.

One thing to watch here will be whether or not the Raiders can be more efficient running the ball. While Josh Jacobs had an impressive final line (113 total yards), he averaged just 3.7 yards per carry. Last week, the Chiefs allowed the Jaguars to run for more than five yards per carry — a number that, if replicated, would open things up for Carr even more.

Oakland Defense v Kansas City Offense

Dan Patrick once said, “you can’t stop him — you can only hope to contain him”, and, well, he might as well have been talking about Mahomes. Simply put, the Raiders aren’t holding this guy below 20 points — but can they keep them below 30?

Last week the Raiders played against one of the worst offenses in the league — which offered a confidence booster for a pass-rush in desperate need of one. But how will they look against the league’s most explosive quarterback?

One bit of good news for the Raiders is that Mahomes will be without his favorite weapon, Tyreek Hill, who is out with an injury. Still, Sammy Watkins and Travis Kelce loom — the latter of which is a guy who has torched the Raiders in the past. Last year in Oakland? 12 catches (on 13 targets) for 168 yards and two touchdowns. 

A big aid for the Raiders defense is that top cornerback Gareon Conley is expected to play despite suffering a neck injury in Week 1, which is a big help for the secondary.

Well Nicholas Morrow, I hope your shoes are tied tight on Sunday!

Prediction: Raiders win 31-30

I’ve got a good feeling about this one, I’m going to be honest. It’s at home, the Chiefs are vulnerable without Hill and the Raiders genuinely seem to believe in themselves. I think the Raider offense can hang with the Chiefs, and if they can get a couple of good bounces defensively, who knows what happens.

One interesting note is that confidence is swinging in the direction of the Raiders, as the game opened with the Chiefs as nine-point favorites. Immediately after Monday night, big money started pouring in on the Raiders and the line is already down to seven in some places.

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